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
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
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.
Twitter/@derekjstevensCollege basketball fans will tell you to never bet against Tom Izzo in March. One Las Vegas casino owner, Derek Stevens, placed a $20,000 bet on Michigan State to win the title back after the team’s 79-78 overtime loss to Notre Dame on December 3. The 5-3 Spartans were at 50-1 to win it all at the time, giving Stevens a potential payout of $1 million.I’ll be @theDlasvegas #LONGBAR to #SpartyOn THX @GoldenNuggetLV & @Gollumlv for giving me the shot @darrenrovell pic.twitter.com/GjK1ueQfin— Derek Stevens (@DerekJStevens) March 31, 2015In an article by ESPN’s Darren Rovell, sportsbook director Tony Miller admits that this is a big risk for the casino.…Miller accepted Stevens’ $20,000 bet, never thinking he’d be sweating the possibility that the Spartans could pull it off. “In my nine years at this sportsbook, I never accepted a bet that could result in us paying $1 million,” Miller said. “The most I’ve ever seen won here was a $100,000 parlay.”…Miller and Stevens have become good friends over the years, which makes the fact that the Spartans have two games to win it all a bit awkward.“This would be a massive loss for us,” Miller said. “I see days where we lose $10,000 to $30,000, but nothing close to $1 million.”Michigan State is a five point underdog against Duke on Saturday, and would play either Kentucky or Wisconsin for the title on Monday night. Stevens still has a long way to go to cash in, but it is definitely impressive that his bet is still alive.[ESPN]
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.
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.
Angela Salamancaco-owner, CentroAt home, Angela Salamanca’s eating habits are all about healthy, fresh ingredients. In warmer months, she’s a regular at the downtown farmers market, supplementing with stops at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and International Foods. Her dedication to fresh produce informs her pared-down cooking approach. “I keep things simple because my time is limited and fresh quality ingredients don’t need much to be amazing.”When she’s cooking for her two daughters, Sara and Ana, breakfast is mandatory, and ranges from a fresh fruit smoothie to hot chocolate with cheese and arepas, or Colombian corn cakes. But when Salamanca has guests over, she reverts to a favorite dish from her childhood: ajiaco. This traditional chicken-and-potato stew from Colombia is all about the garnishes; guests can doctor their bowls with sour cream, capers and aji, a cilantro-based sauce.“I consider myself a cook rather than a chef,” says Salamanca. “I was never trained in the kitchen, but my love of food and comfort led me to this career – and I’m still grateful every day to be cooking.”Angela’s Black Bean Salad1 can black beans, drained and rinsed2 cups of roasted yellow corn (or frozen corn, sautéed with 1 tablespoon coconut oil)½ avocado, diced¼ cup thinly sliced red onionOlive oilCider vinegarKosher saltFresh ground Szechuan pepperIn a large bowl, add the beans, corn, avocado and onion. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently and taste; adjust the seasoning by adding more oil, vinegar, salt or pepper as desired.Charlotte Coman and Sunny Gerhartchefs, AC RestaurantsWhen both members of the household are chefs within AshleyChristensen’s AC Restaurants empire, the propensity for delicious food – and full schedules – is high. In reality, Poole’s Diner sous chef Charlotte Coman and Joule Coffee chef Sunny Gerhart don’t do much cooking at home. “When we get off late after cooking all day, the last thing we want to do is cook more,” Coman admits. “There’s a lot of pizza delivered to our house.”The infrequency only makes the home-cooked meal more special. “We make a project out of it,” Coman says. “We’ll spend a whole day making something, often different forms of ethnic food.” These monthly cooking projects are a way to learn about cuisines that the couple is less familiar with – most recently Greek, Mexican and Thai, generally with the help of different cookbooks.On most days, the kitchen is stocked with a few limited essentials: coffee and fixings for sandwiches. “I’ve perfected the art of the late-night sandwich,” says Charlotte.Charlotte’s Mediterranean Salad4 cups cooked barley, warm2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled1 bunch (about 8) radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced1 small cucumber, thinly sliced2 tablespoons chopped dill½ red onion, diced2 tablespoons chopped mintRed wine vinaigrette made with olive oilLemon juiceSalt and freshly ground black pepper to tasteIn a large bowl, combine the barley, feta, radishes, celery, cucumber, dill, onion and mint. Dress with vinaigrette and lemon juice, a tablespoon at a time, tasting as you go to achieve desired flavor. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve alongside hummus.Coleen Speakschef and owner, Posh Nosh Catering“These days, my cooking is completely dictated by my kids,” admits Coleen Speaks, professional caterer. “It’s really a complete gamble.” While she doesn’t relish packing lunches each morning, adjusting to her children’s ever-changing palates has led to some surprising and delicious discoveries.Most recently, it’s Indian food. “Both of my kids – even the picky one – really like Indian flavors, so I’ve been doing a lot of shopping at the Patel Brothers market” in Cary. Speaks has been experimenting with classic Indian dishes, from butter chicken to green beans with coconut, to change up the home rotation. She always makes more than enough, in anticipation of unexpected guests. “I have a habit of inviting anyone I meet over for dinner; we always have drop-in guests.”If dinner is a time for experimentation, weekend breakfasts in the Speaks household hew closer to tradition. “We always start with some sort of baked thing, like muffins; while they’re baking we’ll make another dish, usually eggs of some kind.”Since she cooks at home quite frequently, Speaks keeps her refrigerator full, relying on a heavy collection of condiments. “I make a point to shop for home whenever I’m shopping for work; I try to kill two birds with one stone,” she says. Frozen chicken stock is a constant, too, and Speaks keeps homemade and store-bought versions on hand to make quick soups and stews.Coleen’s New Orleans BBQ Shrimp1 tablespoon olive oilSmall shallot, minced4 cloves garlic, minced3 – 4 bay leaves1 teaspoon cayenne (more or less to taste)A couple dashes hot sauce2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce1 medium lemon, zested, juiced, and halves flattened and julienned1 cup dry white wine5 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes2 pounds large shrimp, still in their shells (heads on is best)1 handful parsley, choppedSalt and pepper to taste1 baguette of crusty breadSaute shallot, garlic, bay leaves, and cayenne in olive oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add Worcestershire, hot sauce, lemon zest, juice, julienned lemon rind, and white wine. Cook until reduced by half. Reduce heat to low and stir in butter. Add shrimp and cook, stirring often, until shrimp just turn pink. Stir in parsley and adjust seasoning. Serve straight from the pan with bread to sop up the sauce. Remember to put a bowl on the table for the shrimp shells.Vansana Nolinthaowner, Bida MandaBida Manda, downtown Raleigh’s hugely popular Laotian restaurant,recently celebrated its first birthday. Co-owner Vansana Nolintha still spends most of his days within the restaurant’s walls. As a result, he only cooks at home for himself a few nights a week. But that hasn’t prevented him from creating certain ritual around his cooking routine.It starts with rice: “I’m really particular about my rice and how it’s cooked, so I always use a rice cooker. I make a big batch at once, and leave it on the ‘warm’ setting all day. There is always warm rice at my house,” he says. There’s also always garlic, ginger, Thai chiles, lots of fresh vegetables, and hot sauce that Van has his relatives ship from Laos.But Van’s favorite dish to make at home, noodle soup, requires a bit more time. On his days off, generally Sundays, Van will make a three-pound batch of rice-flour noodles from scratch. “It’s very labor intensive, so I only get to do it once a week,” he says. When going to all of that trouble, Van invites a few friends over for dinner, filling bowls high with his noodles, broth and plenty of fresh herbs from his garden.The rest of the week, he admits to indulging a late-night eating habit: “I generally don’t get home before midnight, so I eat really late, around 1 a.m. Often my meal is made up of leftovers and a glass of wine,” he says.Van’s Pork Larb1 tablespoon vegetable oil1 pound ground porkSalt¼ cup chopped garlic¼ cup chopped fresh Thai chile¼ cup