Thursday, July 12, 2018

NCMA: You are Here exhibition

North Carolina Museum of Arts "You Are Here" exhibit is maybe the coolest thing I've seen there in years, and it's only around for another week or so, so you need to take the kids. This is truly one of the reasons I feel so lucky to live in the triangle. YOH is filled with immersive exhibits over a whole floor of NCMA, many centering around the topic of light. My kids and I went on the free weekend and really enjoyed ourselves, so it's definitely kid friendly with some interactive installations. Since it's almost over the museum will be especially crowded on weekends so I recommend going on a weeknight and allotting a good amount of time. You should also buy tickets ahead of time online here:
One of the installations in particular typically has a wait to visit since only a few people at a time can "witness" it so that part might be more challenging for younger visitors. Next weekend, the final weekend of You Are Here, the exhibition will be open extended hours, Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, from 10 am to 2 am with food and adult beverages for sale from 5 pm to 1:30 am. More on the exhibit from their website ( below:

"Become part of the art. You Are Here: Light, Color, and Sound Experiences, open April 7 through July 22, 2018.

You Are Here features immersive art installations by 15 contemporary artists, including large-scale light works, sound installations, video works, mixed-media room-size environments, and site-specific projects. Some are delightfully low-tech, transforming ordinary materials into awe-inspiring visuals, while others make use of experimental new media, fusing art and technology in interactive works that change in response to the viewer. The artists in this exhibition employ a diversity of media to create intriguing experiences that engage the senses, activate the imagination, and provide connections between the viewer and the work of art.

You Are Here presents pioneering video, light, and sound installations by Bill Viola, James Turrell, Janet Cardiff, Olafur Eliasson, and Ragnar Kjartansson. Works by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Jim Campbell, and Theo Eshetu use experimental, cutting-edge technology; custom electronics; and digital media. Mixed-media installations by Anila Quayyum Agha, Soo Sunny Park, Mickalene Thomas, and Heather Gordon use low-tech, nontraditional materials. You Are Here also takes visitors outdoors in the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park to explore projects by Sam Falls and OMAi/Markus Dorninger.

The exhibition also includes the debut of the Museum's new acquisition of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's Light of Life, a mirrored hexagonal box measuring more than seven feet square and seven feet tall, with three portholes at varying heights to allow the viewer to look inside of the enclosed “infinity room.” The interior of the work is lined with mirrors and filled with LED lights that are programmed to change patterns and colors in a dazzling two-minute light show. Viewers see a kaleidoscopic play of color and light, along with multiple views of their own reflections and those of the other viewers looking through the portholes, all creating an illusion of infinite space and an extraordinary shared experience."

More details after photos. 

Adults $15

Children 7-18 $9
Children 6 and under FREE

North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road 
Raleigh, NC 27607-6494 

Tuesday–Thursday 10 am–5 pm
Friday 10 am–9 pm
Saturday–Sunday 10 am–5 pm

Monday Closed

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Fate of the Frog book tour

Seuss, Sustainability, and The Fate of the Frog:
Durham Author's Third Children’s Book Supports K-2 Curricula

Durham author Melissa Rooney’s third children’s book, The Fate of the Frog, was released this month with a ‘Books Tour' in Ohio, the home state of illustrator Stacy Fabbre. The Seuss-inspired picture book tells an engaging story, using anapestic tetrameter and playful watercolor illustrations to address the importance of water resources as well as other K-3 curricula topics. Rooney, who is a Durham Arts Council CAPS artist and Associate Supervisor for Durham’s Soil and Water Conservation District, will host two free “hands-on” book readings at The Regulator Bookshop at 11AM and 1PM  *this* Saturday, June 30th, including a Family Q&A/discussion, reading of The Fate of the Frog, and make-and-take plush tadpole craft using 100% recycled materials.

Rooney, who lived in South Durham for 15 years before moving to the Watts Hospital Hillandale neighborhood in 2017, is a Ph.D. Chemist, scientific editor, and author of the Eddie the Electron children’s book series (Amberjack Publishing). She has conducted hands-on children’s events at The Science Museum of Western Virginia, The Virginia Museum of Natural Sciences, The Virginia Transportation Museum, The Danville Science Center, The UNC Science Expo, and numerous public schools and libraries across NC and VA. She believes that “the sooner we expose our children to ‘complicated’ scientific ideas, the less intimidated they will be by such subject matter in the future. Whether or not they understand everything is beside the point. What’s important is whether or not they are interested.”

