Hyypia has no doubt about Liverpool title focusby Paul Vegas13 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool Champions League title winner Sami Hyypia has no doubts about the team’s title focus.But while Liverpool stretched their lead over Manchester City to eight points going into the international break, Hyypia knows there is a long road ahead. He said, “It’s a great thing that no one left last summer – they kept all their big players. And, when I see them play, it looks like everyone wants to be there to play for this club and be in this team.“I watch them and it seems they are having fun playing at such an extraordinarily high level – but they are also demanding of each other. That’s why they won’t ease up.“I saw the episode with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, but, far from thinking that was damaging to the dressing room spirit, I thought that showed how strong it is.“It just shows that everyone wants to win together and what a great group Klopp has built with that dynamic.“It’s always good to have that kind of openness where players can call each other out. That’s part of the culture of winning.“All successful teams have that desire, which means they demand more from each other.“I remember some sparks flying between players when I was at Anfield – and that’s only good for the team.” About the authorPaul VegasShare 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.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – SEPTEMBER 3: View of a Michigan Wolverines football helmet before their game against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium on September 3, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)Apparently wide receiver Devin Funchess is not the only recent Michigan football player who can throw down. After seeing Funchess’ impressive dunk on Instagram on Sunday, quarterback Devin Gardner decided to make one of his own.Gardner’s dunks are definitely impressive, especially for someone who focuses on another sport, but we’ll have to award this impromptu Wolverine dunk contest to Funchess. That vertical leaping ability is sure to impress NFL scouts in the coming weeks during the combine and other draft preparation events.
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.
by Kaitlyn Goalenphotographs by Nick PironioFor most Southern cooks, field peas are as familiar and enduring a staple as their summertime harvest-mates, tomatoes. This year, however, an heirloom varietal of pea, thought to have vanished, will be grown within Raleigh city limits. And it all started with a dead woman’s fridge.Two years ago, Raleigh-based farmer Sean Barker traveled back to his native town in Mississippi to visit family. Amid catch-ups with relatives and reminiscing about old friends, Barker and his uncle struck up a conversation about Mama Hill, Barker’s grandmother who had passed away in 1999.Mama Hill had been an A-class gardener and a Southern cook of the highest order. In fact, Barker credits her for giving him the “agricultural bug” that grew into his profession. As he and his uncle sat on the porch, Barker recalled some of the crops he ate from Mama Hill’s garden as a child: okra, oversize summer squash, and a particularly delicious calico field pea unlike any he’d had before or since.Barker’s uncle paused. “You know,” he said, “when we were cleaning out the house after Mama Hill died, I moved her refrigerator to my house but never really went through it; I just plugged it into the wall in my garage and sort of forgot about it.”It prompted an immediate visit to the matriarch’s fridge, and an amazing discovery inside: Sitting on a shelf was a grocery bag full of seeds Mama Hill had saved. There were rice peas and lady peas, and a third bag of peas with a scrap of paper tucked into it: In Mama Hill’s script it read: “polecat pea, 1984.”To a farmer, this was the equivalent of winning the lottery. Here were the calico peas of Barker’s youth, forgotten until now. After his mother successfully grew a test crop last season, Barker decided to plant a plot of the heirloom at Raleigh City Farm, where he and his business partner, Corbett Marshall, grow produce under the name Kailyard Farm.If all goes according to plan, Mama Hill’s polecat peas will likely be harvested this month, along with about 20 other varietals Barker planted this season. Kailyard Farm sells its produce, including field peas, at the Raleigh City Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. at City Market).Grab some, if you can, and rekindle your romance with one of the South’s shining summer stars. Clockwise starting from the red seeds, Harico Rouge, Calico Crowder, Lady Pea, and Vietnamese Black.Field Peas with Cornbread and Tomato VinaigretteWhen I asked Barker how Mama Hill cooked her peas, he told me that she had a few tricks, including adding just a touch of sugar. In an ode to that maneuver, this recipe pairs the peas with a barely sweet tomato vinaigrette and cornbread crumbles. Like panzanella, the classic Italian tomato-and-bread salad, this dish works best with day-old cornbread.Serves 4-62 slices smoky bacon, cut into ½-inch thick pieces½ cup diced onion1 clove garlic, smashed2 cups fresh field peasKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper2 beefsteak tomatoes, cored and sliced in half1 tablespoon sherry vinegar1 teaspoon fresh minced tarragon1 teaspoon fresh minced parsley½ cup extra-virgin olive oil6 ounces chevre, crumbled4 cups cornbread, broken up into 2- to 3-inch piecesIn a saucepan over medium heat, add the bacon. Cook until it begins to brown a bit and release fat, about five minutes. Add the onion, garlic and field peas and stir to coat. Add water until the field peas are covered by an inch. Bring to a simmer and cook until the peas are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the peas, discarding the cooking liquid and the garlic clove. Transfer the peas to a bowl and season with salt to taste.Over a large bowl, use a box grater to grate the flesh of the tomatoes (discard the tomato skin). Whisk in the vinegar, tarragon and parsley. Whisk in the oil in a slow steady stream until the mixture is fully emulsified. Add the field peas, corn bread and chevre, and toss to coat. Transfer to a platter and serve.
