Ultimate Appeal

Sportsmanship and respect for fellow players rule a game that demands plenty of athleticism

Wherever life took him, Josh Twilley managed to find a sense of home and community on a grassy field with a plastic disc.

Between college in Philly, grad school in Connecticut, career stops in New York and D.C., “One way I always got involved in the community was through Ultimate,” Twilley says. “Wherever I lived, I always could find someone that I could relate to.”

Playing Ultimate—Ultimate Frisbee—enabled Twilley to connect with people in a new city, either through casual pick-up games or through more organized leagues. But when he moved back to Delaware in 2004, he found a surprising dearth of organized Ultimate activity. The nearest league operated out of Philadelphia—the well-established Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance. But he sensed that there was a critical mass of experienced and potential players in and around Wilmington—enough, he thought, to form a new league.

So he formed one.

Working with his connections in Philly, who provided logistical guidance through issues like insurance and online registration, Twilley launched a marketing campaign to attract players, and secured game sites. Finally, in the spring of 2008, he unveiled Delaware Ultimate at Wilmington’s Rockford Park.

In its first season, Delaware Ultimate had 38 players, enough to field four teams. That grew to six teams the following year, and then eight. Today Twilley, who is 39, estimates that 150-200 participants play in an average season. They come from around the region, including parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Delaware beaches.

The nonprofit organization runs year-round leagues from Alapocas Run State Park (plus a winter league at the Delaware Sportsplex in Newark) that include men’s, women’s and co-ed seasons. The meager $25 registration fee covers a t-shirt and a Delaware Ultimate-emblazoned disc. It’s a tiny investment for a game participants say finely balances fun and athleticism; a seriously tough sport that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Alex Grintsvayg and Kristen Frentzel fight for the disc during a game. (Photo by Matt Jones)
Alex Grintsvayg and Kristen Frentzel fight for the disc during a game.

For the uninitiated, Ultimate might resemble a non-contact amalgam of soccer and football, where seven-player teams advance down a 70-yard field toward an end zone while tossing a disc to one another. A player must stop running while in possession of the disc, but may pivot and pass to any of the other receivers on the field. Breakneck transitions from offense to defense, and players “laying out,” or diving through the air to catch or defend a throw, are Ultimate hallmarks.

Like soccer, there are rarely breaks in the action, so Ultimate players are constantly in motion, whether they’re on offense or defense. Each thrower has only 10 seconds to release the disc to a teammate, as defenders attempt to block or intercept any pass. If a pass falls incomplete, is intercepted, or caught out of bounds, the opposing team immediately gains possession. Between ample bursts of sprinting, diving and throwing, Ultimate can be aerobically demanding. “We think of something like kickball as an excuse to kick the ball around,” Twilley says. “But there’s a lot of athleticism involved in Ultimate on the level of soccer.”

Most important, Ultimate is governed by the “Spirit of the Game,” an abstract ideal of sportsmanship and respect for fellow players. Ultimate games are self-officiated, and players are responsible for calling any infractions or resolving disputes.

“Different sports attract different types of people,” Twilley says. “There may be rugby types, or baseball types, and Ultimate has a type. It’s somebody who is attracted to the idea of the spirit. We’re here to have fun and play the game, and that’s the kind of community that I like.”

Besides fostering camaraderie and enhancing the game’s social component, the Spirit of the Game also helps usher beginners into the sport. In the Delaware league, teams are assembled by a group of captains, and always have a mix of experienced and inexperienced players. During game breaks, strategies and rules are discussed for newbies. “We actively help new players,” Twilley says. “We try to be very open and noncompetitive, although we do get competitive. We really want to help people along, and retain people as much as possible.”

Andrew Wisor of Wilmington joined the Delaware Ultimate league having only some cursory experience in pick-up games. A former high school athlete, he’d grown weary of the intensity and mean-spiritedness that uber-competitive team sports sometimes generate.

