Book Covers of Darkness
It might have caught the corner of your eye at Polliwog’s, or Scuppernong Books: a slim volume vaguely reminiscent of the children’s classic, Goodnight, Moon. But on closer inspection, you’ll discover a familiar landscape on the book’s cover: darkness falling over an illuminated Gate City skyline under the title, Good Night Greensboro: A Charming Bedtime Story About Our Beloved City. Written by Dana Hall, a former schoolteacher, and beautifully illustrated by local painter C.P. Logan, the book bids good night to Greensboro icons — the Grasshoppers and Miss Babe Ruth, Woolworth’s lunch counter, Nathanael Greene’s statue presiding over a verdant Guilford Battlefield, an autumnal Bog Garden. The simple text and colorful paintings are sure to soothe any reader (or insomniac) of any age . . . and offer a good reason to wake up in the morning. Info: goodnightgreensboro.com.
Behold new visions at O’Brien Gallery (307 State Street) with the April 12 launch of Uncovering the Layers, featuring the works of painter Jenny Fuller. It’s a homecoming of sorts for the Gate City artist who now resides in Charlotte and whose artistic mission is to “understand the radiance, color, shadow and wonder that surrounds each of us in nature.” Before meeting the artist at a reception at 6 p.m., get to know a new talent, colorist Carolyn Blaylock, at a lunch-and-learn at 11:30 a.m. Info: (336) 379-1124 or email@example.com.
Begging His Pardon
And no, we’re not referring to a certain soon-to-be resident of Club Fed, but none other than our magazine’s namesake, O. Henry. In a letter that landed on our desks recently, a one Jonathan Paris pleads the case for a full presidential pardon for William Sydney Porter, who served time in the Ohio State Penitentiary on charges of bank fraud. As we detailed in the pages of our September 2017 issue, Porter once worked as a teller for First National Bank in Austin, Texas, notorious for its lax recordkeeping, such as employees’ dipping into the till without leaving IOUs. So when the hammer fell on Porter, “he essentially became the fall guy for years of malfeasance,” writes Paris in his letter. “I know that posthumous pardons are rare but there is always a first for something,” he continues. “Having read his short stories and recalling many of them now, it is time to think of all the good this American did instead of a small amount of bad. Please send your votes to overturn the embezzlement charges to the Office of the Pardon Attorney in Washington, D.C.” It’s up to you, faithful readers; if you want to help clear the name of O.Henry, please send your plea in an email to: USPardon.Attorney@usdoj.gov.
Speaking of O.Henry . . .
We’re pleased to announce a new partnership with Center for Visual Artists, the Greensboro nonprofit dedicated to promoting local artists of all levels, from novices who’ve quietly been realizing their dreams from the privacy of home to established veterans who want to take their calling to the next level. Starting this month, CVA will designate the front lobby area in its perch inside the Greensoro Cultural Center (200 North Davie Street) as the O.Henry Featured Artists Space. There you will see works on view by artists featured in our magazine. We thought it apropos to launch the endeavor with our own Lynn Donovan, whose photographs of spring birds appear on page 80 of this issue. In addition to some of the original shots reproduced among these pages, you’ll also see some of her photos of exotic birds of Costa Rica. So stop by CVA’s galleries and have a, well, gander.
Meaning Jazz Appreciation Month, as observed by the city of High Point, starting with a proclamation by Mayor Jay Wagner at City Hall on April 1. As the childhood home of jazz legend John Coltrane, High Point has dreamed up all kinds of jazz-related events throughout the month: On April 9th, Guilford County Schools All-County Jazz Ensemble, and Lunch and Jazz at the High Point Museum (which also hosts a Coltrane exhibit); Kids Night Out Jazz Painting on the 14th; a jazz poetry slam on the 26th. Of course, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to swing and groove to the sounds of local jazz cats, such as Gary Woodard, Melvin Holland Quartet, Brandon Vaughan and Wally West & Friends. And while you’re in town, drop by Sunrise Books to check out a selection of jazz-related tomes, before paying homage to the statue of ’Trane downtown, where you can give thanks for such a vibrant and truly original American art form. Info: highpointarts.org.
