Short Stories

Flower Power

We take them for granted as we’re tearing down Interstates 40 and 85 in a mad rush (and one hopes, not texting and driving). But why not stop and smell, if not the roses, the wildflowers that carpet medians and roadsides of our highways? Or at least learn about the Wildflower Program from Derek Smith, environmental engineer at the North Carolina Department of Transportation. An employee of NCDOT for 26 years, Smith will discuss the types of wildflowers grown and different agronomic challenges across the state at noon on Thursday, May 9 at the Chip Callaway Lecture Series hosted by Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden (215 South Main Street, Kernersville). The lunch and learn will also reveal how you can grow wildflowers in your own garden. To register: (336) 996-7888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org. 

Dare to Dream

Double your pleasure with not one but two local productions of Man of La Mancha, the popular Broadway musical based on Miguel de Cervantes’ epic, 17th-century novel, Don Quixote. Scripted by Dale Wasserman as a play-within-a-play, the show begins with the character of Cervantes awaiting trial in prison during the Spanish Inquisition. His fellow prisoners insist he hand over his possessions if he is found guilty. Cervantes agrees and in the mock trial that follows, mounts his “defense” in the form of a play: the story of a mad knight errant under the assumed name, Don Quixote de la Mancha, who is determined to return chivalric honor to a dreary world. With its theme of upholding ideals (no matter how grim life gets) and stirring score (including the showstopper “The Impossible Dream”), it’s no wonder Man of La Mancha garnered six Tony awards in 1966, including Best Musical. Catch it May 1–26 at Triad Stage (232 South Elm Street, Greensboro) or May 3–5 and 9–12, at the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem (Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art or SECCA, 750 Marguerite Drive, Winston-Salem). Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org; (336) 725-4001 for tickets or LTofWS.org.

Mutable Mangum

Just when you think you’ve identified William Mangum’s artistic style, better think again. The artist is unveiling his latest works in the exhibition, Transitions at dual receptions on Thursday and Friday, May 30 and 31, and at an open studio on Saturday, June 1 (303 West Smith Street). Consisting of more than 50 new works, the show reveals the range of Mangum’s talent, from representational paintings to abstracts and underscores that however constant a presence he is in the city and the state, his only constant is, of course, change. To attend an opening reception or learn more about the exhibition, contact Joy Ross at (336) 379-9200 or joy@williammangum.com.

A Walk in the Park

Lindley Park, that is. Hard nowdays to imagine one of Greensboro’s best-loved neighborhoods as an amusement park at the end of a trolley line with dancing, vaudeville, a casino and a manmade lake, but that’s exactly what occupied the 60 acres once belonging to local businessman and entrepreneur, John Van Lindley. By 1917, when the amusement park had had its run and share of fun, the city hired landscape architect Earl Sumner Draper to design the planned neighborhood with winding streets and sidewalks with the park as its focal point. So enjoy the green space, with its arboretum, and get to know the turn-of-the-century and mid-century homes surrounding it on Preservation Greensboro’s Ninth Annual Tour of Historic Homes & Gardens (Saturday and Sunday, May 18 & 19). As the nonprofit’s flagship fundraiser, the tour supports future historic preservation efforts in the Gate City and Guilford County. For more info about tickets and downloading the walking app, go to preservationgreensboro.org/tour-of-historic-homes-gardens/.

The Beef People

Got a legitimate grievance? Need to gripe or get something off your chest? Well, for heaven’s sake, don’t keep all that ire bottled up — or take it out on fellow motorists in the form of road rage, or shout at coworkers, friends or family members or the TV, and please, don’t kick the dog, either. Just head to the newly formed Curmudgeons Corner and air your diatribe(s) to like-minded folk at 10 a.m. every second Wednesday at Scuppernong Books (304 South Elm Street). If you’re seeking more information about the group you can call the Curmudgeon-in-Chief at (336) 897-0283, who may not be inclined to answer. Best just to show up and vent. There, now, feel better?

