Friday, June 26, 2009

Why I Wanted to Be Michael Jackson

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/26/2009 1 comment
Rest in peace Michael Jackson.

There's nothing I can say here that hasn't been expressed on TV, radio, and the Internet (all over Facebook) since MJ passed away yesterday. But I'm awake early this morning doing some work, and for the past hour I've had the TV on in the background on MTV where they're playing nothing but Michael Jackson videos. "Thriller" just came on as I'm typing this!

I must take a quick detour to hop on my soapbox for a minute. To all the young people out there today who may not have seen many of Jackson's legendary music videos, understand that he took the art form to a whole 'nother level. Before him, artists pretty much only performed the song in their videos. He made mini movies. And the sad thing, which is the point I'm making here, is since you kids today don't want to pay for music and mostly want to download it illegally, record sales are down tremendously and record labels can't afford to spend much money on making quality music videos anymore. So I hope you enjoy the made-for-YouTube quality music videos you're getting today. If you want to see when they were done at their best, you can, ironically, watch many of Jackson's videos on his YouTube page,

What I'm posting here is a video of the Michael Jackson performance that changed my life. It made me want to be MJ. I tell friends the story all the time about how my twin brother and I used to perform our MJ impersonations for our parents' friends when we were growing up. One of the rituals of being a black kid is dancing for your parents' friends at some kind of house party or get-together. The video below is a clip from Jackson performing at the "Motown 25" celebration. When it aired on TV, I was only three years old but I knew I was witnessing greatness.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lil Ru Debuts 'Nasty Song' Video

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/24/2009 2 comments
Lil Ru filmed scenes for his "Nasty Song" video in Charlotte earlier this month. The club scenes, in particular, are recognizable because they were shot at Alive in NoDa.

Obviously seeking airplay, the South Carolina rapper has cleaned up "Nasty Song" a bit. Watching/listening to this version and you might not realize that the song is about partying in a strip club. See the music video below (you can watch it at work; it's tame).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Al Roker In Charlotte Friday

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/23/2009 No comments
Al Roker will be in Charlotte Friday morning broadcasting his segments of the Today Show. Roker is on his "Lend a Hand" charity road tour, which kicked off yesterday in L.A. He's visiting a different city each day this week and bringing with him a truckload of donated items.

The Charlotte recipient of those donated goods will be the Community School of the Arts, which teaches arts programs to children, including many from low-income households. The school is housed at Spirit Square in Uptown and that's where Roker will be broadcasting.

Roker is America's favorite weatherman and it's great to see that a Charlotte organization has been chosen to receive this charitable donation and the nationwide attention it will bring. He's such a cool guy, known for his jolly good nature. But don't get on his bad side or he'll get gangster with you like he did with Speidi last week.

If you watch the Today Show like I do then you know Roker checks in each half hour, usually on the sevens (:07, :37). The morning news show comes on at 7 a.m. on NBC (locally on WCNC) and you can expect the majority of the focus on the Community School of the Arts to air during the eight o'clock hour.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Can Bank Robbers Get Any Dumber?

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/19/2009 No comments
WSOC-TV is reporting that a Charlotte man robbed a Wachovia branch on North Tryon Street this morning. Bank robberies happen all the time, which is stupid since no one hardly ever gets away and they get a whole lot of prison time when they're caught, but this has to be one of the dumbest--or most unluckiest. Reportedly, the man robbed the bank and the money bag he was given had a dye pack in it (of course). He then goes across the street to a library, I guess to count his loot in peace. Unbeknownst to him, the library had a police precinct in it. Clink, clink.

I bet this guy will end up being the butt of jokes on late-night talk shows or appear on the World's Dumbest list tonight on Countdown With Keith Olbermann (I love that show).

Click here to watch the WSOC news report.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I attended the "Young Professionals for Anthony Foxx Meet and Greet" that was held at Loft 1523 on last evening. A crowd of about 150 young professionals turned out to mingle, network, and hear Foxx discuss his platform.

Foxx speaking at a campaign event earlier this year.