“On our soccer team there was a guy who was getting red cards every game, and we’d have to sit there and wait for him to throw his temper tantrum while he was getting thrown out,” says Wisor, 29. “I thought this had gotten a little too competitive for my tastes.
“With Ultimate, the spirit of the game is part of the rules. I don’t know how it just seems to happen, but it’s kind of amazing. People who have never played before, they just have a sense of sportsmanship.”

Keala TeKolste defends against Arwin Thomasson. Players must keep the disc moving. (Photo by Matt Jones)
Keala TeKolste defends against Arwin Thomasson. Players must keep the disc moving.

Wisor stuck with the Delaware league, and eventually supplemented his love of the sport by forming a Delaware-based travel team and organizing regional tournaments at Alapocas. Most of his friends, he says, are people he’s met through playing. “In the beginning, I wasn’t aware of what an Ultimate league could mean,” he says. “I was looking at it from a fresh perspective of having fun, getting exercise, and meeting new people. It was great for me.”

Ultimate traces its roots to Columbia High School in Maplewood, N. J., where students invented the game in 1967. Columbia alumni took the game with them to college, and Ultimate germinated throughout the region. Its anti-establishment Spirit of the Game ethos resonated with counterculture movements of the era.
Stephen “Sven” Peterson was a student at the University of Delaware in 1975 when he first noticed a banner hanging near the Harrington dormitories that read, “Learn How to Throw a Frisbee.”

“That day changed my life,” he says. “I took to it right away. It was, ‘Oh my god, this is so fun.’”

Peterson captained the first-ever team at UD, and after college he embarked on a long playing career with club teams and tournament teams. By the 1990s, UD had developed an official club team, and Peterson was its coach. While Ultimate remained popular on Delaware’s campus, it was largely contained there.

“I played all over the world, at the highest levels, and in world championships,” Peterson says. “But when I came back to Delaware, there was nothing there. Maybe there were some pickup games, but nothing you could sustain.”

Peterson, like many local players, had to drive up to Philadelphia to join a league, so when Twilley approached him with the idea of forming a league in Delaware, “I was just thrilled,” he says. “We’d started some concept of a league before, but there just weren’t enough consistent players, and the UD team was dominating their area and age group. There was a big void. I applaud Josh for recognizing it.”

At 57, Peterson is the elder statesman of the Delaware Ultimate scene. He’s appeared in Ultimate National Championships in every decade since the 1970s, and for the fledgling Delaware Ultimate league he acted as a coach and captain as well as a counselor and guru, offering support and encouragement on top of tactics and instruction.

“By that time I’d been through 30-some years of Ultimate, and almost everybody there was in their first few years,” he says. “So I like to think I provided a lot of the spirit, and I’m very proud that the spirit of Ultimate is imbued in this league.”

For more info, or to become involved, visit www.delawareultimate.com.

By the Numbers – October 2014

A few Ultimate Frisbee figures worth noting

161576038700: The number of colleges with Ultimate Frisbee teams.

175: The weight, in grams, of the average Ultimate Frisbee.

255: The length, in meters, of the world’s longest Frisbee throw.

10: The number of seconds that a player is allowed to hold the Frisbee before releasing it in a game of Ultimate Frisbee.

4660004897: The number of players on a team in a game of Ultimate Frisbee. (Five for indoor games.)

1967: The year Ultimate Frisbee was invented—at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J.


Fun on the Farm for Fall

Witches, hay rides, corn mazes and every conceivable use of the pumpkin await you

When the thermometer begins its inevitable descent, and sunset comes sooner as clocks turn back, it’s time to savor a cornucopia of fall festivities on the farm. Whether you’re on the hunt for something novel or traditional harvest fun, there’s plenty to do.

Oompah-bands and beer steins? You got it. Holiday helicopter ride? Why not? Witches and ghouls? Of course. Corn mazes, hay rides, barnyard petting zoos, and pick-your-own produce? Gotcha covered. And of course, every possible use for a pumpkin.