by Kevin Barrett, cocktail director at Foundationphotograph by Nick PironioA few months back, when spring and summer were meeting, I took a trip to Central America to visit my friend Lazlo and climb some volcanoes.He would prefer I not mention which country. He has high demands for anonymity. We’ve known each other a while. Lazlo’s gotten me into and out of more trouble then I’ll ever admit, and he had been pestering me to come see him in Guatemala — whoops! Oh, well, he’s already relocated.Lazlo and I met up in Guatemala City, because that’s where my plane landed. It’s a mostly charmless city with few redeeming qualities. But at the time – with the promise of travel and adventure in front of me – it held a certain allure.After salutations, we checked into a hotel and went about the town eating and drinking and catching up. Lazlo’s not much for the phone, and I’m not much for heartfelt emails, so we had a lot to catch up on. We ended up at the hotel balcony drinking Gallo beer and Ron Zacapa rum into the wee hours.Our original plan to scale several volcanoes got sidetracked immediately because the rainy season started early. Lazlo’s alternative plan seemed reasonable to me at the time: After we spent the night in the capital city, we would do something epic. We decided we weren’t just going to get drunk together in yet another country. Or maybe he let me think we decided that.First thing the next morning, we caught a chicken bus to Antigua. Yes, a chicken bus, just like on TV, but with an elaborate paint job, and without the animals. The driver whipped around skinny mountain roads while another guy hung out the door yelling, “Antigua, Antigua, Antigua…”After a few days in Antigua, we took a 12-person shuttle van – basically an express chicken bus – to San Pedro and got a room at a hostel. One of the many endearing things about Guatemala, besides the people, the food, the culture, the climate, and the volcanoes – is the hammocks. They’re everywhere, and it just feels right.We bounced around San Pedro for a few wet nights, drank Ron Botran rum, and smoked Guatemalan cigarettes. I told Lazlo that this might not be the best way to prepare for our epic feat.“It’s part of your training,” he told me.From there, we chicken bussed it to Quetzaltenango, or Xela, 7,500 feet above sea level and Lazlo’s home base. This is where we were going to do something epic.That turned out to be hiking to Lake Chicabal in the crater of Chicabal volcano. It’s a sacred place to Mam Mayans, surrounded by ceremonial altars. It’s also 9,000 feet above sea level.Lazlo has a good set of lungs, a long gait, and doesn’t sweat much. I have a hard time keeping up with him on a flat surface at sea level. The steady, gradual climb destroyed my will. Every once in a while, Lazlo would look back and say, “You doing all right?”Around every corner I suspected we would reach the top. I was disappointed many, many times. None so much as when I dragged my feet past a woman of 80 who wasn’t breaking a sweat.When we reached the top, I let him know his training regimen wasn’t working for me.“Doesn’t it, though?” he said.I asked him how he climbed so steadily.“It’s the way down that gets you,” he said. “Bad on your knees.”I couldn’t believe him. The way down was going to be cake. Maybe I’d be ahead of him on the way down. That was my gift, going downhill. I was going to excel at that.I didn’t. Lazlo was ahead of me the whole way down.The next day, we made the awful decision to climb Santa Maria, 12,250 feet above sea level. Three and a half hours into the climb, when my hands and feet started tingling, I finally asked how much further. I was pretty sure my body was sending all my blood away from my limbs and to my organs to try to keep me alive a bit longer, thus the tingling. I was drowning in the clouds.The last stretch was done on my hands and knees. The incline was so steep even Lazlo had to get his hands dirty. The moment it was over, and we had reached the top, and I was sure there was no more climbing, I wondered why I’d done this to myself. Maybe I did it so I could write a story about it. When I finally saw where we were, above the cloud line, I knew. How many people got to see this?The climb down went a bit faster, but left the soles of my feet bruised and my left big toe swollen and bleeding. I wanted to tell Lazlo that he was right – the climb down really does get you – but he was too far ahead to hear. Lazlo’s ClimbThis drink commemorates Guatemala and all of Central America, not to mention Lazlo’s epic climb of the Santa Maria volcano. This is a drink you can easily make at home during an Indian summer in Raleigh. I recommend using crushed ice.2 ounces Ron Zacapa rum1 ounce pineapple or mango juice½ ounce fresh lime juice½ ounce OJ5 to 7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters or½ ounce grenadineMix all ingredients, except bitters, in a shaking tin and dry shake (no ice). Pour mixture over crushed ice into a tall Collins or swizzle/pilsner glass. Top with Peychaud’s bitters or ½ ounce float of grenadine for a sweeter October.
photo courtesy North Carolina State Archivesby Ernest DollarThis season, as you’re making your list and checking it twice, our area retailers would be grateful if you remember to “shop local.” That didn’t used to be a matter of choice. Local was the only option, and in Raleigh, it was often a colorful one. Ernest Dollar, director of the City of Raleigh Museum, found this fascinating photo of one of Fayetteville Street’s early sellers of wine, oysters, cigars, and groceries.Bananas and other fruits hang in the windows of Antonio Leo Dughi’s store at 235 Fayetteville Street, around 1900.Dughi stands in front of his store with his son, John (far right), and a young Dughi child. Customers and store clerks stand to the left, as does as an oyster wagon pulled by horse named Nancy. The ice cream wagon on the right was pulled by horse named John.Dughi and his wife were forerunners of the great wave of Italian immigration to the United States in the late 19th century. Dughi arrived in 1875 and eventually settled in Raleigh, where he established a store in a cramped downtown building.Dughi’s wagons helped his store become wildly popular by delivering fresh seafood, produce, ice creams, and novelty items to families across Raleigh. The Junaluska sign on top of the building refers to a wine company by that name.
David Wilmoth, 47, is a Lucas Enterprises-certified Darth Vader and a huge fan of the film series.photographs by Christer BergRaleighites have not been immune to the fervor surrounding the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest chapter in the galactic saga. With a temporary studio set up at the Marbles IMAX Theatre, intrepid photographer Christer Berg captured fans of all ages as they waited in line for the film’s premiere. He discovered the force is strong in the City of Oaks.Brothers Jacob Bosecker, 10, and Joshua Bosecker, 12, dressed as an Ewok and a Padawan, or young Jedi.Stan Mallard, 27, paid tribute to Yoda with his eared hat. He began watching Star Wars when he was three years old. “My dad raised me on Star Wars,” he says.Stephanie Smith, 29, transformed into a Christmas Princess Leia. She first saw Star Wars when she was 8 and now her boyfriend, Stan Mallard (above), has re-introduced the films to her.Deirdre Lewis, 21, who dressed as Princess Leia, has been a Star Wars fan “since four or five years old, watching it constantly on TV.” This was her first time seeing a Star Wars movie in a theater.Lloyd Wilmoth, 9, cloaked himself as Luke Skywalker, complete with light saber. Appropriately, his father, David Wilmoth, is Darth Vader (above).A fan for as long as he can remember, Gage Ward, 21, donned a Boba Fett hoodie.Imperial Staff Officer Katrina Andrews, 36, has been a big fan since she was a child.
