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'Up Front' Has Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's on a Budget

Feb 10, 2020 04:14PM ● By Jason Huddle

Valentine's on a Budget

And just like that, the first month of 2020 is over, and we've entered the month of love. Welcome to February and Welcome to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center. Cabarrus Eye Center, Certec Automotive, The Circle, Code Ninjas,  Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, Merle Norman Cosmetics and Edie`s Salon and your CBD Store of Concord. I'm your host, Jason Huddle.

Huddle
 Welcome once again everyone to another addition of Up Front with Cabarrus magazine. I am thrilled that you have tuned in with us today and I'm especially excited for you guys because Valentine's Day is next week. And I guarantee you, 95% of you listening haven't planned a thing yet. But it's okay, I'm here to help you. And if you're like me, we don't have all the money in the world. So we're trying to figure out how to impress our significant other without breaking the bank. Well, it's okay. I'm here to help with that too. We got a couple of options happening locally for you, and we're gonna be talking with them today. First up, we're gonna be heading out to Old Courthouse Theater to talk with Stuart Jonap. He is the director of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, which opens next week, February 13th and then also Laura McDonald from Rocky River Vineyards, is coming in studio. She's going to be talking to us about an event they have coming up next weekend as well. I am excited to tell you all about it, but first I'm excited for shameless plug time. If you didn't hear it at the beginning of the program, I'm going to repeat it. We have a new sponsor. The Circle is an organization that meets weekly at the Dave W. Phillips Activity Center in Concord. This is specifically for women who are dealing with anxiety or depression or all kinds of issues. It is a safe space for you to go and enjoy support from other women dealing with similar issues. It's a great opportunity. Like I said, they meet every week at 7:30. Their spot is going to be running at the top of the first break, so I want you to listen for that, and we are excited that they have come on board as a community sponsor for Cabarrus Magazine dot com and of this program. We look forward to having Sibyl in. She is the instructor there at The Circle, and we will have her in studio soon to talk to you about some things that she deals with on a regular basis with her clients. The Circle coming onboard means we only have two sponsorships left. So if you are interested in sponsoring this program, please give us a call at 7047822353 and let us know we will be happy to talk to you about it. Once we are sold out of sponsorship`s, they are gone, and it is an industry exclusive sponsorship, meaning none of your competitors can take a community sponsorship if you have one. So keep that in mind, you can box out your competition, give us a call 7047822353 and find out how you can take one of those last two sponsorship spots left, and that is today's shameless plug time.
All right, when we come back, we will be out at Old Courthouse Theater to speak with Stuart Jonap, director of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner opening next week. Stick around.
Back once again to upfront with Cabarrus magazine. I am on location at Old Courthouse Theater in Concord. If you've never been to Old Courthouse, it is a fabulous community theater, and it is run completely by volunteers. They do a great job here. They put on about 4-5 shows a year, main stage shows, and then there are lots of other activities throughout the year and opening up on February 13th right before Valentine's Day is, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? And I'm sitting here with the director of the play, Stuart Jonap, who is a theater veteran, and he has graced the stage of Old Courthouse. In fact, a few years ago I was assistant director for A Time To Kill, and Stuart played the prosecutor in that play. He did a great job, and so I'm interested to see what he could do from a directorship. But first of all Stuart, let me thank you for coming on the program with us.
Well, thanks for inviting me.
So tell us about Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? A lot of our listeners are probably familiar with the movie, but for those who aren't tell us the story here.
So let's just back up a little bit that the play itself is actually written by Todd Kreidler, and it's an adaptation of the screenplay of the original movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner that was written by William Rose. So it's basically the movie put on stage. Of course, we don't have Katharine Hepburn, and we don't have Spencer Tracy, but we've got a really, really strong cast. Ah, and it's basically the story of John and Joanna, who were an interracial couple. John is African American, and Joanne is white, and they go to visit Joan's parents, too. Tell them about their engagement in that they're about to be married in a few days
And this takes place in the late sixties, right?

