Sunday, May 31, 2009

Is Stir Crazy?

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/31/2009 No comments
Stir Nightclub and Concert Theater opened a year ago on Independence Boulevard. As the name implies, it opened with the promise of being a nightclub as well as a venue for music acts to perform. It has delivered on those intentions, but the results have skewed as of late.

Jazmine Sullivan performed at Stir in January.

Stir was initially a place where you would see R&B acts and old-school bands perform as well as the occasional party hosted by a reality TV star. There were also fashionable all-white and all-black parties along with cultural themed nights, as the club sought to appeal to an upscale, adult crowd. I think the fact that it's located on Independence Boulevard in east Charlotte, which hasn't had good luck with nightclubs, plus the notion that the 30-and-older crowd is a hard one to draw regularly enough on the nightlife scene to sustain a business, has led to a shift in the selection of artists and entertainment being booked there. 

On Friday night, Gucci Mane and Shawty Lo performed at Stir. That's quite a fete, booking two of the ATL and South's hottest rappers on the same night. In the last couple of months, the club has brought in many more Dirty South rappers: OJ Da Juiceman, Gorilla Zoe, Lil Boosie, and Webbie, while Plies is scheduled to perform there this Saturday. With lineups like this, Stir is not only not trying to reach the upscale, 30-and-older crowd, but it's also bringing in the acts that draw the kinds of people that will lead to an establishment getting shutdown. Hey, I'm just keeping it real (this is Grown People Talking).

I've driven by Stir on nights when they've had a couple of the aforementioned acts and the parking lot is filled up like there's an NBA game being played inside. But I'll give the operators of Stir credit for one thing, there hasn't been reports of trouble there so they appear to be keeping things under control. Plus, they still show glimpses of their original intentions: R&B singer Pleasure P performed there Wednesday (he actually stopped into Pop Life at Apostrophe Lounge earlier in the night while I was there), and they've featured Latin musicians like Grupo Niche last Saturday and Reik is there this Tuesday. 

Maybe Stir's crazy, or maybe its operators know what they're doing. It just appears on the surface to be the same pattern that many nightlife venues have fallen into once their original business plan hasn't worked. They've managed to be open for a year, which is an accomplishment for a nightclub. Surviving the second year, though, will tell if the place will be around for the long haul.

3500 E. Independence Blvd.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Driving While Texting—We Know Better

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/29/2009 No comments
Most of us have a bad habit of sending text messages on our phones while driving even though (as our parents would say) we know better. I've actually gotten better about it and I now try to wait until I get to a stoplight to send a text or sometimes I'll pull into a parking lot for a minute to do it. Or in some cases, after I receive a text I'll just call the person who sent it. After seeing all of the recent news coverage on DWT—driving while texting—and the accidents that occur, I've been scared straight. Getting into an accident that could've easily been avoided is no LOL matter.

In this WCNC video below, you'll see just how impaired your driving becomes when you're placing your eyes and thumbs on your phone instead of on the road and steering wheel.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Charlotte-based Shopping Website

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/28/2009 No comments
A new shopping website has launched to compete with eBay. is "a bid, buy and sell online marketplace based in Charlotte, North Carolina where you can find new and used cars, electronics, collectables, antiques, appliances, games, clothing and more at low prices." The operators of the site believe they'll be able to cipher off some of eBay's massive business by allowing sellers to use the site at lower fees than the e-giant.

The site could work. Online shopping has been increasing each year for the last decade. The key to success for auction sites like this is to build up the number of users quickly because people won't be inclined to buy and sell there unless there's lots of activity. So to attract new business, is currently running a promotion in which you get $100 credited to your account when you register.

My only criticism of the site so far is a very important one: the choice of domain name--actually, the spelling. I assume they spelled with an extra "k" instead of a "c" because the regular spelling wasn't available (or the holder of the domain name wanted too much money for it). But just imagine the number of people who will mistakenly type "Checkout" and find one of those parked sites. So is going to have to workk extra hard with branding.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Events for the Week: May 25-31

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/26/2009 No comments
Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. This isn’t intended to be a complete list of everything that's going on, but instead are the events GPT recommends.

Wednesday, May 27

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but runs past midnight. This week features “Mixed Media,” a mixer for members of the media from 6 to 9 p.m. Music by DJ Technics. Presented by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

Thursday, May 28

Alive After Five (weekly event)
The newly combined Alive After Five is now at its new home, the EpiCentre. Enjoy live music by this week’s bands, Frontiers and Big Ed’s Garage. Both levels will be rocking and there’ll be plenty of drinks from cash bars scattered throughout. Wristbands get you into Blackfinn, Whisky River, Suite, and StrikeCity. 5-9:30 p.m. Free. The EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

Island Vibe Nights
West Indian Charlotte hosts this Caribbean-themed night on the last Thursday of every month. Look for authentic calypso and reggae music as well as $3 Red Stripe and Smirnoff Ice drinks. 5:30 p.m. Free. The Attic Bar, 200 N. Tryon St. or

Friday, May 29

Friday Afterwork Rendezvous (weekly event)
End your workweek on a high note at this networking party, held at a different venue each Friday. Enjoy drink and appetizer specials along with music by DJ Daddy D while mingling with young professionals. Presented by Talk of the Town. 6-11 p.m. Free. LaVecchia’s Restaurant, 225 E. Sixth St.

