What winter doldrums? February offers plenty of ways to warm up with cozy concerts, un-serious races and decadent dinners. Or, for a chilly thrill, bundle up to catch the antics of bald eagles on Jordan Lake.
by Addie Ladner
“Camellias are endlessly amazing,” says horticulturist and author Brie Arthur. This blooming shrub, which thrives in cold weather, first made its way to North America from China in the 1700s. Now, there are more than 300 species and thousands of cultivars of the most common camellia, camellia japonica, each with its own variation in color, configuration of petals and leaf shape. “If you don’t want to look at a neighbor or your garbage cans, just put a camellia there,” laughs Arthur, who notes that camellias do well in the shade, which makes them a great choice under Raleigh’s oak trees. “I don’t think any landscape should be without a camellia.” This month, take the time to notice these natural pops of color around town while also taking advantage of a range of arts and culture events inside where it’s warm.
Experience Carolina Ballet’s Rhapsody in Blue
Kicking off Carolina Ballet’s 2024 season is a modern ensemble inspired by George Gershwin’s popular jazz composition, Rhapsody in Blue. “Many years ago, at a dinner party hosted by a friend, this song was playing in the background. My friend suggested that I choreograph a ballet to it, and it clicked right away. Over the years, I’ve reshaped it to better reflect the music’s essence and historical context,” says Zalman Raffael, Carolina Ballet’s artistic director and CEO. Other performances that evening include An American in Paris, choreographed by Amy Hall Garner, Carolina Ballet’s resident choreographer, and Gershwin Shorts, a premiere from principal guest choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett. “The evening offers different takes on Gershwin’s music, which lets the audience really see the unique styles of each choreographer,” says Raffael.
Feb. 1 – 18 | Various times; From $50; 2 E. South Street; carolinaballet.com
Consider a Culinary Voyage with a Local Chef
As Triangle chefs grow in notoriety, they’re taking the show on the road — and their foodie fans
are happy to follow. We’ve got the scoop right here.
See Marina Bosetti’s Symbols of Home, Raleigh
Boylan Heights cafe and provisioner Rebus Works will host clay artist Marina Bosetti’s latest body of work, Symbols of Home, Raleigh this month. The pieces are centered around this city’s flora and fauna, as well as symbols of North Carolina and the many colors and patterns found here. There will be an opening reception on Feb. 2 from 6 to 8 p.m., or immerse yourself in the show on your own time, perhaps with coffee in hand, any time of the month during cafe hours.
Feb. 2 – 28 | Various times; Free; 301-2 Kinsey Street; bosettiarttile.com
Listen to the North Carolina Opera’s The Barber of Seville
Based on a French play about love, matchmaking and deception, The Barber of Seville first premiered in Rome in 1816, and the North Carolina Opera is excited to bring it to Raleigh audiences. “Barber is the funniest of all operatic comedies, and this is a wonderful cast of young singers for it,” says Eric Mitchko, the opera’s general director. In this story, the barber in question, Figaro, helps his pal Count Almaviva disguise himself to court Rosina, a maiden under control of her cranky elderly guardian. Performed in Italian with English subtitles.
Feb. 2 – 4 | Various times; From $24; 2 E. South Street; ncopera.org
Take the Kids to Raleigh Little Theatre’s Nate the Great
Based on the classic children’s book series by John Maclay, Nate the Great at the Raleigh Little Theatre is a must-see for families wanting some musical levity this month. Nate is a serious young boy who acts as a detective. When his friend Annie loses a prized possession and, for the first time ever, Nate can’t crack the case, he is forced to learn new tactics and work with his friends. The story touches on relationships, problem-solving and family.
Feb. 2 – 18 | Various times; From $13; 301 Pogue Street; raleighlittletheatre.org
Brave the Krispy Kreme Challenge
What started as a silly challenge for Park Scholar students at North Carolina State University has turned into a popular race and beloved Raleigh tradition. In its 20th year, the Krispy Kreme Challenge is a test of both physical and gastrointestinal endurance. Participants begin the challenge at the historic Memorial Belltower on Hillsborough Street, then run 2.5 miles through downtown to the iconic Krispy Kreme at the corner of Peace and Person Streets. There, they make their best effort to down one dozen glazed doughnuts. Then comes the hardest part of the challenge: running the 2.5 miles back to the belltower in under an hour — while keeping those donuts in their bellies. Proceeds from the race benefit UNC Children’s Hospital.
Feb. 3 | 6 a.m. – 1 p.m.From $50; 2011 Hillsborough Street; krispykremechallenge.com
Check Out the New Gussie’s
Vance Daniels and partners Katie and Clayton O’Kane opened this neighborhood bar on W. Morgan Street to offer a well-crafted drink and elevated bar food without pretense. Learn more here.
Support CAM in Style at ArtHouse
Laissez les bons temps rouler! It’s carnival season at Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum. At its annual fundraising gala, ArtHouse, expect a multicourse Cajun meal, lively music and an even livelier dance floor. Proceeds benefit the incredible power the arts have on our community. Phenix Fire is performing along with music by DJ Rang. Throughout the night guests will enjoy unlimited drinks and small bites while they explore the entirely transformed space, including a dance floor, multiple lounges and bars, and surprise entertainment and decor around every corner. The Benefactors Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception (tickets start at $500). Then, the doors open for the gala at 8 p.m. “Dress code is formal but cutting-edge, think Met Gala!” says Dana Carlsten, CAM’s marketing and development coordinator.
