AC Milan boss Giampaolo: Players must give their lives for the shirt, not for meby Carlos Volcano21 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveAC Milan boss Marco Giampaolo is not seeking excuses for their start of the season.Giampaolo’s job is on the line facing Genoa this weekend.He said, “After four defeats in six games it is normal that everything is black. Even in this case we must have balance, I don’t think it’s time to make definitive judgments. “I know that the team has a lot of room for improvement, especially from the mental point of view, learning to do certain things in a certain way.”The players have to give their lives for the shirt, not for me. The team believed and believes in my ideas. “You have to be strong in defeats, you have to suffer and be attentive to details.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
SAN DIEGO, CA – MARCH 18: Head coach Bob Huggins of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts as they take on the Marshall Thundering Herd in the first half during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 18, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)TCU nearly landed a massive win in Morgantown against the No. 18 West Virginia Mountaineers, a game that would have given some legitimacy to TCU’s impressive early season record. Instead, the Horned Frogs will travel back to Fort Worth with a brutal loss. With under a second left in overtime, and his team up 85-84, TCU’s Kyan Anderson fouled West Virginia reserve guard Jevon Carter. Carter hit two clutch free throws to give West Virginia the late go-ahead lead. West Virginia goes to 16-3 with the win. The Mountaineers are definitely a factor in a very tough Big 12 this season.
by Todd Cohenphotograph by Nick PironioWhen Daniel Wagner was 14, two teenage girls from his neighborhood in Port Huron, Mich., were killed in a car crash. The tragedy, and the lessons he learned from it, have shaped his life for more than four decades.About 20 miles from their destination, the girl behind the wheel “dropped a right front tire off the pavement, jerked the car back on the road, overcorrected, and got T-boned by a semi,” he says. “Both girls were killed instantly. I remember going to the funeral home for the visitation. Both caskets were closed because they couldn’t repair those girls, and there was just a picture of each of them on top of the caskets.”After the accident, Wagner’s father took him for a ride, “literally driving his car off the road and showing me how to bring it back on properly so that I never experienced something like that crash,” he says.Wagner estimates he has driven more than 1 million miles over the past 40 years and says he has “never put a dent or scratch on a single vehicle.” But he believes most people don’t know how to drive, and he is trying to do something about it.In 2010, Wagner founded Teen Driving Solutions School, a nonprofit that puts teens and their parents through a two-day course at the Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., near Danville, north of Durham. Wagner, who is its president, has invested $150,000 of his own money in the school, which has trained more than 200 teens from the Carolinas and Virginia. Only one of them has been in an accident since taking the course.“You can drive if you understand your vehicle and its capabilities and limitations, and you’re focused on your driving and your own limitations,” says Wagner, a Willow Spring resident and Michigan native who will be 57 this month. “We want to forever remove driving as the No. 1 cause of death for teens,” Wagner says. “They’ve been set up to fail, and they’re continually failing. I want these kids to have the ability to come home alive.What’s wrong with the way teens learn to drive?Driver education does not teach them how to drive. It teaches them how to pass the license exam. It’s the parents’ responsibility to actually teach them how to drive, and most parents don’t know how to drive themselves. And we have these graduated driver licenses, which have kicked the can down the road. While these graduated licenses have reduced fatalities for 16- and 17-year-olds, statistics show that fatalities for 18- to 24-year-olds are on the rise. They’re disconnected from the vehicle they’re driving. Our entire driving philosophy in this country is that experience is the key to safe driving.Why did you start Teen Driving Solutions School?A few years ago, several nephews and nieces started to drive. Within just a few months of their having driver licenses, every one of those kids was involved in a crash.What did you do?I started researching. I found they’re not being taught anything compared to what I was taught. I started to write a book about how to drive, and about how today’s youth are set up to fail when it comes to driving.What is the best way to drive?There are two primary things that make a safe driver. One is the use of sound judgment for making good decisions. The second thing is understanding the vehicle you’re driving. You have a 3,500-pound machine that is subject to the laws of physics.How does your school teach driving?The school literally puts these two concepts together – mental skills with vehicle control skills – in pretty much real-world scenarios. Parents and kids are required to take the course together, and we put them in the cars at different times and in classes at different times. In the classroom, parents are learning communication skills – how to be more of a coach than a parent when they’re in the right-hand seat. On the track, parents are learning three things – how to correct the bad habits they’ve developed over the last 20 or 30 years; learning how to lead by example; and learning exactly what we’re teaching their child and why we teach it that way.How bad is the problem of teenage drivers?Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and cause more than 400,000 injuries to teens a year. In Wake County, from 2008 to 2011, we lost 35 teenagers.What mistakes do parents typically make in turning over the car keys to their teens?Probably the biggest one is they don’t set the rules, the guidelines, for these kids – where you can go, who can go with you, when are you to be home. The second biggest mistake is they’re allowing teens to drive when they’re not fully qualified for that responsibility. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm about five years ago did a survey on parents’ involvement with teen drivers. What they found was that parents who are fully and actively engaged in their teens’ driving ended up with teenagers who were 50 percent less likely to be in any type of crash, 50 percent less likely to drive without a seatbelt, and 71 percent less likely to drink and drive. Those to me are phenomenal statistics. They basically cut the risk in half just by being an involved parent.What are some common driving mistakes that lead to teen crashes?The biggest one is distractions that lead them to drive off the road. Looking at a cellphone, not paying attention. Texting is a huge problem. You’ve taken your mind off your driving, and you’ve taken your eyes off your driving. Those are two critical errors.When they drive off the road, they panic and try to jerk the car back on. That’s one of the leading causes of fatal crashes. They don’t understand how this car is going to react. By panicking and bringing the car back on too quickly, they lose control, and then they overcorrect, which turns the car the other way.Where were you educated?I never went to college. I’m a self-taught, self-trained mechanic. I attended trade school during high school. Then I opened up a repair shop in a Shell gas station. I did that about two years. My actual career, which started in 1980, is selling upholstery fabrics to the bus industry. I work for a textile mill, Holdsworth Fabrics, in Mirfield, England. My territory is the eastern half of North America – Mexico, the United States and Canada.You work full-time for your business and for the driving school?It takes up most of my waking hours. I’m also interim president for Calvin’s Paws, a cat rescue charity in Raleigh.What kind of car do you drive? Cadillac CTSV. It’s a four-door sports car. 556 horsepower. Stick. I prefer stick. It’s more fun to drive. You have to pay more attention to what you’re doing because you’re in charge of the gear changes. It keeps you more engaged in your driving. I wish everyone would drive a stick.What do you do for fun?Driving on track. I’m an instructor for high-performance driving events. Clubs where members can go out on the racetrack. You learn how to drive performance cars, street cars like mine.What are you reading?I spend hours a week researching driving issues on the web.What is your favorite driving movie?Gone in 60 Seconds.What inspires you?Seeing people achieve what they’re capable of achieving in life.What is your philosophy of life?Do your best at everything you do.
