10,000 Maniacs in Kennett   

One of the most critically-acclaimed bands of the past three-and-a-half decades, 10,000 Maniacs, will play the 2017 Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Special Events Tent. The concert will be presented by The Kennett Flash venue and will benefit the Non-Profit Performing Arts Center and Music Venue also located in Kennett Square.

The history of 10,000 Maniacs, founded by Robert Buck, Dennis Drew, Steven Gustafson, John Lombardo and Natalie Merchant in the fall of 1981, is a storied one. Together with artists like R.E.M., they defined college rock and formed the first wave of alternative rock bands and what became known as the alternative rock format on FM radio.

Because of the band’s danceable, socially-aware material, which was marketed and produced independently, they were considered one of the original indie bands before signing with Elektra Records and making their major label debut with The Wishing Chair in 1985 with producer Joe Boyd.

The group went on to release more material in the following decades, selling millions of albums and churning out hit singles like “Don’t Talk,” “Trouble Me,” “Candy Everybody Wants” and more.

In December of 2000, founding member Robert Buck died at the age of 42. The group took a three-year hiatus before returning with long-time friend and former guitar tech Jeff Erickson on lead guitar. Most recently, the band released it ninth studio album, Twice Told Tales, in 2015. The album is a collection of traditional folk songs from the British Isles compiled and arranged by founding member John Lombardo.

General admission tickets are $45, and a limited number of VIP seating tickets are available for $65. Seating for the concert begins at 7 p.m. and the performance will start at 8 p.m.

5 Questions With Tom Segura

The Netflix comedy star brings his honest and deviant humor to The Playhouse on Rodney Square this Friday

When he was 18 years old, Tom Segura took way too many drugs while hanging out at a bar one night with friends. Along with instantly becoming the life of the party, he blacked out completely.

He also almost died.

At some point, he fell to the floor. His sister called an ambulance, and he was whisked away to a hospital, where he later woke up in the emergency room staring at the bright ceiling lights with multiple tubes running out of his mouth.

He had awakened from a coma. Doctors told him later he was lucky he ever woke up at all. What saved him from flatlining?

The fact that he was fat.

On the Comedy Central show This Is Not Happening, Segura recounts that traumatic cautionary tale in a way that is equal parts honest, relatable, endearing and frightening. It also may be the funniest drug-overdose story that you’ll ever hear.

Like Richard Pryor talking about catching fire from freebasing, it’s Segura’s willingness to joyfully hopscotch back and forth between the appropriate and inappropriate, the mundane and the outrageous, the tragic and the downright hilarious that makes his brand of stand-up stand out.

It’s probably also the reason the stand-up artist has two successful comedy specials – Completely Normal and Mostly Stories – currently running on Netflix.

This Friday, Segura brings all of his funny and perverse energy to The Playhouse on Rodney Square as part of his No Teeth, No Entry Tour. Here’s what he has to say about his act and his frame of mind.

O&A: The story about your overdosing on GHB [Ed: also known as liquid ecstasy] – and the whole embarrassing thing of almost killing yourself by doing something stupid – a lot of people would never share that. But you did. And that’s something that comes up again and again in your comedy, that you’re not afraid to make yourself look a certain way…

Tom Segura: A lot of times I’ve thought about the overdose, and the whole reason I took too much was because I had too much in my mouth, and I didn’t want to look dumb by spitting it out. You know? I had too much of a poison in my mouth and I’d rather swallow it. It’s so crazy that I would think like that. But it is one of those things where, in the moment, you’re like, “You don’t want to look like an amateur.”

Even to this day, I realize that I’m so polite, that I do things against my better judgment so that I don’t appear impolite. It won’t be a mouthful of drugs. But I’ll stay in situations where everything inside of me telling me “Say something,” but I don’t want to appear rude. As I get older, I’m like, “Just address what’s actually bothering you instead of appearing impolite.”

O&A: Do you feel that comedy is an outlet to express all those pent-up frustrations?

TS: Oh, yeah. 100 percent. I mean, you have to be bothered by something. Somebody was talking to me, like, “I know you think comedians are angry.” And I said, “Well, they should be. Not walking around wanting to punch holes in walls. But they should be bothered by something. Because if you’re not bothered by something, you’d have nothing to talk about.”

That’s the whole thing: You should be annoyed if you’re funny. If you are so enlightened, if you’re in a place of nirvana, you’re not funny. You might be inspiring. But you’re not funny.

I feel standup is a place [to share] all the things that may not be conversation points or things that you can grind-out about in everyday life. It’s an outlet where you can go: “This is what’s bothering me. This sucks.”

