Weekend Picks: August 18th – 20th


Tacolpalooza Food Truck Rodeo in Knightdale this Sunday 12-4pm

This weekend’s picks include three of my favorite things: Music, Coffee, and Food Trucks. Also, there is some exciting restaurant news this week with the opening of Namu Durham, a collaboration between the NCBulkogie and Bo’s Kitchen Food Truck. I’m looking forward to checking them out soon for some great Korean food food – plus they have a coffee bar! No matter what you do this weekend try to stay cool and happy exploring!

Friday – August 18th

Music at Nash Street Tavern in Hillsborough
The Haw River Social and Pleasure Club is a local 3 piece acoustic band, Vocalists and multi-instrumentalists John Worthington, Michael Covington and Todd Gambling. Music is from 8-11pm at Nash Street Tavern in Downtown Hillsboorugh. No Cover. While your in Hillsborough I suggest checking out the New Whit’s Frozen Custard on Nash Street before the show!

Saturday – August 19th

Coffee & Churros at Cocoa Cinnamon’s New Lakewood Location
Cocoa Cinnamon started operating their new location in the Lakewood area of Durham on limited hours this week. On Saturday they will be open for the full day from 8am to 10pm. They will be closed this Sunday and Monday so make sure you swing by on Saturday to check out their coffee and churros! Location is 2013 Chapel Hill Road in Durham. Follow them on facebook here to keep tabs on the new shops hours during the coming weeks.

Sunday – August 20th

Tacopalooza Food Truck Rodeo in Knightdale
On Sunday the RDU Mobile Food Association is hosting Tacopalooza food truck rodeo and competition at Knightdale Station located at 810 N First Ave., Knightdalefrom 12-4pm.

The event will have 10 mobile food vendors and will highlight the best tacos in the Triangle. Each food vendor is required to only serve tacos or taco themed foods. Admission is free and attendees can purchase tacos directly from each food truck. There will also be games and fun for the children like a bouncy house and slide.

Food Trucks Scheduled:
Bandido’s Mexican Cafe
Chirba Chirba Dumpling
Curry In A Hurry Truck
European Bistro Food Truck
Qspresso Food Truck
Tacos Las Gringas
The Humble Pig
The 13th Taco

Dessert Trucks:
Cocoa Forte
Jay’s Italian Ice

Bonus Coffee News – Back Alley Coffee Under New Ownership
I also wanted to share some exciting local coffee news. It was announced today that ownership of Back Alley Coffee in Wake Forest has been transferred over to local coffee pros Lem Butler and Kyle Ramage. Lem and Kyle are both US Barista Champs (2016 and 2017 respectively) so you know they bring a ton of coffee knowledge and expertise Back Alley. I’m looking forward to great things from them and their latest coffee adventure!



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DPAC and City of Durham Start $1.8 Million Improvement Project

Seat Removal at DPAC

Seat Removal at DPAC
(Photo by HuthPhoto)

I’ve enjoyed covering the traveling Broadway productions at DPAC this past year and excited to share that after welcoming more than 3.5 million guests during its first nine years of operation, DPAC is currently undergoing major improvements before the start of the next SunTrust Broadway season that opens this September. Some of the improvements you are sure to notice are new carpet throughout the lobbies and seating area and 2,712 new seats to replace the original seating.

Work on the $1.8 million project started earlier this week and will wrap up in September. The high attendance numbers that have put DPAC among the country’s top venues – and #4 among U.S. theaters, according to rankings released last month – contributed to the need for the improvements.

“Usually projects like this would be done after about 15 to 20 years, but we’ve been fortunate to have had so many guests at DPAC that the change to new carpet and seats needed to be made earlier than normal to keep DPAC among the very best theaters in America,” DPAC’s General Manager Bob Klaus said. “We are most excited about using this opportunity to install a much improved seat so that guests can be even more comfortable when they come to DPAC to enjoy a superstar live event.”

The new seats sound very nice. They are the Allegro model from Irwin Seating in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the seating company used by 95 percent of New York’s Broadway Theaters – including Nederlander’s Richard Rodgers Theatre where Hamilton currently performs, Nederlander’s Minskoff Theatre home to Disney’s The Lion King, and the Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre.

