See the Magic of Broadway and Celebrate the Music, History and Journey of The Temptations @DPAC @AINTTOPROUD musical Now Showing Dec 7th – 12th in Durham NC

Last night, I had a chance to witness the magic of Broadway at DPAC in Durham, NC. AIN’T TOO PROUD –ย THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONSย tells the unforgettable story of the legendary quintet that Billboard Magazine named the greatest R&B group of all time. The audience got to discover what it took for them to get to theat number one spot. It took talent, sacrifice, perseverance, love, some funk and a whole lot of soul!

From the music to the choreography, which won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography, this musical depicts The Temptationsโ€™ extraordinary journey. Their brotherhood set the foundation for every musical group that has come after them. The original members may be gone but the music lasts forever. Ain’t Too Proud is a must see production that tells history like you’ve never seen before to an amazing musical score!

I was in awe of the actors as they sang, danced (I lost count of how many splits David Ruffin did) and relived some of the many highlights of The Temptations life and treasured hits, including โ€œMy Girl,โ€ โ€œJust My Imagination,โ€ โ€œGet Ready,โ€ โ€œPapa Was a Rolling Stoneโ€ and so many more.

Every member of the original group played a role in their success. However, I left with a new found respect for Otis Williams, his ambition and his tenacity to keep the group stronger together. Like Aristotle said “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts“.

The show is here until Dec 12th, so get your tickets now at dpacnc.com

Experience Family Fun at Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Charlotte #VangoghCLT @Blumenthalarts @goghCLT


Vincent Van Gogh is without question one of the top 5 most well known artists to ever have lived. A failure during his short lifetime, only to be celebrated the world over in death. That celebration has now culminated in a multi media experience called Immersive Van Gogh”. This exhibit is currently in numerous major cities in The U.S. and opening in even more this fall.

Per their website”, You will be immersed in Van Goghโ€™s works โ€“ from his sunny landscapes and night scenes to his portraits and still life paintings. The installation includes the Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), the Nuit รฉtoilรฉe (Starry Night, 1889), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888), and La Chambre ร  coucher (The Bedroom, 1889), and so much more.


https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ37bZPHt1c/?utm_medium=copy_link


We had the pleasure of experiencing this unique creation of a event at their Charlotte location in the Camp North End section of the city. This location, which is a fast growing creative artist hub was the perfect fit for Immersive Van Gogh.

The setting was actually a former Ford Model T factory! It was expansive with high ceilings and never seemed crowded.

It opened on June 17,2021 and is slated to run at least until September 12. Think giant digital installations projecting some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings. My soon to be 10 year old remembered some of his works from her art class in kindergarten and first grade. She was so excited to see of his works literally come to life and like all guests become “immersed” in the art.


Some folks sat on the floor, while others opted for a bench or chair seat. Since we had VIP tickets, a cute Van Gogh seat pad was included with our ticket. My daughter commented that Dad seems to be meditating on the floor while enjoying the experience. The music was curated with each scene/painting and went together perfectly.

What we loved is that the whole shows ran on a loop, since we came in mid-show we ended up not missing a thing. Guests can stay as long or as short as they please.

Afterwards we browsed their rather large gift shop area that had everything Van Gogh you could imagine. Selfie and picture opportunities were everywhere. So much though went into all the art pieces sprinkled throughout the venue. From giant sunflowers to an oversized faux paint bucket and brush!

They also have a coffee and snack shop on premise. From the moment we entered until we left, we were truly immersed in Van Gogh. Get your tickets now as they are timed and are filling up quickly.

Purchase Ticketsย  for Charlotte, NC exhibit >>>https://vangoghclt.com/

For more info Follow on Social Media @VanGoghCLT๐Ÿ‘€Watch my YOUTUBE video recap of our family fun experiencing at Immersive Van Gogh Exhbit Charlotte!

https://youtu.be/TO4BT6vC5mk


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Looking for some hot stuff? Check out SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical @dpac @DonnaSummerBway #DonnaSummertheMusical #Durham

Opening Night Review | SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical | Broadway’s Ultimate Disco Dance Party opens at DPAC on February 25th and runs through March 1st | SobeSavvy.com

โญโญโญโญโญ A must-see ELECTRIFYING TRIBUTE to a music diva who defined an era, broke barriers and inspired a generation! Leslie H., @SobeSavvy| SobeSavvy.com

The 1970’s gave the world a new music genre called Disco. This music gets a bad rap due to more than a few awful bands and singers. A few stand out. One singer came along in the late 70’s and instantly became ‘The Queen Of Disco”. Her name was LaDonna Adrian Gaines, better known as Donna Summer.

Production Photos courtesy of DPAC

See her story come to life in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, which opens at DPAC on February 25th through March 1, 2020. This production began a Broadway run in 2018. It received critical audience acclaim and the demand for Broadway’s Ultimate Disco Dance Party allowed for a North American Tour to begin on September 20, 2019.

