Event Recap | The Art of Cool Festival 2018 – 5th Yr Anniversary @aocfest #AOCFEST | by SobeSavvy.com

The Art of Cool Festival 2018 has come to a close, but we here at SobeSavvy.com was fortunate to attend and share with you some of the magical moments from #AOCFEST. There has been so much growth since we attended the Art of Cool Fest in 2015, and I am so glad to be apart of highlighting this amazing festival. This past weekend, we celebrated the 5th Anniversary of this great music festival that brings jazz-inspired music, artists and all the Cooligans together in Downtown Durham, NC. Trust me, you don’t want to miss next year!

This year the AOCFEST experience was expanded to include Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop and Soul performances by renowned artists from around the world! 20+ artists, 6 venues, 1 price to enjoy: Live Music Concerts, shop from local vendors at the Urban Street Market, dance, mingle and network at the various Day Parties, savor Durham cuisine from the featured Food Trucks and quench your thirst at the Beergarden. The AOCFEST 2018 truly had something for everyone. It’s an amazing sensory experience you must see, taste, hear, and feel!

DAY 1- SEPT 28

The fun began on Friday with the arrival of music lovers to Downtown Durham. Festival goers could shop for some official merch at Wristband City, grab a cocktail, and listen to live music at various pop ups and attend free Innovate Your Cool seminars / workshops focused on Innovation, Music and Culture. I caught at DJ set on the rooftop at Unscripted Hotel where The Lux Blog held a meet-up mixer to welcome everyone including bloggers/social media influencers to the Art of Cool festival. It was a vibe!

Downtown Durham is a walkable city and the perfect place to host the AOCFEST because all the venues are conveniently within walking distance to each other. Just a couple of blocks over from Unscripted, I was able to catch MeShell N’degeocello at the Carolina Theater. She is a talented singer and musician who reminded us in the audience that although the lighting was not ideal, MUSIC. IS. SOMETHING. YOU. FEEL. She took us down memory lane by singing her funky smooth renditions of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam “I Wonder If I Take You Home”, Al B. Sure “Night & Day” and TLC ‘s “Waterfalls” along with her classic song “Grace” from her album Bitter.

Maxwell headlined at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which is new on this list as an official AOCFEST stage. Everyone who was either seated in the stadium watching his concert from the jumbo screen or on the field could see his moves and feel his groove! There were so many favorite songs by the incomparable male singer that turned into a sing-a-long, such as “Pretty Wings”, “Bad Habits” and “Fortunate”.

Watch Video Highlights of Photo Recap from Day 1 As Seen on the Scene by SobeSavvy.com! ⤵️

Day 2 – SEPT 29

Downtown Durham was the place to be for the second and last day of music and festivities. Even if you were not going to the concerts, there were so many ways to support the community and enjoy the amazingly cool city of Durham. A 90’s style vintage pop up party hosted by The Key to Style was my first stop before heading to the heart of the Bull City. CCB Plaza, near the iconic bull statue, is where emerging artists performed cyphers and Hip Hop radio station K97.5 held a block party showcasing local talent.

From there, I took a short walk to Pinhook, an iconic live music venue in Durham perfectly sized for intimate performances. Durham’s own Zoo Cru were up first. This quartet of musicians jammed out to their own unique sounds that is really beyond description. Not electronica and not R&B but a subtle blend of both. I love to support local, so I enjoyed my first listen from this popular band.

Next up at Pinhook was renowned trumpeter Keyon Harrold. He has done music and horns for A listers such as Beyonce and JayZ over the years. In addition, Mr. Harrold did the music for the hollywood movie “Miles”, so his resume is unmatched. Wynton Marsalis has called him “The Future of the Trumpet”. He did not dissapoint. His breath control and range were simply amazing. He was paired with a female vocalist which added a different angle to his horn. Unique and dynamic music is just one of the many things you will always experience at AOCFEST.

What’s a festival without the opportunity to shop from a variety of vendors? The Urban Market, set up on Blackwell Street, was the answer for those of us who like to shop local. Vendors were on hand selling quality products such as clothing, artwork, accessories and natural body care products, like my favorite Nailah Shea. Enthusiastic and stylish crowds took advantage of the warm, sunny afternoon in the Bull City. It was fun for the whole family!

My AOCFEST experience ended with seeing the one and only Erykah Badu, who is the first female to headline the Art of Cool Festival. Nas had just rocked the mic and said goodnight as i was entering the stadium. Before Ms.Badu came to the stage at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the crowd heard from the new President and VP of The Art of Cool Festival, Sulaiman and Lesleigh Mausi, Founders of The DOME Group, LLC. They thanked the sponsors and all the fans for a fabulous Art of Cool Festival weekend.

Ms. Badu came to the stage with her big hat, her big hair to match her big voice and asked..”Brothers, how y’all feel? Sistahs, y’all alrite” ? She really needed no introduction because her energy fills up any atmosphere. Erykah Badu almost single handidly created the genre called “Neo Soul”. Her music, style and delivery of colorful lyrics has made her one of the most unique talents of our time! Fans filled up Durham Bulls Athletic Park and joined together to celebrate her greatness which like her song, goes “On and On”.

