Monday, October 26, 2009

Read About It: Luna Lounge

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/26/2009 2 comments
Luna Lounge opened in August and is quickly becoming one of Charlotte's hotspots. Thursday and Friday nights draw good crowds, and now with the immensely popular weekly Pop Life event having moved there last week (after spending the past year at Apostrophe Lounge), look for Wednesdays to now be a great night to lounge at Luna.

Photo by Peter Taylor for Charlotte magazine.

You can read my review of Luna in the November issue of Charlotte magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to read it online. And while you're at it, peruse Charlotte magazine's newly redesigned website. It's rather dapper.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This Day In History: Jim Bakker Sentenced

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/24/2009 No comments
On October 24, 1989, twenty years ago today, television evangelist Jim Bakker was sentenced by a judge in Charlotte to 45 years in prison for fraud and conspiracy. The sentence was later reduced to eight years; then further reduced to four years for good behavior. Before he came crashing down, Jim and then-wife Tammy Faye had built a massive spiritual network in Charlotte and Fort Mill.

Wikipedia chronicles Jim Bakker's rise and fall--in Charlotte--well. See excerpt below.

Teaming with their former youth pastors Paul and Jan Crouch, the Bakkers created the "Praise the Lord" show for the Crouches' new Trinity Broadcasting Network in California. While that relationship lasted only about a year, this time the Bakkers retained the rights to use the initials PTL and traveled east to Charlotte, North Carolina, to begin their own show, The PTL Club. Their show grew quickly until it was carried by close to a hundred stations, with average viewers numbering over twelve million, and the Bakkers had established their own network, The PTL Television Network (also known as PTL-The Inspirational Network). They attributed much of their success to decisions early on to accept all denominations and to refuse no one regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or criminal record.

By the early 1980s the Bakkers had built Heritage USA in Fort Mill, South Carolina, (south of Charlotte), then the third most successful theme park in the U.S., and a satellite system to distribute their network 24 hours a day across the country. Contributions requested from viewers were estimated to exceed $1 million a week, with proceeds to go to expanding the theme park and mission of PTL. In justifying his use of the mass media, Bakker responded to inquiries by likening his use of television to Jesus's use of the amphitheater of the time. "I believe that if Jesus were alive today he would be on TV," Bakker said.

PTL's fund raising activities between 1984–1987 underwent scrutiny by The Charlotte Observer newspaper, eventually leading to criminal charges against Jim Bakker. From 1984 to 1987, Bakker and his PTL associates sold $1,000 "lifetime memberships", which entitled buyers to a three-night stay annually at a luxury hotel at Heritage USA. According to the prosecution at Bakker's later fraud trial, tens of thousands of memberships had been sold, but only one 500-room hotel was ever completed. Bakker "sold" more "exclusive partnerships" than could be accommodated, while raising more than twice the money needed to build the actual hotel. A good deal of the money went into Heritage USA's operating expenses, and Bakker kept $3.4 million in bonuses for himself.

Bakker, who apparently made all of the financial decisions for the PTL organization, allegedly kept two sets of books to conceal the accounting irregularities. Reporters from The Charlotte Observer, led by Charles Shepard, investigated and published a series of articles regarding the PTL organization's finances.

On March 19, 1987, following the revelation of a payoff to Jessica Hahn, whom Heritage's chief builder had paid $279,000 from his own funds to keep secret her allegation that he had raped her, Bakker resigned from PTL. Bakker acknowledges he met Hahn at a hotel room in Clearwater Beach, Florida, but denies raping her. Following Bakker's resignation as PTL head, he was succeeded in late March, 1987, by Jerry Falwell. Later that summer, as donations sharply declined in the wake of Bakker's resignation and the end of the Bakkers' popular PTL Club TV show, Falwell raised $20 million to help keep the Heritage USA Theme Park solvent, including a well-publicized waterslide plunge there. Falwell called Bakker a liar, an embezzler, a sexual deviant, and "the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history." In 1988, Falwell said that the Bakker scandal had "strengthened broadcast evangelism and made Christianity stronger, more mature and more committed."

