WALTER Magazine- March 2020

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MARCH 2020


SINCE 1948

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Serving Others. Enriching Lives. “ The Triangle has found a great corporate citizen in TowneBank. Towne’s commitment in both dollars and man-hours to the communities it serves far exceeds what you might expect from a bank our size. That’s what we are known for and very much the heritage of TowneBank.”

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Volume VIII, Issue 6

Eamon Queeney (DOHERTY’S); Jeffrey Williamson (TERRELL)

MARCH 2020

68 OUR TOWN 46



GIGS: The Dirt A gardening brand grows


SHOP: Living la Bella Vita New owners for a City Market store


EXPLORE: Animal House The veterinary school opens its doors


DRINK: Fans & Friends Green Monkey creates community

60 64


CULTURE: Music Makers A father’s success fuels his son GIVERS: Room to Bloom Women build a place to heal

On the cover: Sonawane House; photography by Trey Thomas



HISTORY: Hometown POWs Wartime fueled a workforce


FOOD: Public House Irish-American pub Doherty’s


Q&A: Book Smart Reader’s Corner owner Irv Coats


NOTED: Home Grown Frank Harmon’s garden evolves


Letter from WALTER




Your Feedback


76 110


MODERN SANCTUARY A dated Midtown home gets a lively renovation by Katherine Poole photography by Trey Thomas


A MAN FULFILLED Clarence Thomas returns to painting by Charles Upchurch photography by Geoff Wood


PRINTING PATTERNS Behind the scenes at Spoonflower by Ayn-Monique Klahre photography by Taylor McDonald

102 RENEW & REMEMBER Preservation N.C.’s headquarters supports it mission by Hampton Williams Hofer photography by Catherine Nguyen 110 PLAYING WITH TRADITION The story behind MOFU Shoppe by Catherine Currin photography by Gus Samarco


Taylor McDonald (SPOONFLOWER); Gus Samarco (MOFU); Trey Thomas (DOGS)


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Your Carpet

arch has me thinking about the word “renewal.” At press time, we were having an early (false?) spring, and everything was just starting to bloom—forsythia, Lenten roses, Star of Bethlehems. My daughters and I cut the first swath of daffodils from our front yard and put them in a vase, worried about a frost that didn’t end up coming. That spring-y feeling of renewal and preservation is a thread that weaves throughout this issue. The most obvious is in our story about Preservation North Carolina’s new headquarters: Editorial assistant Katherine Poole with photographer Trey It’s built from two older Thomas at Kate and Sam Sonawane’s home (pg. 76). houses with histories worth holding on to (pg. 102). In Modern Sanctuary (pg. 76), a family revives a dated home in their unique, colorful style. Green Monkey owners Rusty Sutton and Drew Temple turned a run-down market into a welcoming watering hole (pg. 56). Clarence Heyward had an opportunity to get back to his passion, painting, after a decade in another industry (pg. 86). And BLOOMHERE founder Melinda Taylor created a haven for women to renew themselves after trauma (pg. 64). In every form—a structure, a concept, a soul—renewal is about keeping what’s important and making it shine again. And what’s a March issue without a few flowers? We took a tour through the factory where Spoonflower creates its gorgeous fabrics and wallpapers (pg. 92). We talked to the folks behind Good Dirt about their rapidly-growing garden-product business (pg. 48). We got to know a few of the floral designers behind the NCMA’s Art in Bloom event later this month (pg. 24). And Frank Harmon shared an essay on the evolution of his own walled garden (pg. 74). We hope this issue energizes you as much as it did us!

Ayn-Monique Klahre Editor 5634 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd., Durham, NC

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MARCH 2020 Published 10 times a year by The News & Observer Publishing Co. A McClatchy Company

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W R I TE R Eleanor Spicer Rice is an entomologist and writer. She lives right in the middle of Raleigh with her husband, Greg, their two boys, a large, ill-mannered dog and a flock of homing pigeons. “My favorite part of writing about Green Monkey was getting to pop in that warm and happy place a couple of afternoons with my husband… you know, for ‘research.’”

P HOTO G R A PH ER Taylor McDonald was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. She attended The Savannah College of Art and Design, where she received her BFA. After graduating, she returned to North Carolina to start her business. She loves shooting films in her free time. “Walking through Spoonflower is a delight to the senses. It’s a world of pattern, color and creativity.”



P HOTO G R A P HE R A lifelong passion for architecture and interior design coupled with a serious love of photography led to Thomas switching careers in 2012 to focus exclusively on interiors and architectural photography. A longtime resident of downtown Raleigh, Thomas loves the excitement that comes from being a short walk from one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. “The Sonowane residence is filled with eclectic charm and unexpected details. Practically every nook begs for your attention with its purposeful design. It was truly a pleasure to be welcomed into this inspiring home.”

W R I TE R Wiggins often marvels at what she believes are the six greatest forms of universal self-expression. Song is one of them. “Thing is,” she quips, “although I wish I may, I wish I might, I can’t even hum a tune! And, yes, I’ve tried—in public, with an audience!” Even so, Lori considers the written word another grand way to get what’s inside, out. For that, she’s grateful for every opportunity to share stories of our neighbors and their gifts of talent, emotion, confidence and truth. Having watched Christopher Terrell share his music over the years, Wiggins says it’s exciting to witness the building of his legacy. “Oh, and, in case you’re curious,” she adds, “the remaining four, most delightful forms of self-expression in this writer’s world: dance, visual art, music and acting.”

Raymond Goodman (RICE); courtesy contributors


The Exceptional Is Not Uncommon

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For your breath of fresh air








ART in BLOOM A spring-y interpretation of the NCMA’s

SHE LOVES… the mega size of the designs—you can use big, bold flowers, and lots of them! STARTING POINT: It’s my experience of the piece that triggers a design. I want to capture my emotional response and manifest that for everyone to share with me. BIGGEST CHALLENGE? Plant material has a life of its own—some flowers bend, but most don’t, and getting them to arc in the exact right spot and angle—it’s like walking a tightrope.

exhibits returns for a sixth year


t this year’s annual Art in Bloom weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Art, dozens of floral designers will be challenged to come up with arrangements inspired by a piece of art inside the museum. The work is chosen by lottery—participants can switch with each other, but not opt out—and then they are given about three months to figure out how to bring it to life in flowers. For the designers, that means researching the art and artists, sketching and experimenting at home. But even once the


design is perfected, challenges abound: Sometimes the flowers work differently on-site than they do at home, a structure can collapse mid-exhibit and the florists have to keep all those flowers looking their best for five days straight—no easy task. Despite the challenges, it’s a chance for the floral designers to flex their creativity and bring a new interpretation to some of the museum’s most intriguing pieces. We spoke to five of this year’s participants to get their perspective on creating arrangements for Art in Bloom. —Ayn-Monique Klahre

Courtesy Scot Buck



SHANNON HILL Raleigh ELAN HOUSE I 1ST YEAR HER STYLE… I’ve never had any formal floral training, so I don’t follow a formula. My style is eclectic and sprinkled with a lot of love. HER STARTING POINT: Color and vessel are my foundations for everything. At the moment, I'm going back and forth on flowers. Yellow, orange and toffee are the colors bouncing around in my head. BIGGEST CHALLENGE? Staying within the guidelines that we’ve been given as designers and making sure my work lives up to the expectations of the museum and guests.

VANESSA & MARC SMITH Raleigh 5TH YEAR HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED? I’m not an actual florist—I do it on the side—but I wait tables at Iris. The second year of the event, they had a florist fall through, so they asked me because they knew I’d done a couple of weddings. BIGGEST CHALLENGE? Figuring out your water source! One year, my husband created a wood panel with holes drilled into it to hide test tubes with water. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST? I didn’t study art in school, so I usually start by researching the artist. I end up learning a lot in the process.

SCOT BUCK Greenville EMERALD CITY FLOWER CO. I 6TH YEAR HIS STYLE: My style is modern and open. I like using different materials and incoporating ordinary material in a different way. BIGGEST CHALLENGE? We’re doing a platform piece, so for those you try to create a focal point, something that wows the visitors. I’m not trying to recreate the art, but to interpret and complement it. I’m trying to evoke the same feelings instead of just copying the art in flowers. WHY HE LOVES IT: I came to North Carolina to study art, and I never thought I’d have a piece of my work in the state’s art museum! Last year we finished setting up right as they opened the doors, and I swear people were pressed against them like it was Black Friday and they were giving away TVs. You really can’t ask for a better event!

ROBERT BRYANT & SANDE FAULKWELL Wilson AVENUE GARDENS FLORIST I 1ST YEAR THE MOST EXCITING PART IS… Designing something that the artist would see and love. THEIR STYLE: I [Robert] purchased an old-school florist shop a year ago and we have been working hard to brand it as more of an edgy, upscale organic style art floral studio. THEIR PIECE: We are very excited because we found out that the owner of the artwork has ties to a tobacco company in England, which had an office in Wilson. We hope to incorporate some form of tobacco leaves in the arrangement. MARCH 2020 | 25



Learn more at or call 919.518.8918.

In need of a little shimmer and shine? Take in the spectacle that is All That Glitters—Spark and Dazzle from the Permanent Collection at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design now through May 17. The Gregg has an extensive private collection, so when available space opened up in the gallery, director Roger Manley and curator Janine Le Blanc came up with the idea to exhibit some sparkling pieces. The exhibit primarily features clothing and fashion accessories—cases of bejeweled hats and shoes; a collection of sequined sweater pins from the 1940s; an intricately detailed wedding kimono. There are also two must-see pieces, according to Evelyn McCauley, marketing and communications director at the museum. The first is Miao Flower Crown, a 20th-century Chinese wedding headpiece made entirely of silver. “It is spectacular. The detail on this piece—each flower, bird, ribbon—is very compelling,” says McCauley. The second is a dress made almost completely out of aluminum, designed by Veronica Tibbitts in 2011 for the Art 2 Wear student fashion show at N.C. State. “The bodice is made of a screen with aluminum insets. The skirt starts out as fabric, then cascades into a train made entirely of pleated aluminum scales. It’s extraordinary,” says McCauley. While you’re there, check out Design By Time, a concurrently running exhibition exploring the effect of time on fashion, furniture, textiles and more. See website for museum hours and times; free; 1903 Hillsborough St.;

Veronica Tibbitts (Art 2 Wear Dress)


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Unearth your tie-dye t-shirt, suede fringe jacket and desert boots from the attic—a few old-school favorites are rocking this month. Founding member of the Grateful Dead Bob Weir will play all the jams with his trio The Wolf Bros at the Duke Performing Arts Center March 3. Band members include award-winning producer and funk-rock legend Don Was and drummer Jay Lane. Gen X marks the spot at the Ritz March 5 for indie rockers Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Then, get itty bitty with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at the Carolina Theatre March 12. Cool, man. See websites for show dates, times and tickets;,,

This month, the North Carolina Symphony is offering a sampling of show tunes, jazz and Motown at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. March 6-7, the symphony welcomes Oscar Andy Hammerstein III to host A Rodgers and Hammerstein Celebration. Hammerstein is the grandson of the legendry librettist and lyricist. Wesley Schulz conducts with guests Teri Hansen and Nicholas Rodriguez on vocals. March 13-14 the symphony welcomes a Frenchman to America for An American in Paris. Famed pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet lends his world-famous talent to an evening of music featuring George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm Variations and An American in Paris. (Join symphony director Grant Llewellyn on March 11 for a special talk about Gershwin at Quail Ridge Books.) March 21 will find you Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown. Guest-star singers join the symphony for a rhythm and blues tribute to the magic of Motown—you heard it through the grapevine. See website for individual show dates, times and tickets;

ART CONTEMPORARIES Leland Little holds inaugural contemporary art auction


arry Wheeler, who served as the Director of the North Carolina Museum of Art from 1994-2018 is one of a dynamic group of collectors of contemporary art in North Carolina. And, as collections amass, so does the desire to bring these works to auction to inspire new collectors. But where? “Why should we rely on New York?” says Wheeler. “Several of us who actively collect contemporary art from around the world have lamented that there is no legitimate auction resource in the region to stimulate the secondary market.” Enter Leland Little Auctions, the premier auction house of the Southeast located in Hillsborough, who enthusiastically embraced the idea of holding a contemporary art auction— the first of its kind in the area. “The goal is to establish an ongoing resource for the resale of significant works of contemporary art,” says Wheeler. The auction, which will take place at Leland Little on March 13, will feature approximately 100 works of 20th and


21st century artists from the private collections of North Carolina collectors, including Wheeler and his partner Don Doskey, Dr. Carlos Garcia Velez and Dr. W. Kent Davis and Allen G. Thomas Jr. Some of the works have even been exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Included in the auction are works by Anish Kapoor, Kasper Sonne, Alex Prager, Peter Glenn Oakley, Muzi Quawson, Fred Tomaselli, Andy Warhol, Scott Reeder, Helen Van Meene, Keith Haring, Ori Raff, Sally Mann and Mona Kuhn. Anyone interested in contemporary art is encouraged to attend. Leland Little’s Fine Art Director Claire Fraser says, “the art is a mix of accessible pieces and more avant-garde works, and includes a range of scale, so there are pieces that would be appropriate both to start a collection or to add to an established collection.” Let the bidding begin.—Katherine Poole 6:30 p.m.; 620 Cornerstone Ct., Hillsborough; A preview party will be held March 12. See website for details.

Sally Mann (Untitled, from Mother Land: Virginia)

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Clockwise: Peter Glenn Oakley, Tower of Cassette Tapes; Alex Prager, Tiffany, from the series Week-End; Muzi Quawson, Union City Blues, Brooklyn, New York

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The North Carolina Master Chorale offers two different concerts to begin and end the month. They open in dramatic fashion with a full-throated performance of Antonín Dvorák’s Requiem on March 3. Then they follow with a spotlight on the Barons of Broadway, a tribute to legends of musical theatre: Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, Frank Loesser and Andrew Lloyd Webber on March 29. Both concerts are held at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. See website for show dates and times; from $30; 2 E. South St.;

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Who Who? It’s the Zac Brown Band at PNC Arena March 4 on their recently extended Owl Tour with special guests Amos Lee and Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd. It’s an evening of genre-bending country rock celebrating the band’s chart-topping album The Owl. Parking lots open at 4 p.m. for all Zamily reunions. (Parking fees apply.)

