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 ideas for Communique stories through this form. We'll contact you if we have space for your request!

Comedian and author Paula Poundstone is performing in Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday, February 10th  at the Wilson Center downtown at 8:00pm. WHQR's Gina Gambony spoke with Paula on the telephone about her cats, happiness, and her new book. Listen above or read below.

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Scott Stevens & the Cavaliers wasn't just a run-of-the-mill 1950s doo-wop band. The group was one of the first racially integrated bands of the era. Stephen Glaser (with stage name Scott Stevens) was the only white person in the band by the end. Plus he's Jewish. After much encouragement, including from a fortune cookie, Glaser wrote a book about his mid-century time with the Cavaliers: White Boy: A Rock & Roll Story. Glaser will be at Barnes & Noble Mayfaire in Wilmington on Saturday, February 11, 2:00pm-5:00pm to sign copies of his book. Listen to him talk about what motivated him to write (and hear a little snippet of the music) above. 

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Wilmington's Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence (BRC) is having its 4th Annual Breakfast. Middle of the Island is catering the event Wednesday, 2/8 at Coastline Convention Center, 7:30am-9:00am. The BRC is focused on identifying and addressing the causes of youth violence, particularly in the Youth Enrichment Zone, about 140 square blocks on the north side of downtown Wilmington. Listen above to Executive Director Jana Jones Halls talk about the mission and work of the BRC.

Opera Wilmington just announced its summer production for this year: Georges Bizet's Carmen. But before that happens, Opera Wilmington presents a Valentine performance called Spark & Fire: Love in Words and Music. The concert is this Sunday, February 12 at 4:00pm at Beckwith Recital Hall. There are over a dozen singers performing a wide variety of music at this concert with champagne and a sweet treat at intermission. Artistic Director (and soprano) Nancy King and baritone Carl Samet joined us; listen above. Near the end of interview, hear Carl sing a few lines from his favorite country tune.

Justin Lacy

Singer/songwriters Justin Lacy and Sarah Royal met last January and quickly started a duo: Slow Dance. To celebrate their first year together making music, Justin and Sarah are releasing an EP this Sunday, February 5 at Gravity Records, 1:00pm-4:00pm. Sara Beck and Emma Nelson will open for Slow Dance at the release party, plus there will be treats from Rx and a Margarita bar. The self-titled EP is only being released on 50 old-school cassette tapes. 

Vince Stout, a native Wilmingtonian, studied music at East Carolina University. He often plays his major instrument on Wilmington stages-the double bass-but his other love is steel pan. After finding a mentor and mastering the performance of playing and making steel pans, Vince formed the steel pan group, Sea Pans, back in 2000. Depending on the performance, the number of players can be 1 to 20, and there are different types of pans they can play. Four performers are playing at the kick-off of the 37th Annual NC Jazz Festival tonight (Thursday) at 7:30pm: Jazz ala Trinidad.

wilmingtonwineandchocolate

It's time for the 14th Annual Wine & Chocolate Festival. Lead Festival Coordinator Marianna Stacy joined us to talk about this 3-day indoor festival happening this weekend, February 3-5, at the Coastline Event Center. Friday night is the Grand Tasting, a kick-off party, 7:00pm-10:00pm. The Marketplace is ongoing Saturday and Saturday. The Festival benefits V.O.C.A.L, Volunteer Older Citizens Action League. See links to schedule information below and listen to Marianna talk about the festival above. 

songoflahoremovie.com

Paula Haller is a documentary filmmaker and the force behind DocuTime, the one-day documentary festival in its 14th incarnation. DocuTime is this Saturday, February 4th at UNCW's King Hall Auditorium. Eight films are presented in 4 time blocks (see the schedule below), 9:30am-5:00pm. Highlights include Sonita, about a teenage Afghan girl who wants to be a hip-hop artist, but being sold into marriage is getting in her way; Life, Animated, about a a boy with autism who gains communication through Disney films; and Song of Lahore, the story of a traditional Pakistani music group who ends up playing jazz with Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center. Listen to Paula Haller's excitement about these and other selections above.

It’s time again for the 6th Annual Star News Wilmington Theatre Awards. For many Wilmington theatre folk, this is the most exciting theatrical event of the year-and not necessarily just because of the awards. It’s a rare opportunity when actors, designers, techies, directors, choreographers, musicians –and all the rest- come together to celebrate the art. 