Gucci Mane and Shawty Lo
See two of the South’s hottest rap stars perform live, sharing the same stage in Charlotte for the first time. You must have at least a little bit of hood in you to enjoy this show. 10 p.m. $35 and up in advance. Stir, 3500 E. Independence Blvd.

Saturday, May 30

Hip Hop M.O.V.E. (Music Over Violent Entertainment) Takeover
This community event features teen performances, a hip-hop workshop, and a film screening of Young Lives. Hip Hop M.O.V.E. is an initiative that empowers teens to positively influence their community through music, education, and creative self-expression. Presented by the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and GenerationEngage. 12:30-5 p.m. Free. ImaginOn, 300 E. Seventh St.

Charlotte FemmeFest 2009
This second annual festival celebrates women in the arts, featuring national, regional, and local female songwriters, visual artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers. Proceeds from the event will benefit the ECO Center for Women. Experience NoDa at its fullest as venues include Neighborhood Theater, Dolce Vita, Prevue, Wine Up, Smelly Cat Coffeehouse, the Evening Muse, and several art galleries. 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. $15 in advance, $20 day of. NoDa, corner of N. Davidson and E. 36th streets.

Men in the City Bachelor Auction and After-party
The Deltas of Charlotte present their fifth annual auction of eligible bachelors. Reception and silent auction begin at 6 p.m. Live auction begins at 7 p.m. $20 in advance. Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. “The Brothers at Blue” is the official after-party. Complimentary Gentleman Jack for the first 50 men. Music by DJ 06. 10 p.m. $15 and up. Blue Restaurant and Bar, 214 N. Tryon St. (corner of Fifth and College streets).

Soul Bowl Lounge
The popular bowling and social networking event is held in a dozen cities nationwide including Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Charlotte. In addition to knocking down pins, enjoy great music, billiards, card games, and drinks. Live music by Moment’s Notice and a DJ. Presented by Digital Divas and Avail Marketing. 10 p.m. $25. AMF University Lanes, 5900 N. Tryon St.

Sunday, May 31

Special Blend @ PJ’s (weekly event)
Special Blend presents genres of artistry, music, visual, and humor in the spirit of good times and good people. Experience it while relaxing in a trendy lounge. 7-11 p.m. Free. PJ’s Coffee & Lounge, 210 E. Trade St. (inside the EpiCentre).

Friday, May 22, 2009

There's a very in-depth article on the current and future state of American shopping malls in today's Wall Street Journal. Dozens of malls around the country are struggling and the WSJ leads off its story with Eastland Mall: "On the low-income east side of Charlotte, N.C., the 1.1-million-square-foot Eastland Mall recently lost a slew of key tenants, including a Dillard's and, next month, a Sears. Sales per square foot at the venue fell to $210 in 2008 from $288 in 2001."

Eastland is reported as one of 84 "dead malls" out of an evaluation of more than 1,000 malls nationwide. Dead mall is used to describe those that are in danger of going under and are considered to be any large, enclosed mall generating sales per square foot of $250 or less, with the U.S. average being $381.

While a handful of other malls are cited, the majority of the focus of the 2,000-word article is on Eastland. And even though the headline of the article is "Recession Turns Malls Into Ghost Towns," Eastland's decline began long before this current recession:

"Eastland's reign lasted roughly two decades. Its market began to erode when the area around Eastland fostered low-income housing. Meanwhile, the Charlotte area's more affluent residents and new arrivals gravitated to suburbs on the city's north and south ends. Developers built and renovated malls in those suburbs, drawing shoppers away from Eastland."

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Read About It: Décor 1202

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/20/2009 5 comments
When I'm not blogging on here, I'm actually doing real work as a freelance writer. One of the articles I write regularly is the Nightlife column each month in Charlotte magazine. I show up incognegro at bars and clubs and have a few drinks on the company's dime (those moments help make up for the grunt work that writing and reporting often entail). For the June issue, which is hitting newsstands this week, I wrote about Décor 1202. Some of you have probably already visited this club, which opened in the Elizabeth neighborhood in January, and it seems to be growing in popularity. The traveling, monthly First Fridays event has been held there the past two months and celebrities have hosted a few parties there in recent weeks (Bell Biv Devoe is hosting a party there tomorrow night).

Photo by Chris Edwards/Charlotte magazine.

You can read the Charlotte magazine article online by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New, Unique Dating Website

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/19/2009 No comments
I receive several press releases a day in my inbox and as any PR-savvy person knows, you have to grab a person's attention in the first couple of sentences. This one certainly did.

There's a new dating website devoted to people who have HSV-2, better known as herpes. It's called Just that whole premise made me want to read on about it, then I realized that the concept is a good idea. Herpes, sadly, is an incurable sexual transmitted disease that affects people in the bedroom, but they're otherwise able to live full and productive lives. So why not create a way for them to meet other singles who can identify with their situation? " is the first and only dating site created exclusively to help millions of people with HSV-2 (herpes) by eliminating the fear of disclosure and exposure," the press release states. Plus, a portion of the profits from the dating site will go towards Duke University's herpes research.

Visit to learn more, or recommend it to a friend.