No woman, no cry. The Wailin’ Jennys are back by popular demand. The respected trio of folk musicians will perform at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts March 5 as part of PineCone’s Downhome Concert Series. The Jennys—a.k.a. Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse—have been melding bluegrass harmonies with traditional roots music for more than fifteen years and have amassed awards, accolades and a loyal fanbase.

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Congrats. You just found the historic lighthouse on the Crystal Coast. Now it’s time to and visit North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks.


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Join the Carolina Ballet for A Celebration of Female Choreographers, a first-of-itskind event to pay tribute to the ballet’s Founding Principal Guest Choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett and emerging talent in the field: Mariana Oliveira, Adriana Pierce and Jenny Palmer. The featured piece of the show is Taylor-Corbett’s Boléro, set to Maurice Ravel’s stirring score, which premiered to audience acclaim during the ballet’s 20th anniversary season. See website for ballet dates and times; from $36.00; 2 E. South St.;



The Merrimon-Wynne House and Band Together are bringing you a An Evening to Ignite, a party to benefit Families Together of Wake County, an organization that seeks to alleviate homelessness. Hosted by McLean Events, step back in time to a Roaring Twenties speakeasy and drink, eat flapper fare by Rocky Top Catering and foxtrot the night away. 8 - 11:30 p.m.; from $125; 500 N. Blount St.;

Rachel Neville Photography (BALLET); Getty Images (FLAPPER)






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Think global, act local: the 34th International Festival of Raleigh returns to the Jim Graham Building and Exposition Center at the N.C. State Fairgrounds March 6-8. The International Festival is a celebration of the diverse cultures represented in the Triangle area. Over 50 groups gather together to share their traditions, music, art, dance and cuisine. The event is kicked off every year with a naturalization ceremony—over 200 candidates from 40 different countries will take the oath of citizenship. Other highlights include: the Biergarten Stage for live music and libations, the World Bazaar market for shopping; Sophia’s Corner for kid activities and crafts; and the Sidewalk Cafes for sampling and more sampling. The International Festival is sponsored by International Focus, a nonprofit organization that promotes understanding between the people of North Carolina and the international community through the exchange of cultural arts. See website for festival dates and times; from $6; 1025 Blue Ridge Road;

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We like to socialize. Follow along and don’t miss a thing.

Courtesy Theatre Raleigh (BUD); Adam Jennings (PARADE)

BUD, NOT BUDDY Grab your young buds and go see Bud, Not Buddy, Theatre Raleigh’s latest production running March 13-29 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The play, adapted by Reginald André Jackson, is based on the Newbery Award-winning young adult novel by Christopher Paul Curtis. The story follows a young boy’s search for his father in depression-era Michigan and touches on issues of race, family and belonging and is set to a stirring jazz soundtrack. Bud, Not Buddy is recommended for ages 9+ and has a run time of 75 minutes with no intermission. The 2 p.m. performance on March 28 is sensory friendly—a partnership with Arts Access. See website for show times and dates; from $12; 2 E. South St.;



Erin Go B’Raleigh. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Wearin’ ‘O the Green Festival takes place downtown March 14. Now in its 38th year, the parade is a celebration of all things Irish (bag pipers, Irish dancers and leprechauns) and not-exactly-Irish (clowns, acrobats and floats). The parade starts promptly at 10 a.m.—consult the website for a map to plot out your lucky spot along the route. The parade wraps up around 11:30, but the fun is not over. Head over to City Plaza for the Wearin’ ‘O the Green Festival. Bring the whole family and enjoy live music, Irish dancing lessons, food truck fare and, of course, beer (green and otherwise). Green attire is recommended to ward off mischievous leprechauns. 10 a.m. parade, 12 p.m. festival; free; see website for parade and festival information;


Courtesy VAE

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The VAE celebrates 40 years with an art-centered party


ou might know VAE as the mother of Raleigh's largest creativity festival, SPARKcon. VAE is a lot of things, but it might be easier to tell you what it isn’t: It is not a typical gallery, studio, or museum. VAE, the oldest visual arts organization in Raleigh, offers a platform to artists traditionally excluded from participating in the creative space. It's an arts community with a conscience and a drive to do good in the world. VAE blends art and activism in what some call “artivism.” The organization takes a stand on issues that arc toward progress. VAE has prioritized diversity, equity and inclusion long before they were mod-

ern day buzzwords. “We help tell stories that aren’t being told and highlight voices of those who have been disenfranchised,” says Brandon Cordrey, executive director of VAE, when asked what differentiates this arts incubator. Call it radical, provocative and sometimes irreverent, VAE produces some of our community’s most innovative exhibitions. The organization is flexible in its programming to respond to community issues that are points of both conversation and conflict in our world. Recent exhibits have covered topics like the disability rights movement, the concept of a queer home and inmate stories interpreted through art. “It says a lot that Raleigh can sustain an organization like VAE for 40 years,” says

“There is no ‘them’ in the arts world, there is only ‘us.’” – Brandon Cordrey



Cordrey, a noteworthy artist himself. With its unique artistfocused model to provide a place to have an earnest, candid dialog about art and community issues, VAE has been a place to show art, try something new, fail and try again. VAE has deep roots in our community as a place for artists and art lovers alike. It flexes its creative muscle to be an advocate for artists and wants to cast a larger, wider net to reach even more people to engage in art, all while putting more money in artists’ pockets. For instance, VAE artists receive 40 percent commission on all artwork sold at its annual gala. The VAE Gala, started in 1985, is the foundation of the work to support more than 60 exhibitions, 40 programs and events, and over $100,000 in funding is provided to the creative community each year. Gala chair and VAE board member Erica Porter reflects on the importance of giving space to artists. “I love seeing artists at the gala who have donated their work for the first time. For many, this is the first opportunity to show their art in public. The joy on their faces when their art is sold is so pure. It’s one of my favorite moments each year.” This year’s honorary chair of the gala, Nancy McFarlane, says, “The arts are what define a community. Most people immediately think of the classical arts, but it is the local arts organizations and their artists who really define a community.” In its next 40 years, Cordrey hopes to establish live/ work space for artists and more artist-in-residence programs to make art a viable, financially stable profession. This year’s milestone 40th anniversary is all about building momentum to grow to be even bigger and more intentional in the topics it spans. VAE is positioned to leverage art as a tool for community building, civic engagement and social justice. Summing up the sense of community that is the DNA of VAE, Cordrey says, “There’s no ‘them’ in the arts world; there is only ‘us.’”—Ilina Ewen The VAE gala will be held March 7; 6:30 - 11:00 p.m.; Dorton Arena, 1025 Blue Ridge Road:






Make a toast with a little Bublé. The Canadian crooner will have fans swooning at the PNC Arena March 20. Michael Bublé is a fourtime Grammy winner and a multi-platinum recording artist—and is definitely not to be confused with a certain brand of sparkling water. Parking lot opens at 4 p.m. for pre-Bublé feeling-good. (Parking fees apply.) 7 p.m.; from $65; 1400 Edwards Mill Road;

Sew exciting: The Capital Quilters Guild Quilt Show returns to the Kerr Scott Building at the N.C. State Fairgrounds March 20-21. It’s a tailor-made way to spend World Quilting Day (March 21). Quilters and the quilting-curious can enjoy hands-on activities, bid on silent auction items, enter a raffle to win a quilt, shop vendors and a gift boutique and admire a wide range of artistic styles in special exhibits. Block out some time to admire local artists and get inspired to create your own work of art. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; $8; 1025 Blue Ridge Rd.;

o Bl

MARCH 5-22, 2020


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Walking tour UNC-Chapel Hill Campus

From campus memories to Colonial history, there’s no one way to experience Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough. Find what you love, or discover something new. Whatever you do here, just do you.

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Life is a cabaret (for two nights only). Burning Coal Theatre presents its spring Cabaret Nights March 20-21. The theatre transforms into an intimate night club for two hours of music from some of Raleigh’s favorite singers. The lineup includes: Benaiah Barnes, Christy Connell, MeMe Cowans, Shane de Leon, Alec Donaldson, Juan Isler, Lee Jean, Carly Jones, Danielle Long, Natalie Reder and Tyanna West. Cocktails and nibbles will be available for purchase while you swing, sway and sing along (under your breath). Willkommen. 7:30 p.m.; $35; 224 Polk St.;


MEMPHIS NC Theatre presents the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical Memphis. Set in the underground dance clubs of the 1950s, Memphis is a show about the price of fame and forbidden love between a white radio DJ and a black singer on the cusp of stardom. It’s a show that promises to rock as hard as it rolls. See website for show dates and times; from $30; 2 E. South St.;


THE CONE FAMILY The North Carolina Museum of History’s Notable North Carolina Lecture Series delves into the history of The Cone Family March 24. Carrie Streeter, scholar of United States history, women’s studies and the American South, will present a history of one of the state’s most economically and culturally influential families. Brothers Moses and Ceasar Cone established Cone Mills in Greensboro, transforming the area into a textile hub. Meanwhile, sisters Claribel and Etta amassed an impressive art collection featuring paintings, sculptures, textiles and jewelry that continues to awe viewers. From their mountain home on the Blue Ridge Parkway—now a national park—to Cone Hospital in Greensboro, the family has left an indelible mark on our state. 7 p.m.; from $10; 5 East Edenton St.;



Everything’s coming up roses. The Garden Club of the Sandhills presents Blooming Art March 28-29 at the Campbell House Gallery in Southern Pines. Inspired by NCMA’s Art In Bloom, area floral designers and members of local garden clubs will interpret a painting or objet d’art through a floral arrangement. Proceeds from the exhibit will benefit local horticultural works. Planting this seed: make it a lovely weekend getaway for a little golf, shopping and art appreciation. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; $10 (purchase tickets at; 482 Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines

Getty Images (CABARET); courtesy Cone Family Collection (CONE); Joan Marcus (MEMPHIS); courtesy Garden Club of the Sandhills (BLOOMING)


2019 Battle of the Band winners The Buzzard Band, from Holly Springs High School

BATTLE of the BANDS Student fundraiser promotes awareness of neurological conditions


ne would be hard-pressed to find a family that has not been impacted by a neurological disorder—stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, just to name a few. For high school student Charlotte Fullbright, it is her grandfather. “He had a stroke before I was born,” she says. “He is paralysed on the right side of his body and his speech is impaired by aphasia, a communication disorder that is a side effect of the stroke.” The junior at Broughton High School is also on the varsity basketball and volleyball teams. “As a student athlete, concussion is always at the forefront of our minds when we play,” she says. With her grandfather, family and teammates in mind, Fullbright was inspired to start up an event that would raise awareness for neurological health. As a fan of live music who's tuned into the garage band scene amongst her peers, Fullbright settled on the idea of a


music competition for students—Maintain Your Brain: Battle of the Bands, which held its inaugural event on the front lawn of Broughton High School in March 2019. Over 300 people attended the event, which raised over $20,000 for the Triangle Aphasia Project Unlimited, the non-profit Fullbright partnered with for the event. The organization serves individuals and families affected by aphasia through therapy, training, education and support. Fullbright had no difficulty finding help getting Battle of the Bands off the ground. Maura Silverman from the Triangle Aphasia Project provided guidance setting up the fundraising component. Mark Thompson, a family friend from church and the owner of the Lincoln Theatre, helped troubleshoot the logistics. He also provided the first place prize for the winning band: an opening gig at the Lincoln Theatre. (Last year, The Buzzard Band from Holly Springs High School opened for British blues rock guitarist and singer Joanne Shaw Taylor.)

Marc Ridel Creative

Happening NOW

MARCH Fullbright’s greatest source of support came from her far-reaching network of friends at area high schools. Kids from Broughton, Apex Friendship, Cardinal Gibbons, Enloe, Leesville Road, Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Millbrook and Sanderson spread the word about the competition, hung posters, recruited bands and ran the event. Battle of the Bands returns for its second year on March 28. It will follow the same format as last year. Tickets can be purchased online or the day of to watch a select group of student bands. Winners are selected by a panel of judges and by popular vote. In addition, local organizations that promote neurological health such as the Dementia Alliance, Gfeller Concussion Center at UNC, Duke Sports Concussion Center, WakeMed Concussion Program, the Poe Center, the Brain Injury Association of NC and the Triangle Aphasia Project will be on hand to share information. Food truck fare will also be available to further fuel the fun. “Everyone can find something to enjoy,” says Fullbright. “Some people come out for the music, some come for the food, some just come to hang out.” Fullbright hopes that no matter why folks come, they leave with a good head on their shoulders.—Katherine Poole 1 p.m.; from $5; 723 St. Mary's St.;





Charlotte Fullbright with her grandfather, Larry Henderson



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Breakfast with Tiffany’s? Plan an excursion to Winston-Salem this spring to take in The Reynolda House’s Spring 2020 exhibit, Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light. Presented in conjunction with the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in Queens, New York, the exhibit features some of Louis C. Tiffany’s most enduring works including five windows and 22 lamps. Additional displays showcase Tiffany’s design process, manufacturing and—for collectors—how to suss out a forgery. There will also be a special showing of Katharine Smith Reynolds’s collection of Tiffany blown-glass vases. Taking inspiration from the floral themes of Tiffany’s art, visitors are invited to enjoy the spring blooms in Reynolda Gardens, four acres of formal gardens on the greater grounds of the estate. See website for exhibit dates and times; $18; 2250 Reynolda Road, Winston Salem;



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North Carolina art collectors and aficionados take note: it's time for Gallery C's annual Best of NC art show, featuring important artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. Gallery owner Charlene Newsome is pleased to announce a prize offering this year: an original George Bireline, a piece first exhibited at the NCMA in his one-man retrospective exhibit in 1976. Other artists in the show include: Phillip Moose, Sally Prange, Hobson Pittman, Francis Speight and Sarah Blakeslee. See website for gallery hours; free; 540 N. Blount St.;

Courtesy Reynolda House (TIFFANY); George Bireline (Corner Painting)