In fact, the season’s best pumpkin picks reach way beyond old favorites like pie and beer, to full-size houses of pumpkins, jack-o-lantern displays, and Delaware’s own national sensation, Punkin Chunkin. So get out there and enjoy some farm fun.

To ensure the best time, call ahead to check on the availability of produce at you-pick events, and for weather-related updates.

Maze Craze

Daily in September, weekends in October
137 West Knowlton Rd., Media, Pa. 19063
(610) 876-7116, Linvilla.com

With 100 tons of pumpkins on display, what else could this attraction be called? Pumpkinland has mazes, huge displays, live entertainment, train and pony rides, barnyard animals, fishing (no license required, but there is a fee), crafts, scarecrows, U-Pick orchards, and a Jack-o-lantern exhibit on the 300-acre farm. Punkin Chunkin lovers: test your skills on the Apple Slingshot. The non-haunted Hayride to the Witches’ House has stories and jokes, finishing with bonfire, marshmallows and cider.

Special dates: September has Arts and Music and Apple
festivals; Oct. 26 is the Costume Parade.

Now through Nov. 8
$15 -$18
150 Cherry Hill Rd., Ronks, Pa. 17572
(866) 546-1799, cherrycrestfarm.com

With 2.5 miles of paths, this maze, created by a Disney Broadway producer, is well worth the 45-minute drive from Delaware up Rt. 41. Come for the maze, stay for the farm activities.

A field of pumpkins at Ramsey's Farm. (Photo by Ramsey's Farm)
A field of pumpkins at Ramsey’s Farm. (Photo by Ramsey’s Farm)


Weekends through Nov. 2
$10; $6 for 1 – 4 years old
500 Ramsey Rd., Wilmington, 19803
477-1499, ramseysfarm.com

Ramsey’s is a good pick for families looking for fun with an educational twist: kids learn about local farming with “Who is Your Farmer?” trivia throughout the property. Offerings include hayrides, pumpkin picking and painting, toddler Hay Play, corn maze, sorghum maze (shorter stalks for kids), and hay bale maze for little ones. Bring a non-perishable food item for charity for a chance to win a Lionel Train set. Night Fun: bonfires, flashlight maze, and hayrides. Daytime events run Friday to Sunday; evening events are Friday and Saturday.

More festival


Millburn Orchards - Pumpkin House
The pumpkin house at Milburn Orchards. (Photo by Milburn Orchards)

Weekends through Nov. 2
$10; under 2 years old, free
1495 Appleton Rd., Elkton, Md. 21921
(410) 398-1349, milburnorchards.com

There’s lots to do on this farm: Barn Yard Buddies, hayrides,
corn and mazes, Boo Barn (non-haunted), Tractor Tunnel, inflatables, Obstacle Bounce, Sand Dig pit, Giant Spider Web, Rope Maze Family Challenge and Tractor Tire Tower. Pony rides and paintball cost extra.

Special dates: Admission is free Sept. 6 – 7.


Oct. 4 & 5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free for members, $7 for non-members over 5
Coverdale Farm Preserve, 543 Way Road, Greenville, 19807, 239-2334, delawarenaturesociety.org

The entrance to the Harvest Moon Festival. (Photo provided by the Delaware Nature Society)
The entrance to the Harvest Moon Festival. (Photo provided by the Delaware Nature Society)

This festival has artisan demonstrations, crafts, live animal programs, corn maze, hayrides, scarecrow making, farmers market, live music and more. Draft horse and pony rides cost extra.


Nights, Friday – Sunday, Sept. 26 to Nov. 30
309 Port Penn Rd., Middletown, 19709
378-8267, frightland.com

Now in its 18th year, this is rated one of the nation’s top 10 haunted attractions by Forbes
magazine. Frightland marshals 180 ghouls and ghosts to scare thrill-seeking guests. The
creators of Delaware’s scariest leukemia fundraiser and only Haunted House are readying
120 acres with eight bone-chilling attractions, like Ravenwood Cemetery, Zombie Ghost
Town, Haunted Barn, Attic, Idalia Manor, Horror hayride, and Zombie Prison.
Special dates: $5 off on Sundays, and the event’s first two weekends.