Events for the Week: May 18-24

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/19/2009 No comments
Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. This isn’t intended to be a complete list of everything that's going on, but instead are the events GPT recommends.


May 19-24
Oprah Winfrey Presents The Color Purple
It’s your chance to see this award-winning “musical about love.” Tue.-Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 and 7:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets are still available, $35-$125. Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 130 N. Tryon St.

May 21-23
Food Lion Speed Street
This annual festival takes over the streets of Uptown for three days in celebration of race week. You’ll find plenty of food and drinks form vendors, NASCAR driver appearances (Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Richard Petty, and more), and several live musical performances headlined by Bell Biv Devoe, Rodney Atkins, Lifehouse, Gavin DeGraw, and Clint Black. Visit website for schedule. Free. Uptown, between Tryon and Brevard streets and Fourth and Eighth streets.

May 21-23
The EpiCentre is getting in on the action this year in celebration of this weekend’s NASCAR race. Although it is essentially copying off of Speed Street (live music and driver appearances, but they’re having Dale Earnhardt Jr.), you can enjoy this replica at the EpiCentre’s most popular nightspots: Suite, Whisky River, StrikeCity, BlackFinn, Pavilion, and Penthouse. Visit website for schedule. Free. EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

Tuesday, May 19

Touch One Tuesdays (weekly event)
Come and enjoy open mic poetry and live music. Hosted by Filmore, with DJ Flemingo on the turntables. Presented by Touch One Productions. 9 p.m. $10 ($5 with college ID). Wine Up, 3306 N. Davidson St.

Wednesday, May 20

Changing Times...Changing Minds
The topic of this month's community conversation and cocktail reception is "Providing and Paying for Infrastructure: The Impact of Growth on Communities." Local experts will discuss how to handle both existing demand and future growth. Panelists include Todd Mansfield, chairman and CEO of Crosland; Ned Curran, president and CEO of The Bissell Companies; and Danny Pleasant, director of the Charlotte Department of Transportation; moderated by Dr. Steven Ott, professor and director of the Center for Real Estate at UNC Charlotte. 6 p.m. Free. Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. Seventh St.

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but runs past midnight. Music this week by DJ DR. Presented by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

Trivia Night
It’s the kickoff of trivia night at this south Charlotte restaurant and bar, hosted by Larken Egleston. Test your general knowledge and compete for prizes like buckets of beer and gift cards. Plus it’s Wednesday, which means half-price bottles of wine. 8-11 p.m. Free. The Tavern On Park, 1600 Woodlawn Rd.

Thursday, May 21

Cufflinks and Cocktails
Presented by Charlotte’s Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity alumni, this event is held at a different bar each month. Come mingle with a group of well-dressed professionals, from 20- to 40-somethings. Drink and appetizer specials will be served. 6-10 p.m. Free. Blue Restaurant and Bar, 214 N. Tryon St. (corner of Fifth and College streets).

Pre-Charlotte Fashion Week Industry Night
Come meet the new spokes models of Charlotte Fashion Week 2009, talk with show producers, designers, models, and photographers. All industry professionals welcome. Live music. 6 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

Crips and Bloods: Made In America
See a screening of this provocative film about gang life, narrated by Forest Whitaker. Following the film will be a discussion about Charlotte’s increase in gang membership among young people and how you can get involved in our community gang prevention coalition, Gang of One. Presented by GenerationEngage. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Johnson C. Smith University, Biddle Hall, 100 Beatties Ford Rd.

Friday, May 22

Barack and Curtis: Manhood, Power, and Respect
This short film examines the contrasting styles of manhood exhibited by President Barack Obama and rapper/entertainment mogul Curtis Jackson aka 50 Cent. Two other short films will be shown, I Am Sean Bell and Reflections. Presented by Reel Soul Cinema. 7 p.m. $8. Afro-American Cultural Center, 401 N. Myers St.

Summer Nights
Come dressed to impress at this party that’s sure to be live from the bar to the patio and look for many of Charlotte’s movers and shakers among the mostly 30-and-older crowd (25-and-up are welcomed). Music by DJ Daddy D. Presented by Digital Divas. 10 p.m. $10 in advance, more at the door. Sunset Club, 1820 South Blvd.

Saturday, May 23

Coca-Cola 600
It’s NASCAR’s longest race of the season and one of the most exciting as many of the drivers compete in front of the home crowd. The 50th running of this race also provides plenty of pre-race entertainment as they pay tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces during Memorial Day weekend. 5:45 p.m. $10-$125. Lowe’s Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy. South, Concord.

Chateau Noir Presents Destination
This elegant affair will feature a five course wine dinner prepared by Chateau Noir's Executive Chef Jay, along with live jazz by 5th and York, a cigar lounge, and after-dinner entertainment consisting of music by DJ Peace Parker and poetry by Concrete Generation. 7 p.m.-2 a.m.: dinner service, 8-10:30 p.m.; after-dinner entertainment, 11 p.m.-2 a.m. $95 for singles, $165 for couples. The Orchard House, 5125 Hamby Branch Rd. Concord. or

Sunday, May 24

Pre-Memorial Day List Party
To show appreciation to its supporters, Six Figure Entertainment is letting members of its email list in free until 11:30. Music by DJ Flemingo. 9:30 p.m. Visit website to join the list. Loft 1523, 1523 Elizabeth Ave.

