October 16, 2010

Today the weather was purely autumnal, with a hint of frost in the morning chill. I vowed to get out and about the town with 4” x 6” PR cards for the Halloween ghost story shows – The Ghost and I and Hauntings. I put a stack of the cards in my sweater pocket and started at my local coffee shop where I handed cards to the people in line with me for coffee and the young woman behind the counter, our barista. On the way out I gave a handful of cards to a group of cool twenty-somethings lounging outside around a table in the sun. They were excited about the Hauntings show and I hope to see them on Oct. 30th.

Next I stopped at the Scrap Exchange to leave a stack of Halloween storytelling cards and post one on the bulletin board; then I circumvented the Farmers’ Market because it was nearby; the smells of basil and arugula vied with the sight of bright orange blossoms for my attention.

I dropped another stack of cards at the Beyu Café where I had coffee twice this week with some wonderful women. It’s the coolest place, with great coffee, comfortable chairs and interesting people all around. I’m getting very fond of our downtown.

I saved my favorite stop for last – the Hayti Heritage Center. I was just going to go into the glorious building and drop off some cards before heading home, but more was in store. The parking lot was packed and I just managed to squeeze in beside the curb. As I climbed the wide concrete steps to the doors, several beautifully dressed and coiffed elementary-aged girls and their moms bustled past me and inside. The entrance hall, walls adorned with bright paintings of blues artists, bustled with children and parents all moving into the sanctuary/theatre on the left. If you haven’t seen this auditorium, you should make a point of visiting. It is honestly one of the most beautiful theatre spaces I’ve seen anywhere from Boston to New York to Atlanta. (I dream of directing Shakespeare for that stage.)

But I didn’t go in today; you needed special permission to enter through the wooden doors into the theatre because a child’s beauty pageant was in progress. I traded postcards with a woman from a hair salon who had a display table in the lobby, and left the rest of my cards on the stand in the hallway.

On the way back to my car I gave in to the temptation to peek at clothes and fabrics in a merchants tent outside the Hayti Center. I started to say hello to the two women seated in low chairs in front of the tent, when I saw that one of the two was a friend of mine from DAC summer arts camp. Normadien Gibson Woolbright is also the director of education and touring for African American Dance Ensemble. We hugged and traded news and on hearing about Durham Family Theatre my friend insisted I pick out as many of the costumes from AADE or as much of the fabric as DFT could use. I left overwhelmed with her generosity and carrying two bags filled with fabric and costumes that might be perfect for “Alice in Wonderland (Musical).”

So here’s what I learned today – if you keep reaching out, you can be sure someone is going to reach back. Thank you Normadien and African American Dance Ensemble.

Warmly, Jenny

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