Based on what I heard and saw last evening, here are 10 reasons why I believe City Councilman Anthony Foxx will be elected Charlotte's next mayor this November.
  • Foxx and his campaign are taking several pages from President Barack Obama's campaign playbook. And the most important chapter is on the importance of mobilizing people on the ground.
  • Not to draw too many Obama comparisons, but Foxx is talking a lot about change, which is something that struck a chord with voters last November.
  • Foxx is a Democrat, and that party is ascending in Charlotte.
  • This election, unfortunately, will end up being about race. Race won't be the only factor, but it will play a pivotal role. Foxx is seeking to become just Charlotte's second African-American mayor, a feat not accomplished since Harvey Gantt was elected in 1983. Charlotte's voting demographic has changed a lot since then, which will work in Foxx's favor. He will easily garner the African-American vote and from what I could see from the enthusiastic crowd last evening, he'll probably get a large percentage of the white vote as well. The Hispanic vote may prove to be the deciding factor in this election.
  • No more McCrory. Pat McCrory, a Republican and Charlotte's longest serving mayor in history, announced last year that he would not be seeking an eighth term. This not only propelled Foxx to decide to run, but with the unbeatable McCrory (in mayoral elections anyway) out of the picture it has opened the door for a Democrat to take the seat, which they haven't held since Gantt.
  • Foxx is young (38) and will be able to connect easier with the all-important 18 to 35 vote. Charlotte, by the way, is the third fastest-growing city for people ages 25 to 39.
  • His platform, as he talked briefly about at the event, focuses heavily on creating opportunities for all Charlotteans, creating jobs, improving education for children, and preaching social responsibility. While Foxx's opponents will also talk a lot about job creation, which will resonate with residents during this recession, his other issues show that he wants to unite people and I think that's what Charlotteans want right now.
  • His campaign video is inspiring.
  • He has a beautiful family (a wife and two kids).
  • And the number one reason Anthony Foxx will be elected Charlotte's next mayor: He's a Charlotte native with a terrific story. Not only do we not encounter many Charlotte natives these days (I always say that only 2 out of every 10 people I meet in Charlotte are actually from here), but we have even fewer in leadership positions. Foxx has a great story that shows what a person can accomplish with hard work, talent, and ambition. As he remarked last evening, he grew up in a neighborhood off Beatties Ford Road, where he wasn't expected to succeed. After graduating from West Charlotte High School, he then went on to graduate from Davidson College (where he served as student body president), and got his law degree from NYU. He's been a successful attorney for the last 13 years, and a city councilman since 2005.
For more on Foxx's campaign, visit

If you want to learn about his opponent, Republican John Lassiter, visit

Help United Way 'Stuff the Bus'

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/18/2009 No comments
As part of a nationwide call-to-action, United Way of Central Carolinas is holding a "Stuff the Bus" drive next week at various locations around Charlotte where you'll be able to donate items for the city's homeless population. More than 6,550 people in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area are homeless, according to the agency.

I attended a United Way Young Leaders breakfast last month and one of the speakers made a remark that really resonated with me. The homeless people we encounter on street corners account for only about 15 percent of the homeless population. They often turn us off with their begging, which is usually tied to drug or alcohol addiction, but most of the homeless are hardworking people who just happen to have had bad breaks in life. They might be the people bagging our groceries at the store or taking our order at a fast food restaurant. They're working but they're not earning enough money to provide a home for themselves and their families.

You can help Charlotte's homeless by dropping off needed toiletries for homeless shelters in our community. This drive will kick off Monday, June 22 and end Friday, June 26. Below are the list of locations with dates and times.

United Way Donation Drop-Off Locations
•Monday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., The Plaza at Two Wachovia Center, 301 S. Tryon St.
•Tuesday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Macy’s Parking Lot, SouthPark Mall
•Wednesday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., South Tryon and Independence Plaza (Bank of America building)
•Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Carolinas HealthCare System, corner of Morehead Street and Kenilworth Avenue
•Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., United Way of Central Carolinas, 301 South Brevard St.

Items that are being requested are:
• Men: toiletries, new towels and wash cloths, new underwear (briefs in sizes large-6XL), shower shoes, and new socks.
•Women: toiletries, shower shoes, disposable diapers in all sizes, baby wipes, 60 gallon trash bags (to carry clothes).

United Way of Central Carolinas serves a five-county region of Anson, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, and Union counties and the Mooresville-Lake Norman area. For more information, visit

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Events for the Week: June 15-21

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/17/2009 1 comment
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, June 17

Young Professionals for Anthony Foxx Meet and Greet
Meet Charlotte mayoral candidate Anthony Foxx and learn more about his platform. Featuring guest speaker and NFL player Terry Cousin, and hosted by Q92.7’s Ifé Moore. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drink specials. 6-8:30 p.m. Free, but you’ll be able to make campaign contributions. Loft 1523, 1523 Elizabeth Ave.

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but runs past midnight. Varying types of people pop in and out throughout the night so you never know who you’ll run into. 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.

2009 Summer Bikini Bash
This installment of Wild Out Wednesdays features a bikini contest with a cash prize going to the winner. Summer drink specials will be served. Hosted by Sport E. Odie. 10 p.m. Cost varies; ladies free all night. Club Ice, 300 E. Stonewall St.

Thursday, June 18

Alive After Five at EpiCentre (weekly event)
Enjoy live music by this week’s bands, Girlz Girlz Girlz (upstairs) and The Party Nuts (downstairs). Both levels will be filled with people 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.

