Lion King Roars Into Town
“Giraffes strut. Birds swoop. Gazelles leap. The entire Serengeti comes to life as never before. And as the music soars, Pride Rock slowly emerges from the mist.” What is it? The description of the opening of Disney’s The Lion King, of course, which makes its premiere in Greensboro February 23 through March 6. With theatrical awe, visual artistry and captivating music, the story follows Simba, a young lion embarking on a journey to adulthood. The Broadway show (the winner of six Tony awards, including Best Musical) has entertained more than a million people worldwide. And why not — it is adored by children of all ages. Info: tangercenter.com/events/detail/disneys-the-lion-king
Consider these binaries: “both/and,” “Black/White,” “self/other,” “past/present,” “West/non-West.” Lorraine O’Grady has done just that since becoming a visual artist at the age of 45. Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And, on loan from the Brooklyn Museum, spans four decades of her work, exploring parallel threads in society and seemingly contradictory ideas embedded in our culture — via video, photomontage, concrete poetry, cultural criticism and public art. Previously an intelligence analyst for the U.S. government and then a rock critic for The Village Voice and Rolling Stone, O’Grady was raised in Boston by middle-class Jamaican immigrants. Assuming the radical persona of Mlle Bourgeois Noire, O’Grady — one of the most significant figures in contemporary performance, conceptual, and feminist art — “dismantles either-or-thinking in favor of broader possibilities.” A virtual discussion of O’Grady’s work, on display through April, takes place on February 10 at noon. Register at weatherspoonart.org.
In April 1989, a woman was raped in Central Park. Five men, who became known as the Central Park Joggers, were tried and convicted for a host of heinous crimes. Years went by before the Central Park Five’s convictions were overturned. Today, one of those five men, Yusef Salaam, has launched a crusade to vindicate racial injustices.
At 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15, Salaam, an award-winning speaker, takes the stage as part of the Guilford College Bryan Series at the Tanger Center to share the injustices he has faced. For more information, contact tangercenter.com/events.
We don’t always choc, but when we do, we choc a lot — with wine. The N.C. Wine & Chocolate Festival comes to the Greensboro Coliseum February 12 — just in time for Valentine’s Day. It had us at hello — and “unlimited tastings of North Carolina wines.” But if your preferred bar is made of candy, caramel and nuts, the festival has you chocolate-covered. Grab your pals and pour your heart out — 1–4 and 5–8 p.m. Refill. Repeat. (And did we mention there’s also shopping? Between candy and wine workouts, browse through mini boutiques with purses, jewelry, clothing and more.)
On Stage With Margaret Atwood
UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the rescheduling of Margaret Atwood for February. The famed Canadian author was to kick off the 109th season of UNCG’s University Concert and Lecture Series in September but canceled all United States appearances through October 2021 because of COVID-19 concerns.
Atwood’s appearance, an evening of moderated conversation and performances of new works inspired by her prose and poetry by the faculty and students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, has been rescheduled for Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, at 7 p.m. All tickets will be honored for the rescheduled date. Any questions regarding the rescheduled date for Atwood should be directed to the College’s Box Office at (336) 256-8618.
Tickets for Atwood — or any of the other University Concert and Lecture Series events — may be purchased online through UNCG’s ticketing partner ETix at ucls.uncg.edu. A full listing of the 2021–2022 series, which began on Oct. 8, 2021, with the Sphinx Virtuosi is available at ucls.uncg.edu.
Last year at this time, as I got my first COVID shot, I was hoping for the rest of 2021 to be the beginning of a deliriously happy era. Well, I got the delirious part right. (Don’t get me started.) But this February, I hope against hope that the worst is over and that the lingering effects of the pandemic are subsiding. I pray that we see some semblance of normalcy returning. And that means getting our weary, couch-riding, junk-food-eating butts out in the real world where our souls can once again be rejuvenated with some live music. And, brothers and sisters, there’s enough of it out there, in the words of the Bard, to not only soothe the savage beast but to slay the bastard.
• February 3, Durham Carolina Theatre: Generally, I don’t send folks this far, but occasionally an act merits a little road trip. Back in the day, two of my all-time fave Zen-out (code) tunes were “Eye in the Sky” and “Don’t Answer Me” by the Alan Parsons Project. I had no idea they were still touring and recording, but here they are. And there I’ll be.
• February 5, R.J. Reynolds Auditorium (Winston-Salem): I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the Steep Canyon Rangers, dating back to their early days scraping up gigs at Greensboro’s Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. I’ve followed their meteoric rise to the top of the bluegrass heap and interviewed banjoist Graham Sharp, a Greensboro native. But here’s the twist: They will play with the Winston-Salem Symphony, following in the footsteps of Béla Fleck
• February 11, Greensboro Coliseum: Speaking of meteoric rises, a couple or three years ago, nobody outside the bluegrass world had ever heard of Billy Strings. And now the boy wonder is headlining shows at 20,000-seat venues. It seems almost sacrilegious to say it, but he is being hailed as the flatpick successor to the late, great Tony Rice. And that, my friends, is about the highest compliment a guitarist can be given.
• February 18, Tanger Center (Greensboro): I’ll give you five seconds to name the two greatest vocal groups of the Motown era. You’ll be excused if you said anyone other than the Temptations and the Four Tops, but, well, you’d also be wrong. Granted, there were dozens, but none have been touring continually since then. As a side note, Greensboro’s baritone saxmaster Scott Adair headed up the tour’s horn section for many years.
• February 19, High Point Theatre: Pardon me for being heavy on bluegrass this month, but sometimes that’s just where the musical chips fall. (And, besides, I’m eat slap up with it.) Darin Aldridge got his big break years ago when my bluegrass hero, the late Charlie Waller, asked him to join the Country Gentlemen. One day, he met his new playing partner, Brooke Justice, who soon became his life partner, as well. The duo is now the finest in the land, and if you don’t believe me, check out “Every Time You Leave.”