The musical tells the story of the young girl from Boston with gospel roots who broke through all sorts of barriers to become the ultimate icon of disco and beyond! The score features over 20 of her classic hits to sing along to including “Hot Stuff”, “MacArthur Park” and “Bad Girls” to name a few. Her voice of a generation ended up being a voice for the ages and this musical does a great job in telling the story with 3 different Donna’s representing the stages in her life and musical career. Here’s a fun fact: Alex Hairston, an NC native plays Disco Donna! Each actress did a fantastic job in singing, dancing and portraying Donna in their own unique way!

Disco Donna (Alex Hairston), Diva Donna (Dan’yelle Williamson), Duckling Donna (Elease Hardy) | Production Photos courtesy of DPAC

Go and experience a disco party and musical tribute like no other in SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical. I made it a working date night and had so much fun!

For general event details, including the content advisory and age requirements, read here: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/summer-the-donna-summer-musical
DPAC| Durham Performing Arts Center | 123 Vivian Street, Durham, North Carolina 27701|DPACnc.com

SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical opens at DPAC on February 25th and runs through March 1st

Kid-Friendly Ideas For Festive Family Fun In Raleigh NC

Hello December! We’ve officially kicked off our holiday season in our home and ready to spread some cheer. The Christmas tree is up, we’ve already started drinking eggnog and Motown Christmas songs are on repeat on Spotify. My #HeighPartyof3 (which consists of my spouse, our daughter and me) are in the Heigh-liday spirit {get it๐Ÿ˜‰} and have began some of the holiday traditions that we enjoy.ย So today I am sharing my list of Kid-Friendly Ideas for Festive Family Fun In Raleigh,NC ~


๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES


๐ŸŽ„ RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL


๐™๐™ช๐™™๐™ค๐™ก๐™ฅ๐™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™๐™š๐™™-๐™‰๐™ค๐™จ๐™š๐™™ ๐™๐™š๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™™๐™š๐™š๐™ง: ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™ˆ๐™ช๐™จ๐™ž๐™˜๐™–๐™ก, is now playing at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts until DEC 24th in downtown Raleigh. My family has enjoyed this live performance for the last few years now and it just keeps getting better! They’ve even added something new this holiday season to the beloved TV classic.
See all of your fave characters: Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Corneliusย and, of course, Rudolph, as they sing and dance their way to your heartsย while teaching kids of all ages to celebrate what makes you different because its your special superpower!๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฝโค ๐ŸŽ‰

SobeSavvy Tip: The fun continues in the lobby with great photo ops next to larger than life inflatables and cool photo props. Get your kids face painted before the show or shop for some holiday gifts during intermission!


๐ŸŽ„ CINDERELLA


Continuing my list of Kid-Friendly Ideas for Festive Famiy Fun in Raleigh, it wouldn’t be the holiday season without Raleigh Little Theatre’s Cinderella! Celebrating its 36th year, Cinderella runs December 6 – 22.
This amazing production has
* a sparkle of magic โœจ
*ย  a delightful blend of comedy and romance ๐Ÿ’‘
* elegant scenery and costumes ๐Ÿ‘—
* outstanding singing & dancing ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ƒ
….and great actors to bring this timeless story to life! We loved all the modern updates and twists that were added to this classic tale, plus there is some audience interaction that everyone enjoyed!ย  Make plans to see #RLTCinderella for the holidays and
Get your tickets today!

SobeSavvy Tip: Stay after the show and get a chance to meet The Fairy Godmothet or snap a pic with King Darling! There’s also merchandise available to buy for your little prince or princess in the lobby. Plus, RLT is collaborating with WRAL and accepting donations for Coats For The Children.


***SAVE THE DATE & GET TIX NOW for these upcoming shows at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts:

โ€ข DEC 13th and 14th Holidays with the North Carolina Symphony |HOLIDAY POPS features the holiday songs everyone knows and loves at Meymandi Concert Hall. With falling snow, hot chocolate, carolers, and an audience sing-along, this festive concert is the perfect holiday tradition. Audiences are invited to come early to meet Santa!

ย 

โ€ข DEC 18th – 29th ‘The Nutcracker’ Carolina Ballet | From the moment the curtain rises, the magic of this Holiday classic is mesmerizing. Take a journey to a land of whimsical characters featuring magical illusions, magnificent sets, and beautiful costumes. Listen as a live symphony orchestra plays Tchaikovskyโ€™s famed score.ย The Nutcrackerย is the perfect story ballet for the young and young at heart.


๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

HOLIDAY EATS & SWEETS

๐ŸŽ„ SANTA BRUNCH at STIR

If you saw my Instagram story/post this past weekend, then perhaps you caught me and my Heigh Party of 3 hanging with ole Saint Nick aka Santa at STIR, located in North Hills. BRUNCH WITH SANTA at STIR is a recurring event happening every Sunday in December and is on my list of Kid-Friendly Ideas For Festive Family Fun In Raleigh because of the good food and intimate moments with Santa. Saint Nick works the room like a pro and is so kind to take photos with everyone. Enjoy $1 Mimosas ๐Ÿฅ‚ + a buffet bar filled with goodness is included with your entree! My daughter loves their avocado toast customized to her liking and I am all about the fresh seafood selections like Oysters and Shrimp & Grits! Santa was quite jolly and dapper in his suit, so get ready for your close-up with ole Saint Nick! Just take a look at these photos to see some tasty highlights at STIR! ๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿฝ

SobeSavvy Tip: While at the brunch, take advantage of the Gift Card Sale! Give $50 or more and get 20% at STIR for yourself! ๐ŸŽ


๐ŸŽ„ DUNKIN Holiday Treats


Do you like to ride around and see neighborhood Christmas lights while listening to holiday tunes? We do and we like to enjoy it while sipping on a warm beverage and eating snacks. So we stopped in our local Dunkin for some holiday treats. My daughter and I both had hot chocolate and their newย Holiday Brownie Crumble Donut, which features a vanilla frosted yeast ring donut dipped in brownie crumbles and drizzled with dark green icing. My husband enjoyed the eggnog latte with a yummy glazed donut. I think we may break tradition of leaving Santa cookies this year and give him a plate full of donuts with coffee on the side from Dunkin!

SobeSavvy Tip: Download the Dunkin app, earn DD perks and skip the line if order on the app before you go! Not sure what to get someone this holiday season, check out some of the cool merch offered by Dunkin inside the store and online or a DD gift card is always a great idea!


๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Holiday Movies


๐ŸŽ„ ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE RALEIGH


Going to the movies is always a good idea for a family date. Make plans to see a feature film or catch one of the holiday themed films now showing at ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE RALEIGH. This is our go to theater for movies because of the Alamo Family program. The perks for parents with kids are great and you have the ability to watch a movie and eat/drink at the most comfy seats.

SobeSavvy Tip: Gift cards make perfect stocking stuffers. Give the the gift of Alamo, which is good for tickets, food, drinks and merchandise!


๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

There are so many fun things to do with kids in Raleigh and throughout the Triangle this holiday season. This is just a bit of what we like to do but take a look at Visit Raleigh, Facebook, Eventbrite, and Carolina Parent for more Kid-Friendly Ideas for Festive Family Fun In Raleigh, NC!

What festive family fun do you plan to have this holiday? ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿฝ๐ŸŽ
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5 Reasons To See ‘HAVING OUR SAY, THE DELANY SISTERS’ FIRST 100 YEARS @nctheatre #NCTHavingOurSay

Do you know the story of Sadie and Bessie Delany? I did not but I have since learned that their remarkable story has gone from a New York Times bestselling book to the Broadway stage. Now NC Theatre is bringing this Tony award-nominated adaptation of the real-life sisters’ memoirs to the stage in Raleigh, NC at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater from November 8-17, 2019 and I can not wait to see it! Why am I excited? Let me share with you Five Reasons To See HAVING OUR SAY, THE DELANY SISTERS’ FIRST 100 YEARS!

1. IT IS A TRUE STORY

If you enjoy non-fiction like me, then get ready to hear the two sisters give an account of their trials and tribulations in their lifetime. Born to a father who was a former slave, they lived in Raleigh,NC and was raised on the campus of St.Augustine. Now that I live here in Raleigh, I am interested in learning about what their childhood was like back then.

2. BOTH WOMEN LIVED TO BE OVER 100 YEARS OLD

Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany (born 1889), the eldest of the 2 sisters lived to the age of 109. Her sister, Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany (born 1891) died at the age of 104. After the popularity of their book Having Our Say, which this play is based on, the two sisters became internationally known after the Guinness Book of World Records recognized them as the worldโ€™s oldest authors with the publication of their second joint book The Delany Sistersโ€™ Book Of Everyday Wisdom. The sisters were 105 and 103 at the time of publication.

3. LEARN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & WOMEN’S HISTORY

Trailblazers, activists, sisters, and best friends Sadie and Bessie Delany- both over 100 years old- take audiences on a journey as they recount the triumphant stories of their lives. They overcame both racism and sexism and forged careers in education and dentistry respectively while living in New York. NC Theatre provides a Study Guide to learn about the history of the Delany family, the HAVING OUR SAY director (who is also an African American woman), and more!

4. GET INSPIRED

The more I learn about these sisters and what they must have endured, I find it remarkable that despite it all they lived a longer, fuller life than most. They never married and say because they did not have husbands to worry them to death was the secret to living a long, happy life! I just know I am going to leave feeling wiser than before and inspired by these two women after seeing this play.

5. BE ENTERTAINED AND SUPPORT THE ARTS

Per NC Theatre, the story of the Delany sisters will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on our journey as Americans. The funny and heartfelt family drama, starring Gayle Turner as Sadie Delany and Lakeisha Coffey as Bessie Delany, is one you wonโ€™t want to miss! Reviews that have already been shared say that you will be entertained by the heartfelt performances.

Click here to purchase tickets to see NC Theatre Presents Having our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years Tickets at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts! Tickets start at just $30 so claim your seats today!

