Saturday, December 3, 2016

Small Businesses in and around Winston Salem NC

Ms. "V" and Chef Stephanie Tyson
There’s no mistake that the Small Business commercials are still running, because they are going to “Make America Great Again”.  During the Thanksgiving holiday, this writer had the pleasure of visiting many unique venues around Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina, that she would like to share.

Sweet Potatoes” is a quaint restaurant in downtown WS.  If you are looking for diet meals, then you should move on.  The food is rich and fabulous, the service is wonderful and the atmosphere is calming.  They have a cookbook published and was endorsed by the famous poet Maya Angelou.  You need to experience this culinary delight.  “A really cool restaurant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that captures the flavors of the South with uptown funk and downhome soul to the best of Ella and Miles” — Stephanie L. Tyson.

Vivian Joiner and Stephanie L. Tyson are the CEO’s of Sweet Potatoes.  These two ladies (and staff) will make you desire to come back for more when you come to town.  The atmosphere is wonderful and you’re in a great location where you can shop before or after your meal.  And don’t forget to purchase their cook book, so you can attempt to recreate this delicious cuisine.

Two doors down is a quaint little ethnic shop called “Sister2Sister”.  This place is packed with beautifully hand-made African jewelry, crafts, clothes & gifts that will enhance your wardrobe, home and will show that you’re a gift-giver who selects only the best.

It was a joy to personally meet Purity Ruchugo, founder of Sister2Sister, who was gracious and very hospitable.  “In April 2012, Sister2Sister opened a shop called UMOIA African Crafts, located on Trade Street in Winston-Salem, NC. The items in the shop are crafted by Kenyan women and the proceeds benefit women in need both locally and in Kenya” — Purity Ruchugo.

Finally, our little group put on comfortable shoes and meandered up and down the aisles of the 43rd. Annual Craftsmen’s Christmas Classic Art & Craft Festival up the road at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.  Since it was the Thanksgiving weekend and Small Business Saturday, the place was packed with hungry shoppers to fulfill their holiday shopping lists.  It is very similar to the Christmas Made in the South shows that come to Jacksonville, Florida.

At these festivals there’s food, pottery, baskets, blown glass, carvings, clothing, paintings dolls, clay items, tole, furniture, jewelry, leather, metal works, media, musical instruments, ornaments, pewter, photography, pottery, quilting, sculptures, stained glass, stitchery, toys, weaving, woodworks, and much more.

If you ever get to North Carolina or hear about any craft festival near you, it would behoove you to go and discover treasures for you and someone you’d like to bless.  These merchants are not only open during this Christmas season, but they are ready and eager to serve you anytime during any year.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Two Alhambra dinner shows for the month of December

Photos: Jamie Iames Repper
Sorry that we were unable to let you know about the current featured production at the Alhambra Theater & Dining, but the premiere showing of “A Christmas Story” sold out early (there are still a few single seats available).  They even had to add Wednesday matinees that are already gone.  Like the original story, this program is not a musical.  Most Alhambra attendees are used to seeing either a show with a lot of dialogue, or one that features music and dancing.  “A Christmas Story” is all about the tale told by actor Ethan Paulini* (Ralph as an adult), and it is a great story.  Ethan has a large amount of dialogue that he delivers quite eloquently throughout the entire performance.

Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully (Zack Ward) and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a "Red Ryder air rifle." Frequently at odds with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his doting mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact.

At the end of the presentation, the cast seemed larger than it actually was.  Kudos go out to all the performers (the children, along with Mom and Dad, stole the show).  It takes a lot to expect a child to remember their lines, get some rest, get homework done, eat, do children stuff, go to school the next day and be ready to do it all over again for a different audience, for nine shows a week, and four weeks in December. Whew!

Bravo and Brava to: Oliver Carson (Ralphie Parker), Jazmin Gorsline* (Mother), Robert Herrle* (The Old Man), Harrison Davey (Randy), Alexia Adcock-Stanford* (Miss Shields), Johnny Warren (Schwartz), Sophia Feagins (Ester Jane Alberry), Dakota Burton (Helen Weathers), Kaden Quiles (Scut Farkus), and as always to Tod Booth*.  You and your production staff pulled off a wonderful adaptation from the original story adding ingenuity with the scenery, dogs and the turkey.  Lest we forget the gourmet meal prepared by Chef DeJuan Roy.  It was something to be Thankful for.
*denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association*

The second treat for the month will be the New Year’s Eve Gala event.  Join the Alhambra Theater and Dining for an evening of music, food, dancing and friends.  The night and morning will feature The Piano Men Tribute– a Las Vegas-style concert show featuring the music of Elton John, Billy Joel and Jerry Lee Lewis, plus dancing all night to the live music of the magnificent Crescendo Amelia Big Band along with the culinary magic of Executive Chef DeJuan Roy!  Take a look below and see what you’ll receive during your evening and early morning festivities.

New Year’s Eve Gala 2016/2017
DATE: Sat. Dec. 31 – Sun. Jan. 1, 2016 - 2017
TIME: Doors Open At: 6:30 p.m.
DRESS: “Formal Wear Requested”

TICKETS: $129 per person.  Reservations are required.
Ticket prices include:
Champagne reception & hors d’oeuvres.
Three-course table-served dinner.
Midnight champagne toast & balloon drop.
Their famous Midnight Breakfast Buffet.
Exclusive Prime Parking.
Price does not include gratuity or orders from the bar.

LOCATION: Alhambra Theater & Dining
      12000 Beach Blvd.
      Jacksonville, Florida 32246
      (904) 641-1212

Don’t be left out in the cold.  If you missed “A Christmas Story” (SOLD OUT!), then you don’t want to miss the New Year’s Gala.  Tickets are going FAST!

Looking for something to do on New Year's Eve? Why not dinner, entertainment, food, dancing, more food, champagne, more food etc.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

'Museums On Us' offers cultural activities for December

Bank of America and Merrill Lynch’s “Museums On Us” offers free access to Jacksonville cardholders.  Bank of America has strong long-term relationships with an array of institutions including museums, science centers, botanical gardens and aquariums in the United States and created Museums On Us® to provide a free cultural benefit to Bank of American and Merrill Lynch customers.  The program’s mobile site gives customers access to the full list of markets and museums on-the-go.

Bank of America is offering its customers a way to celebrate the holiday season with free admission to local museums with Museums on Us.  The program is giving bank credit and debit cardholders free general admission to some of America’s favorite museums and cultural institutions, including: Chabot Space & Science Center in San Francisco, CA, Denver Zoo in Denver, CO, Atlanta History Center in Atlanta, GA and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, NC.  Museums On Us is a national program that also includes some of the country’s best cultural institutions like: The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, FL and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

Photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented.  One free general admission limited to cardholder at participating institution, excluding fundraising events, special exhibitions and ticketed shows the first full weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of each month.  This special is not to be combined with any other offer.  For a list of museums near you (click here).

Bank of America’s Museums on Us®
Dates: Sat., Dec. 3rd and Sun., Dec. 4th, 2016
Times: Check participating museums’ days and hours of operation

Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA)
     333 North Laura Street
     Jacksonville, FL 32202
     (904) 366-6911
     The Museum of Science and History (MOSH)
     1025 Museum Circle
     Jacksonville, FL 32207
     (904) 396-MOSH (6674)
     Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
     829 Riverside Avenue
     Jacksonville, Florida 32204
     (904) 356-6857