MARCH JUST KIDDING For the kids (and parents!) who have been cooped up all winter: we’ve rounded up a month full of activities to thaw out those little brains and bodies. March 3

NATURE PLAY DAY Prairie Ridge Ecostation March 6

GARDEN STORY WALK JC Raulston Arboretum March 7


Getty Images

Raleigh Convention Center March 14

REPTILE AND AMPHIBIAN DAY Museum of Natural Sciences March 15


THE JUNGLE BOOK Raleigh Little Theatre March 22



,HÉD LSRHB RÇQHJǜ an original chord At KINGS, Cheetie Kumar’s rocker personality and spirit shine loud and clear. Her popular indie music venue welcomes bands, visitors and locals to jam out in an intimate space with great acoustics and the coolest vibe. KINGS, along with Kumar’s restaurant, Garland, and cocktail bar, Neptunes Parlour, are all original places here in Raleigh to enjoy with friends and family. Learn more at

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Four-leafed clovers, rabbits’ feet and pre-game rituals... we do what we can to capture a bit of serendipity. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we asked a few folks around a town what they do for luck. —Melissa Howsam

Luck is where hard work, attention to detail and preparation meet opportunity. I firmly believe that if we are prepared and execute our game plan, then put ourselves in position to be successful— the luck shows up! -Robert Brickey head coach, Raleigh Firebirds

I’m a firm believer that you make your own luck... then again, sometimes chance does play a part. Right time, right place kind of thing. Oh, and I never walk under ladders, particularly if there is a person at the top of it. Never. -Niall Hanley owner and president Hibernian Hospitality Group 46 | WALTER

For luck in my everyday life, I pray. But when I hit the soccer field, I have a routine that I follow that I feel brings me luck during practices and games. -Jessica McDonald forward, North Carolina Courage

Positive affirmations—combined with a dose of humor— enhance lucky thinking. The Irish are known for their luck, arguably due to our use of witty responses toward all of life’s circumstances. –Deidre O'Malley owner, Wild Irish Rose Celtic Shop

I don’t believe in luck, but routines are important for competition. Eating the same type of pregame meal or warming up a certain way before each game is important. We control our controlables: Be prepared, work hard and leave the rest up to God. –Scott McInnes, athletic director Millbrook High School

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THE DIRT Al and Suzy Newsom turned a revelation about peat moss into a fast-growing brand by MATT LAIL photography by GEOFF WOOD


glance around Al and Suzy Newsom’s home reveals an appreciation for life, for growth. Vivacious tropical plants pay homage to her Brazilian upbringing and showcase his passion for horticulture. Now, that shared passion is a thriving business. Al Newsom has been in this area’s gardening world for years. He studied horticulture at N.C. State, ran his own landscape company for 16 years and owned The City Gardener store, first in Cameron Village and then in Ridgewood Shopping Center. After selling those companies in 1999, he went to work with Ball Seed Company, where he works to this day, traveling the world consulting about plant varieties. “It’s a dream job.” 48 | WALTER

But a decade ago, frustrated with commercial potting mixes, Al Newsom started creating his own. And on a trip to a peat moss farm in Canada with Ball Seed seven years ago he had a revelation. Deep inside the peat moss bogs are sticks, vegetation that was pushed into the bogs by glaciers thousands of years ago. “They become like petrified wood,” Al Newsom explains. Typically, when peat is harvested for potting soil, those sticks are removed (often, they’re used to build roads across the bogs). But Al Newsom saw the potential for more. “I was so intrigued. I knew there was some magical use for the stuff.” He wondered if those same sticks couldn’t be processed into a fiber to create a soil mix with a structure that allowed

more air flow. “I realized that the main issue with soil mixes was that they broke down too quickly, making the mixes too dense,” he says. “The reason those mixes break down quickly is because the main component is pine bark.” Al Newsom went to work on a new mix, made with bog sticks, that would offer a better balance of air space and water retention. “Roots need air just as much as they need water, which leads to better root growth and formation.” Working with a small team, Al Newsom developed a recipe made from the bog stick fibers into something strong and useful: BogBits. With the magic ingredient in hand, Al and Suzy Newsom had a decision to make. At the time, Suzy Newsom, who had worked in medical sales before tak-

ing time off to raise their daughter, was considering going back to school for her master’s. Instead, she dove into the dirt. “I said, ‘I think we can make dirt sexy,’” remembers Suzy Newsom. Combining their talents—he had the horticulture bit, she studied international business and marketing at Georgetown—the couple decided to go for it. The result was Good Dirt, a line of potting mixes (built on the foundation of BogBits), soil conditioners and all-natural plant foods that are pesticide-free and sustainably produced. “With Good Dirt, we create products so gardeners of all skill levels can make the most of their soil and plants,” says Suzy Newsom. The bulk of Good Dirt’s growth has been, well, organic—and also rapid. The first orders were small, fulfilled from their dining room table. But the customers were loyal, and the orders got bigger, increasing from just a few bags to shipping by the truckload and growing their team in new headquarters at Loading Dock Raleigh—all within three years. The Newsoms attribute that growth to being authentic and true to their mission. “Our passion comes through,” says Al Newsom. “Gardening is our therapy; it’s our lifestyle.” The product, packaging (hand-illustrated by Seattle artist Sarah Simon) and sustainability story drew the notice of social media influencers who shared the Good Dirt story. Their ethos—simple, successful, sustainable—also connected with chic urban plant stores around the country, like Stump in Philadelphia, Folia Collective in Los Angeles, Pistils Nursery in Portland, and My City Plants in New York City. Curated plant stores “create an experience,” says Al Newsom. “They’re the hottest brick-and-mortar garden lifestyle shops,” his wife adds. Good Dirt is approaching some 200 such accounts in just a year and a half. Two years ago, Philip Freeman, founder and CEO of Murphy’s Naturals, put the Newsoms in contact with Target. They sent a sample of the product to Freeman’s buyer representative in St. Paul; the rep immediately drove to Tar-

get headquarters in Minneapolis. As the story goes, it took about 30 seconds for Target to decide to carry Good Dirt in its stores. Being in this high-profile chain “provides credibility and brand exposure like you wouldn’t believe,” says Suzy Newsom, “and it created a snowball effect to be able to reinvest in the company and create new products.” Being rooted in Raleigh has also resulted in collaborations with companies in their “ecosystem” through Good Dirt Garden Services. Current clients include the revamped Gateway Plaza shopping center, The Longleaf Hotel and Trophy Tap + Table, where Good Dirt installed sustainable rooftop planters in September (almost six months later, the plants are thriving—and they haven’t even been watered since installation). “Suzy and Al are in business for the right reasons—to make the planet a greener and cleaner place,” says Trophy co-owner David Meeker. “We needed to have someone we could trust to handle our greenery and landscaping projects the right way. With Suzy and Al, you have the trust.” Henry Ward, a partner with LODEN Properties, the firm behind Gateway Plaza and The Longleaf Hotel, says Good

Dirt Garden Services projects have become “templates” for other ventures moving forward. “Al and Suzy pursue a unique approach to landscape design that is a fantastic complement to our goal of transformative urban redevelopment,” says Henry Ward. “Good Dirt’s installation strategy is highly attuned to using native plants that will have longevity in our climate and can be sustainably maintained. Their design aesthetic is very unique, and we love all of the compliments that we receive from our visitors about their work.” Today, Good Dirt can be found in garden centers and stores all over the country, not to mention every one of the 1,750-plus Target stores in the United States. “Even Hawaii,” Al Newsom proudly adds. Locally, some early Good Dirt believers include Logan’s Trading Company, Homewood Nursery, Myatt Landscaping, The Zen Succulent and Raleigh City Farm, which has conducted trials with the products from the beginning. “Just the other day I looked at some raised beds we did at Raleigh City Farm three years ago. I just started grinning,” says Al Newsom. “It looks like we just opened the bag. It hasn’t broken down. Good Dirt has proven itself.” MARCH 2020 | 49


LIVING la BELLA VITA A City Market home store delivers an edit of local wares by SHELBI POLK photography by EAMON QUEENEY


tepping through the front doors of Bella Vita Home + Lifestyle feels like walking into a stylish friend’s dining room: A table with impeccable settings dominates the front half of the shop, and the walls are covered in the things decor dreams are made of, from crystal decanters to locally sourced candles. Today’s Bella Vita, nestled in City


Market, almost didn’t exist. In August 2019, the previous owners were in the process of closing the store for good when Stephen Rhodes and Nate Davis happened to walked in. “Honestly, it was fate,” Davis says. Davis and Rhodes weren’t looking to take on a project. Davis, a doctor, and Rhodes, the first openly gay NASCAR driver, already had quite a bit going on.

They were actually looking to open a med spa, but they just fell in love with the store, then called Bella Vita Downtown Market. (Don’t worry, the relentless duo is moving forward with Davis + Rhodes Aesthetics med spa in Cary opening this month.) “After only a few days of discussion, we suddenly found ourselves the new owners of Bella Vita,” Davis says. But


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Stephen Rhodes, left, and Nathan Davis with their Beagle rescue Emmy; scenes from inside the store

taking over the store wasn’t exactly a seamless transition. “Day one as the new owners of Bella Vita certainly left us staring at each other thinking, ‘what have we done?’” Davis says. “We had agreed to take over a store that was neither well-known nor a reflection of our style, and yet we were determined to make it successful.” They did some quick rebranding, changing the name to Bella Vita Home + Lifestyle to better reflect the variety of products they carried. But they didn’t want to just come in and dictate the entire character of the new Bella Vita. “It’s such a departure to go from buying furniture and home accessories in our style, for our own projects, to curating a store where we can share items we’ve discovered that will improve your home and everyday lifestyle,” Rhodes says. And they listened to the customer. Sure, they had to figure out the books, but they also took time to learn the style of the store and understand customer 52 | WALTER

expectations. “We were fortunate to have an amazing customer base that felt comfortable telling us what they were looking for,” Rhodes says. “Combining their wants with our aesthetic has led to what you see today.” Davis and Rhodes stock items they love and would want in their own home. Employee Andy Logan says customers get excited about the selections. “The owners have really good taste, especially in such a limited space,” Logan says. “Customers always compliment the store and how great it looks.” Davis and Rhodes know helping someone decorate their space can be a very personal experience. “Everyone gets intimidated about furnishing their home,” Rhodes says. “We all want our homes to be a reflection of both who we are and who we hope to be. We want our homes to provide the comfort we need, and yet be able to accommodate and even impress guests of all ages and backgrounds.”

Davis says furnishing a home is like writing a novel: To keep a space balanced, you have to build it up in layers, keeping in mind what you already have and incorporating things you want or need. At the same time, you have to think about style, scale and durability. “You must weave past, present and future together to form your story and to create the backdrop of your life,” Davis says. “Weaving these elements together takes time and patience. A generic room can be furnished in an hour, but it will never feel like a home.” Davis and Rhodes agree that the best part of the process is seeing the final product, particularly when the pair actually get to show up to a customer’s home and help elevate the style. “We love to personally deliver furniture to a customer’s home and watch it transform the space,” Rhodes says. “We love any chance to make the world a more beautiful place.”


Cameron Village Raleigh 919-833-1741 Eastgate Crossing Chapel Hill 919-933-6148


ANIMAL HOUSE The N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine opens its doors to showcase its facilities by AYN-MONIQUE KLAHRE photography by S.P. MURRAY


hings to do: Milk a cow, scan a microchip, stitch up a wounded stuffed animal. It’s a packed agenda at the annual open house at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), a day-long affair that attracts more than 10,000 people in a single day to explore the anchor building on the 250-acre Centennial Biomedical Campus. “People are curious about what’s going on,” says Jordan Bartel, communications strategist for the CVM. “They see the


cows outside, but no one knows what happens inside—with this event, you get full access.” The annual event started in 1983, just weeks after the main facility was dedicated, and it’s almost entirely student-led. “We get people from all over Raleigh and North Carolina for this,” says Khushboo Dass, a third-year veterinary student who’s the senior chair of the event this year. “There’s really something for everyone.” The self-lead tour covers about 30 different areas in the 110,000-square-foot Veterinary Hospital, representing

over 15 different specialty services and medical programs. “It’s a special chance to get here when all the doors are open,” says Dass. Inside, guests can tour the rooms, speak with doctors and veterinary students about equipment and treatments, and even watch live surgeries being performed on animals, an event that has gotten so popular that it’s live-streamed into lecture halls. (And don’t worry: for the squeamish, these displays are clearly marked—and so is the reptile room.) In the Simulation Laboratory (“Sim

Spring 2020

Lab”), for instance, where veterinary students practice hands-on skills like taking blood or performing biopsies, guests can explore the model animals and try a few things themselves. “And kids always love trying on the surgical gowns and gloves,” says Dr. Abi Taylor, a clinical Assistant Professor and director of the Simulation Laboratory. A favorite each year is the Teddy Bear Clinic, where children are invited to bring in beat-up stuffed animals (or choose from donations available there) for some expert healing. “The kids walk away saying they want to be vets,” Bartel says. “Kids are having fun and learning, but without feeling like they’re learning,” says Dass. One example: Exploring the parts of a cow’s stomach inside the anatomy lab. “People have heard cows have four stomachs, but when they see a model of how it’s actually divided into parts, they understand how it works.” Outside, guests can check out baby animals, including horses and goats in a petting zoo. There are also dozens of booths from student clubs and related organizations. “I think the diversity of the work we do is the biggest sur-

prise,” says Dass. “People think about vets treating their cats and dogs, but we’re involved with the USDA, in public health work and in exotic animals and cutting-edge research, too.” This year, there will be a “kid zone” that gathers some of the most popular events for younger guests, including the Teddy Bear Clinic, Dress Like a Vet, a photo booth and face painting. Each year, students, professors and staff volunteer their time to make the event happen. “It really is a campus-wide effort,” says Bartel. “The best part is teaching the public and showing them what we do,” says Taylor. “And it’s fun answering questions, particularly from the kids—they always make you look at things in a new light.” Dass agrees: “It’s a way for the vet school to remind ourselves that we get to work with great people and animals. It’s easy to forget that when you’re still on the academic side and bogged down with tests and deadlines,” Dass says. “You get inspired again.” March 28; 9 a.m.-3pm; free: 1060 William Moore Dr.;