SobeSavvy Tip: There will be an *Encore Series: Post-Show Panel Discussion Saturday, Nov. 16 immediately following the 2PM performance in A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater. Panelists which consists of influential members of the community and individuals closely tied to the production, will analyze the themes and history of HAVING OUR SAY. This series is FREE and open to the public!

*I am looking forward to going to the matinee performance on Saturday at 2pm on 11/16. You can also join the conversation and follow @nctheatre #NCTHavingOurSay!

**UPDATE: Just saw @nctheatre ‘s production of Having Our Say | The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years and appreciate how much detail was put into bringing their real story to life. From the intimate portraits, to the smells of real food cooking in the kitchen, the actors made the audience feel like we were right there in the living room having a conversation with those amazing trailblazing sisters who were proud Americans and Survivors! Enjoyed seeing art and history come together with #ncthavingoursay

Leslie, @SobeSavvy
Founder SobeSavvy.com

Have you seen the movie, play or read the book HAVING OUR SAY, THE DELANY SISTERS’ FIRST 100 YEARS. Please share your thoughts in the comments below and thanks for reading!

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5 Date Ideas To Enjoy The Arts This Fall In The Triangle |@nctheatre @ncsymphony @ncartmuseum @UnscriptedDurm @AlamoRaleigh

Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill aka The Triangle is a tri-city region in North Carolina that has a thriving art scene! If you are a lover of any of the seven categories of arts: painting, architecture, sculpture, music,literature,performing and cinema, then there is always something interesting and fun to do in the area. I made this list of date ideas inspired by a conversation with a mom friend who asked me for recommendations of places to go.

Performing Arts|See A Production by NC Theatre

If you or your loved one enjoys musicals or plays, then take them to see a production by North Carolina Theatre, the regionโ€™s nonprofit professional theatre. NCT kicks off their 2019-20 season opening production of the timeless musical, WEST SIDE STORY, running Oct. 15-20. With a cast including talent straight from Broadway plus some of the best regional talent, North Carolina Theatre opens their season by telling such a poignant story with the best artists in the industry. Learn more about this production here, which takes place at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh.

For more info go to North Carolina Theatre‘s website at www.nctheatre.com and find them on all social platforms @nctheatre, and the show hashtag is #NCTWestSideStory! I look forward to attending Sunday’s matinee at 2pm, and check out more of what is coming this season!

Painting, Architecture, Sculpture|Day Date at North Carolina Museum of Art

Ok art lovers, my favorite place to go on an artsy day date in Raleigh is at NCMA. Whether you are sitting outside and admiring the architecture of the building, taking a stroll while enjoying sculpture in the park or admiring paintings inside, there are many ways to immerse yourself in art. Mark your calenders for a special exhibition: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, opens October 26- January 19, 2020 at North Carolina Museum of Art.

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism showcases the coupleโ€™s portraits, murals, politics, and personal lives. Kahlo is best known for her strikingly honest self-portraits, often depicting her dreams. Rivera worked as a large-scale muralist in Mexico and the United States, taking a larger look at history and cultural revolution. Both artists pursued their distinctive visions while forging the way for Mexican artists in the 20th century and beyond. Few artists have captured the public’s imagination with the force of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and her husband, the Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera. The myths that surrounded them in their lifetime arose not only from their significant bodies of work, but also from their friendships (and conflicts) with leading political figures and their passionate, tempestuous personal relationships. There are so many interesting events surrounding this series such as film screenings of Frida, a special dinner and coffee with the curator. Check out the calender for the exhibition events: here.

For more info, go to NCMA‘s website: http://ncartmuseum.org/ and get your tickets for October 26, 2019โ€“January 19, 2020, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism and Scott Avett: INVISIBLE are ticketed together. October 12โ€“24, 2019, and January 20โ€“February 2, 2020, Scott Avett: INVISIBLE will be open on its own. Tag your photos when you visit #NCMAFrida #ArtNaturePeople

Music|Enjoy a Night Out at the NC Symphony

Plan a perfect ‘parents night out’ or date night and attend a concert performed by the North Carolina Symphony. That is what hubby and I did recently when we stepped out to see Broadway Mega-Hit Hamilton Star Leslie Odom, Jr. join the North Carolina Symphony with Broadway and Jazz Hits on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19. This highly anticipated show, which opens the Symphonyโ€™s 2019/20 Pops Season, was the perfect way to spend time together and experience the power of live music! Whether you are into classical, Broadway, movie music, rock, or swing or whether you live in the Triangle, Wilmington, Southern Pine, pick a date or two and plan a night with NC Symphony.

For more info go to North Carolina Symphony‘s website at www.ncsymphony.org and find them on social @ncsymphony. I look forward to attending Saturday’s night show, and congrats again to the winner of my Instagram giveaway who will also enjoy a night out at the NC Symphony!

Music|Sounds of the Studio Early Saturday Date Idea at Unscripted Hotel

Saturdays are a popular date night and here is an idea for someone who loves LIVE MUSlC, SMALL PLATES, and COCKTAILS. Check out UNSCRIPTED HOTEL| Sounds of the Studio every Saturday from 5:30-7:30pm. Go jam out to diverse music brought to you by local performers in the Durham community featuring Hip Hop Instrumental, Jazz, and Latin.

