Carrboro Commons

Carrboro helps provide Easter fun for everyone

Posted on April 14th, 2011 in Events by jock

By Megan Walker

Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Duncan, a Shady Lawn resident, hunts for eggs with the help of Residential Services Inc. worker Tonia Davis. (Staff photo by Megan Walker)

Remember being divided up into teams during physical education class and hoping you would be one of the first teammates picked? Well, the Carrboro Parks and Recreation Department is trying to make everyone feel like a first-pick this Easter.  In addition to the traditional Easter egg hunt this coming weekend, the department hosted an Easter egg hunt for children with disabilities on Saturday, April 9.

For the past two years, the department has held two egg hunts; the first egg hunt this spring was planned for people with mental and physical disabilities.  Dana Hughes, the department’s recreation supervisor and event planner, said it was important to have this event.

“It gives people with disabilities the chance to do something special this time of year,” she said.

The event took place on the basketball courts at Hank Anderson Park in order to be wheelchair accessible, and department workers placed eggs throughout the court and on the hay bales.

“Last year, we didn’t actually have anyone show up, so this year we tried to promote it a little more hoping that more people will come,” Hughes said.

Around 15 people attended this year’s egg hunt; participants included Melanie Edwards, Elizabeth Fouts and their daughter, Natalia Fouts.

Elizabeth Fouts and her daughter, Natalia, run around the basketball courts after hunting for eggs earlier in the morning. (Staff photo by Megan Walker)

“Natalia has special needs, and with regular egg hunts she’s not really able to participate,” Edwards said. “The ones for kids with special needs are a lot easier for her to do.”

Hughes said some of the preparations that had been made included hay bales of different heights to accommodate wheelchair-users and beeping eggs for those with visual impairments. If needed, volunteers could also accompany participants with mental disabilities.

“When we have tried to participate in regular ones [egg hunts], she has a hard time even getting any eggs with kids her age,” Edwards said. “Here, she’s able to get all the eggs she wants. It’s great.”

A group of disabled residents from Chapel Hill, accompanied by Residential Services, Inc. workers, also came.  Residential Services is non-profit organization that works with and supports those with developmental disabilities.

“It’s great that we can just come out and have something to do for the day,” said Barnell Boles, a Residential Services employee at the egg hunt. “We like everything that the Parks and Rec Department allows us to do.  It allows us to have fun with [those who have] special needs.”

Craig, a Shady Lawn resident, gives Elizabeth Fouts a surprise hug at the end of the Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 9. (Staff photo by Megan Walker)

Boles said he thought the egg hunt was well designed for people with disabilities.

While planning the hunt, Hughes said she tried to anticipate the needs of those with disabilities.

“They can do both egg hunts,” Hughes said. “We just wanted to have this one in case they didn’t want to go out with so many people or couldn’t go on the ball field.”

Tonia Davis from Residential Services accompanied one participant, Duncan, around the egg hunt.

“We had a good time at the egg hunt, even though it was a little cold,” she said.

Hughes said she was glad so many came out despite the cold and rainy weather on Saturday. She said the Parks and Recreation Department plans to continue to host this egg hunt if people continue to attend.

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Carrboro fiesta combines music, cultural awareness

By Alex Linder

Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Carrboro was host to the sounds of shaking beads, strumming guitars and Spanish sing-along. These are the sounds of the fiesta, and they are becoming more and more common.

“I definitely think that traditional Mexican music has a role to play in the future,” said Juan Díes, 48, producer and member of the Sones de México Ensemble, a Chicago-based traditional Mexican musical group that visited Carrboro. “It’s going to have a larger and larger role considering how the Mexican and Latino populations have been growing.”

The Sones de México Ensemble plays Mexican music of different styles including songs more than 300 years old based on Aztec myths. (Staff photo by Alex Linder)

Sones de México specializes in various styles of son, Mexican folk music, and spent April 7th-9th working with local schoolchildren in Orange, Durham and Chatham counties. They performed their show, titled Fiesta Mexicana, at the Carrboro ArtsCenter.