O&A: On that note then, what’s your definition of good comedy? What are the elements that make it work for you?

TS: You don’t want to be indifferent in comedy. For me, the whole thing about comedy is that you have an opinion on something. It doesn’t matter if it’s an opinion on oven gloves or if it’s an opinion on who’s being confirmed to be on the Supreme Court. As long as you have an opinion – and usually the stronger the opinion, the better – that’s a great start.

Then it’s always about highlighting, almost exaggerating, an element of what you are saying. That’s what makes something pop! You have something punched up. It’s a departure from normal dialogue. It’s that extreme example.

It’s also dropping those social guards. Letting that politeness drop is what makes, I think, the best comedy flourish. Because the person is not worried if this is PC or acceptable to everyone. When you have all those elements combined, I think you have good comedy.

O&A: You’ve been doing this a long time. You started standup almost right after college. When did you learn that you were funny?

TS: I felt that I had some ability early on. We moved a lot when I was a kid. And when you’re a kid, everything’s about that social acceptance.

When you’re moving a lot, every time you start off, you’re reestablishing yourself and trying to make friends. And I would make kids laugh. Sometimes I would really make kids laugh. Like really hard. In my eyes, I was making them laugh more than I’d seen other people make other kids laugh. That gave me at least the illusion that I had some ability to do that. The more that I moved, and the more that I tried to be funny and had success with it, the more I thought, “Maybe that’s something I can do.”

O&A: Every comedian has airplane or airport humor, but yours is different because yours involves more your interactions with people you meet, whether it’s the comedian Bruce Bruce, or Mike Tyson, or even everyday people you meet. Are you constantly recording this stuff in your head?

TS: I think I’m tuned in to those things as being funny. We all have all these interactions all the time. But different comics are more tuned in to certain interactions.

I get turned on by small, mundane interactions if I think they’re socially awkward or inappropriate. If somebody says something – and I’m like, “Wait… what?!” – my radar goes off, because to me, that’s funny. And I know I’m going to report on it. Almost like a journalist. I’m going to tell people about it. I live for those interactions. They have always been super funny to me.

Tom Segura will perform at The Playhouse on Rodney Square this Friday, July 28, as part of his No Teeth No Entry Tour. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets can be purchased via the website or by calling The Grand’s box office at (302) 652-5577.

Changing of the Guard

Delaware leaders help welcome world’s largest producer of live music concerts to Wilmington

Dylan, Bowie, Sam Cooke and Sheryl Crow all sang about change—the need for it, the inevitability of it, how it will “do you good.” Now, an exciting change has come to Wilmington with The Queen’s new caretakers, Live Nation, a live-events company based in Beverly Hills, Calif., whose website boasts that “somewhere in the world, there is a Live Nation event every 20 minutes.”

On June 14, a healthy mix of musicians, music fans, neighbors, politicians, non-profits and business leaders crowded the 500 block of Market Street to help welcome the new owners. Celebratory sounds from the Wild Bohemians brass band filled the air and three stoic “British guards” stood at attention onstage. (I caught Gov. John Carney trying to converse with one of the guards, to little avail, as she embraced her role.)

The excitement was palpable, especially after an enthusiastic welcome from Buccini/Pollin Group Co-President Chris Buccini and rousing words from Gov. Carney and Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. Live Nation’s executive vice president for clubs and theaters, Michael Grozier, then stepped to the podium, channeling the Pointer Sisters with his first words to Wilmington. “I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it!” he shouted.

Live Nation’s Regional President Geoff Gordon (who previously oversaw bookings at Wilmington’s own Kahunaville) joined him to launch a gigantic burst of confetti onto Market Street and usher in a new chapter for The Queen and her city.

“The bones of this building are just fantastic,” Grozier said when I asked about his first walk-through. “And we feel that we’ve got the resources that can build upon that.”

Inside, most of the grand edifice will remain, as will a few familiar faces (e.g., former World Cafe Live talent buyer Christiana LaBuz has moved to the Live Nation team to continue in that role), but there’s also plenty evidence of what will be built with Live Nation’s “toolbox.”

Gathering at the soft opening were (L to R): Jazzi Hall, operations supervisor for The Queen; new General Manager Trenton Banks; Jason Bray, Live Nation Philadelphia Market general manager, and Angela Depersia, operations manager for the Queen. (Photo by Joe del Tufo)
Gathering at the soft opening were (L to R): Jazzi Hall, operations supervisor for The Queen; new General Manager Trenton Banks; Jason Bray, Live Nation Philadelphia Market general manager, and Angela Depersia, operations manager for the Queen. (Photo by Joe del Tufo)

New Bar by Thanksgiving

Guests were greeted by sleek architectural renderings of the new front bar and box office, which Buccini hopes to have completed by Thanksgiving. Walls and hallways were adorned with large music/pop culture-inspired, neon-tinged installations by artists Louis St. Lewis and Nate Sheaffer. Posters touted some of the shows that have already been booked, including Cheap Trick, The Alarm and comedian Jim Breuer as well as longtime local favorites Ben LeRoy and The Snap and Montana Wildaxe.

