Saturday, February 28, 2009

CIAA Coverage—I’ll Holla!

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/28/2009 No comments
CIAA Week is now CIAA Weekend and the parties and events are in full swing. I've been trying to balance work and play, and I plan to blog about my experiences in the next day or two—once I catch my breath. Check back for video from Thursday's T.I. and Young Jeezy concert as well my recap of several parties, including a day party I'm on my way to now. I'm also posting pics on Charlotte magazine's Spotted site.

It's crazy out here!

Anthony Hamilton surrounded by fans at his Grammy party last night at Cans.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

'Black In America' In Charlotte Today

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/26/2009 No comments
CNN is coming to the campus of Johnson C. Smith University today and anchor Don Lemon is hosting a town hall forum. The event is being taped and parts of it will air in CNN's "Black In America 2" series in July, which is a follow-up to last year's acclaimed and controversial specials that depicted the life, shortcomings, and achievements of African-Americans in this country.

Don Lemon will moderate CNN's town hall forum today.

JCSU is an excellent site selection for this forum as it is an historically black college and university (HBCU) that is trying to grow its presence in Charlotte. Many HBCUs are struggling to continue to attract top African-American students and are working hard to lure students of all races. These schools also often face scrutiny as some question the need for them today. I have a simple answer for that: Most black colleges were founded in the mid to late 1800s after the Civil War, during a time when African-Americans couldn't attend white schools, among many other things (both JCSU and Morehouse College in Atlanta were founded in 1867). So by the time most African-Americans began enjoying the results of desegregation in the 1960s, these schools were nearly 100 years old and steeped in tradition. That's not something you simply throw away once you've been accepted into the larger culture.

I'm pretty sure CNN chose this week to come because the CIAA basketball tournament is in town, a conference that has a rich history itself. JCSU is one of ten historically black colleges and universities in the conference and their men and women's basketball teams are competing for the conference championships during five days of games at Time Warner Cable Arena. And unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the CIAA tournament is about much more than basketball.

Today's town hall forum is only open to current students and faculty, but I'm fortunate to be attending. And I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Ric Flair

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/25/2009 No comments
Ric Flair turns 60 today. And what an entertaining 60 years it has been for the Nature Boy and all of us who've watched him. I grew up watching him on TV, back when I was a wrestling fan. I lost interest around the age of 13, but wrestlers like Flair, Hulk Hogan, and Randy Savage produced many memorable Saturday afternoons after the cartoons had gone off.

Ric Flair, whose birth name is Richard Fliehr, is Charlotte's biggest celebrity. Why? Because he's lived here for decades--before it was cool to do so, before we had other professional athletes--and he's always been very accessible. I've seen him out a number of times. You can easily catch him out at a restaurant or bar, and he doesn't seem to miss a grand opening. Everyone has a Ric Flair story. One of the best I've heard involve him doing push ups in the middle of a restaurant while onlookers yelled his famous "Woooooo!"

But Flair's life hasn't always been cause for celebration. He's survived a plane crash, an infamous road rage incident that led to his arrest, he's going through his third divorce, and he had a fight last year with his daughter's boyfriend that left him with a black eye. The latter didn't stop him from making public appearances, which led to photos of the black-eyed tan man hitting the 'net. But that's what makes him so endearing. He has a larger-than-life persona that few possess. He retired from wrestling last year and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He's focusing on his many business ventures, but is still heavily involved in the sport, making appearances and challenging Chris Jericho to a fight. Here's to another 60, Ric.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mingling With Media...and Adina Howard

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/24/2009 No comments
The Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists (CAABJ) hosted their annual Media Mixer last evening at Tutto Mondo to mark the start of CIAA Week. I may be a bit bias here because I'm president of CAABJ, but the event was a lot of fun and provided a great opportunity for journalists, as well as communications, marketing, and public relations professionals to network and mingle.

I think it's always a good idea to get together with people from your profession. You'll find that you don't spend a whole lot of time talking shop, but instead you converse on the many other things you have in common. I was talking to two colleagues who both work in public relations, one for the Charlotte Chamber and the other for Luquire George Andrews, and as we were catching up, I told them that they weren't allowed to talk about the economy for the night. We laughed about that, but I was somewhat serious because we all should have those nights out where we set our concerns aside.

In attendance were journalists from TV, radio, print, and online--including the names and faces you recognize (Janine Davis, Ramona Holloway, Dedrick Russell, Sarah Aarthun) as well as the behind-the-scenes folks. We should all be getting to know each other better because this media of ours is converging more every day.

There were several people from outside of our respective fields who hung out as well. Many of them came out to enjoy the music and drinks as they got their CIAA partying started early in the week. One of the surprise guests was R&B singer Adina Howard. I happened to be standing near the entrance when she walked in. She introduced herself and gave me a hug. Even though there are going to be tons of celebrities in Charlotte this week for CIAA, my first question to her was, "Do you live in Charlotte?" to which she replied yes. And all the while I'm thinking, "This is 'Freak Like Me' Adina."

Adina Howard and Ty McMath at the CAABJ Media Mixer.

As Howard made her way through the room, introducing herself and giving people hugs, which really does put you at ease, she eventually settled in at a seat at the end of the bar with the friend she'd arrived with, Ty McMath. Later in the evening, I went over and talked to them and the journalist in me probably asked too many questions, but we ended up having a great conversation. Even though she's known for her risqué past hit songs like "Freak Like Me" and "T-Shirt and Panties," she's much more reserved in person. She acknowledges that, saying she lives a boring life. I hope she's not bored because she's in Charlotte. Actually, she said she likes it and she's rather quietly lived here for the past nine years, though she travels often for shows.

She was very personable, offered some interesting perspectives on being 34 and single, and mentioned that she's had people ask her about doing a reality show. If you ask me, she's the perfect recipe for the next I Love...For the Love of... reality dating show on VH1. But she's too sweet for that. She gives hugs.

Michael Phelps Will Compete In Charlotte

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/24/2009 No comments
Three weeks ago I blogged about the possibility of 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps competing in Charlotte after his three-month suspension for Bong-gate ends ("Michael Phelps' Suspension Could Be Good for Charlotte"). Well, it's now been confirmed. Phelps will compete in the Charlotte UltraSwim May 14-17. The annual event, now in its 25th year, is hosted by SwimMAC Carolina. Here's an excerpt from the press release I received yesterday.

According to Phelps' coach Bob Bowman, “Michael is focused on practicing and regaining the mental and physical momentum that he had achieved going into the Beijing Olympics. He is committed to a very demanding and rigorous training schedule as he prepares for upcoming meets and the FINA World Championships.”