Thanks to a downtown scattered with advertisements written in both Spanish and English alongside taco trucks, Hispanics have become a larger and more visible part of the Carrboro community. This is reflected in the numbers.

According to the 2010 Census, there are 2,706 people of Hispanic or Latino origin living in Carrboro. This makes up 13.8 percent of the population, the highest percentage in Orange County.

According to the Town of Carrboro website, this marks a significant increase from only a few decades ago. In 2000, the Hispanic or Latino population was 2,062. In 1990, it was only 199. That is a 1,260 percent increase over 20 years.

Díes said that the rapid growth of Hispanic populations, like in Carrboro, has created some problems. He said that many Latino children grow up ignorant of their cultural history.

“Some kids of Mexican ancestry aren’t taught about where they came from,” he said. “I think that’s where Fiesta Mexicana fills a huge gap, in teaching them about their culture and their traditions.”

The performance by Sones de México combined traditional Mexican music with dance and history creating the jubilant atmosphere of a fiesta. Songs varied from those inspired by Aztec myths to the rock and roll song “La Bamba,” as well as its inspiration. Songs were bookended by historical and cultural lessons about traditional instruments, words and gods.

The performers encouraged the audience to participate, even getting kids onstage to learn Mexican dances.

“I was really amazed by how educational it was,” said Gabrielle Ruth, 37, of Carrboro, who brought her two children to see the group. “My kids were very into it, one even won’t stop repeating the words that he learned.”

With the help of band member Lorena Iñiguez, kids from the audience are invited onstage to learn a traditional Mexican dance. (Staff photo by Alex Linder)

The music featured in Fiesta Mexicana comes from regions across Mexico. To play all these different styles, the six members of the group play 70 different acoustic instruments.

These include traditional instruments like guitars, fiddles and drums, but also include less typical instruments made from armadillo shells, donkey skulls and conch shells.

“Whenever I think of Mexican music, I typically think of mariachi with maracas,” said Amy Hogan, 35, a librarian from Carrboro who brought her daughter Ann. “This band went way beyond that with a bunch of instruments I’ve never even seen. It was nice to learn about them.”

Díes said that Sones de México is very dedicated to teaching. During their visit, they held workshops at local schools and played for more than 500 kids at the ArtsCenter.

Victor Pichardo, 44, the director of the ensemble, said that he came up with the idea of Fiesta Mexicana not only to teach Latino children about their Mexican heritage, but to teach those around as well.

“I think it’s good for children who are growing up beside Mexican kids and want to learn about it,” he said. “Kids are becoming more and more exposed to different cultures, and it’s not as foreign as it used to be.”

The songs and lessons of Fiesta Mexicana are taken from a double album released last April called Fiesta Mexicana: Mexican Songs and Stories for Niños and Niñas and their Papás and Mamás. The album includes two discs, one in English and the other in Spanish.

The Sones de México Ensemble began touring Chicago schools in 1994 and since has toured throughout the country. They were nominated for a Grammy in 2007 with their album “Esta Tierra Es Tuya” (This Land is Your Land). The album includes covers of not only the Woody Guthrie classic, but also Led Zeppelin’s “Four Sticks” and J.S. Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2 & 3.”

“A couple of years ago we did some songs to integrate in with American culture,” Pichardo said. “Pretty soon American culture is going to have mix with us.”

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Enough to feed a town

Posted on April 14th, 2011 in Environment,Events,Food,Lifestyles by jock

By Louie Horvath

Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Above the buzz of the crowd, local area groups performed as part of Carrboro’s 14th annual Community Dinner at McDougle School’s Cafetorium on April 10.

The event’s slogan is, “sit down with a stranger, leave with a friend,” and it seemed that all of the participants took that mantra to heart, rarely ceasing the chatter for more than a couple of seconds at a time.

Orange County Jammers Senior Cheerleader Clem Self serves desserts at Community Dinner on Sunday afternoon. (Staff photo by Allison Russell.)