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.
Jillian Clarkby Mimi MontgomeryAs the city of Raleigh grows ever-faster, so does its number of visitors. One thing that hasn’t kept pace is the number of hotel rooms. A recent report commissioned by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance says that the city needs more rooms to keep pace with demand.The new Aloft Raleigh, which opened this past October, is one of five new hotels expected to open by 2018. Geared towards the hyper-connected global traveler, the Starwoods Hotels-owned Aloft is a testament to Raleigh’s growing clout as a business hub. On Hillsborough Street across from the N.C. State bell tower, a healthy walk from downtown, the stylish 135-room hotel features tech-forward innovation and art, and holds events targeted to the young entrepreneurial crowd.The spirit of Raleigh is alive in two Thomas Sayre works – one an outdoor sculpture (shown above), the other an indoor installation incorporating clay from the North Carolina piedmont. The hotel’s collection also features pieces from nearby Roundabout Art Collective. The local food scene is represented by homegrown favorites like Gonza Tacos y Tequila and Jubala coffee shop; Videri chocolate is also a perk for guests. The WXYZ bar, which features an open-balcony view of Hillsborough Street and the downtown skyline, showcases Raleigh tunes with the hotel’s Live at Aloft Hotels music series. Guests who want to check the city out can borrow bikes.Aloft is betting big on the growth of the Triangle. A branch opened in Chapel Hill a few years ago, another in downtown Durham last fall, and a third is set to open near Brier Creek in the spring.2100 Hillsborough St.; starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels
Emerson, a tiger, came from a roadside zoo in Missouri. It was shut down due to safety concerns after a volunteer went to the hospital with a bite wound supposedly from a dog, but actually from one of the zoo’s tigers.text and photographs by Nick PironioTucked away just off NC-64, between the town of Pittsboro and Jordan Lake, lies Carolina Tiger Rescue. To visit this 55-acre refuge for rescued lions, tigers, and other wildcats is to enter a surreal foreign land. More than 40 neglected or abused wildcats have found safety in this vast sanctuary, just down the road from the farms and churches that dot the otherwise-familiar North Carolina landscape. With their growls and roars, territory-marking scents, and majestic beauty, the place sounds, smells, and looks like a world apart.The entrance to Carolina Tiger Rescue.Carolina Tiger Rescue was founded in the 1970s as a research institute by UNC geneticist Dr. Michael Bleyman. His task was to breed keystone species (those that perform a crucial role in the life of a particular ecosystem) as a way to protect the population of those animals until their home habitats could support them once more. As time went on, the organization decided the need to breed wildcats was less important than the need to rescue abused and neglected wildcats.Roman, a lion, prowls about. He came to North Carolina from a rescue in Ohio that shut down due to lack of funding.How does a lion or tiger wind up in North Carolina and need rescuing to begin with? There’s an online market for these big cats, which are bred (often excessively inbred, resulting in deformities) to be sold for a profit. It’s made worse by the lack of state regulation on the ownership of a non-native species. Some counties in the state including Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties have made it illegal to possess these animals, but it’s usually only when these animals happen to be found – often in the wake of their owners’ brush with another law – that they are taken into custody.A note that was attached to Elvis, a serval, or medium-sized cat, when his owners left him at the rescue. The note documented his care, which Carolina Tiger Rescue realized was inaccurate based on the animal’s actual health.As I photographed the wildcats, many hobbled around in pain from arthritis caused by years of abuse. Some were declawed by their owners, or locked in small cages for long periods of time. Once-mighty creatures, they now live out their days riddled with aches and pains. Spending time with them – which I did several times over the course of the last few months – was both a humbling and disheartening experience. It’s no wonder the rescue, which employs 17 people, has a list of approximately 160 volunteers to help them care for these beautiful animals.Fenimore, a tiger, gives a big yawn. He was rescued from the same Missouri zoo that Emerson came from.But it’s not all sadness there. Many of the wildcats are still playful and energetic, despite their circumstances. Some even played a game of “hide-and-seek” with me as I tried to photograph them through the mesh of their spacious cages. Once, when I turned my back, a tiger named Madonna playfully pounced on the cage wall behind me.Madonna, a tiger, eyes the photographer from behind a tree.Still, they’re dangerous, and never in direct contact with any humans. And only half of the wildcats at the rescue are on view for what the organization calls “The Show,” which is what visitors see when they take a tour of the refuge. Those with anxiety or aggressive tendencies are kept out of view, and spend their time alone being cared for by the staff.After emerging from her hiding spot, Madonna reclines in her rescue’s habitat.Safety cages are scattered throughout the complex, and are used to protect people in emergency situations or any time a wildcat is moved.Elvis, a serval, in a contemplative pose.Tarzan, a lion, reigned over the first floor of a hotel in Mexico until he was one year old. When he became too large for that task, he was locked in a cage in front of the hotel that was 3-feet tall, 3-feet wide, and 6-feet long. He spent two years there, and now cannot stand up or fully extend his legs.Tarzan curls up for a late-afternoon snooze.Star, a cougar, gazes through a fence. Star came from a roadside zoo in Mississippi that was shut down due to numerous violations of animal welfare and human safety.Aria, a tiger, was a privately-owned pet in South Carolina for 10 years. She became sick, and her owner’s neighbors called authorities, who contacted the rescue. She was found to have a pancreatic deficiency that required a specifc diet. The family eventually gave her to the rescue so she could receive better care.The memorial gardens at the resuce, where each brick bears the name of a wildcat that has died.A well-loved toy.