“From a talent perspective, our plan is to bring in a mix spanning all genres,” said Jon Hampton, Live Nation’s senior vice president for talent. “I expect us to book close to 100 shows annually, keeping the venue active and ensuring the calendar offers something for everyone.”

Grozier concurred: “We hope to bring over 100,000 people downtown for the best in international, national, regional and local talent—in all forms for all members of the community.” It seems that our new neighbor wants to celebrate the local scene as much as endorse Wilmington as a place to draw big-name acts.

“The level of financial, social and emotional investment in this city is amazing,” Grozier said, noting the enthusiasm he’s seen from surrounding businesses and residents alike. “We want to be sure to honor that.”

Community engagement will surely be part of the responsibilities of Trenton Banks, the new general manager of The Queen. Banks—now a downtown Wilmingtonian along with wife Jaclyn and their two young sons—has been busy discovering the surroundings of his new gig.

“We’ve definitely been exploring,” he said. They’ve traveled along Market Street, down to the Riverfront, and have made visits to La Fia and Chelsea Tavern. “As a [new] Wilmington resident, I’m excited to meet fellow residents and support neighboring businesses,” Banks said.

He seems enamored with his new venue and what it offers. “It’s such a gorgeous, spacious building, the possibilities are endless,” he said. “There is underutilized space; we’ll look at how best to serve the needs of the community as we get up and running.”

Banks and Live Nation have plans for concerts, special events and local nights. He noted the addition of the bar inside the corner of 5th and Market, which he envisions as a great enhancement to the neighborhood on both show and off nights, since it will be accessible to both concertgoers and the public.

Shine a Light to Return

Banks said that Live Nation’s involvement will encompass the larger community. “We’re 100 percent committed to supporting and advocating for local arts and community initiatives, and plan to be an active partner,” he said. In fact, at the June 14 event, the team confirmed Saturday, March 3, as the return of Shine a Light, the annual fundraising concert for the Light Up the Queen Foundation. Banks also announced a July 23 job fair for local staffing at all levels.

Asked how the community can support in return, he said, “We only ask that you come out to shows, embrace live music and give us your feedback and ideas so we can work to deliver a world-class venue in the heart of Wilmington.”

Buccini/Pollin Group’s overall vision for The Queen seems to align well with Live Nation’s plans. “Our goal is to fully maximize this space and the music experience in downtown Wilmington, but also to create a more varied talent base—everything from music to comedy,” said Buccini. “Live Nation has the ability to make that happen for us.”

Smiling, he added, “Wilmington is growing up.”

Later, I walked back to my car at 6th and Shipley and noticed a band of blue confetti had migrated there. I smiled myself, hoping it was a symbol of the burgeoning excitement, liveliness and transformation that will benefit all parts of Wilmington.

Food & Brew Hits 14

The annual Newark festival has become a celebration of community

The Newark Food and Brew Festival (F&B) returns for its 14th year on Saturday, July 22, from noon to 7 p.m. in downtown Newark.

F&B began in 2003 as an event aimed at showcasing the craft beer scene and the many restaurants of downtown Newark. But it quickly became more than a compilation of food and beer, evolving into a representation of the community. F&B gives the citizens of Newark a chance to enjoy their town, listen to live music, eat delicious meals, and indulge in a diverse selection of beers without the usual crowds. It also allows local businesses to connect with the full-time residents of Newark.

“So much of our business comes from not only the college students, but the support staff for the university—professors, staff, and their families,” says Sasha Aber, owner of Home Grown Café and a veteran of F&B. “During the summer, those patrons go their own way, and the locals begin to emerge in droves. It’s great to see people running into old friends and making new acquaintances in the heart of our town.”

F&B was one of the first craft beer events in Delaware. Fourteen years later, it has grown into one of Newark’s most anticipated summer festivals. “Food and Brew highlights the best of downtown Newark,” says Megan McNerney, Community Affairs officer for the city.

This year, 18 establishments along Main Street will participate. Each will be paired with featured beers from a selected brewery. Some of the breweries include Lagunitas, Brooklyn Brewing Co., Victory, Dogfish Head and more. To make the most of the $1-$2 beer samples, available at each establishment, the first 2,000 visitors to this year’s F&B will receive a commemorative five-ounce tasting mug.