The McCafé Experience
McDonald’s brings Dwele to town as part of this national touring event. 10 p.m. $15 in advance. Cans Bar and Canteen, 500 W. Fifth St. or

A Night in XS
The popular promoters of “premium professional nightlife” are throwing a party featuring bongo players and belly dancers in addition to your favorite hip-hop and R&B spun by DJs. Presented by Inner Circle Events. 10 p.m. $15 in advance, more at the door. Cosmo’s Café, 300 N. College St.

Friday, May 15, 2009

When Texas Secedes, We'll Take the Rangers

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/15/2009 1 comment
This is largely just a reason for me to blog about one of my favorite TV news shows, Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Olbermann has a new segment on his nightly show called the "WTF!?! Moment." Tonight's topic that had him asking WTF? is about Texas Governor Rick Perry's ongoing talk about his state possibly seceding from the union if "Washington continues to force programs onto the states." To illustrate just how ridiculous this secession talk is, Olbermann run downs a list of all of the valuable federal services and programs Texas would lose if it went out on its own, like FEMA, NASA, all of the military bases there, Pell Grants, the FDA, CDC, FBI, NSA, U.S. post offices, and more. It's pretty funny. He also compares Texas to Canada and says that the state would lose several of its professional sports teams due to not being able to get revenue from national TV sports deals. He sends Charlotte a shout out when he says, "So take your choice: Astros or Rangers. One of them is going to move to Charlotte."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is hosting celebrity events in Charlotte this weekend for his new not-for-profit organization, the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation. The weekend will consist of community outreach and fundraisers for the foundation, which will promote programs for local children and families, and the community will have the opportunity to meet some of their favorite NFL players.

Friday morning, players will visit area schools, speaking to youth about respect, discipline, hard work, and dedication. In the evening, "An Evening with Thomas Davis and Friends" will be held at Hendrick Motors of Charlotte. This invite-only, red carpet event will include a silent auction.

Saturday will include a free youth football camp and “Players in the Park,” a family fun day at Nevin park. There will be games, food, inflatables, NFL autograph signings, and more. That night, adults will party it up at "The Blue Affair" at Club 935.

Invited NFL players include: Chris Harris, Jon Beason, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Jeff Otah, Muhsin Muhammad, and several more players from the Carolina Panthers; D.J. Shockley, Tony Gilbert, and Kindal Moorehead from the Atlanta Falcons; Sean Jones and Omar Gaither from the Philadelphia Eagles; Boss Bailey, Champ Bailey, and Dre Bly from the Denver Broncos; Chris Canty from the New York Giants; and many more of Thomas Davis's NFL friends.

Thomas Davis Celebrity Charity Weekend

Friday, May 15

School Appearances
Ranson Middle School
Randolph Middle
Jay M. Robertson Middle
Dilworth Elementary

An Evening with Thomas Davis and Friends
7–10 p.m.
Hendrick Motors of Charlotte

Saturday, May 16

Youth Football Camp
11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Nevin Park
6000 Statesville Rd.

Players in the Park
12–3 p.m.
Nevin Park

The Blue Affair
10 p.m.–2 a.m.
Club 935
935 S. Summit Ave.

For more info on the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation, visit

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fourteen-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps will be competing in the Charlotte UltraSwim, which kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday. Phelps is scheduled to swim in five meets beginning Friday. He'll be joined by more than a dozen other past Olympians among hundreds of swimmers as SwimMAC Carolina hosts this annual event at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in Uptown. Large crowds are expected to come see Phelps, who is swimming in his first official competition since being suspended for three months in February for bong-gate and his first since he won a record-breaking eight gold medals at last summer's Olympic Games in Beijing. Tickets are no longer being sold online, but you might be able to buy a limited number at the door.

You can read all about the Charlotte UltraSwim and Phelps's grand return to the sport in an article I wrote for this week's issue of Creative Loafing, "Blown Away."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Random Notes From United Way Breakfast

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/12/2009 1 comment
This morning I attended a breakfast seminar held by the United Way Young Leaders. The topic was “The Economic Crisis and Its Impact on the Charlotte Community,” led by keynote speaker Matthew Martin, senior vice president of the Charlotte Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Two ladies who represent local nonprofit agencies, Annabelle Suddreth from A Child’s Place and Jane McIntyre from the YWCA Central Carolinas, spoke as well. The breakfast was catered by Hope Haven, a United Way member agency that provides life skills for chemically dependant adults and families.

Martin used a Powerpoint presentation as he went over various economic indicators such as job losses, consumer spending, and new home construction. Even though he's an economist and you would think many of his remarks and figures would go over our heads, they didn't. I think we've all become so in tuned with keeping up with this economic recession as it is reported daily in the media that we fully understand terms like "liquidity" and "consumer confidence." Just about every chart Martin showed looked like it was depicting something falling off a cliff, and much of his data was specific to the Charlotte region. We know that all sectors are down in this economy, but this tutorial was daunting. We're a banktown and the job losses in our local financial industry often dominate the headlines, so I was surprised to learn that more jobs locally have been lost in sectors like manufacturing, construction, and professional services.

