‘The Heart and Soul of Magic’ comes to Fayetteville State University

09Magic Prepare to be amazed at “The Heart and Soul of Magic,” hitting the Seabrook Auditorium stage Saturday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. Fayetteville State University welcomes magicians Randy “Ran’D” Shine, Jamahl Keyes, Kid Ace and Hip Hop Juggler for this event.

According to Aaron Singleton, personal relations representative for FSU’s Seabrook Performance Series, “We talked to folks at Fort Bragg … we thought (this show) was something that would appeal to families and people of all ages.”

Steve Mack, a fellow staff member at Seabrook, commented on the acts, saying, “When we put the series together for this year, we looked for a variety of entertainment … we talked about doing something that would appeal to the military, families and students in the area.”

Magical comedian Randy Shine has been entertaining a variety of audiences for more than 10 years. A highly acclaimed performer, Shine has presented at such prestigious events as the 44th Presidential Inauguration Banquet and Ball for President Barack Obama. Moreover, Shine teaches about magic at universities throughout the country and various U.S. military bases around the world; he also performs in hospitals for children with terminal illnesses.

Shine has even been a producer for “The Heart and Soul of Magic” tour itself. He will share the stage with Jamahl Keyes, another comedic magician who blends interactive laughs with classic magic. “Keyes is, in his own rite, an ‘ace-magician’ — he does workshops on team-building and becoming a better person,” said Singleton.

Kid Ace will put a fresh spin on the show by mixing magic with illusion. Besides his performances across the globe, he has entranced audiences on his “North American Tour” and starred on season three of the Netflix sensation “Bill Nye Saves the World.”

Kid Ace specializes in infusing magic with elements of today’s culture. His understanding of fashion and music influences his performances in a way everyone will love.

Another culturally savvy magician, Paris, or the “Hip Hop Juggler” as nicknamed by Al Roker, has been performing for more than 10 years. His comedy, stunts and juggling skills have wowed audiences from the White House to “The Today Show.” Paris has taught his fans how to juggle at various conventions, and you can find him showing off his skills in Thalía and Natti Natasha music video “No Me Acuerdo.”

“You can expect to be amazed, to be dazzled — you can expect to laugh a lot,” Singleton said of the show. “If you don’t want to have fun, you shouldn’t show up.”

Of the performers, Mack said, “They’re all good at just getting everyone in the audience involved. The fact that we were able to package all four of these artists really made it something unique.”

“The Heart and Soul of Magic” will take place at Seabrook Auditorium at Fayetteville State University, 1200 Murchison Rd. To purchase tickets, visit www.etix.com. For more information, call 910-672-1724 or visit www.facebook.com/jwseabrookauditoriumThis event is open to the public.

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‘Seize the Moment’ at Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast and day of service

08mlk The Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council presents its 26th annual “Honoring Dr. MLK’s Legacy” Prayer Breakfast Monday, Jan. 21, from 8 a.m.-10 a. m. at the Crown Expo Center.

“Our keynote speaker this year is Joseph High, who is a recently retired corporate executive, and this is his third retirement,” said Dr. Maxie Dobson, president of The Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council. “I think that everyone will enjoy him. … He is a direct recipient of benefiting from the legacy of Dr. King, and I am grateful that he accepted to be the speaker for the 2019 prayer breakfast.”

Dobson added that one of the goals for the breakfast this year is an expeditious execution, saying he would like for it to be no longer than two hours. The reason is that, typically, there are 1,500 attendees who have to get through the breakfast line.

The event also includes a day of service component. “The tradition has been that we encourage all who are attending to find some means of rendering some service in honor of the holiday; (it’s for those who are inspired by) the encouragement by Dr. King’s wife to make it a day ‘on’ rather than a day ‘off,’” said Dobson.

He continued, “For many individuals, it is an off day from their regular job. But (Dr. King’s wife) said rather than considering it an off day, consider doing some kind of service in your community.”

The Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council’s theme for this year’s event is “Seize the Moment.”

“The theme is to promote a sense of urgency ... to first identify the opportunities that the individual can engage themselves to facilitate and then make it an urgency to do so,” said Dobson. “The Tabernacle of Miracles Church is collecting socks and blankets for the homeless, and it is very satisfying to know that we will be able to contribute those to the homeless shelter.”

Dobson speculated on what Dr. King would say about the present state of America if he were alive today. “I think Dr. King would ... rightly assess that the values … he espoused — particularly to love community — are not being pursued in a large-scale way,” said Dobson.

“I think that he would encourage us not to allow what he gave his life for to be in vain. (I think he would us encourage us) to remind ourselves that we are one community and to celebrate our differences as opposed to finding an occasion to condemn our differences based upon whatever ideology one may choose.”

Dobson added, “I believe we can anticipate our best breakfast yet. We look forward to seeing everyone at the event.”

Tickets cost $20. For more information, visit www.fayettevillemincouncil.org or call 910-624-7785.


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The man behind the myths: Meet Pitt Dickey

11Pitt Dickey Readers of Up & Coming Weekly have likely encountered Pitt Dickey’s funny and sometimes outlandish biweekly opinion column. He has a knack for combining Greek mythology, random factoids, quotes from old T.V. commercials, politics and social commentary in a way that leaves readers chuckling and, on occasion, slightly bewildered.

Dickey is more than just a funny writer, though. He’s an attorney who specializes in advocating for people in need of Social Security disability benefits. He became a partner with Smith, Dickey & Dempster P.A. in 1978 and has been working Social Security disability cases for more than 35 years.