Phelps will be joined by other 2008 USA Olympic team members and other gold medalists such as Charlotte’s own Mark Gangloff and Cullen Jones as well as Ryan Lochte. Mary DeScenza will look to keep expanding her lead as the highest scorer in the USA Swimming Grand Prix Series, having just earned five gold medals at the Missouri Grand Prix. Many more world class swimmers and national team members will be on deck to join these champions as well.

Click here for more on the Charlotte UltraSwim.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Video Recap of Last Year's CIAA

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/22/2009 No comments
Urbanflavorz TV takes you inside CIAA Week in Charlotte--if you've never experienced it. See this video recap of some of the 2008 events. And it's sorta funny.

Events for the Week: Feb. 23-Mar. 1

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/22/2009 No comments
This is not your typical week for events because the CIAA basketball tournament comes to town Feb-24-28, and with it comes more parties and events than you can count. To help you decipher among the massive list of more than 150, below are GPT-recommended events that I think you’ll enjoy—but you can’t sue me if you don't! Pay attention to times become some of them are day parties. Prices are subject to change (a.k.a. increase at the door).

Monday, February 23

Media Mixer and Welcome Reception
Inviting professionals working in media, communications, marketing, and public relations to mingle and network to kick off the start of CIAA Week. Free hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and great music will be playing all night. Presented by the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists (CAABJ). 6-9 p.m. Free. Tutto Mondo, 1820 South Blvd. RSVP at if you plan to attend.

Tuesday, February 24

CIAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Begins
See women’s teams compete from the 10 CIAA schools: Bowie State, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, Johnson C. Smith, Livingstone, Saint Augustine’s, Saint Paul’s, Shaw, Virginia State, and Virginia Union. Tournament runs through Saturday, culminating with the championship game. Visit website for times and ticket prices. Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St.

A Peace of Jazz Concert Series Part I
Featuring live music by Kim Waters and a complimentary buffet. Ages 30 and up preferred. Presented by Food Lion, the CIAA, and Jaye and Monica Delai. 6 p.m. $30 and up. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Road.

Wednesday, February 25

CIAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Begins
See men’s teams compete from the 10 CIAA schools: Bowie State, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, Johnson C. Smith, Livingstone, Saint Augustine’s, Saint Paul’s, Shaw, Virginia State, and Virginia Union. Tournament runs through Saturday, culminating with the championship game. Visit website for times and ticket prices. Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St.

Pop Life: CI Edition Part 2
The popular weekly social networking event is expanding this week into two rooms and featuring two DJs. Presented by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

Thursday, February 26

Kickin’ It On the Northside
Mix and mingle with young professionals after work. Featuring live jazz music and a DJ. Presented by Digital Divas. 5-9 p.m. Free. Utopia Restaurant, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr.

T.I. and Young Jeezy
See two of the top rappers in the game live in concert. 7:30 p.m. $45-$75. Bojangles' Coliseum (formerly Cricket Arena), 2700 E. Independence Blvd.

The World Tour Party Part 1
Enjoy a chic party over dinner. Hosted by Consuella with music by DJ Johnny Davis and DJ Daddy D. Ages 25 and up preferred. Sponsored by 8 p.m.-2 a.m. $25-$75. VIP tickets include all-you-can-eat dinner. Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, 139 S. Tryon Street.

Pink Groove 4
This party draws a beautiful crowd each year. Presented by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Rho Psi Omega Chapter. A portion of proceeds will benefit its scholarship fund. Music by DJ Stacey Blackman. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $30-$60 in advance. The Forum, 300 N. College St.

Friday, February 27

Steve Harvey Morning Show/CIAA Ford Fan Experience
The nationally syndicated radio show is broadcasting live from the Ford Fan Experience, followed by a full day of events for fans. 6 a.m. Free. Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St.

CI Day Party Headquarters: Double Day Party Part 1
Party while the sun’s out and enjoy four DJs, more than forty TVs, 10 pool tables, card games, food, and drinks. Presented by Talk of the Town of Charlotte. 12-7 p.m. $15. Fox and Hound, 330 N. Tryon St.

The Crown Royal Affair
Your favorite liquor that comes wrapped in a purple bag is throwing a party at Charlotte’s newest hotel. Presented by UPTOWN magazine. 6-9 p.m. You must RSVP to get on the guest list. Aloft Charlotte, inside the EpiCentre, 210 E.

Anthony Hamilton’s Grammy Award Party
Celebrate with the R&B singer and Charlotte native. Presented by Dynasty5, The Sol Kitchen, and Firm Events. 10 p.m. $25-$40 in advance. Cans Bar and Canteen, 500 W. Fifth St.

Saturday, February 28

CIAA Ford Fan Experience
A full day of events for fans, including live performances by Anthony Hamilton and Robin Thicke, choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson, and the Funkmaster Flex Car Show. 12 p.m. Free. Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St.

Uptown Saturday Part III
It’s one of the most popular day parties, so get there early. Music from DJ Polo. Presented by Digital Divas and Alizé. 12:30-5 p.m. $16 in advance. Blue Restaurant and Bar, 214 N. Tryon St. (corner of 5th and College streets).

CIAA Women’s and Men’s Championships
Ten teams are pared down to two in each competition. The men’s game will be televised by ESPN Classic. Women’s 5 p.m., men’s 8 p.m. Visit website for ticket prices. Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St.

It stands for Lavish, Opulent, Vibrant, Elite—and sounds like the right kind of party. Ages 28 and older preferred. Presented by Talk of the Town of Charlotte, Urban Professionals of Atlanta, and LK Productions and R&R Productions of the Triad. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. $20-$40. LaVecchia’s Restaurant, 225 E. Sixth St.

The Green Lounge Afterparty
Party inside this swank restaurant and bar, with music by DJ Jazzy Jeff. Presented by The Sol Kitchen and Simmons Media Group. 9 p.m. $30-$50 in advance. Mez, inside the EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

Sunday, March 1

Panache—The 3rd Annual Farewell Jazz Brunch
Celebrate the end of a long week of partying over brunch. Featuring live jazz. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $20. Utopia Restaurant, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr.

2009 CIAA Basketball Tournament CIAA Parties 2009 Charlotte Uptown Downtown Celebrities Concerts Nightclubs CIAA Weekend 2009 Light Rail 2009 CIAA Events

Friday, February 20, 2009

Charlotte native and former Central Piedmont Community College student Lacey survived another round of elimination last night on Hell's Kitchen. The episode started with her Red teammates reminding her how she'd been lucky to make it through the previous round. During the heated moment, the 24 year-old responded: "Do you want me to go quit right now? Then shut the f--k up about it!" In case you don't know, a lot of cursing goes on in the kitchen. Catch Hell's Kitchen Thursdays at 9 p.m. on FOX. Click here for Lacey's bio.