Suddreth and McIntyre told personal stories about some of the people their agencies help, how this recession has made life even more difficult for families who were already struggling to make ends meet. One statistic that stayed with me is this: there are currently more than 2,700 homeless children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Suddreth talked about what life is like for kids who struggle to go to school and have to come home to shelters or live in cars with their families. One great point McIntyre made is that the homeless people we tend to see on the street corner make up only about 15 percent of the homeless population. The rest are hardworking people who are trying to provide for their families. It was staggering to hear about the number of families in Charlotte whose annual household incomes are less than $10,000.

I walked away this morning pledging to get more involved in giving back to the community. The hard times most of us go through pale in comparison to people who don't have food in the house or don't have a house at all. If you want to help out, getting involved with the United Way Young Leaders is a great vehicle. The organization brings together young professionals in the Charlotte area (most under age 40) to volunteer and advocate for health and human service issues. Learn more at

Monday, May 11, 2009

Events for the Week: May 11-17

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/11/2009 No comments
Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. This isn’t intended to be a complete list of everything that's going on, but instead are the events GPT recommends.

Tuesday, May 12

United Way Young Leaders Breakfast
“The Economic Crisis and Its Impact on the Charlotte Community” is the topic of this first event in the United Way Young Leaders Breakfast Seminar Series. The keynote speaker is Matthew Martin, senior vice president of the Charlotte Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. 7:30-9 a.m. $7. AT&T, first floor auditorium, 300 S. Brevard St.

The Equation of Entrepreneurship with Omar Tyree
The bestselling author introduces and signs his new book, The Equation: Applying the 4 Indisputable Components of Business Success. Hors d’oeuvres will be served. Sponsored by the Charlotte Black Chamber of Commerce. 7-9 p.m. $10. Blake Hotel, 555 S. McDowell St. or

Wednesday, May 13

It’s a free event for race fans, celebrating the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup All Star race this weekend. 4-6:30 p.m.: Interactive displays, show cars, and giveaways. 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Performance by Simplified. 7:30-8:30 p.m.: NASCAR driver appearances. 8:30-10 p.m.: Headlining band O.A.R. perform. Uptown Charlotte, corner of Third and Mint Streets.

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but runs past midnight. Music by select DJs. Presented by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

Thursday, May 14

Alive After Five (weekly event)
The newly combined Alive After Five is now at its new home, the EpiCentre. Enjoy live music by this week’s bands, Deja Vu and Satisfaction (Rolling Stones tribute band). Both levels will be rocking and there’ll be plenty of drinks from cash bars scattered throughout. Wristbands get you into Blackfinn, Whisky River, Suite, and StrikeCity. 5-9:30 p.m. Free. The EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

Chocolate and Wine Tasting
Girl Talk Foundation, Inc. presents its annual fundraiser. Proceeds benefit programs to help young girls. In addition to featuring great wine and chocolates, the event will also offer a silent auction, music, and celebrity guests. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $40. Morton’s Steakhouse, 227 W. Trade St.

Best Of the Best Awards
Charlotte magazine presents its annual BOB Awards at this event, which coincides with its May issue. Meet some of the winners chosen as the best in shopping, dining, nightlife, sports, and more. Admission gets you food samplings from winning restaurants, complimentary cocktails, a bid number for the silent auction, and you're treated to live music performances. 6-9 p.m. $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Circle Court at SouthPark Mall, 4400 Sharon Rd.

NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge
This annual pre-All Star Race event gives you the chance to see pit crews compete head to head for the fastest pit times. 7 p.m. $15-$25. Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St.

RSVP Thursdays with Jamal Woolard
The rapper known as Gravy who starred in Notorious last year at the Notorious B.I.G. hosts this party tonight. Free food and drink specials. Music by Power 98’s Danny Diaz. 8 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Free before 11 p.m. if you RSVP to Décor 1202, 1202 Charlottetowne Ave.

Snoop Dogg
The Doggfather performs his biggest hits. 8 p.m. $38 and up. Amos’ Southend. 1423 S. Tryon St.

Friday, May 15

Friday Afterwork Rendezvous (weekly event)
End your workweek on a high note at this networking party, held at a different venue each week. Enjoy drink and appetizer specials and live music by electric violinist Ken Ford. A DJ spins afterwards. Presented by Talk of the Town. 6-11 p.m. Free. Utopia Restaurant, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr.

SlamCharlotte Poetry Slam
Witness Charlotte’s own two-time defending national championship team of spoken word poets (2007 and 2008 winners) do what they do best at this monthly event. SlamCharlotte’s current Slammaster, Bluz, is the 13th ranked individual poet in the world. Show contains adult language and content. 8 p.m. $10. McGlohon Theatre, 345 North College St.

Drinks @ Kiss
This monthly cocktail mixer attracts great crowds to one of the city’s trendiest lounges. Featuring $3 Kiss shots, $5 apple martinis, and $5 pinot noir. DJ DR will be playing the best in R&B, hip-hop, and reggae. 9:30 p.m. Free before 10:30 p.m. with RSVP. $10 and up after. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Saturday, May 16

For Sisters Only
This 10th annual event is the largest, annual African-American entertainment and empowerment expo in the Carolinas, featuring musical performances, shopping, speakers, financial seminars, cooking demonstrations, and more. CNN commentator Donna Brazile will be the keynote speaker. Performances by Case, Mary Mary, K'Jon, Urban Mystic, and Ginuwine. Presented by V101.9 and Power 98. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Blake Hotel, 555 S. McDowell St.