5011C Falls of Neuse Raleigh, NC 27609




FANS & FRIENDS The couple behind the Green Monkey welcomes all with their congenial, quirky offerings by ELEANOR SPICER RICE photography by EAMON QUEENEY


he Green Monkey’s bar is just beginning to welcome the late-afternoon crowd: a professor who walked straight over from the university, a writer clicking away at her laptop and a couple of buddies deep in conversation. Someone browses the gift shop, chuckling over a pair of Ruth Bader Ginsburg socks. A young man ambles in off the street and throws a “hi” to the bar before heading to the coolers to pick out a six-pack of craft brew. Big


front windows show Hillsborough Street starting to hustle the after-work bustle. Drew Temple, co-owner of the bar and gift shop, strolls over to me, a non-regular, stopping in for a quick after-work drink. “Hey, let me introduce you . . . ” Before I can take my first sip, I am a Monkey Fan, a devotee of this bar and gift shop tucked toward the downtown end of Hillsborough Street, a place where folks can buy boutique deodorant and kitchen supplies before settling in to have a happy conversation with a

complete stranger. “When people come in for the first time, they look at us funny and go, ‘What is this place? Is it a bar? Is it a gift shop?’” says Rusty Sutton, founder, co-owner and Temple’s husband and partner for more than three decades. “My first answer is: Don’t label us. Just enjoy it. What makes the Green Monkey the Green Monkey is that we are a bar that sells soap.” And, more than a bar that sells soap, the space is a welcoming home for any-

one ready to belong. “We welcome anybody into this community,” says Sutton. “All you have to do is be nice.” Sutton began building his community in 2001 with an eBay business that bloomed into a booth at the Raleigh Flea Market. He wanted to open a gift shop and gathering place, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Then one day, a friend’s mother, a retired and successful local business owner, asked to see his business plan. “She read it, said she believed in us, and negotiated to get us this space,” says Sutton. This space was the old Royal Mart, a convenience store known for its thick green carpet and bountiful malt liquor offerings. The catch: To have the space, Sutton had to buy the Royal Mart’s inventory. This meant that instead of selling the gifts that fueled his

passion, he started off selling cigarettes and pork rinds. “We had a store full of old groceries,” Sutton says. “We didn’t like it or want it. Our customers didn’t like it or want it either!” At first, the Green Monkey barely made it. Loyal customers from the flea market were disappointed by the convenience store wares. Newcomers didn’t know what to make of the strange mashup of goods. Sutton thought he would have to close down. “I decided the people weren’t happy, I wasn’t happy, and if I was going to go down, I was going to go down my way,” Sutton says. Sutton told his friends he wasn’t going down without a fight, and they rallied around him. Sutton and Temple had always supported others wherever they could. This time, others showed

“We welcome anybody into this community. All you have to do is be nice.” – Rusty Sutton

up to support them. Their community donated stools and built a bar. “Our stools were donated by a new Monkey Fan that we were working with to produce small plays in our back room,” Sutton says. “We were helping her with her newly formed theatrical production company and she wanted to help us.” Sutton conscripted local artists to sell their wares on consignment because he couldn’t afford to purchase inventory. It worked. Temple was able to quit his job in IT and work at Green Monkey with Sutton full time. Last September, the couple took their 31 years of partnership to a new level and were married, surrounded by family and Monkey Fans. Their love for each other is like their love for the Green Monkey: It stands on its own, unlike anything else, and it is nourished by the loving care of a community of friends. “This place is my art,” says Sutton. “Every day I walk in here, this is my art. Most days, I come in and say, ‘Drew, look at what we’ve done.’ And I could not have done it without Drew.” MARCH 2020 | 57


Today, in addition to a beer and wine bar and carefully curated local snacks, the shop sells goods from small makers across the country. Counter Culture coffee and WiFi wait for those looking to get some work done. A gang of regulars and newcomers stop in each day, mingling at the cozy bar or one of the few high tops surrounded by windows that wrap the place’s front and side (the whole place only holds 55 people). No televisions block conversation, and dogs and cats are welcome visitors, often wagging and sashaying tails between stools. On nice days and evenings, people sit outside, watch the traffic, and talk about life. And always, Sutton and Temple will be there to greet you, to show you around, and to welcome you home— even if it’s for the first time.

Fine Porcelains, Fun Furnishings, Vintage Barware, Unique Gifts 1846 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, NC. 27608 • 919-621-1771 Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @thefabfoo

Spring Styles Arriving Daily

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Green Monkey Gives Back With the help of Rusty and Drew’s “Monkey Fans,” The Green Monkey works to build and repair its greater community by giving back to more than 10 local charities and organizations, from Backpack Buddies to the SPCA of Wake County. They give money, host fundraisers, donate merchandise and hold food drives. Whether you’re coming for a wild night at Tuesday’s bingo or Thursday’s trivia, or you’re spending a quiet afternoon sipping coffee in the window while you work, your purchase helps the Green Monkey extend a friendly hand to those in need.




June 2019

March 2019

“Very well done magazine. Writing is good, design is attractive and photography is excellent. Offers lots to the reader from interesting story to great ‘go and do’ things. Great advertiser support.”

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MUSIC makers After finding his own success here and in NYC, Christopher Terrell guides his son toward his own music career by LORI D. R. WIGGINS photography by JEFFREY WILLIAMSON


hristopher Terrell left his first digs, in a Raleigh trailer park, at 21. He was headed to New York City. He was there to make it in music—and he did. Terrell collaborated with R&B and hip-hop producers and artists, recorded over 100 songs, and caught the attention of RCA Records and Sean “Diddy” Combs. He also wrote a chart-topping hit single, Struggle No More, for Tyler Perry’s 2007 blockbuster movie, Daddy’s Little Girls. The song was 60 | WALTER

recorded by Grammy-winning Charlotte native Anthony Hamilton. Terrell’s success didn’t come out of nowhere: He met music early, growing up in Southeast Raleigh’s Washington Terrace and Worthdale communities. His great-grandfather, Jarvis Terrell, recorded what is believed to be the first black gospel album in North Carolina. His uncle and cousins formed a gospel troupe, The Goldeneers of Garner, and "toured all over the Bible Belt,” says Terrell. Of being a five-year-old singing

in the Good Samaritan Baptist Church choir in Garner, Terrell says, “I was inspired by that.” But in 2006, after 15 years in New York, Terrell moved back home. Despite being a native New Yorker, his wife Melissa convinced him that Raleigh was the best place to raise the couple’s three young children. Terrell kept music close as a singer and songwriter, and as a member of his church's praise and worship team and choir. He also zeroed in on Writing Life Entertainment, a

company he created in New York as a platform for other artists, including The New Journey Project, a multi-genre Raleigh band of various artists Terrell put together for the 2011 album, It’s Cool to Love God. When his young children began to show interest in music, he resisted the urge to be a Dadager (that’s a dad + manager, the bane of many a child star) until they got older. But recently, Terrell has turned his focus to his middle child, son Christopher Terrell, Jr., a senior at Wakefield High School. “I didn’t want to push him,” Terrell says. “In this business, you’ve got to love it, first—have that passion and a good work ethic. If you’re just in it for the money, it won’t happen, or it won’t last.” In 2016, Christopher Terrell, Jr. was ready to start a singing career, but his voice was changing because of puberty, so the focus became songwriting and stage presence. Then, in January 2017, just as his son’s tone evened out, Terrell Sr. was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “That put fire into me,” he said, feeling an urgency to usher his son into the music industry.

The diagnosis, which he says is still “under surveillance” has made him want to go harder. Terrell wanted to stay well in the fight for at least four reasons: To be with his love, Melissa; to usher his oldest daughter, Zaina, a senior at Winston-Salem State University, into career success; to dance with his youngest, Destiny, a Wakefield High School junior, at her Quinceanera; and to seal his legacy by guiding his namesake toward success in an industry they both love. (Think: Paul and James McCartney, Olu Dara and NAS, Eddie and the late Gerald Levert.) Terrell worked to tap into his son’s talents, his own experience and entrepreneurial spirit—as well as his grassroots social media and industry networks—to introduce his son to the world as Chris Feed later that year. Chris Feed’s first album, Inevitable,

dropped in September. Streaming as an independent artist in 64 countries, Terrell said, the album has gotten 30,000 listens on Spotify, the easiest platform to track. “He’s bigger than he thinks he is and reaches a larger mass of people than he realizes,” Terrell said of his protégé. His son also made his acting debut in the 2017 independent Christian Cinema production, 30 Day Promise. “I see him as a superstar,” says proud father Terrell. When asked about Chris Feed’s place in music now and in the future, Majik Reed, who produced Inevitable, said: “He can dominate both.” Reed owns The Hits Lab Studio in New Jersey and has worked with everyone from Diddy to Mariah Carey and Stevie Wonder. In 2018, Reed also produced Terrell Sr.’s Searchin’, doing what the two have done for 20 years. “But I didn’t reach out to

His greatgrandfather, Jarvis Terrell, recorded what is believed to be the first black gospel album in North Carolina.

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work with Chris Feed as a favor to his dad,” Reed says. “Chris Feed put in a lot of work. He got that from his dad.” The “feed” in the younger Terrell’s moniker is intentional, and it bucks the trend of athletes and others out to “eat” the competition. Instead, Chris Feed wants to nourish his audience with what he has to offer. “I’m letting the world see me and see what I can do,” he says. They don’t see the artist’s behindthe-scenes preparation: late nights and early mornings, song-writing in the car, vocal production exercises, dance practice or the tough lessons—they see the results. “I’m learning how to connect and collab with other artists and producers, how to be consistent, how to set and meet my goals,” Feed says. “My dad has brought a lot of work ethic out of me, giving me a good feel for the industry. I can learn from it, avoid negative roads, and try to be and do better.” Among Chris Feed’s notable nods: Ishmael Sadiq Montague, known as ISM, a Los Angeles-based record producer and songwriter from Raleigh, has sent Feed six tracks for possible collaboration. ISM knows firsthand the challenges of being young in the music industry and the importance of support: When ISM was still a student at Enloe High School, the self-taught beatmaker landed Chief Keef’s Michelin, Ty Dolla $ign’s My Song and produced Chris Brown’s Party, featuring Usher and Gucci Mane, earning his first Billboard Top 40. “He definitely has talent,” ISM said of Chris Feed. “It’s a beautiful thing to see.” In Raleigh and the Carolinas, Chris Feed is emerging onto a music scene teeming with new talent and energy (see: the tens of thousands who converged for J. Cole's Dreamville music festival). And it's unique in that artists like Christopher Terrell and ISM are dedicated to paving the way. “A big part of getting in this industry is being able to reach back and help someone else,” said ISM. “Christopher is very blessed to have his dad on his team,” Melissa Terrell said of her son. “He’ll guide him the right way. He has a one-up because of that relationship.”


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ROOM to BLOOM A new nonprofit provides space, time and tools to help women recover by JESSIE AMMONS RUMBLEY


n a townhouse in downtown Raleigh, four roommates fill their days. They practice yoga, they exercise together, they meditate and they cook nourishing meals. They learn new skills, from how to balance a personal budget to art therapy. This is their healing rhythm, one they’ll sink into for two years. “We’re building these women a solid foundation,” says Melinda Taylor, founder of BLOOMHERE, an empowering women’s recovery organization. “They’re creating a sisterhood for life here.” BLOOMHERE’s roommates are all


photography by TYLER CUNNINGHAM

local single women, ages 18 to 45, who have survived abuse, addiction, prostitution, trafficking or incarceration. Under BLOOMHERE’S restorative wing, they receive two full years of medical, dental, and mental health care, as well as housing and “whole person healing,” like the aforementioned art therapy, meditation and yoga. “It’s not sterile,” Taylor says. “It’s home. Women are living here, learning life skills, doing all the things they need to do to heal in a beautiful way.” Besides the hard personal work, BLOOMHERE’s residents earn a living— not minimum wage—working for the

nonprofit’s business, blending essential oils. Together with other at-risk women in the community, they make and package signature BLOOMHERE body oils which are sold online and locally. That revenue helps fund the program’s operations, creating a sustainable cycle for both the women and the organization. “Giving these women an opportunity to be part of the mission is unique,” says Maggie Kane, founder of pay-what-you can restaurant A Place at the Table. “Everyone wants to be a part of something. For the women of BLOOMHERE, they get to be supported and contribute to

Opposite page: BLOOMHERE residents make oils. This page: founder Melinda Taylor; residents take yoga with Jill Sockman of Blue Lotus.

this awesome organization, showing how much they care about it. They get a hand up versus a hand out, so it’s their mission and organization, too.” Kane was one of the many Raleigh women who guided Taylor early in her vision. “The last two years of my life have been totally driven by faith and trust,” Taylor says. After a decades-long career leading corporate beauty sales in New York City, almost 10 years ago, she reckoned with her own childhood trauma. Taylor had managed to compartmentalize and focus on corporate success for years, but through therapy, she began processing and healing layers of emotional abuse. “I knew I needed to get help—and I had the money and the flexibility to go to therapy, to go to yoga … to do what we as women need to do if you’re trying to work through what you’ve experienced.” She couldn’t shake the “calling,” she says, to change course and do something more. While traveling for work,“I wrote down ‘Bloom Here’ on a sheet of paper on

a plane. I said to myself, ‘I’m going to help women.’ I never knew how or what that would look like.” Fast-forward a handful of years: a series of divine coincidences (and true love) landed her in Raleigh. A transformative yoga teacher training and retreat fed Taylor’s own healing. In June 2017—six years after that moment on the plane—she sold her house, resigned from her job, and took out her 401K to create her nonprofit, BLOOMHERE. Taylor networked the Raleigh nonprofit community in earnest, including supporters like Kane, as well as the community at her yoga studio, Blue Lotus. She connected with Thistle Farms, a similar program in Nashville, Tennessee, with a 20year track record of success helping women survivors create a fresh start and maintain productive, healthy, community-rooted lives. (BLOOMHERE is a sister organization of Thistle Farms; they operate separately but share best practices.) She made a plan, hoping to open the BLOOMHERE house in 2021. Things didn’t go according to plan, in