You gotta stand the heat, Lacey.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

National News Puts Spotlight On Small Bank

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/19/2009 No comments
NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams just aired a story about small town banks succeeding while the big banks are failing. It featured Citizens South bank in Gastonia, which is "an old textiles town in the shadows of Charlotte," and its sharp-minded CEO Kim Price (Kim is a man). Ken Lewis and all the other big-bank CEOs had to be watching this and turning red in the face. Bank of America became a conglomerate by gobbling up little banks like this, but now it's the small community banks that are flourishing. The news story said less than 1 percent of Citizens South's loans are in default. And that Price is "a Boys and Girls Club kind of guy. No chauffeurs. No jets." Obvious dig. See video below.

Is Bank of America Quietly Cutting Jobs?

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/19/2009 No comments

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CIAA Week Celebrity Counter

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/18/2009 No comments
When the five-day CIAA basketball tournament comes to Charlotte, so do the parties and celebrities. Below is a list of celebs who are scheduled to perform or host events during CIAA Week. Most of them are being paid to be on the bill, but some of the biggest A-listers will be the ones who'll just pop up--like Magic Johnson or Diddy in years past. I'll update this list as I learn of more.

9th Wonder • Yolanda Adams • Sunshine Anderson • Avant • Warren Ballentine • Tyson Beckford • Fonzworth Bentley • Big Boi (of Outkast) • Big Tigger • Biz Markie • Mary J. Blige • Chuck Brown • Camp Lo • Common • Raheem DeVaughn • DJ Cut Creator • DJ Jazzy Jeff • DJ Khaled • DJ Kid Capri • DJ Kool • DJ Marley Marl • DJ Red Alert • Doug E. Fresh • Idris Elba • Fantasia • Vivica A. Fox • Funkmaster Flex • Gorilla Zoe • Anthony Hamilton • Steve Harvey • Tom Joyner • Don Lemon • Lloyd • Memphis Bleek • Chrisette Michele • Mo'Nique • Nelly • The Neville Brothers • Pastor Troy • Plies • Real and Chance (from VH1) • Dawn Richard (of Danity Kane) • Rick Ross • Terrance J • Robin Thicke • T.I. • Trey Songz • Young Jeezy • Whodini

Click here for more on CIAA Week.

Hip-Hop From the Unexpected

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/18/2009 No comments
The UNC Clef Hangers tout themselves as "the Carolina's oldest acapella group." I'd never heard about them until now. For a vocal ensemble steeped in tradition, they did a helluva job singing these songs by T-Pain and T.I., "Buy U A Drank" and "Do It." One of the members in the group is Anoop Desai, a UNC Chapel Hill student who's currently competing on American Idol.

For more on the group, click here to visit their website.

When Your Favorite Player Cost You Your Job

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/18/2009 1 comment
The Carolina Panthers announced yesterday that they have laid off 20 employees. Here's some of what team spokesman Charlie Dayton said in a statement:

"The NFL is not immune from the current economic conditions and these are very difficult decisions designed to help the organization move forward in the most efficient manner possible."

When I read that I immediately thought about when the Charlotte Bobcats laid off about 30 employees last fall just before the start of the season--a couple of whom were people I consider friends. This isn't just Charlotte sports feeling the crunch, but it's happening at franchises all around the country. At the time of the Bobcats' layoffs, the franchise said that all areas were affected except on the team side, meaning no players, coaches, or trainers we affected. It's the same case with the Panthers.

So it makes me think. For every million dollars an athlete makes per year, that could easily employ 20 people within the organization--at a $50,000 salary. But no ownership, not even the highly regarded Richardsons, is willing to say "You know what. We value our athletes, but we also value our non-player personnel--the people working in sales, communications, and support." Instead, the team will likely re-sign offensive tackle Jordan Gross this week to a contract that will pay him around $8 million or $9 million a year. I say make it $7 million and use the rest to re-hire the 20 people you just laid off.

If anything can be learned from this economic crisis we're in it should be the realization that we Americans have our priorities all screwed up. I've never been the person who's complained about athletes making too much money. I've always contended that they are only being paid a certain percentage of what the team is generating, so why should the owners be the only ones who get rich? But it's at a point now where we have to look at things differently. To say that the money used to pay the athletes is different from the money used to pay other team employees is just as wack as the argument that a couple of bank CEOs have tried to use when saying that the money being paid for executive bonuses is not the same money that's coming from the government bailouts.

There have been numerous examples of professional athletes, most often in the NFL, who have willingly restructured their contracts to make less money so that the team could sign another top player to the roster. And that athlete is usually commended for his unselfishness and for putting the team first. I challenge Jordan Gross to do that for those 20 people who have been laid off. He and his agent have a lot of bargaining power because the Panthers need to re-sign him soon before free agency begins. So all he has to do is say "I want to be paid X amount of dollars, but I'm going to take a million less per year over the next two years so you can re-hire those workers and by then the economy should have turned around." Do it, Gross. Set this new precedent for athletes everywhere.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Michael Jordan

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/17/2009 No comments
Michael Jordan turns 46 years old today. He's no longer turning heads on the basketball court, but spends much of his time today trying to turn around the Charlotte Bobcats franchise. Even when he turns 96, I'll still see him as the high-flying, tongue-wagging, greatest basketball player to ever live. I see him the way older people view players like Julius Erving and Bill Russell.

It'll be interesting to see where Jordan's life takes him now that his playing days are solidly behind him. That's the thing about being a professional athlete, you retire at such a young age compared to most people. I remember reading as a kid how Jordan would rank at the top of lists of the world's most recognizable people. I think he would only be behind a handful of people like the Pope, the U.S. president, and Michael Jackson. One of my friend's sister teaches first grade and she was talking about Jordan one day in class and none of the six year-olds knew who he was. I'm sure they will in a couple of years, but I'm also fairly certain that they know who Kobe Bryant is right now.

The Bobcats play at Orlando tonight, then at home against Indiana tomorrow. Go show your support for MJ's team and he could very well be in attendance. Then, if you're lucky, you might spot him out at a nightclub later. I recently wrote a magazine article on the best night spots in Charlotte for celebrity sightings and Jordan's name popped up several times during my reporting.

Forbes Calls Charlotte Airport a 'Rip-Off'

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/17/2009 No comments has published its list of "America's Rip-Off Airports" in which it ranks the most expensive airports based on what travelers pay per mile when flying. Charlotte Douglas International Airport's average fare per mile is 37 cents, ranking it seventh on the list. Cincinnati's airport tops the list at 48 cents per mile. To give you some perspective, a few of the country's cheapest airports average flights that charge 14 to 16 cents per mile, though they are definitely in the minority. Charlotte is noted as the largest in the top ten.