AACC Art Auction and Fundraiser
The Afro-American Cultural Center hosts its annual fundraiser and silent auction, featuring 50 works by Charlotte artist Nellie Ashford as well as the works of other artists. Refreshments will be served. 2-6 p.m. Free. Afro-American Cultural Center, 401 N. Myers St.

NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race
This annual all-star competition features a unique four-part format that produces the sport’s most intense race. Only the top drivers are eligible to compete, with the winner guaranteed at least $1 million. 7:30 p.m. $10-$75. Lowe’s Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy. South, Concord.

PlayDate Charlotte
Charlotte has joined the network of more than 30 cities that offer this alternative to typical partying and nightclubbing. It premiered last month to a sellout crowd. Enjoy music and drinks while playing card games, checkers, dominoes, Connect Four, Twister, Monopoly, and more. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $10. Venue 301, 301 E. Ninth St.

Rick Ross
The Boss (or bawwsse as he says it) celebrates his new album, Deeper Than Rap. Music by DJ Buttafingerz and hosted by No Limit Larry. 10 p.m. Cost varies. Club Ice, 300 E. Stonewall St.

Sunday, May 17

Chocolate Sundays
Touted as “a sexy soiree geared strictly towards Charlotte’s young, astute professionals,” this event gives you a great opportunity to unwind on a Sunday night. Proper dress is required (sexy preferred). Presented by Savoir Faire and Jane Doe Marketing. 8 p.m.-midnight. PJ’s Coffee & Lounge, 210 E. Trade St. (inside the EpiCentre).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Urban Living on Display

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/08/2009 No comments
Charlotte Center City Partners is presenting an Urban Living Showcase this weekend to show you the many residential, dining, nightlife, and entertainment options in Uptown, Midtown, and South End. They held a premiere party last evening at the MetTerraces at the Metropolitan complex in Midtown that I attended. Just from taking a tour of this new development I can tell you that you have a lot to look forward to if you choose to tour some of the more than dozen properties being featured, including Ashton South End, Catalyst, The Arlington, The Trust, Trademark, and more. It's cool to look inside beautiful condos and penthouses and see how some people live.

I took a few pictures (pardon the quality; I used my camera phone) from inside one of the condos at the Met. On the second floor they had an empty unit open that served as the reception area, and on the fourth floor was a fully furnished unit with the same layout. It was like looking at a before and after.

The Urban Living Showcase is a free event on Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. You can go on a self-guided tour or have one of the trolleys take you around. Visit for more details.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stephen Curry Stars In Rap Video...Sort of

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/07/2009 No comments
Davidson College basketball star Stephen Curry may be headed to the NBA this summer, but he's still enjoying college life. Curry and several of his classmates remixed Ashter Roth's rap song, "I Love College." Their version is called "I Love Commons" and it's a tribute to the campus eatery where Davidson students enjoy many of their meals. If you know anything about music videos then you'll realize that the Davidson kids actually had to record the song first then shoot the video, so the whole process took some effort. It's also great to see that many on the Davidson dining staff got in on the fun as well. And the result is a catchy song with a cool video to match. See Curry, aren't you going to miss your college days and wish that you would've decided to stay for your senior season? Most of us in Charlotte sure wish you would have.

See the YouTube video below (and I have to give props to because that's where I saw it first).

Charlotte Blogger Tracks Craigslist Crimes

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/07/2009 1 comment
Trench Reynolds has been tracking crimes and writing about them on the Internet for several years. One of his favorite areas is keeping up with the many crimes that occur from people meeting or doing business as a result of connecting on Craigslist. Since a couple of high-profile Craigslist-related murders have dominated the headlines recently, Reynolds has been brought out from behind his blogger shadows. Several major newspapers have interviewed him recently and earlier this week he appeared on CNN.

The 40 year-old Charlotte resident says he's an unemployed blogger, which sort of explains how he's able to devote so much time to his plethora of postings. It's probably the most comprehensive database of Craigslist crimes you'll find, and many of the postings are entertaining just because of the nature of the incidents.

See for yourself on "Trench Reynolds' Crime News" at (yes, that's the correct address; it spells out crimenews).

'Art, Beats and Lyrics' Converge Friday

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/07/2009 No comments
Liquor companies host some of the best events and they seem to like setting up shop in Charlotte. Tomorrow night features Art, Beats and Lyrics presented by Gentleman Jack (Jack Daniel's). This traveling exhibition of art, hip-hop, dance, and liquor is taking place from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Blake Hotel, and it's all free.

Art, Beats and Lyrics came to Charlotte last year, during its inaugural tour (I blogged about it during the early days of Grown People Talking: "A Weekend of Beautiful Expression"). I guess it's safe to say they were pleased with the turnout and have decided to return. I attended last year and it was a great event. It provided an opportunity to see some of the country's best "street" and "urban" artists, including some locals, whose works don't often make it into museums and galleries. There was also good, live music by hip-hop artists and bands while break dancers performed incredible moves in front of the stage. My only complaint about last year's event is that they ran out of the free booze so many people weren't able to redeem their drink tickets.

