New Film Celebrating Sicily Sells Out U.S. Premiere in Kansas City

Feature-length documentary by Mark Spano finds appreciative audience in Middle America.

 Theater marquee

Independent filmmaker Mark Spano, along with celebrated Kansas City Chef Jasper Mirabile Jr., are pleased to report that the U.S. premiere of Spano’s new documentary “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” sold out the Screenland Armour Theater in North Kansas City, MO., last week.

The event was co-sponsored by the Kansas City chapters of the American Sons of Columbus and UNICO, the largest Italian-American non-profit service organization in the United States.

Mark with Family and Friends in Lobby
NC Filmmaker Mark Spano (center, back row) with family and friends in the theater’s lobby after sell-out screening in Kansas City, his hometown.

Although Spano lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he chose Kansas City — the city where he was born and raised — for the U.S. premiere of the film that celebrates his family’s land of origin.

“Holding the premiere in Kansas City not only allowed me to see friends and family I had not seen in years, but it also gave me the opportunity to present my film to a very diverse Middle-America audience,” said Spano, a Sicilian by heritage who holds dual citizenship. “Their responses were both informative and heartwarming. I could not have asked for more. The theater was sold out and the crowd loved the film — I was truly humbled by their responses.”

By design, the feature-length documentary invites viewers to discover the Sicily that movies and television largely ignore. “But for crime, Sicily has gone largely unexplored,” said Spano. “Yet Sicily is more fascinating and diverse than other Italian regions and few places compare to Sicily for a story of spectacular beauty, epic human struggle, depth and diversity of culture, philosophic insights and historic sites.”

Chef Mirabile, the emcee for the sold-out event, also feels the film is a loving tribute to his land of origin. “Personally, the film evokes wonderful memories of the many trips I’ve made to my family’s homeland. I’m was honored to help showcase this remarkable region of Italy.”

Explaining his choice of emcee for the film’s U.S. premiere, Spano smiled. “I knew Jasper would be the right guy to emcee this event. Members of the Kansas City community have taken this man into their hearts. And, why shouldn’t they? He’s the best chef. He’s a tireless champion of Kansas City food, and he stands as one of the finest representatives of the success stories that Sicilian immigrants and their descendants have had all over the globe.”

From now through November, “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife” will be presented in various cities across the U.S. and Canada as part of a promotional opportunity called “Bring Sicily to Your Town.”  Two upcoming screenings include Hamilton, a suburb of Toronto, on June 20, then Buffalo, New York, on June 25th.

For more information on Mark Spano and “Sicily: Land of Love & Strife,” visit www.markspano.wordpress.com.

(Click here for more information on “Bring Sicily to Your Town.”)

Mark on Stage
Mark on stage for the Q&A session as the credits roll.
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NC Architect To Conduct Construction Tour of Rabbit Hole Distillery for AIA Central Kentucky Chapter

Doug Pierson will take professional peers through his latest project in Louisville.

RabbitHole1

Carrboro, NC-based architect Doug Pierson, AIA, of pod architecture + design (pod a+d) will conduct a construction tour of the new 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole distillery and campus he designed in downtown Louisville, KY, for the American Institute of Architects Central Kentucky Chapter on Tuesday, April 17, beginning at 5 p.m.

Rabbit Hole founder and CEO Kaveh Zamanian and structural/mechanical engineers from Luckett & Farley will join Pierson in giving participating architects “an overview of the inspirations, revelations, and explorations behind the Rabbit Hole distillery with the focus on structural/MEP systems, design excellence, and the user experience,” AIA Kentucky said in its invitation to members.

According to Pierson and his partner/wife Youn Choi, the design embraces the owner’s desire for transparency, as well as a “form follows process strategy, allowing the building to take shape in response to the bourbon production process it will house.

The abundance of glass throughout the building satisfies the desire for transparency – from the inside out and the outside in. Tours will let visitors see each step along the process of creating world-renowned bourbon. During the day, the transparent/translucent structure will provide panoramic views from the inside to NuLu’s historic streetscape, downtown Louisville’s main street, and the barges and bridges along the Ohio River.

Located on an entire city block at 711 East Jefferson Street in the historic NuLu district, Rabbit Hole Distilling is Louisville’s newest high-end craft distillery. Construction began in October 2016. The grand opening is scheduled for Derby Day, Wednesday, May 5th.

Pierson and Choi are well-known in Louisville for having designed the highly acclaimed “Green Building,” Louisville’s first commercial Platinum LEED-certified building and Kentucky’s first Platinum LEED adaptive reuse structure.

Click here for more information on the April Tour.

Click here for more information on Rabbit Hole Distilling.

Click here for more information on the Rabbit Hole Distillery project.