Says Forbes: "The two most expensive large airports on the list, Cincinnati and Charlotte, are both big hubs in medium-sized cities, which means that their hub carriers end up with massive market shares and a prodigious pricing power."

If you've flown out of CLT, this ranking likely comes as no surprise. I've flown out of Charlotte a few times and picked up/dropped off friends on numerous occasions, and the reality is that you pay what you end up paying because you don't have a whole lot of choices. The Greensboro airport is known to be cheaper, but is it worth driving an hour and a half for those savings?

All things considered, I think CLT is a pretty good airport--easy parking, easy to get through checkpoints, clean concourses. I spent an entire day last fall roaming around there reporting for a feature in Charlotte magazine. Click here to read "Insider's Guide to CLT."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Events for the Week: February 16-22

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/16/2009 No comments
Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. If I learn of more events, I’ll update this post throughout the week.

Tuesday, February 17

A Peace of Jazz (weekly event)
Radio personality Jaye Delai and his wife Monica present this weekly jazz series at one of Charlotte’s swankest lounges. This week features guitarist Terence Young. Complimentary buffet by La’Wan’s Soul Food. 6-10 p.m. $10. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Wednesday, February 18

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but often runs past midnight. Music by select DJs. Sponsored by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St. (South End).

Thursday, February 19

Second Annual Friday Friends Festival
This year’s festival will welcome current and new participants for the launch of the third season of Friday Friends—a group of Charlotteans of different races, cultures and faiths, that gather to celebrate the breaking of boundaries. Hosted by Susan Tran of WSOC-TV and entertainment includes Men in Black and the Indian Dancers. Featuring complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Presented by Mecklenburg Ministries. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free. The Atrium at Wachovia, 301 S. Tryon St.

Friday, February 20

Friday Afterwork Rendezvous (weekly event)
End your workweek on a high note at this networking event, held at a different venue each week. Enjoy live music and drink and appetizer specials. Presented by Talk of the Town. With an extended time this week, they're inviting you to join them before or after the Bobcats game. 6-11 p.m. Free admission and free valet parking. LaVecchia's Seafood Grille, 225 E. Sixth St.

Nikki Giovanni
See the great poet perform live at this fundraiser for the Charlotte Literary Festival. Opening act is Jocelyn Ellis and The Alpha Theory. 6:30 p.m. $15. Alive, 2909 N. Davidson St.

Saturday, February 21

HBCU Empower Me Tour with Hill Harper
The tour is designed to empower all young people and motivate them toward academic excellence and personal responsibility. Ford team members will be on hand to provide information on multicultural programs and enrichment opportunities including the 2009 Ford HBCU Business Classic and the 2009 Ford Roadies Program. Event will also feature a conversation with actor and activist Hill Harper. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. University Park Baptist Church, 6029 Beatties Ford Rd.

Charlotte Style’s First Birthday
The style magazine celebrates it turning one year old and will unveil the cover for its Men’s Issue featuring Kenyatte Nelson. There will be a men’s runway show with fashions by Astor & Black, Bruce Julian, and more. Complimentary pastries by Cloud 9 Confections will be served. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $10-$20. Loft 1523, 1523 Elizabeth Ave.

Sunday, February 22

Special Blend @ PJ’s
Special Blend presents genres of artistry, music, visual, and humor in the spirit of good times and good people. Come experience it while relaxing in a trendy lounge. 8 p.m.-midnight. PJ’s Coffee and Lounge, 210 E. Trade St. (inside the EpiCentre).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Great Night for 'Changing Places'

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/14/2009 No comments
Last evening I attended the opening reception for Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor at the Levine Museum of the New South. The new exhibit is the centerpiece of a yearlong project that is "exploring how people in the Charlotte region are dealing with the growing cultural diversity and change created by the influx of newcomers from across the U.S. and around the globe." The museum is touting it as its most ambitious project to date, and I believe it based on the excellent opening.

Photos by Ron J.Deshaies/Treasured Events of Charlotte

A few hundred Charlotteans from all backgrounds attended and we started by filling out name tags on which we listed where we're originally from. That struck up many conversations throughout the evening, as it was intended. I talked to a nice lady who came up to me because my name tag said South Carolina. She was an SC native too and told me that she used to teach at a school near where I grew up, and that it was before desegregation. You couldn't have picked a more fitting place for this conversation than the Levine Museum of the New South. Coincidentally, part of the exhibit includes a "video-talkback," in which visitors can record their responses to questions and those responses will become part of the exhibit, with the purpose of creating an ongoing conversation between newcomers and longtime residents.

Several business, arts, and government leaders were there, including city councilman and newly announced mayoral candidate John Lassiter. (Johnnyboy has big shoes to fill because outgoing Mayor Pat McCrory is known for always being present at public events like this. You gotta get on the ball, Anthony Foxx.)

The highlight of the evening was the entertainment. Dancers and musicians from various cultures, from pop-and-lock to mariachi, epitomized the new exhibit. I always feel smarter and more cultured when I attend a museum event--it's something about knowing that I chose to come here over going to see a movie or something. The Levine really does offer great programming throughout the year and it's one of the most affordable forms of entertainment, which can be a particularly great option during this recession. And opening nights are always tops. It's a great chance to meet new people and converse with a glass of wine in hand. Plus, I've mastered the art of attracting the servers carrying the passed hors d'oeuvres.

Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor officially kicked off today during a free community day at the museum. Click here to visit the museum's website for more details on the exhibit and its related programming. There's a community conversation event taking place Wednesday.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Two Things I Realized About Sonya Curry

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/13/2009 1 comment
Sonya Curry is the matriarch of the Curry family that has become a basketball dynasty. You should know their story. Dell Curry is the basketball great who played for the Charlotte Hornets, and he and Sonya raised their family here, which includes sons Stephen and Seth. Stephen is currently the leading scorer in the NCAA and younger brother Seth is leading all freshman in scoring. Because Stephen has become such a big star and Davidson's games are either televised or highlights run on SportsCenter, Mom Sonya has been thrust into the spotlight as well.

While watching SportsCenter just now, two things occurred to me. 1) Sports networks love to cut to shots of Sonya in the stands at Stephen's games (the family goes to a lot of Seth's Liberty games, too). 2) Sonya looks a lot like actress Thandie Newton.

Basketball Mom Sonya Curry gets a lot of face time during games.

Actress Thandie Newton could play Sonya if a movie is ever made about the Currys.

Sonya Curry is undoubtedly an attractive woman. You can find her on various hot mom lists on the web and many are using that four-letter 'M' word. And while I agree, I just don't feel comfortable calling certain women MILFs. I guess it's because Mrs. Curry seems so nice.