J
onap 
Takes place in 1967 and so when they go to visit the parents, the parents that live in San Francisco and there thought as very liberal thinking folks. The father works for a very liberal newspaper in San Francisco, and the mother is an art dealer. And so the story kind of talks about how the parents accept their kids being part of an interracial couple. Later in this story, the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner part is when John's parents are invited to come for dinner as well and they, too don't know anything about the wedding. And so when they see that their son is going to be part of an interracial marriage, you see it from both perspectives. You see it from the African American side, and you see it from the white side, the parent's perspective as well. And I think when you when you get down to the bottom line, it's basically a love story, and it talks about how love conquers all. So it's very appropriate around Valentine's Day, especially with how the father's especially are very concerned about how the couple is going to be accepted in the world, and especially by the narrow minded people who can't look past color or past culture or past age or any of those things. And yet the two kids are in love with each other, and so eventually they are accepted by the parents that, yes, love does conquer all and you know we're behind you 100%.
Tell us about the cast a little bit. I know that with every production I've ever been involved with, the cast bonds, they become a sort of a family for the 6-8 weeks three months, however long that you're working together, has this play spark some conversation among the cast. Some some real conversation.
Yes, I think it has one of the first things we did when we got together is we talked about the play and the themes within the play as well as each of the characters, and the cast members spoke about their characters and where their characters were coming from what their perspective was on it, how they felt about it, and then having to take that and put it back in the 1967 because it's not how you feel about it today. But how was it accepted or not accepted in 1967? And I think what you found out is that things change. But so many things have stayed the same. And so some of the race relation things were still, we're still feeling some of the issues now that they were feeling in 1967.
Wow, that's incredible. So how is this process been for you just now that you're on the director side? How's that been for you and putting this thing together?
I think it's great. You know, you talk about the process itself is you bring in eight or nine actors. Most of them don't know each other. They're often very different backgrounds, different ages, different levels of experience. You put them in a room together and you start to build something together. There's a sports analogy of taking the team when you first put the team together and your practice and all of that. That's our rehearsal time, and then you go out and you play the game, and that's for us. That's the actual production itself. So we're real excited about opening in another week that we've worked really hard. Lots of rehearsal time. The sets gonna look amazing. All of the volunteers that work here, both from the people who work behind the lights, the sound. Our stage manager, Andy Wrastler. It's been a terrific experience, and I think it's really going to show up during the production.
Do you think the audience is going to receive this message that this play gives?
I think everybody will probably have to internalize it. Everybody in the audience is coming from a very different places aswell, but I think that the messaging in this play is done both with humor and with drama and with lots of passion and feeling and with love. And so I think because of that, if they can put all of those pieces together, they I think they'll they'll get a lot out of it on our first Sunday. Our matinee on Sunday starts at 2:30 then right after that, we're gonna have a talk back for about an hour where we just bring the cast out and anyone in the audience that wants to stick around. They can meet the cast, and we could talk about some of the thematic elements in the play and talk a little bit about the characters and how the actors approached the characters and take questions from the audience and that kind of thing just to let folks express themselves a little bit about the show.
So that's on February 16th right? 

Jonap
That's correct. 

Huddle
OK, so February 16th right after the 2:30 matinee a talkback. 