“There’s very little funny in disability,” he said of his career. “There are a lot of people that need help.”

While Dickey likes to poke fun at authority in his column, that strategy connects to a serious ideology. “(Authority bothers me) when it squishes the little people,” he said. “The poor and the sick don’t have that much of a lobbying ability like big pharma.

“Representing people with Social Security disability, basically I’m representing people who the government says are not sick enough to get disability benefits.

“I say they are, and then we have a hearing, and the judge decides for us.”

In a seeming paradox, Pitt said he knew he wanted to be a lawyer as a child because he wanted to know what the rules were. As an adult, he said, he still believes in the importance of rules.

“If we don’t follow the rules, then it’s whoever’s strongest gets to eat the weak people. These folks I represent in disability cases, they’re at the end of their rope. They have no money, and they have no insurance for the most part, unless they’re military. And I can use the rules to help them.”

In 1996, Dickey was working both Social Security disability and family law cases, which he described as “the equivalent of being a legal proctologist.” He needed an outlet, and he’d taken several English classes as an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the early ’70s.

Back to 1996. Dickey ran into Bill Bowman, who had recently become the new owner of Up & Coming Weekly, at Haymont Grill. Dickey asked if he could write a column for the paper.

Dickey’s only foray into published humorous writing at that point was an opinion piece he’d written during his adolescent years at Seventy-First High School. The topic? The lunchroom. The entire edition of that school newspaper was recalled. “You can’t poke fun at the school lunchroom,” is what he learned.

Back again to 1996. “(Bill) said sure, send one in, and I did. And the rest is history.

“The column in Up & Coming Weekly allows me to poke at the powers that be. … You can’t go out and make people do things, but if you point out that what they’re doing is ridiculous, that might in some way change things. Authority doesn’t like humor.”

Ultimately, he said, he also just genuinely enjoys entertaining people. The key to both his writing process and to understanding his articles, he said, is “the drinking of coffee. Then everything makes sense.”

Since 1998, Dickey has also written a monthly column covering various need-to-know subjects for Social Security disability claimants. It appears online at www.seniormag.com and in several local publications.

He’s been married for more than 40 years to Lani Dickey, a longtime educator at FTCC who recently retired.

“We met on the steps of the institute of government on the first day of law school (at UNC),” he said. “She was a Davidson and I was a Dickey, and we were lined up in alphabetical order. Isn’t that beautiful? If she’d been a Smith, who knows?”

Photo: Pitt Dickey

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What happened to Virginia Dare?

15Secret Token What really happened to Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents born in the New World? This is the same Virginia Dare whom I suggested recently belonged on “The World Almanac’s” list of famous North Carolinians.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Sir Walter Raleigh’s organization and establishment of the colony on Roanoke Island as described by Andrew Lawler in his book “The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke.” He called the expensive and intricate preparations for the colony “the Elizabethan equivalent of the Apollo program.”

In July of 1587, the colonists arrived on Roanoke Island led by its governor, John White, whose granddaughter, Virginia Dare, was born Aug. 18. A few days later, White sailed to England for much-needed supplies. When he finally returned in August 1590, the colony had disappeared, leaving only a carving of “Croatoan” on a tree as a possible clue.

There are a lot of answers to the question of what happened to Virginia Dare, her family and their fellow colonists. Most are legends. Some say Virginia Dare grew up into a lovely young woman and was transformed into a white doe, an animal that still haunts coastal North Carolina. Another story says she and other colonists made their way to Robeson County where some locals will show you her burial site near Red Springs.

Less imaginative authors suggest that the colonists, including Virginia Dare, died from hunger, disease or a massacre by Native Americans. Others suggest that the colonists joined nearby Native Americans and were absorbed by them.

In “The Secret Token,” Lawler gives a history of the developing interest in Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony. After her baptism certificate in 1587, there was no public mention of her until 1834. In that year, Harvard-trained historian George Bancroft published his influential “A History of the United States.” Lawler writes, “It is difficult to overstate his impact on the way we see Raleigh’s colony today.”

For Bancroft, the colony was “the germinating seed” for our country and its institutions, “just as important as its revolutionary coming of age.”

Lawler writes that for Bancroft, “Roanoke was, in essence, the nation’s humble Bethlehem, and Virginia Dare was its infant savior destined for sacrifice.”

Bancroft’s version sparked an explosion of writing and activity around Virginia Dare. In the 1890s, some white supremacy organizations adopted her. Lawler writes, “Roanoke Island emerged as a pilgrimage site for Anglo-Americans seeking to reaffirm their racial dominance at the annual celebration of Virginia Dare’s birth.”

According to Lawler, Marjorie Hudson — Chatham County author of “Searching for Virginia Dare” — takes a different and less exclusive path. She writes that Virginia Dare “is the archetypal mother, a source, like a great river of strength and blood for descendants of a convergence of two great peoples.”

Lawler chronicles efforts to learn where the colonists, if they survived, went. To Croatoan, now a part of Hatteras Island? To Site X, a place marked under a patch in a map drawn by John White, located where the Roanoke River flows into the Albemarle Sound? Or to the Chesapeake Bay near where the Jamestown Colony settled and where Powhatan, the local Indian king, massacred them?

Or near Edenton, where in 1937, a California man said he found a large stone? It was inscribed with a message from Virginia Dare’s mother, Eleanor, to her father, John White, reporting the death of her husband, her daughter Virginia, and other colonists. Lawler’s account of this probable fake “Dare Stone” is almost as interesting as the story of the colonists told by Harnett County native and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Green’s outdoor drama, “The Lost Colony.”

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