Four of the 10 students presenting at Art2Wear work on their garments for the upcoming show. from left: Sydney Smith (senior), Sara Clark (junior), Gillian Paige (senior), and Sarah Cannon (senior).by Justin LeBlancphotographs by Benjamin ScottApril is crunch time at the N.C. State College of Design and College of Textiles. Student designers, models, and event planners are working overtime to prepare for our 13th annual Art2Wear Runway Show on April 25.Art2Wear is very special to me. The event contributed to a career-changing decision, when, as a student nearing graduation, I transitioned from architecture to fashion. Art2Wear gave me the opportunity to fulfill my passion for functional art, becoming an important stepping stone in my career. It led to my appearance on Season 12 of Project Runway and to my Spring 2014 collection presentation at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York.This year’s Art2Wear will give a new group of students their chance at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: To have control of a stage where they can make their own dreams a reality. It’s a showcase for the best of the best and provides a perfect opportunity for the audience to meet top-notch designers in their transformative years.Art2Wear is also an educational event for the students, where they learn just what it takes to put on a major runway fashion event. With their imaginations running at full throttle, students have the chance to showcase their diverse interpretations of style, all centered on the event’s theme: Accelerated Evolution: Speed.I must tell you, there is no shortage of imagination. The energy has been buzzing for the past several months leading up to the event. Last year’s runway show, Hypernatural, drew more than 4,000 attendees. The atmosphere and mood were electric.We can only speculate, but the theme of this year’s show conjures up many possibilities: motion, change, technology, time, and transformation. I get goose bumps just imagining it.There will be 10 new collections featured at this year’s event designed by students from diverse disciplines ranging from Art and Design to Industrial Design.Will it be art? Will it push boundaries? Will it tell a story?I believe Art2Wear will be all of that and more – a celebration of style, art, and talent.
Heirloom Fried Rabbit(Note: Must prepare 24 hours in advance)5 rabbit legs1 quart buttermilk1 tablespoon chopped garlic1 tablespoon chili powder1 tablespoon dried thyme2 quarts all-purpose flour1/2 cup Texas Pete hot sauceSalt and pepperMarinate rabbit legs in buttermilk with the garlic, ½ tablespoon of the chili powder, and thyme for 24 hours.Dredge rabbit in flour that has been seasoned with thyme, remaining ½ tablespoon chili powder, salt, and pepper. Fry rabbit until golden brown and remove from oil.Toss rabbit with Texas Pete and enjoy!Soup from chef Van Nolintha of Bida Manda in RaleighPork Belly SoupSoup Broth:1 cup shallot, finely chopped1 cup garlic, finely chopped1 pound ground pork1 1/2 gallons pork stock or water10 lime leaves, finely chopped3 tablespoons sugarSalt to taste3 eggs1 to 2 cans coconut milk1 cup peanuts, crushed1 small can red curry paste1/2 cup vegetable oil2 limes, in sectionsVegetables:3 cups purple cabbage, julienned1 cup cilantro, chopped1 cup mint leaves1/2 cup green onion, choppedNoodles:2 bags rice noodlesMake soup broth:In a big pot over medium heat, combine oil, red curry paste, shallot, and garlic. Stir a few minutes, until shallot and garlic turn golden at the edges. Add ground pork and stir until pork is fully cooked. Add pork stock, sugar, salt, coconut milk, and lime leaves, and cook until boiled. When the broth is fully boiled, whisk in eggs slowly. Add peanuts.Taste the soup: add more sugar, salt, or coconut milk if needed.Prepare noodles:Soak rice noodles in cold water bath for 2 hours, or in warm water bath for 45 minutes (noodles tend to break easily when soaked in warm water).Assemble the bowl:Boil a big pot of hot water. Cook pre-soaked noodles in boiled water for 4 minutes, only enough for one soup bowl at a time.Drain noodles and place in a large serving bowl. Add broth, cabbage, cilantro, mint, and green onion.Serve with chopsticks and lime sections.Bill Smith’s Tomato SandwichesMakes 10 sandwiches1 loaf of your favorite white sandwich bread (see text)2 or 3 large ripe, red summer tomatoesMayonnaise (see text)SaltThis recipe is not as simple as it seems at first glance. All sorts of things come into play. I am always in favor of newness and innovation, but there are times when well enough should be left alone. This may be one such case. First of all, it’s really better to buy cheap, house-brand, grocery store, sliced white bread. Resist the temptation to upgrade to the artisanal. Then there is the mayonnaise. People fight over mayonnaise brands here, just as they do over barbecue or basketball. Both the users of Hellmann’s and the users of Duke’s regard the other with disbelief. Neither can contain their derision of the users of Miracle Whip. Use what your grandmother used.You should be able to get at least four fairly thick slices from each tomato. Commercial sliced white bread generally has 20 slices per loaf. Spread mayonnaise thickly on two slices of bread. Place a slice of tomato on one of the slices of prepared bread. Sprinkle with salt. Top with the other slice of bread. Slice the sandwich in two, diagonally. Repeat until you have used up all of the bread.These sandwiches are better if they sit awhile before serving. Many people claim that they are best if eaten while you are leaning over the sink, because if they have been made right, they are very messy. Bill Smith, the Crook’s Corner chef famous for bringing Southern cooking to a national audience with his cuisine and his writing, is the author of several acclaimed cookbooks, including Seasoned in the South. He has twice been a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast, and has helped earn a James Beard America’s Classics award for Crook’s. photographs by Jim McGuireIt was a hot July morning in Raleigh when strategist Nation Hahn, nonprofit executive Alexis Trost, and restaurant owners Van Nolintha, Angela Salamanca, and Matt Kelly packed their cars for a weekend adventure. The friends, united by a love of food and community, were headed to the mountains of Ashe County to cook, eat, and raise money for a cause close to their hearts: the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation.As the group made their way to the blueberry farm where they’d spend three days, they talked about the people they’d meet there: their mutual friend Eliza Olander, who’d put the wheels in motion when she and her friend Jackie Locklear became high bidders for a foodie mountain weekend to support the foundation at a Triangle Wine Experience auction; the revered Crook’s Corner chef Bill Smith; the two Raleighites who own the farm, Johnny Burleson and Walter Clark; and 10 other friends. “Jamie believed in the power of good food and strong cocktails to bring people together to party with a purpose,” says Hahn, whose late wife Jamie inspired the creation of a foundation that nurtures leaders to work on issues like poverty, hunger, and public education. Ashe County Weekend Itinerary FridayThe group arrived and unpacked as chef Clark Barlowe of Heirloom Restaurant in Charlotte chopped tomatoes and chorizo.7 p.m.: Clark pulled out the tapas: clams, oysters, heirloom fried rabbit, and more for people to munch on as Matt Kelly of Mateo Bar de Tapas in Durham made paella over an open fire. Wine from Eliza Olander’s collection rounded out the meal.SaturdayThe group was slow to wake up on Saturday, but accelerated their pace when they smelled the pork belly soup being made in the farmhouse kitchen by Van Nolintha of Bida Manda.12:00 p.m.: Soup was served in the blueberry shed.Afternoon: The group whiled away a lazy afternoon around the farm.5:30 p.m.: Sonny Wong, bartender at Lantern Restaurant in Chapel Hill, mixed cocktails with bourbon and blueberries in a historic millhouse on the property.8 p.m.: Chefs Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill and Angela Salamanca of Centro in Raleigh made dinner. It began with a stack of Smith’s classic tomato sandwiches. They followed with seafood gazpacho, tamales, and, finally, roasted pork shoulder. For dessert, the duo made bread pudding with bread from the local farmers’ market and blueberries and apples picked from the farm.SundayBrunch: Salamanaca and Nolintha made brunch with the leftovers. Pork went into breakfast casserole; scrambled eggs were put together with peppers and arugula; and freshly picked berries made for flavorful french toast.Angela Salamanca serves up tamalesBill Smith and Angela Salamanca at work in the kitchenJohn Cooper, Angela Salamanca, Bill Smith, Vansana NolinthaPatrick Woodson, Nation HahnEliza Olander, Alexis Trost Seasonal cocktail from bartender Sarah Vickery of Chapel Hill’s Lantern RestaurantWalk Right In10-15 blueberries, muddled1/2 ounce simple syrup1/2 ounce lemon juice2 ounces bourbonCombine all ingredients and stir. Serve over rocks.Small plates from chef Clark Barlowe of Charlotte’s Heirloom restaurantChilled Clams Casino20 clams1 link fresh chorizo, diced2 shallots, minced2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped1 cup Champagne vinegar1 cup blended oil (a combination typically of olive, canola, and other cooking oils)1 teaspoon Dijon mustardSautée chorizo slowly over medium heat until fat is rendered. Soak minced shallots and chopped thyme in Champagne vinegar for 20 minutes. Add Dijon mustard to vinegar mixture and slowly drizzle in blended oil, stirring as you go to emulsify. Add chopped chorizo and its rendered fat to the vinaigrette.Shuck the clams, top with chorizo vinaigrette, and enjoy. The farm that would host them was well-suited to a weekend of purposeful partying. Its 1880 farmhouse has been painstakingly refurbished by Burleson and Clark, who bought the place in 2003 after a memorable day picking berries there a few years earlier. “We felt an instant connection” on that fateful afternoon, Clark says. The two learned the farm was an Ashe County landmark, a spot where folks had come to pick apples and blueberries for generations. “We were stewards,” Clark says, “of a very special place.”In its current, beautifully restored state, it is still that. Old Orchard Creek Farm, as they call it, continues as a working blueberry farm and “a place where visitors find solace,” Clark says. And so it made sense to them to donate the haven to the foundation for the weekend. “What better way to celebrate and support the foundation than with a weekend of fine food and drink prepared by some of North Carolina’s best chefs from local products, including lots of blueberries?”