All small plates are buy one get one free, and free parking will be offered to those with a food or beverage purchase (must show receipt).

This is a FREE event that takes place in the hotel lounge every Saturday until Nov. 2nd. Here is the upcoming music schedule:

OCT 19 (SAT) – Wiley Fosters

The Wiley Fosters (instrumental hip-hop quartet edition)

Jay Parker – Turntables
Luis Rodriguez – Guitar
Jack Fleishman – Bass
William Dawson – Vibraphone

OCT 26 (SAT) – Alexandra Valladares & Viajeros Melodiosos

NOV 2 (SAT) – Jazz Harp Trio

Be sure to follow @unscripteddurham for more exciting events! And follow my IG instastories @SobeSavvy where I will give you an inside look of Sounds of the Studio at Unscripted Hotel. #livelifeunscripted #unscripteddurham

Cinema|Drinks+Dinner, Movie Date at Alamo Raleigh

I love one stop shop dates. That’s when you can go to one place and have like 3 dates in one! Want to enjoy a good cocktail and coversation, have dinner before or while watching a movie? You can do all that at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh! I recently went to one of their speciality screenings for HUSTLERS starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B, Keke Palmer, Lizzo,etc and had a blast! We got to enjoy a special themed menu and even had play money to make it rain in the movie theater!

From game nights, to free events, to rowdy screenings, Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh will turn an ordinary movie date into a full cinematic experience!See the list of all the fun events happening at Alamo Raleigh>>here and be sure to follow @alamoraleigh.

I hope you are inspired to plan a fun date while supporting the arts this fall! Tell me in the comments below, which one would be your ideal date to support the arts?

RECAP| Art of Cool Festival 2019 @AOCFest Ft. Jill Scott, Ari Lennox, Big Daddy Kane, RUN-DMC and more! #AOCFest

Art of Cool Festival 2019 | Recap by SobeSavvy.com

Art of Cool Festival 2019 | Recap by SobeSavvy.com

Durham, NC was the place to be this past weekend (Friday, September 27-Sunday, September 29) for the 6th Annual Art Of Cool Festival also known as the AOCFest! This festival, which features great music, good food trucks,community engagement and sponsor activations, has quickly become the premiere late summer cultural experience that should not be missed!

PLAN YOUR STAY

Since SobeSavvy.com was there to provide local media coverage for the weekend, I decided to make it a workcation and checked into one of the official hotels of the AOCFest. The Aloft Durham Downtown proved to be an excellent choice with its urban style and comfort amenities PLUS it is the closest hotel to the festival’s main venue, Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Guests attending the festival were provided a special group rate if booked in advance. I definitely would plan ahead to stay here next year or anytime you want to Stay & Play in Durham!

2019 LINEUP

Produced by The Dome Group LLC, AOCFest 2019 featured 20+ R&B, Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop, Jazz, alternative and spoken word artists at multiple venues in Durham.

FRIDAY

The Masonic Lodge is where various DJ parties were being held all weekend in one of their event rooms. DJ RNB was spinning and there was also a bar sponsored by Durham’s own Bedlam Vodka, who I had the pleasure of reviewing and sharing recipes >> here on my blog!

Later that evening, “Cooligans” were seen at the 2019 AOCFest Urban Vendor Market being held on Blackwell Street. Food Trucks along with a variety of vendors lined the closed down area. We had a few delicious shrimp tacos from @shrimptrucknc to fuel us up for the headliners at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park stadium next door.

We also did a little shopping at the 2019 AOCFest Urban Vendor Market and I purchased some organic Shea Butter products from Nailah’s Shea. I also ate chicken and waffles from Big C’s Waffles food truck. We also spotted โ€œThelmaโ€ from Good Times, Bernadette Stanis who had her books for sale and was taking pics with fans!

We arrived in time to see the group Black Violin were on the stage. A duo from Florida, this group takes classical violin training and combine it with a hip-hop twist.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B272CFWHcSW/?igshid=1hg7apvp2u5s5

Next up was artist Ari Lennox. She is the first female signed to J.Coleโ€™s record label. Fans got to hear and see her perform hits from her successful album entitled โ€œShea Butter Babyโ€. Her creative singing style and bold lyrics energized the crowd. Her future is limitless and as bright as her smile!

Up next was the the incomparable Miss Jill Scott. She has been an entire industry upon herself over the past almost 20 years. Album upon album of iconic poetry tinged R&B songs captured the attention of an entire generation. Her catalog is deep and she did not disappoint. Her stage presence is simply unmatched. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand. We sang the songs with her and just showered her with love and affection for all her music means to us. Great night to kick
off the festival.
SATURDAY
A stay at the Aloft Downtown Durham allowed for me to wake up to an awesome view of Diamond View Park at the American Tobacco Campus where Power Yoga, a free community engagement event hosted by The Art Of Cool Festival, was held at 10am & 11am on Saturday. Such a great way to start the day!