“Our vision is to end the cycle of abuse and homelessness, and to get women off the streets for good. I know we’re going to do it.” – Melinda Taylor

the best possible way. Dozens of women—Taylor calls them “angels”—pledged their commitment to help and to donate. One of them offered a townhouse rental property that is today the BLOOMHERE house. Many of them hosted an open house last summer, and quickly the entire place was furnished by donations. Other local women’s organizations connected Taylor with the first four women to start the program. By August 1, 2019, far ahead of schedule, BLOOMHERE opened its doors. “It has been a beautiful thing to watch the community embrace us and help us the way that they have,” Taylor says. Kane agrees: “These women, surrounded by love and acceptance and support, have truly been able to flourish and do incredible things. All of us women who have been able to help and be a part of that have flourished as well. Everyone’s hearts and minds and acceptance of each other have opened. It’s been truly cool to witness.” More than six months in, Taylor is full of gratitude for the BLOOMHERE movement and hope for its future. “Our vision is to end the cycle of abuse and homelessness, and to get women off the streets for good. I know we’re going to do it.” To learn more and shop the body oils:

MARCH 2020 | 65

hometown POWS German and Italian prisoners supported the N.C. economy in a crucial time by JOEL HASS


n the 1940s, more than 5,000 men—each trained to kill Americans—came to the Triangle and central North Carolina. May of 1943: Erwin Rommel’s famed Afrika Korps and the Italian Tenth Army surrendered to Allied forces. Suddenly, the Allies had over 200,000 men to feed, clothe and care for. Churchill asked Roosevelt to take on the POWs. At the time, the U.S. housed only a few dozen German U-boat crews; this would be well over a hundred times as many prisoners had been here in


POW uniform

WWI. Roosevelt feared the American public’s reaction. But Southern politicians, desperately short of manpower for farms, urged Roosevelt to take the prisoners. More than 500 main camps and over a thousand satellite camps were set up throughout the United States, the majority in the Southwest and the South. Our state hosted two large POW camps, one at Camp Butner, north of Durham, and a second at Fort Bragg, south of Raleigh, for both German and Italian prisoners of war. Scores of satellite camps were set up around the state

Courtesy the N.C. Archives.


wherever labor was needed. According to the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War, prisoners could be put to work on non-defense jobs. The workers were to be paid “the prevailing rate in the area for the type of their labor.” Moreover, prisoners should be fed and treated the same as the holding Army treated its own soldiers and officers. To ensure the safety of American POWs in Axis hands, the United States scrupulously observed the Geneva Convention rules. The influx of manpower came just when the state needed it most. Hundreds of Germans and Italians were bused daily to Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh to work waiting tables and doing laundry at UNC and Duke University, as well as working on road repair and harvesting crops throughout the state. POWs at Camp Butner even built an entire Japanese village for the U.S. army to use in preparation for the invasion of Japan. The public’s reaction was positive. Upon seeing German columns marching in uniform and good order from their local train stations, the general reaction was something along the lines of, “Why, they look just like our boys!” Most American employers were grateful for

the extra manpower, and some formed life-long friendships with the POWs. The City of Raleigh Museum has several examples of Bibles and prayer books in German or Italian that American church groups sent to the camps. Prisoners could write letters back to Germany. They had to be brief and pass censors in both the U.S. and Germany to be delivered. More than a dozen such letters in the N.C. Archives reveal the majority of the German soldiers were draftees eager to let their families know they were well and to ask after fiancées, wives and children. At the end of the war, the POWs were sent home—whether they liked it or not. There were about 8,000 incidents of escape, and attempts became more common towards the war’s end. Although many German POWs did not want to be sent back to Germany, only two managed to escape and build new lives in America. One, who escaped from Camp Butner, turned himself in in 1959. By the summer of 1946, the camps in North Carolina had been emptied and dismantled. Ironically, most of the POWs were not sent directly home, but put to work rebuilding war damage in Britain,

France and Belgium. (This was a reaction to WWI: The Allies disbanded the German Army and dumped millions of young men—along with thousands of weapons—into an economy with no jobs. This led to armed militias that threatened to start a German civil war in 1919.) The POWs were paid for their labor both in the U.S. and in Europe after the war, a nest egg to rebuild their lives in post-war Germany. Most POWs recalled their time in the U.S. positively. As a young man in Austria, I encountered a housepainter in a tavern who walked up to me and a friend and asked, in perfect Deep South English, “Whur y’all boys come from?” Asked where he had learned English, he replied, “Boys, Ah chopped cotton in Alabama as a prisoner of war.” He went on to mention how well Black people in the fields had treated him, “They fed me real good—I even sang in their choir.” Whereupon, unbidden, he broke into singing: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, coming for to carry me home… It was a reminder that even in war, there can be civility, and even enemies can forge connections that can last for decades—and across continents. MARCH 2020 | 67


Owner Sami Taweel at the bar of Doherty's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Cary

PUBLIC HOUSE Doherty’s provides a gathering place, brews and Irish-American food in Cary and Apex by ADDIE LADNER photography by EAMON QUEENEY

“I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year And I’ve spent all me money on whiskey and beer But now I’m returning with gold in great store And I never will play the wild rover no more”


ami Taweel may never have set foot in Ireland, but he knows this Irish tune all too well—he’s worked in or managed Irish pubs in the Triangle since he was


eighteen. Taweel and his business partner, Donavan Favre, along with a dedicated staff, run Doherty’s, two friendly pubs known as the Cheers of Cary and Apex. Taweel says a true Irish pub is as much about hospitality as it is the pours and plates; a public house as a gathering place. “Before mass communication, the farmers would go to the village pub to get their news,” says David McCutchen of Apex, originally from Limerick Ireland. “It’s often misconstrued that the Irish are drinkers. Sure, there are drinkers, but the

pub is more of a place for social gathering.” And that’s what Taweel tells his staff: “We don’t have customers—we have guests. How do you want them to feel?” Taweel learned this ethos from two men: his father, who owned several delis in Virginia, and Michael Doherty, the longtime Irish pub owner known for opening the former Tir na Nog and Connolly’s in the late 1990s. Taweel worked under him at Connolly’s, first as a server and part-time bartender while he was in college (he graduated from N.C. State

Fish and chips with a pint of Guinness; an outdoor look; whiskey on tap.

with a degree in computer engineering), then full-time, working his way up to manager. Then, a few twists in the road: Doherty sold the pubs to spend more time with his family, eventually the pubs closed and Taweel took a corporate job. But Taweel, Favre and Doherty missed the old public house vibe. So in 2012, they opened a new place just off High House Road in Cary, named after the O.G. Triangle Irishman. (Doherty is no longer financially involved.) The goal was to combine the conviviality of an Irish pub with the service and food you’d get at a fine restaurant. They opened a second location in Apex in 2014 and recently added a food truck, known as Doherty’s Paddy Wagon. On a recent Wednesday night at the Cary location, it’s clear that people make themselves at home. Customers down the perfect double pour of Guinness (tilt the glass 45 degrees and pour 75% of the brew, let it settle for a few minutes, then pour the rest) discussing English Premier League soccer. A family is enjoying their

weekly meal out. “These are the best wings in the Triangle—and I’m from Buffalo,” says the dad. “We remember when Sami was our server at Connolly’s,” his wife chimes in. Some frequent for the food, others for the music. “There’s a huge bluegrass scene here, but I love Irish music,” another customer says, over the hum of fiddle and mandolin from local Celtic band Barrowburn. He takes a generous bite of his whiskey burger and gives a satisfied smile. The menu combines contemporary America with rustic Ireland, and Taweel prides himself on the fact that it’s all fresh. Housemade potato chips and brisket braised in Guinness serve as their version of nachos. A girl with greasy fingers requests, “more egg rolls please!”—she’s eating the contents of a Reuben bundled together in a crisp parcel, served with housemade thousand island dressing. The bestseller, consumed in copious amounts by patrons, is the Irish classic (and food critic Greg Cox-approved)

beer-battered fish and chips. Taweel says the secret is their less-is-more approach: “Less batter, a less oily fish, and less time in the fryer.” Hearty Shepherd's Pie is another favorite—but if you’re from Ireland, it’d be cottage pie. “People here aren’t really into lamb, so we do it with beef,” says general manager Sean Mullen, who moved here from Roscommon, Ireland. “When I started going to pubs in Ireland, you’d go to a restaurant for dinner and a pub for drinks. We have both quality food and pub culture here,” he says. And if you happen to find yourself there for Saint Patrick's Day, when the crowd spills into the parking lot, lively as the Temple Bar area of Dublin, you might be waited on not just by the staff, but by the customers. “We’re a community, not just a bar. If my regulars see a napkin on the floor, they pick it up,” says Taweel. “Everyone takes ownership in this place.”

MARCH 2020 | 69


“We lost one of our best friends and business partner, Brad Steed. Brad will be greatly missed but the heartbeat of G3 will continue. We would like to honor Brad with one last shout out - We love you and miss you Brad! --Earl and Lee”


POTATO SOUP INGREDIENTS: 1 cup water 1 cup diced celery 1/

lb unsalted butter, cubed



cups flour


cups sliced leeks

2 2



tsp white pepper

1 gallon very hot water 1/


lb chicken bouillon

2 bay leaves 1 cup diced yellow onion 2 quarts pre-cooked peeled and diced potatoes

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In a large pot, add 1 cup water and celery, onions, leeks, white pepper, black pepper and bay leaves; bring to a boil to break down veggies (about 15 minutes); set aside and clean out pot. In the same pot, melt butter on low heat (do not burn!) for 5-7 minutes. Add flour and stir to create a roux; cook on low for 10 minutes. In a separate container, dissolve the bouillon in the hot water to make a broth. Add chicken broth to the roux and cook on medium heat, stirring, until the roux dissolves. When its starts boiling remove from heat. Add the vegetables and pre-cooked potatoes and simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes. Garnish with cheddar cheese, bacon & green onion.

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Irv Coats turned a love of reading into a lifelong career with his beloved store on Hillsborough Street. by ADDIE LADNER


nything you need for your head and soul you can find in a good book,” says Irv Coats. At age 85, the owner of local bibliophile favorite Reader’s Corner still rides his bike into work nearly every day. “It’s a good bike from the pawnshop. You don’t want that fancy of a bike because you get more exercise from a bad bike,” he says, laughing. A resourceful man, Coats frequently hits up a local liquor store—but not for the drinks. He collects their boxes to ship his mail orders in what he calls, “the world’s best book packaging.” It’s pretty impressive: each book packed and mailed, nice and snug. Reader’s Corner is a Raleigh institution, well-known for the jam-packed 72 | WALTER

shelves that line the exterior of the store (each of those books are priced at a quarter; they’re sold based on an honor system). It’s not unusual to see someone lingering around outside, in the middle of the night, reading. Coats donates the profits from the outside books to NPR, and to date, that amount has exceeded $100,000. Below, the humble man shares a few of his favorite spots in town and a few stories behind the city’s last standing used book shop. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SPOT DOWNTOWN? I like the 42nd Street Oyster Bar. I’ve gone there since it was a hole-in-thewall on the side street. It’s my favorite restaurant. You go in there and you feel

like you’re in a big city… or maybe it’s the name that makes it feel that way. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE HIDDEN GEM IN RALEIGH? The JC Raulston Arboretum. JC Raulston was a friend of my wife’s and I, and a regular customer. He was a great horticulturist. WHERE DO YOU GO FOR LUNCH? I bring a bagged lunch. I don’t have time to go out to lunch! TOUGH DECISION: DO YOU PREFER CHAR-GRILL OR SNOOPY’S? Char-Grill. I like the way they started the business. I was here about the time they started.

IS IT TRUE YOU GET OFFERS EVERY WEEK TO SELL THE BOOKSTORE? Just about. I used to get offers every week. I like the development but I have no interest in selling. I tell them to see my widow and maybe they can work it out.

Addie Ladner

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO OPEN UP A USED BOOKSTORE? I’ve always been crazy about books. I had done lots of things being a physicist. I worked on atomic bomb testing and nuclear projects, x-ray machines and microwave ovens. I did this and my mother said, “Finally, you’re doing something that suits you!”

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOURSELF IN YOUR SPARE TIME? I don’t have any spare time. I work all the time! By the time I read The New York Times and catch up on political events, it’s time to go to bed. WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO COFFEE SHOP AND USUAL ORDER? Oh, I use instant coffee. I keep it right by my desk. It tastes just as good as Cup of Joe. But at 3 p.m. the whole Readers Corner team goes to Cup of Joe and they can get any beverage they want. We keep them in business. DID YOU REALLY COLLECT BOOKS FOR YOUR INVENTORY WHILE IN THE MILITARY FOR 20 YEARS? Yes. I had this plan: I was going to retire and open a used bookstore. Just for this purpose, I would go to the post office auctions three times a year in big cities like Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., and I’d buy hampers of books that had gotten lost in the mail. One time I went to D.C. and there were about 500 hampers of books. The post office put in these new machines to handle packages and the machines were ruining the packages. They shot all the books to D.C. So there I was, with all the books I could buy. It took me two years to haul them all down

from D.C. to Raleigh. I had a station wagon with a trailer behind it. After I bought the book store I’d go up every two weeks and get a load of books. HOW DID YOU END UP IN RALEIGH? I was a graduate student here and liked it. I like the town so much. I had thought about San Francisco and D.C. but they already had tons of used book stores. This was the only one, and I told Mrs. Clark, who opened the shop in 1975, to sell it to me… and she did (in 1980). WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR BOOKS? People bring their books to us. We buy about 1,000 a day. I don’t have to go hunting for books like I used to. I used to have to go hunting for books at thrift stores and yard sales on the weekends, but I don’t have to do that anymore. HAVE YOU SEEN A CHANGE IN BUSINESS SINCE THE REDEVELOPMENT OF HILLSBOROUGH STREET? I don’t put it on just the changes in Hillsborough; I put it down to the internet. People can find us now. You used to have to advertise, but people can find us now. And with the roundabout on Hillsborough, we’re now more visible. Technology and development have helped our business.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK? The Wind in the Willows, I’ve read it maybe 30 times. HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHAT TO SELL? We buy things we think people would want to buy from us. You get a feel over the years of what people are looking for. WHAT ARE ALL THE PHOTOS AND NOTES ON THE SIDES OF THE SHELVES? All of it is from the insides of books we get from over the years. ANY BOOKS YOU’VE RECEIVED OVER THE YEARS THAT STAND OUT IN YOUR MEMORY? I have a signed first edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. A guy brought it in. It was his mother’s and I paid him for it. It’s very authentic. It was published in 1940 and Hemingway signed it in 1944, so it was early in his career. There is a note in it on how the original owner got Hemingway to sign it. I also once found an old Curious George book outside on the quarter shelf that the author Hans Augusto Rey signed before coming to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference in the U.S. There was a little monkey sketched next to his signature. I sold the book for $1,100.

