In October 2013 the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture was established, but the organization is not a federal agency, nor does it get government dollars. Organizers say the name is intended to spark discussions about the relationship between the arts and public policy.
To quote from its website, the USDAC seeks “to harness the power of art and culture to engage millions in envisioning and creating a more just and sustainable world.”
A coalition of environmental groups has responded to the February spill of coal ash from a retired power plant into the Dan River in Eden, North Carolina, with a series of film screenings about coal-related pollution. Organizers want viewers of “Coal Ash Stories” screenings to lobby state legislators for stricter regulation of coal ash.
N.C. WARN and other environmental groups will present eight screenings of “Coal Ash Stories” at different locations in the state. One of those screenings comes to Durham Tuesday night at Motorco Music Hall.
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“Farmland,” a film by documentary director James Moll, follows six farmers and ranchers, all in their 20s, in their daily work growing food. Most of the farmers in this film represent the fourth or fifth generation of a family that has run a farm.
One of those farmers is Ryan Veldhuizen, who along with his brothers and sisters runs a hog farm in Edgerton, Minnesota. His great grandfather, who immigrated from the Netherlands, started the farm about 1906, Veldhuizen said in a phone interview. Successive generations have continued to raise hogs, as well as grow corn and soybeans to feed the hogs, on the land.
Hillsborough is less than 30 minutes from Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh and is a destination with a vibrant art scene, good food and a nationally famous auction house; on the fourth Friday of the month, its downtown takes to the streets. Although we have missed May’s excitement, the galleries are open and the exhibitions invite a visit.
Three women artists hone in on the figure at the Eno Gallery.
Molly Cliff-Hilts paints seascapes with small figures enjoying the beach. Alicia Armstrong also paints vast spaces, probably near the ocean, with one or at most two strongly defined figures, who seem involved in fantasy happenings. Tinka Jordy sculpts female figures out of clay; they are substantial forms and fit in with nature rather than stand outside it.
In Russian-Polish filmmaker Ladislas Starewicz’s 1912 silent, stop-action animation film “The Cameraman’s Revenge,” Mr. and Mrs. Beetle are “restless” in their domestic bliss, and have extramarital affairs. They, along with various grasshoppers and dragonflies, are played by real insects that Starewicz manipulated. The insects ride bicycles, carry briefcases, paint at an easel, set up cameras, fight and make up.
The short film will be screened at the fifth annual Strange Beauty Film Festival June 14, with live accompaniment to a new, original score that Carrboro-based ensemble Felix Obelix will perform. Felix Obelix is a rotating ensemble led by composer Wendy Spitzer.
Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Pittsboro and environs boast numerous visual art galleries, both public and privately run. Many potential buyers might be put off by the prices of some pieces, or their lack of knowledge.
The Broadway hit that combines the music of ABBA with humor, fun and poignancy first came to the Durham Performing Arts Center in 2010 and is back this weekend for a short run. Opening night on Friday played to a lively, jubilant crowd who didn’t need to wait for the final curtain to let out a whistle and excited applause.
Just in time for summer days of winding country roads, swimming at the lake or just listening in your car on the way to work, Chatham County Line delivers another winner with “Tightrope.” Their sixth studio album just came out this month, and the band performs Friday night at the Carolina Theatre in Durham.
The band has kept its original four-man lineup for the past decade as its music has grown. Again on Yep Roc Records out of Haw River, CCCL is under the broad spectrum of Americana. It has just enough energy that you can dance to if you want, or tap your feet while sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch.
The Strange Beauty Film Festival will celebrate its fifth year with 48 film screenings June 12-14. Among the films are Josh Gibson’s documentary “Nile Perch,” about how the fish export trade has affected a community in Uganda; Hope Tucker’s “Handful of Dust,” a meditation on the aftermath of nuclear testing; and “Yellow Hair of Happiness,” filmmaker Nic Beery’s documentary of a circus clown.
The Pinhook will host “Play it SAFE,” a benefit concert to raise money for the Durham Crisis Response Center, Friday beginning at 8 p.m. Local bands Gross Ghost, See Gulls, and T0W3RS will perform.
College radio stations WKNC 88.1 FM (N.C. State University), WXDU 88.7 FM (Duke University), WUAG 103.1 FM (UNC Greensboro), and WXYC 89.3 FM (UNC Chapel Hill) are sponsoring the event, with help from The Pinhook. Organizers want to promote a safe community for women and to raise awareness of the problem of sexual assault.
Choreographer/dancer Anjanée Bell and her troupe, Bellan Contemporary Dance Theatre, offered an unusual evening of dance Thursday with her work-in-progress “The Birth of Existence Project – Bridge of Light.” This beautiful, evocative, emotionally moving multimedia work engages on many levels.
In a post-performance session, when asked what they liked best, audience members testify that the work keeps them interested. One woman said, “I hated to see it end.” And, the Reynolds Industries Theater audience did not wait until the performance concluded to applaud; they applauded after each section.