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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Durham Independent Dance Artists Announces New Season Balancing "Risk and Excellence"

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 12:26 PM

The past three seasons from Durham Independent Dance Artists have exemplified creative experimentation. Some artists mounted multimedia collaborations in nontraditional venues; others prioritized work that passed the reins to audience members. In its next season, beginning in October, DIDA is particularly interested in highlighting the ways different artists leverage risk in performance—and, as DIDA organizer Justin Tornow says, “strive toward balancing risk and excellence.” So what will this look like? Among the 2017–18 artists, some names—Anna Barker, Ginger Wagg—are familiar from past seasons. Culture Mill’s Murielle Elizéon will present her first U.S. solo; Nicola Bullock, a DIDA founder based in...

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Manbites Dog Theater Is Closing After Its 2017-18 Season, Turning Into an Artist-Support Organization

Posted By on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 3:35 PM

Manbites Dog Theater, the region’s oldest independent theater company, has announced plans to close and sell its theater building on Foster Street at the end of its upcoming 2017-18 season. The news shocked the area’s artistic community, coming one week after the venerated company announced the details of its thirty-first—and now, final—season as a producing organization. In a press release on Tuesday evening, Manbites Dog’s board of directors framed the decision as a transition from the first two stages of the company’s life, as an itinerant theater troupe that found a stable venue in downtown Durham in 1998, to its...

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Friday, July 14, 2017

The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 2:46 PM

“Books. Cats. Life is Good,” reads the standing sign outside The Bookshop in Chapel Hill. Sadly, that won’t be true for much longer. The Bookshop, a Franklin Street staple since it opened in 1985, announced in January that it would close its doors for good in July. Tomorrow will be the last day of its liquidation sale before it shutters, though on Sunday and Monday, you can haul off any remaining books for free if you bring your own containers and transport. Betty Schumacher, the manager of The Bookshop, says that the store had a consistent customer base, but multiple...

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Study: Durham’s Arts and Culture Industry Generates $154 Million in Economic Activity a Year

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 9:52 AM

Durham County's nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $154 million in annual economic activity, according to a new study administered by the Durham Arts Council. The Americans for the Arts economic impact study was conducted in 341 communities nationwide and looked at spending by nonprofit arts organizations and art consumers. Nationally, nonprofit arts and culture is a $166 billion industry. Statewide, the total is $2.12 billion, meaning Durham accounts for about 7 percent of North Carolina's nonprofit arts industry. Sixty-nine local organizations and 824 audience members were surveyed to figure the local numbers. According to the study, Durham organizations spent...

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hannibal Buress Announces Surprise Show at Motorco Tonight

Posted By on Sun, May 21, 2017 at 7:39 PM

"@Moogfest Is it possible to come through this year and build a synthesizer and film it? DM please," Hannibal Buress tweeted a few weeks ago. Well, seems like it was possible to come through: as you've seen or heard by now, the comedian has been knocking around the Durham music festival doing band intros and shenanigans all weekend. Now he's announced a show at Motorco at 9:30 tonight. At the time of this writing, the link for tickets has been live for thirteen minutes, get them while they last. Note that the $10 cover is cash only....

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Common Ground Theatre Is Gone, But Some of Its Resources and Its Role Live on in Walltown Children's Theatre

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 1:53 PM

Cynthia Penn-Halal is beaming as she stands amid the clutter of construction at Walltown Children’s Theatre. The company’s executive director points out a neighborhood worker painting the wooden side rails on new risers for the audience, while theatrical carpenter Jeff Alguire puts the finishing touches on the technical booth he’s made out of what was once the baptistry in a former church building on Berkeley Street. “I’ve wanted to do this since 2005,” Penn-Halal says of a monthlong project that has transformed the main room of her facility into a commercial-grade black box theater, capable of hosting the region’s...