Summertime Bash for Pet P.A.L.S.
Spend the evening with members of Pet P.A.L.S. (Professional Animal Lovers Society) of Humane Society of Charlotte as they mingle and network for a good cause. Complimentary appetizers and drink and wine specials will be served. 5-8:30 p.m. $15. Andrew Blair’s, 1600 Montford Dr.

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. Décor 1202, 1202 Charlottetowne Ave.

Friday, June 19

Culture Initiative Presents Show and Tell
This eclectic arts and music showcase brings together more than 40 visual artists, four bands (The Hot House Heftones, Fuzz & Mac, Groove8, and Jocelyn Ellis & The Alpha Theory) and three DJs to energize and connect Charlotte’s arts community. Presented by the newly formed arts organization, Culture Initiative. Doors open 6 p.m.; show starts 6:30 p.m. $8-$10. Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. or

Summer Groove
Come dressed to impress at this party and enjoy a great atmosphere from the bar to the patio. Look for many of Charlotte’s movers and shakers among the mostly 30-and-older crowd (25-and-up are welcomed). Music by DJ Stretch-O-Matic. Presented by Digital Divas. 9:30 p.m. $10 in advance; free before 10 p.m. Sunset Club, 1820 South Blvd.

Drinks @ Kiss
This monthly cocktail mixer attracts great crowds to one of the city’s trendiest lounges. Featuring plenty of drink specials and complimentary Nuvo tasting (10-11 p.m.). DJ Daddy D will be playing the best in R&B, hip-hop, and reggae. 10 p.m. $10 and up; free before 11 p.m. with RSVP. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Saturday, June 20

Jet Set Day Party
Day parties are popular during CIAA Week so one group is giving it a go now. Party on the rooftop and casual chic attire is requested. Music by DJ Skillz. Presented by The A List and Sol Kitchen. 12-6 p.m. $10 in advance. Pravda Bar and Rooftop Garden at The Forum, 300 N. College St.

PlayDate Charlotte
Charlotte has joined the network of more than 30 cities that offer this alternative to typical partying and nightclubbing. This is the third installment of the monthly series and the first two drew large crowds. Enjoy music and drinks while playing card games, checkers, dominoes, Connect Four, Twister, Monopoly, and more. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $10. Tyvola Marriott, 5700 Westpark Dr.

The Hamptons Meets Cabo
Party like celebrities and don your most fashionable attire. VIP service will be available. Presented by Six Figure Entertainment. 10 p.m. Cost varies; visit website for advance tickets. 1900 Mexican Grill and Tequila Lounge, 1523 Elizabeth Ave.

Sunday, June 21

Marshall Park Music Festival
Each Sunday this month, enjoy jazz in the park and a variety of other music from four bands, along with vendors selling food, drinks, and merchandise. Hosted by Kenny Mack and Larken Egleston. Presented by Lockhart Entertainment. 1-7 p.m. Free. Marshall Park, 800 E. Third St.

Lyrically Speaking
Experience live poetry and spoken word over an appetizing menu. This week’s featured poet is Korim from California. Presented by Touch One Productions. 8 p.m. $10. Utopia SoundStage, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Get Help With DTV

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/15/2009 No comments
Television stations nationwide made the switch from analog to digital TV broadcasts Friday. While we've all known for the past year that this day was coming, an estimated 1.75 million households hadn't gotten off their arses to get the digital converter boxes that are necessary if you don't have cable or satellite. But also, many people were having problems hooking up their boxes or discovered that their antennas weren't compatible. As a result, the FCC has received more than a million calls to its helpline since Friday.

If you need help, help is on the way. Representatives from the FCC will be in Charlotte on Wednesday (June 17) to demonstrate how to hook up a digital converter box, discuss different types of antennas, answer general DTV questions, and provide on-site assistance for those who would like to sign up for the TV Converter Box Coupon Program.

DTV Post-Transition Assistance
Wednesday, June 17
9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive, Charlotte

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I'm sure you've heard, watched, or read news reports about a Kannapolis man who a couple of weeks ago allegedly hired a man on Craigslist to rape his wife in their bedroom while he watched. The husband was arrested three days later after a police investigation determined he was involved. Since then, lots of details have come out, including that this was a part of the man's fantasy. The alleged attacker was arrested yesterday. Most media outlets have a policy in that they don't publish or broadcast the names of rape victims. And the local media outlets I've encountered the story on so far have gone a step further by not even giving the name of the husband who has been charged because they believe that would be too close to identifying his wife. That is truly to be commended.