Participating restaurants will serve tapas styled bites to go with the brews. “The restaurants are pairing specialty plates with beers to give customers a unique experience,” says McNerney.
Old Favorites, such as Catherine Rooney’s, Home Grown Café and The Deer Park Tavern, will also offer tasty plates. Some establishments, such as Café Gelato, have full entrée deals and larger beer samples for the attendees.

F&B is a pay-as-you-go festival. Attendees can stop at as many of the participating establishments as they wish and get their fill, while enjoying the town and a night out in their community. The pay-as-you-go aspect allows them to participate without breaking the bank—or expanding the waistline.
For more information and the full list of participating restaurants and featured breweries, visit newarkfoodandbrewfest.com.

Summer Suds Worth Sipping

A few brews we think you may enjoy

Magic Hat, Bob’s 1st Ale
For crisp, cool summer nights, fruity or wheat beers just don’t seem right. On the other hand, Bob’s 1st Ale presents an interesting alternative: smooth and light but complex, sweet and malty but with some citrusy undertones. As many older drinkers can remember, Magic Hat was one of the original craft breweries on the East Coast. This beer—the first one the brewery created—seems to signal a return to the inventiveness and overall quality of years past. Look for this brewer to revive other classics this year.
Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Epic Brewing, Brainless on Peaches
Over a recent weekend, I enjoyed a new selection from a brewer I had not tried previously: Brainless on Peaches. Epic Brewing Co. out of Salt Lake City produces a fine Belgian-style ale. This beer, a spinoff of one of the company’s decorated recipes, brings a fruitier and wine-like taste to its Belgian staple. I found my bottle at State Line Liquors in Elkton, Md.
— Ryan Alexander, Contributing Designer

Two Roads, Two Juicy New England-style Double IPA
Doesn’t finish as clean as Vermont’s famed Heady Topper, but this New England-style double IPA is a must-try. Great citrus aroma with hints of grapefruit and tangerine. Its 8.2 ABV gets your attention quickly, but that’s standard for this craft category. So mow the grass before—not after—you have one.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

New Belgium, Citradelic Tangerine IPA
Citradelic starts out sweet, but mellows out into a well-balanced, medium body IPA. The clean, crisp taste from the citrus and tropical fruit (pineapple) marries perfectly with the outrageous blend of 10 different hops. Available in bottles and cans for easy portability, Citradelic is also available in Exotic Lime, featuring Persian limes, coriander and black pepper.
— Leeann Wallett, Contributing Writer

Dogfish Head, SeaQuench Ale
I discovered SeaQuench style of beer at Dogfish’s Analog-A-Go-Go Music Fest last year. Low ABV, strong flavor and a good, cool face-pucker give this sour gose high marks as a summer refresher. Happy it’s not so hard to find these days.
Joe del Tufo, Contributing Photographer

Mispillion River, Reach Around IPA
This American IPA is available all year, but I like it best during the summer months. Mild for an IPA, this light-flavored, dry, hoppy brew is perfect for day-sipping under the sun.
Matt Loeb, Creative Director

Austin Eastciders, Pineapple Cider
Since beer doesn’t exactly sit with my system so well, I’m going to suggest Austin Eastciders Pineapple Cider, which has slowly started making its way onto the cider scene across the country. I first fell for the Pineapple, but really like the Texas Honey too. Definitely worth trying if you’re into ciders.
— Jim Coarse, Contributing Photographer

Founders, All-Day IPA
It’s summer. It’s hot. But you still want all the hop flavor and aroma you’ve come to enjoy from an IPA, without all that alcohol content that makes you dizzy in the heat. My choice is Founder’s All-Day IPA. You’ll get great floral and citrus hop flavor, but in a session format, so you can go the distance at just 4.7 percent ABV per can. If you’re looking for a full-flavored but low-booze IPA, you just “found” one.
— Rob Kalesse, Contributing Writer

Twin Lakes, Caesar Rodney Golden Ale
I had the opportunity to try this beer at Old New Castle’s Separation Day kick-off party, and I was so impressed that I drank it all night. A nice malty backbone, nice citrusy hop character, and a light color and texture kept me going back for more. Hopefully, this ends up in cans so we can take them to the beach.
— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer

Iron Hill, Gozer
Iron Hill is our go-to spot when the kiddoes are in tow. I was glad to see that they added a gose to the menu this summer. Gozer (named after the local band) is light-bodied and slightly sour with a bit of salt and coriander on the finish. At 4.2 percent ABV, it’s a great beer for a hot summer day.
— Marie Graham, Director of Digital Media