Nights, Sept. 26, 27, 28, Oct. 3, 4, 5, 10 – 31, Nov. 1, 2
Adults/Motel $15; Hayride $20; Trail $15
1835 Middletown Rd., Glen Mills, Pa. 19342
(610) 459-0647, thebatesmotel.com

This attraction rates an impressive 9.9 skulls for originality and 9.7 for scariness and
special effects by hauntworld.com. Early bird, group and combo specials start at $25.

Weekends in October, 7 – 11 p.m.
5899 Rehoboth Blvd., Milford, 19963
422-2840, personalrush.org

The Psycho Path is an unguided 4.5-acre fog-filled walk with gruesome displays and
ghouls bringing to life the nightmares lurking inside your mind. Come early (noon – 7
p.m.) for mini golf, batting cages, and Zombie Hunt paintball ($45 for air, mask, gun, and
500 balls).



A family poses in front of their tent at Carousel Park. (Photo provided by New Castle County Government)
A family poses in front of their tent at Carousel Park. (Photo provided by New Castle County Government)

Oct. 25 – 26
3700 Limestone Rd., Wilmington, 19808
395-5652, nccde.org/specialevents

Stay for the day or bring a tent and camp overnight. Either way, kids love to wear costumes for tent-to-tent trick-or-treating. Activities include pumpkin painting, scarecrow stuffing, hayrides, fishing, games, a Halloween safety show, bonfires and a movie. New this year: line dancing instruction. Check in 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, check out by noon Sunday.

Sept. 6
27073 John J. Williams Hwy., Millsboro, 19966
945-7022, nanticokeindians.org

Native American artisans display and sell hand-made goods.
While there, visit the Nanticoke Museum (10 a.m. – 4 p.m., $3/
adults, $1/children). It’s a National Historic Landmark and
Delaware’s only Native American Museum.

Sept. 13, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
11465 Sycamore Rd., Laurel, 19956
875-6922, thehenhousede.com

This 1,000-acre family farm celebrates farming with an Antique
Tractor Show, pony and hay rides, and petting zoo. Get there early
for homemade ice cream, free while supplies last.


A helicopter view of Coleman's Farm. (Photo provided by Coleman's Farm)
A helicopter view of Coleman’s Farm. (Photo provided by Coleman’s Farm)

Weekends, Sept. 20 to Oct. 26, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free farm visit; $50 helicopter rides
550 Silver Run Rd., Odessa, 19709
378-8949, colemanstreefarm.com

For an unconventional approach to “keeping perspective on the holidays,” get above it all with a holiday helicopter ride. Call ahead for availability. Once back on terra firma, visit the farm for U-Pick orchards and playground with an Indian tepee.

Oct. 24 – 26
Rehoboth Boardwalk, Bandstand, Museum, Convention Center

This is one wild and wicked festival with scores of events. New
this year: satellite parking and shuttle service.

Starting Nov. 21
Mon. – Fri. 12 – 5 p.m., Sat./Sun. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
1741 Flint Hill Road Landenberg, Pa. 19350
(610) 274-8560, schmidtstreefarm.com

Have a close encounter with Santa’s team: visit a reindeer family (please don’t feed them) and romp on a mulch mountain with tunnels and a slide. Free hot chocolate!


Oct. 4, 1 – 6 p.m.
$30/general, $60/VIP
1284 Mc D Dr., Dover, 19901
678-4810, cheesetoberfest.com

Cheestoberfest draws 30 restaurant competitors from four states. Along
with award-winning beers, the 21-and over event also includes a macaroni and cheese cook-off. Call it cheesy, but no festival with beer would be complete without an oompah band, so get ready for some German brass. General admission includes beer stein and all the cheese you can eat. VIP: bottomless mug, food, dessert, commemorative stein and t-shirt. Purchase tickets for this rain or shine event online. No tickets available at the door.