It’s more important than ever to support scientific literacy and objectivity in the education of our youth and to introduce them to, engage them in, and prevent them from losing the Magic and Creativity that is Nature and Science. In The Fate of the Frog, Rooney accomplishes all these. Bring your kids to meet her at the Regulator on June 30th! More info at: www.melissarooneywriting.com and

Reviews of The Fate of the Frog (available for purchase here):

"The Fate of the Frog is an entertaining and meaningful tale of the plight of a frog whose water puddle dries up during a summer drought.  The story is told from the perspective of an eight-year-old boy who follows the frog and the status of its puddle through a rainy spring, when the puddle is regularly replenished and hot dry summer during which the puddle eventually dries up.  The story engaged each of my three preschool and kindergarten age children from beginning to end.  On the surface, the colorful illustrations and lyrical writing captured everyone’s attention and made for an enjoyable story time for the entire family.  On a deeper level the frog’s struggle produced an age appropriate segue to a discussion of the importance of water and the issue of water conservation." 
~ Erica DeShong, Durham Parent (3-5yos) and SoDu Parents Posse member

"The Fate of the Frog is a wonderful picture book that shows a frog's struggle to survive in his puddle.  As a kindergarten teacher, it was magnificent to find a developmentally appropriate book about a life cycle as well as the ability to integrate other key, common core aligned science units into a fun and relatable read aloud.  The illustrations brought the rhyming versus alive.  The realistic and true to life experiences of the frog and young boy allowed the students to make text-to-self and text-to-world connections. After reading the book to my class, here are some excerpts of the conversation: "It was fun because the frog kept on trying!" "It was fun and amusing." "It was a nice story, can we read it again?!" Post read aloud, the students were observed to recreate various scenes from the book during free, unstructured play time in collaboration with water cycle knowledge.  The Fate of the Frog quickly became a must read in my classroom!" 
~ Emily Hayes, Durham Kindergarten teacher, The Lerner School and SoDu Parents Posse member

"As a certified K-5 teacher this is truly a remarkable book your school library or home should have. It's engaging, and the writer as well as the illustrator have mastered the gift of bringing it to the child's level of understanding. A joyous read to students! (And adults too.)" 
~Anonymous Amazon Reviewer of The Fate of A Frog.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Blaze Pizza

SoDu mom Devin Grendas tried out the new pizza place - Blaze Pizza. Here's her review!

My husband and I were excited to try another of the many fast casual restaurants in Durham. Blaze Pizza offers made to order fast fired pizza in an open-flame oven. There is a window where you can watch the fresh made from scratch pizza dough being made. The first person that greets you behind the counter takes your order and sends you down the assembly line to choose your sauce and toppings. The restaurant is well lit with plenty of seating along with a patio with lots of outdoor seating as well. The staff was very helpful and friendly and this is definitely a place that is welcoming to families. 

Out of the 8 featured signature pizzas available we chose the Green Stripe,  pesto drizzle over grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, chopped garlic, mozzarella, arugula and the White Top which has white cream sauce with mozzarella, applewood bacon, chopped garlic, oregano, arugula. They were both delicious with the perfect balance of toppings and sauce. Other menu choices available are: build your own pizza, that is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters, and vegan and gluten free options as well. This is now one of our favorite pizza spots in Durham and we are looking forward to our next visit. 

Blaze Pizza

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Cocoa Cinnamon at Lakewood

Cocoa Cinnamon’s newest location has the most personality of the three,
making for a truly colorful coffee experience. 

There are tables outside for fair weather, and when that’s the case, as was last night when I went, they’ll have the garage doors open too. It’s a warm and welcoming place that you walk into, with flowered tablecloths, parasols suspended from the ceiling, and of course the admins of their famous brews. 

I sampled a sipping chocolate and their famous Chloe Kim churro ice cream sandwich. This is the only location with churros - important to note if you’re having a craving!

There are tables for four and two, and complimentary WiFi on weekdays. They leave it off on weekends so people can connect in real life, which is refreshing. 

I came for a work meeting but it’s definitely kid friendly, as long as they don’t run around like madmen after sugar, then you might need to take off for everyone’s sanity.

As always CC responsibly sources their food and beverages and pays a living wage. So you know your money is being well spent. 

I’m looking forward to many more balmy nights at Cocoa Cinnamon, 
hope to see you there!

What we loved: churros!

What we’d change: nothing!

Info: Cocoa Cinnamon
2013 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC 27707
Mon-Fri 7:30am to 10:00pm
Sat – Sun 8am to 10:00pm

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