“Half the world might reach for the other half and hold tight to a new friend who now can save them,” Jay Bryan, Carrboro’s poet laureate, said while reading a poem he penned for the occasion.

“Saying one to another, ‘I am looking after you. Your comfort comes before mine.’ It is happening today at Carrboro’s Community Dinner. Why not everywhere?”

The dinner had many food options, ranging from fried chicken to pasta, with fixins and desserts aplenty. The cook was Chapel Hill’s renowned cook Mildred Council — or as she’s more famously known in her books and in the name of her eponymous restaurant — Mama Dip.

Food was served on a slightly different plate than what Council usually dishes out at her famous restaurant on Rosemary Street. Both the plates and the utensils were made of 95 percent compostable and recyclable materials, as Muriel Williman of Orange County Solid Waste Management said.

“I hope you are enjoying your meal, and you might have noticed they are on paper plates,” Williman said to the crowd. “What you may not know is that the plates were made from potatoes. The silverware is made from corn.”

Williman went on to say all of the plates and utensils put in the compost would be sent to a composting facility that can break down the materials and one day use them again.

Along with food from Mama Dips, the event had food from the Carolina Inn and Bandido’s Mexican Café. Several local churches and restaurants offered side dishes and desserts to supplement the main course.

All that added up to an event that was not only healthy for the attendants of the dinner, but also healthy for the rest of the community.

“It is wonderful to see sitting here different ages, different cultures, different genders, different ethnicities, different colors, everything, all here together in one room enjoying a meal,” event emcee and WCHL radio host Ron Stutts said. “It is just something that is really meaningful that we can all come here and share this together.”

Tickets for the event cost $8 for adults and $3 for kids. Donations were also accepted, as a $22 donation would feed a family of four.

The festivities were highlighted by performances by KidZNotes, an East Durham program focused on teaching small children to play musical instruments, and Puzzle 44, a local middle school a cappella group.

A local Brazilian Capoeira group wrapped up the event with their intricate steps captivating the Carrboro crowd.

“Me and my girlfriend just heard about this from a friend, and we decided it was something we wanted to do,” event volunteer Alex Gillon said. “It is a really good idea.”

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Capoeira workshop brings dance, culture to Carrboro

Posted on March 24th, 2011 in A&E,Events,Uncategorized by jock

By Alex Linder
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

In Portuguese, bencao means “blessing.” In capoeira, a Brazilian art form that is often called dance fighting, bencao means “a front kick.”

In Carrboro from March 18 to 20, numerous bencaos of both definitions were given out in a workshop directed by The American Society of Capoeira and Arts from Brazil (ASCAB).

Mestre Doutor and Molly Hayes play in the roda while other members chant and play instruments. (Staff photo by Alex Linder)

“The whole weekend is just such an experience for everyone involved,” said Chris Geddings, 36, a systems administrator at Duke University from Durham, who is also the Carrboro capoeira instructor using the name Cebola. “It’s a lot of hard work, but in the in end it really brings everybody together.”

Carrboro may seem like an unusual place for a capoeira meeting, but the art form has been gaining popularity throughout the East Coast. There are other North Carolina-based capoeira groups in Boone and Charlotte.

The workshop, featuring ASCAB members from across North Carolina, was under the direction of Mestre Doutor, a master of capoeira and the founder and artistic director of the ASCAB based in Philadelphia.

Geddings explained that capoeira involves much more than just dance moves by incorporating elements of history, sports, acrobatics, music and philosophy.

He said that capoeira originated in Brazil more than 400 years ago, when slaves began disguising their self-defense training with dance. The name comes from the Portuguese word for “brush covered field,” which was where the Portuguese first saw slaves practicing the martial art.

While the culture and history of capoeira have been preserved, its meaning and practice have shifted through the centuries. Saturday’s performance, the highlight of the weekend’s training sessions, found the brush fields of Brazil replaced by the wooden floor of the Carrboro Century Center.

A capoeira performance is called a roda. In a roda, members gather in a circle. Two members meet in the center of the circle, crouch down and shake hands. Geddings said that what follows is something between sparring and dancing that is best described as play.