Unfortunately, these anonymous people who love to go on news websites and spew hate and negativity don't have such morals. A few of them have gone onto the Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office website to get information about the case. Even though they're accessing what is indeed public record, they feel the obligation to post this info in the comments section of the articles about the rape case on some of the news websites--the same info, such as the husband and wife's names, that the news sites refused to publish. Some people seem to have nothing better to do with their time or if you think this is your duty as a "citizen journalist," then why don't you post your real name alongside your comments instead of some anonymous listing or unattributable screenname. We real journalists have bylines--and ethics (stuff I was taught in J-school, beyotch).

But throughout the carnage in the comments section, which I admit that I'm guilty of oftentimes reading though I quickly get turned off by the ignorance, a few commenters have revealed an interesting and very bizarre detail to the life of this couple. It appears that the husband and wife who are at the center of this case (which the media has dubbed the "Craigslist rape case") made national news about three months ago for something completely unrelated. The wife made a bold move in her career that garnered the attention of MSNBC, CNN, and others. While this is certainly an interesting tidbit, I'm not going to divulge anymore details here. The careless commenters who uncovered this bit of information actually linked to one of the national news stories from three months ago, and in that story the husband, wife, and their two kids are all photographed at their home. They seem so happy then.

The way I believe the story from March was uncovered and linked to the current news stories is that once one or more of the commenters found the name of the husband who's being accused of planning the attack on his wife, they recognized his name from the earlier story. This certainly wouldn't be hard to do in a small town like Kannapolis. I'm sure residents around there, as well as throughout Charlotte, are buzzing about this bizarre twist. And the major news outlets are probably grappling with how or whether to report on it. But I say let people chatter amongst themselves--that's been going on since the beginning of time. Once you start putting sensitive information onto the Internet, it's out there for the whole world to see. And as our society has shown time and time again, some of us don't have much decency.

Back for Therapy (the Reopening)

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/13/2009 1 comment
I attended a private grand reopening party at Therapy Cafe last evening. I was looking forward to seeing how the place would look after closing in February to undergo massive renovations. And it is indeed a massive change. The new Therapy looks nothing like the old Therapy. The owners bought the space next door formerly occupied by Lola's and expanded to be what seems like about four times the size of what it used to be.

If you ever visited Therapy in the past then you'll recall that it was a small, intimate place that felt more like a lounge than a cafe. Now it's a restaurant and bar. If you walk into the main entrance from Tryon Street, you're facing the large bar, which is pretty much in the center of the long, narrow room. The space is very colorful, filled with neon blues and greens, has plenty of windows, and has a very modern feel. There are numerous tables and booths so you won't have as hard of a time getting a seat like you once did here.

Please excuse the quality of my camera phone pics.

Therapy now has a full, open kitchen facing one of the small dining areas, giving it sort of a to-go order feel. This is in the right corner of the room. The entire place actually feels like three places in one. If you really liked the old Therapy, you probably won't be as big of a fan of the redesign. It's lost its intimate, lounge feel. But you'll be happy to know it has retained what most made it popular in the first place: the great double-martini menu. And they'll continue to offer Martini Madness on Wednesdays, during which all martinis are half price (who can pass up getting a $12 martini for six bucks?). Plus, because it is now a full-service restaurant, you have a much larger food menu to choose from. I think overall you'll enjoy it here, but you'll just have to expect something different--different from what Therapy used to be, but similar to restaurant/bar concepts that have opened in Charlotte.

As for what I ordered there, I had one of the Starters: the Mama’s Meatballs, which is Italian-style meatballs served with Parmesan cheese and garlic toast. It was very tasty. And I washed it down with two martinis: the Mother's Milk (I now see a theme to my order), which has vodka and Bailey's in it, and I had another martini (I forgot the name of it) that contained a double shot of Red Bull. The wait staff was friendly (and equally attractive) and the bartenders were very knowledgeable of the drink menu.

Therapy is planning a public grand reopening party for Thursday. Visit for more details.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tonight MTV airs a new episode of Made, the TV series where young people have the chance to be "made" into the people they've always wanted to be, but never had the courage to try. In this episode, Ethan Mann, a teenager from the Winston-Salem area, gets made into a ladies man. His coach is Power 98's No Limit Larry.

The episode airs tonight at 10 p.m. on MTV. And of course if you don't catch it then, it will air several more times on the network. Check out this sneak peek below.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hollywood's In the Bag

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/11/2009 No comments
When the stars start rocking it, it's probably on its way to popularity. I'm sure that's what two Charlotte business partners are hoping. Ann Francke and Barry King co-founded Beautorium, an online marketplace for natural and organic beauty products and accessories, and one of their trademark items is being used by some Hollywood elite.

Aimee Teegarden, star of Friday Night Lights, carrying an "I Am A Natural Bag" by Beautorium at a recent Hollywood event.