Victory, Prima Pils
This Victory Brewing Company German pilsner, at 5.3 percent ABV, is a summer quencher full of herbal bite and hoppy delight. Balanced nicely between sweet and bitter, it’s refreshing and light. Pair it with fun foods like pizza or barbeque fare and you’re good to go.
— Krista Connor, Associate Editor

Miller Lite with a half-teaspoon of Country Time Lemonade Mix
As we inexorably march toward the heat death of the universe, summers become increasingly unforgiving. A watery, low-gravity beer like Miller Lite is perfect for making sure one doesn’t pass out in the harsh sun and wake up, hungover, in the burn ward. But how does one make it easy on the palate? Country Time Lemonade Mix. For fans of Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, or a “Rattail” (from the German radler).
— David Hazardous, Special Projects

On a Lighter Note

A tilt toward lower ABV sessions leads craft beer trends in 2017

If you’re a craft beer drinker, you know the struggle.

You relish the slow-drinking delights of a hoppy India pale ale with a hearty meal or a few drinks with friends, then call it a night, relatively unfazed by the 6 percent (or higher) ABV.

Then comes the barbecue. Or the day at the beach. You’re in for the long haul, and an afternoon of those IPAs you normally savor is going to hit just a little too hard for you to head home under your own power. It’s one of those moments as a craft beer fan when you think to yourself, “It sure would be nice to have a crisp, refreshing pilsner that went down easy like the ones dad used to drink, but still had some craft beer personality.”

The good news is that craft brewers, who helped launch the IPA craze, feel the same way, says Mike Piorunsky, brewer for Evolution Craft Brewing Co. The Salisbury, Md., brewhouse has introduced Delmarva Pure Pils to its lineup to entice the more session-minded consumer looking for clean refreshment with the quality of a good craft brew.

“You definitely are looking for that drinkability factor,” says Piorunsky. “And with this beer, the intent was to make something that would have a lot of the traditional characteristics of the pilsner style.” While not as heavily hopped as many of the craft beers people are most familiar with, there’s still that touch—mostly aromatic—that says this was a purposefully crafted brew.

But it’s not just the drinker preferences that brewers are aiming to satisfy, says John Leyh, craft and specialty brand manager for NKS Distributors in Wilmington. It’s also about the bottom line.
“More people are drinking craft beer every day, but not as fast as there are new beers available to them,” he says. “These brewers have kind of gotten into a place where they’ll make a really good IPA, but [thanks to traditionally higher alcohol content] people can’t drink a lot of it.”

Those brewers are also looking at beer sales figures showing that nearly 80 percent of the beer sold in the United States still falls under the heading of German-style pilsners—the Budweisers and Michelobs that combine smooth drinking with a lower alcohol by volume. Not wanting to give up their growing market share to the big brewers of the world, craft brewers are getting the message and ramping up production of their own pilsners, blonde ales and golden lagers, Leyh says.

“It’s effectively the same style of beer as Budweiser, it just might have a little more of a hop character,” he says. “The brewers are offering what the consumer wants and hoping they’ll pay for something that’s a better beer. They like making really good beer, but they also like selling a lot of it.”

Selling more also means finding a niche that isn’t being filled by other brewers, Leyh says. Those pitching a new IPA to a bar that already has several on tap in that category won’t get a positive response, but offering something different like a flavorful golden ale or pilsner gives a brewer a better chance of getting that foot in the door. Often, the hope is that a good experience with a beer that has broad appeal might lead to a tavern owner trying another beer from that brewer.

“This is kind of a course correction because it allows the craft brewing community to service more customers,” says Leyh.

Evolution’s Piorunsky concurs.

“When we put this beer together, we did it with the thought that it’s going to be approachable to everyday beer drinkers in the market and flavorful enough to capture the palate of someone who would normally buy an IPA,” he says.

Golden Delicious

Here are a few of the latest crop of golden brews sure to make your summer sipping more refreshing:

Fordham Gypsy Lager – Particularly here in the Northeast, saying “lager” denotes a specific brand that often is not up to snuff for many craft beer drinkers. What Fordham has done is take the traditional Munich-style Helles lager, with its distinctive Munich and Vienna malts, and created a honey-tinged sweetness that contrasts the hoppy bitterness. Clean and crisp, this brew checks in with a 5 percent ABV that won’t overwhelm your afternoon by the pool.

Firestone Walker Pivo Pilsner – As with any good pilsner, Pivo starts with the classic styles of Europe – in this case the Czech Republic, Italy and Germany. But the folks at Firestone have put a decidedly American spin on the Old-World flavors by adding hops at the end of the brewing process, thus delivering the aromatic floral notes of the hops without the bitterness.

