PLAYlist’s finale night, Friday, October 1, presents Soul Understated featuring Mavis “Swan” Pool! Led by vocalist extraordinaire Mavis ’SWAN’ Poole (Lauryn Hill, Prince) and powerful yet melodic drummer Jeremy ‘BEAN’ Clemons (who has performed with Gregory Porter and Burning Spear), Soul Understated delivers a beautifully performed organic sound with stellar musicianship. As a result, they’ve appeared at such major festivals as The Blue Note Jazz Fest, The Brooklyn Hip Hop Fest and Toronto Jazz Festival. Mavis appeared in the HBO series Vinyl! Check out this Kennedy Center footage and look at all this local talent rounding out the band:
WNCU’s Friday night Funk, Old School and Disco show and its host, DJ Travis Gales, simulcasts live from Durham Central Park at 7 p.m. Soul Understated play a 90-minute set at 8 p.m. Local food and beverage vendors are Amagee’s, Oink n’ Moo, Epic Vegan Food Truck, JAM Ice Cream, Glass Jug, Bull City Burger and Brewery and Portfolio Group.
We’re back! Make your Labor Day Weekend shine Sunday, September 5, with our first Food Truck Rodeo since the pandemic began. In 2020 we’d planned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Food Truck Rodeo, the Triangle’s original rodeo, but had to cancel seven of them, due to gathering restrictions. The Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year, but it’s also a way the 501c3 Durham Central Park Inc. raises up to one third of its annual operating budget, so we’re happy to be back.
It’s also a great way to support local chefs and entrepreneurs on wheels–many, such as Cocoa Cinnamon, Pie Pushers, Boricua Soul and Only Burger have continued to national television competitions, awards and to open brick and mortar locations here in Durham, North Carolina.
But food trucks aren’t a 21st century fad. In the U.S., chuck wagons, pulled by horse and mule were the first food trucks. What was on the menu? Dried meat, beans and coffee got the loggers and cowboys through their work days. Then there were sausage wagons serving to Ivy League students in the late 19th century–and did you know the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile dates back to 1936?
Ice cream trucks and Loncheras (taco trucks) followed. Here’s a walk down memory lane with our Food Truck Rodeos, which have also served to document the changes in downtown Durham’s skyline.
Durham Central Park, a downtown destination for outdoor recreation, relaxation and cultural events is joining forces with WNCU 90.7, the Triangle’s jazz and NPR station, to present the 2021 PLAYlist Concert Series! Every first Friday, July through October, as the sun sets and the weekend begins, see North Carolina’s Al Strong, Vanessa Ferguson, Soul Understated and an irresistible tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire. Concerts are free, open to the public, all ages and rain or shine.
WNCU’s DJ Travis Gales will simulcast his funk and disco show live, from Durham Central Park, at 7 p.m., which is when local food trucks, craft beer and vendors begin serving. Bring your folding chair or blanket. Parking is free in the lot beside Durham Central Park. There are restrooms at DCP and the venue is wheelchair accessible.
PLAYlist has presented artists such as Rebirth Brass Band, Too Many Zooz, Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Valerie June and Van Hunt to an adoring, often dancing, multi-generational audience since 2017. Last year’s series was fully booked, but had to be cancelled, due to Covid-19. Durham Magazine readers named Durham Central Park a 2021 Best Venue for Live music (large venue) in their annual Best Of Survey!
Admission to PLAYlist Concert Series is free, due to support from City of Durham, Downtown Durham Inc., North Carolina Arts Council, Durham Arts Council, Acme Plumbing, Resolute Builders, Foster On The Park and Morningstar Law. RESERVE YOUR FREE TICKETS.
An estimated 1 in 5 Durham County households can’t put regular meals on the table (Feeding America). Food insecurity has no single face, color, or ethnicity, no nationality, gender, or sexual orientation. Food insecurity weakens our communities because it leads to poor health and lower education outcomes. It creates an additional obstacle to economic well-being. The burden of food security has fallen especially on Durham’s African-American and immigrant communities and has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.
