Ashby has begun filming in Charlotte, with Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts, and Sarah Silverman among the cast.

A lot of fans who are excited about having the Hornets name, brand, and colors return to its rightful city, are holding on too tightly to nostalgia.

The Gumball 3000 Rally traveled from "Miami 2 Ibiza," stopping in several major cities along the way and wowing audiences with its cars.

According to Family Dollar's history section on its website, a young Leon Levine found success opening discount stores in low to middle income neighborhoods.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I received an email this afternoon from the University of South Carolina Athletics, with the subject line: Brag on your Gamecocks‏. The email contained the link to a video of highlights from several USC sports from the 2013-2014 seasons, and a list of the "Gamecock Top 10" from the year. As a proud alum, I nearly busted out into a "Gaaaaaaaammmmmmme ... Cocccccccckkkkkkks," fascinated by how much our talented student-athletes have accomplished.

My view at the Gamecocks homecoming game last year. Photo by Jarvis Holliday

Here's the list, verbatim:

2013-14 GAMECOCK TOP 10
1. Two SEC Champions (Women’s Basketball and Equestrian).
2. Capital One Bowl Champions.
3. Two National Coaches of the Year (Boo Major, Equestrian, and Dawn Staley, Women’s Basketball).
4. Eight teams finished the season ranked in the top 25 nationally in latest poll or national championship of their respective sports (Equestrian - 2nd, Football – 4th, Women’s Golf – 6th, Women’s Basketball – 8th, Men’s Golf – 9th, Women’s Soccer – 15th, Women’s Indoor Track & Field, 19th, Baseball – 23rd).
5. 28 All-America and 20 All-SEC selections.
6. One of only four schools in the nation to have its men’s and women’s golf, men's and women's tennis, softball, and baseball teams all invited to play in their NCAA Championships.
7. Leader in SEC Academic Honor Roll Selections.
8. 59 Student-Athletes earned a 4.0 GPA and 300 Student-Athletes earned a 3.0 GPA.
9. Student-Athletes performed more than 5,000 hours of community service.
10. THANK YOU to the more than 1.16 million fans who attended Gamecock home athletic events last season!

And there was also this line: "What would you add to this list? Tweet it to us @GamecocksOnline."

Since they asked, I would've added Jadeveon Clowney being selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft to the list. Perhaps they wanted to highlight team and overall accomplishments first, but that fact would've been on my list considering that's the first time a Gamecock football player has ever been the top draft pick, and it represents how strong our football program has become in that these are the caliber of players we now successfully recruit.

Below is the highlight reel.


I'm even more excited about what the 2014-15 sports seasons will bring... forever to thee!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Coming off of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, in which we were all being patriotic Americans (and by that I mean shooting fireworks, cooking on the grill, going to the movies and baseball games, and taking long naps), Carolina Panthers' running back DeAngelo Williams displayed true patriotism. He shared on his Facebook and Twitter accounts Monday that he gave up his business class seat on his flight to a Marine.


On Facebook, DeAngelo added this caption to the photo: "He just doesn't know it yet but he will be sitting in this seat when he boards the plane. I always give up my 1st class seat! #isalutethetroops!"

And on Twitter, he remarked: "I always give up my seat to military if my seat is better! I truly appreciate our troops #flyingtherightway"

His public display of goodwill made the rounds on several national news outlets, pop culture websites, sports blogs, and, of course, Charlotte news, and was lauded by many on the social networking sites. But it was also met with criticism by some on social media who took issue with the NFL star being "showy" about his good deed. Love and hate comes with the territory on the Internet, so...

But the online comments also quickly took an unexpected turn. Many commenters said that DeAngelo had been duped by a faker because the so-called Marine's uniform display broke protocol:

"You don't wear shooting badges while displaying medals in the dress blue alpha uniform. Anyone with that much time in service would know better. Also looks like the silver and bronze star medals are incorrectly placed by precedence."

"I'm gonna be honest here. He looks like a "faker". I'm a Marine and he is wearing his cover indoors. NO MARINE WEARS THEIR COVER INDOORS. Something is fishy DeAngelo Williams, don't give up your seat to him!"

"That is a great thing to do, however, I am a Marine and that man is NOT! He is faking."

Perhaps the Marine in question, who appears to be an elderly man, will come forward to clear the air. Regardless, I hope this doesn't cause others to second-guess their kind gestures to servicemen and women in the future.

It should also be noted that actress Amy Adams made headlines a week earlier for giving up her first-class seat to a soldier. Except in this case, the notable deed was announced on social media by someone else--ESPN's Jemele Hill--who happened to witness the act.




Saturday, June 28, 2014

No Grease Barbershop is expanding into south Charlotte/Pineville, as it prepares to open at Carolina Place mall on Thursday, July 3. This will be the Charlotte-based franchise's fourth location, which includes barbershops at Time Warner Cable Arena in Uptown, Mosaic Village near Johnson C. Smith University, and at Concord Mills mall. No Grease also operates a barber school.