The Beautorium Natural Bag was used recently at the MTV Movie Awards and the Hollywood NOTE Foundation's Change the World Humanitarian Awards, to put the SWAG (stuff we all get) in that the celebrities received. The Beautorium Natural Bag is a reusable shopping bag made from eco-friendly fairly traded burlap. The bags are a great substitution to receiving paper or plastic bags when you're out shopping--think about how you could help the environment if you don't have to take home those huge bags you get from department stores and shopping malls.

You can get the bag free if you order at least $50 worth of products from Beautorium. Visit for more details.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Live Nation, the largest concert promoter in the world, is waving the service fee it usually charges for tickets online for some of the venues it operates nationwide. This promotion is for today only (June 10) and applies to more than 50 amphitheaters, including two in Charlotte: Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre and the new Uptown Amphitheatre that's opening Saturday at the NC Music Factory.

I'm assuming Live Nation is offering this deal only at amphitheaters since those are the most popular venues for summertime concerts, and because they want to entice people to come out during this recession. The service fee often runs more than $10 per ticket, which is ridiculous. While the fee is only being waved for tickets purchased today, it applies to any of the events currently listed at those venues.

For Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, this includes upcoming concerts featuring such notable acts as: Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction (June 12); 311 with special guests Ziggy Marley and The Expendables (July 3); Aerosmith with ZZ Top (July 9); (Toby Keith with Trace Adkins (July 12); Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd (July 26); Nickelback with Hinder, Papa Roach, and Saving Abel (July 31); Rascal Flatts with Darius Rucker (August 1); Coldplay (August 7); Blink-182 with Fall Out Boy (October 1); and several more.

Because the Uptown Amphitheatre is new it only has a few concerts scheduled thus far: The Fray with Jack's Mannequin (June 13); The Offspring (July 14); Jason Mraz (July 28); Counting Crows (August 21); and Chickenfoot (August 27).

Visit for more details.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Audition for Hip-Hop Music Video

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/09/2009 No comments
If you're looking to be the next video vixen or are an aspiring background dancer, this event may interest you. An audition for a music video for "Supplier," Shawty Lo's new single featuring Trey Songz, is being held next Saturday (June 20), 11 a.m. at Jillian's (200 E. Bland St.) See the flyer below for details.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Events for the Week: June 8-14

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/08/2009 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, June 9

Social Media Breakfast
This breakfast meeting is held on the second Tuesday of each month and is your opportunity to learn more about the trends and innovations in social media—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. This month’s guest speaker is Geno Church from Brains on Fire. Presented by Social Media Charlotte. 7:30 a.m. $10, includes a hot buffet breakfast. Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, 911 E. Morehead St.

Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago
See these two legendary bands perform their greatest hits. 7:30 p.m. $29.50-$85. Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St.

Wednesday, June 10

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but runs past midnight. Varying types of people pop in and out throughout the night so you never know who you’ll run into. 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, June 11

Alive After Five at EpiCentre (weekly event)
Enjoy live music by this week’s bands, The Dave Matthews Tribute Band and E3. 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.

Classic Thursdays (weekly event)
Classic hip-hop and R&B is on display here, featuring Q92.7’s DJ Rham. 10 p.m. Ladies free all night; men $10. Club Ice, 300 E. Stonewall St.

Friday, June 12

Summer Couture Fashion Show
See the latest in fashion while enjoying drink specials and mouth-watering desserts. Event will also feature a silent auction and a drawing for a three-day trip. Proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Presented by L.A. East and Jon Ric. 6-10 p.m. $5 donation suggested. Crave Dessert Bar, 500 W. Fifth St.

Friday Afterwork Rendezvous (weekly event)
End your workweek on a high note at this networking party, held at a different venue each week--and this week it's headed north. Enjoy $2.99 appetizer specials and $5 martinis, along with great music by DJ 06. Presented by Talk of the Town. 6-11 p.m. Free. The Tavern @ J.R. Crickets (popular in Atlanta and the first one to open in the Charlotte area), 9818 Gilead Rd., Huntersville.

Down Home Stories with Humpy Wheeler
The legendary NASCAR promoter will be the featured storyteller at the Charlotte Folk Society’s monthly gathering. Wheeler will share stories about growing up in Belmont and the early days of NASCAR. Moderated by Tom Hanchett, staff historian for the Levine Museum of the New South. Refreshments will be served. 7:30 p.m. Free. Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Ave.

The Soul Café featuring BlacCatt
The exotic all-female band brings you a soulful, energy-filled evening. Presented by the Underground Soul Station. 8 p.m. $10. Wine Up, 3306 N. Davidson St.