WCNC Goes Inside IKEA Charlotte

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/13/2009 No comments

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chris Leak Tries a Different Camp

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/12/2009 No comments
Chris Leak is one of the greatest high school and college quarterbacks of all time. He started the incredible win streak at Independence High School (it eventually reached 109 games), winning three consecutive state championships while setting North Carolina state records for passing yards in a career (15,593) and completions in a career (1,013) as well as the national record for touchdown passes in a career (185). And not only did he end his University of Florida days by leading the Gators to the 2007 BCS National Championship (winning MVP), but he also left with school records for passing yardage (11,213), completions (895), and attempts (1,458), and is second all-time in touchdown passes (88).

But football can be a cruel sport. Despite all of Leak's heroics on the field at the high school and college level, he hasn't been able to establish a pro career.

Leak wasn't drafted in 2007 and while he's practiced the last two summers during training camp with NFL teams, he's failed to make the final rosters. Last summer he signed to the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League, so it'll be interesting to see how he plays when the season starts in June. Perhaps he'll follow the path of Jeff Garcia--excel in the CFL and get another shot at the NFL. If not, he just may have opened the doors to his future calling.

He's recently launched the Chris Leak Championship Football Academy, where he's planning to teach technique and fundamentals to 7-12 graders with the help off several of his former Florida Gator teammates. The first camp kicks of next month in Apopka, Florida. Hopefully, and I think it would be very likely, Leak eventually brings the camp to Charlotte. Someone with his talent and quarterback IQ could teach young athletes a lot (not to mention he earned his college degree). And who knows, this could be the making of the next Manning Passing Academy.

Dale Jr.'s Got Bank

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/12/2009 No comments writer Raygan Swan has written a great article that details just how popular Dale Earnhardt Jr. is and how that translates into big bucks. Below are a few standout excerpts, with the most astonishing being that he controls 40 percent of the marketplace. For one driver, that's insane! NASCAR may be feeling the pinch from this economic recession, but if you're riding with Junior you're sitting pretty.

  • Earnhardt's face is virtually on every purchasable product in America from candy bars to clothing. Be it a Dale Jr. binky or a Dale Jr. garden accessory, the selection is so vast you could furnish your entire house with his likeness. He controls 40 percent of the marketplace for licensed product sales for NASCAR drivers and sold at least 20 million units last year.
  • Now, Earnhardt is expanding his portfolio into assets he knows will be around long after he retires from racing. Among the first has been Whisky River, Earnhardt's signature nightclub that opened last spring. "It's more successful than I anticipated by three or four times. I had a pretty good idea where I felt like I was going to be but it just quadrupled," Earnhardt said of the club's overnight popularity in Charlotte's uptown.
  • Earnhardt also has real estate interests. Besides owning a company, he also has partnerships in two tracks: one in Paducah, Ky., and another in Mobile County, Ala. The Alabama Motorsports Park is under construction and boasts three racing venues: a road course, a karting track and an oval track that's being branded "A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway." Gates at the 2,400-acre complex are expected to be fully operational by 2011.
Click here to read the full article, "Passion of Dale Jr. Fosters Sweeping Business Empire."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2009 CIAA Week Is Getting Near

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/10/2009 No comments
The 2009 CIAA basketball tournament kicks off two weeks from today, February 24-28, and for the fourth consecutive year it will take over uptown Charlotte. I moved here about six months before the first tournament came to Charlotte so I've witnessed it grow. The number of people visiting and amount of money being pumped into the local economy has set records each of the last three years. The recession is sure to have an effect this year, but I don't think it's going to slow down the partying.

The thing about CIAA Week is that for five or six consecutive days Charlotte is a non-stop party scene: day parties, after parties, concerts, fashion shows, live broadcasts from syndicated radio shows, and celebrity appearances galore. The CIAA puts on its own official events including a step show, concert, health forum, career expo, and fan experience in addition to the men's and women's basketball teams from 10 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including Johnson C. Smith University, competing for the conference championships.

But it's the non-CIAA sanctioned events that dominate the week. Seems like every party and event promoter in town--and beyond--is planning something, renting out just about every bar, lounge, nightclub, and hotel ballroom in uptown. I'm literally receiving five to ten emails a day about events going on that week. Instead of me trying to post them all, I'm going to bow down to the great and extensive list compiled by The Charlotte Observer's entertainment reporter and "Paid To Party" columnist Sarah Aarthun. She has more than 100 events listed now and I'm sure the number will increase as we get closer to the start of the tournament (see link below).

What I will do here on Grown People Talking is list the events I recommend in my "Events for the Week" leading up to CIAA Week. With so many events for you to try and decipher, I'll suggest the ones I think are worth your money (they do get pricey), based largely on the reputation and past results by the particular promoters and venue. Because anyone can throw together a nice-looking flier, but all parties aren't created equal.

I'll also post a Celebrity Counter on this site that lists all of the celebrities that are scheduled to come to Charlotte, many of whom will be hosting parties. Last year's celebrity sightings included: Floyd Mayweather Jr., Steve Harvey, Fat Joe, Doug E. Fresh, Jermaine Dupri, Idris Elba, Morris Chestnut, MC Lyte, Bow Wow, Lil Kim, and many more. Keep your autograph book and camera phone in hand.

If you do party it up this year, be safe and have fun. But also be sure to check out a basketball game or two at Time Warner Cable Arena. I had great seats to last year's championship game and was able to sit near several celebrities. Plus, the game was enjoyable, too. College basketball always is. This is why the CIAA wants to put the focus back on basketball--this year's theme is "Rock the Rim." Show your support by attending a game--after you leave a day party.

Here's what you need to know:

Click here for the official CIAA Tournament website, which includes conference-sponsored events and info on lodging, parking, and dining.

Click here for the Paid To Party list of events taking place, more than 100 of them so far.

2009 CIAA Basketball Tournament CIAA Parties 2009 Charlotte Uptown Downtown Celebrities Concerts Nightclubs CIAA Weekend 2009 Light Rail 2009 CIAA Events

Michael Jordan Still Matters

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/10/2009 No comments
Charlotteans may continue to have a love/hate relationship with Michael Jordan, Charlotte Bobcats part-owner and managing member of basketball operations, but to the rest of the world he's still MJ. His Airness ranks fourth on the quarterly Davie Brown Index's (DBI) list of Highest Regarded Celebrities, released today.