Harold K. Jordan Contractors/Tise Keister Architecture

Wilmington Good Shepherd Center provides many services to the hungry and homeless in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties. It's the largest provider in the Cape Fear Region. Services include meals, a night and day shelter, soup kitchen, and employment assistance. The Center has worked on a project for years for expansion on property near Greenfield Lake, and it's finally becoming a reality. Senior Development Director Jane Birnbach says that over 3/4 of the capital campaign goal for this project has been raised; listen above for details. 

A new exhibit opens on Friday, 1/27 at WHQR's MC Erny Gallery. It's called The Odd Couple: Unusual Work by Joe Cordoaro and Jock Pottle. Despite the exhibits name, the towo artists have at leas one significan commonality, and that's the process they use to create their work. Joe Cordero started off as a pen and ink artist, and Jock Pottle as a photographer and sketcher. They both were drawn to the unique possibilities of tablet drawing. 

Steve Tamayo is an award-winning artist, a cultural consultant, and a teacher. His focus is on Native American cultural heritage, arts, and politics. Tamayo is a Sicangu Lakota from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. This weekend, he'll be in Wilmington, leading a moccasin-making workshop on Saturday and giving a talk called The Relevance of Lakota Traditions in the World Today on Sunday. Tamayo has spent a lot of time teaching at the Standing Rock encampment over the past months. He will talk about his experience there at his workshop and talk, also sharing culture and spirituality from the Lakota tradition.

Arts in Wilmington-the calendar, newsletter, and artist registry covering 3 counties in southeastern North Carolina-didn't start off big. It started off with 5 members. Nearly 3 years since it was created by Craig Stinson, it's grown to about 1,600 members.

Stinson is adding something new this year: an Arts Awards Celebration. Four awards are being bestowed for Individual Artist, Organization, Business, and Education. The party is at the ArtWorks downtown on Saturday, 1/28 and the community is invited. Listen above to hear how the winners were selected. Tickets for the event are available here. Stinson says this is not a gala, but a casual community celebration.

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World-renowned Israeli-American cellist Amit Peled performs in Wilmington on Sunday...and he'll be playing Pablo Casals' cello.  The cello, a 1733 Goffriller, was loaned to Peled by Casals' widow, Marta, about 4 years ago. After seeing (and hearing) Peled play, Marta decided that he was the right musician to bring the cello to life again.  Peled now speaks through this instrument with his own voice. Listen to Amit Peled and Barbara McKenzie from Chamber Music Wilmington talk about the cello above. 

40 Eats. It's the name of a Wilmington collective of restaurant professionals interested in enhancing the food and the community at the eastern end of I-40. Chef Dean Neff of PinPoint Restaurant is one of the members. The group formed just 6 months ago, but it's about to have its 3rd event to benefit a 3rd charity. Dean is calling this event the One Less Hungry Child Chef's Dinner. The event is on Sunday, January 29th at 6:00 at Port Land Grille. Tickets are available here.

Tatyana Kulida is an award-winning realist oil painter. She studied portraiture and figurative art in the classical tradition at the Italian Florence Academy of Art. Tatyana is originally from Crimea, but she now splits her time between New Zealand and Wilmington, North Carolina.  She's in Wilmington this month conducting a class at the Cameron Art Museum (CAM), and she's been commissioned to do a very special project at the CAM while she's here: the Painting Paul Project, an ongoing live portrait demonstration. 

Max has vision, though he is blind. He leads them, though he is in a wheelchair.  

Gary Neil Gupton has been writing and traveling for pleasure in his life, but recently he combined his experience into a story for young people: Time to Meet Max. It was published late last year. Gupton says the story is fiction, but it is inspired by a young man he met on one of his trips to Guatemala. He says the book would be perfect for kids around 3rd grade, but as he describes the story, it seems a wider audience might appreciate the characters he created. 

ASAP

Elizabeth "Liz" Willis is a law student at Yale University. She was in Wilmington in January in order to meet with a client who sought asylum in the United States. With Liz's help, that asylum seeker has been successful and is settled in North Carolina, right outside of town. Liz is doing this work through a non-profit organization she co-founded called ASAP or Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project. The project is focused on providing pro bono legal council to  mothers and children seeking asylum.