Creative Campers

With summer vacation around the corner, why let the kiddos while away the hours of the long hot days in front of a video screen, when they can tap into their inner Van Gogh or Michelangelo? From June through August children ranging from pre-kindergarteners to rising sixth-graders can engage in a variety of creative pursuits at one of GreenHill’s weeklong camps. Little tots can explore colors by making their own paints and tools, or recreate their own version of the popular game “Candyland,” while first-, second- and third-graders can choose from craftmaking or creative problem-solving, among other classes. There are camps devoted exclusively to paper-making, drawing and painting, and getting your hands dirty in paint, mud or clay. Whatever you choose, the time to register is now! To do so, go to greenhillnc.org/summer-camps.

Home of the Grave

Or graves, plural. Not to mention an insane variety of exotic trees, thanks to the late, great green thumb of local plantsman and polymath Bill Craft. Yes, we’re referring to historic Greenhill Cemetery, which is really, really green this time of year, given the amount of rainfall these past several months. See what’s sprouting and blooming, and learn about the storied lives of the cemetery’s, um, permanent residents, many of whom shaped Greensboro, on Friends of Greenhill’s springtime tour on Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m. Meet at the southern gate on Wharton Street with the oh-so-reasonable admission of $5. Info: friendsofgreenhillcemetery.org.

Barnburner

The French Farmer’s Wife (1987 Beeson Road, Kernersville) returns Thursday, May 2 through Saturday May 4 with its first barn sale of the year. With an emphasis on, but not limited to, French provincial antiques and vintage pieces, the sale features fetchingly curated and staged finds, such as large pieces of furniture, baskets, glassware, linens, soaps, garden accouterments and considerably more. As a special treat, Debbie Dion Hayes will be on hand to sign her book, Paint, Stencil & Design on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Can’t make the sale? No worries, la fermière française will open her doors again July 25–27 and October 24–26. Info: facebook.com/TheFrenchFarmersWifeNC.

Winning Innings

The High Point Rockers are the newest ball club in the Triad, but did you know The International City has been hosting baseball games since the 1880s? It’s just one of several tidbits you can learn by visiting the exhibition, At the Old Ball Game, which opened late last month at the High Point Museum (1859 E. Lexington Avenue) Not only does the show cast a backward glance at local enthusiasm for America’s National Pastime, it also examines the current climate for the game with various lectures, events and programs, including the chance, on Saturday, May 4, for a free appraisal of your baseball cards and memorabilia. Now that’s what we call a homerun. Info: highpointmusuem.org.

Ogi Sez

Ogi Overman

I can’t prove it, but if asked their favorite month, I bet most folks would answer “May.” There’s just not much to dislike about it. As Goldilocks would say, “Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.” Plus, the outdoor concerts and street festivals are kicking off, making this a music-lover’s paradise. So, enjoy, there’s lots to choose from.

• May 2, Carolina Theatre:
For their Command Performance this year, the Showplace of the Carolinas has chosen Three Dog Night. The iconic rockers who ruled the early ’70s with 21 consecutive Top 40 hits, including three No. 1s, are still actively touring with original member Danny Hutton. Those patented “Joy to the World” three-part harmonies are still intact.

• May 10, High Point Theatre:
Not that it ever recedes for true believers, but May means that beach music again kicks into high gear. And the group that (one could argue) started it all, The Embers, are in the area, along with The Collegiates. If you saw them at the N.C. Folk Festival last year, you know that with Craig Woolard back in the fold, The Embers remain at the top of the “sand in my shoes” heap.

• May 18, LeBauer Park: Last year the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society moved its 32nd annual Carolina Blues Festival back downtown to rave reviews. They’ll be back there this year with another power-packed lineup of five stellar acts, headlined by the incredible Dom Flemons. The perfect way to spend a May afternoon and evening.

• May 30, Greensboro Coliseum: If, like me, harmony is your thing, Pentatonix needs no introduction. With the recent emergence of a capella vocal groups as a musical force, they have emerged as the cream of the crop. Their five parts can be literally chillbump-inducing.

• May 30, Ramkat: Did you happen to catch CBS’ recent Sunday Morning segment on Marty Stuart’s country music memorabilia museum? He is what Nashville used to be, and if he has his way, will one day be again. He looks and sounds the part, and His Fabulous Superlatives, ain’t bad, either.

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