Saturday, June 13

“Wake Up! It’s Time to Hear!” Community Breakfast
To Serve with Love Ministries present this event focused on building strong community relationships and helping those in need. Charlotte mayoral candidate Anthony Foxx is the keynote speaker at this fifth annual event. Admission includes a buffet breakfast. 10 a.m. $15; advance tickets are encouraged and can be purchased online. Coffee Cup Restaurant, 2909 N. Davidson St.

The Summer Soiree
Come dressed to impress and party with young professionals. Power 98 will be broadcasting live. Ages 25 and up. 10 p.m. Cost varies; ladies free before 10:30 p.m. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 222 S. Tryon St.

Gabrielle Union’s NC/SC All-White Party
Wear you best summer white at this party hosted by the beautiful actress. 10 p.m. $20 in advance, more at the door. Club 935, 935 S. Summit Ave.

Celebrity Second Saturdays
The NFL meets the NBA at this party hosted by Dwayne Jarrett, Josh Howard, and Brendan Haywood. Music by Power 98’s DJ Danny Diaz. 9:30 p.m. Cost varies; ladies free before 11 p.m. Décor 1202, 1202 Charlottetowne Ave.

Sunday, June 14

Marshall Park Music Festival
Each Sunday this month, enjoy jazz in the park, along with vendors selling food, drinks, and merchandise. Hosted by Kenny Mack and Larken Egleston. Presented by Lockhart Entertainment. 1-7 p.m. Free. Marshall Park, 800 E. Third St.

Chocolate Sundays
Before heading back to work, extend your weekend into the night. Featuring music by DJ Boney B, a live performance by CHO, and hors d’oeuvres. 9 p.m. $10. Rustic Martini, 616 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte Observer reporter Sarah Aarthun wrote an in-depth article for yesterday's paper on the new venues opening at the NC Music Factory ("New uptown entertainment complex takes next big step"). Aarthun does her homework by not only chronicling the development at the complex, but she also details the impact two new music venues opening there--Uptown Amphitheatre and Fillmore Charlotte--might have on other local live music venues. The article mentions the setbacks the developers Rick and Noah Lazes have faced during the last few years in turning the massive old textile mill into an entertainment complex. But it stops short of making one very important point that I'm going to make here: It's too late for the NC Music Factory to fully become what the developers envision because it's taken too long to come to fruition, so the EpiCentre became what the NC Music Factory was supposed to be.

Two music venues are opening this month at NC Music Factory.

The EpiCentre has become the center of nightlife in Uptown.

This is just my opinion based on what I've seen with this project since I moved here nearly four years ago. I believe the Lazeses are working hard and it's apparent that they've invested a lot of money, plus I want to see the Music Factory succeed because it will make Charlotte an even more exciting place. But here's the reason for my views. One of the first articles I wrote for Charlotte magazine included an interview with Noah about the Music Factory. He took me on a tour of the complex and it was clear that there was a lot of work to be done. This was in August 2005. He was telling me about all of these great things that were going to be opening "next summer." He was naming a lot of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs and while I don't remember the names of most of them, I'm pretty sure I remember him mentioning Dale Earnhardt Jr. If any of you've been to the EpiCentre then you know that Dale Jr. opened Whisky River there in April 2008, the first nightlife venue to open at the new Uptown entertainment complex. I believe this is one of the places Aarthun is referring to when she mentions in the article that "In recent years, potential tenants have chosen to open elsewhere, unwilling to wait for completion of the development." But the article doesn't say who those potential tenants were.

The tour Lazes gave me nearly four years ago could've been a tour for the planned EpiCentre, in terms of the types of venues that were being talked about going there. I don't know who had their plans first, but Lazes was already a couple of years into construction before Afshin Ghazi even had the old Charlotte Convention Center torn down so he could build the EpiCentre on the land. As the saying goes, it's not how you start but how you finish. And today, the EpiCentre is one of the most talked about and envied entertainment complexes in the Southeast.

Lazes has faced a lot of scrutiny and has had his share of doubters over the years, and I guess you could say that I'm doing the same here. But I'll also point out that Ghazi had his share of nonbelievers, too. I interviewed him for a quick update on the EpiCentre for the January 2008 issue of Charlotte magazine ("End Coming") and talked about how he was proving his naysayers wrong. The main difference between the developments with Lazes and Ghazi, though, is that about three years after breaking ground with construction, Ghazi had the EpiCentre filled with more than 20 restaurants, bars, nightclubs, a movie theater, bowling alley, and hotel. Lazes has only opened office space, a music rehearsal hall, a nightclub, and now, this month, two live music venues after about six years of construction at the Music Factory. Plus, Lazes is trying to forge ahead in the midst of an economic recession--the Music Factory's website lists Butter Lounge, Crobar, and Wet Willie's among the venues that are scheduled to "begin opening in 2009." I would be surprised if any of those actually opened this year.