by Kaitlyn Goalenphotographs by Jillian ClarkFolks, we’ve turned pumpkins into the Miley Cyrus of autumn eating. Once upon a time, pumpkins were cherished totems of the season, embraced with fervor by children in costumes. And while vestiges of that innocence still exist, popping up each Halloween like a Hannah Montana rerun, it’s been all but swallowed up by a new image: “pumpkin spice.” Like Miley’s wagging tongue, pumpkin spice follows us from latte to doughnut to beer. The flavor is ubiquitous and over-the-top, and tastes nothing like the ingredient for which it’s named. And that’s the shame of it, because actual pumpkins and their winter squash ilk (all part of the Cucurbitaceae family), should be the centerpiece of your cooking this month. No need to wait until Thanksgiving: make a pumpkin pie this weekend (and give it a twist by using coconut milk instead of the stalwart evaporated milk, or by throwing sorghum into the filling instead of granulated sugar). Swap out the butternut squash in your favorite soup recipe for an heirloom like red kuri squash or Jarrahdale pumpkin.Or do as I do: Let the natural vessel-like nature of pumpkins and squash work to your advantage by stuffing them full of your favorite things and roasting them whole. I like to mix stale bread with whatever is left in my fridge (the ends of a cheese plate, for example, or the last of a package of bacon), stuff the mixture into a pumpkin (or, for individual portions, acorn squash), top the mixture with cream, and bake until the squash is tender and practically melting into a cheesy, molten center.My comparison ends here: Miley, under all the pageantry and gyrating, has a killer voice. Pumpkin spice, likewise, harkens back to a vegetable worth honoring. Let’s get back to the source.Stuffed Acorn SquashServes 4This recipe is very much a template that can be customized to your taste. Swap the cheese (blue cheese would be delicious), swap spinach for kale, or bacon for sausage. You could even swap the bread for partially cooked rice; it’ll resemble a gorgeous risotto after being roasted.2 small pumpkins or 4 acorn squashSea salt and freshly ground black pepper2 tablespoons olive oil1 shallot, minced4 garlic cloves, minced8 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced3 sprigs fresh thyme2 cups cubed day-old bread (such as sourdough or country loaf)1 ounce sharp cheddar, cut into small cubes1 ounce Gruyere, cut into small cubes1 ounce Fontina, cut into small cubes3 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces and cooked until crispy (optional)1 cup spinach leaves, torn into bite-size pieces (optional)½ cup heavy creamPreheat the oven to 350°.Using a sharp knife, make a circular cut around the stems of each acorn squash (as if you were carving the top of a jack-o’-lantern). Remove the tops, and use a spoon to hollow out the squash, discarding the seeds and stringy fibers. Season the insides of the squash with salt and pepper, and set the squash inside a 13-by-9-inch rimmed baking pan.In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When it shimmers, add the shallot and garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes, and add the mushrooms and thyme. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have shrunk in size and are cooked through, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.In a large bowl, combine the bread, cheese, bacon (if using), spinach (if using), and reserved mushrooms. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon the bread mixture into the squash cavities, pressing down gently to pack. Divide the cream between the four squash, pouring it slowly into the cavity, then replace the squash tops.Bake for 90 minutes to 2 hours, until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Courtesy of Needlepoint.comNeedlepoint Retreatby Jessie AmmonsSerious stitchers will convene in the mountains this month for Elizabeth Bradley Home’s annual needlepoint retreat October 2-4 at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn. Attendees will dive in to two full days of instruction on a seasonal needlepoint kit design. With breaks for wine and cheese, coffee and cookies, open stitching, and a Kirk & Bradley and Elizabeth Bradley Home trunk show – brands known for the botanical pillows seen at local shops like Furbish Studio – the getaway’s organizers sure know their audience.They ought to. Needlepoint.Com is well known to avid needlepointers as the parent company of both Elizabeth Bradley Home and Kirk & Bradley. Its website is also a top place to find needlepoint canvases, kits, and threads. Even dedicated stitchers, though, may not realize the operation is based in Raleigh on Hillsborough Street, and that its retail store has a far broader selection than its website.Courtesy of Needlepoint.comThe store often offers classes and welcomes beginners, but the annual fall retreat tends to attract serious hobbyists. While transportation and accommodations are not included, a discounted rate at the Grove Park is available. There’s also an optional upgrade to attend classes with Joan Lohr, an artist and popular needlepoint canvas designer. The whole shebang is a luxurious spin on a familiar pastime. The 2015 Needlepoint Retreat is $980, and the Grove Park Inn rate begins at $299 per night. For more information and to see what other local, beginner-friendly events are offered, visit needlepoint.com.
Courtesy Jason CraigheadJason Craighead has long had a leading role in the Raleigh art scene as an an artist, as a member of the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, as a collaborative studio founder, and as a former gallerist. Now his reputation as a contemporary artist has grown beyond North Carolina. This fall, Craighead’s work made a splash with Beyond Myth, a solo show at the prestigious Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Art gallery in New York, and next month, he’ll have another solo show at Tinney Contemporary in Nashville, Tenn.Lately, Craighead says, his work has been influenced by myths of heroes and adventurers, those who “answer the calling within and venture down a path that is filled with challenges.” Bending Time (above), from his most recent body of work, reflects some of those ideas. “When we choose to seek our very own personal adventure and find our very own personal voice,” he says, “… our hearts have room to rise.”Jason Craighead’s work is represented locally by Flanders Gallery, 505 S. Blount St., flandersartgallery.com.His Nashville, Tenn. show opens Dec. 5 at Tinney Contemporary, 237 5th Ave. North, Nashville, Tenn.;tinneycontemporary.com. Read more about Craighead at jasoncraighead.com.