MARCH 2020 | 73

NOTED Frank Harmon watches his garden fill with plantings—and memories

Illustration by Judy Harmon, courtsey Frank Harmon

Home Grown


very spring a lawn care company tosses a flyer over my garden gate. They promise to make my lawn perfect by using herbicides and pesticides. But I think I’ll keep the lawn just as it is, with scatterings of chickweed, withered starflower stems, and the occasional snake skin. I live in a small pink stucco house near N.C. State University. My wife Judy and I designed the house and garden in 1989. We broke ground on Valentine’s Day and moved in a year later. Then we planted the lawn. We’d put down roots. When we lived in England at one time, we fell in love with English gardens and English country houses. We also loved English lawns. Who wouldn’t? They were a tightly stretched blanket of grass as smooth as green velvet. I loved the stillness they brought to a busy landscape.


But we noticed that the English garden stopped at the door of the house. For our new home, we wanted it to be difficult to know where our garden ended and the house began. So with visions of indoor-outdoor living, we set out to design a garden with a beautiful lawn. And a house that partnered with both. The original meaning of the word paradise was “a walled garden.” So we built a wall around our future paradise and planted vines because we live near Hillsborough Street. College neighborhoods are busy places—especially on nights when the home team wins. Our vine-covered wall gave us an oasis. Judy designed the garden as a series of outdoor “rooms” within a structure consisting of four 100-year-old oak trees, the wall, evergreen hedges, and, of course, the lawn. Like a grassy clearing in a forest, the lawn was the most important room in our garden. It would be our outdoor living room. Our children grew up playing on the lawn. Will set up croquet. Laura built miniature houses around the edges. Judy’s cousin and his then-five-year-old daughter liked to camp out on the lawn. Their tent glowed at night.

The original meaning of the word paradise was “a walled garden.” So we built a wall around our future paradise and planted vines because we live near Hillsborough Street. We held dinner parties on the lawn. On summer nights, Judy and I pulled cushions outside to go to sleep looking for meteors. In June, fireflies lit the lawn. One Christmas Eve the weather was mild enough to sit outside and read. A few crickets sang, perhaps in memory of summer or of the first Christmas in a warmer land. Whenever we returned home from a trip, we went to the garden first. In 1996, Judy stood on the lawn in her pajamas at 3 a.m. as Hurricane Fran swept across Raleigh. The old trees above her swirled like ballerinas in the 90 mph winds. On the night of 9/11, we sat out on the lawn looking up at a sky empty of airplanes. In 2011, a tornado ripped through our neighborhood. There had been warnings on the radio all morning, but Judy wasn’t about to evacuate her beloved post in our sunroom and miss the storm. Fear had a hard time getting through to her. Around 2 p.m., a one-ton oak tree branch fell six inches from her window. She was thrilled. Judy died, from metastatic breast cancer, in 2013. This is my seventh spring in the garden without her physical presence. Soon I’ll be on the lawn plucking out chickweed. Six-petaled starflowers will bloom in the grass. Picking weeds out of grass is as good a way as any to reflect on the age-old struggle between nature and mankind. I’m not sure whose side I’m on. When we moved in, I thought I controlled the environment. Then I saw the plants and animals taking charge. If I had worked at the minimum wage of $7.50 an hour all these years, we could have paved the lawn in marble for less than the cost of my labor. But then, a garden is like a marriage: You get out of it as much as you put into it. Recently, my daughter and I were looking at photographs of the house and garden when it was freshly built, all spiffy lines and smooth walls. Now, thirty years later, the walls are entangled with vines and the edges are blurred. “It’s much better,” Laura said. We think we own the land. But after a while, it possesses us. MARCH 2020 | 75

Kate and Sam Sonawane renovated their 1980s home in 2017. They retained many of the original features, including the front door and formal inlaid wood of the living room, which was originally the dining room. In this space, brass accents and contemporary lighting give the room a comfy glow. A painting by artist (and friend) Denise Hughes pops against the dark wall.




A Raleigh family brings new energy to a 1980s home


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ate and Sam Sonawane were not looking to move. They were, however, considering a major renovation to their home and, weighing whether a remodel was right for their family, decided to see what else was on the market. The last thing they expected was to fall in love with a house, especially one in desperate need of an update. “It was a complete whirlwind,” says Kate Sonawane. “There was just something special about the house. You could feel it.” Sonawane recalls returning home after seeing the property: “My husband Sam and I were sitting on the couch—kind of in shock—looking at each other and we both just knew we were going to buy it.” Once they introduced the house to their three children, Gabe, Mimi, and Rosy, now 15, 13 and 9, it was a done deal. The house, tucked away on a secluded street in Midtown, was built in 1982 by John C. Williams and designed by Ralph Reeves of Holloway-Reeves (now H R Associates), the modernist architecture firm in Raleigh responsible for, among other things, the North Carolina State Legislative Building and the North Carolina Museum of Art. The home is stately, but was definitely designed with a family in mind. The rooms are open and spacious, but, says Sonawane, “there are also all of these great nooks and crannies all over the house,” designed for function (like the hidden storage closet in the powder room) or fun (see: a meditation loft that also houses their guinea pigs). The Sonawanes did not expect to make major changes to the layout of the house, but wanted to to bring in professionals to evaluate the space. Working with designer Mitch Danforth of Danforth Designed and builder Joe Fiore of Residential Remedies, they discovered natural hidden potential in reallocating a loft space—one of the many nooks—from the master bedroom to the great room. Danforth suggested closing the wall to the bedroom and extending the loft to the great room. Danforth also opened up the kitchen and reconfigured the layout to allow for better flow. Of the renovation, Danforth says, “It was what the house was wanting to be all along.” Beyond the structural changes, the rest is all Kate Sonawane, who has decorated the home with warm colors and inviting textures, layered with items collected near and far. There is a strong South Asian influence in the decor; Sam Sonawane’s parents emigrated to the United States from India, so for Kate, a Raleigh native, it’s important for her children to have visual reminders of their heritage. Sonawane, an avid reader, also incorporates books into the look of every room: she’ll showcase favorite titles as props for a lamp or create small vignettes together with other collected items. Sonawane has an innate eye for design and enjoys the thrill of the hunt. For her, it’s the three E’s: Ebay, Etsy and estate sales. And what she can’t find, she creates herself—with a new coat of paint. While she does not subscribe to a specific design aesthetic, she says she draws inspiration from The Spirit of the Home by Jane Alexander, an interior design book that considers the psychology of a home essential in creating a welcoming atmosphere—a sanctuary. For the Sonawane family, that spirit is alive and well.



The Sonawanes enjoy hosting gatherings in the spacious great room, made greater by a cozy loft space that used to part of the master bedroom. The decorative ceiling trusses (once stained a dark mahogany) were part of the original design, but now a coat of an white paint enhances the openair feeling. The oversize grey EOS pendant, by Soren Ravn Christensen for UMAGE, suspends from the ceiling like a cloud. The sofa in the loft space is vintage Ethan Allen, still covered in its orignial watery-blue velvet. Sonawane found it on Craigslist and bonded with the former owner over international travel and community activism. Sonawane’s mother, Rosemary Coward (also an avid collector) picked up the mirror over the sofa an estate sale and spruced it up with gold paint.

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This page: Sonawane found the Vishnu wall hanging at an estate sale in Chapel Hill. The embellished needlepoint piece was designed by Matthew Williamson, a British fashion and textile designer. She picked up the mounted insect collection at an antiques market in Asheville. The lamps, which sit upon a burl wood credenza, are from Father and Son Antiques. Opposite page, clockwise: Sonawane, pictured with son Gabe (daughter Mimi and Brownie the dog are in the reading nook), refers to the original kitchen as an “80’s spaceship,” complete with sterile-looking white laminate cabinets and large florescent light panels in the ceiling. To bring it into the new millenium, Sonawane incorporated more natural materials: wood floors and cabinets, quartz countertops and woven rugs. The light fixtures, along with the cast stone backsplash with its paragon hex design, are a subtle nod to the kitchen’s previous intergalactic aesthetic. The shelf that hangs below the windows was originally the fireplace mantel in the great room. Two floating shelves in the powder room hold family photos and mementos against the backdrop of the floral Marimekko wallpaper. Designer Mitch Danforth removed a wall between the kitchen and great room to create an open floor plan.


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Opposite page, clockwise: A Mid-century modern lounge chair is a welcome spot for reading. A wooden ladder extends to an alcove. To open up this space, Danforth replaced a door with the railing to allow light to flood the bedroom. Fitted with cozy blankets and a mass of throw pillows, the space was originally intended as a meditation spot for the family, but has now become the home for the Sonawane’s pet guinea pigs—all six of them. Daughter Rosy (far right) and friends “meditate” with her furry companions. This page: “In our bedroom, I just wanted to keep it simple—a retreat,” says Sonawane. The high ceiling, natural light and neutral palette lend to a relaxed atmosphere. The palm tree was a gift from husband to wife one Christmas. “I was kind of annoyed by it, but now I think it makes the room,” says Sonawane.

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Opposite page, clockwise: The leather sofa in the communal kid space was once part of a seating area beside the Capitol Room, the cafeteria in the old downtown Belk Department Store. Kate Sonawane grew up eating at the Captial Room every Friday night with her family. Her mother found the sofa along with other Belk store fixtures at an antiques store and Sonowane was transported back in time. “The home is beautifully grounded in the land. It was obviously designed for the site, which lends itself to a successful remodel,” says designer Mitch Danforth. A vestibule between the living room and kitchen features a removable wallpaper mural that Sonawane sourced through Etsy and hung herself. She also DIYed gold accents on the legs of the bench. This page: The porch on the front of the house (also shown at left) features a screen fashioned from a pair of doors that Sonawane sourced from a vendor at the flea market who imports furnishings from India.

MORE BEFORE & AFTER Find additional pictures from the renovation process on

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Visual artist Clarence Heyward paints narratives in words, portraits and figures

a man fulfilled by CHARLES UPCHURCH photography by GEOFF WOOD


larence Heyward is a painter. In those words can be found the fulfillment of a man’s life. Last January, Heyward was working for a distilled water company. A mid-level manager with a wife, two little girls and a faded dream. Today, he is a full-time artist-in-residence at Anchorlight artist studio and exhibition space in Raleigh.

In his airy, industrial workspace on Bloodworth Street, surrounded by charcoal drawings, vibrant works in acrylics and the chock-a-block trappings of la vie d’atelier, the 37-year-old Brooklyn native simultaneously exudes the relaxed air of someone in his element and the gratitude of a creative soul who narrowly escaped a close call. Canvases, from small to life-size, seem

barely able to keep their subjects from taking form in three dimensions. There is intense humanity in the expressions, honesty in the angles of limbs, power in a riot of hair and nobility in the carriage of a chin. They are black people, both foreign and familiar to the artist, the images often coupled with simply worded messages, symbological interplay charged with intent but open to interpre-

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tation. FIX YOUR FACE hovers above the depiction of an adolescent female loathe to smile. BLOOM floats among flowers that frame another young girl— one of Heyward’s daughters, he explains. PEACE. DIGNITY. BLACK LIVES MATTER. Words, portraits and figures elevated in a hybrid visual language, revealing much about one man’s relationship with the world around him, as well as with his own sublime talent. “I never paint just to paint,” says Heyward. “It’s always about something.” Some themes are self-evident. Others simmer below the surface. In the end, it’s


about purpose—the artist finding the will to create in the face of imminent and inevitable critique. The courage to be one’s self, to be imperfect and take the path of most resistance in order to live with authenticity. By doing this, what he calls “painting his truth,” Heyward is able to channel the visual narratives of people who are often absent from the stories found in fine art, to honor their voice and preserve their legacies. His year-long residency at Anchorlight, part of the gallery’s Brightwork Fellowship program, began in June

2019 and will conclude with a solo exhibition on May 2. In his first studio space as a working artist, he has thrown himself into the work with abandon, producing three to four paintings a week. His portraiture, figurative acrylics and charcoal renderings have been featured at City Gallery Raleigh and the Cary Gallery of Artists, and are currently displayed at the Triangle Cultural Art Gallery in North Raleigh as well as the 21c Museum Hotel in Durham. At the North Carolina State Fair this past year, Heyward entered the juried show for the first time. He won.

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The Brightwork Fellowship, which incorporates elements of service, leadership and professional development, allows Heyward and other artists to interact with groups in the local community through the nonprofit organization Neighbor to Neighbor and the Art Club at Southeast Raleigh High School. “When students are told I’m an artist, they’ll ask, oh, you’re a rapper?” says Heyward. “And when I say I’m headed to the studio, they’re like—you gonna work on some beats? No man, I’m a painter.” Mentoring students in Raleigh and helping them plan an exhibit to be staged at Anchorlight in April, gives Heyward an appreciation for the education he received in New York. Heyward grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he was placed in a middle school for academically gifted students. He gravitated to art, and soon found himself accepted to LaGuardia High School for Music, Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan. Life would

Heyward is able to channel the visual narratives of people who are often absent from the stories found in fine art, to honor their voice and preserve their legacies.

never be the same. “I learned that you can have a career in art,” he says, “and I also learned that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.” At LaGuardia, Heyward met a vocal major named Desirai. They clicked, and by their senior year, the two were dating. After graduation, when she left New York to attend North Carolina Central University, the young man followed to study art in Durham. The couple eventually married, and Heyward took a job with a water delivery company while still in college. The money was good, and work soon won out over classes. Then came the first of two baby girls. Five years later, another. Heyward was promoted to management. More than 11 years had moved beneath his feet. But art called him back. “My mom told me she was looking

forward to retirement so she could finally do what she wanted to do,” says Heyward. “That woke me up.” In January, with the support of his wife, now a math teacher, he quit his job. By May, he was a Brightwork fellow at Anchorlight. “You get blinded by a little bit of money and you’re scared to take the leap,” he says. “I didn’t have a plan, but it’s working.” Like gesso on canvas, a foundation has been laid. Inspiration is everywhere. He paints family members and people he meets on the street. His daughters, a sister-in-law, an interesting face in the park, a figure from a Gordon Parks photograph. A portrait of James Baldwin, stunning in the talent it reveals, is paired with the writer’s words: I AM A MAN. A more complete description would read, in Heyward’s case, a man fulfilled.

