Durham (City of)

Gladys Knight
Courtesy of DPAC

The Durham Performing Arts Center continues to be one of the top theaters and concert halls in the country.

New numbers from the trade magazine, Pollstar, ranks DPAC fourth in the US based on attendance.

Pollstar - 2013 - Top 5-ranked US Theatres:

1-Radio City Music Hall - New York, NY

2-The Colosseum At Caesars Palace - Las Vegas, NV

3-Orpheum Theatre - Minneapolis, MN

4-DPAC - Durham, NC

5-Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE - Los Angeles, CA

Ana_Fuji / Flickr

Every year, Durham Rescue Mission holds a Christmas Eve dinner for the needy. They serve turkey and ham. And for the kids, there's a toy giveaway.

But now, just five days out, the group is 6,000 toys short of what they need in order to give all the kids some new playthings for the holiday.

"We accept new and used toys throughout the year, but at Christmas time we do like to give a new toy to the kids," said DRM CEO, Ernie Mills. "What kind of new toy? I tell the parents, any kind of toy you would buy for your kids, our kids would love it also."

DSA Chorus
Leoneda Inge

The Fisk Jubilee Singers are known world-wide for their flawless voices and performance of Negro Spirituals.  Paul Kwami is the choir’s musical director and is on a five city, high school southern tour to personally help young voices hone and preserve the songs that have inspired people of all cultures.

Kwami’s first stop: The Durham School of the Arts.

American Underground
Leoneda Inge

The American Underground in Durham’s American Tobacco Historic District has been selected by Google to be a part of its “Entrepreneurs Tech Hub Network.”

The American Underground was launched three years ago – a home away from home for many young techies.  The "Terminator 2 Judgment Day" pinball machine gets a workout.

Maureen Joy Charter School
Leoneda Inge

There’s a section of East Durham undergoing major revitalization, and in the middle of it all is the oldest existing school building in the city.

But today, more than 100 years later, the old East Durham Graded School has been renovated in grand style.  The project is getting a lot of attention and economic developers and neighbors hope it’s the spark that will keep community revitalization going.

A supermarket in Durham is going to offer healthy snacks in the check out line.
Tijmen Stam via Creative Commons

Shoppers at a local grocery in Durham will have the option of checking out at an aisle filled with healthy snack choices. So instead of lollipops and candy bars, last minute purchases at Los Primos Market might include apples, raisins or yogurt. Erica Samoff coordinates Partnership for a Healthy Durham, a community coalition that's collaborating with the East Durham Children's Initiative.

A homemade solicitation sign and cup, panhandling.
Brokensphere via Wikimedia Commons

People ticketed for breaking panhandling rules in Durham may soon be able to avoid the criminal court system.  The change would mean sending violators of the solicitation or panhandling ordinance through Community Life Court – instead of paying fines or doing time in jail.

An architect's rendering of American Underground's offices planned for Raleigh.
Alliance Architecture

A new hub for startup businesses in Raleigh is set to open this fall. 

Durham-based American Underground says it's opening space enough for 25 startups on Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh.  The company sells affordable commercial space to Durham entrepreneurs in exchange for connecting them with investors and providing other support.

Three generations of women wearing clothing bought at Smitten Boutique.

Food is like a religion in the South.  It’s well-known that Durham was named the "Tastiest City in the South" by Southern Living.  But the food scene here is relatively new.  Restaurants, food trucks, and coffee shops opened up in recent years to make Durham's cuisine what it is.

Several feet of flood waters trap cars on West Franklin St. in Chapel Hill Sunday afternoon.
Bart Smith / Facebook

Residents of Orange and Durham counties are cleaning up after torrential rain led to flood waters several feet deep. 

Officials in Chapel Hill say rescuers evacuated at least 40 people Sunday from flooded homes and vehicles.  They were taken to a Red Cross shelter at Smith Middle School. 

EPA Air Monitor Bench
Leoneda Inge

The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a new way to monitor air pollution and it includes a park bench.  There’s a new bench outside the South Regional Public Library in Durham . It’s the only one of its kind in the country.  If you sit down – and look up – you see solar panels and a spinning wind sensor.  And you can use your smart phone to scan a QR barcode to get up to the minute air quality stats.