by Tracy Davisphotographs by Nick PironioRaleigh artist Clark Hipolito is a man in constant motion, a quality he shares with much of the art he makes. His reputation was built with murals and commercial interior design – art that stays where you put it – but his interests have led him to fill a unique niche on canvases that move: surfboards, skateboards, and guitars.“His artwork is absolutely amazing,” says master luthier Jay Lichty, who won Garden & Gun magazine’s 2010 top “Made in the South” award for his handcrafted guitars and ukuleles. One of Lichty’s ukuleles, painted by Hipolito, hangs on the wall of his dining room. “I treat this one more like art. It’s just too pretty to keep in a case. And honestly,” he pauses midsentence, examining the instrument, “I’m still not sure how he pulls them off. Is this gold leaf? It’s gorgeous.”A Connecticut native, Hipolito, 45, first found his inspiration in the Atlantic Ocean. During a 2003 trip to Charleston, where he was creating custom interiors and murals, Hipolito headed out to Folly Beach, noticed that the waves were great, and decided to rent a surfboard. He ended up with a decrepit old board and bought it on impulse. “If a board could have rust, this one would have.” He cleaned it up, painted it with a faux wood finish, “put art on it, and then rode it.” The board got attention. Soon Hipolito was painting boards for other surfers, and next thing he knew, he had a 15-board show in downtown Wilmington. Surfboards eventually led to instruments.Serendipity also played a role early on. After graduating from Seton Hall with degrees in business and design, Hipolito worked as an on-air graphics designer at MTV Networks in New York. He saw murals being painted and thought, “I want that. So, I started being an artist.” In 1994, he founded The Art Company, Inc., which he still runs, to create custom art. At about the same time, Hipolito moved South. Stints in Atlanta (“meh”) and Charleston (“liked but didn’t love”) failed to win him over, so a friend suggested he check out the Raleigh-Durham area. His introduction to the Triangle was a walk down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Everything clicked. “I loved it. Lots to do, pretty people, everyone’s friendly, good cost of living. All the basics. I thought, give it a year.”Hipolito decided on Raleigh, setting up in a warehouse on Yonkers Road where, surrounded by purveyors of lumber, lighting, and plumbing, he figured he could draw on the area’s innate grit and build-it vibe to turn the place into a SoHo artist’s loft. “Nope,” he says. “Completely didn’t work.” But a mural he painted there caught the eye of a couple shopping for tile and led to his first real job in Raleigh: a mural in their Italian restaurant, Casalinga Ristorante, at the time a popular spot on Capital Boulevard. The mural job snowballed into a collaboration to revamp the entire restaurant, and ultimately paved the way for fruitful connections with area builders.That ability to spark connection is another of Hipolito’s talents. Quick to smile, quick to make friends, quick to say yes, he’s not a “mull it over” kind of guy. That translates to an aptitude for “connecting the dots,” as he puts it, with the dots being people, ideas, and projects.From the start, both his clients and his art have been diverse. Early mixed-media commissions came from the Carolina Hurricanes and Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, and his paintings have appeared in TV series like Dawson’s Creek and Sex and the City. His art reflects influences as diverse as Roy Lichtenstein’s blending of text and image and the classical forms of Michelangelo. His work is also as likely to be on the ceiling or floor as it is to adorn a wall.So it was only natural that Hipolito – and his art – would go off-road.Things That Go When he first started painting surfboards, “I had no idea how to price them,” Hipolito says. For lack of a better plan, he created a silent auction with bid sheets at his first show. It created buzz from the start – it didn’t hurt that there were film crews in town – and prices shot up. The boards sold out the first night. “I thought, ‘I need to stick to this!’ It was killer.”Surfboards led to skateboards, and then came the leap to guitars. That’s no surprise to anyone who knows Hipolito, an avid music fan. Guitars are “an intimate canvas,” he says. “You can focus.” He paints them on commission and in live settings, including at the Bonnaroo music festival and at Raleigh nonprofit Band Together’s annual Main Event.The 2010 Band Together show, with headliner Michael Franti, made for an especially serendipitous connection. “I’m painting live while Franti does his thing,” he says, “and after the show Franti tells me that he loves it. Then he says, ‘Got a minute?’” Franti showed Hipolito his favorite acoustic guitar and asked him to paint it, but there was a catch: It was the only acoustic Franti had with him on tour, and he needed it in Asheville, ready to play, less than 48 hours later. “If you can do it,” said Franti, “take it.”“I went back to my house and got to work that night.” says Hipolito. Several hours later, his girlfriend drove Hipolito – borderline delirious from lack of sleep and a head full of lacquer fumes – to Asheville. He delivered it to a delighted Franti, and more projects came his way, all via word of mouth, including two guitars for members of Journey and an electric bass for the bassist of the rock band Umphrey’s McGee. “I have huge gratitude,” says Hipolito. “I get to see someone amazing playing my guitar on stage. And when those artists say good things about my art? It’s the ultimate gratification.”That appreciation for the talents of other artists – “the makers,” he says – fostered his collaboration with guitar maker Lichty, and with East Coast Surfing Hall of Famer and renowned surfboard shaper Will Allison, who approaches boards as functional sculpture. Their 2011 Birds of a Feather show, featuring Hipolito’s art on Lichty’s instruments and Allison’s surfboards, was held at Deluxe in Wilmington. It brought together everything Hipolito loves.“Those guys are masters,” says Hipolito. “There was a symbiosis, as well as a generational thing – these three compatible arts coming together.”For his part, Lichty met Hipolito when his client Mike Gossin of the band Gloriana commissioned a Lichty guitar, and wanted Hipolito’s art on it. Lichty wasn’t sure that was such a good idea. “The top of a guitar is the main tone producing part of it,” he explains, “so any art has to be absolutely thin, with no depth. Put too much paint on there, it’ll mess up the sound.”But he was willing to try. After Lichty built Gossin’s instrument, Hipolito came to his Tryon workshop to paint it. “He got there about 7 p.m.,” Lichty says. “I eventually went to bed, and when I got up at seven or eight the next morning, he was just finishing up,” recalls Lichty. “Then he heads back to Raleigh. He’s got some energy.” The two later met in Wilmington to deliver the instrument to Gossin, who loved how it looked and how it sounded. Says Lichty, “The consensus was, this was such a cool thing. Let’s do a project together.” The result includes the ukelele he now admires on his dining room wall.How he does itHipolito works in all mediums, but acrylics are his favorite. “You can do anything with them. They dry fast; they’re compatible with any surface.” And they take well to being sealed, which is especially important for art that has a job to do. Surfboards need resin; guitars need lacquer. “I’ve seen oils dissolve under a clear coat,” he says. “Not cool.”Because much of his art is made in public or commercial spaces, he doesn’t get many stretches of alone time with room for his thoughts to wander. So the solo all-nighter has become his favorite time to paint and create. “I’ll start something at maybe 11 or 12, and stay with it till 4 or 5,” he says. “Then sleep! And then head out for on-site stuff.”He works in his studio and at his home, both in Five Points, and also in a space above Wine On Main in Clayton, which he co-owns with Temple Phipps. He likes that the wine shop has become a meeting house of sorts for diverse groups in the community, and he has immersed himself in the city, chairing veterans’ memorial and public sculpture trail projects there. “Clayton. I love it. That main street is Glenwood South twenty years ago,” he says. “Just you watch!”Over on present-day Glenwood South, Hipolito’s newest work is at Devolve, a motorcycle and outdoor lifestyle shop. His surfboards are for sale, his murals are on the walls, and his passions are represented: art, travel, and bikes. Hipolito got his first motorcycle as a kid. He and his father chanced upon a bike in a random shop, and decided it was meant to be. “It fit in the trunk,” he says with a grin. “I can still see it. A Suzuki JR50.”If there’s a downside to living in-the-moment as emphatically as Hipolito does, it’s that there aren’t as many chances as he’d like to savor the moments as they come. There’s too much he wants to do.The top of that list: work with the band Widespread Panic. And, he adds, “I’d kind of like to do a hotel. Something in downtown Raleigh. A cool hotel.” Unlike Hipolito, a hotel just might hold still.