by Mimi Montgomeryillustrations by Addie McElweeIn the interest of journalistic transparency, I’ll start this article off with a disclaimer: My knowledge of the flora and fauna that populate our local environment is slim. It can be narrowed down to a few identifiers – grass, leaves, a few varieties of common trees, and the occasional pine cone. It’s not enough to say I don’t have a green thumb. I am more akin to a creature without any sort of digital appendages at all, perhaps a sea cucumber, or a snail. I once bought a succulent, forgot where I put it, then found it three months later on the back of a shelf gasping in a pool of dehydrated, hungover misery like a college kid back from Cancun. If the horticultural world had a form of child protective services, it would have been sent knocking on my front door. So when I went to Raleigh City Farm to take a “foraging tour” with the Piedmont Picnic Project in March, I was, needless to say, completely out of my element. Headed by co-founders Elizabeth Weichel and Amanda Matson, the Project focuses on urban sustainability and increasing awareness about food history, teaching practices like gardening, foraging, preserving, and fermenting. Its aim is to provide Raleighites with simple ways to eat locally and sustainably. Raleigh City Farm, which also aims to increase accessibility and local awareness, was a fitting spot to embark on our trek. You don’t have to live on a rural farm to know where your food comes from, both groups point out, or to learn the history behind it. They believe anybody can and should be an active participant in finding and growing local, healthy foods. Clearly, I was a prime candidate for this “anybody” demographic. Other than the time I ate all the leaves off one of my mother’s house plants (at the tender age of six), my foraging experience has been contained to the produce aisle of Trader Joe’s. I’m definitely more of a Lucille Ball than a Bear Grylls, but I laced up my walking shoes, packed my pockets with enough nasal spray for an antihistamine overdose, and was ready to go. I was joined on the trek by Adrian Fisher, an urban agriculturist from Raleigh’s sister city of Hull, UK and hosted by the Raleigh Sister Cities group; Douglas Johnston, a Sister Cities representative; a crew of Meredith College Kenyan exchange students; Rebekah Beck, general manager of Raleigh City Farm; and a sprinkling of other intrepid foragers. We stood around until someone called out, “Let’s go Cro-Magnon!,” and off we went, heeding the bugle cry into the downtown wilds. Our merry gang of hunter-gatherers first stopped at a patch of grass between the curb and sidewalk outside the parking lot of Yellow Dog Bread Co. and Edge of Urge. What to me looked like a furry patch of weeds under a power line was in fact a gathering of henbit, Matson told us. A member of the mint family, henbit has a square stem with an almost-Elizabethan collar of purple flowers. It’s a common snack for chickens, hence the name. You’ve probably seen smatterings of these across your front yard, but I bet you don’t consume them raw, cooked, or boiled into a tea. Who knew an unassuming patch of sidewalk weeds could yield something with such potential? Clearly, those outside our tribe had no idea, either: Drivers beeped their horns at us as if we had the phrase “Honk if you love foraging!” taped to our backs, although they were probably just baffled to see us congregated animatedly around the base of an electrical pole like wild boars in hiking clothes snuffling for truffles. We plucked some of these newly discovered greens and continued on our way. Our next stop was the front yard of a beautiful historic home on Mordecai Street. Those were no measly weeds in the front yard, we quickly learned, but actually clumps of chickweed. It’s good to sauté or toss raw in salads, and it gets its name because – you guessed it – chickens like it, too. Naturally, we grabbed a few handfuls. Now you’re probably wondering if this was all on the up-and-up. Matson was quick to let us know that it’s always wise to ask before foraging a plant from someone’s private property. Apparently, foraging without permission can be considered theft, and some public spaces won’t even allow it. I could only imagine the conversations that would ensue if I had to tell my lawyer that I wasn’t being ticketed for speeding or an expired license this time – I was an agricultural outlaw, nabbed for smuggling leafy goods from a neighbor’s yard. Luckily for us, we managed to avoid any run-ins with the fuzz. We continued down the street to the historic Mordecai House, where we wandered through the vegetable garden in the back of the home and stopped to admire a clump of hoary bittercress growing along the picket fence. Apart from sounding like the name of a medieval disease or a potion ingredient from Harry Potter, hoary bittercress is a member of the mustard family and can be consumed cooked or raw for an added peppery taste to dishes. Its tiny white flowers are edible, as well. We added several handfuls to our growing cornucopia. Down the hill from the Mordecai House we mosied into Mordecai Spring Park, a grassy clearing full of foraging potential. I was beginning to look at lawns and strips of grass with a different set of eyes – as not just overgrowth idly passed-by, but as all-you-can-eat buffets in a wild-grown food court, ripe for the plucking. With our newfound perspective, the park became a veritable Whole Foods salad bar. We scooped up wild onions; chestnut pods; purple deadnettle (which can be used in salads and boiled as a tea); ground ivy (used as a spice and sometimes as a substitute for hops in breweries); and cleavers, those fuzzy leaves that stick to your clothes – and, it turns out, have seeds that can be ground into a substitute for coffee. Our baskets full of leafy plunder, we headed back to base camp at Raleigh City Farm. We’d worked up an appetite on our urban safari, and we were ready to dig in. Weichel and Matson had prepared snacks made with ingredients they’d found on their own local foraging expeditions, many of which consisted of the same types of plants we had just encountered. So we loaded our plates with a wild salad; honey wheat bread with jellies made from kudzu, muscadines, honeysuckle, and black locust; green pesto with field garlic, black walnuts, hoary bittercress, and purple deadnettle; and shortbread cookies with ground ivy. The spread was topped off with kombucha made of persimmons and rosehip, and a tea of ground ivy, henbit, dandelion flower, and wild shiso seeds. It was wildly delicious. Now that I can proudly add “foraging veteran” to the short list of accolades next to my name, I have a greater appreciation for the sustainability movement that’s happening here in Raleigh, especially in the downtown area. It truly is a simple matter of increasing awareness and knowledge about the topic – once you know what to look for and where to look for it, you find yourself seeing opportunities for fresh, local food wherever you go. Plus, if we are ever submerged into a post-apocalyptic dystopia, we foragers won’t be stuck eating canned beans and Twinkies like the rest of you. Actually, if it comes to that, you can hang with me – I know where we can find a mean patch of hoary bittercress.Piedmont Picnic Project: piedmontpicnic.comRaleigh City Farm: 800 N. Blount St.; raleighcityfarm.com