Kona Big Wave Golden Ale – Hawaii wouldn’t seem to be a hotbed of heavy IPA brews, but the folks at Kona do offer their own spin on the venerable ale. This golden ale pairs a light body with floral hoppiness for easy-drinking refreshment that complements seafood, pasta dishes and poultry.
Goose Island Four Star Pils – Another take on the traditional pilsner, this one emerged, according to Goose Island lore, from its employees’ interest in brewing a beer “they could enjoy at the end of their shift.” Brewed with a blend of American and German hops and with an easy-drinking 5.1 percent ABV, this is a flavorful pick for your enjoyment after work and over the weekend.

A pair of 'juicy" IPAs.
A pair of ‘juicy” IPAs.

Give It Some Juice

Not all refreshment this summer will be had at the hands of a pilsner or golden ale, however. The venerable IPA has gotten a boost of summertime sparkle from the increasingly popular addition of fruitier hops varieties, resulting in a flavor that’s come to be described as “juicy.”

While not involving actual juices, these (often double) IPAs possess a flavor and aroma that departs from the usual piney overtones of traditional hops and comes off as more fruity or citrusy. Think pineapple or passionfruit rather than the floral notes that often accompany a traditional IPA.

But even though these newer arrivals might make it seem like juice is the hot new thing, using actual juices and fruit sodas in beers has been around for a while. Shandies—essentially a lager spiked with lemon soda—have been slow to catch on with the craft beer crowd because they go against much of what they strive for in the way of complex flavors and high alcohol content. But as warm weather is upon us and every bit of refreshment is appreciated, it’s worth noting that summer brings more of these juice-infused delights than any other time of year, and that some craft brewers are warming up to the idea of cooling off with some juicy creations of their own.

The Crowler

One of the pervasive challenges of loving your local brewpub has been enjoying their beers at home. Not long ago, the only option a devoted fan had was to purchase a “growler”—essentially a jug—from said brewpub and pay to have it filled. But as handy as growlers are for beer you plan to drink quickly, they’re not great at keeping beer fresh for longer than a few days.

And those craft brewers that focus more on bottled beers than on-site brewpub consumption have their own portability problems. What to do if you’re inclined to carry your favorite craft brew to an event that limits or prohibits glass containers?

The solution: The “crowler,” essentially a canned, sealed version of the growler that saves brewpub proprietors the hassle of dealing with customers who return unwashed growlers and likewise sparing customers the aggravation of beer that skunks after a few days in the fridge.

Still more convenient: Regular old cans that you can grab at your favorite retailer. Downingtown, Pa.’s Victory Brewing is offering a limited edition seasonal 12-can variety pack through August that includes four summer seasonals: Summer Love, Vital IPA, Hop Devil IPA and Prima Pils. Meanwhile, local brewpub chain Iron Hill has begun offering canned versions of its most popular brews, including Vienna Red Lager; Mahalo, Apollo!, and Rising Sun IPA.

Summer Happy Hour at Delaware Art Museum

Every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. until Sept. 14, the Delaware Art Museum will host an evening happy hour on the Museum’s back terrace or in the Thronson Café (weather permitting). Food and drink options will be provided by Toscana. Guests are encouraged to tour the museum’s many exhibits before or after the happy hour or enjoy live music provided by local musician Seth Tillman on July 6 and 13. On July 27, the museum will have a Happy Hour Game Night with a variety of outdoor games, including cornhole and Jenga. The DAM is located at 2301 Kentmere Parkway in Wilmington.

For more information on the Summer Happy Hours and upcoming events, check visit delart.org/programs-events/calendar/.

Cinema Six-Pack & A Shot

Six films that fool around with clocks and calendars

In celebration of the observance of Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, why not explore some cinematic time-traveling or time-twisting of your own? These movies will keep you preoccupied while we wait for spring.

Groundhog Day (1993)
This priceless romantic comedy is the perfect vehicle for the off-kilter persona of its star, Bill Murray. Murray plays Phil Connors, a jaded TV weatherman who gets mysteriously stuck in an ever-repeating day while covering the annual groundhog festivities in Punxsutawney, Pa. Phil (the guy, not the rodent) goes through a hilarious evolution of attitude and behavior toward the quaint townsfolk while also pursuing a liaison with his attractive but reserved producer (Andie McDowell).

