Week five of the RiverPark Center’s 21+ event series “DownTown Live” will celebrate women in the community and beyond with “Ladies Night” beginning at 6 p.m. tonight.
“We wanted a night to celebrate our local girls and their friendships,” said Grae Greer, RiverPark Center’s director of marketing and education. “As a woman with strong female friendships, I know how much fun it is to dress up and hang out with her daughters.”
The Truist Plaza will feature DJ2Smuve playing music from 6-8 p.m. before the event’s Community Jukebox initiative public playlist and requests take over.
The square will also feature a cornhole and a mechanical bull.
The GhostLight Lounge will continue to hold its karaoke night from 8:30 p.m. to midnight, with the exception that attendees must sing songs by female artists.
Additionally, there will be $1 per minute chair massages courtesy of Spirit Spa LLC in the lobby and a screening of local production company Tinker Tone Pictures’ short film “The UFO Girl” in Cannon Hall beginning at 7 p.m. pm followed by a Q&A session.
In an interview with the RiverPark Center, the film’s director and screenwriter, Shane Devon, said the film was in keeping with the evening’s theme, highlighting her “strong women” and “mother-daughter bonding” experiences. as well as “an independent teenager who refuses to conform to expectations just because she’s a girl.
Greer said this is the first night the event will “lean into the grown-up nature”, such as offering a “men’s revue”, which will feature a mix of amateur and professional dancers, taking place from 9 p.m. at 11 p.m. at the Jody Berry Theater.
“This is a group of local men that you might recognize from our local groups, gyms, arts programs and more,” she said. “A lot of these guys have never been on stage before, so I’m thrilled to see their confidence showing.”
The star act of the evening will be DT on the Rocks, also known as the three-piece band Dustin Taylor on the Rocks, from 6-8 p.m. at the Atmos Courtyard.
Greer said the group was one of their personal favorites and he had had good experiences with them in the past.
“In 2020, we continued to offer streaming gigs as well as small masked gigs and DT on the Rocks was one of the ones we asked for,” she said. “We’ve been fans for a while and will jump on them to get them back whenever we can.”
Vocalist and guitarist Dustin Taylor is looking forward to being a part of the new event.
“It’s cool that the RiverPark and this group of people are still working to make things happen this season,” Taylor said. “We’re really excited to be a part of it….”
The lineup consists of Taylor, bassist Leland Herzog and drummer Dexter Payne.
Taylor said the band worked hard to create their own brand called “groovin’ blues”, “play what we feel” and be authentic in their performances.
“You’ll know the (songs) – it’ll sound like it’s meant to; but it will be a representation of what we’re going through in the band during this time or this week or this season or whatever and being able to connect with people that way,” Taylor said. “(That’s) what we hope to do and that’s what we really love to do.”
The group leans more towards original music, while their covers range from familiar songs, such as Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” to lesser-known Elvis Presley tunes and older blues tunes.
“We choose the covers that we play not necessarily based on how many people are going to find out, but how we can portray it to feel like we’re delivering the message…” Taylor said.
Taylor believes blues music is about connecting with others and hopes to create that connection with the crowd that stops to see them.
“Anyone can experience it; everyone goes through tough times in their life and it’s all relative to them,” Taylor said. “It remains a very personal experience. I can sing a song and it might mean something totally different to me to someone else listening to it, but it also connects because we’re both feeling that song for whatever reason, or that moment. or this message. The blues – for me – is pretty much the root of all music to some degree (and) it has a very powerful way of connecting people.