Sazerac February 2023

Scene & Heard

Wednesday Night Blues Jam at Ritchy’s Uptown Restaurant and Bar is fast becoming the place to be. Hosted by Shiela Klinefelter, an accomplished bass player and vocalist with Shiela’s Traveling Circus, and Chuck Cotton, it’s a great night of raucous melodies sure to get your feet moving.

Shiela’s been heading up jams on Wednesday nights for over 30 years, beginning with her former band, The Ladies Auxiliary. “The one at Ritchy’s started in the winter of 2021, about a year-and-a-half ago,” she tells me.

The opportunity is open to any musician who wants to play the blues, whether professional or still learning. “We provide backline,” Shiela says. “So they just show up with a guitar or their drum sticks, sign up, and I’ll put them up in groups. Each group plays four songs so we get a lot of great music that way.” They are occasionally joined by Shiela’s husband, Robert Klinefelter, aka “Big Bump” of Big Bump and the Stun Gunz, one of the Triad’s longest-running boogie bands.

In the heart of Hamburger Square on the most happening corner downtown, Ritchy’s is located above Longshank’s, which is above Shortshank’s, around the block from Little Brother Brewing on McGee Street at South Elm.      Billy Ingram

Window to the Past

Photograph © Carol W. Martin/Greensboro History Museum Collection

Taking your honey on a diner or drive-in date has been a sweet idea for over 60 years. Thanks to the Greensboro History Museum for this snapshot of the past, taken at Honey’s in 1963.

Unsolicited Advice

Those of us who are proud members of the bleak midwinter — meaning February — birthday club believe our month gets a really bad rap. Yes, the geniuses at the National Weather Service say it’s typically the coldest and snowiest month. But it’s also the shortest of the year — and its days grow noticeably lighter. 

Besides, for all you shivering ninnies who whine that Old Man Winter just won’t go away, there’s so much to take your mind off the weather. If history is your thing, February brings us Black History Month and Presidents Day, celebrating the birthdays of Honest Abe and Old George (assuming they are still in fashion), not to mention the Chinese New Year and the happiest day for florists and chocolate fanatics everywhere, St. Valentine’s Day.

If religion is your thing, February 2 is quite special both here and abroad. In addition to being your humble scribe’s birthday (Home Depot gift cards most welcome), many cultural historians believe Candlemas Day — celebrated across the U.K. and much of Europe to commemorate the day Jesus was presented to the Temple — is the inspiration for our own bizarre belief in the forecasting abilities of a sleepy rodent named Phil: If Candlemas be fair and bright / Winter will have another flight / But if it be dark with clouds and rain / Winter is gone, and will not come again.

Once upon a time, back in jolly old 713 BC, the Romans added January and February, a time previously known simply as “Winter,” to their  calendar, designating February as the last month of the year. Three hundred years later, however, in order to give Christmas a proper home based on a celebration of their Sun God,  Sol Invictus, Roman Christians invented December and rudely pushed January and February into the next year.

However this most misspelled month came into being, those of us who dearly love the bleak midwinter with its still and frosted mornings would like to advise you simpering winter haters to just relax and remember Mother Nature cherishes her rest just below the surface of the frozen garden.

If all else fails, take a nice warm bath with the last of the holiday wine and scented candles. The word February, after all, comes from the Latin word Februa — meaning to “cleanse.”

In the meantime, with a little luck this month, we’ll be out making angels in the snow.       Jim Dodson

Just One Thing

“Conversations with my mother, grandmother and aunts have always inspired me to base my artworks on Southern expressions and idioms,” says Beverly Y. Smith, whose quilt is featured in the Center for Visual Artists’ Woven into Our Fabrics exhibit. Smith says her work may be sparked by a childhood memory. Often, during its creation, she says, she sometimes encounters an unexpected epiphany. Mixing media such as machine-stitched fabric, embroidery, paint and transferred images, the epiphany portrayed in Plant a Seed strongly suggests a rich family tradition of books, both cherished and shared. “For this exhibition, we wanted to show the diversity and range of 10 North Carolina textile artists working in traditional and nontraditional ways,” says Devon Knight, the center’s art and community coordinator. “Textiles have a unique way of weaving themselves into the fiber of our being, while providing a thread between our past, present and future.” Info:

Sage Gardener

Let others search for what may turn out to be America’s most unwelcome Valentine’s Day gifts (according to one survey) — heart-shaped boxes of chocolates (22 percent say please don’t), flowers (28 percent!) and furry handcuffs (34 percent). Nope, not me. And I’m going to let you in on a very dirty little secret. The Sage Gardener’s partner in grime really digs receiving seeds and plants on February 14th. This year, for instance, I’m focusing on stinking lilies, members of the aromatic allium family, such as Bulgarian giant leeks, Walla Walla sweet onions and Dutch yellow shallots. Imagine the pleasure of spending more than half a century with someone who loves raw onions on top of pinto beans, 40-clove garlic chicken and scallion pancakes as much as I do. And on the off-chance you don’t have access to the internet, “Like oysters, chocolate and hot peppers, the allium is a secret aphrodisiac.” That, revealed in a no less authoritative source than Well+Good’s YouTube series, “You Vs. Food.” So buy now, plant now, and reap, ahem, the benefits of alliums in the spring, summer and fall. NCSU says it’s prime time to get most of them into the ground. My green-thumbed fairy already has leeks bedded down. Me? I’ve planted a platoon of Egyptian walking onions, which are reproductive wonders, multiplying underground while also producing what my neighbor called “bubbies,” botanically referred to as topsets or bulbils, proliferating at the top of the stalk where flowers and seeds would normally be. Let’s face it. What plants could be sexier than alliums? Suggestions welcomed.       David Claude Bailey

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