chopped lemongrass stalks¼ cup kaffir lime leaf (the hourglass-shaped leaves of the kaffir lime tree are available at specialty stores like Grand Asia Market at 1253 Buck Jones Rd. in Raleigh)¼ cup chopped galangal (similar to ginger, and available at specialty stores like Grand Asia Market)1/3 cup chopped cilantro1/3 cup mint leaves1/3 cup chopped scallion, white and green parts3 to 4 tablespoons fish sauce1/3 cup fresh lime juiceLettuce leaves, for servingJasmine or sticky rice, for servingIn a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, ground pork and a pinch of salt. Cook the pork, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon, until it is well browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the juices and transfer the pork to a medium bowl. Let cool to room temperature.When the pork has cooled, add the garlic, chile, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, galangal, cilantro, mint, scallion, fish sauce and lime juice. Toss gently, and taste for seasoning.Serve the larb inside lettuce leaves or over rice. by Kaitlyn Goalenphotographs by Geoff WoodWhen it comes to cooking, even the most passionate and enthusiastic home cooks fall victim to overcooked steaks, school lunch ennui, spilled bottles of olive oil, and an embarrassing reliance on the delivery guy.In these moments of weakness, it’s hard to imagine our favorite chefs and restaurateurs ever having to endure such cooking tedium. Rather, we picture them and their home kitchens as culinary oases, free of blunders and full of delicious dinners.Just consider the fictional paradise for a moment: a gargantuan set of perfectly polished French copper pots; a sink that has never seen a dirty dish; weekday breakfasts of eggs Benedict and afternoon snacks of mile-high soufflés. Their kids never turn up their noses at a school lunch packed with asparagus gribiche or homemade headcheese. And that distinct aroma of burnt food never dares perfume the air.Before such fantasies lead you to throw up your arms and walk away from your cooking aspirations forever, read on. Five Raleigh restaurant professionals invited us to explore their kitchens and cooking habits, and in doing so, breached the gap between their reality and our fantasy. It turns out, even the most successful cook is subject to dirty dishes, and their home cooking routines are all the better for it.Walter Royalexecutive chef, Angus BarnThe sheer volume of food prepared in the kitchen of the Angus Barn is something epic. And the man overseeing it all is Walter Royal, who has been at the helm of the restaurant’s menu for nearly two decades. After dishing up scores of steaks and sides each night, Royal still has energy to cook for himself and his 87-year-old neighbor, Harold, when he’s back at home.Post-shift, he opts for a tuna sandwich, but if he’s preparing dinner on a free night, Royal sticks to his favorite comfort food dishes, like roast chicken or a pot of grits. “I always keep eggs and bacon in my refrigerator, and grits in my pantry,” he reports. His garden supplies fresh herbs and tomatoes in the summer, and he rounds out his sundries at King’s Red & White in Durham and the State Farmers Market.One of Royal’s favorite dishes to cook at home is a classic macaroni and cheese, for which he uses a blend of cheddar and Gruyere. Royal rounds out the meal with greens from his garden.Walter’s Macaroni & CheeseSalt2 pounds elbow macaroni1 pound white sharp cheddar, shredded1 pound regular cheddar, shredded½ cup shredded Gruyere6 tablespoons unsalted butter4 tablespoons all-purpose flour2 cups heavy cream1 cup half & half1 cup milkGrated nutmeg1 teaspoon chopped garlicPinch dried basilDirections:Fill a large saucepan full of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the cheddars and Gruyere together, and reserve.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the flour and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and turns a very light brown, about four minutes. Add the heavy cream, half & half, milk and a pinch of nutmeg and keep stirring until the mixture thickens into a velvety sauce. Add ¾ of the reserved cheese, the garlic and basil, and stir until the cheese has fully melted.In a large bowl, mix the cheese sauce with the macaroni until the noodles are well coated. Transfer the mixture to a buttered ceramic baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the surface. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until gooey and melty.