Feb. 10 | 5:30 p.m.;From $150; 409 W. Martin Street; camraleigh.org
Look for Eagles
Bald Eagles are large raptors with impressive aerial maneuvers — and you can see them in habitats along Falls Lake and Jordan Lake this time of year nature columnist Mike Dunn tells us.
Paint with Friends at For the Love of Art at Paysage
Raleigh home and design hub Paysage Home has partnered with Wine & Design this month to host a lovely evening of painting and vino at their North Hills location. With a guiding instructor, decorate one stemmed and one stemless wine glass to take home as a personal keepsake or a gift for someone you love. Champagne and light appetizers will be served.
Feb. 13 | 1 – 4 p.m.; $55 each; 4151 Main Street, #120; paysage.com
See Sun Records Live at Theatre Raleigh
Nashville-born record label Sun Records brought greats such as Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley into the world. This year will be the label’s 70th anniversary, and Theatre Raleigh will celebrate it with Sun Records Live – The Concert, an evening full of its biggest hits. Raleigh native Collin Yates, who has performed in regional theaters up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and Theatre Raleigh alum Jon Rossi, who previously performed in Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway, will make up two members of the show’s cast. “Sun Records Live grew out of the success of the Broadway smash hit Million Dollar Quartet. This rocking and rollicking evening of music dives deeper into all the incredible hits and hit makers that came out of Sun Records,” said Lauren Kennedy Brady, the theater’s producing artistic director and a former Broadway performer.
Feb. 14 – 18 | 7:30 p.m.; From $70; 6638 Old Wake Forest; theatreraleigh.com
Fire Up your Valentine’s Day at Il Falò in Brier Creek
Add some fire to your Valentine’s Day this year by way of Brier Creek’s Italian-inspired eatery, Il Falò, at the Westin Raleigh-Durham Airport Hotel. Savor a curated romantic five-course meal with edible delights from start to finish, many inspired by the wood-fired oven. Begin the meal with raw oysters, then pick between a charred carrot and ginger soup or a blood orange and fennel salad. For the heartier parts, enjoy a Duck Pain Perdu, then choose between a lobster or beef entree. “One of the courses I’m most excited about is the Lobster Rotolo, which is handmade pasta filled with herb ricotta and baked with a lobster fondue sauce,” said chef de cuisine Tanesha Depina. Finish it off with a red velvet cake with miso caramel and brown buttercream for dessert. Depina says while the menu at the bistro is generally French- and Italian-influenced, many of the Valentine’s Day dishes have Asian nuances: “There’s a sesame cracker and chili crisp with the carrot and ginger soup and miso caramel with the red velvet cake. I wanted to pay homage to the great Asian dishes I’ve had in the Triangle lately, particularly at chef Michael Lee’s restaurants.”
Feb. 16 – 17 | Various times; $65 per person; 3931 Macaw Street; ilfalo.com
Catch Chatham County Line at The Rialto
The long-running Raleigh-based roots band will play a lively show at The Rialto Theatre for the release of their latest album. Hiyo, the group’s 10th studio album, still has the cadre of bluegrass instrumentation the band has become known for, but adds guest musicians, more eclectic components and influences from other genres to make it “an entirely new sound for us,” says band member John Teer. Dave Wilson, the chief lyricist of the group, is excited to share these songs in their hometown of Raleigh, and specifically at The Rialto. “Making the record is one thing, but performing it live for our fans is another,” says Wilson. Afterward, the band will stick around for autographs and photo ops.
Feb. 17 | 8 p.m.; From $25; 1620 Glenwood Avenue; therialto.com
February can bring winter’s coldest temperatures — but we do get a few surprisingly warm days! Garden expert Tina Mast of Homewood Nursery shared this short list of to-dos to tackle on those days.
See MANA- Beyond Belief at the Gregg Museum of Art and Design
Step outside your film comfort zone at this screening of the documentary MANA- Beyond Belief at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design. Roger Manley, former director of the museum and co-director of the film, will present the documentary and moderate a Q&A session afterwards. Centered around the concept of mana, a Polynesian word defined as the supernatural forces and energy possessed within an object or person, Manley and fellow filmmaker Peter Friedman journeyed to five continents in search of examples of this concept.
Feb. 22 | 6 p.m.; Free; 1903 Hillsborough Street; gregg.arts.ncsu.edu/programs.
Head to Adult Nights: Taylor’s Version at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Calling all over-21 Swifties! Make friendship bracelets to party like you’re 22 at this grown-ups-only evening at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Enjoy themed activities, dancing, drinks and more. Rocky Top Hospitality will be serving delectable food in the Daily Planet Cafe as well as beverages like beer, wine and soda, plus specialty cocktails (including drinks named the Lavender Haze and Champagne Problems). “Museum employees are passionate about many things: birds, turtles, dinosaurs and, apparently, Taylor Swift,” says museum event specialist Abby Lewis. “We’d been brainstorming a new topic for the February Adult Night and someone suggested a Taylor Swift-themed event — we quickly saw the excitement growing. Forty-five minutes later, a colleague handed me an 11-page document with Swift Science ideas including swift education — as in, the birds, swifts.”
Feb. 23 | 7 p.m.; From $25; 121 W. Jones Street; naturalsciences.org
Experience the New East End Bistrot
The upscale French chophouse concept in the newest restaurant from Giorgios Bakatsias, set in the East End Market development. Learn more here.
See Invisible Beauty at NCMA
At the North Carolina Museum of Art, see a self-directed documentary about the life and work of fashion pioneer Bethann Hardison, who has been working since the 1970s to make the fashion industry more inclusive.
Feb. 24 | 2 p.m.; $5; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org
This article originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of WALTER magazine.