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
You could almost characterize this military sci-fi thriller as Groundhog Day with warmongering aliens. Tom Cruise plays a glib public relations guy for the allied earth forces as they face a daunting off-planet enemy. He, too, gets stuck on the same repeating day as he tries to figure out how to be an actual soldier and perhaps even defeat this overwhelming alien force. Although Cruise is surprisingly effective in this role, the star of the film is a buff and battered Emily Blunt as our side’s genuine kick-ass hero.

About Time (2013)
From writer-director Richard Curtis, the feel-good tearjerker mind that brought us Love, Actually, comes this romantic dramedy. Domhnall Gleeson stars as a young man who discovers he has a genetic ability to travel in time, and he uses that skill to adjust some areas of his past that have been disappointments, specifically the lack of a girlfriend. But, in true movie fashion, time travel can have unintended consequences. Will all the mistakes get cleared up by the end credits? What do you think?

Midnight in Paris (2013)
Gil, a restless, nostalgic American writer (Owen Wilson), is discontented with the crass realities of modern life. While on vacation in Paris, he accidentally stumbles down a back street and into the city’s storied past. There, he meets such literary luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Scott Fitzgerald, and discovers, to his surprise, that his heroes are equally discontent with their era, which he has idealized. An amusing yet poignant critique of misplaced romanticism about eras gone by.

Back to the Future II (1989)
Although it lacks some of the genuine surprise of the first installment, this sequel is certainly more inventive in its mash-ups of 1985, 2015 and 1955. When the future changes the present, Marty must go back to the past again to try to fix things while avoiding running into his former time-traveling self (trust me, it works better than it sounds). The movie integrates the dual storylines in a clever fashion, especially when you consider that it is all done without the benefit of modern CGI technology.

Interstellar (2014)
Set in a plausibly dystopian future, astronauts on a barren, decimated Earth must travel through a wormhole to seek other planets capable of sustaining human life. The time-bending aspect of this dense sci-fi film doesn’t emerge until late, but it adds a metaphysical frisson to what could otherwise have been a rather straightforward space saga. Interstellar has a lot, maybe even too much, on its mind, but in the deft hands of director-co-writer Christopher Nolan, the movie is more thought-provoking than it is pretentious.

And a shot…coming to Theatre N in February.

Sing Street (2016) Screening Feb. 24-26
Conor, a sensitive, lovelorn teenager in 1980s Dublin, decides the best way to capture the attention and, better yet, the heart of a mysterious girl is to start a band. Writer-director John Carney has demonstrated an affinity for stories of aspiring musicians; his previous features include Begin Again and Once. In this outing, he has the immeasurable help of his appealing young lead, Ferdia Walso-Peelo, supported by Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy and a smashing ‘80s soundtrack featuring The Cure, Duran Duran, A-Ha and Spandau Ballet. For a full Theatre N schedule and more information, go to theatren.com.

All In the Timing

Davey Dickens Jr. picked up a guitar six years ago. Next month, his band releases its debut album.

It’s funny how much difference five years can make in a person’s life.

Take local country musician Davey Dickens Jr. for instance. It wasn’t until 2011, when Dickens was 32 years old, that he started playing guitar. Yet, just five years later, in March 2016, he found himself in one of Wilmington’s most esteemed recording studios, performing and recording his songs with some of the area’s most seasoned musicians—members of the then newly formed Davey Dickens Jr. and the Troubadours.

“I’d never stepped foot in a studio, ever,” Dickens says, his voice betraying amazement at where he is today: His band releases its debut self-titled album on Feb. 16 at World Cafe Live at The Queen.

The album features eight songs penned by Dickens and touches on life’s challenges as well as some of its joys. Montana Wildaxe co-founder and guitarist Kurt Houff encouraged the project early on.

“Kurt and I got to be pretty good buddies,” Dickens says. “He started coming up to the house, and we did a couple of song-writing sessions. [Then] we started playing out a lot as The Troubadours.”

The Troubadours came to include a former bandmate of Dickens, Dave Van Allen, on pedal steel, along with Houff’s fellow Montana Wildaxe bassist Tony Cappella and former Caulfields drummer Ritchie Rubini, who did double-duty as producer during the band’s sessions at Studio 825 last year.
“I’m so blessed to have such a force,” says Dickens.

For Dickens, those blessings included attracting the interest of Johnny Neel, famed keyboardist most known for his time with The Allman Brothers. After getting a copy of Dickens’ material, the Wilmington-born Neel agreed to return to his native state to play on the album.

While Dickens is somewhat amazed at the band’s success, he isn’t resting on his laurels. “We’ve got a lot more material,” he says.

Davey Dickens Jr. and the Troubadours play Upstairs at World Cafe Live at The Queen on Feb. 16. Advance tickets are $10 and include a copy of the new album plus a band t-shirt. More details at worldcafelive.com.