The NC Music Factory will eventually take shape, but I doubt if as originally planned. Then--with it and the EpiCentre--we'll have to see if Charlotte can support two visions of the same dream.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Free Spanish Classes for the Unemployed

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/06/2009 2 comments
UPDATE: FREE CLASSES ARE NO LONGER OFFERED. I appreciate the readers who find this blog, and this particular post, from Google searches, but please notice that the details below were written in June 2009 (as you can see from the date beneath the headline). The free program at the Language Academy was temporary and has long since ended (they offer plenty of paid services as normal), so please don't contact them in 2012, 2013, or anytime in the future saying you read about free classes on this blog, unless you have the ability to travel back in time. And if so, may I borrow your time machine? --J.H.

# # #

The Language Academy of the Carolinas is offering free Spanish classes for people who have lost their jobs. Since being fluent in Spanish makes a job seeker more desirable, if you're unemployed this could give you a leg up on the competition during this shrinking job market. If you're like me, you probably took Spanish in high school but only remember the basics (I wish I would've minored in it in college).

The academy, which offers classes in north Charlotte, south Charlotte, and near Uptown, has given out 15 scholarships since the program began last month and plans to make the classes available through the summer of 2009. To see if you qualify for this limited number of opportunities, you should contact the academy rápido. Visit

Friday, June 5, 2009

Celebrate Black Music Month

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/05/2009 No comments
In case you didn't know or didn't remember, June is Black Music Month. And, "the search engine for the black community," is making it easy for you to celebrate the rich history and contributions African-Americans have made to music.

Among the many features on the special section of, which is based here in Charlotte (the name of the website comes from the company's street address in Ballantyne), is a blog written by Charlotte native and Grammy award-winning singer Anthony Hamilton. You'll also find daily top 5 picks, black music polls, and videos and photos of your favorite artists.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

NASCAR's Most Valuable Teams

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/04/2009 No comments
As it does each year, Forbes released its list of NASCAR's most valuable teams yesterday. It comes as no surprise that each of the top ten teams is based in the Charlotte area, but if you've never seen this annual list before you might be surprised to see how much these teams are worth. Actually, it's really all about the top two.

Hendrick Motorsports--home to Gordon, Johnson, Earnhardt Jr., and Martin--is ranked number one for the umpteenth consecutive year, with an estimated value of $350 million (a 4 percent increase from last year). Roush Fenway Racing is valued at $270 million, but that's a 14 percent decrease. Beyond them, no other team is even close to $200 million.

Even though the article points out NASCAR's declining TV ratings and what has become obvious--the negative effect this economic recession is having on the sport, largely because of lost sponsorships--it reveals that the rich (teams) keep getting richer: "Fighting for a bigger slice of a shrinking pie have been the sport's most valuable teams, which continue to consolidate power at the top of the Sprint Cup Series standings. To date, all 13 races have been won by five of the sport's most valuable teams."

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kate Plus 8, Plus Beach, Plus Beef

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/02/2009 No comments
North Carolina's beaches are heating up. And I'm not just talking about this heat wave we're experiencing. Kate Gosselin, of Jon & Kate Plus 8 fame, and her kids have been spending the last couple of days at Bald Head Island. Photos of Gosselin in a bikini have been burning up the 'net. And I'll say one thing, she doesn't look like the mother of eight.

Kate Gosselin and the sextuplets on a North Carolina beach.

I usually don't engage much in tabloid gossip, and I think reality shows are ruining TV. But I have found the new "Octowar" that surfaced today amusing. Nadya Suleman, aka Octomom, called out Gosselin in an interview released online today. Suleman is getting gully with it, on the level that we're used to seeing hip-hop beef. If you think about it, they're both Octomoms--mothers of eight kids through multiples--Gosselin has sextuplets and twins while Suleman has octuplets (but 14 kids in all). Suleman is basically telling Gosselin to quit jocking her steez, because apparently she doesn't like all of the attention Gosselin is getting lately. But hey, Suleman is getting a reality show too so I guess it's room for more than one dysfunctional large family to be in the spotlight.

Events for the Week: June 1-7

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/02/2009 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, June 3

Skirt! After Work
Skirt! magazine presents this networking event to support Go Red For Women-Charlotte. Enjoy food and drink specials, and the first 20 guests will receive a gift from the American Heart Association. There will also be raffle drawings throughout the evening. 5-8 p.m. Free. The Wine Shop at Foxcroft, 7824 Fairview Rd.

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but runs past midnight. Varying types of people pop in and out throughout the night so you never know who you’ll run into. 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, June 4

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, The Breakfast Club and The Spongetones. 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.

RSVP Thursdays (weekly event)
If you’re looking to get out on the night before your last workday of the week, you’ll like this event. Enjoy free food and drink specials, with music by Power 98’s Danny Diaz. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Free before 11 p.m. if you RSVP to Décor 1202, 1202 Charlottetowne Ave.

