Midday Interviews

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.

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.

dnivrab / 123rf.com

Aloha to the holidays! Wilmington eateries and drinkeries are uniting for the 4th Annual 12 Tastes of Christmas to benefit the Cape Fear Literacy Council. The theme this year is "retro-tiki." One of the founders and directors of this benefit is Nina Bays Cournoyer. She explains how the tasting works (featuring 12 bites matched with 12 drinks) and why she supports the Cape Fear Literacy Council.

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.

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