The players flip and dive to avoid each other’s kicks. Sometimes the tempo of the match is sped up, while other times it appears as though they are moving in slow motion.

“The rodas are what it is all about for us,” said Geddings. “Playing is serious, but also just awesome.”

The other 25 members who formed the circle played and chanted music. The music consisted of the twanging of traditional berimbaus, the rhythmic beating of drums and the jangling of tambourines. The songs were traditional Brazilian call-and-response songs or chants.

Geddings said the music is supposed to follow the action and rhythm of the players in the center. The chants can be directed at the players themselves and are often teasing.

“Most of it is just mocking each other, but in a good-natured way,” Geddings said.

For instance, during one bout Doutor tripped an unwitting student, which drew a taunting reaction from the chanters.

Apart from the ridicule, the students said they found themselves attracted to capoeira for a wide variety of reasons.

Geddings started practicing capoeira in 2002 and said that it is a great exercise and stress reliever.

Capoeira is a part mix of gymnastics as shown by Cebola (left), who you wouldn’t know suffers from a bad back. (Staff photo by Alex Linder)

Geddings suffered from a herniated disc less than a year ago. He said that even now it can be very painful, but practicing capoeira has helped ease that pain.

“If someone sees the kind of stuff I’m doing out there, I bet they wouldn’t think I would be someone with back problems,” he said.

Other members said that the were attracted to the different features of capoeira that have made it more than just an exercise, but a cultural experience.

Molly Hayes, 33,  a therapist from Chapel Hill, used to take classes in Portuguese. She said she saw capoeira as a way of keeping up with the language and also its history.

“It’s a really excellent activity,” she said. “There are so many different aspects of capoeira.”

Gabrielle Motta-Passajon, a Brazilian native, instructs the capoeira group in Boone and is another student of Doutor. She too was drawn to capoeira because of the musicality of it, but she ended up staying because of the multiple layers that make up the art.

“Art, philosophy, history, life lessons — these are all part of what you can learn when practicing capoeira,” she said. “Once you’ve practiced capoeira for 30 years, you become a wise person.”

Doutor believes a great sense of community is one of the best features of capoeira. There is no higher rank he can achieve in the art. Instead, he has devoted himself to teaching young people why he loves capoeira.

He said he has watched the Carrboro group as it has grown steadily and is very proud of what they are doing.

“It’s such a nice, tight-knit group,” he said. “And it should only get stronger.”

ASCAB Capoeira has all level classes on Sundays and Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Balanced Movement Studio. Beginner classes are on Sundays from 5:30 to 6:30.

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Puppet show plays with imagination

Posted on March 3rd, 2011 in Carrboro children,Events by jock

By Alex Linder

Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

When most people think of a puppet show they imagine “The Muppets,” or marionettes, small puppets controlled by the hand. In Carrboro, people enjoy puppet shows in the form of giant puppets, papier-mache creatures, engaging masks and shadow plays.

Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a group of artists, actors and musicians based in Saxapahaw, a town near Burlington, has carved out their unique vision in the community. Their most recent production, “The Big Tent Cabaret Road Show,” opened in the Carrboro ArtsCenter last weekend.

Donovan Zimmerman, the co-founder of Paperhand Puppet Intervention pumps the crowd up before the Big Tent Cabaret Road Show. (Staff photo by Alex Linder)

“What I expected I was going to see was something very different from what I got,” said Amy Collins, 36, of Carrboro, after seeing her first Paperhand performance. “I was really shocked by the size and creativity of their puppets. It was the furthest thing from people just talking with their hands.”

The first part of the show consists of seven vignettes, or short scenes. Donovan Zimmerman, 40, the co-director of the show and co-founder of Paperhand Puppet Intervention, said that the different pieces cover a range of human emotions.

“The production is a collection of really fun vignettes that range from really silly, to touching and sweet, to somewhat exciting and crazy,” said Zimmerman, who plays many of the characters in the performance.

The show felt familiar to many in the audience who had seen a Paperhand production before since it included some favorite puppets from past performances.