Friday, June 5

The Friday Fling (NEW weekly event)
It’s billed as the “premier date night,” where you can bring your sweetheart and check out the specials at Charlotte’s newest—and sweetest—night spot. Each week will highlight a different dessert, some of which aren’t on the regular menu, made by the team of pastry chefs. 6 p.m.-late night. No cover charge. Crave Dessert Bar, 500 W. Fifth St.

Ole Skool Friday
Enjoy drink specials while listening to great music. Live band (7:45-10 p.m.) and DJ Technics spinning old school hip-hop and R&B (10 p.m.-2 a.m.). Presented by Ole Skool Entertainment. 7 p.m. $10. Utopia SoundStage, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr.

1st Fridays Charlotte
It’s touted as the number one urban event and after-party, and it draws a large crowd each month at a different venue. And this month 1st Fridays Charlotte celebrates its four-year anniversary. Music by DJ MC. Presented by Dee Autry, Troy Veale, and Thomas Washington. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. $15 in advance. Ladies free before 11 p.m. with printed e-flyer (click here). Cans Bar and Canteen, 500 W. Fifth St.

Saturday, June 6

Misa’s Closet
This consignment sale is an opportunity for you to shop “Misa’s Closet,” inspired by celebrity stylist Misa Hylton, who’s helped develop the images of Mary J. Blige, Lil Kim, Kimora Lee, 50 Cent, and more. You’ll be able to purchase gently used designer handbags, clothing, jewelry, and accessories for men and women at a fraction of their value. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Charlotte, and items that don’t sell will be donated to Dress for Success. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $5-$25. The Residence South Park, Penthouse 529, 4300 Sharon Rd.

Cooking Class: Celebrating Local Farmers
The first Saturday of each month you have the opportunity to learn how to cook from one of the best. Executive Chef Gene Briggs leads this cooking demonstration from “farm to table” as you learn how to prepare delicious recipes. Each dish will be served and paired with fine wines. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $39.95 per person. Blue Restaurant and Bar, 214 N. Tryon St. (corner of Fifth and College streets).

The Westin in White
Expect a big crowd of beautiful young people at this all-white party. White attire is mandatory, but you can add a little color if you like. Presented by Maz Entertainment. 10 p.m. $10 and up. Ember Grille at The Westin Hotel, 601 South College St.

Deja Vu
Enjoy a night of the best and latest in hip-hop, starring DJ Kid Capri. Hosted by Hi-Definition MC. Presented by Playmakerz Unlimited. 10 p.m. $15 in advance. Alive NoDa, 2909 N. Davidson St.

Sunday, June 7

Jazz in the Park
Kicking off this Sunday and running every Sunday in June, enjoy jazz in the park, along with vendors selling food, drinks, and merchandise. Presented by Lockhart Entertainment. 1-7 p.m. Free. Marshall Park, 800 E. Third St.

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).

Monday, June 1, 2009

Be An Extra In Lil Ru's Music Video

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/01/2009 No comments
South Carolina rapper Lil Ru is shooting a music video tomorrow at Alive NoDa for "Nasty Song," which has been garnering a lot of airplay and was instrumental in him signing to Def Jam in March.

"Nasty Song" is indeed a nasty song, but the clean version has been burning up hip-hop radio stations in the South and beyond. Although Lil Ru represents his hometown of Columbia, SC, to the extreme, he's been getting a lot of support in Charlotte, which is no surprise that he's chosen to shoot his video here. Power 98 has his song in heavy rotation and I've heard it played at several nightclubs in the area. He's also performed here a few times recently, including opening up for the T.I. and Young Jeezy concert at Bojangles' Coliseum in February (I was there) and performing at Stir about a month ago (my previous blog post makes a relative point).

I'm proud of the progress Lil Ru is making. He's credited as the first rapper from South Carolina to sign a major label recording contract. And not only is he from my home state and rocks Gamecock apparel with hip-hop flair, but he and I use to run in similar circles and I've met him on several occasions. I last saw him at the Charlotte Convention Center during CIAA Week.

If you want to be an extra in tomorrow's video, here's what you need to know, according to the organizers:

-Men and women over the age of 18.
-Men come dressed fresh.
-Women come dressed in sexy club wear (hair and makeup done).
-Everyone will need a valid ID.
-Spots will be filled based on requirements that fit specifications and on a first come, first served basis.
-The shoot starts at 7 p.m., but the line begins forming at 6 p.m. or earlier so early arrival is recommended. If you're chosen as an extra, expect to be there until 1 a.m.
-Any questions, send an email to

Alive NoDa is located at 2909 North Davidson St.
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