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A floral fabric comes off a large-format printer inside Spoonflower’s Durham-based factory.


Durham-based textile company Spoonflower puts tech into textiles


photography by TAYLOR MCDONALD

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ucked inside a somewhat sleepy office park in Durham is a surprise: a hive of color, pattern and creative energy, a textile manufacturer with a tech-first ethos. It’s the world headquarters for Spoonflower, a company known for its print-on-demand fabrics. Here, a sprawling factory floor hums with behemoth machines, staffers perch in lofty offices and racks of fabric are bundled up, ready to head out the door. The Spoonflower origin story: In 2008, Stephen Fraser’s wife was looking for the perfect polka dot fabric to make a pair of drapes. Surely, he thought, you can get it printed somewhere—after all, you could get your photo printed on a mug. But you couldn’t; the few custom print options demanded either huge quanities or high prices. So Fraser teamed up with Gart Davis; they’d worked together at a print-ondemand book company. Together, they hacked a large-format printer to work with fabric—and Spoonflower was born. “The first years were about providing crafty people with a way to create their own unique fabric,” says company president Allison Polish, who joined the team as a partner and owner in 2013. Through the site, anyone could upload their own design and get fabric made. It’s a customer-responsive and technology-driven company, and they’ve adjusted along the way. For example: They quickly found that graphic designers didn’t just want to print their own fabric for their own purposes, they wanted to sell it—so they created the Marketplace. With the rise of Etsy, they found that “momtrepreneurs” were using Spoonflower as part of the supply chain for their own brands. “There is this whole group of entrepreneurs making unique, special things to sell,” says Polish. Today, Spoonflower also offers printon-demand wallpaper and finished home goods, like bed and table linens. They’ve opened up a factory in Berlin to serve a growing international base. And in February, they brought in a new CEO, Michael Jones, who comes with a background in web retail. Despite its growing and global reach, the brand feels strong ties to North Car94 | WALTER

olina, and to the Triangle in particular. “We’re proud to be part of a rich textile state,” says Polish, citing the textile programs at N.C. State and Meredith, as well as nearby Cotton Incorporated and [TC]2 as creative feeders to its efforts. “We love that we’re bringing this tradition back to the state.” The company frequently hosts local makers

in their studio space for sewing lessons, design workshops and charity meetups. “Part of our ability to exist is that the Triangle has this amazing convergence of new and old, of technology but also the history with textiles,” says Senior Vice President of marketing Sarah Ward. “Spoonflower is be here because innovation brings these textiles to life.”

Spoonflower uses pigment inks to print on its natural fabric printers, as well as a fixation solution to help maintain colorfastness. Clockwise from top: Ink containers from a grand format printer, color check swatches to show the accuracy of color relative to the fabric type, ink refills for a large format printer. Opposite page: A few of Spoonflower’s available fabric options.

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Opposite page: Just-printed fabric comes out of a large format printer. This page, clockwise from top: Operations specialist Roo Popio smooths fabric after it exits the machine’s integrated dryer; it will immediately be cut to the customer’s specifications. In the background, operations specialist Kimmi Kresica programs patterns. Cut, dried and folded fabric. Material for bedding exits a grand format printer.

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This page, clockwise from above: Bins of swatches that show how the color will look on various materials. Operations specialist Dee Anne Burnett uses a cutting machine to prepare a wallpaper order (it’s printed on a different machine, just for printing paper). Each of the sewing machines used for creating the home goods is named after a notable woman. Opposite page: Wallpaper samples; they offer three kinds of wallpaper.


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Opposite page: Stacks of fabric with packing slides in between them, ready to ship. “In a typical week, Spoonflower will print more than 40,000 unique pieces of fabric or wall media between our two factories,” says Gart Davis. This page, clockwise from top: Crafting books from the Spoonflower team, on a bench upholstered in their fabric. Samples in the lobby. The exterior of the office. MARCH 2020 | 101

Courtesy Andria Fields

The Graves-Fields House in its new location on Oberlin Road


RENEW REMEMBER With its new headquarters on Oberlin Road, Preservation N.C. puts mission into practice by HAMPTON WILLIAMS HOFER photography by CATHERINE NGUYEN


ndria Fields can still smell Sunday mornings at 802 Oberlin Road, the table brimming with plates of steak, fatback, country ham, grits and her grandmother’s famous pearl biscuits. “It was a beehive,” she says, of the Victorian-era house where she grew up, a social and political center of the thriving African-American community in Oberlin Village. “People would come 102 | WALTER

to sit on the porch in the chair—and on the coveted swing—to talk about the current events of the day. They would pass by the house just to look at my grandfather’s flowers.” But as Raleigh expanded through the 20th century, commercialization threatened the legacy of her family’s home and of the surrounding freedman’s community, one that had flourished after the Civil War. In the early 1950s, as Cameron

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Village Shopping Center took shape and Oberlin Road became a major thoroughfare, what remained of the neighborhood diminished block-by-block, until only five remaining landmark homes stood against new development. This home, the Graves-Fields house, was one, along with its neighbor, the Rev. Plummer T. Hall house. Both stood in disrepair with extensive deferred maintenance. They dodged the wrecking ball thanks to Preservation North Carolina (PNC). It’s our only state-wide historic preservation organization, and it works to protect the diverse heritage of North Carolina by caring for the properties that have written our state’s history. Preservation N.C. rescues old houses —and also factory mills, churches, general stores, schools and all manner of historic properties. “We jokingly refer to ourselves as the animal shelter for endangered historic buildings,” says PNC President Myrick Howard. Supported by a membership of 4,500, with an operating budget from private sources, the organization works to find buyers who 104 | WALTER

will protect these endangered historic locales and landscapes. They also host an annual conference, in addition to preservation celebrations, tours and happy hours. Their work recognizes the value of history, the importance of preserving both the endangered properties and the stories they hold. Since its inception in 1939, PNC has worked directly with more than 900 properties, most of which would have otherwise been lost, with a current total market value of more than half a billion dollars. “Saving buildings is all about solving real estate issues,” says Howard. Buyers have reconfigured properties for a vast array of new uses, creating a multitude of jobs and adding millions of dollars to local tax rolls. Take the recently redeveloped Loray Cotton Mill in Gastonia, which was the largest textile mill in the South under a single roof. As the backdrop of the infamous Communist Textile Workers Union strike in 1929, the mill plays prominently in the history of Southern labor and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It

closed in the 1990s and sat deteriorating for years before Firestone donated the mill to Preservation N.C. After a lengthy effort, PNC sold it to developers in 2012. Now, they’re rejuvenating Loray Mill with almost 300 residential units and around 100,000 square feet of retail space, including a history center, plans for a brewery, restaurants, fitness center, and neighborhood market. And property values are rising all around the mill. PNC’s restorative work has provided momentum for these types of turnarounds across the state. In Edenton, a cotton mill has been converted into condos, with four previously demolished mill houses rebuilt and preserved. In Goldsboro, over the last decade, PNC has helped save twenty vacant historic houses on the edge of the commercial downtown. In Rockingham County, the 165,000 square-foot dilapidated Spray Cotton Mills building will be converted into a mixed-use space with outdoor amenities along the Smith River. From Pittsboro to Shelby, projects continue, transforming old schools and hospitals

Courtesy Andria Fields

The Fields Family at the Graves-Fields House

Restored interior of the Graves-Fields house.

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Architectural details of the Graves-Fields house

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—Andria Fields into affordable housing, protecting thousands of acres of open space under restricted development. PNC, which the National Park Service cited as “the premier state-wide preservation organization of the South, if not the nation,” also helped pioneer the surge in downtown Raleigh’s rejuvenation. They renovated the Briggs Hardware Building on Fayetteville Street in partnership with the AJ Fletcher Foundation, as well as the Bretsch House on the corner of Morgan and Blount Streets, which became their office in 1982. “Folks thought we were crazy,” recalls Howard. “We are unusual among preservation organizations because of our work with endangered historic buildings: We don’t just talk about preservation, we do it.” In November, PNC moved into its new Oberlin Road headquarters: the Graves108 | WALTER

Fields and Hall houses, which were moved (fifty yards and thirty feet, respectively), renovated, and connected by a basement. Using these restored homes as the organization’s headquarters underscores PNC’s commitment to diversity preservation: they’re two of Raleigh’s most important surviving African-American landmarks. Both built in the 1880s, these homes were pinnacles of a thriving Oberlin Village, where freedmen used hard work and education to create better futures for their families. In its prime, Historic Oberlin Village, which was not part of Raleigh, ran about 12 blocks from Hillsborough Street to what is now Wade Avenue and had more than 1,000 residents. This community of former slaves and their descendants prospered through the establishment of schools, churches

and fashionably-painted Victorian-style homes with rose-filled front yards. Willis and Eleanor Graves, active leaders in Oberlin, built their ambitious house while still in their 20s. Both had been born into slavery and freed soon after, the husband working as a brick mason. (He used the framing of an older home to build his house’s second story, including a hodgepodge of materials— mismatched baseboards doors, and hardware—which would later present a challenge to preservationists.) The Graves’ children attended Ivy League colleges, became renowned defense lawyers and acclaimed organists. A Graves grandson became one of the first black journalists to travel with a U.S. President (Truman) on an official state visit abroad. On and on, the Graves legacy of talent and achievement goes, as eventually each of the descendants moved North to escape racial oppression. “Our research on the Graves Family blew us away,” says Howard. Susan Mask, a great-granddaughter of Willis and Eleanor Graves, has been moved by the

left page: courtesy Preservation NC (HISTORY IMAGES); right page: Chuck Liddy / The News & Observer (HARGETT STREET); Catherine Nguyen (STATUE)

“Preserving a legacy is and should be of the utmost importance for any culture or heritage.”

experience of reclaiming her family’s history through the preservation of the home. “Preservation NC has done an amazing job uncovering facts, deeds and documents that tell the wider story and provide a greater context,” Mask says. An attorney and artist, she recently exhibited paintings inspired by the former freedman’s village at a gallery in Seattle. She says of her great-grandparents: “While they may not have thought of their efforts this way, our ancestors laid a foundation that we as a family and the wider community can look up to. It’s the kind of history that helps fortify you in these fraught times,” she says, “We’ve been challenged before and we have risen.” Fields hopes that people will drive by and take notice of the rejuvenated historic homes. She hopes they’ll wonder why they are there, and that it will lead to curiosity about where they came from and what stories they have to tell. “Preserving a legacy is and should be of the utmost importance for any culture or heritage,” Fields says. “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, how do you proceed?”

What’s Up with the Pup? First of all, his name is George. And he’s become quite the celebrity in his new home outside Preservation N.C.’s headquarters. Originally named Snoopy, he was created by artist George Morris and housed on a piece of land off Buffalo Road formerly known as GotNo Farm. Morris modeled this 12-foot statue after a child’s stuffed dog (there is a smaller one, too, but its whereabouts are unknown). George, along with other sculptures and a rare Lustron home, were threatened when GotNo Farm’s land was sold, but Preservation N.C. stepped in to rescue them. Moving the fragile, aging statue was not easy, and after the big move, they decided to rename the dog George it honor of its creator. Just before Thanksgiving of last year, Preservation N.C. placed the dog outside their new office. It was meant to be a temporary spot, but the pup quickly won their hearts—and new fans. “Every time we turn around, someone is getting their photograph taken with George,” says Myrick Howard (shown here with the statue). So next steps for George: to get a bath... and greet all who come to visit. —Gabriella Axner

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photography by GUS SAMARCO




MOFU Shoppe serves approachable and authentic fare on Blount Street

MOFU Shoppe co-owner Sophia Woo.

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ophia Woo can fold a dumpling behind her back. She learned from watching her mother and grandmother fold the bite-sized delight like an art form as a child. “I loved cooking when I was younger and I loved seeing people eat the food I was cooking,” says Woo. In 2013, Woo and longtime friend Sunny Lin—“Lin was fearless and optimistic and always said yes to a good idea when she heard one!” says Woo—started dreaming up a food truck concept. “The dream wasn’t always owning a food truck, per se,” says Woo. “The dream was always creating something, building something from scratch, and the food truck was a vehicle—pun intended—for that dream of ours.” They opened Dump Pho King Truck in the spring of 2014. 112 | WALTER

The two spent nights and weekends outside of their full-time jobs to fix up the truck. Woo says family tradition, coupled with an affinity for community around the table, propelled her to quit her corporate accounting job once the truck was up and running. The pho was a hit, and so were the dumplings. But so were less-traditional dishes, like a bahn mi corndog. Woo calls that the “perfect fusion of what we do.” After about a year of circling the food truck around the Triangle, the duo was tapped by the Food Network to join The Great Food Truck Race. They changed the truck’s name to Pho Nomenal Dumplings—and won Season 6. Woo and Lin knew that they wanted to use their $50,000 winnings and recognition from the show to open a brick-and-mor-

tar shop. While the two hunted for the perfect space, the truck continued to operate for a couple of years. “Raleigh ended up being our homebase because we both lived here and most of our truck stops ended up being in Raleigh— plus, when we ran our kickstarter campaign, Raleigh was home to most of our contributors. So in a lot of ways, Raleigh chose us!” In 2017, MOFU Shoppe landed in a former car dealership on the edge of City Market. The name translates to ‘more fortune’ in Mandarin Chinese, and Woo says it works with their concept: more food, more fun. The space has an urban warehouse vibe, with high ceilings, a garage door that opens up on sunny days and a balcony section for additional seating. The focal point is the

From far left: The exterior of the restaurant; Woo fills a wonton wrapper; the staff; General Woo Brussels Sprouts.

long, modern wood-topped bar, with a cocktail program headed up by Matthew Fenner of Anchor Bar and Milk Bar. It offers a twist on classic drinks, like a Thai Basil Ricky or a Toyko Mule with plum wine, lime and ginger beer. The menu highlights hits from the food truck—like flounder tacos and Woo’s traditional ground pork and chive dumpling—but the MOFU team flexes their creativity to explore new dishes that still allow for approachable dining. “The whole point from the beginning was to get people to try something new in an non-intimidating way,” says Woo. “A food truck was a great way to do that, and we still try to achieve that goal in the restaurant.” Since MOFU Shoppe opened over two years ago, Woo says she and the team have been constantly learning as they go.