Watch Video Highlights of Photo Recap from Day 2 As Seen on the Scene by SobeSavvy.com! ⤵️

Electric ending to another exciting and informative Art Of Cool Festival. The AOCFEST is one of the best music festivals that gets better every year. Be sure to check out aocfestival.com • #AOCFEST and make plans to visit Durham, NC to experience the Art of Cool Festival next year! Congratulations again to Art of Cool Festival for 5 years strong!

Opening Night Review|HATS OFF to ‘CROWNS’👒 ! Now playing @RLT1936 thru 9/10 in #Raleigh ~Get Tix NOW!

In 1998, North Carolina photographer Michael Cunningham began taking
pictures of women in their hats. His friend, journalist Craig Marberry, thought they should put together a book of the photos and the stories behind them. Marberry was curious why so many African-American women wear flamboyant
hats to church. Their curiosity led to the publication of the now iconic book (which I received as a Christmas gift in 2003 from my in-laws) entitled “Crowns”. They have the picture of 50 African American Women wearing their hats, or Crowns to church. They has a profile of each women to go with the back story behind their hats.

This book ‘CROWNS’ was made into an off broadway play and has had many adaptations nationwide on stage throughout the years that have followed.

Fast forward to 2017, the Raleigh Little Theatre had their premier opening of the musical “Crowns”, now playing from Aug 25 to Sept. 10 . It’s story is about culture, history, tradition, women and their “hattitudes” ! You’ll laugh, you’ll reflect and you may even sing-along to the gospel music performed in the show. Musical Director, Carolyn Colquitt said “This story is telling why women wore the hats and what they represented.” 

More than a few women {including myself} wore their “Crowns” for the Opening Night at Raleigh Little Theatre

The play, directed by Terra Hodge, created six composite characters. Their stories are
told over the course of a Sunday. The audience sees these various women get ready for church, attend a morning service, a wedding, a funeral and a baptism. 

Photos by Brenna Lila Jane Berry-Stewart                    

  • (Top Left) India Williams as Mabel
  • (Center Left) Chanda Branch as Velma
  • (Bottom Left) Lynnette Barber as Mother Shaw
  • (Right) Lynnette Barber as Mother Shaw, Chelsey Moore (kneeling) as Yolanda, LaToya Smith as Jeanette

Five older women are joined by the grandaughter of one of them — a younger woman, 17 year old Yolanda from Brooklyn. The young woman (played brilliantly by Chelsey Moore) is a pivotal character and is changed by this experience of finding out about these women, through their hats. The audience is reminded that we’re still kings and queens with “crowns” that as James Baldwin said …”were already bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear them.” 

Leslie Heigh, Founder of SobeSavvy.com , wears her hat/crown to see “CROWNS”

One of my favorite parts of the show was the music, which had the sold out audience clapping and sometimes stomping their
feet. It was truly a shared experience no matter your age, race, gender or religion. I think everyone felt the uplifting spirit of the play and got the message from the monologues, as well as the lyrics of the songs. BRAVO to all the actors on stage, who were locals who auditioned right here for the chance to show their talent for the entire Triangle to witness!  

Crowns Contest Winners (left to right) Evenlyn Castleberry and Brenda Sanders pose by the winning entries

SobeSavvy Tip:  Arrive early to see the exhibition on display of the CROWNS contest winners. Six women were chosen to be photographed wearing their ‘Crowns’ based on their shared stories of what wearing a hat means to them.

CROWNS Contest Winners Photo Exhibition | Photo Credit: Raleigh Little Theatre, Arts Now

Tickets are available >>>> here. Some shows are already sold out, so don’t wait! On Aug 27 a panel discussion, sponsored by North Carolina State’s African American Cultural Center, will be held after the show to discuss the history behind the hats worn by black women. The talk will be led by Moses T. Alexander.

Raleigh Little Theatre was the perfect intimate atmosphere to experience such a soulful stage presentation

RALEIGH LITTLE THEATRE             301 Pogue St

Raleigh, NC 27607 

Tickets 919.821.3111

Raleighlittletheatre.org

Go see this amazing musical “CROWNS ” by Regina Taylor~ Adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry~Directed by Terra Hodge 

Opening Night “CROWNS” at Raleigh Little Theatre ~As Seen on the Scene, by SobeSavvy.com

Be sure to follow Raleigh Little Theatre on social media to stay informed of the 2017/2018 season: 

Twitter: @RLT1936

Facebook: Raleigh Little Theatre

Instagram: raleigh_little_theatre

Photo Recap: Opening Night 2016 #NCChineseLanternFestival @BoothAmp #KokaBooth 

Get Ready, Get Set and Go…………….. make plans to see the NC Chinese Lantern Festival this holiday season! SobeSavvy.com was there along with many more for the kick off of opening night on November 28 at Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre. Now thru January 15, 2017, join thousands of people to see a magnificent display of art and culture.