Sept. 12, 13 — 4 p.m.
Georgetown Circle, Georgetown, 19947
856-1818, visitsoutherndelaware.com

Cooking demonstrations, beer and wine tastings from local breweries and vineyards, carriage rides, live entertainment, pumpkin decorating and a backyard barbecue competition.

Sept. 21, 5 p.m.
Riverwalk on Walnut St., Milford, 19963
839-1180, downtownmilford.org

A farm to table to street sit down dinner served up by local culinary artists using locally sourced food. Also includes local arts and entertainment.

Save the Valley

Open Space Festival set for Sept. 21 at Bellevue

The nonprofit group Save the Valley has set its second Open Space Music Festival for Sunday, Sept. 21, at Bellevue State Park’s Figure 8 Barn.

Utilizing the joy of music and the outdoor venue, Save the Valley will once again raise funds and awareness for the preservation of Beaver Valley. Some 800 acres of the valley, located on the border of Delaware and Pennsylvania in Woodlawn territory, may be sold to developers by Woodlawn Trustees.

“This is an awareness-raising effort in that each person who comes out to listen to some really good music on Sept. 21st becomes a potential spokesperson for this preservation effort,” says Save the Valley President Jason Hoover.

The nonprofit organization fears that development of the area will result in enormous increases in traffic as well as the addition of hundreds of houses, parking lots, and commercial enterprises. “If the development proposal gets rejected and the Woodlawn Trustees decide to offer their parcel to land conservation groups instead of to developers, then we will help raise the funds necessary to purchase the land,” says Hoover.

An online petition, bumper stickers and more are available on the group’s website, savethevalley.org.

Save the Valley is also on Facebook, and, says Hoover, “Our Facebook likes are an indication of the impact these articles have had; we are currently just south of 5,000 likes.”
The festival, from noon to 10 p.m., will feature seven bands and artists from around the country.

“We have national acts coming in, which is a testament to the worthiness of this cause,” Hoover says. Among those appearing will be John Gallagher, Jr., a Wilmington native who stars in the HBO series The Newsroom. Local band New Sweden, which played at one of the Save the Valley meetings last year, also will perform. Beer will be provided by Twin Lakes Brewery.

Tickets are $45 and are available online at openspacemusic.org or savethevalley.org.

Celebrating Oktoberfest

Delaware’s biggest tribute to German heritage is Sept. 19-21

Lederhosen and bratwurst, accordions and beer: It’s time once again for the annual Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest, the largest celebration of German heritage and culture in Delaware.

Set for Friday, Sept. 19, through Sunday, Sept. 21, in Newark, the festivities will get underway with a parade led by the Munich child, a symbol of the city of Munich. A Bavarian dance group will perform throughout the weekend, and traditional German platters such as bratwurst (pork sausage) and weisswurst (veal sausage) will be in abundance. Oktoberfest souvenirs and Bavarian clothing also will be available.

Some 20,000 visitors are expected for the family-friendly event, which includes midway amusement rides and games at the Saengerbund headquarters, 49 Salem Church Road.
Tickets are $8 per person.

For more information, visit delawaresaengerbund.org.

Tuned In – September 2014

Not-to-be missed music news

Strand of Oaks Rock Project
Timothy Showalter brings new album to Arden on Sept. 18

The solo rock project Strand of Oaks, created by producer and songwriter Timothy Showalter, is coming to Arden Gild Hall on Thursday, Sept. 18, along with folk artist Christopher Denny.

Showalter will share music from his recently released album HEAL, taking listeners back to his teenage years and his childhood home in Goshen, Ind. Deeply personal, the album is a symbol of the healing processes in his life.

This XPN Welcomes show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

For details, go to www.ardenconcerts.com.