She admits that the transition from food truck to full-service restaurant brought a steep learning curve. “We had never run a restaurant before,” says Woo, “so thank goodness for our staff to help us get through that.” Woo credits much success to her experienced staff—both in the kitchen and front-of-house—and to Raleigh foodies for rallying around the Shoppe. “The community here in Raleigh was so welcoming. They were so forgiving when we got things wrong, and cheered for us when we got things right.” These days, Woo is heavily involved with day-to-day operations, while Lin remains a part-owner but has taken a step back from day-to-day operations. “On any given day, you can find me in the restaurant helping prep, making dumplings, testing recipes, on the line, behind the bar or

saying hello to tables,” says Woo. Woo and Lin sold the food truck in 2019 to focus more on the restaurant. Woo says the duo felt a huge part of a food truck experience is meeting the chef or owner, and they didn’t have the bandwidth any more. “When we couldn’t do that while operating MOFU Shoppe, we decided to sell it,” she says. But the food truck origins still inspire the folks at MOFU to experiment with ways to make food approachable, fun and delicious. One recent example: the Boodle Fight. It’s a Philipino military tradition where a long table is covered in banana leaves, then topped with everything from whole fish to spicy wings to spring rolls (the banana leaves are both the tablecloth and the plate). Guests stand side by side and ‘fight’ over the fare in front of them. “The MARCH 2020 | 113

Boodle Fight is all about having a huge table and plenty of food, and eating with everyone until you’re friends,” says Woo. “You grab what you want, what makes you happy—and there’s always enough to share with your neighbor.” They tried it out a few years back as a way to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and since then it’s become a staple and a popular catering option. It comes back to Woo’s founding principal: showcasing food in a simple, approachable form, where everyone’s equal at the table. “I love the joy of eating together—and that’s what we see ourselves as, a place to build community and relationships with great food,” Woo says. “Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be awesome.”

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The restaurant during the day, above, and during a Boodle Fight. Opposite page: Pork & Chive Dumplings.

Chicken and Ginger Wonton Recipe INGREDIENTS 1 lb ground chicken ½ cup thinly sliced scallion (green and white parts separated) 1 Tbsp freshly minced ginger 1 Tbsp oyster sauce 2 tsp mirin 2 tsp toasted sesame oil 1 tsp sugar ½ tsp white pepper 36 square wonton wrappers

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the wonton wrappers. Stir vigorously with a spoon or several chopsticks in the same direction until all ingredients are well combined. To assemble, spoon 1 Tbsp of the chicken mixture into the center of the wrapper. Moisten the edge of the wrapper with a little water and fold corner to corner to form a triangle. Pinch the wonton wrapper to seal tight. Using the thumb and index finger of both hands, pinch and fold both corners of the wonton downwards. Then, lift one corner over the other and join the two ends with a little water. Transfer folded wontons to a plate lined with parchment paper or a floured surface. Wontons can be frozen at this point! Just stick them on a baking tray with some parchment paper in the freezer until they become firm, then store them in a freezer-proof ziplock bag until you need them. To cook: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Slowly drop in the dumplings while constantly stirring. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the wontons start to float. Optional: Once cooked, fry lightly in a neutral oil. Serve immediately with soup or with your favorite dipping sauce.

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THE WHIRL Kate Pope Photography

WALTER’s roundup of galas, gatherings, fundraisers and just-for-fun events around the Triangle.

Gary Schwartz, Linda Leithe and Mark Leithe with performers at the Triangle Wine & Food Experience

118 Triangle Wine & Food Experience 120 The Green Chair Project’s Savor Sweeter Dreams Dinner 122 2020 Stars of the Industry Awards 124 North Carolina Museum of History’s Candy Canes and Cocktails 125 CAM Raleigh’s Betty Eichenberger Adams Society Luncheon 126 Historic Oakwood Snow Ball 127 Chamber Music Raleigh presents the Mallarme Chamber Players 128 SAFEchild Annual Fundraising Luncheon

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THE WHIRL TRIANGLE WINE & FOOD EXPERIENCE Triangle Wine & Food Experience is North Carolina’s premier charity wine event in early February, encompassing tastings, dinners and a Grand Gala & Auction. Chefs, winemakers and wineries from all over the world participate in this truly amazing event. Proceeds benefit the Frankie Lemmon School & Developmental Center.

Ashley Christensen, Nohe Weir-Villatoro, Charlotte Coman

Trey Bailey, Marci Bailey, Sharat Nagaraj, Lavanya Nagaraj

Ziggy Eichelman, Kellie Falk, Jackie Locklear, Oz Nichols, Melissa Colantuoni, Pam Swamstrom

Kate Pope Photography

The Chairs of TWFE: Adam Derbyshire, Martha Derbyshire Jackie Locklear, Joe Patterson, Kellie Falk

Jackie Locklear, Mike Nichols, Ashley Christensen

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Rita Whalen, Tony Whalen

Tony Lombardi, Judy Davis, Guy Davis


Crawford and Son

Jackie Craig, Marian Taylor

Chef Kenny Gilbert, Jackie Craig, Chef Scott Crawford

Chef Madison Tessener

Phil Kowalczyk, Chef Scott Crawford, Gretchen Kowalczyk

Caroline Beaird

Chef Scott Crawford

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Lisa Marie Ferrell, Jackie Craig

Tyler Cunningham, Jessica Crawford

THE GREEN CHAIR PROJECT’S SAVOR SWEETER DREAMS DINNER Chef Scott Crawford hosted celebrity chef Kenny Gilbert January 26 for the annual Savor Sweeter Dreams Dinner, benefitting The Green Chair Project’s Sweeter Dreams program. Over 5,000 children in Wake County are living without a bed of their own, and Crawford and Gilbert provided a 5-course meal at Crawford and Son to help solve the issue. Guests enjoyed a private reception at Jolie, and dined to donate over 100 beds for kids in need. Lenovo also presented The Green Chair Project with a gift of $50,000 at the event, providing 200 more beds for Wake County children.

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A Taste of Italy with Frances Mayes Join WALTER for a bella evening to celebrate the debut of Frances Mayes’ latest works, Always Italy and See you in the Piazza. Guests will enjoy the ultimate insider’s tour of Italy with a family-style dinner inspired by some of Mayes’ favorite dishes. The exclusive menu will be prepared by Samad Hassan and his team of talented chefs at Mulino Italian Kitchen.




THE WHIRL THE 2020 STARS OF THE INDUSTRY AWARDS CEREMONY The 2020 Stars of the Industry Awards took place at the Raleigh Marriott in Center City on February 3. The annual gala recognizes exemplary performance and service in the hospitality industry across the state.

2020 Stars of the industry Awards Ceremony

Jamie Turner (Pastry Chef of the Year)

Sam Saleh (Lifetime Achievement Award)

Debbie Word (Distillery of the Year) Johnny Burritt (Mixologist of the Year)

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Max Trujillo, Matt Weiss

Lynn Minges, Jim Beley (Griff and June Glover Award for Distinguished Service), Steve Thanhauser

Bob Dedman (right)

Van Eure (center) mingles with other guests

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Eamon Queeney

Steven Goff (Chef of the Year)


Legacy of Reynolds PRESENTED BY

Join WALTER as we honor this historic landmark and hear from some of the people that witnessed the incredible music, art, sports & noteworthy figures that passed through its walls. PANELISTS: Jamie Valvano, Jeff Gravely, Dr. Thomas Stafford, Tim Peeler and Roy C. Dicks.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 I 6-9 PM Reynolds Coliseum, 2411 Dunn Avenue TICKETS:



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CANDY CANES AND COCKTAILS The North Carolina Museum of History held its annual member holiday party, Candy Canes and Cocktails, December 5. Guests enjoyed festive food and drinks, live music by Peter Lamb & The Wolves, and great company. Money raised from this event benefits the NC Museum of History and its award-winning exhibitions, community and educational outreach programs, and acquisition of artifacts important to our state’s unique history.

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Julia Daniels, Frank Daniels

Ashley White, John White

Betty Parker, Lynn Pearce, Stephani Humrickhouse

CAM RALEIGH’S BETTY EICHENBERGER ADAMS SOCIETY LUNCHEON PRESENTED BY WELLS FARGO Betty Eichenberger Adams is a visionary who embraced contemporary art wholeheartedly. As an artist and arts educator, she was one of the first advocates of CAM Raleigh. The society honored her legacy as an arts educator, artist and community leader at a luncheon prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Ashley Christensen on December 3 that benefitted CAM Raleigh’s transformational exhibitions and programming. Denise Sandoval, Guest Curator of the ¡Viva Viclas! exhibit, was the keynote speaker.

Bryan Regan

Gab Smith in the ¡Viva Viclas! exhibit

Sandra Ferrell, Charman Driver, Dr. Beverly Knight, B.E. Noel

Denise Sandoval

Guests enjoyed a family-style meal created by James Beard award-winning chef Ashley Christensen

YOU CAN LEAD HERE At Ravenscroft, students not only learn to think, they learn to do. We pair a stimulating curriculum with collaboration, hands-on learning, and leadership skills. We graduate confident, well-rounded students who are prepared to thrive in our complex world as educated citizens and leaders.

Learn more about our one-of-a-kind citizen leadership framework! Visit to learn more and call our Admissions Office at 919.848.6470 to schedule a tour.

THE WHIRL HISTORIC OAKWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD SNOW BALL On Saturday, January 18, the Society for the Preservation of Oakwood held its second annual Snow Ball at the American Institute of Architects building. The neighborhood celebration and fundraiser featured music from DJ Triple B, dinner and cocktails and fun times in the Snap It Photo Booth.

Madonna Phillips, Greg Hallam

Bridget Phillips, Kellie Fletcher, Rachel Kilgore, Randy Kilgore

Flowers Lovern, Mark Lovern

Brad Kehoe, Aline Buzzatto

Molly Stuart, Kay Coleman, Trish Sheldon, Madonna Phillips

919-366-5000 4120-115 MAIN AT NORTH HILLS ST, RALEIGH @copperpennyraleigh

Kurt Hurelbrink, Arthur Jordan

Matthew Brown, Lauren Bragg

Brad Kehoe, Paul Taylor, Jacob Verghese, Michael Stuart, Steve Sheldon, Eddie Coleman

Barry Kitchner, Steve Tripp

Steve Sheldon, Stacey Gallicchio Murphy

LOOKING for an ITB LOT or TEARDOWN for a NEW HOME BUILD? I specialize in connecting Sellers, Buyers and reputable Builders for exclusive listings and “OFF MARKET” opportunities.

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Wes Minton, III

Nicole Folk, Kathryn Stevenson

Simon Griffiths

THE MALLARME CHAMBER PLAYERS Chamber Music Raleigh presented the Mallarme Chamber Players January 5 at the North Carolina Museum of Art in a program of Mexican composers to celebrate the Frida Kahlo exhibition and honor the long-term commitment of Joe and Elizabeth Kahn and John and Nancy Lambert.

John Lambert, Nancy Lambert, Mary J.C. Cresimore, Joseph Kahn, Elizabeth Kahn


THE WHIRL SAFECHILD’S ANNUAL LUNCHEON Filmmaker and child abuse prevention advocate Sasha Neulinger was the keynote speaker at SAFEchild’s Annual Fundraising Luncheon on November 6 at the Hilton Raleigh North Hills. Neulinger shared his inspirational story of recovery from multigenerational child sexual abuse within his family. The following evening, SAFEchild held a private screening of Neulinger’s autobiographical documentary, “Rewind,” at Marbles’ IMAX theater. SAFEchild is a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating child abuse and strengthening families in Wake County.

SAFEchild staff with Sasha Neulinger

Viki Redding

Custom Elegance Sasha Neulinger

Josh Stein

80 Years of Designing Beautiful Rooms SINCE 1939 Carrying High Design and Quality Furniture

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Cristin DeRonja, Marjorie Menestres

Elaine Marshall, Jennie Hayman


APRIL 2020 A Taste of the Mt. Olive Picklefest Bottle Shops Our Newest Nature Preserve J. Cole’s Dreamville

Bob Karp


“This park is phenomenal for taking a long walk. My favorite thing is when you come around the bend and see the lake—it’s such a beautiful scene.” —Nikolai Donovan of Edenton, NC, with his dog Jax


s the weather warms up, consider a stroll around Lake Johnson Park. Just five miles from downtown, the 500-acre site is anchored by its meandering 150-acre lake. The park offers a nearly three-mile loop of paved greenway—including a scenic boardwalk across the lake, a popular spot for fishing—and additional natural surface trails that can be accessed by car or along the Walnut Creek Greenway Trail. Bordering the eastern side of the lake, the Thomas G. Crowder Woodland Center offers nature-based programs and community classes, including regular offerings on birding, yoga and ballroom dance (find them through RecLink). The Woodland Center opened in 2016; It’s named after Thomas Crowder, who served on City Council from 2003 until his death from cancer in 2014 (his wife, Kay Crowder, took over his position until 2019). It took over 20 years for the community center to go from idea to reality, but today it’s a year-round destination. “You can come, socialize and get your workout in,” says Donovan. “This park is phenomenal.” —Ayn-Monique Klahre

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