WHAT: The Festival displays hundreds of larger-than-life lanterns all aglow with thousands of LED lights, creating a mesmerizing feast for the eyes that takes about an hour to walk thru!

WHEN: November 25, 2016 – January 15, 2017, Tuesdays – Sundays: 6pm – 10pm

WHERE:  Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, NC  *Parking will be free of charge in venue owned lots.

WHO: Fun for the whole family!          Kids 2 and under free                                Buy Tix HERE

Ages 3 – 17 – $10 , Adults ages 18+ – $15

Groups: Contact Jessica at 919-459-8319 orjlevasseur@rprk.com for groups of 20 or more

WHY: Why not?!  It is truly something that must be seen to believe. The Koka Booth Amphitheatre is turned into a mythical magical place with a two story pagoda entrance into this colorful world of lanterns.This bright lights festival features dozens and dozens of hand made silk animals, people and yes, even a ginormous dragon on Symphony Lake lit displays for all to look at in awe. The panda bear display is one of my little
ones favorites. A pair of Pandas were even on a see-saw playing!

This year the festival has added cultural performances that grace the main stage at planned intervals.  Last years festival drew 52,000 people,so count on big crowds and big fun. They have some food booths and food trucks available if you get hungry. See why this great display of Chinese artistry should be a part of your family tradition every holiday season in the Triangle. Check out this cool video sneak peak:

Here are some photos from opening night: 

More photos can be seen here on SobeSavvy.com ‘s Facebook page. Also on social media, follow #ncchineselanternfestival to see pictures shared by visitors who attended this wonderful event! 

#Raleigh celebrates #Halloween with @NCSymphony The Music of #StarWars Young People’s Concert 

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This beautiful fall afternoon my family and I went to Meymandi Concert Hall for a very special kids event: The North Carolina Symphony Young People’s Comcert The Music Of Star Wars. The iconic movie soundtrack that has now been around for 2 generations was the centerpiece of an afternoon of kid centric fun just in time for this Halloween weekend in Raleigh, NC !

The NCS Kids Young People’s Concerts are perfect for families and children ages 4-12 and a great introduction to the world of music. Each performance features fun, interactive activities related to the concert’s theme, beginning in Meymandi Concert Hall’s Swalin Lobby one hour before the concert. Here is a video of what to expect:

This performance was the first one in the 3 part Young People’s Concert Series for the 2016/17 season and because it was Star Wars themed guests got to take pictures with their favorite costumed Star Wars characters from the all-volunteer 501st Legion!
Make sure to arrive early for all the pre-concert activities, including face painting and our popular Instrument Zoo!

So get dressed up as your favorite Star Wars characters and join in the fun ! Get your tickets to 4pm Raleigh show today or tomorrow’s performance in Wilmington here !

Savvy Tip : See all 3 Young People’s concerts for just $49 when you buy a package ..or 2 concert series for just $30 at ncsymphony.org !

May the Force be with you !

Riveting! @RIVERDANCE Celebrates 20 years @DPAC June 7-12 #onlyatDPAC #SunTrustBroadway

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Mesmerizing Movement and Music.….The No. 1 Dance Show of the World, RIVERDANCE opened last night at DPAC and runs through June 12.

The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand in Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour. Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song. Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland – in rock, music, theatre and film – nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance. Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour is composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan, and comes directly to North America from a sold out run across Europe and Asia. To mark the eagerly awaited return of the show to North America, ending a four-year absence, Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour will feature new costumes, new lighting, new projections and the addition of a brand new number, “Anna Livia,” featuring the female members of the Irish dance troupe in an acapella hard-shoe number.

Last night at DPAC, the audience gave a standing ovation for the riveting performances of Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour. It was a celebration of an extraordinary milestone for an incredible show and guests gave an enthusiastic applause for the Riverdance Irish Dance Troupe and entire ensemble for making a stop at DPAC during the Encore Broadway 2015/2016 season. 

The combination of the music and the movement was truly mesmerizing! I enjoyed the original irish dance choreography and was pleasantly surprised to see other genres of dance featured such as Argentine flamenco and the African American tap dancing tradition.The production masterfully succedded weaving in history lessons with entertainment. It told the story of many immigrant dance traditions that make up the art form.

For more information, please visit:

Website: www.riverdance.com
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Riverdance
Twitter: @Riverdance

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC
Twitter: @DPAC https://twitter.com/dpac
Instagram: @DPACnc https://instagram.com/dpacnc/

Here are a few photos taken last night #onlyatDPAC !
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*see page 38 in your playbill for ad/coupon for these delicious GIGi’s Cupcakes ! I highly reccomend the ‘wedding cake’ cupcake.

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To see more photos from the event go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpacnc for more on the red carpet at DPAC !
*Download and/or Print Photos for Free, Courtesy of DPAC!