Sun Brother Rises
Solo Wilmington artist releases second album

Billy Toulson is Sun Brother, currently a solo electronic indie rock artist. Toulson, from Wilmington, is influenced by indie rock icons Vampire Weekend, Portugal. the Man, and The Killers. He released his second album, Sitting. Standing., this past summer. Toulson says the album is catchy and fresh, and “has a little something for everyone.”

Watch for upcoming shows and find Sun Brother’s music here: www.sunbrother.bandcamp.com.

This or the Apocalypse
Pennsylvania band brings big sound to Delaware

The Northern Delaware-based collective of live music promoters and producers, Our Velocity Productions, brings melodic hardcore This or the Apocalypse to Accent Music on Kirkwood Highway on Saturday, Sept. 20.

Guests PlanetRAWK, Eye 4 An Eye, Supreme Ritual, Triumph, and Today’s Tomorrow will join This or the Apocalypse, which is based in Lancaster, Pa.

The show starts at 6 p.m. and the all-ages tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Get your tickets here: www.ampedandalive.com.

Bright Sounds of Maggie Gabbard
Pop artist to release CD this month

Born in Lexington, Ky., now-Delawarean Maggie Gabbard started singing at a young age, and her pop-soulful melodies and lyrics tell a story of endurance and optimism. She released a CD, Luminosity, on Thursday, Aug. 14, at The Queen.

For more details, visit queentickets.worldcafelive.com

Come Together
For an evening of Beatles music

Joe Trainor and City Theater Company will present COME TOGETHER, a concert featuring music from The Beatles, on Friday, Oct. 3.

City Theater Company turns 21 with a little help from its friends at this 2014-2015 season kick-off at The Queen.

Long-time Wilmington-based rocker Trainor will produce and direct the event, featuring musicians and actors from throughout the company’s history. The show mixes number one hits like “She Loves You” and “A Hard Day’s Night” with fan favorites like “Norwegian Wood” and “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” Trainor’s goal is to recreate the sound of the classic recordings live on stage.

Fourteen singers, backed by a six-piece rock band, a nine-piece horn section, and a string quartet, will perform. Besides Trainor, performers will include Tonya Baynes, Jim Burns, Matt Casarino, Petra Deluca, Josh Dowiak, Jessica Eaves, Dylan Geringer, Jake Hager, Lew Indellini, Righteous Jolly, Jill Knapp, Kerry Kristine McElrone, Paul McElwee, Dana Michael, Kanako Neale, Julie Regan, Kevin Regan, Frank Schierloh, Brendan Sheehan and Adam Wahlberg.

Tickets are $20 (general admission standing room only). The $40 VIP tickets include balcony seating and CTC swag. Proceeds will benefit City Theater Company.
For more information, visit www.queen.worldcafelive.com.

Jam On the Brandywine
Fundraiser to benefit Brandywine watershed is Sept. 20

In 2006, area musician Rob Grant created Jam On The Brandywine, a charitable event to benefit the Brandywine Valley Association. The BVA, founded in 1945, is the oldest watershed conservation organization in the country, focused on enhancing the Brandywine Creek watershed and promoting environmental education for kids.

For the past seven years, Grant, aided by Chip Porter of the band Montana Wildaxe and other friends, has gathered together local artists for the event, held at BVA headquarters in West Chester, Pa.

The 2014 Jam, set for noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, features Cameltones, Gnasty Girls, Special Delivery, Spokey Speaky, Double Dose, Apache Trails, Brad Newsom & Friends, and Endeavor to Persevere.

“The best thing about Jam On is spending the day with a great bunch of musicians who have become good friends over the years,” says Grant. “It’s also a blast to see more than a thousand people here, dancing and having fun. It’s a fun, low-key day.”

Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the gate. Kids under 12 get in free. Gates open at 11 a.m. and this is a BYOB event.

For more, visit www.brandywinewatershed.org.

Musikarmageddon Showdown: Four Bands Left

Competition finals are set for Sept. 27 at the baby grand

The smoke has cleared, and four bands remain, ready for a final clash in the 2014 Musikarmageddon.