DJ Fatz took us back with a “2Pac vs Biggie” during a day party at Masonic Lodge. He did an awesome job blendiing two titans of rap by mixing their hits back to back. Every lyric to every hit record was sung by the festive crowd. Realizing how we lost both so young was sobering but celebrating their music was inspiring.

We headed back to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park stadium for a night full of legendary hip-hop featuring
Big Daddy Kane, Whodini and RUN- DMC. Before they took the stage DJ
Skillz showed some amazing work on the 1โ€™s and 2โ€™s. He played everything from old school hip to new school R&B. This man truly is in a league of his own in the DJ world.

Big Daddy Kane feat. The Symphony took the stage looking and sounding amazing! Back like he never left, he
performed as if he has not lost a step. His rapping skills go from fast to slow and he rocked the mic no matter the tempo. He was joined on stage by his Bboy dancer, his little son showed of his moves too, and the legendary Cool G Rap was there for an epic performance of The Symphony. If you ever get a chance to see Big Daddy Kane live you will see there Ain’t No Half Steppin EVER with him!

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B2-kFNQnAJ6/?igshid=cs8y664hxoo5

Next up was the group Whodini, who blazed the stage performing hit after hit such as “Big Mouth”, “One Love”, โ€œThe Freaks Come Out At Nightโ€ and โ€œFriendsโ€. Lead rapper Jalil did come out in his signature Zorro style hat and the ladies went wild!

By the time RUN-DMC took the stage, the electricity of anticipation was in the air. Rap was still in itโ€™s infancy during the mid 80โ€™s and RUN-DMC almost single handidly was responsible for rap crossing over to
mainstream America. Every successful rapper owe them a debt of gratitude. Time stood still during their set. It was as if they transported all of us back to the 80โ€™s. Their catalog of hit records is immense. They only performed a sampling of them with โ€œKing Of Rockโ€, โ€œItโ€™s Trickyโ€, “Peter Piperโ€, “Run’s House” and many more! The crowd showed their love by coming dressed in Adidas, or rocking RUN DMC tees. Even AOCFest was selling “RUN AOC” tshirts to honor the group and he festival. RUN DMC are true icons that are rightly revered as some of the founders of Hip-Hop.

The festival ended on Sunday with a VIP Brunch featuring The Hamiltones that took place at the Durham Convention Center.

If I had one word to describe the Art Of Cool Festival 2019 it would be DOPE! Amazing weekend and phenomonal performances. The AOCFest once again proved that with the right mix of artists and audience, you can expect a dope cultural experience. ๐Ÿ‘€ Watch my full recap video for more fun highlights

For more information on the 2019 Art of Cool Festival (AOCFest), visit aocfestival.com.

Twitter: @AOCFest #AOCFest

Instagram: @AOCFest #AOCFest

Facebook: Facebook.com/AOCFest

Spotify: AOCFest Playlists

********Read previous AOCFest recap coverage >>>here

Did you attend AOCFest this year? If YES, who did you enjoy most? If NO, which artist would you have been most excited to see?

My #HeighPartyof3 Family Visit to @NMAAHC


As the newest jewel on the National Mall, The National Museum of African American History and Culture stands as a beacon of hope and pride to not just African Americans but to our nation as a whole. Opened on September 24, 2016 by President Obama, this Smithsonian Institution owns a collection of over 40,000 pieces. With almost 2 million visitors a year it has enthralled domestic and international visitors from all over the planet. Years later since its doors opened to the public, my family and I came here to celebrate its 3rd year!

Let us Rejoice! NMAAHC and its 3rd year | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com with #outandaboutAva

My family and I visited here in March 2017 during our stay in Arlington, VA and we were just as amazed as others upon visiting this special place for the first time. My little one was just 5 1/2 yrs old then, so this weekends visit opened up the history of Africans in America a little more to her than the last time we came. To quote Beyonce’s latest song “Bigger“..I wanted my daughter to leave the museum knowing that…

If you feel insignificant, you better think again
Better wake up ’cause you’re part of something way bigger
You’re part of something way bigger
I’ll be the roots, you be the tree
Pass on the fruit that was given to me
Legacy, ah, we’re part of something way bigger

Mother and Daughter visit NMAAHC ~ Legacy! | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

This beautiful museum takes visitors on a journey started in West Africa in the lower 3 levels to Barack Obama and beyond on the upper 3 levels. In between we are fed the wonders of our people. We started at 10 am and stayed until about 2pm with a lunch break in between. Even though we explored all 6 levels, here are just some of the hightlights from our #HeighPartyof3 Family Visit to NMAAHC!

#HeighPartyof3 Visits NMAAHC | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

C1-C3 | History Galleries

During our previous visit with our daughter, we chose to move swiftly through the 3 levels in the history galleries as it includes more graphic and violent past history {almost 400 years of that right?}. However, this time, I wanted her to have deep questions and comments and appreciate her 8 year old mind attempting to process what human beings are capable of doing to other humans, It was sobering and yet ultimately hopeful.