These portraits show some of the inspiring people who have responded to this crisis by supplying free food to those in need. They are among the many Durhamites who run food pantries, cook meals, and give away the vegetables, breads and dairy products they produce.
The photographer, Rhonda Klevansky is a visual storyteller and writer who lives in Durham, NC. She felt the need to bring attention to the extent of hunger in our county and to those who are working to address the problem. For more information about these grassroots responses: https://www.endhungerdurham.org/reachingout
May 21 – July 16, 2021 portraits from the Reaching Out to Durham’s Hungry project will be on view at:
Durham Arts Council
21c Museum Hotel
Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub
Durham Central Park
Museum of Durham History
Story Time with Barnaby D. Troll
Tuesdays 10:30-11:30 a.m.
- Best for ages 2-5 years
- Masks are required for adults and children 5 and up; recommended for younger children if possible.
- Parents/caregivers must stay with their child the entire hour and are ultimately responsible for their child’s/childrens’ behaviors.
- Rain Location: The Pavilion
Do you remember the summer of 2002? Hint: Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” was the #1 song, a gallon of gas cost $1.38 and a lot of today’s top TikTok stars were born.
For three weeks in July 2002, Carrboro artist Michael Brown and assistant Scott Nurkin painted the Durham Central Park magnolia mural on the side of Liberty Warehouse at the park, which was in its very early stages. This was before the bridge over South Ellerbee Creek or Mr. Pickles the turtle sculpture existed.
This example of long-standing public art in Durham is seen by thousands of Park visitors and Foster Street drivers every year. The red oval alone is 36’x25’. The design, inspired by vintage advertising murals, graced DCP letterhead and merch (such as frisbees and t-shirts) for years. (Brown also painted the advertising murals at the Streets of Southpoint.) The cost of the mural was $7000. It was funded by the Facade Improvement Grant Program and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Thank you to Virginia Bridges for her original Herald-Sun feature, documenting the project.
Today, the wall of what was Liberty Warehouse is now the south wall of Liberty Warehouse Apartments, below. (Photo credit Ryan Moeller Photography). Here are Best of the Bull and Mural Durham’s maps of other murals throughout Durham, including Scott Nurkin’s wheat stalks above the entrance to 9th Street Bakery.
Durham Central Park is still the place for community, even in a most unusual year.
Amid the tumult of 2020, the value of these precious five acres in the heart of downtown was indisputable. During stay at home orders, the Park remained open for exercise, play, dog walks, fresh air, and safe socializing as we adhered to local and state protocols.
Despite restrictions on gathering, beneficial activities continued in the Park. The Durham Farmers’ Market reopened in May, offering fresh food and supporting local farmers. Yoga, exercise and dance classes resumed in the Park in July, while studios and gyms remain closed.
Park improvements advanced. Barnaby D. Troll, a generous gift from the Evans Family, took his place alongside the new creekside trail. Kids of all ages can now visit and climb on sleeping Barnaby or easily explore the Ellerbee Creek. New benches were added and soon, we will install a new, terraced garden behind the Pavilion and plant more than 25 trees to enhance natural beauty and increase shade in the Park.
These plantings signal a grand new redesign, a comprehensive land-use plan we will commission shortly that promises exciting new features for our beloved Park.
The Park enhanced the physical, social, and emotional health of our community and helped Durham cope with a global tragedy. Even though event cancellations caused a notable drop in revenue, the success of our new Friends of Durham Central Park program mitigated our 2020 operating deficit and put us on solid financial footing going forward.
DCP, Inc. is grateful for the stalwart support of people like you, which allowed us to accomplish so much in the midst of a pandemic. Your tax-deductible gift of any amount, from $10 to $1,000, helps us continue our mission of Providing Space for Community. We encourage supporters who can manage it to join the Friends of Durham Central Park by making a three-year pledge—a solemn commitment that will support the park’s operations for years to come.
Please do what you can (Friend, Sustainer or one-time donor) to ensure as Durham grows and changes, our diverse offerings will continue to invite people downtown to enjoy a place of comfort and inclusion for all.
Erin Kauffman, Executive Director
Durham Central Park, Inc.