Blooming Act, Xtra Alltra, and Green Eggs and Jam are slated for the finals at the baby grand on Saturday, Sept. 27, along with wild card Minshara, selected by judges for a second chance in the competition.

Aug. 7 brought Blooming Act and Minshara face-to-face for the first round of the semi-finals. It was another well-attended show for both bands, with more than 70 audience members voting.

The crowd’s votes lifted Blooming Act over Minshara, who once again traveled all the way from Harrisburg to perform. But their travels weren’t for naught: they’re back in the competition, with the highest scores among judges.

Blooming Act became the first band to make this year’s finals.

“We are excited and honored to be the first band,” says Steven Jumps, bassist for Blooming Act. “The support shown by everyone throughout the first two rounds has been incredible and is a big part of us reaching the finals.”

On Aug. 14, Tone opened the night in their semi-final bout with Musikarmageddon vets Xtra Alltra, who are competing for the third year. Unfortunately for the younger musicians of Tone, even all their sound and fury couldn’t keep them in, and Xtra Alltra snagged an easy win with both the judges’ scores and a landslide of votes from the audience.

“We’ve learned that perseverance pays off,” says tenor and baritone sax player Andy Jenks. “Our focus for the semi-final was to play a flawless set of our original tunes that we’ve been perfecting for the past few years, and we feel confident we’ll do well in the finals if we can execute the tunes in a similar fashion.”

On Aug. 21, the last round of the semi-finals saw Green Eggs and Jam and Late Saints wage a head-to-head battle. Judges went for Late Saints, but with a large group of supporters, Green Eggs and Jam advanced to the finals.

“We have learned several things from our experience in Musikarmageddon so far,” says David Petrea, bassist for Green Eggs and Jam. “One, it is exceptionally important to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Two, self-promotion is key to a band’s success. Three, there are a lot of very talented bands writing and preforming interesting music in Delaware, and four, the outside load-in steps at The Logan House will get longer with each successive trip up and down.”

Members of Xtra Alltra are already envisioning their post-finale plans should they be become champs: “If we win, we’ll celebrate with ice cream,” says Jenks.

Hail to the Chef

Films that focus on the men and women behind the knives

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014, still in theaters)
An Indian family opens a restaurant in the south of France at the most difficult location possible: directly across the road from a Michelin-starred restaurant owned by the formidable Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). The resulting clash of two classic cooking traditions resounds throughout the small village. But as each family ventures across the road (the hundred-foot journey of the title), the horizons of each widen and Madame becomes able to recognize the extraordinary culinary talent of Hassan (Manish Dayal), the son of her rival proprietor.

Chef (2014, DVD to be released Sept. 30)
This unexpected summer hit (reviewed in full in June O&A) charmed moviegoers with its close-up food shots alternating with commentary on modern restaurant trends and social media. Jon Favreau stars as a celebrity chef whose career collapses after a spat with a food critic; he slowly rebuilds his reputation and his family life by rediscovering his love for food via a cross-country journey on a food truck.

Julie and Julia (2009)
The Julia of the title is Julia Child (Meryl Streep), the master chef who introduced French cuisine to America in the 1960s. Her joy in cooking and life are a delight. Not so much Julie (Amy Adams), a contemporary Julia Child wanna-be whose dissatisfaction with her dead-end job and her life are just irritating. But Julia’s enthusiasm trumps Julie’s dumps to rescue this movie.

Ratatouille (2007)
This Oscar-winner for Best Animated Feature tells a sweet story of a rat who loves to cook and a woefully inexperienced under-chef who meet accidentally in the kitchen of a famous restaurant. The unlikely duo achieves great success by working together to overcome the prejudices of the French cooking establishment.