THE KANSAS CITY STAR: “Chef Jasper Mirabile is celebrating Sicily on the big screen and in the kitchen”

April 09, 2018 02:56 PM

 

Day and Night: Pod Architecture + Design To Display Work in NCSU Exhibition

Demonstrating the perception of space from day to night.

Carrboro modern architects
Exhibition board showing Connie & Ted’s restaurant by day (top) and night (bottom).

February 12, 2018 (Carrboro, NC) — How structure is perceived from day to night is the theme of the presentation that pod architecture + design (pod a+d) in Carrboro is contributing to the upcoming N.C. State University School of Architecture Alumni Exhibition. The exhibition will be on display in the Brooks Hall Gallery on the NCSU campus during the School’s accreditation review in mid-February.

Juxtaposing a photograph of each project taken in bright daylight with a photo captured against a darkened sky, pod a+d’s presentation includes an adaptive re-use project in Louisville, KY, an educational facility in Goshen, IN, an iconic restaurant in West Hollywood, CA, and a large-scale experiential graphics project in Qatar.

Pod a+d is a hybrid firm owned and operated by design principals Douglas V. Pierson, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, and Youn Choi, an environmental graphics designer. The couple relocated their firm from Los Angeles to North Carolina in 2016.

Carrboro Modern Architects
Qatar experiential graphics project by day (top) and night( (bottom).

“Doug and I always consider the day and nightlife of a design because the perception of the space changes as the light changes – from day to night and from natural to electric lighting,” Choi explained. “We also consider when the use of the space will be the liveliest. Perhaps the users are more productive during the day when the sun is shining. Some rejuvenate in the evening as the sun goes down. This is an integrated, repeating process that we always consider.”

According to David Hill, head of the School of Architecture, NCSU College of Design, “This will be an important show of work that will be seen by visitors from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), faculty, students, and other visitors. Perhaps this exhibition will allow the school to reconnect with a great number of alumni throughout the world.”

For more information on the upcoming exhibition, email david_hill@ncsu.edu.

For more information on pod architecture + design, visit www.podand.com.

About pod architecture + design:

pod a+d offers all architectural design services that connect building, environment, and identity because we believe in the integration of architecture and design disciplines throughout our projects.  Exteriors, interiors, engineering, furnishings and finishes, equipment, financial feasibility, scheduling, construction, and the environmental context – these are the contributing elements that inform our integrated approach to each architectural project’s design.  More information: www.podand.com.

 

News & Observer: “The Kamphoefner Prize”

KandV
Katherine and Vinny with the Kamphoefner Prize certificate.

By J. Michael Welton

(Following a tribute to the late Brian Shawcroft)

One of the most coveted prizes in North Carolina architecture is the award for modern design established by Henry and Mabel Kamphoefner in 1988. It was first given to Norman Pease Jr. – and to Shawcroft in 1991.

The Kamphoefners set a high bar, seeking an architect or firm that “demonstrated a consistent integrity and devotion over an acceptable period of time to further the development of the modern movement in architecture without yielding to any of the undesirable current clichés, neo-modernistic mannerisms or artless historicism that have flawed the building culture of today.”

Lofty? Yes. Opinionated? Absolutely. But North Carolina’s modern architecture is built upon these standards. This award is designed to encourage great work – no matter the age of the winners.

In 2017, it went to Raleigh’s Tonic Design – and partners Vinny Petrarca, 45, and Katherine Hogan, 36. READ MORE…

AECCafe.com: “Award-winning LA Architecture Firm Relocates to Carrboro, North Carolina”

pod_Doug at desj          pod_Youn standing

December 4, 2017 (Carrboro, NC) – Architect Doug Pierson, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, and environmental graphics designer Youn Choi —  partners in life and in pod architecture + design (pod a+d) — have joined the flurry of businesses relocating to the Triangle region. They’ve moved their architectural firm from Los Angeles to Carrboro, where they’re currently settling into new offices in The Station, the town’s 1882 train depot. READ MORE…

Quail Ridge Books Stars Holiday Season with “Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnik”

A book signing event with author Scott Hilton Davis

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November 6, 2017 (Raleigh, NC) – Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh’s oldest independent bookstore and a mecca for Triangle-wide bibliophiles, will start the holidays off this year with a book reading/signing event for Jewish storyteller Scott Hilton Davis on Sunday, November 26, starting at 2 p.m.

The founder of Raleigh-based Jewish Storyteller Press and a seven-time Emmy Award-winning public television producer, Davis will introduce the Quail Ridge crowd to his newest book Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnik. The event is free and open to the public.