Travel Style Tryon Palace
Courtesy Jumping Rocksby Mimi MontgomeryA weekend trip to the mountains is one way to escape the swelter. The Swag bed-and-breakfast is a secluded, luxuriously rustic boutique getaway in Waynesville, cozied right up to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Four of North Carolina’s six highest mountain ranges – the Great Smokies, the Plott Balsams, the Richland Balsams, and the Black Mountains – are visible from the Swag. The inn has a network of trails for rambling and exploring, and offers guided hikes, too. There’s plenty to do indoors, as well – the lodge has a sauna, massage therapy room, racquetball court, and extensive library. It’s also an easy drive to Asheville or the Blue Ridge Parkway.The best part? The food. The Swag is all-inclusive, which is particularly great when you’re excited to dig in: The award-winning restaurant puts on a daily breakfast buffet and dinners with seasonally-inspired menus featuring fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs from its gardens. The kitchen will pack a picnic lunch for you every day, and often hosts outdoor barbecues, too.Courtesy Jumping RocksThe Swag only has 14 guest rooms, so it pays to make reservations well ahead of time. You won’t want to miss out on these digs – the perfect blend of refined and rustic, many of the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and private balconies overlooking the mountains, and some even have outdoor soaking tubs and showers.The Swag opened for its 35th season last month, and will stay open through November 26. Check it out this summer, and you may develop a sudden interest in foliage this fall.2300 Swag Road, Waynesville; theswag.comCourtesy Jumping Rocks
The Powell GT chorus rehearses before its performance in Meymandi Concert Hall on April 5. The fourth-and fifth-graders had practiced for months, coming in to rehearse at 8 a.m. before their school day began.Raleigh Fine Art Society’s Choral Celebrationby Mimi Montgomeryphotographs by Jillian ClarkIt’s a Tuesday evening in April, and Meymandi Concert Hall is packed. In a few short minutes, Powell GT elementary school’s chorus will take the stage, and the kids are shushing each other as they wait in the wings for their cue. Their fourth- and fifth-grade faces are bathed in the blue light of backstage bulbs as they whisper last-minute notes and bits of advice to each other under the din of the audience outside and the sounds of the accompanists warming up. They’ve been counting down the months to this night. Their moment is finally here. On the other side of the curtain, it’s not the usual symphony crowd anticipating a night of classical music – it’s kids like them, all of whom will also have their own chance to perform. This is the first night of an annual two-night Raleigh Fine Arts Society Choral Celebration, bringing Wake County elementary school choruses to the capital city’s finest stage to perform for their parents, friends, and the public. The kids are all dressed in their best, some in white button-downs and dress pants, and others in black dresses and bows. As the audience goes quiet, the Powell students fidget anxiously and giggle; at the last minute, their teacher, Terri Gervais, confiscates phones from two of them. The kids stand up straight. It’s time to go on. “I’m so ready,” Damarian King, 11, mouths, a grin on his face.Leaving a legacy Powell is one of dozens of schools that have participated over the last 17 years in this annual concert, held each spring. Created in 1999 by RFAS founding member Martha Zaytoun, the event added music to the group’s lineup of programs designed to promote literature and the visual arts. The event rose in prominence in 2001 when it moved to Meymandi, and so many schools wanted to participate that RFAS had to add an extra evening to accommodate them all. Its popularity has only grown. This year’s Celebration included a record 16 schools and nearly 1,000 children singing. From the beginning, the event has showcased fourth- and fifth-grade choruses from Wake County schools, and has aimed to help improve their music as well as showcase it. The choruses are reviewed by an adjudicator, who provides notes and comments ahead of the performance, in which each school performs two songs individually and sings three all together. Because young children’s voices have their own special quality, working with them is different than conducting teenagers or adults, and requires experienced conductors trained in elementary music. The Celebration’s advisors (Ann LeGarde, Kenya Snider, and Ann Goldfinch) are all former or current teachers certified to teach music to children; they help structure the flow of the performance and help each participating school’s conductor select music that will showcase their children’s voices in the best way. This year, RFAS also assigned a choral clinician to each school who attended two rehearsals, and not only worked with the children on their selected music pieces, but provided feedback to their teachers, too. In addition, RFAS invited all of the schools’ choral teachers to a workshop with Dr. Frances Page, a professor of music at Meredith College and the conductor of the Capital City Girls Choir. Teachers filled out professional development forms before and after their school’s performances, as well, to chart their own growth and reflect on their students’ improvements. “This is something else we can do where we’re giving back,” says Dena Silver, chair of the Choral Celebration. “This is something where kids learn, where teachers learn. So, over time, you’re building on all that.” Silver says that’s important, because lower school choirs are at risk. “A lot of teachers and school administrators don’t feel that they’re necessary. So, we felt we needed to continue to improve the profile of those schools and elementary choral programs, and if we did that, they would maybe have a longer life.” Celebration advisor and Farmington Woods teacher Ann LeGarde says it’s working. “They gain so much confidence from that opportunity. When you finally see them on stage and hear them … their faces are lit up by the beautiful lights and they’re so excited and so proud of themselves,” she says. “It’s definitely a memory that lasts a lifetime. It’s just beautiful. It’s really beautiful.”The chorus stands at attention during one of their early morning practices.Going the extra distance Of the 16 schools participating in the Choral Celebration, Powell is one of four newcomers. A Raleigh magnet school, it is a diverse, arts-based elementary school near the Oakwood area focused on play and ingenuity. The children in its fourth- and fifth-grade chorus love to perform and go to great lengths to do so, arriving at 8 a.m. to rehearse before the school day begins. One March morning, some are sleepy, dragging their backpacks into the colorful room, but most seem excited. There’s a palpable buzz in the air – today their RFAS-assigned choral clinician, Anne Mormon-Smith, is there to listen to the group rehearse the two pieces they’ll sing in the Celebration. It’s clear that Gervais, Powell’s general music and chorus teacher, has set expectations for her students: They perch on the edge of their seats with rail-straight backs. In Gervais’ book, learning the correct way to carry a note or breathe from their stomachs is just as important as learning professionalism, responsibility, and cooperation. The group prepares to launch into a version of their favorite song, The Moon. “What is the feeling in The Moon?” Gervais calls out to her class. “Calm!” one child shouts out. “Soothing,” says another. “It makes me feel inspired and hopeful,” pipes up a voice from the back. She implores the group to use that imagery to infuse the piece with emotion. Gervais employs a variety of techniques to communicate what could be complicated musical terms to a group of elementary schoolers. She asks the kids to “color” the music with their voices to create emotion and movement in the music, and uses visuals like pulling an imaginary ribbon through the air to have them carry out a note and build a crescendo. “The kids that are coming really, really love to sing,” says Gervais. “They just have a natural ability.”Clinician Anne Mormon-Smith works with the children. After a rousing rendition of their second song, the classic Simple Gifts, and some helpful feedback from Smith, it’s time for the first class of the day. Everyone’s in a good mood after a morning of singing. Fourth-grader Elexis Creech, 10, says she can’t wait to perform at Meymandi. Her brother has seen the auditorium, and “he said that it was humongous and that it’s pretty. So, I’m really excited.” And more than a little ready to belt out the tunes. “I honestly think I was born to be in the spotlight,” she adds. That zest for performing runs through the group. Timmy Richardson, a 10-year-old fifth-grader, says he’s “just a little bit nervous,” but that he loves “to be in front of an audience.” The excitement is well-earned, Gervais says. The kids have taken it seriously, and it’s going to pay off. It’s an important lesson in working diligently towards achieving a goal. “It is hard work,” she says. “I tell them all the time – it’s hard work, but it’s fun. That’s what everything worthwhile is.”Teacher Terri Gervais conducts. Gervais knows all about that. “She’s gone above and beyond,” says Curtis Brower, Powell’s principal; he credits the chorus’ success to Gervais’ dedication, offering early rehearsals and ensuring that students who want to participate will be able to do so. Interest in what she’s doing has been so high she’s recently added a third-grade chorus, too, and many of her students have gone on to audition for outside groups like the Raleigh Boychoir. When she told her students they were headed to Meymandi April 5, they couldn’t contain themselves. “They were jumping up and down,” she says. It’s a first-time experience for many of the children in her group. The opportunity to perform in a real auditorium on a professional stage with excellent acoustics is a rare one. “This is a blending of backgrounds of kids,” says Gervais. “Some kids have probably gone to see things at the theater itself or the concert hall … (but) a lot of the other kids were never exposed to that. … So this is really a big thing for them to be able to sing on that stage.”Choral teacher Terri Gervais conducts the Powell GT chorus as they perform on the stage at Meymandi Concert Hall.Keep singing On performance night, it all comes together. The kids beam as all 500 of them come together to sing the last communal song of the evening, Stars, a piece commissioned by RFAS to honor Zaytoun. The sound of so many earnest voices rising up and into the ceiling of the auditorium is the pinnacle of an already memorable evening, and the students rush out to meet their waiting parents with grins on their faces. Teachers hand out cookies and hugs, and the kids high-five each other. They did it. It’s RFAS’ hope that many of the participants will continue singing long after this evening and help to preserve this celebration of music in Wake County. As everyone begins to leave, many of the students keep carrying the tunes even as they exit Meymandi with their families, humming the familiar melodies as they go their opposite directions into the night. Some are headed off to middle school next year; some have another year in thechorus. But one thing’s pretty clear: They will all keep singing.Scanning the music.