Tuned In

Not-to-be-missed music news

Classical Guitar Performance by Duo 220 Set for Feb. 25

Hailed for their technique and musicianship, classical guitarists Adam Larison and Andrew Stroud of Duo 220 have established a firm position in a newly emerging generation of guitar ensembles.

The Wilmington Classical Guitar Society is hosting a performance by the duo at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant (503 Duncan Rd., Wilmington) on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m.

Duo 220 strives to create programs that are new, fresh and accessible through a mixture of both standards and lesser-known works in the guitar duo. Admission is $10 for students, seniors and WCGS members and $15 for general admission, available at the door or online at wilmingtonguitar.org.

Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles

Join an intimate evening performance with Cory Henry and his band, The Funk Apostles, on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Clifford Brown Performance Center. Henry is a 29-year-old Brooklyn-born songwriter, organist, pianist and music producer well-versed in jazz, gospel and funk. He has toured with Bruce Springsteen, Michael McDonald, P. Diddy, Boyz II Men, Israel Houghton, Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin and has released two albums, First Steps (2014) and The Revival (2016).

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins promptly at 7:30. Early bird tickets are $20 through Feb. 5 and $30 after. Tickets are available at ccacde.org.

The Arts at Trinity

On Saturday, Feb. 18, at Trinity Episcopal Church (1108 N. Adams St., Wilmington), The Arts at Trinity presents a performance by the Mid-Atlantic Chamber Music Society as part of its 2016-2017 music series. Admission is free. Donations are accepted. The performance is at 7:30 p.m.

Open Mic Night

The Music School of Delaware hosts a bi-monthly open mic night on the second Thursday of every other month, beginning in February. On Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wilmington branch – 4104 Washington St.—the event will include professional-grade equipment for artists: drum set, grand piano, electric piano/synth, guitar/bass amplification available upon request, microphones, PA system and monitors. A complimentary recording of the performance is available to all participants as well as an after party. The event is free.

Thrones in the Round in Philly

The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience is coming to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Sunday, Feb. 26. It will mark the first time an orchestral concert like this will be performed in the round.
The performance is expected to be massive in terms of sound, size, and visuals, sure to mirror the Emmy-winning show’s stature. Innovative music tour production and video technology will take the audience through the seven kingdoms of the Game of Thrones universe.

The Travel Songs Foundation

Delaware band and creative organization Travel Songs recently established a nonprofit, The Travel Songs Foundation, and launched its first project: preserving instrument-making in Peru’s Andean region.

In 2013, the band—now foundation—broadened perspectives with a successful Kickstarter campaign that funded the group’s first award-winning documentary, Travel Songs: Peru.

Now, the Travel Songs Foundation takes things a step further, and is chartered under the Delaware Community Foundation with the mission to connect cultures through music. Funded by grants and tax-deductible donations from its supporters, the foundation fulfills its mission by producing documentaries and other multimedia about music and culture from around the world. Paired with each film project, the foundation identifies a critical need in a host country’s local music or culture and launches a charitable initiative.

The first initiative for the foundation launched mid-January in Cusco, Peru, and is called The Sabino Luthier School. While filming in Cusco in 2013, the team met and interviewed a Peruvian instrument maker named Sabino Huaman, who expressed a fear that his trade, which had been passed from generation to generation within his family for more than 100 years, would soon disappear.

In launching The Sabino Luthier School, the foundation hopes to help preserve this local art. By the end of this year-long intensive training course, students at the school will possess the general skills to be able to construct traditional Andean instruments, and will have the training to pursue building or repairing string instruments as a profession.

The project covers full day courses every Saturday in 2017, all travel and lodging for the students, a course instructor wage for Huaman, as well as the cost of all tools and materials. The Travel Songs Foundation will also provide equipment and training to a local videographer (Huaman’s son) to document the students’ progress throughout the year.

For updates, visit travelsongs.org.

melomanie-group-2015Mélomanie February Series

Mélomanie will present provocative pairings of early and contemporary works in innovative chamber music on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 4 p.m. at CAMP Rehoboth (37 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach) and on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. at The Delaware Contemporary (200 S. Madison St., Wilmington). Parking is free onsite and a reception follows the performance. These concerts feature the premier of “Just a Regular Child” by Delaware composer David Schelat and collaborations with two guest artists, violinist Daniela Pierson and cellist Todd Thiel. The repertoire also includes works by Couperin, Guignon, Bartók and Corelli.

General tickets are $25, and $15 for students ages 16 and older. For children through age 15 admission is free.

Purchase tickets online at melomanie.org, at the door, or at 764-6338.