The opportunities for modern virtual interaction throughout this facility are endless. You can sit at a mock Greensboro, NC diner counter and use the touchscreen and pick from a ” join a movement” menu, which gives you all sorts on facts regarding sit in demonstrations and videos.

This museum also has docents {museum guide experts} stationed in some of the more emotionally difficult areas to give out facts and perspective. I truly appreciated one taking my daughter under her wing and explaining to her 8 yr old level what being sold “on the block” meant to families being torn apart and never seeing each other again. At 8 years old some of these facts still seem like science fiction to her and in a way that is progress. The inhumanity of slavery is quickly coming into focus for her and that is a good thing. History is not to be sugarcoated, it is simply fact.

Lunch | Sweet Home Cafe

When you come up the final 3rd ramp of the History Galleries, you will arrive to the Concourse level where you will find a wonderful cafeteria dining area called “Sweet Home Cafe“. Get ready to feast on all major foods credited to African Americans. Ribs, catfish, greens, red velvet cake just to name a few. Great place to take a break and fuel up to continuing your visit to this world class facility.

SobeSavvy Tip: Be sure to stop by the NMAAHC Museum store on L1-Heritage Hall. You will find free fact cards about the museum, books, jewelry and more! Plus, your purchase helps support the educational mission of the Smithsonian Instituition. Shop Online at smithsonianstore.com and join maiing list for special discount offers!

L4 | Culture Galleries

We rode the escalator to the very top level where the culture galleries are. On this level you will find the many contributions African Americans have made as artists. From music, theater, tv, dance, film, we have created and shared our cultural expressions to the world! Much of American culture is owed to the African Americans. Whether clothing, music or food, African Americans have always been the trend setters and the golden standard in the experiment of a nation we call America.

The music section is it’s own black rock and roll hall of fame. Chuck Berry’s Cadillac, Parliament’s Mothership and clothing/artifacts from almost every major artist in every genre is represented. You can also be a sound engineer or DeeJay if you like! We particularily enjoyed the “Neighborhood Record Store“, where we explained to our daugter about a time when music was not digital and you went to the store and found your favorite artists’ album.

This museum ultimately stands for triumph against all odds that African Americans have not only survived but we have been examples of excellence in every manner shape of form for the world to see just how unbreakable our spirits and indeed souls truly are.

L3 is where you can find the Community Galleries featuring The African American Military Experience and our contributions to Sports. Here is where we took a nice break to sit down and watch a film about Baseball Intergration.

L2 , the second floor is where you can Explore More! Get interactive in the gallery and have fun by taking a “stepping” lesson in HBCU fashion in a virtual reality dance game.

You could easily spend an entire day here and not see it all. I have found multiple visits of a few hours each time is a wonderful way to digest all that it has to offer. I look forward to coming back again in a few years and doing it all over again!
๐Ÿ‘€WATCH highlights from my #HeighPartyof3 Family Visit to @NMAAHC hereโคต๏ธ

Have you been to the National Museum of African American History & Culture yet? Share a memory from your visit below!

Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of African Americn History & Culture

1400 Constitution Ave NW

Washington, DC 20560

Opening Night Review | ANNIE @nctheatre #NCTAnnie

Opening Night Review |  ANNIE @nctheatre #NCTAnnie

Opening Night Review | ANNIE @nctheatre #NCTAnnie | SobeSavvy.com

On July 23, 2019, I joined NC Theatre for their season finale of ANNIE, running July 23-28 at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, NC. My daughter shared the news and her excitement on Instagram:

Needless to say, we are ANNIE fans! We have watched both the movies and sang all of the songs but had never seen this beloved musical on stage before. Fun Fact: Did you know the movie and musical ANNIE is based on Harold Grayโ€™s popular comic Little Orphan Annie?

Harold Grayโ€™s popular comic Little Orphan Annie

Harold Grayโ€™s popular comic Little Orphan Annie | NCTheatre.com

For those of you who may not be familiar with ANNIE, here is the description of this musical:

Molly ( played by Emily Jewel Hoder) & Annie ( played by Alexa LaSanta) | production photo provided by NC Theatre

Molly ( played by Emily Jewel Hoder) & Annie ( played by Alexa LaSanta) | production photo provided by NC Theatre

With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage that is run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan.

Hannigan ( played by Karen Ziemba) +

Miss Hannigan ( played by Karen Ziemba) + “Little Girls” | production photo provided by NC Theatre

With the help of the other girls in the Orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of NYC. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil schemes, befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and finds a new home and family in billionaire, Oliver Warbucks.

Annie ( played by Alexa LaSanta)  & Oliver Warbucks ( played by John Eric Parker) | production photo provided by NC Theatre

Annie ( played by Alexa LaSanta) & Oliver Warbucks ( played by John Eric Parker) | production photo provided by NC Theatre

Opening night of NC Theatre’s season-ending production of ANNIE was a SMASH HIT! From the live orchestra, the star-studded cast (especially the young and talented orphans who sang and danced their way into our hearts), to the adorable Broadway pup who played Sandy, this is a musical the whole family would enjoy! In fact, my daughters favorite moments involved Sandy since she loves dogs so much.

