Communique with Gina Gambony

Monday - Friday at 8:50 am and 4:44 pm on 91.3 and at noon on 92.7

Gina Gambony hosts Communique, a daily feature exploring arts, events, and ideas in the Cape Fear Region. She interviews artists, actors, dancers, writers and creators of community happenings—all the inspiring movers and shakers who enrich our lives.

Communique airs on 91.3 FM during Morning Edition at 8:50 am, on All Things Considered at 4:44 pm, and on Classical HQR 92.7 at noon.

Please send requests for interviews to classical@whqr.org.

One common format for comedy shows is the comic trifecta: the host, the feature, and the headliner. Stand-up comics can be solitary creatures; even within the trifecta, they may not speak to each other or even make eye contact. Two Wilmington-based comedians joined me in the studio...I tried to unravel the inner workings of the comedian species-without much success-but with some interesting insights gleaned. What kind of comedians are there? And what is the comedian habitat? Listen to Jamey Stone and Timmy Sherrill give us a peek above. These comedians can be caught in the wild (i.e., onstage), along with Drew Harrison, performing Comedy in Hell at Hell's Kitchen on Wednesday night.

Dram Tree Shakespeare

Dram Tree Shakespeare in Wilmington, North Carolina has announced its spring production: The Comedy of Errors. The director hails from Philadelphia: Kathryn MacMillan, or KC. KC was in Wilmington in early December for a launch party and introduction to the Wilmington theatre community. I spoke with KC in Thalian Hall's Stein Theatre during her visit. KC plans to interpret this early Shakespeare comedy of mistaken identity, seduction, and wild mishaps through a vaudevillian lens - by way of commedia dell'arte.

When the Executive Director of the Wilmington Ballet Company joined us in the studio, I expected to talk about Sugarplum fairies, the Waltz of the Snowflakes, and all the common Nutcracker delights. Instead, the conversation with Elizabeth Hester quickly turned to diversity. Hester feels it is the responsibility of the arts community to to address and heal social divisions--even through a century old Russian ballet like the Nutcracker. How? Partly through casting.


Pineapple Shaped Lamps

Pineapple Shaped Lamps (PSL) is an ever-evolving comedy troupe in Wilmington, North Carolina. PSL Presents has been the monthly sketch comedy show the group's been presenting for nearly 4 years at Theatre Now. For 2017, the group is changing the format, and the holiday show bids farewell to the old in true PSL style. It's called PSL Gets Evicted, featuring Ed Wagenseller-Wilmington actor, theatre professor, and real estate agent-as the villain.

Dylan Patterson/Theatre for All

Allon Nir was diagnosed with high-functioning autism when he was 26 years old; up until that point, doctors weren't sure what to make of him. Allon reflects on his condition and why he loves comic performing, even though performing might seem like the last thing he would want to do. Comedy can be especially brutal to the self-esteem, but comedy is Allon's favorite genre.

Nan Pope / CAM

Cameron Art Museum has two special events this weekend, celebrating the holidays in two very different ways: Wood & Lanterns. On Saturday, folk artist Clyde Jones is at the museum, working with families to create "Critters" in a cooperative art project that will decorate the CAM property through the new year. There will also be an activity for youth to make personal Critters on a smaller scale that can be taken home, plus the Children's Museum of Wilmington will be there with other kid-friendly art activities. On Sunday, the community is invited to make and see floating lanterns in the Cameron pond. Musicians will perform inside and outside the building, including harpists, violins, steel drums, and native flutes. Listen to Georgia Mastroieni and Nan Pope talk about the events above.

The Cape Fear region is full of song this holiday season. Another choral concert is coming up this weekend with the Wilmington Choral Society. The group will perform the 1st & 2nd parts of Handel's Messiah on Sunday, December 11 at the Wilson Center at 2:00pm. Choir director Paula Brinkman and Board President Kim Leggett joined us in the studio. Considering that the Messiah has been around for 275 years, I asked Paula what gives it such staying power. Listen above.

The Bellamy Mansion is all dressed up for the holidays. This Saturday, December 10, 4:00pm-7:00pm, the Bellamy Mansion and the Burgwin-Wright House are hosting the 4th Annual Christmas Stroll Through the Past. Bellamy Executive Director Gareth Evans stopped in to chat about it; listen above.