The 118-page book is a collection of eight short stories by Scott Davis  – one for each night of Chanukah —  that celebrate Jewish history, culture, and values. The stories take readers into “Oykvetchnik” (Oy + kvetch + nik), a tiny shtetl town in Eastern Europe. And for those who may not be familiar with the Jewish/Yiddish terms that appear in the stories, Davis includes a glossary.

“We recommend this book for children and adult of all ages,” the venerable bookstore notes on its Events Calendar.

Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnic
Illustration for “The Pawnshop Menorah” by Amy Levine

Jack Magnus, a book critic with Readers’ Favorite.com, writes, “Laced through the collection is humor, faith, miracles and love, and freshly fried latkes that had my mouth watering as I read.”

After he reads a tale or two and takes questions from the audience, the author will sign copies of Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnik that will be available for purchase (paperback, $9.95; hardcover $16.95).

In its new two-story, 9000-square-foot space in North Hills Shopping Center, Quail Ridge Books is located at 4209 Lassiter Mill Road, No. 100, Raleigh, NC 27609. For more information, visit www.quailridgebooks.com.

For more information on Scott Hilton Davis and other titles from Jewish Storyteller Press, visit www.jewishstorytellerpress.com.

SDHeadshot thumbnailAbout the Author

Scott Hilton Davis is a lifelong storyteller, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, and collector of Jewish short stories from 19th-century Eastern Europe. He is the author of Souls Are Flying! A Celebration of Jewish Stories and the editor of the first English translation of Jacob Dinezon’s collection of autobiographical short stories, Memories and Scenes: Shtetl, Childhood, Writers. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Pamlico Writers Group Welcomes Frank McNair for Workshop, Book Signing

Frank-McNair_2017-203x300

The author of the award-winning new novel Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption will join the group on October 24th

The Pamlico Writers’ Group in Washington, NC, will welcome author Frank McNair of Winston-Salem and Bath, NC, as Featured Author on Tuesday, October 24, from 7 to 9 p.m.  McNair will read from his new, award-winning novel Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption, sign copies of the book, and conduct a mini-workshop on “Plotting and Keeping Up with Characters.”

Open to the public, the event will be held at historic Turnage Theater, 150 West Main Street, Washington, NC. 27889.

Set in the rural South in 1965, Life on the Line is the story of two middle school boys struggling to understand themselves and the world around them as they meet on the football field and immediately despise each other.

A former football player himself, McNair draws his readers into play-by-play action during grueling practices and often violent, bloody games as the boys lead their team towards an undefeated season — despite the tension and animosity that escalates between them.

LOTL Section

McNair’s novel is built around football, but it also contains themes of family and faith, love and loss, and how all of that leads the boys to hard-won reconciliation. Earlier this year, it was named “Best Book” in the Young Adult category for the Spring 2017 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards.”

Frank McNair grew up in Laurinburg, NC, where he was a member of the Scotland County High School “Fighting Scots” football team. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Morehead Scholar, he received his MBA degree from Wake Forest University. He has published successful non-fiction business books but Life on the Line is his first venture into fiction. He is currently working on a second novel, this one exploring the life of Christian faith, entitled A Creeping Certainty.

McNair and his wife Laura are active members of their church community, where they teach and contribute in other ways. They live with their beloved lab, Buddy Brown, in a house overlooking the woods in Winston-Salem when they’re not in residence at their coastal home in Bath overlooking the Pamlico River.

The Pamlico Writers Group is affiliated with the Arts of the Pamlico and meets twice a month. Its mission is “to help other aspiring writers accomplish their goals in writing.” For more information on the October 24th book signing and workshop: https://pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/event-2671367.

For more information on Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption, go to www.lifeonthelinebook.com.

 

 

Modern Home in Raleigh’s Historic Cameron Park to be Open for Public Touring September 6th

During the evening “ModHop” Tour

of private homes in Raleigh, NC

Hawthorne Interior

The Hawthorne Residence, a modern, award-winning home in Raleigh’s Cameron Park neighborhood, will be open to the public during the “ModHop” Tour, an evening house tour on September 6th from 6  –  8:30 p.m. hosted by North Carolina Modernist Houses in association with the 2017 Hopscotch Design Festival.

Designed by Tonic Design principles Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vincent Petrarca, this single-family residence replaced a dark, cramped, early 20th-century bungalow to give the homeowners modernist light, space, and form and a strong connection between indoors and outdoors.

To achieve the indoor-outdoor connection, the designers dropped the back elevation to grade and used floor-to-ceiling glass on the exterior wall to expand the view and living space into the backyard. A single-tilt roof with deep, cantilevered overhangs reference the covered porches of neighboring houses. Operable windows and extensive glazing throughout the house allow for daylight and natural ventilation, greatly reducing the homeowners’ reliance on electric lights during the day. A geothermal ground-source heat pump, fiber-cement rain-screen panels on exterior walls, locally available wood detailing, and Energy Star appliances make it 50 percent more energy efficient than a standard new home and 80 percent more efficient than the average resale home.