Firestarter (R)Friday, Feb. 13Featured speaker: Jennifer Bunch, photo double for Drew Barrymore Ricky Bobby’s No. 26 Wonder Bread race car from the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: TheBallad of Ricky Bobby. The 2006 Chevrolet, currently on view in the museum lobby, is on loan from International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala., and from Shell Oil.In August 2012, North Carolina Museum of History curator and film buff Katie Edwards had an idea. She knew that major movies and TV shows are often filmed in the Tar Heel State. “We’d all heard about Bull Durham, The Hunger Games, Dawson’s Creek, and others,” she says. But she knew there were many, many more, and suspected that the history of filmmaking here could make for an interesting exhibit.The film clips, stories, history, and memorabilia she and her team uncovered amazed them all. Covering 3,000 films over the last 100 years, their work took two and a half years to complete and resulted in Starring North Carolina!, which opened Nov. 15 and runs until Sept. 6.The show charts the state’s emergence as one of the nation’s top film and television production locations – from silent pictures shot in western North Carolina in the early 1900s, to the birth of Wilimington as a movie-making hub in the ’80s, and on to recent blockbusters like Iron Man 3 and the successful Sleepy Hollow series.There are three main reasons why moviemakers flock here, Edwards and her colleague Camille Hunt say. The first is geography. With mountains, beaches, and everything in between, there’s no terrain we don’t have. The second is talent. As in any other industry, good work attracts it, and North Carolina is now home to thousands of professional crew members who make these productions happen. One of the many places they ply their trade is Wilmington’s EUE/Screen Gems Studios, the largest film studio outside California. The third is economics. North Carolina remains a far less expensive place to make movies than the West coast or many other places.Movie lovers won’t be surprised to see Bull Durham featured in the show – Kevin Costner’s bomber jacket is on display. But you might not know that 1986 cult classic Blue Velvet was primarily shot in Wilmington. The museum has not only Isabella Rossellini’s blue velvet robe but also the “severed ear” that figured prominently in the film. Other highlights include Ricky Bobby’s No. 26 Wonder Bread race car from 2006’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby; a costume worn by Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games; several items from Dawson’s Creek; and Daniel Day-Lewis’s fringed suede get-up from Last of the Mohicans.The exhibit will play host to the inaugural Longleaf Film Festival, which will feature narrative and documentary movies, on May 2, 2015. The museum will also run a monthly film series on the second Friday of each month in coordination with the exhibit. (See box below.)Starring North Carolina! Film SeriesIron Man 3 (PG-13)Friday, Dec. 12Featured speaker: Bryan Simmons, memorabilia collector. Dirty Dancing (PG-13)Friday, March 13Featured speaker: Dr. Marsha Gordon, associate professor, film studies, N.C. State Brainstorm (PG)Friday, Jan. 9, 2015Featured speaker: Ira David Wood III, actor, author, singer, director, playwright(see story, following page.) All films begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in the museum’s shop. For a complete list of films through Sept. 2015, go to NCMOH-starring.com.
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
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.
Art2Wear is the culmination of months of work. Designer Leeza Regensburger takes a walk down the runway with her models and her line, Moth.by Liza Robertsphotographs by Robert WillettWith the wave of a visionary wand one night in April, ambitious students at N.C. State’s College of Design transformed Talley Student Union into a glamorous showcase for their manifold design talent. The event, in its 15th year and known as Art2Wear, was the culmination of a year of intense work by a team of nine designers chosen by a jury. These students spent months creating, sewing, knitting, and refining capsule clothing collections that ranged from stylish contemporary eveningwear to cutting-edge sportswear and flights of creative fancy. The theme: “The virtue of obsession.” “You can feel the energy,” says designer Justin LeBlanc, the show’s faculty advisor and chief cheerleader, as he watched a dress rehearsal. “This year is probably the best I’ve seen so far.”Olivia Brown models a piece from designer Bailey Knight’s line, MycoLogic.Art2Wear faculty advisor Justin LeBlanc rallies the troops.Designer Kathleen Davis adjusts her creation on model Ryan Burt. The fashion on display was the event’s obvious highlight, but the show’s success also relied on a fleet of accomplished students who directed, produced, promoted, choreographed, photographed, fundraised, and modeled. They made films to spotlight the individual designers and to open the show. The highly produced event they created was a fitting forum for a range of fashion designs as unique as their creators. Designer Bailey Knight took her “obsession and romance for the earth and the magic it produces” and her love of Henry David Thoreau to craft an homage to mushrooms with a fanciful collection she called MycoLogic. Backstage, surrounded