“When my daughter saw the frog puppet she let out a little yelp of glee,” said Beth Dunlap, 42, of Carrboro, who has taken her daughter, Samantha, to see Paperhand shows five times. “She really gets a kick out of him.”

Daniel Woodard, 40, said that he has taken his children to the Paperhand performance in the Forest Theatre every fall for the past three years. This was the first time he had seen Paperhand at the less spacious ArtsCenter.

In the front row, Martin Gonzalez, 10, and Alex Stewart, 9, are amazed by a giant puppet. (Staff photo by Alex Linder)

“It was quite different; the performers were closer and it felt a bit more intimate,” he said. “Still, they opened it up by taking the puppets into the audience, which is always such a real treat for the kids.”

Zimmerman said that he really tries to get the crowd involved with the performance.

“It’s really all about that connection with the audience,” he said. “I think that’s why people love our work and come back in big numbers, especially because they feel they are a part of it in some way.”

Zimmerman said that there is also a part of Paperhand that is constantly pushing and looking for new, interesting ways to entertain the audience and produce emotion. The show’s second half, “Lumanity,” exhibited this effort.

An experiment with light and dance, the performance takes place in the dark. The performers wear suits with stick figures of light that appear to be floating off the ground.

“The performance begins with a cell and out of that comes the different characters,” Zimmerman said. “It unfolds from there and gets funky when we bring in the drums.”

Woodard said that both the adults and children came away very impressed. “I thought it was amazing,” he said. “I rarely see Jordan sit so long without moving, so I know that he was just as stunned as I was.”

“The Big Tent Cabaret Roadshow” continues through March 6. Show times are available on the ArtsCenter website.

“We are so lucky that Paperhand calls Carrboro one of their homes,” Dunlap said. “They are a real gem and a Triangle secret.”

Zero to showtime in 48 hours

Posted on February 17th, 2011 in Events,School news,Uncategorized by jock

By Alex Linder
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

“If you want sense, you’ll have to make it yourself.”

Actors, (L-R) Wilmarie Cintron-Muniz, Eliza Filene, Alexandra Willcox and Hannah Lewis Marlow, rehearse their lines just hours before show time. Staff Photo by Alex Linder

This quote from a children’s book began and defined one strange weekend in February for a group of zany and determined teenagers. They fought against time to write, produce and act out their own play – all in only 48 hours.

Eliza Filene, a freshman at Carrboro High School, said the experience was overwhelming. “It’s much more intense than any school play I’ve done before,” she said.

Called the February 48, the event was created by One Song Productions, a theater group run entirely by high school students. Its seventh annual performance took place on Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Carrboro ArtsCenter. The performance consisted of five one-act plays, each put on by a group of two writers, a director, a stage manager and four actors.

At the beginning of the weekend, some of the participants had never met before, with One Song drawing its talent from three local high schools: East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill High School and Carrboro High School. But by the end of the weekend, students said they felt like they’d known one another for more than just 48 hours.

“One of the biggest problems was trying to function on a very small amount of sleep,” said Anders Dohlman, a senior at Carrboro High School and co-production manager of the February 48. “On average, for the past three nights I’ve had about four hours of sleep.”

Luckily, one of the sponsors of the event was the Open Eye Café in Carrboro. It gave out free coffee to the bleary-eyed teenagers.

“It’s been stressful, but I never expected that it wouldn’t be,” Dohlman said. “It’s always been a hectic weekend.”

While the participants said the experience was stressful, they prefer to call it intense and fun, especially compared to normal high school productions.

“In a way I think it’s more fun, because when plays are drawn out, you can get really stressed,” said Carson Ragland, a junior at Carrboro High School. “In 48 hours, all the stress is in like an hour; you have to dismiss it. It becomes all the fun parts of putting on a play.”

The experience began at 7 p.m. on Friday, when participants were divided into teams and the writers were given the prompts. The plays had to begin with the line, “If you want sense, you’ll have to make it yourself,” and end with, “What had started as make believe is now very real.”