Here's how the top ten rounds out:

1. Barack Obama
2. Tom Hanks
3. Will Smith
4. Michael Jordan
5. Morgan Freeman
6. George Clooney
7. Denzel Washington
8. Michelle Obama
9. Oprah Winfrey
10. Tiger Woods

The DBI, which comes out four times a year and lists more than 1,500 celebrities, is used by brand marketers and advertising agencies to determine a celebrity's ability to influence consumer brand choice and affect purchasing decisions. I guess Jordan ranks so highly because of the continued success of his sneakers (It's gotta be the shoes). Speaking of, there's a very cool Jumpman 23 billboard hanging inside Time Warner Cable Arena. I saw it a few days ago while on Trade Street. As I've said before, if the Bobcats want to increase ticket sales they should start raffling off Air Jordans at home games.

Ever Heard of a Twestival?

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/10/2009 No comments
Charlotte will connect with 185 other cities through Twitter for Twestival 2009. The event is raising money for Charity Water and takes place at Cans Bar and Canteen this Thursday. See video below and click here for more info.

Hometown girl Brooklyn Decker has made the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for the fourth consecutive year. The 2009 issue hits newsstands today and Israeli-born model Bar Refaeli graces the cover while Decker appears in an inset image wearing body paint under the coverline "Bikinis or Nothing." In years past, the Swimsuit Issue has repeatedly been the top-selling magazine of the year.

The great thing about SI is that it posts a gang of additional photos and behind-the-scenes footage on its website. You can see more than 40 photos of 21-year-old Decker as well as a few videos, including the one below.

Click here for all of the swimsuit madness.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Australian singer/songwriter Emma Sophina was on the now-famous U.S. Airways Flight 1549, which was headed from New York to Charlotte but ended up on the Hudson River. Sophina was on her way here to visit some friends. All 155 passengers from that plane were lucky, and she may prove to be the luckiest of all.

The 26-year-old has been struggling to break through in the music biz, but since recording "Send Another Prayer," a tribute to the January 15 plane crash, she may have found her way in. Last week she was signed to Decca Records/Universal Music Group. And she's on somewhat of a media tour this week--you can see her tomorrow morning on FOX & Friends and tomorrow night on Larry King Live.

Learn more about Sophina by visiting her Myspace page: She has a soulful, slightly folk sound, and a pretty good voice. I like her song "Wake Up," which you can hear a snippet of on Myspace. "Send Another Prayer" became available on iTunes today.

Events for the Week: February 9-15

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/09/2009 No comments

Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. If I learn of more events, I’ll update this post throughout the week.

Monday, February 9

The Spook Who Sat by the Door
Based on the novel by Sam Greenlee, this film depicts a former CIA “spook” who uses the skills he learned to recruit and train gang members in underground guerrilla warfare. Noda Dixon, the late-film director’s daughter, will introduce the film and will take part in a Q&A/discussion with RushmoreDrive editorial director Nsenga Burton and GodCity artists. 7 p.m. Free. Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. (NoDa).

Tuesday, February 10

A Peace of Jazz (weekly event)
Radio personality Jaye Delai and his wife Monica present this weekly jazz series at one of Charlotte’s swankest lounges. This week’s event celebrates Valentine’s Day and features Dean James performing music from his new album, Love Takes Time. 6-10 p.m. $15 for singles, $25 for couples. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Wednesday, February 11

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but often runs past midnight. Music by select DJs. Sponsored by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St. (South End).

Thursday, February 12

Pink Slip Networking Party
Charlotte Center City Partners is coordinating a networking party for job seekers to lift spirits, share information, and focus on alternatives and options for the future. The event will feature job recruiters, resumé writing experts, motivational speakers, and door prizes. Also enjoy free admission, free parking, free appetizers, and free games (video, skee ball, pinball, air hockey). 4-7 p.m. Jillian’s, 200 East Bland St. (SouthEnd).

Kickin' It On the Northside (weekly event)
Enjoy an after-work networking event in north Charlotte. Featuring drink and appetizer specials with live jazz and R&B. Presented by Digital Divas. 5-9 p.m. Free. Utopia Restaurant and Lounge, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr.

Friday, February 13

Friday Afterwork Rendezvous (weekly event)
End your workweek on a high note at this networking event, held at a different venue each week. Enjoy live music and drink and appetizer specials. Presented by Talk of the Town. 6-10 p.m. Free. Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, 139 S. Tryon St.

Facebook Friday
Meet and mingle with your Facebook friends and see artists from the popular social networking site perform live. Presented by Unique Affairs. 10 p.m. $10. Alive, 2909 N. Davidson St. (NoDa).

Saturday, February 14

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Changing Places Community Day
To celebrate the opening of its new exhibit, Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor, the museum is hosting a community day featuring music, dance, crafts, and storytelling. Changing Places is a multi-part project exploring how people in the Charlotte region are dealing with the growing cultural diversity and change created by the influx of newcomers. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. Seventh St.

Single's Mingle - An Anti-Valentine's Day Party is inviting all the singles and non-romantic couples during this Valentine season. Come mix and mingle with other young, chic, and active professionals. Food and cocktail specials. Music by DJ Chase. 10 p.m. $15 in advance. Ember Grille, Westin Hotel, 601 S. College St.

Sunday, February 15

Special Blend @ PJ’s
Special Blend presents genres of artistry, music, visual, and humor in the spirit of good times and good people. Come experience it while relaxing in a trendy lounge. 8 p.m.-midnight. $5. PJ’s Coffee & Lounge, 210 E. Trade St. (inside the EpiCentre).

Anthony Hamilton Brings Grammy Home

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/09/2009 No comments
Charlotte native Anthony Hamilton won a Grammy last night for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for his collaboration with Al Green on "You've Got The Love I Need." It's Hamilton's first Grammy win, though he's been nominated seven times. He's pictured below on the red carpet with his wife Tarsha McMillian Hamilton.

Our other fellow Charlottean, Fantasia Barrino, didn't fare as well. She was nominated for her collaboration with Jennifer Hudson for the song "I'm His Only Woman," but, coincidentally, lost out to the pairing of Al Green and John Legend. Al Green proved last night that he's back, and he isn't afraid to go toe to toe with the younger generation, which is evident by his songs with Hamilton and Legend.
You can see Hamilton performing tonight on the 2009 BET Honors at 9 p.m. on BET.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New York Post Takes Shot At Ken Lewis Too

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/08/2009 No comments
There's no rest for the weary. As I blogged about in my previous post, The New York Times ran an article in today's paper about Bank of America's CEO Ken Lewis's troubles. Well the New York Post profiles Lewis today also, in its typical edgy, tabloid-like fashion. Below is the graphic that accompanies the article.

I'm betting Lewis is feeling like Charlotte isn't far enough from New York right now. Click here to read "Watch It, Ken" in today's paper.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

There's an in-depth and somewhat shocking article running in the business section of The New York Times tomorrow (Sunday) about Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch and the lingering effects that have ensued. The article, which uses many anonymous sources that are said to be current or former employees of the two financial institutions, only further makes John Thain look inept and makes Ken Lewis's job look even more in jeopardy. Below is the illustration that accompanies the article.