The event is free, but requires registration online. Unfortunately, the tickets reached capacity yesterday so no more are being given away. But here's a little tip: With free events there are always a percentage of people who will register and not show up, so you can still possibly get in. But that'll probably be after many of the ticketed folks have come in. If you have a ticket, I suggest you get there early because the line was wrapped around the building last year at CenterStage in NoDa. If you don't have a ticket, I recommend you get there around 10 p.m. after some of the early folks have left.

Below is a video recap of last year's event.

You can learn more by visiting

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Cosmos Opens Today

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/06/2009 No comments
Cosmos Cafe opens a new location today in Ballantyne. If it becomes half as popular as the Uptown location has been for the past several years then it will be a success. Many people go to Cosmos for the great food, but even more--the late-night crowd--go for the drinks and music. This will be a great option for the Ballantyne crowd, who don't currently have many late-night spots in their posh neighborhood.

The new Cosmos is located inside The Village at Robinson Farm, a new development of restaurants, retail, and office space in Ballantyne. Cosmos is one of the first tenants, located at 8420 Rea Road. The hours are: Mon.-Fri., 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sat., 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sun., 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Unlike the Uptown location, this one isn't opened for lunch during the week, but that might change once more tenants are filled in around it. Plus, it's opened on Sundays, which the Uptown one is not. Visit for more details.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hurry and Get Your KFC-Oprah Coupon

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/05/2009 No comments
Kentucky Fried Chicken is going to great lengths to introduce its new grilled chicken. KFC has partnered with The Oprah Winfrey Show and is giving away coupons for a free two-piece meal: two pieces of Kentucky Grilled Chicken, two individual sides, and a biscuit. The coupon became available for download at 9 a.m. CDT this morning and will be available until 9:59 p.m. CDT--10:59 p.m. our time--tomorrow (May 6). You can redeem the coupon at participating KFC restaurants until May 19, excluding Mother's Day, May 10.

You can download the coupon at and read more about it on Oprah's website.

Fantasia's Bro Is On the Come Up

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/05/2009 1 comment
Ricco Barrino probably doesn't like being prefaced as "Fantasia's brother," especially since he's the oldest sibling. But she's the famous one, though big bro Ricco may be on his way to stardom.

The High Point native has been grinding in the music biz for as long as Fantasia, but he didn't have the benefits of American Idol thrusting him into the limelight like his sister, however he did audition for the show last year. Ricco, or Puerto Ricc as he's also known, has had a couple of songs bubbling on the underground, including "Bubblegum," which is his 2007 collaboration with Fabo of D4L. And now that Ricco has connected with more artists in Atlanta--he splits his time between Charlotte and the ATL--he just may have his first hit.

Atlanta rapper Yung LA, who burst onto the national scene last year with his hit "Ain't I," has recruited Ricco for his new single, "Futuristic Love." Ricco sings the hook and the quite catchy song is getting a lot of radio spins, particularly here on Power 98. He's said to now be signed to Grand Hustle, T.I.'s record label that is also the home to Yung LA and Young Dro, Fantasia's boyfriend. See, family ties can help. On the song, I think Ricco sounds like a male version of Fantasia. You can listen to "Futuristic Love" below.

Events for the Week: May 4-10

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/05/2009 No comments
Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. This isn’t intended to be a complete list of everything that's going on, but instead are the events GPT recommends.

Tuesday, May 5

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo Block Party
This block party on Elizabeth Avenue is for a good cause, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. There will be live music by Simplified, plenty of food and drink specials, and a drawing for a four-day trip to Cancun. 4 p.m. $5 donation. 1900 Mexican Grill, 1523 Elizabeth Ave.  

Cinco de Mayo at La Paz
Since it’s really just about drinking, $25 gets you all you can drink. Live music also. 5 p.m. La Paz, 1910 South Blvd.

Tone-X and Friends (weekly event)
Come laugh at the jokes and skits by Power 98’s Tone-X, Chris “Funnyman” Robinson, and other comedians. Music by DJ Stacey Blackman. 8 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Skandalos, 5317 E. Independence Blvd.

Wednesday, May 6

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but runs past midnight. Music by select DJs. Presented by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

An Intimate Evening with India Arie
The neo-soul star will be performing her past hits as well as songs from her new album. Opening act is Laura Izibor (“From My Heart to Yours”). 7:30 p.m. $35. Amos’ Southend 1423 S. Tryon St.

Thursday, May 7

Alive After Five (weekly event)
The newly combined Alive After Five is now at its new home, the EpiCentre. Enjoy live music by this week’s bands, Simply Irresistible and White Chocolate. Both levels will be rocking and there’ll be plenty of drinks from cash bars scattered throughout. Wristbands get you into Blackfinn, Whisky River, Suite, and StrikeCity. 5-9:30 p.m. Free. The EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

Urban Fashion Week Casting Call
Models, designers, wardrobe stylists, make-up artists, and hair stylists are invited to attend for casting for Charlotte Urban Fashion Week. 7-9 p.m. Free. Décor 1202, 1202 Charlottetowne Ave.