Jonap
That's right for about an hour.
Really incredible, yeah, Is there a certain message? Is there a certain feeling or something? You want the audience when they leave after this play, after the curtain falls and the lights are out, what do you want this audience to to go away with?
Well, like I said, I think the underlying theme is that love does conquer all you know. After a while, you don't you don't see color. You don't see age. You don't see culture. You don't see any of those things because the feeling of love is so strong. And I think if nothing else, I think that's a great message to leave the theater with.
Stuart Jonap, director of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner at Old Courthouse Theater, which opens February 13th curtains up at eight o'clock, and we appreciate you spending some time with us. I know theres some varying ticket prices. It's OCT Concord dot com is the website, and you can go and check out the site for ticket prices and actually buy tickets from this site. So make sure that you go catch that. It's a great opportunity for you to come out, take a date, get some good culture that's provided by people in this community. And it's not gonna break your wallet either. So, Stuart, thank you so much for coming out.
Yeah, well, thank you very much. Hope to see everyone at the show.
You guys stay tuned and we will be back in just a moment.  
We are back in studio now with Laura McDonald with Rocky River Vineyards and first of all, thanks for coming in studio today and hanging out with us for a little bit.
Thank you for having me.
So Laura. Our theme this week is Valentine's on a budget, and you guys have a special event coming up on February 15th. Valentine's Weekend.  
Correct
You having Valentine's at Rocky River Vineyards event. You got food trucks coming out. What else do you have coming?
We'll have a DJ playing some live music and we'll play some games.
So what kind of games are we gonna be playing now?  
So this is hysterical. We've been doing this event for most of our time for being open. We've been open 12 years, started out really small, 20 people right inside the tasting house grew to 200 out under the pavilion. What we like to do is play games like newlywed games, kind of centered around couples. It doesn't have to be somebody you know or someone you came with. You might be with a complete stranger, and it ends up being hysterical. We have lots of fun with that. Lots of dancing, and it's really, really, really good time.
And of course wine.
Of course wine we'll have a full bar, obviously, out there under the pavilion, you can get a glass of wine, get a bottle of wine, enjoy some sweet treats off of our Emergence Sweets foodtruck and some regular eats off of a Worthy Dog Foodtruck.
A Worthy Dog Food Truck. So this is gonna be taking place from 6 to 10 p.m. Now there is no charge to show up. Right?  
There isn't and that's the best thing about this. If you are doing Valentine's on a budget, this is free. You don't have to come with someone. So if you're wanting to find something to do on the single side. This is a great place to meet a lot of people.
So for those people that aren't necessarily on as much of a budget, you do have a VIP option, though. Tell us about that.
We do. We have what we call VIP tables, and that's a table that's dedicated for you, uh, up to eight guests. It gives you a like a big appetizer tray with lots of goodies on that for you to eat and comes with a personal server. Now that is $150 that gets you through the entire night.  
Wow, okay, so $150 for a couple of per person?
No. For the whole table
Oh, the whole table?
Up to eight people. So if you have
Oh! Well that's a value than then 8 into 15 out of its less than $20 a person. So that's very good. That's a great deal 
Yeah, absolutely  
Awesome super so, Valentine's at Rocky River Vineyards. It sounds like an awesome event, but why don't you tell us a little bit about the vineyards itself? Now you won't be doing wine tastings that night, but you do them on a regular basis, so tell our listeners a little bit about what people can expect, that they just come on a normal day.
Okay, yes. So we do wine tastings every day that we're open. We're open Tuesday through Sunday. We open at 10 a.m. In the morning. You're welcome to come. Then you don't have to make a reservation to do a tasting. Our tastings consists of about eight wines two wine slushies, which you could enjoy Valentine's.
I may or may not have enjoyed a wine slushy in my time. I can neither confirm, nor deny.
They are like, absolutely the best thing ever, and also mulled wine.  Have you
I've had mulled wine
Okay, so that's a unique treat to that.
It's really good.
Um, if people have never heard of it. Basically, it's two wines together with mulling spices, and they're warmed up. So
I was gonna ask You served hot or cold cause people serve it both ways,
Right? We do it hot, so it's nice, especially if it's gonna be cold. Sure, So back to what we d'oh regularly wine tastings throughout the day. You don't have to make a reservation if you have more than six people that are coming with you to taste. We`d like a heads up, not necessarily needed. But that would be great. Like I said, eight wines two wine slushies. We have snacks that you can enjoy while you're doing your tasting. After that, if you wanna hang out, get a bottle of wine glass of wine. Bring a picnic.  
Yeah.  
That's fine our tastings are $10 without the souvenir glass. 13 with the souvenir glass. A nice, quaint little family oriented place. If you have kids, they're welcome to come.
They can't do the wine tasting.
They cannot do wine tastings. You will have to show proof of 21 or older.
So tell us a little bit about your wines. You said you've been around for 12 years. What's your specialty? What kind of grapes do you use? That kind of thing?
Yeah. So we've got about 45 acres on our vineyard. 13 of that is planted. And those were planted with Muscadines. Muscadines from North Carolina, this is where they're happiest. So that's what we concentrate on growing. We do, however, make a variety of different lines. We have Chardonnays, Cabernet, some semi sweets like a Moscato. One of our most popular semi sweets is Peace and Quiet, which is a Niagara blend. So there's a really good variety for you to taste and try.
I should have asked you to bring some samples along with you. It is early as we're recording this, but you know Yeah, it's okay. So Peace and Quiet, most popular?
Actually. Scarlett was our number one for 2019. Peace and Quiet right behind that Scarlett`s a  merlot blend.  
Okay.  
Peace and quiet is in Niagara Blend.
So do you make these all with the Muscadines? They, no.
They`re actually made with their perspective grapes Scarletts made with Marlot Cabanet Sayrah, Peace and Quiets made with Niagara when it's being processed. It's pressed with Marlot skins. It gives a really pretty blush color and a little bit of dryness on the backside. So we do make three wines out of our muscadines.
