Dorothea Dix Park is currently hosting “Wings of the City”, featuring nine bromze sculptures from world-renowned Mexican artist Jorge Marín. The exhibit which has been travelling from city to city around the world for the past 8 years will be in Raleigh at Dix though March 2022.
The collection features nine larger-than-life bronze sculptures installed in the historic Grove area of the park which is easily accessible from Umstead Drive. This wonderful visiting art exhibit is the perfect excuse to explore the park. I paid a quick visit yesterday to snap the picture above of “Alas De Mexico”, which is scupture #4 on this map of the park.
This Saturday, October 9th is the opening celebration from 10 am – 4 pm with live music and food trucks. For more information and a map showing the sculpture locations throughout the park visit https://dixpark.org/wings.
This Labor Day Weekend the stage lights at the Durham Performing Arts Center will shine once again as the touring production of STOMP returns to the theater with three exciting shows this Saturday and Sunday (September 4th and 5th). After an almost 18-month pause of the Broadway Series at DPAC due to the pandemic, STOMP is poised to be the perfect high-energy filled show to launch DPAC’s 2021/2022 Broadway season!
STOMP has remained a fan favorite among theater goers of all ages around the world since its inception in the United Kingdom back in the early 1990’s. The show is a unique and explosive experience featuring a talented cast of eight performers that use a variety of everyday objects as percussion instruments, everything from matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. The show is a 90-minute journey that combines elements of music, dance and humor that will fill the audience with a constant sense of wonder how the troupe can find sound and create such unique rhythms from so many objects.
In preparation for the show I spoke with dancer Riley Korrell, a Maryland native and current cast member of STOMP. We chatted about what it’s like to be back on stage and what audiences can expect during the show at DPAC this weekend. Korell is an accomplished tap dancer who has competed in tap competitions all over the country. Landing a spot in the cast of STOMP three years ago is a “dream come true” for him. In many ways, he views the 2021 tour as something of a “redemption tour” because it allows him and his cast mates to pick up where they left off when the show were paused back in 2019 due to the pandemic.
For his part, Korrell used that time away from the stage to work at his mother’s dance studio back in Maryland where he kept in dancing shape by creating instructional dance videos for the students. While he loves to teach he couldn’t be happier to be back on tour and performing with the cast of STOMP.
When asked what the audience can expect, Korrell was quick to point out that there is something for everyone in this show as it provides a unique marriage of sound, rhythms, dance and lighting that connects with the senses and core emotions. There have been some updates to the show over the years so even seasoned theater goers are sure to pick up on moves and rhythms they may have missed last time.
In Korrell’s opinion, one of the most beautiful things about the show is that when the viewer takes a step back – everybody on stage is really just doing their own, creating their own sounds and rhythms, but these individual actions all merge together seamlessly into an “experience” as they all add up into a visual spectacular. The result is a hypnotic and positive energy filled show that takes hold of the audience’s imagination and emotions through the inventive mixture of rhythms, tempos and sounds that communicate feelings the talented troupe on stage.
With STOMP the experience is the unique beauty of the sum of all the parts.
The sunflowers at Dix Park started blooming last week. The combination of rain and sun in June and July have resulted in a lush crop this year. I expect the field to be filled with blooms by this week and in peak bloom by the weekend.
Visitors are welcome to check out the sunflowers all month long from dawn to dusk. The fields can be a little muddy if it has been raining and it is always a good idea to wear a hat and bring some bottled water. There isn’t much shade out there and it gets super hot under the July sun!
The sunflower field at Dix Park is located off Hunt Drive near the soccer fields and the historic cemetery. The best way to find them is to enter the park on Hunt Drive off Western Boulevard. Once on Hunt Drive you will quickly notice signs for parking in a large soccer field and gravel parking lot on your right. You can park there and easily access the field from the gravel lot.