The new No Grease location at Carolina Place. Photos credit: instagram.com/nogreasebarbershop

I told part of the No Grease story in a feature I wrote last summer for Creative Loafing, that took readers inside Charlotte's barbershop culture. Twin brothers Damian and Jermaine Johnson opened their first No Grease shop in June 1997, when they were in their early 20s. It's been impressive and inspiring to see how much their business has grown, along with their partner Charlie Petty, and how much of an asset they've become to Charlotte as a brand, as small business owners, and as philanthropists.


The No Grease guys celebrated their 17th anniversary with a cocktail gala last Friday. Check out the snazzy video recap below.



Friday, June 27, 2014

The Mint Museum Randolph is hosting a special event this Sunday, June 29 to showcase the works of several local photographers. Billed as "Bearing Witness: Seeing Through the Lens of Charlotte Photographers," the event will shine the spotlight on impactful black-and-white and color images taking throughout the city.

The featured photographers are: Jasiatic Anderson, De’Angelo Bethune, Daniel Coston, Stephen Graddick IV, Sandra Guynes, Jon Strayhorn, and Eboni Wallace Lewis. I personally know, and am familiar with the works of, Jasiatic, Daniel, Stephen, and Jon. Jon is a good friend who I have the opportunity to work with often, and I frequently use his photos in my blogs.

Event photography, such as this shot from a JCSU commencement ceremony, is one of
Jon Strayhorn's specialties
. Credit: mediaartscollective.com

Each photographer will talk a little about the photos they're showing, and attendees will have a chance to mix and mingle with them during the reception. The event starts at 3 p.m., and is free and open to the public. I think it's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

This showcase is inspired by the renowned exhibit, Bearing Witness: Sonia Handelman Meyer and the New York Photo League, which is comprised of nearly 100 documentary photographs taken by New York City photographers in the 1940s and '50s, who explored their neighborhood streets with their cameras, capturing the lives of ordinary people as they had never before been depicted. It's been on display at the Mint since November and actually concludes this Sunday, so you'll get a chance to see it at this event if you haven't yet.

Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Rd., 704-337-2000, mintmuseum.org.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Cam Newton Foundation brings its Second Annual 7 v 7 High School Football Tournament to Charlotte this week, June 26 and 27. The tournament series began at the end of last month in Atlanta, then went on to Birmingham, and now it's Charlotte's turn, with the games taking place at Hough High School. It's open to the public to attend, admission is $3 per person, and proceeds will benefit the Cam Newton Foundation. So, this is your chance to see some of the area's best high school football players compete, while supporting a foundation that does a lot to aid and lead youth programs in Charlotte (where Cam lives and plays for the Carolina Panthers) and in Atlanta (his hometown).

Cam Newton performs drills with high school players at last year's Charlotte tournament.
Photos credit: Cam Newton Foundation

Each city features several teams of high school players that registered weeks in advance (teams consist of up to 20 players and four coaches), and--new this year--the top two teams from each city, along with select others, will play in the CNF 7v7 championship on July 11 and 12 at Nation Ford High School, just across the Charlotte border in Fort Mill.

Hough High won the Charlotte tournament last year, receiving $2,500 for the school's athletic department, and the second- and third-place finishers received $1,500 and $1,000 respectively. Team trophies and individual awards were also given.


Below is a short video recap from last year's Charlotte tournament, at which Cam was actively involved. "I wanna see unbelievable talent, I wanna see unbelievable sportsmanship, and I wanna see unbelievable swag," said the Panthers' star quarterback.



Monday, June 23, 2014

It's time to go on the hunt for celebrity sightings again. A new movie, titled Ashby, began filming in Charlotte last week, packing some star power, with Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts, and Sarah Silverman among the cast. Mickey and Sarah are industry veterans, of course (he's in the long-awaited sequel to Sin City, due out in August; she's one of the funniest--and one of my favorite--comedians of the last 15 years; her We Are Miracles HBO stand-up special last year was awesome). And Nat and Emma are two of Hollywood's hottest young actors (he co-stars in The Fault In Our Stars, which opened a couple of weeks ago to rave reviews and a No. 1 gross at the box office ($48 million opening weekend); you probably know Emma from her early days on Nickelodeon and a handful of movie roles she's had since, before co-starring in last year's blockbuster comedy We're the Millers).

Nat Wolff shared this photo Friday from the set of Ashby. Credit: instagram.com/natandalex

Not many details have been published about Ashby, but it's described as a comedy-drama that follows the paths of a high school student (Nat) and a retired CIA assassin (Mickey) who only has months to live. It's being directed by Tony McNamara.

Emma's character, Eloise, looks very wholesome, and even a little Southern, based on the photo she tweeted yesterday.


Nat tweeted a photo from the set a few days ago as well, which I believe is from the practice field of a Charlotte high school.

And as usual for movies and TV shows that film in Charlotte (Homeland will always be in our hearts), Ashby is casting locally for extras. Tona B. Dahlquist Casting is handling the calls for extras, which you can find listed on the company's Facebook page (you'll also find calls for Charlotte extras for Cinemax's TV series Banshee and an MGM family movie called Max).

Ashby is scheduled to film in Charlotte for about five weeks, and will hit movie theaters some time in 2015. You can check for updates on its IMDB page.


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