Carpet Removal on Day 1

Carpet Removal
(Photo by HuthPhoto

The new carpeting, from Bloomsburg Carpet Industries, is a blend of two shades of red American-made fiber and is woven in Pennsylvania on a velvet loom.  Bloomsburg has installed carpeting at most theaters in New York and across the country, including DPAC’s original carpet. The new carpet will utilize fade-resistant technology, which was not available when the original carpet was installed, to protect against fading due to the sunlight streaming through DPAC’s many windows.

All products to be installed are American-made. A team from PFM, Nederlander and the City took two years to select the products, looking at hundreds of carpet samples and dozens of seat types. Funding for the project comes from a facility fee that is charged per ticket and held in a dedicated fund that the City of Durham maintains to ensure that DPAC continues as a world-class venue for years to come.

“These improvements are the best kind of investment in DPAC, ones that will continue to beautify the theater, while enhancing the comfort of the millions of show and concert guests season after season to come,” said Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell.  “For the last nine years, the shows always have been top-notch, and our guests deserve no less than a beautiful and welcoming facility in which to enjoy them.”

The installation of the new seats and carpets will be finished by September 10th and are the latest step in over $15 million in improvements, renovations and capital replacement projects planned for the next 15 years.

Traveling productions of “Circus 1903″, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Andrew Loyd Webber’s “Love Never Dies” are set to grace the stage at DPAC at the start of the next season kicking off in late September. To see the upcoming schedule for the series of Suntrust Broadway shows at DPAC visit https://www.dpacnc.com/suntrust-broadway-series-2017-18.

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Weekend Picks: August 11th – 13th

This weekend my top picks include chocolate sampling, Spanish guitar music, and a food truck rodeo in Clayton. While you’re out and about I also recommend a visit to the new Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop that just opened up in Cary. In the coming weeks I look forward to giving you a sneak peek at some other new restaurants that will open later this month and in September, including Namu Durham (Korean Food) and Pie Hole Durham (Coffee & Pie). In the meantime happy exploring!

Friday – August 11th

Chocolate Launch Event at Raleigh Provisions
Raleigh Provisions in downtown Raleigh has announced they will be a retailer for the locally made Avenue des Chocolats! On Friday from 4-7pm you can stop by the store located at 107 E. Davie Street for a sampling of their, chocolate offerings meet Gabriela, the owner Avenue des Chocolats owner Gabriela.

Saturday – August 12th

Spanish Guitar Music at Honeysuckle Tea House in Chapel Hill
Saturday night is a great time to visit the eclectic Honeysuckle Tea House tucked away in rural chapel Hill. Enjoy teas, coffee, and smoothies while listening to Spanish guitar music by Alex Gordez from 6-8pm.

Sunday – August 13th

Food Truck Rodeo at Deep River Brewing in Clayton
Enjoy a mini food truck rodeo and great beer this Sunday at Deep River. The brewery is open Noon-6pm and the trucks will be serving Noon-4pm. Live music from Heads Up Penny band 1-4pm. Trucks scheduled to be there include:
Cousins Maine Lobster
The Cow and The Oak
JAM Ice Cream
Fuzzy’s Empanadas
Redneck Scientific BBQ

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“Motown the Musical” Fills DPAC with Music, Fun, and Nostalgia


CJ Wright as Michael Jackson (center) w/the Jackson 5 “Motown the Musical” First National Tour
(Photo by Joan Marcus)

My wife and I have seen a lot of wonderful shows at the Durham Performing Arts Center but we both agree this week that “Motown the Musical” has to be one of our favorites. The music and performers were all top notch and the show literally had people dancing in their seats throughout the evening. The touring production is performing at DPAC this week through Sunday and I HIGHLY recommend you go see the show before it leaves town.

The show is absolutely packed with songs with over 40 hits from the Motown Era spanning the 1960’s through the 80’s. The story follows the 25 year journey of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s from his early years as a struggling boxer to becoming the music mogul who launched Motown Records and the music careers of such icons as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations. It is virtually a non-stop journey through all of your favorite Motown hits while educating the audience along the way.

Chester Gregory is fantastic embodying the spirit of Motown founder Berry Gordy. He has to work very hard throughout the evening as he appears in almost every scene and sings so many times I lost count, but each time is an absolute treat. Gregory does a nice job capturing the drive of Gordy and his struggle to make Motown Records a success and keep the family of singers together. He is equally convincing in later scenes as he falls into despair and anger as the stars he created begin to abandon him and the label to move on with their careers and more lucrative music contracts elsewhere.