Both quotes were taken from “The Phantom Tollbooth,” a children’s book that Dohlman discovered on his bookshelf and remembered enjoying as a kid.

After an intense weekend of writings and rehearsals participants of the February 48 are given a standing ovation at the Carrboro ArtsCenter. Staff Photo by Alex Linder

Equipped with these two lines, the writers went home and wrote as much as they could.

Sarah Jane Kerwin, a senior at Chapel Hill High School, has written, acted and directed for the February 48 and said the hardest job is writing a script. “It’s like you get these two lines, and you have to come up with something that everyone’s going to have to understand, follow and really enjoy,” she said. “It’s a lot of pressure and a lot of work.”

Dohlman said he is always impressed with the material that the writers come up with, and this year was no different. He said while they always have their share of teen dramas and comedies (they are a bunch of teenagers, after all), they also get stranger premises.

This year, one play was a dark comedy about God and the devil in disguise competing for one man’s soul. Another play was an absurd courtroom drama, where a girl’s crimes take on deeper meaning as the play progresses.

On Saturday, the writers gave their scripts to the directors, and the actors began to rehearse their plays. Then on Sunday, with less than seven hours before show time, everybody loaded into the ArtsCenter to add props, sounds and lights to the production.

The cast and crew of the farcical courtroom drama “The Whether Men” rehearsed the play in a cramped room upstairs. The play’s already difficult script was made more troublesome when one of the actors got sick Friday, an incident that could have derailed the play.

But stage manager, Hannah Lewis-Marlow, a sophomore at Carrboro High School, stepped in to save the play, despite having never acted before.

“I didn’t sign up to act, but it’s been a fun experience,” Lewis-Marlow said. “Definitely not something I expected.”

On Sunday night, more than 100 people filed into the ArtsCenter to watch the final product of the teenagers’ hard work.

All the plays went through without a hitch and earned a standing ovation.

“It’s what I like most about being a director,” Kerwin said. “You see the change from these people not knowing each other very well and getting these totally new scripts, and then becoming these characters on stage at the end of the night. It’s really exciting to see the whole process.”

In 48 hours, what had started as make believe had become very real.

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Diversity on display in first food truck showcase

Posted on November 10th, 2010 in Events,Food by jock

By Gloria Lloyd
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

The diversity of Carrboro’s mobile food scene was on display at the town’s first food truck showcase, held in the parking lot of Al’s Garage on the corner of Merritt Mill Road and Franklin Street on Saturday, Nov. 6.

Carrboro food truck showcase

Chapel Hill residents Giulia Pancani and Katie Schuler enjoy a picnic at Carrboro's first food truck showcase. (Staff photo by Gloria Lloyd)

The showcase featured three local food trucks from Carrboro:   Mexican taco truck Captain Poncho’s Tacos, organic smoothie and juice vendor Carrboro Raw, and Parlez-Vous Crepe, which offers a variety of French-inspired dinner and dessert crepes.

Captain Poncho’s Tacos owner Isabel Guzman organized the event, and selected the three trucks for the array of food they represented. By coincidence, all three food trucks Guzman invited to participate are owned by women.

“We’re really hoping to let people know that food trucks offer great food,” said Guzman. “It’s a great way to start a food business on a budget, a great way to open your own business.”

Despite the brisk fall weather, steady crowds arrived to sample food from the three parked trucks. Common seating areas nestled in the small space between the participating trucks encouraged the crowd to mingle.  Many diners in the all-ages crowd walked or biked to the event.

The array of foods was a hit with 8-year-old Jarrah Passanici, who walked to the event with his father from their house in Chapel Hill.  “I think it’s yummy,” Jarrah said, while enjoying a crepe and a cacao smoothie.

Nice Pulido, who mixed smoothies at the showcase from her food truck Carrboro Raw, said she felt the showcase was a new event that could “bring the community together in a fun way, with different cultures and different eating preferences.”

Parlez-Vous Crepe owner Jody Argote said she participated in the showcase to “educate about food trucks and develop a sense of community among food truck owners.”