What’s Cooking (2000)
This minor indie film from Gurinda Chadha, the director of the later Bend it Like Beckham, possesses that same hard-won awareness of minority cultures fighting for their place in a dominant society. Set in an ethnically diverse neighborhood of Los Angles, the movie follows four families’ relationships as they gather for Thanksgiving. Although the foods and accents may vary, all four groups must deal with the same issues of interpersonal conflict and familial misunderstanding.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (1989)
A stellar cast—led by Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon and Tim Roth—evoke this uncompromising, even difficult story of a mob boss restaurateur and his bored, disenchanted wife. Director Peter Greenaway brings his cryptic, stylized approach to this vicious tale, set largely inside the gangster’s restaurant. If you are squeamish, leave before the chef serves the final dish. Hint: it’s an alternative protein.

Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978)
George Segal, Jacqueline Bisset, and Robert Morley star in this offbeat comedy mystery set among the culinary luminaries of the continent. The chefs are dropping like flies but strangely, they are all being killed in the same manner in which their signature dishes were prepared. The movie is dated and mostly entertaining for its broad portrayals of snooty European celebri-chefs, at a time when cooks were not as overexposed in the media as they are now.

And for dessert, The Trip to Italy, a follow-up to The Trip (2010), promises to be another bracing mixture of food porn and British humor served up by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. The recipe for the second film is the same as the first: take two comedian friends and attention hogs, send them on a tour of trendy restaurants, and watch as they hilariously entertain and taunt each other while being served a variety of appealing dishes. This variation has the two Englishmen traversing Italy, so the viewer can expect an additional flavoring of “fish out of water” hijinks.

Moretz Helps Us Want to Stay

Jamie Blackley as Adam and Chloe Grace Moretz as Mia Hall in If I Stay, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Photo by Doane Gregory)

Teen tragi-romance survives on lead’s appeal

Chloe Grace Moretz came to the movie-going public’s startled attention as the foul-mouthed, butt-kicking adolescent Hit Girl in Kick Ass. Her role as creative, sensitive Mia in the new If I Stay could hardly be further from that earlier performance, but the two disparate films share one asset: the remarkable appeal of the winsome Ms. Moretz. Her winning portrayal of a young girl struggling through a life and death scenario (quite literally) rescues this touching-if-predictable teen melodrama.

Moretz plays Mia, a thoughtful, introverted cello prodigy, who navigates the perils of her first romance. She and her beau, Adam (Jamie Blackley) meet through a mutual love of music, though she is a little bit Beethoven and he’s a little bit rock and roll. Their relationship is tested by different musical career goals that start taking them in opposite directions.

The situation becomes even more poignant (or perhaps overwrought, depending on your point of view) when Mia and her family are involved in a serious automobile accident. In an out-of-body experience, Mia watches her actual self stuck in a coma. She must decide whether to stay and live a life radically altered from her prior expectations.

Moretz plays a cello prodigy who is involved in a serious car accident. (Photo by Doane Gregory)
Moretz plays a cello prodigy who is involved in a serious car accident. (Photo by Doane Gregory)

If I Stay suffers from an overly earnest world view and a screenplay full of endearing yet familiar tropes. Her parents are a little too terrifically unconventional, the musical gulf separating the two young lovers is clichéd, and the family and friends’ tense moments in the hospital waiting rooms too reminiscent of a solid episode of ER.

But the film survives on the connection Moretz creates with the viewer, a skill she demonstrated more coarsely in Kick Ass, more gothically in Let Me In, and more whimsically in Hugo. Here, as in many of her other earlier roles, she comes across as grounded and accessible, similar to Jennifer Lawrence but without Lawrence’s edginess. As Adam, Blackley holds his own with Moretz, but director R.J. Cutler knows the story (and the film) depend on Moretz. He keeps the camera focused on her.

If I Stay is not a film for everyone. One can only assume its demographic will skew heavily to teen girls in sympathy with the protagonist’s rites of passage. For them, the story and the star will transcend the limits of the screenplay to deliver the wished-for sequence of sweetly sorrowful pangs that yield smiles of triumph.