photos courtesy Relay Foods and John Robinsonby Mimi MontgomerySummer vacation may mean time off for the little ones; but for busy parents, that’s a little harder to come by. Between packing for summer camp, carting kids off to the pool, and arranging trips to the beach, it’s nice to have a hand with the shopping. Relay Foods is an online grocery delivery service that provides fresh, organic, nutritious food to customers in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and the Triangle.Users sign up online for free and browse through an endless list of groceries covering everything from produce, coffee and tea, and frozen foods to meats and seafood, paper towels, and dish soap. Relay will deliver straight to your doorstep in sealed bins and coolers – $12 for a one-time delivery, $19-a-month for an unlimited home delivery subscription – or you can select a local pick-up location and swing by to get them yourself.Relay sources local goods for each area it services, partnering with nearby businesses and farmers to make sure that it’s benefitting both its customers and the local community. Some favorite Triangle brands you can now get dropped off on your front step include Chapel Hill Creamery, Maple View Farm, Eastern Carolina Organics, Larry’s Coffee, Whisked, and even White Whale Bold Mixers.If you have picky eaters, food allergies, or just need menu inspiration, Relay Foods can help you there, too. It has online sections devoted solely to gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and dairy-free snacks and products, so you don’t have to scrounge around to find tasty food that fits your lifestyle. You can also shop by recipe – the website offers a catalogue of recipes for inventive dishes, and you can have every ingredient sent to you – making them not unlike a local Blue Apron. You can even upload recipes you find on other websites and Relay Foods will help you source the ingredients.Is it dinner time yet?relayfoods.com
by Liza Robertsphotographs by Nick PironioWilliam Ivey Long, the prolific, multiple-Tony Award-winning costume designer, has drama – and Raleigh – in his blood, and in every single one of his earliest memories.“I grew up in the stage left dressing room,” Long says as he gestures around a tiny, WPA-built stone structure that still stands at Raleigh Little Theatre’s outdoor amphitheater. He’s not speaking metaphorically: The dressing room is where he lived until age 3 with his father, a technical director, and mother, an actress who wore many play-making hats. “People would change clothes in our house, and put on costumes … You would open the door, and you’d be on the stage.”Doors – and stages – have a way of opening up for Long. On Broadway and London’s West End, he has showcased his talent for almost 40 years. He has 15 Tony nominations and six Tony Awards, and has designed costumes for more than 70 Broadway productions. He has received the Art Institute of Chicago’s “Legend of Fashion” award and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. He has the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the City of Raleigh Medal of Arts Award, and the North Carolina Award in Fine Arts. Costumes for the likes of the Metropolitan Opera, Mick Jagger, the New York City Ballet, and Siegfried and Roy round out his resume.William Ivey Long fits Robin Givens for Roxie Hart; photo courtesy of Alessandra PetlinVanessa Redgrave wears a Long-designed costume as Queen Elizabeth I in The Lost Colony; photo courtesy of Aaron TrotmanBut despite his starry spot in the Broadway pantheon, manifested by his current role as head of the American Theatre Wing (the organization that runs the Tony Awards), Long remains resolutely North Carolinian, a natty Southern gentleman with gracious manners, good humor, and stories to tell. He’s as likely to digress about his large extended family (and their furniture) as he is to talk about his life of glamour. And he has remained loyal to the theaters here that launched him: This summer will be his 45th working on The Lost Colony play in Manteo.Growing up in the South has informed “every one of my sensibilities,” Long says. “How I was raised, telling stories, being in North Carolina, which is, I think, a very diverse culture … the abundance of educated, cultivated people … Revering the word, growing up in a family where the play is the thing …”Long’s words meander happily as he recalls his early influences: old Western movies; the Raleigh Rose Garden; the Long ancestors who were members of the first class at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1795; the actor Andy Griffith; Long’s great-grandmother’s sister; The Lost Colony costume designer Irene Smart Rains; the playwright Wendy Wasserstein; his parents.“I’ve always been interested in the making of theater, because of being right here.” He takes in the dressing room with a glance. “The business of our family was always play-making.”Destined, not designedConsidered by critics a nimble designer whose work marries storytelling and glamour – together with an unmistakably sexy jolt that “hovers between taste and travesty,” as famed New York magazine theater critic John Simon put it – Long is also considered technically ingenious, with a specialty in “transformations,” costumes that seamlessly turn a scullery maid into a princess, for instance, or a greasy car mechanic into a rock star.The Frogs, Dress Rehearsal, Lincoln Center Theater, June 19, 2004, Credit Photo ©Paul Kolnik, NYC 212.362.7778Costumes and sketches for The FrogsLong’s crimson feather ballgown that morphed into a living Christmas tree in La Cage aux Folles; @CarolRosegg“I love transformations,” he says. “I love transforming people.” At the same time, he says, his main goal is always to help tell the story. “I like to think that I’m an honest and true designer who supports the material.” Michael Feingold, theater critic for the Village Voice, agrees. Long deploys “a kind of secret, supplemental playwriting,” he wrote, “done not to compete with the script being performed, but to enhance it … William is one of the master dramatists of our day.”Long’s ethereal, transformational costumes for Cinderella, which won him the 2013 Tony; his over-the-top looks for Hairspray, which won in 2003; and his canny creations in last year’s On the Twentieth Century, which nabbed a nomination, showcase a portion of his talent.