Ham, Eggs and Greens
But not just any ol’ ham, but glazed ham, carved to your liking. And not just any ol’ eggs, but eggs Benedict or baked in a quiche with spinach, mushroom and Emmentaler cheese. And not just any ol’ greens but French green beans, or an orange, fennel and hazelnut spinach salad. But wait! There’s more! Lots more to choose from at the Easter Buffet served up on April 21 at Proximity Hotel’s Weaver Room (704 Green Valley Road). Think: shrimp cocktail, fresh fruit, homemade pastries, grilled salmon, prime rib . . . We could go on and on, but the mere thought of such a feast is making us swoon. Reserve now, before the hungry hordes fill up all the spaces, by calling the hotel’s Happenings Hotline: (336) 215-2868.
“To be or not to be, that is the question.” “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” “Lord what fools these mortals be!” Well, yeah, baby, fools for Shakespeare. At 7 p.m. on April 15th, The Greensboro Public Library hosts Shakespeare (and Poetry) in the Park at LeBauer Park (208 North Davie Street), as an early celebration for the Bard of Avon’s 455th birthday. Shared Radiance Performing Arts Company will deliver a fast-paced, interactive montage that will include monologues, soliloquys, speeches and sonnets from Shakespeare’s greatest works, and audience members are invited to step up to the mic and recite their own Bard-inspired verse. Can’t make the poetry slam? Then hoist an elbow on Will’s actual date of birth, April 23, at Gibb’s Hundred (504 State Street), while Shared Radiance revives its act. As Popeye the Sailor might say: “Iamb what iamb what iamb.” Info: Contact Beth Sheffield at (336) 373-3617.
Who’s got the answer? The Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, of course! From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 27, these past masters of planting host their annual spring gardening open house at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Guilford County Center (3309 Burlington Road). Pop into the Ask a Master Gardener booth with questions about cultivating — well, anything. Get advice on landscaping and gardening, take a garden tour, check out a demo on soil preparation or garden tool sharpening. Learn the ins and outs of pond care, gardening with worms, growing vegetables, herbs and things in small spaces, and how to care for fussy roses. And bring some, uh, cabbage, too, because plants and gardening supplies will be on sale, ya dig? Info: (336) 341-2400.
We’re going to ignore the old saying about April showers — we’ve had quite enough of those, thank you — and go straight to the things that make this a charming month. As we wave buh-bye to a yucky winter, we concurrently wave hello to baseball season, warm breezes, barbecues and later sunsets. And, lest we forget, an uptick in the live concert season. Trust me, there are some good ones coming up.
• April 5, Greensboro Coliseum: Say what you will, but Alabama singlehandedly changed the face of country music. They were the first to legitimize bands, rather than solo artists, and importantly — to me, at least — brought three-part harmony to the forefront. Plus, they really did record some good tunes, and I’m happy to see them reunite for this tour.
• April 6, The Crown: I’m a bit prejudiced here because Abigail Dowd is a dear friend. But, friendship aside, she has finished her second album and will hold the release party here. I’ve heard her live at least a dozen times, including listening to some cuts off this project, and predict she’s ready for some much bigger stages.
• April 12, Ramkat: Anytime Robert Earl Keen is this close to home, a 26-mile drive to Winston is nothing. He has practically become the voice of Americana music, and his writing seems destined to eventually put him in the Guy Clark/Townes Van Zandt stratosphere. And his live shows are a party from the first note to the last.
• April 13, Blue Note Grill: I am hesitant to send anyone to Durham, but when the Subdudes are playing, I would be remiss by leaving them out. I’ve loved these guys for 20 years but was afraid they’d broken up. Thankfully, they haven’t. N’awleans funk, killer harmony, slide guitar, horns, clever lyrics — that’s where I live.
• April 17, LJVM Coliseum: Did you, like me, get caught up in what appeared at first to be a silly TV show, The Masked Singer? Well, it was silly, but the caliber of talent was exceptional. The eventual winner, T-Pain, beat out the likes of Gladys Knight, Latoya Jackson and Donny Osmond. A full-on rapper no more, this guy is a crooner of the Donny Hathaway order. And that, my friends, is a high compliment.