Guzman said she was also hoping that the showcase would promote awareness of food trucks in the Triangle area, especially in Chapel Hill, which according to Argote is “known for not being food truck-friendly” due to an ongoing debate about regulations for food trucks.

The showcase took place steps from the border between Carrboro and Chapel Hill, in the usual Al’s Garage location of Captain Poncho’s Tacos. Both Guzman and Argote said they would “absolutely” park their trucks around Chapel Hill if the town became more amenable to the food truck scene.

Guzman pointed to the food truck scene in Durham as an example of food truck success in the Triangle that Chapel Hill could emulate.  Argote agreed: “Durham does a wonderful job of welcoming food truck owners, and we’d like to see that here, closer to home.”

At the showcase, Parlez-Vous Crepe featured its normal, rotating seasonal menu, complete with a featured Crepe of the Month. “I’m a gardener,” Argote explained, “so I look in my garden or think about what’s seasonal, while keeping in mind taste combinations and colors.”

Pulido said she brought “the favorites” to the showcase to exhibit the best of Carrboro Raw. Her best-selling product is the NunoNana, a “supersmoothie” with hemp milk, cacao and banana.  Many in the crowd milling among the three trucks at the event held green smoothies, which Pulido also pointed to as one of her top-sellers.

When the three food trucks are not at their regularly scheduled locations in Carrboro, they each cater special events and appear at private parties. All three entrepreneurs agreed that so far, their best marketing is through word of mouth from customers.

At a showcase of Carrboro’s food truck scene, an all-ages crowd sampled food from Captain Poncho’s Tacos, Carrboro Raw and Parlez-Vous Crepe. (Staff photo by Gloria Lloyd)

The Internet has also been helpful for promotion.  Argote uses her website, along with Twitter and a Facebook page, to promote her location, menu and appearances at special events.

Parlez-Vous Crepe makes regular appearances at Southern Village in Chapel Hill on Thursday evenings, as well as Johnny’s in Carrboro on Saturday mornings.  “We love Carrboro,” Argote said. “It’s funky!”

Pulido said she will continue to make appearances at special events, such as retreats, while Carrboro Raw is closed for the winter. Pulido might move her truck to a new location in the spring, due to scheduled construction on Weaver Street next to the smoothie truck’s usual location in downtown Carrboro across from Weaver Street Market.

Guzman said that Captain Poncho’s Tacos is always parked at Al’s Garage, but she also takes the taco truck to special events and birthday parties.  Guzman said that Captain Poncho’s differentiates itself from the many other taco trucks in Carrboro because while competitors pre-cook their food, all Captain Poncho’s ingredients are cooked on-site to order.

Captain Poncho’s Tacos

Always parked at Al’s Garage on Merritt Mill Road

Open Monday through Saturday in the evenings, opening 6 or 6:30 to 12 or 1 a.m. Mon-Wed, 3 or 4 a.m. Thursday-Saturday

Parlez-Vous Crepe

Parked at Southern Village Thursdays, 5-8 p.m.

Johnny’s on Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Carrboro Raw –

Only catering special events during the winter, will re-open in the spring

Carrboro Film Festival is bigger and better

Posted on November 10th, 2010 in A&E,Events by jock

By Meredith Sammons
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

The Carrboro Film Festival will celebrate its fifth annual collection of short films in Carrboro’s downtown Century  Center on Nov. 21, 2010.

Jackie Helvey and Nic Beery discuss the Nov. 21 Carrboro Film Festival in Century Hall in downtown Carrboro. All films will be projected on a 12.5 by 16 foot screen in the stage area. (Staff photo by Meredith Sammons)

In its fifth year, the festival serves as a platform for filmmakers to share their art with the town of Carrboro. Along with viewing films, attendees will be able to purchase refreshments and take part in question and answer sessions with filmmakers.