“His costumes look more than designed – they seem destined,” says critic Simon.Destined, not designed might be an apt description of Long’s career as well. He never set out to design costumes, he says; never gave them much thought at all. His interests were more varied. He took himself to William & Mary for college, for instance, because he loved the campus architecture and wanted to study art history. Then he took himself to Yale School of Drama because he wanted to be a set designer. He moved himself to the Chelsea Hotel in New York because he wanted to work for the couturier Charles James, who lived there. (It took Long six months to get James’s attention; in the meantime, neighbors like Andy Warhol “superstar” Viva and a punk-rocker called “Neon Leon” kept things interesting.) Long only became a Broadway costume designer, he says, after a friend from Yale was hired as the set designer for The Inspector General in 1978 and recommended Long to do the costumes. One production led to another, and “it slipped up on me,” he says. “It wasn’t conscious. It was so omnipresent that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Long had become a costume designer.That was 38 years ago. “I am much more focused now and fierce – fearsome – in my approach than I was then,” he says. “I was young and naïve.” His first Tony, for Nine, focused his mind and gave him bigger dreams. “It didn’t just overnight change my life, but it did inside.”Of a pieceWherever his profession takes him, Long is never far from home. It’s not only on his itinerary year-round, it’s also readily in his thoughts, forming his frame of reference. Home and theater were and are of a piece.Long works on the set of Grease: Live; David Korins“The front hall of our big house in Rock Hill was always a scene dock,” he recalls. (His father, William Ivey Long Sr., was founder of the theater department, stage director, and professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.) “And the big dining room table, which I finally restored, my grandfather’s dining room table from Baltimore, it was always the cutting table during shows. I think twice in my life, my father did The Heiress. Well, the entire house was emptied on to that stage. It’s set in 1840, so all of the portraits, all of the furniture … routinely, pieces of furniture would go missing and be on stage.”Long as a young man, preparing a prop; courtesy William Ivey LongTrim in the navy Brooks Brothers suit and polished loafers that serve as his uniform, curly hair askew, it’s not hard to picture Long as a younger man; his bearing and energy alone take decades off of his almost-69 years. “If you don’t look in a mirror,” he says, “you don’t know how old you are. I stand in front of mirrors all the day long for the fitting process, and I do not look.”He always wears a rep tie, he says, and almost always one with a blue stripe. For someone in his line of work, this conservative lack of ostentation is striking. It suits him to be as polite in his clothes as he is in his manner, even as it adds an extra wink to his conspiratorial smiles.The stage left dressing room at Raleigh Little Theatre where Long lived with his parents, Mary Wood Long and William Ivey LongVanity Fair zeroed in on this ineffably put-together quality last year when it put him on its international best-dressed list. Alongside the likes of Prince Harry in a top hat and Eddie Redmayne in Gucci plaid, Long appeared in his Brooks Brothers suit and shoes, accessorized only with a grin and glinting eyeglasses. But he’s nonplussed by all of that; doesn’t bring it up unless asked, and then changes the subject.Long with his parents, Mary Wood Long and William Ivey Long; courtesy William Ivey LongAsk him what does excite him most these days, and he might tip over his chair with glee. “I’m charting new courses,” he says, with several projects in the works, including costumes for the new weekly television variety show by Lorne Michaels, Maya & Marty. It’s not Long’s first foray into live TV, for which his background in theater is well-suited. He also designed costumes for Grease: Live, as well as the TV version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the Fox network.“All three things are different. Now I can say I design for stage, screen, and television.”New things excite him most, he says, and always have. “When I was in the 8th grade,” he recalls, “in Mrs. White’s biology class, she asked: ‘Why does a bug go from one side of the leaf to the other? It’s in search of the heat.’ And I knew then and there in the 8th grade that that was my path in life. I was going to be in search of the heat. That’s how I choose my course. That’s how I choose my friends. That’s how I do everything. I’m a bug on a leaf in search of the heat.”Early yearsJust like that 8th grade revelation, much of what fires Long’s imagination got to him early. Summers spent in Manteo, working with his family to help put on The Lost Colony, where his father was technical director, were an important early experience, not only for the time he had on stage beginning at 8 in the role of a child colonist, or for his time soaking up the work of the costume shop (the Elizabethan ruff he made for his dog out of a scrap of pillowcase when he was 4 is hard to forget), but for the late-night movies he’d watch once the family got home from the evening Lost Colony performance at around 11 p.m.William Ivey Long with his hero, former N.C. Governor Jim Hunt“The black-and-white late movies on the Norfolk station were Hollywood musicals, Hollywood Greta Garbo films. That began my fascination with glamour … and influenced my sense of shape, and style, and proportion.”Long and Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane take a selfie in front of the plaque commemorating his childhood years at Raleigh Little TheatreDuring the winter, he’d watch Picture for a Sunday Afternoon: “Our family did not watch football.” He credits his great-uncle in Waynesville for taking him to the movies on Saturdays, where they saw Gene Autry and Tom Mix Westerns. “It was high style in the Old West. And it’s a next step to Gary Cooper in Morocco. The most glamorous, handsome, stylish American in the history of America. Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich in Morocco: If you want to mess up a child, have them watch that late at night.”And give him a homeplace out of a fairy tale. Long leans almost entirely off of his chair as he describes his first three years living in the dressing room where he sits. The one-room building is almost impossible to imagine as a home – but in Long’s memory, it’s fully that. “There were two mahogany Chippendale chairs and a tilt-top table,” he says, “even in this little manger.” Red draperies: “brocade, or velvet. I remember red. I don’t remember bathing, or going to the bathroom, or cooking, or eating … but I remember playing on that stage.”He also remembers playing in the Raleigh Rose Garden (“I thought everyone had one”); remembers “sitting on a bench in the dark” and watching a “strange man pulling my mother’s hair.” Turns out she was onstage just outside their tiny home, acting in Death of a Salesman.At the dedication, guests enjoy a cool refuge inside the diminutive cottage.On that same stage on a sultry evening in mid-May, dozens of notable Raleighites gathered to honor Long. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane introduced him as “one of our prominent native sons” and unveiled a plaque on the house to commemorate his childhood years in the place.“My oh my, not everybody gets to see their tombstone!” Long exclaimed. Governor Jim Hunt (“my hero,” Long calls him) and his wife Carolyn came to pay tribute, as did former News & Observer publisher Frank Daniels Jr. and his wife Julia, along with dozens of other art patrons and theater lovers. Long greeted them all with kisses and hugs, taking in their congratulations with humble humor.“The lesson to take home for your children and grandchildren,” he told the crowd, “is be careful where you grow up!”