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Sonorous Road Productions Is Moving to Hillsborough Street in June

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 1:20 PM

Prospects for the region’s independent theater scene look brighter today, after Sonorous Road Productions announced that it would relocate to a new facility on Hillsborough Street in June. The news follows a span of uncertainty about Sonorous Road's fate after the building it currently occupies on Oberlin Road was sold. After months of searching and negotiations, the theater and filmmaking concern signed a five-year lease Thursday morning on a space in the Royal Bakery Building at 3801 Hillsborough Street, across from Meredith College. “It was the biggest relief,” artistic director Michelle Murray Wells said. “We’ve been under so much pressure...

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

UNC-Chapel Hill's Ackland Art Museum Receives a Major Trove of Dutch and Flemish Art

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 4:04 PM

January 2017 may be full of tumult, but it’s brought unexpected windfalls to university museums in the Triangle. Earlier in the month, Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art announced it had been gifted with a major work by Archibald Motley, an acclaimed painter of the African-American Jazz Age experience. And UNC’s Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill just announced that it had been given a major collection of Dutch and Flemish drawings, including seven works by Rembrandt van Rijn himself, collected by UNC alumnus Sheldon Peck and his wife, Leena, over the past four decades. The Peck Collection consists of...

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Matthew Griffin Snags 2017 Crook's Corner Book Prize for His Graceful Novel, Hide

Posted By on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 6:08 PM

Greensboro native Matthew Griffin has won the fourth-annual Crook's Corner Book Prize for a debut novel set in the South. Griffin, now based in New Orleans, attended the ceremony to accept the honor, which was selected by Tom Franklin, a novelist and writing professor at the University of Mississippi at Oxford. Announced Monday night during a reception at the award's namesake Chapel Hill restaurant, the prize includes $5,000 and confers the privilege of a glass of wine at Crook's every day for a year. Griffin's Hide, described in a Booklist starred review as "something like a miracle," is set in...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

NC Comicon and Oak City Comicon Consolidate Brands as New Competition From Florida Looms

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 3:38 PM

Basking in the success of November’s annual NC Comicon in Durham and its Raleigh-based spinoff, Oak City Comicon, the conventions' owners recently announced plans to consolidate their brands. The Oak City show on March 18 and 19 is now called “NC Comicon: Oak City” and the traditional Durham Convention Center show planned for November is “NC Comicon: Bull City.” Underlying NC Comicon’s expansion, as the owners are calling it, might be a concerted effort to fend off new competition. It's not the first time NC Comicon has faced down a bigger challenger. A few years ago, another convention, Wizard World—part of...

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Friday, January 6, 2017

The Nasher Museum of Art Receives a Significant Gift, a Major Painting by Archibald Motley

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 3:13 PM

“Hot Rhythm,” a major painting by Archibald Motley, has been donated to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Two of the artist’s heirs, Mara Motley and Valerie Gerrard Browne, have given the dynamic work to the Nasher in honor of Richard J. Powell, Duke’s John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History, and C.T. Woods-Powell. Powell curated the standout 2014 exhibition Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, which originated at the Nasher before traveling to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Cultural Center,...

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Theater News: Common Ground Theatre to Go Dark in December

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Common Ground Theatre, the influential, intimate Durham venue that has nurtured regional independent theater and improv comedy throughout its twelve-year run, is set to cease operations next month. Last night, executive director Shelby Hahn told the INDY that he will step down at the end of December. Hahn took the post in July 2015 after the departure of former director Devra Thomas. Following an unsuccessful search across the theatrical community for his replacement, the company’s board decided to cease operations when Hahn leaves. Rachel Klem and Michelle Byars created the theater in 2005 to provide an affordable rehearsal and...