Yeah. Okay, I will offer a little bit of advice to our listeners. If you're gonna come and do a tasting or tastings as the case may be, do make sure that you have some snacks or don't come on. An empty stomach may have made that mistake before.
Yeah.
It does.
It goes, It goes to your head really fast. Even though you're not drinking a whole lot of wine, it starts to give you a little buzz pretty soon.
That tasting is about a glass and 1/2 of wine,  So, yeah, and we offered. Like I said, we offer snacks, cheese straws. We are our own best customers when it comes to our snack. So we pick stuff that we like. So I promise you, it will be stuff that you would enjoy.  
So, yeah, so you buy everything that you want to eat and then sell the rest, right? Yeah. Okay, Laura so we have the event coming up on the 15 on reservations needed for that.
Not need it. Okay. Not needed at all. All right,
So unless they want a VIP table right?
Exactly.  
Okay. All right. Super. So you got the VIP Table. 150 bucks. For how many people?
Up to eight.
Up to eight people  and once again, that includes the table. Two bottles of wine, snack tray, table service. And you get the whole table for the night, right?  
Yeah, Exactly.  
That's pretty good. Pretty good Deal. Less than 20 bucks a person. For those of you that don't want to pay the 1 50 come out, enjoy the food truck, the chocolates. And, of course, some great wine from Rocky River vineyards.
That would be great.
Yeah, Laura McDonald from Rocky River Vineyards. Thank you so much for coming in studio today. Telling us about your event, and we'll hope to see out there.
Okay. Thank you.
All right, you guys stay too. We're gonna wrap up the show in just a minute, whether your
Once again, I want to thank our guest today Stewart Jonap, director of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and Laura McDonald from Rocky River Vineyards. We appreciate them taking their time to speak with us. I really hope that you will take some of this information we've given you and utilize it speaking to you guys. You can get some culture, and then you can go head down to the vineyards and get a little spirit as well, so make sure you take advantage of that. But most of all, just spend some quality time with your significant other. I know that's what's important to me and my wife, especially when the kids are going every which way, and they have their practices and they're things that they have to do and their jobs that they have to be at. It gets hard to just spend quality time together. So make sure, no matter what, that you just carve out some time for each other, especially over Valentine's Day, and just enjoy each other's company before I let you go. I want to jump off topic just a little bit today and it concerns something that I saw on social media this week, and I feel like I needed to talk to you guys about it. This country has been through a tumultuous week, to say the least. I think we would all agree with that. The impeachment trial for President, Trump concluded. We had the night before the acquittal we had the State of the Union address that obviously there was a lot of contempt from those people who are not fans of the president, and it concluded with our speaker of the House ripping up his speech at its conclusion. During the course of the speech, Rush Limbaugh, who has been a conservative talk show host for the past 30 years, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Obviously, not everyone in the room or frankly, the country was a fan of that. But it is the president's prerogative to give that award to whomever he chooses. But that's not the point of what I'm talking to you about, either. I was reading online just it's, um, different comments about the evening about what was going on in the country, and usually I stay out of things. I take the approach of Dory from finding Nemo when she said, Just keep swimming. I just keep scrolling even though sometimes certain things were said that really get under my skin and I wants so bad to tell these people how wrong they are. But I digress because I always check myself and realize you know what? You're not the smartest person in the room. You don't have all the answers all the time, and frankly, it's not worth it. You're not going to convince them. They're not gonna convince you. So what's the point? But there was a comment I read yesterday that really took me back, and it hit me at a very deep level, and the person was talking about Rush Limbaugh and I don't even know this person. It was a comment on a friend of mine's page, but she said to quote her, I'm not sad he has cancer. Well, that that made me take a moment because I've watched three family members close family members, including my own father, died from cancer. It is a slow, painful death. I wouldn't wish on anyone and to even say, I'm not sad somebody has cancer. Is that the point we've reached in this country where our political ideologies are so important to us that we don't care that another human being has a horribly painful terminal disease? Is that how low we've gone? It breaks my heart for this country that people would stoop so low as to say something is vile as I'm not sad they have cancer. I don't expect people to mourn them, and I certainly don't think you're gonna lose a night's sleep over it. But, man, can we not at least acknowledge that this person is a human being with people that love him and are going to miss him when he's gone? Can we not at least acknowledge that we sit here and talk about love conquering all and tolerance for each other. And yet we're willing to drop something as violent, disgusting as what was said on that post without even thinking about it and then justify it. I tell you this story, because as we get into this political season, I know it's gonna get bad. It's already bad. And if it's bad now in February, I don't even want to know what it's gonna be like in November. But I implore you, if you feel the need to post something on Facebook, if you feel the need to post something on social media, please think about what you're posting. Because once it's out there, it is out there forever. You cannot take it back, no matter how bad you might want. You just look at these celebrities who have lost their jobs because of something they tweeted 10 years ago. So I ask you think about what you're saying before you post it and don't post angry. That's all I have for today. I appreciate you listening to me and letting me go off on a tangent for a little bit. Next week we're going to do something that I actually wanted to do last month we're gonna be talking about Cabarrus County in the twenties. What is ahead for this region in this decade. I'm looking forward to having some great discussion about that. In the meantime, I want to thank my sponsors. Atlantic Bay Mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center. Cabarrus Center. Certec Automotive, The Circle, Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, Merle Norman Cosmetics and Edie`s Salon and your CBD Store of Concord. As always, please remember to support those that support us. I've been your host, Jason Huddle, go out and love on somebody.

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