The newspaper posts many of its stories online the evening before the printed paper comes out. Click here to read "For Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, Love Was Blind."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Season two of Bravo's Make Me A Supermodel premiere's tomorrow (Feb. 7) at 11 p.m. with a casting special. Charlotte native Gabriel Everett is one of the 16 men and women who makes the reality show competition (I blogged about it last month, but wanted to give you an update closer to the start). If you want to know more about Everett outside of the fishbowl that will come of this show, visit his Myspace page:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I was standing up for Michael Phelps because although he engaged in poor behavior by smoking weed at a college party ("Michael Phelps and My Alma Mater"), he made the right decision with the apologetic statement he released the day after his bong photo was published in a British tabloid. Initially it looked like Phelps would come out fairly unscathed after major sponsors stood by his side, but today not only did Kellogg drop his endorsement but the biggest blow came this evening when he was suspended by USA Swimming. The sport's national governing body has suspended him for three months. Bad news for Phelps; good news for Charlotte.

Phelps will still be allowed to train, but he won't be able to compete in any events for three months, during this all important time leading up to the World Swimming Championships in July in Rome, when other swimmers are getting in game shape. Whereas he had planned to compete in a Grand Prix meet in March in Austin, Texas, he now won't be eligible to compete in a Grand Prix meet until the Charlotte UltraSwim, which takes place here May 14-17. The increasingly popular USA Swimming sanctioned event is hosted each year by SwimMAC Carolina. You can read an article I wrote about SwimMAC in this month's issue of Charlotte magazine ("Making a Splash").

Phelps has competed at the Charlotte UltraSwim in several years past--he holds three meet records--but this was all before his triumphant eight gold medals at last summer's Olympics. If I was a betting man, I would have said he would've skipped over this year's Charlotte event. But now, I'm betting that he's not only going to come but he's going to have a chip on his shoulder from all of this controversy, having his good name tarnished, and having to train for three months without being able to compete, so much so that he's going to blow the other athletes out of the water. And if he comes to Charlotte, I would expect lots of media coverage from those wanting to catch a glimpse of what kind of condition and mindset he'll be in after the hiatus. Good for Charlotte.

Free Friday: HIV Testing

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/05/2009 No comments
As part of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Mecklenburg County Health Department is offering free, confidential HIV and syphilis testing tomorrow, 10 a.m to 4 p.m. at Johnson C. Smith University. The testing is open to the public and is being conducted in the Counseling and Testing Center on campus.

In Mecklenburg County, African-Americans account for 69 percent of all HIV/AIDS cases, but only make up 31 percent of the population.
A great story as we celebrate Black History Month and a vivid reminder of how far we've come as a nation, a reformed racist named Elwin Wilson formally apologized this week to civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis for participating in a beating of Lewis in Rock Hill in 1961. The story aired this evening on NBC Nightly News. See video below.

I was in Ballantyne Village yesterday and even though I only visited one side of the retail and dining complex, I noticed three businesses were closed. I knew that Table Restaurant and Bar was closed because it permanently shut its doors in May. But I was surprised to see that It's A Grind coffeehouse and Vesuvio Restaurant and Lounge weren't open and this was clearly during their normal business hours. I can't say for sure what's happened to these two places, but It's A Grind's windows were all covered up and Vesuvio's phone number isn't working (and neither of the places are listed on BV's website).

I hadn't been to Ballantyne Village in a few months so maybe this isn't new news, but it's new to me. And I have a hunch that had I walked around the village a little more I would've seen a few more businesses closed. It's filled with specialty shops and those are often the first to go when people start cutting back during a tough economy like this. But at the same time, a Dilworth Coffee and D'Vine Wine Cafe are both scheduled to open there in the next month or two, so who knows what the future holds.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Vote Now for the 2009 BOB Awards

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/04/2009 No comments
Charlotte magazine has opened up the polls for its annual Best Of the Best (BOB) Awards. You can vote for the Readers' Choice categories--nearly 150 of them in shopping, dining, nightlife, sports, arts, and more--until March 1. It's the most coveted "Best Of" list in the city. And filling out the ballot makes you realize how much you know (or don't know) about Charlotte. Click here to rock the vote.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Karma for Bynum, Home for Wallace

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/03/2009 No comments
After watching SportsCenter report throughout the day on Kobe Bryant's 61 point lashing of the New York Knicks, in which some analysts say Bryant was sending a message to those who were saying the Lakers' season is virtually over now that Andrew Bynum will miss two to three months due to a knee injury, something occurred to me. Bynum tore ligaments in his knee, which is a serious sports injury, less than a week (four days, actually) after he committed a dirty foul by elbowing Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace, which left Wallace with a broken rib and collapsed lung. Wallace had been in Los Angeles for the past week recuperating. And since doctors said he can't fly because of their concerns of how his lungs would respond to the reduced air pressure on a plane, he chartered a bus today to make the 2,400-mile trip back to Charlotte.

Basketball isn't a contact sport like football, but it's still physical. And part of me feels like it was karma coming back on Bynum when he sustained his injury this week. The videos below are from the injury Bynum caused and the one he sustained. If you look closely, you'll see Bynum rolling on the floor, grimacing in pain almost identical to how Wallace was.

RushmoreDrive Partners With GlobalGrind

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/03/2009 No comments
Below are the contents of a press release I received about a new partnership forged by, an Internet search engine based here in Charlotte (the name of the website comes from the company's street address in Ballantyne). While the company has a national focus, as is further evident by this partnership, I've been following its moves locally. RushmoreDrive hosted a movie premiere last year at Ballantyne Village Theatre, it recently hosted an edition of Pop Life at Apostrophe Lounge, it was heavily involved in local voter registration efforts during the last election, and its CEO was honored with a Leadership Award by the Urban League of Central Carolinas a couple of weeks ago.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- RushmoreDrive (, the first-of-its-kind search engine for the Black community, today announced a partnership with Russell Simmons' content aggregation site -- Global Grind ( Intended to coincide with the beginning of Black History Month, the announcement of this multi-faceted agreement between the two destination sites, marks a new level of access and relevancy of for online Black and urban consumers.

The scope of the partnership consists of and Global Grind exchanging content and utilities to foster increased accessibility to news and information relevant to the Black and urban communities. "Our partnership with Global Grind is part of a broad reaching strategy at to elevate content created by and for the Black community," states RushmoreDrive President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. will provide Global Grind with The Daily Drive newsletter content, as well as its news and opinion feature entitled Detour, articles and views affecting the Black Community. Additionally, Global Grind's signature Grind It button and utility has been added to this same content within the site enabling users to grind their favorite blog posts and articles to share with the entire community.