by friends modeling her creations, she pointed out the inspiration behind a ripply, mustard-hued coat: a Chicken of the Woods mushroom. A white cape with a blue pleated interior was an Indigo Milk.Designer Meaghan Shea takes a walk down the runway with her models and her line, Tetra, in a dress rehearsal.Model Emory Cooley is made up by Isabella Zazareei before modeling Angele Gray’s Vert collection. A few feet away and a world apart stood Leeza Regensburger, whose collection, Moth, included hip sportswear: plushy pastels, crop-tops, pom-pom-drawstring hoodies, fleece gym shorts. Meant to evoke “a moth to a flame,” Regensburger says she imagined the woman wearing her clothes as an insomniac running out in the middle of the night to grab something to eat from a corner store. Young, thrown together, unfussed, but stylish. In another realm was Angele Gray’s Vert, which took its cue from “Paris during the rise of Formalism and Modern Art.” This translated to a restrained palette – mostly black and white – and a focus on line, composition, and texture. The result was a series of body-skimming dresses and ensembles that would be at home in any elegant setting.More fitting for an urban walk to the gym were the creations of former soccer player Grace Hallman, who based her collection, Mia, on “the obsession of being an athlete.” She dressed her fit and confident models in laser-cut, close-to-the-body synthetics that put a futuristic spin on the athleisure trend.Designer Bailey Knight prepares a piece in her MycoLogic line.Sketches for Gena Lambrecht’s line, Gold.her inspiration. Her collection, Kingdom, which also included designs for men, included carefree silhouettes with a childlike aspect, including fabrics like pique and tulle, embroidery, and knitwear.Tanna Aljoe, center, is one of several models showing Grace Hallman’s line, Mia.For her part, Quinan Dalton took her own childhood home and “the obsessive sense of nostalgia many tend to feel when they think of their past” as her inspiration. Her collection, Kingdom, which also included designs for men, included carefree silhouettes with a childlike aspect, including fabrics like pique and tulle, embroidery, and knitwear. Gena Lambrecht’s collection, Gold, was all grown up. The glittery metal “has motivated some of history’s greatest conquests and caused the downfall of entire civilizations,” she says. Her ensembles, shown to the tune of Gold Digger by Kanye West and Jamie Foxx, comprised a series of strutting, gold-hued looks, including a showstopping waterfall-pleated tulle gown. Dionysian Contagion by Kathleen Davis was unique: a creative explosion of recycled plastics, gas masks, and light, meant to evoke the powerful effect live music can have. She described it as: “Movement. Silhouettes. Illumination. Color. Music. Your entire soul shifts. The infection spreads, until you awaken anew.”Wearable paper creations by first-year students at the Design School open the show.Angele Gray’s designs for her collection, Vert.Designer Bailey Knight’s line, MycoLogic, celebrates her obsession with the earth with an homage to mushrooms.Indeed, inspiration for these makers came from very different places. Susan Stephens, with her 1919 collection, honored her own great-grandmother, who was born in that year, and the tradition of crochet she passed down through the generations. Stephens’ large-scale, knitted pieces were architectural and striking, paired with tailored pieces made of printed fabric Stephens created herself. Meaghan Shea also printed her own fabrics, and used “a single print, color scheme, and endless iterations” to inform her refined and carefully tailored clothes. Each piece spoke to the others through geometry and shifts in color. Together, these nine designers and their fellow students who put on the show showed “what the College of Design has to offer,” says LeBlanc. Art2Wear, he says, is “more than a fashion show … it showcases the talents of our students and their ability to transform their vision and dreams into reality.”Sketches for Quinan Dalton’s line, Kingdom.Designer Susan Stephens’ 1919 line features large-scale hand knits and custom-printed fabrics.Patrons including Linda Dallas and Susan Woodson applaud.
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.
Shelby Vanhoy of Pretty in the Pines. Photo courtesy of Shelby VanhoyThe Triangle’s fashion bloggersby Mimi MontgomeryIn The Age of the Smartphone, where social media and viral hits reign supreme, blogging has evolved from a solo, diary-like activity into a lucrative field that allows tech-savvy entrepreneurs to create their own online communities-slash-marketplaces, right from their own homes. Here in the Triangle, style bloggers in particular have a growing toehold. A primarily female-dominated pool, these locals are showcasing their own takes on the fashion, beauty, decor, health, and lifestyle worlds, and contributing to the innovative spirit of the Triangle. This is “a place that just naturally fosters creativity,” says Molly Stillman, Still Being Molly blogger and founder of the Triangle Fashion, Beauty, Food, and Lifestyle Bloggers group (TriFABB), a community of 160 bloggers begun in 2012. The many startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs’ groups that pepper RTP and downtown Raleigh and Durham make for fertile ground, she says. The Triangle is also a place where female blogging entrepreneurs