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.”
Sam McDonald, Matt Thomas, Billy Warden, and Jeff Holshouser of The Floating Children, photo by Jonathan Drakeby Billy WardenNot even the makers of Viagra have pitched the restorative powers of their product as insistently as proponents of rock ’n’ roll.From Bruce Springsteen to Joey Ramone to Pink, billions of decibels have gone into claiming for the music the mantle of all-purpose elixir, mender of broken hearts, guardian of the faithful’s most delirious dreams.Truth? Hokum? This summer, I got my chance to find out.On the evening of April 20, while playing catch-up with another blown tax deadline, an email arrived from the organizers of the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation. Would my old band reunite for the foundation’s annual August fundraising extravaganza at the Triangle’s venerated mecca of indie rock, The Cat’s Cradle?The tax sheets melted away along with the political argument in the kitchen. The email swept me back to the riotous late-’80s heyday of The Connells, The Pressure Boys, The Veldt, Three Hits, and my baby, The Floating Children.Of course, a reunion was out of the question. Completely impractical. What with family obligations and business responsibilities. Naturally, I replied: “Oh HELLZ YES.”Now, a quick word on how ill-advised this may have looked to an outsider. The Floating Children were not a stand-and-strum band. A writer of the era described us as “the New York Dolls run amok in Pee-Wee’s playhouse.” We were an anarchic, confetti-spewing mayhem machine.So as I lay in bed that night, troubling questions commingled with chronic back pain: “How could a middle-aged reunion NOT fall flat?” “If my wife leaves me in shame, which car will she take?” And, “how to make a reunion count for something beyond nostalgia?” The answer to the last question, counterintuitively, was to up the ante, heighten the risk. The next day’s proposition to the rest of The Floating Children included the reunion performance – plus, “how about we write new songs?”New tunes would mean stretching beyond old tricks. They would require creativity and commitment. They would be a more profound test: Did we still, somewhere inside, carry that spark of inspiration?The band didn’t balk. We went to work emailing lyrics and texting demos – me, Jeff Holshouser, Jody Maxwell, James Olin Oden, Steve Eisenstadt, and Larry Burlison in the Triangle; Sam McDonald and new guy Matt Thomas in Norfolk.Craggy reserves of creativitySure, everyone had jobs and workaday duties. But everyone also had craggy reserves of creativity to uncork. Two new tunes came together fast – and with considerably more melodic hooks than 25 years ago. I couldn’t vouch for each band member’s bodily fitness, but creatively we were in fine form.Soon, the rehearsals revealed our physical and emotional conditions. Physically, the eight of us looked to be a collective 90 pounds or so overweight – not exactly Olympian, but certainly respectable by middle-aged standards.Emotionally, we were a ragged parade of humanity straight out of a Bob Seger double album. Divorce, money woes, exhaustingly complicated bachelorhood, kid concerns – they were all in the mix. But none of it slowed us down. When we played, energy and optimism gushed.We recorded the new tunes in a daylong blizzard of missed notes, surging solos, profane pep talks, and tequila shots. Then came the show. Creating new music had limbered us up. We were rock ’n’ roll acrobats again. And when our original background singer and “dance diva,” Tracey Brown, entered the dressing room, confetti bucket in hand, we were beyond inspired.Backed by an overzealous fog machine operated by my first-pumping teenage son, The Floating Children ’16 put on what some longtime fans called our best show – period. And, by the grace of the rock gods, we picked up new fans. They included 17-year-old guest saxophone player Lee Sullivan, who noted approvingly, “Putting on weird clothes and playing freaky music. The Floating Children go hard.”Indeed, we did – and not just musically. There were ridiculous twirls and foolish shimmies and other moves that away from the adrenaline rush of the stage would land me in intensive care.I hugged each Floating Child at least 120 times that night. While every embrace was an expression of genuine affection, maybe I was also trying to get a firm hold of something more ethereal. The magic that generations of stars and nobodies had promised was real. I wasn’t 22 again; but nor was I the same harried businessman/dad I had been on the night the reunion offer arrived.As The Floating Children prepare to share those new tunes with the world via technologies that we couldn’t imagine a quarter century ago, I am – we are – back to square one. Hoping that a few folks out there get it and groove along. The gamble is electrifying. The secret, then, of rock ’n’ roll’s restorative power is simply, beautifully this: The risk is the reward. Billy Warden is the co-founder of the marketing agency, GBW Strategies, and an incorrigible song-and-dance man. The Floating Children’s new songs are available on Facebook, SoundCloud, and YouTube.