Wilmington Celebration Choir

Joey Gore says music is his calling. He was directing neighborhood kids to sing from the time he was 8 years old. As an adult, Joey is a pianist, music director, and the founder/director of Wilmington Celebration Choir. The Choir performs out of town more than in Wilmington, but Saturday night, 1/14, they are performing at Winter Park Presbyterian at 7:00pm

Cape Fear River Watch is holding its biggest event of the year this weekend: StriperFest, named after the striped bass. Friday night is the Banquet & Auction, but it looks like that part of the event is sold out. No tickets are required for Saturday activities, though, including the Fishing Tournament, Education Day, and the Fisheries Science Forum.  Youth and adults are invited to peer through microscopes, take a river cruise, learn how to cast, create fish art, and more. Listen to Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette and Intern Katie Bradley talk about Community Education Day above, and hear more about the issues important to Cape Fear River Watch in the Web Extra below. 

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Bill Maher, the comedian and ardent atheist, has unexpectedly said some very nice things about Pope Francis over the past couple of years. The striking contrast between these two figures, alongside the equally striking points of moral overlap between them, inspired Skip Maloney to write a play based on a meeting between them (and the United States Congress). The play examines public policy issues at the intersection of politics and religion, according to the author.  Billy and the Pope opens Thursday, 1/12 at Theatre Now at 7:00pm with 8 performances through Sunday, 1/22.  Actors Zach Hanner and Craig Myers are playing the title roles; listen to their interview above, plus an extended conversation below. 

Cape Fear Museum

Amy Thornton is the Education Coordinator at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science in downtown Wilmington. The museum is an active location with a consistent flow of events and exhibits and a vigorous education program for all ages. One program that's new to the Museum is the Behind the Scenes Tour. The first one is on Saturday, February 4th at 2:00-3:30pm. It's called Our Favorite New Old Things.

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Ken Vest retired from television news; he retired to Wilmington with his family in 2015. He studied Drama and English Literature at Texas State University, and he's a writer and actor. When tragedy struck his family 5 years ago, Ken turned to theatre as one way to move through grief - and to help others. In October, he successfully raised enough funds to produce the play he wrote: Inside Job.

Classical music presenters in and around Wilmington have a problem...the amount of classical music in this area has proliferated to the point that a meeting has been called. The problem is in the calendar-with classical music lovers hoping to attend performances by symphonies, chamber music ensembles, soloists, operas, etc, performers and presenters can help themselves and their fans by avoiding overlap. 

Communique: Mic Check Mash-Up...And Thanks

Jan 5, 2017

We've been airing this WHQR feature, Communique, for 6 months now, and I've really enjoyed hosting and producing these interviews. As a special treat for all the folks I spoke with last year, and for our listeners, I have a little mash-up...When I do a microphone check with guests, it's very often a little chat about food. Specifically: breakfast. You can hear bits and pieces from our mic checks above and see if you recognize anyone! 

Three years ago, playwright Susan Steadman founded Port City Playwrights' Project (PCPP). Each year, the group has presented a themed staged reading of works from participants. This month, the PCPP presents its first full production: Common Place, Uncommon Encounters. Founder Steadman and one of the playwrights, local small business owner Don Wood, joined us.

If a creative floral designer looked at an abstract piece of art like this one by Dick Roberts, how would he or she interpret it with flowers? This week, 30 pieces of art from Cameron Art Museum's permanent collection will be interpreted in flowers, including this one. Barb Bittler, President of the New Hanover County Garden Club, and Jayme Bednarcyzyk, Development Director of the CAM, are bringing Art of the Bloom to fruition.

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Cape Fear Theatre Arts presents its New Year's show, Sister Act, a musical based on the blockbuster film. The show opens Friday, 12/30, but only runs twice the first weekend: Friday at 7:30pm and Saturday night for guests of Thalian Hall's New Year's Eve Gala.

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It's always story time with Scott Davis. He's been a traditional storyteller for a long time, but for the past few years, he's been focused on digital storytelling, a format that allows him to create rich soundscapes that bring stories to life. Scott and his business partner Richard Sirianni just launched a production company: Ensemble Audio Studios. The largest project from Ensemble is a story called Percy the Cat in the Big White House. Listen above to hear about Percy and a shorter tale, The King's Child.

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.

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