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Discover Ovation Cinema Grill 9 in Holly Springs, the Latest Addition to the Boutique Multiplex Scene

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 3:41 PM

The light green accents scattered throughout Carmike Cinemas’s Ovation Cinema Grill 9 in Holly Springs suggest, ever so subtly, the vintage Art Deco motif of the early twentieth century’s golden age of movie houses. It’s the last bit of nostalgia you’re likely to detect in western Wake County’s newest cinema, the latest addition to the burgeoning boutique movie theater scene. The long-gestating Holly Springs multiplex concludes a weeklong soft opening tomorrow and begins showing first-run films on Thursday, October 13. The nine-screen theater includes eight traditional screens, three of them 3-D capable. It also sports Carmike’s branded BigD auditorium, only the...

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Tale of Two Galleries: Raleigh’s Lump and Flanders to Merge

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 11:02 AM

In a lot of ways, Bill Thelen and Kelly McChesney’s stories as gallery directors couldn’t be more different. But they have been subtly bending toward each other for years, which culminates in the merger of the two galleries under one name and director, functionally by the end of this year and officially in February. Thelen is an artist; you can see one of his pieces in Southern Accent at the Nasher right now. Twenty years ago, he founded the experimental, collective-spirited project space Lump, as if bringing a grungy little slice of Bushwick to Blount Street, and never moved. McChesney...

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New Performers, New Personnel, and New Venues Enliven Durham Independent Dance Artists' 2016–17 Season [Updated]

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 9:56 AM

Durham Independent Dance Artists has just unveiled its third season. Eight performances across 2016–17 include a handful of artists new to DIDA—including one international choreographer, collaborating with Culture Mill's Tommy Noonan—in addition to local mainstays. The new season is also marked by key venue and personnel changes. Since its start, DIDA has positioned itself as an adaptive organization, shape-shifting to meet its original aim: to strategically bring together resources and promotional support in order to solidify the independent dance scene in Durham. This season, DIDA extends its emphasis on nontraditional performance spaces; none of the 2016–17 shows will take place...

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Announcing Open Auditions in Raleigh for the Inaugural Women's Theatre Festival

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2016 at 7:43 AM

In March, we reported on the Triangle's new Women’s Theatre Festival, which will debut this August. Conceptualized by Raleigh’s Ashley Popio and developed by a group of local women in theater, it will feature plays written and directed by women, with women composing the majority of the casts. Now, WTF has announced open auditions for anyone who wants to be a part of the festival. The auditions will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 28 at Raleigh’s Sonorous Road Theatre. Women, men, and children are all welcome to audition; sign up for an appointment at...

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bill Thelen to Step Down as Director of Pioneering Raleigh Gallery Lump

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 12:56 PM

An upcoming installation by the Team Lump collective, Arise! Bald Man! King of Hair People!, will close Lump’s twentieth-anniversary season. It also marks an even bigger milestone: the end of Bill Thelen's long tenure as the director of the Raleigh gallery.  In an email to the INDY today, Thelen confirmed that he’ll step down in July. “The space will move to being a nonprofit with a new director, and I'll still be on the advising board,” he says. “There is going to be a reconfiguring of the space in the near future. We are really excited about taking Lump into a new...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

North Carolina's Independent Bookstores Band Together Against HB 2

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Naturally, the open letter that independent bookstores across the state sent to the governor’s office and circulated online late last week begins by quoting a book. The petitioners use Ray Oldenburg’s assertion that “third places … are the heart of a community's social vitality and the grassroots of democracy” to frame their argument for the repeal of House Bill 2. “As independent bookstores providing that third place in communities across our state,” the letter continues, “we believe it is essential to be non-discriminatory, inclusive and tolerant, to promote freedom of speech and equality, and to guard against censorship and...

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Andy Warhol Museum Director Cancels Visit to UNC's MFA Class—Guess Why

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Thus far, many of the headline-grabbing HB-2-related boycotts have come from the worlds of business (Paypal, Deutsche Bank) and music (Springsteen, Ringo, and, today, Ani DiFranco). But the backlash is being felt in less commercial spheres as well. Eric C. Shiner, director of The Andy Warhol Museum, had planned to visit North Carolina later this month to offer critiques to MFA students at UNC-Chapel Hill as part of the school’s Visiting Artist Professionals program. Due to HB 2, Shiner will no longer be making the trek down from Pittsburgh. UNC art professor elin o’Hara slavick published on Facebook yesterday the...