Diana and Dan Saklad“Our goal in creating this business was to create a local community of cooks.”–Dan Saklad, owner and co-founder of Whisk kitchen storeby Jessie Ammonsphotograph by Jillian ClarkDan Saklad is admittedly not a shopper. “I’ve never really spent time in retail stores,” says the owner of Whisk, a retail kitchenware store in Cary. Nonetheless, when he and his wife Diana moved to Cary 11 years ago – a place he says they picked after Googling “best places to live” – they wanted to launch a business rooted in something they cared deeply about. “Cooking is what we’ve always done,” Saklad says. “I’ve cooked every day of my life since I was 5 years old, and Diana has done the same. It’s always been a passion of ours.” In 2013, the couple translated that love to Whisk, a kitchen emporium with a strong emphasis on cooking classes. Saklad says the experience has been less like a foray into retail and more like an investment in community. “We’re a very different experience.” It’s one focused on doing, they hope, with shopping a happy side effect. “We have 35 to 40 cooking classes here every month, taught by 42 chefs from 15 different countries.” Classes range from themed recipes for beginners, a la “a night in Paris” and “Bollywood, an authentic Indian feast,” to in-depth technical classes like knife skills and master-level sushi-making. Wall-to-wall racks of kitchen gadgets and cooking accessories complement the skills being taught and supply specialty items for gourmands of all kinds. “Part of the experience is the personalities we hire,” Saklad says. Rather than look for employees with retail experience, they look for employees who are “engaging and fun, the types of people you’d like to hang out with on a weekend at a party.” The employees’ attitude is contagious: “It’s amazing how the community has embraced us,” Saklad says. Despite receiving offers to franchise and expand, the Saklads say they’re not interested. “The beauty of it is having one location. There’s a certain magic to that.” And this time of year, full of celebratory meals and gatherings, is especially meaningful to the Whisk team. “We love cooking and we love people who love cooking. We’re completely happy being here in Cary doing our thing. This is a place for people who share our same passion for cooking and entertaining.”whiskcarolina.com
Paris Alexander, Second Sight; courtesy Raleigh Fine Arts Societyby Jesma ReynoldsNumbers and art may make an unlikely pairing. But in this case, the numbers bear repeating. Beginning March 12, the largest juried art exhibition in the state featuring 72 pieces from 61 North Carolina artists will be exhibited at the Duke Center for Performing Arts.Sponsored by the Raleigh Fine Arts Society, the show is in its 38th consecutive year. It’s part of the nonprofit group’s effort to promote the visual, literary, and performing arts, as it has for the past 51 years. This year’s juror, Michael Rooks, the Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the High Museum in Atlanta, reviewed 607 pieces by 353 artists from 105 cities and towns across the state before making his final selections.The large number of submissions reinforces the depth of talent in the region, says Rooks, who also also says that skill is the common denominator in the works. Rooks writes in the accompanying exhibition catalog, “being highly skilled is an essential artistic attribute and is critically important in facilitating an exchange with audience.”Following a lecture at 4 p.m. on March 12, Rooks will present five awards: a grand prize, three juror’s choice awards, and a student artist award. A reception will follow in the center’s Betty Ray McCain Gallery. The exhibition runs until April 27.raleighfinearts.org/NC-Artists-Exhibition
Travis Long, News & ObserverTimes to be together throughout the Triangleby Katherine PooleWe’ve made our list and checked it twice. Here are a few ways to make merry across the Triangle during the month of December, if the fates allow. Faithful friendsTo experience a really Raleigh Christmas, plan ahead for these City of Oaks traditions.Dec. 6State Capitol tree lighting ceremony5 – 7:30 p.m.; free; N.C. State Capitol, 1 E. Edenton St.; nchistoricsites.org/capitolDec. 6 – 10Theatre in the Park presents A Christmas CarolWed. – Sat. 7 p.m., Sat. – Sun. 2 p.m.; $32 – $92; 2 E. South St.; theatreinthepark.com/whatson/a-christmas-carol-2017Dec. 7 – 17Holiday Express at Pullen Park4 – 9 p.m.; $11.29; 520 Ashe Ave.; raleighnc.gov/home/content/parkspec/articles/holidayexpress.htmlDec. 15 – 24Carolina Ballet presents The NutcrackerSee website for dates and times; $37 – $111; 2 E. South St.; carolinaballet.comLight heartChildren of all ages will delight in these shining stars. Catch a new spin on a holiday classic complete with Red Rider BB guns, Charlie Brown Christmas trees, reindeer games, and big bad wolves. Then, jam on some gingerbread house building at Marbles Kids Museum. Troubles will be guaranteed out of sight.Dec. 1 – 4The Cary Players present A Christmas StoryFri. Sat. and Mon. 7:30 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 3 p.m.; $18 – $20; 101 Dry Ave., Cary; caryplayers.org/shows/a-christmas-story-december-2017Dec. 1 – 10Theatre in the Park presents A Charlie Brown Christmas See website for dates and times; $12 general admission, $10 season member; 107 Pullen Road; theatreinthepark.com Dec. 5Carolina Puppet Theater presents Rudolph11 a.m.; $5; 300 W. Ballentine St., Holly Springs; etix.com keyword: Carolina Puppet TheaterDec. 8 – 10A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol and The Great Big Holiday Bake OffFri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m.; $10 general admission, $6 students 16 and under; Halle Cultural Arts Center, 237 N. Salem St., Apex; etix.com keyword: Great Big Holiday BakeoffDec. 9Gingerbread Jamboree10 a.m. – 12 noon and 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.; $12 members, $15 non-members, $20 per household; Marbles Kids Museum, 201 E. Hargett St.; marbleskidsmuseum.org/gingerbreadjamboreeHappy golden days of yoreYou can make a date to experience Christmas as in the olden days. Take the wayback machine to the 19th century Dec. 9 for a taffy pulling party at Leigh Farm Park in Durham, then travel over to Bennett Place State Historic Site to learn about Christmas during the Civil War. Or make a stop in the 20th century for an evening of holiday music in the style of Glenn Miller’s big-band swing.Dec. 9A Kid’s Life: Taffy Pulling at Leigh Farm Park10 a.m. – 12 noon; free, but a small donation is suggested; 370 Leigh Farm Road; durhamnc.gov/753/Parks-RecreationChristmas in the Piedmont during the Civil War10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; free; Bennett Place State Historic Site, 4409 Bennett Memorial Road, Durham; bennettplacehistoricsite.comDec. 15 – 18In a Holiday MoodFri. 7 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.; $20 adults, $18 students; $10 children under 12; N.C. Museum of History, 5 E. Edenton St.; ncmuseumofhistory.org/events/holiday-mood