ANNIE will feature an adorable Broadway pup as Sandy

Have you heard? NC Theatre’s production of ANNIE will feature an adorable Broadway pup as Sandy! | NCtheatre.com

We had great (and comfortable) seats inside of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and no worries for the younger theatre goers as they do provide booster seats. My daughter, who is almost 8, was happy to see so much “girl power” on stage from the wonderful mix of young girl actors. I appreciated the diverse cast and representation of talent showcased in this production. The set designs were spectacular and provided the perfect backdrops of everything from the streets of NYC to Daddy Warbucks’ mansion on Fifth Avenue. Elaborate choreography was on on display that had us all in awe. The entire cast was amazing and we all song along to all the familiar songs like “Tomorrow”, “It’s a Hard Knock Life”, “Easy Street” and many more! This play was paced very nicely and never slowed down much throughout both sets between intermission. It was a magical night watching a magical timeless story.

Me and my #HeighPartyof3 enjoyed opening night of ANNIE

**SobeSavvy Tip: College students get an exclusive discount! Enjoy $25 tickets with a valid college ID to our season ending production. Learn more and get your tickets>> here

ANNIE will be showing from July 23-28 in Raleigh for 8 performances only! WANT TICKETS? Go to nctheatre.com for details and follow on IG @nctheatre #NCTAnnie !

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SONG FROM ANNIE? ***[ “Tomorrow” is ours, let us know yours in the comment below!! ]***

Thanks for reading and supporting the arts!

Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds takes you on a Musical Adventure thru March 24 @RLT1936 #ThreeLittleBirdsRLT

Tonight is opening night of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, presented by Raleigh Little Theatre. Join Ziggy and Nansi on a worldly adventure, enlivened by the fantastic songs of renowned Reggae artist, BobMarley. If you’re visiting Raleigh,NC, this is one musical you don’t want to miss. Now thru March 24, you can take your family to see Jamaica come to life and enjoy a night of theatre!

ABOUT THE PLAY

Meet Ziggy, a shy boy who would rather stay at home and watch television than explore the island of Jamaica. Over the course of his onstage journey, with some help from his friend Nansi, he realizes that the real adventures can be found outside, amid the birds and jungles and beaches. The wonderful music of Bob Marley helps bring their wordly adventure to life!

Ziggy-Jireh Ijeoma and Nansi- Seanna Osborne |Photographer- Jeannine Borzello

โ€œItโ€™s really teaching our kids that no matter what their troubles or fears, thereโ€™s still a little bit of sunshine out there. Itโ€™s up to the parents and the village, the Bible will tell you. You have to surround yourself with good people so you can grow into great people. I think the lyrics, the music, and performance will entertain everybody, young and old,โ€ said Cedella Marley on the showโ€™s message in an article by the Wall Street Journal.

SPECIAL DATES

Enjoy fresh milk & cookies after the Thursday, March 14 show of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds provided by Insomnia Cookies!

Enjoy the sounds of Jamrock in between Saturday, March 16 performances. Jamrock was founded in 1995 through the desire of a few Jamaicans to hear authentic music, featuring true โ€œyard styleโ€ reggae rhythms, reggae standards, and an authentic Jamaican sound.

On Saturday, March 30 at 1 pm, RLT will present a sensory-friendly performance of โ€œThree Little Birds.โ€ A sensory-friendly performance is modified for families and friends with children or adults who have difficulty with sensitivity. Sensory-friendly seating is general admission allowing individuals extra space if needed.

The Cast of Three Little Birds | Photographer- Jeannine Borzello

REVIEW

I am seeing the show on Saturday, March 9th at 5pm with my husband and our 7 year old daughter, #outandaboutAva. I am so excited to review this production because we got married in Jamica in 1999 and I am a huge Bob Marley fan. When our daughter was a newborn and my husband had to travel for work, I was a stay at home Mom who relied on the songs of Bob Marley to get me thru the day. Songs like “No Woman No Cry“, “Is This Love” and “Three Little Birds” helped me to remember to …don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is gonna be alright!

Cedella- India Williams and Ziggy-Jireh Ijeoma | Photographer- Jeannine Borzello

Me and my #HeighPartyof3 loved the play. This one hour play had such a special vibe and awesome message. Go outside and see the world around you no matter where you reside. I also loved the live music, the dance and the brief Jamaican history lesson that weaved together all the cultures that make up Jamaica. The creative storytelling was full of fun and the set was simply beautiful.

The Cast of Three Little Birds | Photographer- Jeannine Borzello

โ€œBob Marleyโ€™s Three Little Birdsโ€ is on stage March 8 โ€“24. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 919-821-3111, Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m., or by visiting the theatreโ€™s website at www.raleighlittletheatre.org.

WHICH BOB MARLEY SONG IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Raleigh Little Theatre

301 Pogue Street

Raleigh, NC