courtesy Thinkstockby Mimi MontgomeryI’ve never had the best luck with cars. I actually consider mysself a good driver, but I seem to be a walking, breathing manifestation of an automotive Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will surely come barrelling toward me and usually in an extremely public setting. On my driving record we have: three failed driving tests; uprooted mailboxes; fender benders; countless keys locked behind closed car doors; an incident with a flying bug and an air conditioner (don’t ask); numerous expired registration tickets; several middle fingers administered by portly, aggressive older men who could clearly use a hug; confrontations with neighbor’s trash cans; dislodged door handles; and a brief run-in with a boulder that I still maintain was not my fault (it was a very ill-placed boulder).Considering my colorful automotive past, I was a little intrigued when I took my car into the shop to be repaired for a week (yes, you don’t have to ask – another fender bender). What would it be like to commute without a car in a city like Raleigh? I’ve often thought that the parameters of inside-the-beltline Raleigh were just small enough to be pretty conducive to getting around car-less. Sure, you may not want to walk everywhere, but most places are within a decent bike-ride’s distance, and they’ve already got all the painted bike lanes and sidewalks set up for you. It’s clearly a city that wants to be bike-friendly, so why aren’t there more Raleighites who travel by two wheels or two feet?It seems that most distances that people drive here are stretches that big-city dwellers would stoically walk or bike in a heartbeat. When I lived in Manhattan for a summer, I would walk 30 minutes to work every day in the kind of sun-beating heat that leaves you praying for a solar eclipse. I frequently showed up to work looking like I had just ended an eight-month sojourn in the Amazonian wilderness: I would stumble in everyday loaded down like an urban sherpa with my gym and work bags, sweating like a nervous pig in a steam room, and grimy head-to-toe with city sludge.It was either that or take the subway, which during that time of year was basically like submerging one’s self into the subterranean molten lava of the Earth’s core. In fact, I would have rather licked the concrete sidewalk in Times Square than spoon the subway passenger standing in front of me in that overcrowded, overheated catacomb. But the thing is, I couldn’t really complain. I was hardly alone in this endeavor; everyone did it. No one thought twice about a half-hour’s walk in the middle of summer to wherever you were going.Part of that has to do with practicality, yes – it’s extremely expensive to keep a car in a large city, much less grab a taxi everywhere. But I also think Manhattanites all know something that I didn’t fully realize until that summer: There’s a certain paradoxical stillness to commuting outdoors in a city, to finding yourself perfectly aware of and in contact with your surroundings. Traveling unencumbered from a car, I was forced to actively participate in the world around me, to see the Hare Krishnas chanting in Union Square, the Middle Eastern man selling bananas out of a cart on my corner, the woman who put fresh flowers out every morning in front of the local bodega. These were the talismans of my morning walks, my own personal New York souvenirs, the bits of life that ingrained themselves into my own existence – steadily, slowly – like water-worn grooves on a rock.At the risk of sounding like Thoreau on a Transcendentalist ramble, I will confess this: I am an American consumer through-and-through. I have the carbon footprint of a diesel 18-wheeler – there’s nothing better than hopping into my fuel-eating Jeep SUV, turning on the air conditioner full blast, drinking out of a plastic water bottle I probably won’t recycle, and emitting some serious greenhouse gases as I easily cruise to my next destination and the ozone layer slowly withers away above me. Of course I feel a bit guilty about this, but it’s the kind of guilt I feel when I don’t floss for a few days or purposefully “forget” to set the trash cans out before the garbage trucks come – a certain apathetic cringe and knowledge that I could do better, while ultimately allowing sloth convenience to reign.So, when my most recent car misadventure forced me to revert to my ancestral state as a weary bi-ped traveler, I got strangely excited. This would be kind of fun, I thought, my mind racing: There I’d be, biking to work on a beautiful spring day on a cute beach cruiser with an adorable little basket, wearing some sort of chic ensemble like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. As you’ve probably already guessed, that’s not how it panned out. Since I don’t own a bike of my own, I borrowed my roommate’s, who is a small, lithe girl about four inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than I am. When I hopped on her bike, it groaned like an old Grand Canyon pack donkey resigned to the fact that it had to take another obese person on a trail ride. The bike sagged to the ground and my knees were practically up to my ears as I took off, low-rider style, down my street.I tried to practice some Zen mindfulness as I cruised down Brooks Avenue onto Hillsborough Street, doing my best to take in the spring morning and the sights around me. Look – there was a beautiful collection of spring flowers, and some pretty birds perched in that tree, and was that an early morning dew I felt softly misting my face? No – that was sweat. A massive quantity of sweat, spurting from my pores like a ruptured water pipe.As I cruised by the N.C. State belltower, the cars beside me slowed down to get a good look at the girl in the highly-bike-inappropriate summer sandals wobbling on a bike clearly made for an undersized toddler. It became apparent that even though there are lanes specifically denoted for bike riders on Hillsborough, the majority of Raleigh drivers are still confused and frustrated by bike riders. Many cars veered too close into my lane or just lurked slowly behind me, unsure of what to do. Honestly, the way some people stared, you’d think I’d decided to ride a unicycle topless through morning traffic.One of the good things about this commute, though, was that I gained some major street cred with the Raleigh hipsters. As I got closer to downtown, they began springing up like mushrooms in the grass after a rainstorm, easily identified by their rolled-up jeans, purposefully nerdy glasses, canvas NPR tote bags, sustainably sourced coffee cups, and Bernie 2016 campaign stickers. As I passed by on my eco-friendly steed, they gave me a cool, vaguely visible nod as if to say, “Right on, man. You’re one of us,” before whooshing off toward whichever local start-up or alternative coffee shop lay on the distant horizon. If they had seen me in my Jeep, they probably would have given me a withering glance and mentally condemned me for driving something not fueled by hemp-seed oil or recycled kombucha.My embrace by the hipster subculture aside, by the time I got to work, my knees were aching like a geriatric and I looked like I had just emerged from a swamp, with enough perspiration covering me for three grown men combined. And I still had to bike home at the end of the day!Was it worth it? Yes and no. Raleigh is definitely a bike-able city, although I wouldn’t necessarily call it bike-friendly. Sure, you can get around where you want to on a bike if need be, and there are a good number of painted bike lanes and sidewalks for your use, but I would say bike transportation is nowhere near an expected or accepted norm.But maybe it should be – ridiculousness follows me like an ever-persistent shadow, sure, but there was a stretch of time on my commute where things seemed to fall into place (however briefly). As I rode past the North Carolina Democratic Party building, that old, white house sitting full of history and charm, and down along the various shops and businesses that line Hillsborough Street, I had that feeling of shimmering, full joy that comes from knowing you’re exactly where you need to be when you need to be. We live in a great city, full of life, vibrancy, new things, and kind, interesting people, and getting to see it from a new perspective reminded me of that all over again.Outside of a car, you simply catch things you wouldn’t otherwise. For better or worse (for my own well-being and that of the city of Raleigh), I’m sure I have some more bike rides ahead of me. If you happen to pass me on the open road, give me a honk – I’ll be the grown adult with training wheels and a padded crash suit.