forge friendships and encourage each other. “It’s a really supportive community where a lot of people want to collaborate together, because when you win, I win,” says Meghan Grant of Holly Springs, the blogger behind I’m Fixin’ To and co-founder of the Raleigh Blog Society. “It’s good for both of us.”Meghan Grant of I’m Fixin’ To (both photos above) tries to keep her posts real and fun. “I don’t take myself seriously.” Em Grey Photography With reaches near and far, these women are redefining what it means to be an entrepreneur in the 21st century. Their work may come with a steep learning curve and many late nights, but bringing a dose of style to the Triangle is what they love – and increasingly, it’s a real business, too.Not just a hobby Many of these local bloggers started their sites as sideline hobbies or creative outlets. Working in corporate jobs, they wanted an open space to share their stylish ideas and their writing. “When I was growing up, I used to change outfits like, three times a day, and I always used to have to put on a party dress,” says Angela Keeley-White of Raleigh, who works full-time for a financial planning and investment company and started her style blog Head to Toe Chic in 2011. So she decided to turn that passion into a side gig, writing posts filled with outfit inspirations, style tips, and eye-catching photography. When Raleighite Shelby Vanhoy was rejected from dental school, she took a hard look at her passions and felt the need for more creativity in her life. “I was thinking, ‘Is this really what I want to do?’” she says. “I’ve always had an interest in photography, travel, style…” So in 2014, she bought a camera and starting her blog Pretty in the Pines, which led to her current job managing marketing for Bailey’s Fine Jewelry.Amy Loochtan of Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins says blogging is a “legit career.” Photo courtesy of Amy Loochton Keeley-White and Vanhoy are not alone. What started as an outside hobby for many of these women has quickly become a second career. When they leave full- and part-time jobs at the end of the day, they head home to another one, where they create editorial calendars, schedule and write posts, organize photo shoots, edit photo batches, monitor site traffic, respond to readers, and negotiate brand campaigns and sponsored posts. Angela Keeley-White of Head to Toe Chic; Em Grey Photography “It comes across as so glamorous,” says Chapel Hill’s Lauren Steele of LC Steele. She’s talking about the stylish photography spreads and Instagram posts bloggers are known for. But for the Mississippi native who balances her blog with her job at a legal consulting business, it’s hard work, too. “You don’t see 90 percent of the time it took,” she says. “It is way more time-consuming than people give it credit for.” It’s her job, she says, to make it look easy.Angela Keeley-White’s Head to Toe Chic was mentioned in InStyle magazine. Vanhoy agrees: “It’s like a 12-hour day, every day.” But it pays off: The popularity of these blogs is a testament to the consumer demand for the women’s content. “So far, it’s really been worth it,” she says. “The people you meet, the community you grow, the opportunities you get – it correlates with how hard you’re working.” Brave new world For a successful style blogger, business opportunities can be vast. With the advent of content monetization platforms such as LIKEtoKNOW.it, bloggers can share their outfit details via Instagram, where followers who have “liked” their post will receive an email complete with links to purchase each pictured item. For each piece purchased from a LIKEtoKNOW.it email, the blogger receives a commission. Global companies have picked up on the wide reach of these digital influencers, as well. “As brands begin to trust the influence of bloggers and see the results, social media is becoming much more monetizable for the influencers,” says Jamie Meares, blogger behind the popular i suwannee and founder of Furbish Studio. “It’s created this Wild West effect on blogging – now you can actually make a business out of sharing the things that you love.” Triangle style bloggers are doing just that, negotiating paid contracts with brands to create sponsored product posts. These women have worked with national corporations such as Coca-Cola, J. Jill, Shopbop, Whole Foods, Anthropologie, Henri Bendel, Toyota, Target, Anne Taylor, and Rent the Runway, to name a few, as well as local companies like Cameron Village and The Fearrington House Inn. Using their social clout as an advertising platform makes sense: Each of these women have followers by the many-thousands. “People now understand the value of bringing eyeballs to the page,” says Steele. “I’ve watched social media become so much more integrated in everything. If you have 200,000 followers, you can look at a company and say, ‘Hey, I can basically fill a football stadium for you. How much is that worth?’”Lauren Steele of LC Steele balances her blog with her job at a legal consulting business. Photo by Anna Goodson Apparently a lot. “It’s a legit career,” says Durham-based Amy Loochtan of Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins. “People are flabbergasted by that … Some people think blogging is just taking some pictures of your outfit, putting them online; but it is so much more than that.” Of course, with the meteoric rise of outlets like Instagram and