David Alsobrooks

When Nike used the Beatle’s song “Revolution” in an ad campaign, the Beatles sued. Their lawyer released a statement: “The Beatles’ position is that they don’t sing jingles to peddle sneakers, beer, pantyhose or anything else.” 

Paul Taylor Dance Company
American Dance Festival

The American Dance Festival is entering its 80th year as performances begin in Durham. 

The national festival opens Thursday at the Durham Performing Arts Center.  This year's celebration includes dance companies from as far away as Argentina, Ireland and Taiwan. 

D-Town Brass Performance
D-Town Brass / http://www.reverbnation.com/dtownbrass

  Andy McGowan is making his mark on Durham with the restaurant Geer Street Garden, but by night, he and, sometimes, 15 of his closest friends form D-Town Brass and jam until the early hours. They’ve just released two albums, “UR” and “Golden Belt.”

a tiny sculpture of hair and butterflies on top of a tiny sculpture
The Carrack

Who says bigger is always better? It seems that the smallest things hold our world together. If you unscrewed the back of your watch, you would see a whole world of washers and gears and screws that held together your concept of time. The Carrack recently opened the exhibit "TINY: Attention, Exploded." The exhibit works to explore how we relate to the small.

Back Porch Music Center Stage Logo
American Tobacco / American Tobacco

The Celtic powerhouse band Solas will kick off the 2013 Back Porch Music concert series in Durham.  Bluegrass, local blues, and much more will be a part of the four Back Porch concerts scheduled between May and October.

The crowds at the annual Back Porch Music concerts On The Lawn at American Tobacco Campus in Durham have grown so much that "the lawn" can no longer contain the anticipated numbers. This spring and summer  the concerts will be in a much bigger space and have a more festival like feel.

Shelly Green with Durham's award for the Tastiest Town in the South
Leoneda Inge

It’s a booming year for the Durham food scene. In February, four of its restaurants became James Beard semi-finalists, and today Southern Living magazine declared Durham the “Tastiest Town in the South.”


Yesterday was the first home game for the 2013 baseball season at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and fans gathered to watch the heroic Bulls defeat the Gwinnett Braves.

The Third Expression

  The Third Expression is an interesting hodgepodge of genres -- jazz, roots music and country -- and they only hit the Durham scene about two years ago.

tower, Durham, Durham tower,
Austin Lawrence Partners

Members of the Durham Historic Preservation Commission have voted to approve a 26-story mixed-use tower in the downtown area.  Colorado-based developer Austin Lawrence Partners plans to incorporate about 60 percent residential units and 40 percent retail and business space into the building.  Plans would also incorporate facades of older buildings into the high-rise's design. 

Eric Becoats, Superintendent Durham Public Schools
Dave DeWitt

Local school districts are bracing for funding cuts due to the federal sequestration. In Durham, the cuts from sequestration could be as much as $1.7 million. In Wake County - a much larger district - the same sequester cuts would total about $11 million.

And it's the most vulnerable students who will be affected.

"Most of the items that would be impacted would be some title one funding," said Eric Becoats, Durham's superintendent. "We would also expect to see some decreases in our exceptional children's funding that we receive from the federal government as well."


Organist Gary Brunotte has been playing music since he picked up an accordion at age 9. He went on to study and teach at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and has been writing, arranging, performing and recording ever since. 

Laura Candler

The new $119 million Durham County Courthouse opens this month on South Dillard Street in Durham. In addition to its location beside the jail, the 11-story building incorporates an array of new features, many focusing on efficient design and energy use. The building’s internal layout includes three separate areas of circulation - one for the public, one for courthouse staff, and a secured circulation area for transporting inmates. The only place that all three can converge is in one of its 20 courtrooms.

More beds are available for the homeless in Durham as the need for shelters continues to rise across North Carolina.  The Durham Rescue Mission has opened a new facility with beds for 88 men as well as a large kitchen and dining area.  The Triangle is among North Carolina's metropolitan areas where more people are looking for a meal and a place to sleep.  Durham Rescue Mission COO Rob Tart says shelters are also trying to adapt to new needs for the homeless population.

"I've been doing this for 17 years and we had very few intact families that showed up 17 years ago," says Tart.

  Not so long ago, Anna Rose Beck didn't think she could sing. She came to Durham to study biomedical engineering at Duke University, but eventually music pulled at her, and she decided to make it her life.