Pilobolus photo by Ian DouglasAmerican Dance Festivalby Mimi MontgomeryMovement is alive in the Triangle this summer when the American Dance Festival hosts its 83rd season in Durham June 16 – July 30. Heralded by The New York Times as “one of the nation’s most important institutions,” the festival, founded in 1934, aims to foster creative growth in the modern dance world by bringing together dancers, choreographers, and students to learn and practice alongside one another. This season, the festival will present 61 performances in 13 Durham venues by 26 companies and choreographers from Israel, Russia, France, and the U.S. Throughout, professional training workshops will be held for dancers, choreographers, students, and teachers from around the world at Duke University.The gathering also aims to have a local impact: ADF Project Dance offers creative movement workshops to Triangle students and distributes over 500 free performance tickets to local nonprofits. The group also partners with Durham’s Central Park School for Children to introduce dance classes as an alternative to more traditional physical education classes.Company Wang Ramirez photo by Frank SzafinskiThroughout the summer, ADF will also partner with lululemon for free, public yoga classes; lead free tours throughout the ADF school; host a children’s Saturday matinee series featuring especially imaginative performances to captivate little ones; and hold free movie screenings focusing on the relationship between body movement and cinema. Plus, through the ADF Go program, young art lovers between the ages of 18-30 can purchase a $10 ticket to any performance (barring Savion Glover and Jack DeJohnette June 20-21).Go big, go small, but definitely go. There are plenty of performances happening throughout the two months and it’s easy to take your pick. For a full list of performances, events, locations, and ticket prices, visit americandancefestival.org
Nick Donaldsonby Liza RobertsHundreds of art and garden lovers came from all over the Triangle to Frances Alvarino Norwood’s lush North Raleigh gardens for her 21st and final Larkspur Party June 4 and 5. Garden lovers will still have a chance to see her flowery showplace, she says, on Aug. 7 and Sept. 4, but without the art that has drawn huge crowds to her residential neighborhood.The Larkspur party was created by Alvarino Norwoood to showcase the work of fellow artists to the public. It began as a free, three-artist show in her front yard in 1995; this year featured 38 artists across her expanded three acres of flower and vegetable beds. The blooming sanctuary is itself a work of art, and a reflection of her other profession: gardener. “At some point,” she says, “we had to decide if we wanted more artists or more garden beds, and the garden beds won.” Still, she says, it’s been a good run, “an opportunity to share my mother’s love of gardening, and has allowed me to get to know some incredible artists and meet many other enthusiast gardeners.” Longtime fans thronged for one last hurrah. Tucked between Alvarino Norwood’s massive hydrangea, delicate poppies, and airy Queen Anne’s Lace were paintings, pots, wind chimes, and sculptures. Botanical illustrations by Preston Montague and silver jewelry by Dan Dye were standouts. In the larkspur itself stood Alvarino Norwood’s own elegant, elongated figurative ceramic sculptures, which sold out within the first hour. The Alvarino Norwood family will open their garden to the public without charge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 7 and Sept. 24.
Aly Khalifa, owner and director of innovation, at Lyf Shoes at Designbox in RaleighTrailblazing shoe designerby Tina Haver Currinphotographs by Travis LongLast year at SPARKcon, downtown Raleigh’s annual festival of innovation and creativity, Aly and Beth Khalifa, local designers and entrepreneurs, had to apply to participate. The couple had that in common with 30 other hopeful applicants, but none of those folks also had “SPARKcon co-founders” on their resumes.“We weren’t sure we would get in,” Khalifa says, with a hearty laugh. “SPARKcon is all open-source and run by the people who organize it, so I had no say whatsoever.”Which is how the couple designed it in 2006, when they began the festival to celebrate Raleigh’s fashion week. After the first five hectic, successful years of running it – inventing and designing all the while – the pair relinquished management to the Visual Art Exchange, but not before expanding SPARKcon far beyond fashion to encompass film and technology, food and music, art and commerce. These days, the once-modest event transforms downtown Raleigh into a weekend-long hive of creative expression, with a pop-up bazaar, runway show with a sprawling City Plaza catwalk, improv comedians, and chalk art that stretches for as far as the eye can see.Aly Khalifa, owner and director of innovation, left, and Mingyn Lin, product designer and developer, work at Designbox in RaleighMaterials and patterns for Lyf shoesMeanwhile, the Khalifas are fully focused on launching Lyf, their own 3-D printed, custom-made, eco-shoe company in the heart of downtown Raleigh. Their status as festival founders gave them no free ride into the event’s Wear What You Are fashion show. But the couple needn’t have worried. Lyf was selected to become the first footwear company to debut in the Triangle’s largest annual fashion exhibition, which has emerged as a showcase for the area’s best up-and-coming jewelry, clothing, and accessories. Alumni include Raleigh Denim Workshop, Holly Aiken, and Lumina Clothing, putting Lyf in good company.Finding himself on the other side of the planning equation for the first time, Khalifa had to ask himself new quesions: What would Lyf’s models look like? How should they represent themselves as a company? “It was the first time we got to present the real package,” he says, “and it was great for us. It made us confront the brand.”That was nearly a year ago. This year, as the 11th annual festival gears up for its run from September 15 through 18, Lyf is poised for larger-scale production.Designbox beginningsIt all began at Designbox, the Khalifas’ creative incubator that, until this year, was located in the Warehouse District. Since 2003, Designbox has supported local startups with a collaborative workspace and small retail store. These days, Designbox rests atop Cafe Helios, and it’s where the Khalifas refine their newest endeavor: a line of custom 3-D-printed shoes.“For more than a decade we’ve had a 3-D printer working for clients. It’s amazing what we paid for the first one, and what a pain it was compared to new technology, which has become a lot simpler,” Khalifa says. “For the shoes, we’re using a lot of 3-D printing to do sustainable footwear.”That original ZPrinter allowed the team to go from design to prototype in three days. The team at Lyf now has five printers, and hopes to add seven more in the coming year. They’ve taken to naming the printers to quickly diagnose their quirks and variations (“Beethoven” is a particularly loud printer; “Mad Jack” is “rock solid.”)A 3-D printer prints Lyf shoe components at DesignboxFor now, the printers stack on top of each other, and if all goes to plan, the entire operation will eventually be mobile, like a food truck for shoes. Customers will get fitted in a standard pair of kicks, and then add their own customized art or design to the cotton canvas or leather. The shoes will then be assembled and ready for pickup in an hour. It’s a unique approach – but nothing new for the innovative couple.“In many ways, we talk about Lyf like we talk about SPARKcon,” says Khalifa. “If we put SPARKcon into a pair of shoes, what would that look like? Sensitivity to the environment, trying to stimulate the local economy, celebrating creativity, being a good product with good craft, all those principles are now in Lyf shoes.”One of the most intriguing prospects of Lyf is that sizes can be created and assembled without mass production, which means that someone with unusally sized feet, or feet of different sizes – one a size bigger than the other, for instance – could order a pair of Lyfs to fit them exactly. Khalifa estimates he has over 4,000 different size files available, and the number is growing.Finding a new wayThe impetus to design footwear evolved naturally for Khalifa, who worked at Performance Bicycle after earning dual engineering and product design degrees from N.C. State University. When he began designing footwear for cycling, Khalifa became “the guy who always had to be on the factory floor.” He didn’t expect an unintended side effect from his visits: an immediate, splitting headache from the toxic chemicals used in shoe manufacturing.Operations manager Joey Fralin preps 3-D printersKhalifa lays out the components of a Lyf shoeThe traditional system is inherently broken, he says: “We’re moving our footwear production with a level of ignorance, from the U.S. to Mexico to Taiwan to China to Vietnam to Burma. Each time, after one generation, people have a hard time recruiting because the toxic chemicals in shoe production can cause birth defects,” Khalifa says. “But that’s just one part of it. There are also 50 materials in an average pair of shoes.” That makes disassembling and recycling shoes nearly impossible, he says, because the cost of processing such a complex product is so high.Khalifa began to think about ways to do things differently.At Lyf, each of the shoe’s components are made of a single-source material, and the shoes are intentionally designed to come apart. Lyf also offers a 15 percent discount to customers who return their shoes after they’ve been worn. That results in a 15 percent return from its own supply chain, too, due to their materials’ infinitely recyclable nature. Khalifa points out the system is called a circular economy, where products are intentionally designed from the beginning with their entire lifecycle in mind.A Lyf shoe prototype made of 3-D printed components and recycled airplane seat material“By taking the material back, (manufacturers) don’t have to return all the way to petroleum or to the cottonseed, so it’s a really good deal for everyone,” Khalifa explains. “The trick is, the designer has to attach value after that first use. But, I think if you wouldn’t take it back, you shouldn’t put it out there. We’re designing so that when you buy a pair of Lyf shoes, the world gets better.”
