The sound of swooshing nets fills the rafters of the PNC Arena as the NCAA women's basketball tournament shuffles into the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds, pinning the Raleigh Division's top remaining teams against each other in a do-or-die sprint toward the Final Four. Rather than getting pelted with constant shots while reclining in the backboards' cozy round hammocks, hoops fans can perch in 100-level seats to witness the on-court madness, which has already seen the 13th-seeded Marist Red Foxes bust brackets by ousting fourth-seeded Georgia in the opening round. The Elite Eight game on March 27 will crown a regional champion, sending them on a trip to the national semifinal in Denver, where the Kingston Region's own victor awaits the chance to play rock-paper-scissors for a coveted spot in the title game.
In 1947, the North Carolina Museum of Art made its initial acquisition, hauling in 139 works of European and American art purchased with state funds. In the 65 years since, the museum’s collection has continued to balloon, and today features pieces that range from Egyptian funerary art to sculpture and vase paintings from Greece and Rome. The 164-acre campus surrounds visitors with creativity around every corner, including across the museum park, where more than a dozen works showcase inspirations that were culled from the natural world or extracted from the brains of scarecrows who donated their bodies to science.
During summer months, the Arts in the Museum Park festival series organizes week after week of music and film events. On the weekends, rather than sewing their socks together, siblings can get closer with Family Fun Saturdays. Free guided tours weave guests through the museum’s halls daily. Visits can be capped off with a stop at the museum gift shop or at the elegant Iris restaurant, which dishes out contemporary American cuisine with regional and international twists.
Located a stone’s throw from Symphony Lake, Koka Booth Amphitheatre emerges out of 14 acres of hardwoods and pines to offer up its stage to traveling national acts, theatrical productions, and movie screenings. Although its wood and earth-toned beams camouflage the venue within its natural surroundings, passersby can notice its sleek exterior glistening in the moonlight during nighttime performances. The outdoor amphitheater––designed by William Rawn Associates of Boston, which also constructed the Cambridge Public Library––seats up to 7,000 people on its spacious lawn, crescent deck, or loft bird nests.
Start by selecting any plate, bowl, vase, mug, jug, or spittoon from Bisque Art's collection of more than 800 finely crafted artifacts (pieces start at $2.50). After you make a sketch and pick out paint colors, carefully direct your brush in tune with your dreams and wishes, letting your creative juices flow wildly onto the dinnerware of your choosing and spill onto the floor that is thoughtfully provided. Once you're finished, leave the mess and masterpiece on the table. Bisque Art will clean up the mess, then glaze and fire your piece in a kiln; it'll be ready for pick-up in a week or less. Bringing some grub and guzzle for artistic motivation is fine; short of bringing in a keg or a fondue pot, you can make this a dinner theater of arts and crafts.
Triangle Rock Club's state-of-the-art facility houses more than 9,000 square feet of expertly crafted terrain with upward of 100 routes. During small-size classes, drop-in sessions, and rock-climbing camps, novice and seasoned climbers scale freestanding boulders, dodging manmade obstacles while gripping the wall's slanted surface. Founded by two former Marines, Triangle Rock Club offers customers a large fitness center where guests can complement climbing's full-body workout with weights, kettlebells, squat racks, and spontaneous arm-wrestling matches. Other amenities include a climate-controlled interior and a lounge with WiFi and an HDTV.
Formed in 2010 by merging the region's best opera talent into a single company, the North Carolina Opera pairs an internationally acclaimed cast with a full orchestra in its engaging, modern rendition of Gounod's Faust. Director James Marvel's innovative staging sets the stage aflicker in original video projections, which incorporate English supertitles that immerse audiences in the meaning of the French libretto. Tenor Dimitri Pittas, who has sung key roles with the Vienna State Opera and Metropolitan Opera, plays the eponymous scholar who trades his soul for the promise of youth, riches, pleasure, and unlimited soda refills offered by the devious Mephistopheles, devilishly embodied by Lyric Opera Center alumnus Christian Van Horn. The impassioned music and tragic action swirl around Mary Dunleavy as poor maiden Marguerite, who'll sing with formidable sopranic power. Meymandi Concert Hall's orchestra-level seats and warm, clear acoustics throughout afford prime views and excellent ear-views of the sweeping symphonic action.