In addition to the Christmas Stroll,  the Bellamy is open to show off it's Victorian Christmas decor for free on Monday & Tuesday, December 19-20, for Nights of Lights, 4:00pm-7:00pm.

Cookies. Thousands of cookies.

About 80 people from Wrightsville United Methodist Church (WUMC) are preparing for the 2nd Annual Cookie Walk, happening this Saturday, December 10, 9:00am-1:00pm. Nancy Rock & Lisa Brewster from the Baking Committee joined us to talk about the event. How it works: thousands of homemade cookies are displayed throughout WUMC. When you walk in, you are given a plastic glove and a box (or boxes). You gather up the goods...and you pay for your haul by weight ($8/lb). Listen to Nancy and Lisa talk about the event above.

Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. These are the familiar opening words to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and these words also open a play called Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, presented by Big Dawg ProductionsWhen I discovered two (mostly) comic Wilmington actors were playing the lead roles, I thought the show would be a comedy. But Steve Vernon, playing Scrooge, and Randy Davis, playing Marley, explained that the show is (mostly) a drama. It's clear that both these actors are absolutely in love with this show. Listen above. 

Jamie Stone

Michael Granberry. Cullen Moss. Steve Vernon. Jason Hatfield....the list is at least 10 names long-the collection of actors in Wilmington, North Carolina who have played the part of Crumpet in David Sedaris' Santaland Diaries. This year, a new comedian/actor joins the club-Jamey Stone plays Crumpet for the Panache Theatre production. The script for Santaland Diaries doesn't change, but every performer brings something different to the stage.

Sea Notes

This weekend, Sea Notes Choral Society presents the It's Almost Christmas! concert at Odell Williamson Auditorium.   About 120 singers perform both sacred and secular, traditional and unusual selections. The performance is free, but donations are accepted at the door. Listen to our conversation with concert Director Diane Huffman and Board President Jane Skubic above. 

St. Paul's Episcopal Church presents its 4th Annual Coastal Carolina Christmas this Friday evening, December 2 at 7:00pm. The church choir performs selections from Handel's Messiah accompanied by an orchestra, while the Wilmington Boys Choir performs traditional carols. Following the concert, champagne and a collection of chocolate treats will be served in St. Paul's Parish Hall-the Sparkling Chocolate Reception.

City Ballet of Wilmington

Wilmington's City Ballet premiered A Carolina Nutcracker in 2011 and it has become a local tradition, continuing this year. Approximately 100 dancers perform roles as the Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, soldiers, rats, Drosselmeyer, and all the rest...but this Nutcracker incorporates Wilmington history as well-without sacrificing any of the classical Tchaikovsky elements. The performance is at CFCC's Wilson Center on Saturday, 12/3 at 7:00pm & Sunday, 12/4 at 3:00pm.

Renowned artist Virginia Wright-Frierson has an exhibit hanging in WHQR's MC Erny Gallery titled At Home and Abroad: Watercolors, Oils, and Prints. Listen above to hear Virginia's relationship with watercolor and oil-and the biggest problem about being an artist. The prints in the exhibit are lino cuts, old-fashioned cut-out linoleum rolled with ink and set onto paper. Hear about the lino cuts, and Virginia's advice to new artists, below.

TheatreNOW always presents a Christmas show, and it's become a tradition for Nick Smith to direct it. Last year, it was Trailer Park Christmas; this year it's Tuna Christmas. This is a sequel to Greater Tuna, staged earlier this year. It's Christmas set in Tuna, Texas featuring about 20 characters-all played by two women: Susan Auten and Erin Hunter. Director Nick Smith and Susan Auten joined us in the studio to talk about the show.

Wilmington's newest theatre company, Second Star Theatre, just opened its first show a few weeks ago-the musical The Last 5 Years. The group's second endeavor comes close on its heels: Fame the Musical by the Second Star Teen Program, running November 25-December 4 at Dreams Garage. Actors Maggie Stone and Mathis Turner plus director Izzy Gorden joined us. The show is being produced by teenagers with some mentorship by adults. For director Izzy Gorden, that mentor is David Loudermilk, former Artistic Director of Thalian Association. Listen to Stone, Turner, and Gorden talk about the experience of putting on a show with a group of teens in leadership roles.