Chester Gregory (Berry Gordy) and Allison Semmes (Diana Ross) “Motown the Musical” First National Tour
(Photo by Joan Marcus)

Allison Semmes, is spectacular as Diana Ross, Gordy’s love interest. Her singing was beautiful and was not merely a mimicry of the iconic Ross. Instead she brought some of her own personality to the role and truly made it her own in a special way.  She is fantastic throughout and truly shines when she interacts with the audience during the “Reach Out and Touch” number. The relationship between Ross and Gordy becomes the more prominent them in the second act, but it is a perfect vehicle for capturing the overall arc of Motown’s evolution and transformation over time.

While the “Motown” ensemble as a whole is impressive throughout, there are few notable standout moments. Like seeing the spirit of the Jackson 5 captured on stage and the amazing performance given by North Carolina’s Own Malcolm Armwood as Marvin Gaye,  exhibiting a rebellious streak as Gaye sometimes finds himself in conflict with his boss. Armwood’s rendition of “What’s Going On” was one of the biggest crowd pleasers of the night.


The Temptations “Motown the Musical” First National Tour”
/i>(Photo by Joan Marcus)

It was striking that after all these years the message of that popular song is maybe even more relevant today than ever. While most of the show is a celebration of the music of Motown, there are a few more serious moments that provide an emotional reminder of the challenges and discrimination that had to be overcome during the rise of Motown and the success of its singers in a world that was not always as accepting of them as people as they were of their music.

It really is hard to capture just how much fun this show was. There were literally people in the seats next to me dancing and clapping along to the songs all night long. I truly loved seeing these talented performers recreate the hits of the Motown icons, and a learned quite a bit about how the Motown movement came to be and the industrious spirit of Berry Gordy and its founding pioneers that created such a wonderful musical family that has stood the test of time.

“Motown the Musical” has performances at DPAC through Sunday, August 6th. For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/motown-2017.


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Sir Walter Miler Returns This Friday!


The Sir Walter Miler is this Friday at Meredith College

Breaking the 4 minute mile barrier is amazing accomplishment in the running world and this Friday you can watch some of the best local and national elite runners attempt this incredible feat.  The public is welcome to watch these amazing runners take on the speed challenge at the 2017 Sir Walter Miler this Friday, August 4th at the Meredith College track.

Adding to the fun racing atmosphere Friday night there will also be a pre and post race party  at Raleigh Brewing Company featuring several NC beers on sale to help raise money for the East Coast Greenway Alliance.  The evening will also include a local run club relay and the the Raleigh “Denim Mile” through a partnership with Citius Mag and Raleigh Denim, where brave runners will wear blue jeans instead of your typical running shorts. The winner of the Denim Mile will earn eternal glory and take home a $100 prize.

Sir Walter Miler 4

2105 Sir Walter Miler 
(Photo Courtesy Cheryl Treworgy)

This event is FREE and open to the public but it would great to RSVP on Facebook and share with your friends to help spread the word so the visiting athletes can see just how much the Triangle community supports them. One of the truly special things about this event is the community vibe. It’s the only track event I’ve ever been to where spectators can cheer on the runners from right alongside the track itself. It adds an incredible energy to the event!

The races don’t start until 8:15pm so it is a great event to catch after hitting up First Friday in downtown Raleigh. If you would like to learn more about the Elite runners their Bios are located here. For updates and results be sure to follow Sir Walter Miler on facebook, twitter, and Instagram and share your photos using the hashtag #SirWalterMiler. See you on Friday!

Sir Walter Miler 2017 Schedule (Friday, August 4th)

  • 6pm – Pre-Race Party at Raleigh Brewing Company
  • 8:15pm – Citius Mag presents the Raleigh Denim Mile
  • 8:30pm – Run Club 4X400 Relay
  • 8:45pm – Fans can enter the track area
  • 9:00pm – National Anthem
  • 9:05pm – Women’s Elite Mile
  • 9:20pm – Men’s Elite Mile

Following the last race there will be an awards ceremony at 9:30pm at Meredith College Track followed by post-party at Raleigh Brewing Company.

For more race day info and parking details visit the official Sir Walter Miler website.

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