Friday, May 8

Friday Afterwork Rendezvous (weekly event)
End your workweek on a high note at this networking party, held at a different venue each week. Enjoy drink and appetizer specials and plenty of mingling. Presented by Talk of the Town. 6-11 p.m. Free. Ruth's Chris Uptown, 222 S. Tryon St.

Art, Beats and Lyrics
This art-meets-hip-hop event returns to Charlotte for a second year. Last year’s had a capacity crowd. View art by urban artists from Charlotte and around the country. Music by DJ Rasta Root, Applejack, DJ Lord, and more as well as live band The Common Ground Collective. Hosted by Jay Force and Hustle Simmons. Presented by Gentleman Jack. 7 p.m.-midnight. Free, but you must register online. The Blake Hotel, 555 S. McDowell St.

Who's Crying Now?
This stageplay consists of six main characters whose lives are intertwined through relationships and politics. The characters must choose between love or lust, deception or truth, happiness or loyalty. Written by Jamie Brown and Darrell McCollum. Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. $20. McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St.

Saturday, May 9

Spring Fling Racing
Watch import and domestic cars and motorcycles race, sorta like Fast and Furious, but legally. 8 a.m. Mooresville Dragway, 865 Wilkinson Rd., Mooresville.

Platinum Saturday with Vivica Fox and Jazsmin Lewis
These two beautiful actresses host the party this week. 10 p.m. $15 and up; members free until 11 p.m. (visit website for membership). Club 935, 935 S. Summit Ave.

Sunday, May 10

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day Brunch at Blue
Treat mom to a large menu with everything from omelets, French toast, and waffles to lamb, salmon, and a full dessert bar. And enjoy live jazz while you eat. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. $34.95 adults, $12.95 children. Reservations suggested. Blue Restaurant and Bar, 214 N. Tryon St. (corner of Fifth and College streets).

Mother’s Day Brunch at Utopia
Fill up on omelets, grits, bacon, sausage, pancakes, macaroni and cheese, salad and more. Live music by John Dillard Trio. Hosted by Mellanie Clark of Praise 100.9. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $13. Reservations suggested. Utopia Restaurant, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr.

Special Blend @ PJ’s (weekly event)
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. 6 p.m.-midnight. Free. PJ’s Coffee & Lounge, 210 E. Trade St. (inside the EpiCentre).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

There was so much national media coverage of Bank of America's shareholders meeting last week in Charlotte, you would've thought the meeting wasn't an annual occurrence. But, of course, the economy--and the state of banks specifically--isn't where it was a year ago and people's concerns are at an all-time high. As you know, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis was stripped of his chairman title at the meeting, which was said to have drawn 2,200 shareholders inside Belk Theater at the start of the contentious, four-hour session.

Offering an interesting perspective on the day's event and insight into what's to come was former BofA CEO/chairman Hugh McColl, who is credited for creating the blueprint for the behemoth the bank is today, before retiring in 2001 and being succeeded by Lewis. In this video below, Bloomberg News interviews McColl outside of the shareholders meeting. Even though he dodges a few questions, I like how McColl always speaks so matter-of-factly.

We can expect another storm to brew later this week. The results of the federal government's "stress tests" of 19 U.S. banks are scheduled to be released Thursday.

Friday, May 1, 2009

GPT Interviews 'Candy Girl' Brooke Bailey

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/01/2009 2 comments
Brooke Bailey has appeared in numerous hip-hop music videos and graced the pages of popular men's magazines. But it's her starring role in E!'s reality series, Candy Girls, that's making her a household name. Grown People Talking caught up with Bailey, who lives in Charlotte when she wants to get away from L.A., to get her thoughts on the show as the season finale approaches.

What are your ties to Charlotte?
I really don't have any ties to Charlotte. I'm originally from Los Angeles and I came to Charlotte a little over a year ago to host a few parties and loved the surroundings so I decided to get a place. It's my home away from home. When I'm here I get to relax. When I'm in Los Angeles it's all business.

How has your life changed since Candy Girls debuted?
Well the biggest difference is that instead of people saying 'aren't you that girl from that video,' they know my name and talk to me like they know me because they get to see inside my life and feel like they have some sort of connection with me. It's really funny because sometimes I look at them like 'Do I know them from somewhere' because I'm horrible with names and faces. I sometimes forget my newfound status in the world as 'Brooke Bailey from Candy Girls.'

What's the biggest misconception you think people have of you from watching the show?
You know, I really don't know. All of the feedback that I've been getting has been great. If there has been any misconception about me, more than likely I didn't take the time to pay it any attention. People don't know my life and I really don't care!

Are you currently dating anyone?
Yes, I'm in a committed relationship with Drew. He dumped me when I went out with Red Cafe (editor's note: that dating scene played in an episode of the show). But since then, I made it up to him and he took me back with open arms.

What's the most recent music video you've appeared in?
The most recent is MIMS' "Move" that aired on Candy Girls.

What's your most favorite video that you've done?
I guess it would be Lil Boosie, "Wipe Me Down."

What's next for you?
Hopefully it will be a season two of Candy Girls. I also have a few other projects that I'm working on, so please stay tuned!

Catch the season finale of Candy Girls this Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on E! And keep up with Brooke Bailey on Twitter, @BrookeBaileyInc.
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