Co-founder of the Carrboro Film Festival and filmmaker Nic Beery emphasized the importance of making and celebrating short films. “What I really love to do equally to making films,” he said, “is promoting local talent and to shine as bright a spotlight on local films—to see what wonderful talent is out there made by local residents.” Beery added, “People in this community have really caught on to their craft. They are seeing others and going, ‘Wow, I can try this or that.’”

Five years ago Beery agreed to head-up the festival with Jackie Helvey, a member of the Town of Carrboro Arts Committee Advisory Board. It was Helvey who proposed the idea to the Town of Carrboro Arts Committee and said, “‘You know what you guys need? We need a film festival.’ Their faces lit up and they said, ‘Oh my god, that’s a great idea.’”

This year the festival has more momentum and bigger audiences. Beery said, “The support of Carrboro and the arts—it’s wonderful.” Beery also said this year has the “best group of films that I’ve ever seen.”

Putting it all together hasn’t been easy, according to Helvey and Beery. Both agreed that organizing the event has had its intricacies. “We happily do all the logistics,” Helvey said, “Logistics are hard to do, but ultimately it’s worth it.”

Helvey and Beery received numerous entries for this year’s festival. “We easily could’ve had two or three times more films,” Beery said.

Helvey and Beery screened each entry and judged which films best fit the 2010 festival. Helvey said when it comes to choosing films it is like solving a puzzle. “Every film has a redeeming value,” she said. “There are such good films and content of movies but we don’t want to have 400 animations. At the end of judging we look at the type—it’s like a little puzzle and this one fits better,” Helvey said.

“It’s like a museum. You have to curate how people see the films, almost like a rollercoaster,” Beery added.

This year 28 movies will be screened within three blocks of time between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Question and answer sessions along with breaks will follow each 75-80 minute block.

As for the quality of films submitted, Beery said it has never been better. “Technically and creatively the films this year have been better than before. There is more variety than before— there’s music videos, animations, comedies, dramas.”

The festival will take place in the Century Center’s Century Hall at 100 North Greensboro St. Admission is seven dollars for adults and three dollars for children 12 years of age and younger.

Orange County artists participate in 16th annual Open Studio Tour

Posted on October 19th, 2010 in Events,Lifestyles by jock

by Meredith Sammons

Mike Roig inspects a piece of work in his shop in Carrboro. Visitors will be able to see Roig’s workspace on the Open Studio Tour. (Staff photo by Meredith Sammons)

Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

For the 16th time since 1995, artists throughout Orange County are participating in the Orange County Open Studio Tour.

More than 80 artists from The Orange County Artist Guild will participate in the Open Studio Tour during the first two weekends in November (Nov. 6-7 and Nov. 13-14.  Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, and noon – 5 p.m., Sunday), when local artists will open their studios to visitors. The tour is the primary project of the Orange County Artist Guild, whose members have been organizing the event since its inception.

“The purpose is for people to come in and see where the artist works — to see their drawing board. You can go see art any time in a gallery, this is a chance to see how different artists create a space that they work in,” said sculptor Mike Roig of Carrboro.

Roig and his wife, author and illustrator Clay Carmichael, live in Carrboro and are members of the Orange County Artist Guild. They joined the guild in 2001 and said the guild brings artists together to learn from each other. “We all know each other. Artists come together because of the tour,” Carmichael said, “We’re developing relationships because of it.”

The Orange County Artist Guild is managed by its members, and its committees ensure the events run smoothly. Committees of guild members are responsible for exhibitions, applications, publicity, brochures, fundraising, jury, website and distribution. Roig and Carmichael are in charge of creating signs to publicize the tour event. This year the signs are bright yellow and participating artists will each have one.

Carrboro Music Festival caters to variety of musical tastes

Posted on October 6th, 2010 in A&E,Events by jock

By Mary Withers and Stephanie Bullins
Carrboro Commons Co-Editor and Staff Writer

The Mighty Gospel Inspirations, a traditional African-American a cappella gospel group, performs “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” at the Carrboro Century Center during the 2010 Carrboro Music Festival.

The Light Revolution performs “Across the Universe” at Open Eye Cafe during the 2010 Carrboro Music Festival.

Read the full story about the festival here.

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