In the depths of the Durham Arts Council building last week, the Durham Symphony Orchestra gathered to rehearse its upcoming “A Musical Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.”
It was a weeknight, and the musicians who came were volunteers and paid professionals, some in jeans and T-shirts, others in the business casual they wore all day at an office.
If you are still suffering from the post-winter blues, or simply need an excuse for a treat, Saturday is Record Store Day, and local stores and music labels will have limited-edition releases and special deals to bring out music lovers.
All Day Records in Carrboro will have discounts on records, and a sidewalk sale of stereo equipment, said Jeremy Harris. Ryan Richardson of CD Alley in Chapel Hill said labels across the country have produced some 300 special releases for the annual event, and CD Alley has ordered about 180 of them. “It’s amazing how much stuff there is,” he said.
When the Blue Ribbon Healers hit the road, they don’t just come for one show, then load up the car and take off to the next town. They like to stick around for a little while, whether it’s a month in Colorado or California. The duo will bring their original brand of foot-stomping swanky tonk music to Durham on Sunday for two shows – first at Fullsteam Brewery, then after a break another show across the street at Motorco Music Hall.
Cindy Rose (mandolin, vocals) and Rob Pate (guitar, vocals) formed the Blue Ribbon Healers five years ago.
There is an image of Mickey Mouse, with a skeletal body and his gloved hand poised like a gun. There is a Sun-Maid raisin box, labeled “Sun Mad” with the image of the girl on the box changed to a ghastly skeleton. There is a portrait of Cesar Chavez with the Nike swoosh emblazoned on his cap. And there is a sweet 15-year-old dressed in her coming-of-age finery. These are just some of the images by the 44 artists in the exhibition “Estampas de la Raza.”
Like Maya Beiser, the duo 2Cellos and Durham cellist Shana Tucker, cellist Ben Sollee has pioneered new repertoire and styles for his instrument. Listeners may know him for his work with Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet, or from his three recordings – “Learning to Bend,” “Inclusions” and “Half-Made Man.”
Now, Sollee is adding dance and documentary to his concerts. He is still “experimenting with the show,” he said in a phone interview, and local audiences will get to see and hear his new approach when he performs this weekend at The Carolina Theatre and at the spring edition of the Shakori Hills Festival.
Wyatt Easterling grew up in Chapel Hill and spent 33 years in Nashville, Tenn., as a country music songwriter, singer, producer and a record label talent scout. Last year he moved back to his hometown to write for a while away from the Nashville scene. He has a new record and will perform at the Durham Armory on Saturday afternoon during Durham Art Walk Spring Market.
Easterling moved to Nashville in 1981 upon releasing his first album, and has worked in the music industry ever since, from head of A&R (artist and repertoire, which handles talent scouting and artist development) for Atlantic Records in Nashville in 1990, to writing “Modern Day Drifter” for Dierks Bentley and “Life’s a Dance” for John Michael Montgomery.
The centerpiece of the twice annual Durham Art Walk and Market is visual art. The Durham Arts Council produces the walk to encourage visitors to buy local visual art.
The Arts Council Building, 120 Morris St., is the epicenter of the self-guided walk. Visitors may pick up a map at the building, which will direct them to 31 different sites, where more than 200 artists will have their work on view and for sale.
By the time the Durham Art Walk and Spring Market opens Saturday, Cindy Vega and Neal Carlton, co-owners of Vega Metals on Hunt Street, will have cut out and hand prepared 800 metal ornaments to give away to visitors who stop by the shop during the two-day event.
Since the first Art Walk, Vega Metals has created a new ornament to commemorate each event (held in the fall and spring every year). The ornaments are free. “We say wear them,” Vega said of the popular metal works of art.
For fans of everything that is the pop cultural icon “The Wizard of Oz,” a new take on the musical is at the Durham Performing Arts Center through Sunday, part of its U.S. tour. The show originated in Canada and has not been to Broadway yet. It has several Broadway-level aspects as well as a few that might use some tweaking before it goes to the Big Apple.
The special effects are a nice surprise, with lighting and smoke – too much smoke on opening night, as the smoke detector was set off in the 2,700-seat theater. During a scene with Dorothy (Danielle Wade) and the Wicked Witch of the West (Jacquelyn Piro Donovan) early in Act Two, the alarm sounded and the house lights went on.
Rice isn't just for eating anymore thanks to Cloud Gate Dance Theatre performers and choreographer/founder Lin Hwai-min. Instead, 31/2 tons of rice creates the landscape of a journey in Lin's "Songs of the Wanderers."
On Wednesday, judging from the fact that the majority of a packed Memorial Hall audience remained still and quiet throughout the 90-minute work, this trip takes the audience right along with these travelers..
Filmmakers Tina Mascara and Guido Santi have chronicled a modern “Siddhartha” in their documentary “Monk with a Camera.” Nicholas “Nicky” Vreeland, the son of a diplomat and grandson of Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, had all the trappings of wealth. He fastidiously polished his Italian shoes, and wore tailored clothes. A photographer, he studied with Irving Penn.
One day, after he began meditating, he decided to follow the path of Tibetan Buddhism, and put all his shoes on the street in New York for people to take. Now he is the abbot of Rato Dratsang, a Tibetan government monastery under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
And more ...
Dams provide flood control and hydroelectric power, but they also can harm watersheds and hurt the migration of fish.
In “DamNation,” Ben Knight and Travis Rummel look at the growing movement to decommission some of these dams and restore the flow of the country’s rivers. The process began with the decommissioning of a dam on the lower Elwha River in Washington, and the filmmakers show how that decision has led to an increase in the salmon population.
Darius Quarles brought in three paintings to Pleiades Gallery on a recent Friday, his contribution to the new exhibit at the gallery titled “Local Flavor.” One of the paintings has an image taken from an 1870 hand-drawn map of Durham. Over that map, Quarles has placed a piece of Plexiglass and painted images of buildings related to the location on the map.
“I’ve been researching these maps before Durham became Durham,” Quarles said. “I know a lot about Durham now.” On these historic maps, the cartographer often will note the changes in street names. One map also notes the existence of a pond on Rigsbee Avenue that churches once used for baptisms, Quarles said.
A Canadian production of “The Wizard of Oz” with new music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice has hit the yellow brick road on tour in the U.S. Starring the winner of a Canadian reality show as Dorothy, “The Wizard of Oz” will be on stage at the Durham Performing Arts Center April 8 through 13.
Danielle Wade has spent the past two and a half years being Dorothy, the teenager from Kansas who travels to the merry old land of Oz and goes on an adventure with three new friends. Wade won the Canadian television show “Over the Rainbow” in 2012 to get the role of Dorothy.