Photograph by Elizabeth Galecke
Revival Livingby Jesma Reynoldsphotographs by Catherine NguyenWhen Elizabeth Miller learned it was her turn to host Magazine Club last April, the pediatrician and mother of three realized her current living room furnishings – two small loveseats – might not accommodate the 20 ladies who comprise the membership of the venerable 100-year club in Tarboro. So she sent up an emergency flare to Eliza Stoecker and Louise Stowe in Raleigh. The sisters and Tarboro natives were already well acquainted with her gracious Greek Revival home, known as Cotton Valley. They’d long been friends with Miller’s husband Ken, who had grown up in the historic house and recently purchased it from his parents for his young and growing family. Fortuitously, Stoecker, Stowe, and business partner Christina Allen had recently expanded their services as owners of Fleur Boutique, a women’s designer clothing store in North Hills, to include interiors, so they were ready to jump in. For her part, Elizabeth was more than ready and willing to hand over entirely the task of redecorating. What began as work in one room quickly morphed into an entire house redo.After tackling the stately living room, where they added ethereal mint silk curtains strewn with birds, the Fleur trio moved to the family room, where they lacquered the walls in a deep peacock blue, a bold and modern approach. In the dining room, they hung wallpaper by Gracie, adding custom touches of peacock blue birds and birdcages to echo the family room walls. The light-filled kitchen was gutted and bedecked with custom cabinetry and oversized brass hardware. Fabrics throughout the rooms were chosen from Brunschwig & Fils, Schumacher, Zoffany, and Quadrille. Other punches of color – a zebra wallpaper in the powder room and pops of yellow on pillows – added a zing to gracious, important architecture. The overall effect is simultaneously timeless and vibrant. With three children ranging from 6 months to 7 years, that’s a good thing for the active two-doctor family who both practice in Rocky Mount. Elizabeth says her 15-minute commute home to the tranquility of Cotton Valley is transformative. Meanwhile, Ken, an orthodontist and onetime musician, enjoys caring for the extensive grounds, playing his guitar, and riding around in his golf cart with a glass of wine when he returns from work in the late afternoon, taking it all in, proving that you can indeed go home again.
Noel Weston, owner of Lakeview Daylily Farm in Garner, NCIN FULL BLOOMLakeview Daylily Farmby Jessie Ammonsphotographs by Geoff WoodNoel Weston knows plants. As the first-ever horticulturalist for the City of Raleigh, he spent three decades managing park blooms, roadside annuals, and the trees and grasses of other public spaces. After all of those years, one flower stood out for him: daylilies. Weston says the plant’s low maintenance and reliably bright annual blooms make for a crowd-pleaser. “They’re easy and people love them,” he says. “That’s good enough for me.” At Weston’s Lakeview Daylily Farm in Garner, a sea of 1,100 daylily varieties blooms across five acres, and most of them are for sale. There are traditional smooth-edged flowers in golden hues, and then there are varieties with names like little fat cat, bursting loose, white predator, and exotic flag. Weston’s favorite is called Connie can’t have it. Some have ruffled petals, others have colors as vibrant and varied as a palette of paint. Weston has been collecting cultivars for decades, he says, gathered from various gardening group meetings, visits to publc and private gardens, and the Raleigh Hemerocallis (daylily) Club. The daylily club’s president, Wanda Quinn, and her husband, Ray, operated a commercial garden for many years that helped jump-start Weston’s collection. But now, Lakeview Daylily Farm’s wide variety hails “from all over.” Although Weston sells between 5,000 and 7,000 plants a year, he’s not too concerned with the numbers. “I loved my job” as horticulturalist, he says, and this is his way to love retirement. “People who don’t work when they retire don’t last long.” A love of gardening also inspires the other 15 acres at Lakeview (which adjoins Weston Farms, where daughter Erin Weston grows magnolias for her luxury wreath and tablescape business). In addition to daylilies, Noel Weston also has a few koi ponds; some banana, apple, and pear trees; a recently planted okra plot; and some blueberry bushes – for the moment. He’s also dabbling in raising guppies, but he’s not ready to sell them. Yet.Noel Weston, owner of Lakeview Daylily Farm in Garner, NC For the most part, Weston maintains Lakeview himself. During the peak blooming season of June to August, he’ll hire a few people to help out. Then it’s back to the patient rhythm of strolling the grounds, keeping a close eye on each plant, season to season. With the weathered visage of one who has spent more of his years outside than in, and a cache of naturalist witticisms – “Daylilies: also known as deer candy” – it’s clear that Weston’s retirement has legs. Open during bloom season Fridays – Sundays 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., or by appointment; 1000 Benson Road, Garner; weston-farms.com/daylilies
GROWING UPMarbles Kids Museum plans its next decadeby Jessie Ammonsphotograph courtesy Marbles Kids MuseumMarbles Kids Museum celebrated its tenth anniversary this fall by planning for its next decade, purchasing a 16,000-square-foot building next door on Hargett Street. “Property downtown is not always readily available,” says vice president of development Emily Bruce. “We leapt at this wonderful opportunity.” Bruce says the purchase was an unexpected but welcome boost to the museum’s growth strategy. Its current location boasts 39,000 square feet of interactive exhibits designed to encourage play at every age, and they all come: Average annual attendance tops 500,000 visitors. “More space to play is the request we hear most often,” Bruce says, and it’s the staff’s number-one priority. “We know we cannot wait (to create more space), because today’s 4-year-old does not have 10 more years to wait. At Marbles, we move at the speed of childhood.” Today’s children will benefit immediately from more exhibit space and breathing room, because the museum will most likely move its administrative offices into the new building right away. So even though construction on the new building is likely three to five years down the road, visitors will see a difference quickly. “We are nimble, we are entrepreneurial, and we’re going to apply that same sort of creativity and spark to expansion as we have to developing the exhibits and programs that our community has come to love.”marbleskidsmuseum.org