Snapchat, content is moving more toward the social media side, and anyone with an iPhone can try to become a blogger. That can put pressure on longtime bloggers to keep content fresh and readership levels up. After all, that’s where the money is – brands want to work with sites that consistently post original material and reach the widest demographic possible. “Now you have to be out there on all social media channels and keep up with the latest trends,” says Keeley-White. There’s also a fine line between the virtual and actual worlds, especially when personal style is the focus of a business. After a while, life can seem like just a series of potential Instagram posts. “That’s one of the biggest things that bloggers struggle with – missing out on life because of social media,” says Loochtan. “It’s a hard balance to know when to unplug.” Along with separating the personal from private, local style bloggers say they work hard to strike the right chord between stylish escapism and relatability. Because most have longtime readers who feel a virtual kinship to them, they want to maintain those relationships with the relatable voice of an old girlfriend. So in addition to the glamour, local bloggers are also careful to include affordable fashion and DIY projects that appeal to the everyday woman. “I try to be real with my readers,” says Grant. “The style posts are really pretty and they do really well, (but) if you’re behind the scenes with me on a shoot, I don’t take myself seriously … For me, it is really fun.” Bringing it home While these women may work with global companies and have followers across the world, they’re committed to using their brands to promote North Carolina, too. Keeping it local is just part of their spin on things: Many stage photo shoots at local spots like the Boylan Bridge, American Tobacco Campus, and the Leslie-Alford-Mims house; they showcase pieces from local boutiques and clothing lines; they partner with nearby restaurants and businesses; and they provide travel guides to N.C. destinations.Shelby Vanhoy of Pretty in the Pines says the 12-hour days are worth it. “The people you meet, the community you grow, the opportunities you get – it correlates with how hard you’re working.” Photo courtesy of Shelby Vanhoy Vanhoy recently partnered with the Outer Banks for a sponsored, weeklong trip along the coast, documenting her vacation on social media and her blog, and Grant started a blog travel series on eastern North Carolina, focusing on places to eat, shop, and visit while passing through. “People get stuck in the bubble of the Triangle,” she says. “It’s sad to see towns that were thriving when I was little become ghost towns.” It’s her way of using her online presence to benefit the local places she loves. Like her peers, Grant has come to realize that a significant online presence can be a powerful tool, both in terms of business opportunities and simply creating a brand that people love. “Life can be complicated and it can be so cluttered,” says Steele. “I just like to keep things as simple, classic, and elegant as I possibly can.” It’s a lot of work to make things look so good, but it’s worth it, says Loochtan. “You make time for what you love.”FALL PICKS“Big sweaters and ponchos layered over a thin turtleneck, booties, and changing up accessories and shoes for fall colors.” –Shelby Vanhoy, Pretty in the Pines“(It’s) cowboy boots, riding boots, lots of dresses and skirts. I would not be caught dead in a T-shirt and jeans at a football game. That is where you step out and you show up.” –Meghan Grant, I’m Fixin’ To “(I’m) all about layering with blazers and military jackets. And of course, ankle boots. And fun scarves … a bunch of light layers.” –Angela Keeley-White, Head to Toe Chic“Leather jackets, over-the knee-boots, and blanket scarves … (they’re) an affordable and chic way to make a statement with an outfit, plus they are really warm.”-Lauren Steele, LC Steele“A good bootie, black blazer, (and a) really great pair of jeans. If you feel good in it, you’re going to look good.” –Amy Loochtan, Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper play to a large crowd early afternoon on the City Plaza Stage Friday, October 3, 2014, during IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass. photograph by Juli Leonardby William LewisThe grass is bluer here in the Triangle. The International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual World of Bluegrass festival returns to Raleigh for the fourth time Sept. 27 – Oct. 1. It’s the who’s-who event in the banjo-pickin’ world, with live concerts, conferences and workshops, plus the IBMA awards show. William Lewis is the executive director of PineCone and the producer of Wide Open Bluegrass, the festival’s music extravaganza that closes out the week in downtown Raleigh. Below, he shares some thoughts on how to best enjoy the music he loves.PineCone works year-round planning Wide Open Bluegrass with IBMA and our Raleigh partners at the Convention Center and Visitors Bureau. So, you can imagine our concern last fall when Hurricane Joaquin caused us to scrap those plans and start over – moving the entire festival indoors in a period of a few days. Although we are all very proud of the results, and now know that it can be done, we hope to never have to do it again. Bluegrass festivals are best enjoyed under blue skies.Wide Open Bluegrass holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many in our city. While the event’s attendance and economic impact are impressive, I’m always overwhelmed by the pervasive and profound sense of community pride. For an entire week, the world joins us in celebrating one of North Carolina’s homegrown traditions – bluegrass music. And our folks turn out in droves to support it. Not only are they taking time to enjoy the music, dance, art, and food, but they are also going out of their way to welcome visitors to our city and our state. Raleigh’s hospitality ranks very high for attendees, according to post-event surveys.The Piedmont Regulators play on the steps of the Fayetteville Street Post Office during the Wide Open Bluegrass festival on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh, N.C. Saturday October 4, 2014.After hosting one of the world’s largest indoor bluegrass hurricane parties last year, we are excited to return Wide Open Bluegrass to Fayetteville Street and to the Red Hat Amphitheater in 2016. The amphitheater will feature performances by a wide range of bluegrass all-stars, including Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, the Del McCoury Band, and Steep Canyon Rangers, among others. As always, we are planning lots of unique collaborations and special guests to preserve the event’s “must see” status. I’m particularly excited about the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band celebrating its 50th anniversary in Raleigh, and the rare performance by the Soggy Bottom Boys – famous for the soundtrack of the blockbuster film O Brother, Where Art Thou? And the perennial favorites the Kruger Brothers return to the festival, this time joined by a 14-piece orchestra to perform an original piece written by Jens Kruger.It is a win-win for those purchasing tickets to Red Hat Amphitheater, because they are guaranteed world-class entertainment while also supporting a very important cause. A portion of proceeds from amphitheater ticket sales go to the IBMA-operated Bluegrass Trust Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to individuals in the bluegrass music community in times of emergency need.As for the free StreetFest portion of Wide Open, we are expanding the footprint of the event south of City Plaza toward the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The wildly popular Dance Tent Stage will now be located there, along with the N.C. Whole Hog Barbecue Championship, a food truck rodeo, junior Appalachian musicians’ showcase, arts and food vendors, kids’ games, and other fun activities. This area has lots of trees for shade and open space with grass for picnic blankets.Each year we try to tweak the event to make it a bit better than the last. We hope everyone will join us for what is sure to be another wide open bluegrass experience.For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit ibma.org.
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
Tatiana BirgissonFounder, Mati EnergyTatiana Birgisson is the founder of Mati Energy, the healthy energy drink she created in her Duke dorm room five years ago. Today, a new 30,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Clayton has her brewing as many as one million cans a month for sale at Whole Foods Market and other retailers in 12 states across the Southeast and beyond.She made Forbes magazine’s list of “30 Under 30” in the Food and Drink category this year – unsurprising, perhaps, for a business growing more than 100 percent a year.So what she says she wants to talk about at WINnovation might come as a surprise: “My story really starts with depression,” she says, “and my story is about the mental skill set that I gained to overcome depression.”She did it with perseverance, grit, and focus – not unlike the way she’s built her company, which focuses on health and well-being.“Even though life deals you a tough card, you can become a much stronger person,” she says. As Mati also goes from strength to strength, producing more than 100,000 cans a month of her proprietary combinations of tea and juice for an ever-expanding customer base, Birgisson’s hard-earned success has also resulted in wisdom worth sharing.
Killer Tacosby Katherine Poolephotograph courtesy Xoco RaleighDo you prefer your carne with a side of carnage? Check out Xoco Raleigh, where every day is Dia de los Muertos. Aztec for “little sister,” Xoco is the kooky kid sibling of North Raleigh’s favorite haunt Dos Taquitos. “Haunt” isn’t a bad word for Xoco, either – it seems that when the Mexican eatery opened in the Old Creamery building on Glenwood South, it had a few disgruntled former tenants to contend with. Maybe the restaurant folks shouldn’t have been surprised: After all, the building has a grim history, including damaging fires and multiple deaths, including a murder by a serial killer. Perhaps that explains why dishes fly off shelves, lights flicker on and off, and spectral voices whisper in the dark. But the Xoco staff is armed with good mojo, and happily embraces its status as otherworldly outpost. They have even gone so far as to invite a local ghost-busting firm known as ASAP (As Southern as Possible) Paranormal in to verify mysterious disturbances. Ain’t afraid of no ghosts? Then, steel your nerves with a margarita or two and order extra queso, because you never know who might be joining you for dinner.
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