In January, owner and master blender Brandon McCraney saw his vision and hard work come to life with the opening of Olde Raleigh Distillery. Olde Raleigh is a small family-owned craft-spirits distillery specializing in small-batch whiskey blends. It occupies a completely remodeled 10,000 square foot space in downtown Zebulon that is home to a tasting room, production area, barrel storage and special event space. With the launch of Olde Raleigh McCraney hopes to create a welcoming community space while also establishing the Triangle region as a new destination for bourbon lovers.
First Batch Bottle Release – This Saturday! Just four months after opening, the distillery is now set to release their signature blended bourbon under the flagship brand Olde Raleigh Whiskey Society this Saturday, April 24th! The celebration will start Satruday morning with a roaring bag pipe band (in an homage to bourbon and whiskey’s roots) to announce the release on Zebulon’s Main Street at 11:30am. The doors to the distillery will open at noon with bottle sales of the signature blend taking place in the “Society Room”. The Tasting room will be open to the public with full bar service from noon to 11pm and there will be live music throughout the day and a food truck from 4-7pm.
About the Owner Brandon McCraney’s journey to opening the distillery spans several years of planning and hard work. After seveal years working in the corporate world, he has spent the past several years learning everything he can about spirits industry, traveling the country to visit distilleries and amassing an impressive collection featuring hundreds of different whiskeys. As the owner and master blender he has big plans and is off to a great start of making Olde Raleigh a “must visit” for any bourbon lover.
What’s Next for Olde Raleigh? Following the relase of the signature blend this weekend, Olde Raleigh has additional long-term plans for creating cask-finished limited-release whiskeys, a line of vodka and gin and their own house-made heirloom bourbon.
McCraney’s vision for the distillery goes beyond seeing it just as a business and hopes to develop Olde Raleigh as community oriented brand that gives back to the local community by showcasing the positive environmental and economic impacts distilleries contribute from the farms that source the grains to glass of spirits poured at their bar. He is working to develop partnerships with North Carolina farmers to supply the grains that will be used to distill their spirits and the distillery has already become a central meeting location for the town of Zebulon and regulars from around the Triangle by hosting weekend markets, music and food trucks. You can view their calendar of events here.
If you haven’t been to downtown Zebulon before it is SUPER EASY to get to. It’s actually just a 30 minute drive from North Raleigh and you may even find it easier and quicker to get to than downtown Raleigh. Just hop on 540 and take 64 to 264 east and you’ll be in downtown zebulon enjoying a glass of bourbon neat or a cold cocktail before you know it. Happy Exploring!!
Olde Raleigh Distillery 209 N. Arendell Avenue Zebulon, NC 27597
Now that the warmer weather is here it is time to get outside and get working in the garden! If you are looking to add some beautiful color by planting Bearded Iris in your landscape there is no better place to get them than the Rocky Toad Road Iris Farm in North Raleigh. They are located at 1216 Rocky Toad Road off Falls of Neuse Road just a little north of Raven Ridge Road in North Raleigh. The farm is only open for a limited time each season when the Iris are in bloom and they just announced this week they will be opening TODAY Friday, April 23rd from 4pm-6pm.
I love planting Bearded Iris in my yard becasue they add a nice splash of color each spring, are super easy to grow and best of all the deer don’t touch them so you can plant them almost anywhere! Don’t worry if you can’t make it over on opening day, they will also have hours this Saturday (10am-5pm) and Sunday (2-5pm) and will be open each weekeday from 4-6pm, but make sure you don’t wait to long to stop by. They are usually open for just a week or two before they sell out for the season!
When you go to the farm be sure to bring cash to pay for the plants. The unique thing about getting Iris plants at Rocky Toad Road is that you actually get to walk the fields and point out plants you want. Proprietors Robert Wilson or Randy Ray then dig up the plants for you. They are a lot of fun and happy to give you gorwing tips and advice. Last time I was there the plants were 3 for $20 or you could try your luck with some pre-trimmed pot-luck bulbs that go for 5 for $20. All of the plants they have are sourced from a great selection of show winners they divide each year. There are lots of colors to choose from and you wouln’t find a better stock of Iris around. Happy Gardening!!