In the not-so-distant future's web search functionality will be available on, enabling the community to search the web with more relevance, while also integrating the Grind It functionality within elements of the RushmoreDrive results page.

"As we continue to develop the Global Grind platform, partnering with sites that provide complementary services is key to delivering value to our users. Connecting Rushmore Drive's search capabilities with Global Grind's ability to aggregate and to promote is a perfect match. We are excited about the opportunity," adds Navarrow Wright, Global Grind's President and CEO.

Smooth Transition of Power

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/03/2009 No comments
I'm trying to make the best blog in Charlotte, so nearly all of my posts are about local people, places, and events. But they say all politics is local, too, so that means this image I received in an email this afternoon is relevant. Regardless, I just had to share it (if you haven't received it in an email yet, I'm sure it'll make its way to you). This image represents the smooth transition of power from President George Bush to President Barack Obama.

BofA at the Super Bowl

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/03/2009 No comments
Bank of America's public relations nightmare continues. For the past couple of weeks, the Charlotte-based bank has dealt with criticism over executive bonuses and extravagant office splurges by now-ousted executive John Thain, followed by reports that the bank is still pursuing major financial sponsorship of the new New York Yankees stadium. Now there's outrage over BofA's presence at the Super Bowl. See Good Morning America's news video below.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Events for the Week: February 2-8

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/02/2009 No comments

Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. If I learn of more events, I’ll update this post throughout the week.

Tuesday, February 3

Premiere of Crossroads Charlotte: The Movie
This film is a cinematic version of the four Crossroads stories, each depicting a possible future for the Charlotte community in the year 2015. 6-8 p.m. Free admission. Playing at six locations: Ballantyne Village Theatre, the Charlotte Museum of History, Davidson College, EpiCentre Theaters, Johnson C. Smith University, and UNC Charlotte. Visit website to RSVP.

A Peace of Jazz (weekly event)
Radio personality Jaye Delai and his wife Monica present this weekly jazz series at one of Charlotte’s swankest lounges. This week features Latin jazz. Complimentary buffet by La’Wan’s Soul Food. 6-11 p.m. $10 and up. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Wednesday, February 4

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but often runs past midnight. Music by select DJs. This week, newly launched news website presents this Mixed Media edition. Sponsored by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St. (South End).

Thursday, February 5

Kickin' It On the Northside (weekly event)
Enjoy an after-work networking event in north Charlotte. Featuring drink and appetizer specials with live jazz and R&B. Presented by Digital Divas. 5-9 p.m. Free. Utopia Restaurant and Lounge, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr.

Top Notch Thursdays (weekly event)
It’s billed as a party for “local celebrities, young professionals, ordinary people, and superstars.” Sounds like it’s for everyone, and the hours are all-encompassing, too. 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Free before 10:30, women $5 and men $10 after. Tilt, 127 W. Trade St.

Touch One Thursdays (weekly event)
Come and enjoy a live band and spoken word by Charlotte’s slam poets. An after-party follows. Presented by Touch One Productions. 9 p.m. $10. Wine Up, 3306 N. Davidson St.

Friday, February 6

Diva Couture
It’s a shopping event and happy hour for “chic ladies,” including complimentary hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and wine. Women will be able to shop for clothing, handbags, jewelry, shoes, and more. Hosted by JnR Wholesale Apparel. Quality Suites-Pineville, 9846 Pineville Matthews Rd. 4-9 p.m. Free.

South End Gallery Crawl
Tour seven art galleries throughout historic South End during this monthly gallery crawl and enjoy art, music, and hors d'oeuvres at various stops. 6-9 p.m. Free. Start at Charlotte Art League, 1517 Camden Road.

Friday Afterwork Rendezvous
End your workweek on a high note at this networking event, held at a different venue each week. Enjoy live jazz and drink and appetizer specials. Presented by Talk of the Town. 6-10 p.m. Free. Sullivan's Steakhouse, 1928 South Blvd.

1st Fridays Charlotte: Fade To Black
This month in this popular series is an “All Black Affair” in honor of Black History Month, so wear your black blazers and little black dresses because black attire is mandatory. Music by DJ Chase and Jay-Z’s right-hand soundman, Young Guru. 10 p.m. Cost varies; ladies free before 10:30 p.m. Sheraton Airport Hotel, 3315 Scott Futrell Dr. Click here for advanced tickets.

Saturday, February 7

2009 RPO Minority Business Expo
This event highlights female entrepreneurs and will feature vendors, giveaways, food, music, a panel discussion with Q&A, and guest speakers including Lisa Wu-Hartwell. Presented by the Rho Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St.

Savor the Romance
This cooking demonstration will get you ready for Valentine’s Day. Learn how to prepare delicious recipes in your kitchen, led by Executive Chef Gene Briggs. Each dish will be served and paired with fine wines. 11 a.m. $39.95 per person. Reservations required. Blue Restaurant & Bar, 214 N. Tryon St. (corner of Fifth and College streets).

Celebrity Birthday Bash
Disturbing Tha Peace artist and North Carolina native Small World will be celebrating his birthday with special invited celebrity guests. 10 p.m. Cost varies; ladies free before 11 p.m. Alive, 2909 N. Davidson St. (NoDa).

Sunday, February 8

Ssshh: Sensual Seduction Sundays at Happy Hour (weekly event)
Enjoy an infusion of open-mic poetry and jazz over candlelight. Hosted by poet Bluz. After-party and dancing follows. Presented by Pink Diamond. 9 p.m. $10. Happy Hour Bar and Lounge, 3603 S. Tryon St.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Michael Phelps and My Alma Mater

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 2/01/2009 No comments

British tabloid The News of the World posted a photo yesterday that allegedly shows 14-time Olympic Gold medal winning swimmer Michael Phelps smoking marijuana from a bong. The photo is reported to have been taken in November at a party at the University of South Carolina. And let me tell you how proud I am.

First off, I'm proud because USC is my alma mater (Go Cocks!). Phelps: We were glad to host you, buddy. Come back anytime.

Secondly, and most importantly (and seriously), I'm proud of how Phelps has responded to the embarrassing situation. Here's the statement he released today: "I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again."

I applaud Phelps for taking responsibility for his actions. The typical superstar athlete would have come out vehemently denying the accusation and claiming that the photo had been doctored, knowing that they were lying. And they probably would have gotten high-priced lawyers involved, all to distract from the truth. But because Phelps has done the right thing by admitting his wrongdoing, this news story will have a much shorter shelf life and he might not lose any of his sponsorships and endorsements. If anything, this can be used as a way to reach kids as to why they should stay away from drugs.

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