Fanning Street will be a rockin’ come Thursday evening, as encore hosts its community holiday party and 2018 Best Of kick-off. On Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m., we will welcome mixers, minglers, ugly-Christmas-sweater-contest wearers, and elves full of merriment to join us as we celebrate the season and announce our theme for the 2018 Best Of. Hosting will be our favorite funny people from Pineapple-Shaped Lamps, and local musical outfit Into the Fog, who will play their fusion of Americana, pop and bluegrass sounds. The top three Best Of nominees in each category will go live for final voting, and we will have digital stations and paper ballots for folks to cast their votes. Plus, one lucky winner will take home half the pot of our 50/50 DREAMS raffle and one business will win a month of free ads.
Anyone can donate to the raffle for $100 a ticket (available at dreams2020.org/encore or in cash the night of the event). Plus, any business who secures a raffle ticket will be entered into a separate raffle for a month of free ads. Folks who just want to party can get into the event for $5, which includes a drink ticket and lots of yummy food. We will have beer from Waterline Brewing, Ironclad Brewing and Broomtail Craft Brewery, as well as wine from Fortunate Glass (additional drink tickets, $2 each). Local eateries Nikki’s Steak House, Indochine, Taste of Italy, and Beach Bagels are providing nibbles.
DREAMS, the local nonprofit and 2018 Best Of beneficiary, keeps arts education alive for at-risk youth, so proceeds from the event benefit their ongoing outreach into the community. They will have some of their students’ artwork for sale, which will make for great last-minute holiday gifts to check off the list.
“This will include prints, jewelry, notecards and pottery,” says Bess Butterworth, director of marketing and community outreach. “The notecards make great gifts.” Those are always the most popular. Some of our framable prints sell fast, too!”
Students of DREAMS keep all the profits from sales.
At 6:30 p.m., the stage will be bombarded with sounds from Into the Fog, composed of Brian Stephenson (banjo, guitar), Winston Mitchel (dobro, mandolin, guitar) and Will Mawell (violin, kick-drum). Maxwell upstarted the project after spending three years playing with The Midatlantic. Into the Fog takes cues from the newgrass vibe, and are known to play unique versions of popular songs from the Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Trampled by Turtles, Greensky Bluegrass, and even ‘80s hit-makers, like Men at Work.
“I started playing the violin at a family hymn sing at the age of 7,” Maxwell says. “I studied classical and fiddle music throughout youth and college, and competed in local and regional fiddle competitions, and festivals.”
Into the Fog already has been playing around local venues and traveling to other cities in their short time together. They hope to release live video sessions in coming weeks with their originals and will be hitting the studio come summer 2018 to record their first EP and LP.
“Our immediate goals are to just keep moving forward each day with new songs, booking festivals and setting tour dates, building a campaign behind the new project, and advancing our musicianship through each others’ strengths,” Maxwell tells. Folks can catch Into the Fog Thursday at DREAMS, as well as on Dec. 21 at Waterman’s Brewing, Dec. 29 at Palm Room and on New Year’s Eve at Burnt Mill Creek.
Around 8 p.m. PSL will take over the stage to perform comedy sketches, as well as do some improv games. About eight members will make an appearance: Anthony Corvino, Devin DiMattia, Jamie Davenport, Jessica Gift, Josh Browner, Katherine Rosner, Matt Carter, and Tony Choufani. Party-goers can expect audience involvement, too!
“We will be getting holiday themed suggestions for the improv games,” PSL founder Wes Brown tells. “There may be some singing involved as well. . . . We are doing one of our favorite new games called PowerPints in which we have a fully improvised powerpoint presentation for the audience.”
PSL has been working with DREAMS students since pairing up at the encore Best Of Awards two or three years ago. They frequently visit the students to help them produce videos for classes, and PSL also filmed their Over the Edge fundraiser last November, wherein community members scaled the side of the Blockade Runner like Spiderman. Over the Edge is returning to Wrightsville Beach in spring 2018 as well.
“Working with those kids is always inspiring creatively and it makes every interaction with them worthwhile,” Brown says. “We always look forward to working with them and are excited about them returning to the encore awards next year.”