April 4, 2013

Wilmington

Photo courtesy of Joe del Tufo

Photo courtesy of Joe del Tufo

This little city has its problems. But the biggest problem is that too many people have given up. Not everyone — there are plenty of people who are committed to making Wilmington vital and vibrant. They open small businesses and restaurants. They bend over backwards to nurture an arts scene. They need your support.

Maybe you go home at the end of the workday and are afraid to come back downtown after dark. “Too much crime.” “Not enough parking.”

What if you changed your mind? What if you decided to get a bunch of friends together and check out the restaurants and enjoy the artistic and cultural events that are available in Wilmington? There are plenty of magazines and websites and Facebook pages where you can find information about all the events. There are plenty of email subscriptions to make getting that information even easier. It’s easy to find a variety of things to do. But for cryin’ out loud, do something.

Explore. A good time to start is the first Friday of every month, when venues all around town participate in the art loop. You might be surprised at the cool little shops and galleries and restaurants buzzing with people.

Did you know that there’s a cool little Chilean restaurant on 9th Street called Pochi? Empanadas, ceviche and an expansive selection of wines make for a great dinner.

Head down Market Street to World Cafe Live at The Queen. In addition to their regular offerings of world-class acts, they’re hosting a new Monday Night Spotlight series. You get in free and can enjoy a variety of local arts organizations — opera, theater, music, comedy. On a recent Monday night, OperaDelaware offered selections from their production of Verdi’s Macbeth, coupled with actors from the Delaware Shakespeare Festival reading the same scenes from the play. The house was packed, plus happy hour deals made for a cheap date.

Gable Music Ventures has taken up residence at the Queen as well and offers a singer-songwriter showcase. Gayle Dillman and Jeremy Hebbel created Gable to give area musicians of all ages a chance to perform in front of a live audience.

Wilmington even has its own improv troupe: Fearless Improv, which performs on the third Friday of every month at the Chris White Gallery on 7th and Shipley. Fearless is brought to you by City Theater Company, creators of brash, boisterous, in-your-face theater in the “black box” at OperaDelaware on 4th and Poplar. Fearless Improv will also be featured at World Café Live in that Monday Night Spotlight this month.

If you have kids, take them down to the Delaware Children’s Museum at 550 Justison Street, and let them explore, learn, discover — and have fun. Plenty of great restaurants to check out at the Riverfront, too. And don’t forget the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts — it’s always free to get in to enjoy the work of acclaimed artists.

Great news for movie lovers: Wilmington finally has its own film festival, from the folks who brought us the late, great Newark Film Festival. WilmFilm runs from April 25 to 28 at the all-new Penn Cinema Riverfront.

Those are just a few possibilities. All of these organizations and people — and countless others — are committed to a fun, exciting, livable Wilmington. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Support these businesses. Support the arts. And create a demand for more: more restaurants, more parking, more arts and entertainment, and, yes, more safety. The city will respond. Wilmington will feel like a city should. And you will be a part of it.

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