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Broadway Composer Stephen Schwartz Halts N.C. Shows to Protest HB 2, Encourages Others to Follow

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 3:14 PM

When Gov. McCrory called opposition to HB 2 “political theater,” he probably didn’t foresee a response from the national theater community. But now the curtain’s going up on the state’s first professional entertainment embargo, one whose effects have the potential to change the face of theater and other live entertainment in North Carolina. It follows a flood of negative responses from businesses, institutions, and civic groups, local and international. Broadway World reported Thursday night that composer Stephen Schwartz has revoked performance rights to his musicals in North Carolina in protest of the legislation, which denies transgender people the right to use the...

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Carolina Theatre CEO Bob Nocek resigns

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 2:52 PM

The Carolina Theatre of Durham announced today that President and CEO Bob Nocek is stepping down immediately. His departure comes after the discovery last December that the city-owned theater, thought to be profitable, had run up $800,000 in debt since July 2013, creating a total deficit of more than $1 million. Nocek, who took the reins of the historic theater in 2010, will be succeeded by Durham businessman Dan Berman as interim president and CEO. Working as a volunteer, Berman takes control of the Carolina’s finances, operations and programming on Monday, Jan. 25. Watch this space for more on this story...

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

PlayMakers Repertory Company appoints Obie-winning actor and director Vivienne Benesch as its new leader

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 8:47 AM

In a press release yesterday afternoon, PlayMakers Repertory Company announced that Vivienne Benesch will become its new producing artistic director as of Jan. 1, 2016, replacing outgoing artistic director Joseph Haj. Benesch, who was chosen from group of five finalists after a six-month national search, has directed three shows at PlayMakers in the past five years. She takes the position shortly before her fourth, a production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, opens on Jan. 20. She was tapped to direct the show for the company’s current season in March, more than two months before the selection process for the new artistic...

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Durham Independent Dance Artists reveals its second season of local indie dance

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 1:00 PM

After an impressive 2014–15 debut season that significantly raised the profile of local independent dance, Durham Independent Dance Artists returns with an exciting lineup for 2015–16. Running from October to May, the nine shows include six premieres, seven artists not previously seen on DIDA stages and, for the first time, an international guest. DIDA bundles works by local independent artists into a season that tracks with the academic presenters' schedule, helping them build the surface area required to attract audiences. It paid off with many sold-out houses in the first season—no small feat in a region where indie dance more typically attracts...

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Hopscotch Design Festival reveals initial speaker lineup

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 9:07 AM

A smaller-scale offshoot of the Hopscotch Music Festival, the Hopscotch Design Festival brings the same walkabout experience to the world of engineering and entrepreneurship, spotlighting people who are designing the near-future. The festival has just announced the initial speaker lineup you’ll see when it returns Sept. 9–10. In its inaugural run last September, Hopscotch Design drew a modest 800 attendees to Raleigh for two days of talks, workshops and parties in various downtown venues. This year, it brings another mix of local and national presenters, from small start-ups and huge corporations, who work across the fields of graphic design, architecture,...

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Manbites Dog Theater announces 2015/16 season

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 4:06 PM

Manbites Dog Theater announced its upcoming 2015/16 season today. As usual, the Durham-based company will feature four resident productions, supplemented by an “Other Voices” series of guest artists. The company’s 29th year includes encore productions of noted recent shows by StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance and The Delta Boys. The season opens in October with the regional premiere of Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, Anne Washburn’s dark comedy, in which an episode of The Simpsons slowly takes on different meanings to survivors of an apocalypse. In December, StreetSigns remounts its five-star production of Howard Craft's Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel...

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Nice write up. Love the twists and turns and I hardily agree with the ultimate statement (and Camus since I …

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