Hawthorne Exterior_Streetview.jpg

The two-story house is transparent from the front door through the main living area and on through the kitchen and dining space to the backyard. A sleek staircase composition makes the vertical circulation a sculptural presence at the center of the interior while leading to the children’s bedrooms and central play space upstairs. Crisp white walls and warm wood flooring throughout the house underscore the simple, modern interior.

Hogan and Petrarca will be on hand to answer tour participants’ questions about the house during the ModHop Tour.

For more information on the tour and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.ncmodernist.org/modhop17.

For more information on Tonic Design, visit www.tonic-design.com.

About Tonic Design:

Tonic Design is a multi-award-winning design-build firm in Raleigh, NC.  Among many accolades throughout their careers, principals Katherine Hogan and Vincent Petrarca were named 2013’s “Rising Stars” by Residential Architect magazine. Their projects have been featured in a host of national publications, including Architectural RecordResidential Architect, DwellCustom Homes, Inform magazine, and Metal Architecture, and locally in the News & ObserverWalter magazine, and Urban Home.  For more information: www.tonic-design.com.

Photos by Raymond Goodman

 

 

NC Author Awarded Residency To Create Screenplay

NC Author, lNC Filmmaker
Author Mark Spano

August 16, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — Mark Spano, the Chapel Hill-based author of the critically acclaimed murder mystery, Midland Club, has been awarded a month-long residency at Escape to Create in Seaside, Florida, to turn his award-winning novel into a screenplay.

author Mark Spano
E2C cottages in Seaside, Florida.

Escape to Create (E2C) is a nationally recognized, non-profit, multidisciplinary artist residency hosted by the Seaside community since 1993. Over 150 writers, musicians, visual artists, and scholars have been awarded month-long retreats as emerging and mid-career artists.

Mark Spano is an accomplished filmmaker as well as author. His works include “The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell” and the definitive documentary on Sicily, “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife.” As a result, he admits that he visualized Midland Club on the screen as he wrote it.

“First of all, I want to express my deep appreciation to the selection committee, board, staff, and volunteers at Escape to Create,” Spano said. “I am truly honored and overflowing with gratitude for this opportunity.

“Since I work as both a writer and a filmmaker,” he continued, “when I’m working on any project in one medium I’m always considering, consciously or not, the possibilities of the other media. With new technologies, it seems ideas can have many different lives. My colleagues and I have more than once discussed adapting Midland Club to film. This residency has set these wheels in motion.”

To some of his admiring critics, the adaptation of a screenplay is a natural progression.

fiction/mystery/gay literatureMidland Club is a dark and cynical tale that reads like a film noir classic,” wrote one reviewer for GayBookReviews.com, who also noted, “There’s a bit of ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ amidst the melancholy…”

Two of the many positive Amazon Reader Comments call the book “an engaging work of noir fiction” and: “The writer of Midland Club is a filmmaker, a fact that comes through in the clarity and imagery of his writing. He captures, in a ‘noiresque’ manner, the atmosphere of the period and the location.”

A Page-Turning Tale

Published in May of 2016, Midland Club is a page-turning tale of corruption, love, lies, and murder set in a Midwestern city in 1958. Puce Bordeaux, the only “Negro” waiter at the exclusive Midland Club downtown, dies suddenly and the sheriff immediately declares it a suicide.

Yet one man refuses to believe the death was suicide. That man is the protagonist, Rich St. Pierre, a member of the city’s wealthy, white, First Family. Rich has known the now-elderly Puce since Rich was a child and dined at the club with his wealthy father. Rich and Puce also spent a night together in jail after a raid on a local dive bar where the town’s otherwise hidden gay community gathers for drinks and jazz. He’s certain that Puce was murdered to make sure a scandalous secret goes to the grave with him.

Ostracized by his family since the raid, Rich St. Pierre is just as certain that his own life will be in grave danger if he attempts to reveal the truth.

E2C Residency

Spano will spend January 2018 at E2C in Seaside. Afterward, he’ll join an impressive alumni club that includes nominees and recipients of The Pulitzer and Pushcart Prizes; National Book Awards; scholarships at the American Academy of Arts & Letters and The American Academy in Rome; ASCAP and Aaron Copeland Awards; Guggenheim Foundation scholarships; James Beard and Grammy Awards; and more.

E2C residencies are made possible through the generosity of Seaside homeowners, merchants, and donors. For more information on E2C visit www.escape2create.org.

For more information on Mark Spano and Midland Club, visit blog.markspano.comGoodreads, and BookLife.

Midland Club is available as a paperback book and in digital format on Amazon.