One herald of the holiday season in the Cape Fear Region is upon us: Art for the Masses (AFTM). This annual November art show and sale features artwork from 96 artist this year, all priced under $250. The show is one day only, opening Saturday morning at 9:00 and running through 3:00 Saturday afternoon. Stephanie Norris, Director of Campus Life Arts & Programs at UNCW, manges this event. She explains how it ended up on campus and why it's valuable to the University; listen above.

Christopher Marino

Director Christopher Marino and actor Katherine Carr joined us to talk about a new adaptation of "Beauty & the Beast." UNCW Theatre presents the show, running one more weekend at UNCW's Mainstage Theatre: Friday, 11/18 & Saturday, 11/19 at 2:00pm &  7:00pm; Sunday 11/20 at 2:00pm. While the show is a bit scary (there's a beast, after all), it's appropriate for ages 6+. Don't expect Disney's version of the story-this is a brand new telling of the old tale.

Liz Halloran loves Dance la Cachuca by Gilbert &  Sullivan. Lucky for her-and the community-Cape Fear Chorale is performing this piece this weekend: Gilbert & Sullivan In Concert. Liz is a singer and board member of the Chorale; she joined us, along with fellow singer/board member Todd Vernon. Listen above.

Gallop for the Gravy

The Wilmington West Rotary Club is sponsoring its 10th annual Run for the Hungry-Gallop for the Gravy. It's a 5K race on Thanksgiving morning, raising money for Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, Fully Belly Project, and Nourish NC, three organizations dedicated to alleviating hunger.

Matt Carvin, Executive Director of Dreams of Wilmington, is busy preparing for this year's big fundraiser: Over the Edge.

Jewish Women's Archive/jwa.org

A man named Tony Stimac moved to Wilmington about a year ago. He arrived with 50 years of experience as a writer, director, and producer of musical theatre-and he arrived with a script. He didn't realize he'd end up producing that script until the folks at the Hannah Block USO/Community Arts Center saw it (and loved it).

Communique: Cucalorus 22 | November 9-13

Nov 8, 2016

Dan Brawley has been at the helm of Wilmington's Cucalorus Film Festival for 18 years (this is year 22 for the Fest). His leadership of Cucalorus has never become routine-the festival seems to be in continual manifestation, reaching out and building bridges between itself and everything else: Kidsalorus, Dancealorus, panels for entrepreneurs, innovators and dreamers, music, shadow puppets, comedy. You can choose to slip between reality and virtual reality. But most importantly, you can watch the films-260 of them

A performance collective from Chicago is coming to Wilmington this week to perform an intricate shadow show featuring paper puppets, live actors, and live music. The group is called Manual Cinema-an apt title for a shadow show that is like a movie made by hand in front of the audience in real time. We heard from one of the founders of Manual Cinema, Drew Dir, about the show, called Ada|Ava.

The Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club's Surf to Sound is this weekend, featuring paddle board clinics and races at the Blockade Runner.

Chamber Music Wilmington presents its 2nd performance of the season this weekend: the award-winning Chicago-based Kontras Quartet. The show is this Sunday at Beckwith Recital Hall at 7:30pm. We spoke by telephone with Jean Hatmaker, the cellist of the group. Hatmaker talks about the orchestral vs.

Dick Heiser

The Coastal Carolina Clay Guild holds its annual Holiday Show and Sale this weekend. Friday evening is the opening reception from 5:00pm - 8:00pm at the Hannah Block Community Arts Center in downtown Wilmington.

The annual Carolina Authors Luncheon by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is this Saturday, November 5. The event begins at 11:00 am at UNCW's Burney Center and features three Carolina authors: Tom Olsinski, Flora Solomon, and Philip Gerard. The Luncheon includes a buffet meal, books for sale by Pomegranate, presentations by each of the authors, and raffled items (including a 5-person lunch date with Flora Solomon). This is the main yearly fundraiser of AAUW and supports its scholarships for non-traditional university women and school vision testing, among other activities focused on economic, educational, and political equality for women.

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