Following a 16-month Federal grand jury probe, Bakker was indicted in 1988 on eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. In 1989, after a brief five week trial which began on August 28 in Charlotte, the jury found him guilty on all 24 counts, and Judge Robert Potter sentenced him to 45 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Events for the Week: October 19-25

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/21/2009 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, October 21

Meet and Greet Anthony Foxx
Here’s your chance to mix and mingle with the Democratic Charlotte mayoral candidate. Live music by 5th and York band and singer Calvin Richardson, along with DJ 06 on the turntables. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and drink specials will be served. 6-10 p.m. Free, but campaign donations are appreciated. Utopia SoundStage, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr.

Meet and Greet John Lassiter
Here’s your chance to mix and mingle with the Republican Charlotte mayoral candidate. 6-7:30 p.m. Free. Sports Page Restaurant, 8400-H Belhaven Blvd.

Pop Life—New Location
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night and it’s moved to a new location, Luna Lounge, beginning this week. The promoters are promising “new venue, new season, same attitude.” Starts after work but runs past midnight. Music by DJ DR. 6 p.m.-until. Free. Luna Lounge, 521 N. College St. or

Thursday, October 22

Think Pink After Work Social
Enjoy an evening with young professionals, with proceeds benefitting the Susan G. Komen “For the Cure” National Fund. Drink specials will be served, including the Pink-tini. Networking until 8 p.m. (music down low); DJ comes on after. Presented by My Nail Spa and NexxLevel Marketing. 6-11 p.m. Free. Club Urban Affair (formerly Rustic Martini), 616 N Tryon St.

Friday, October 23

Prowl Pep Rally
Come out and celebrate with other Carolina Panthers fans in preparation for Sunday’s home game against the Buffalo Bills. Enjoy free appetizers, happy hour drink specials, and there will be chances to win tickets to the game and a replica team jersey. 5-9 p.m. Free. BlackFinn (inside the EpiCentre), 210 E. Trade St.

The Open House Experience
Charlotte’s most diverse house music night has returned, with resident DJ Rsenal and special guest DJ Jason Brooks. Kick back at this eclectic lounge and enjoy some of the best bar food in town. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Free. Soul Gastrolounge, 1500 Central Ave.,

Saturday, October 24

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture Grand Opening
The new center opens as part of the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus in Uptown. Enjoy a day full of free activities, beginning with events for the whole family and ending with a celebration for adults. 9:50 a.m dance ensemble; 10 a.m. ribbon cutting; guided tours every hour from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; artists speaking, a book signing, and plenty more throughout the day; and concluding with a band and dancing till 2 a.m. Gantt Center, 551 S. Tryon St.

Palate to Palette 2009
This classy affair unites wine and art enthusiasts. Each guest will be lead on a visual and tasting journey of art and wine alongside the center’s past, present, and guest artists. Located in various studios throughout the building, each artist will be paired with a complementary wine, creating a unique relationship that builds upon a central theme. 7-10 p.m. $50-$75. McColl Center for Visual Art, 721 N. Tryon St.

The Floacist of Floetry Live
See Natalie Stewart of Floetry perform. Hosted by JC the Poet and music by DJ Boney B. 8:30 p.m. Cost varies. House ff Jazz, 8630 University Executive Park Dr. or

Marquee Saturdays: The DJ AM Tribute
Charlotte’s hottest Saturday night party pays tribute to the fallen DJ with music by DJ Frenzy and Blue the Drummer, including a live drum show. Enjoy the large dance floor, plentiful seating, and large outdoor patio. Ten tickets will be given away to Halo’s upcoming Halloween party. 9 p.m. Halo, inside the N.C. Music Factory, 820 Hamilton St.

Sunday, October 25

Special Blend (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. Music by DJ Justice. 7-11 p.m. Free. PJ’s Coffee & Lounge, 210 E. Trade St. (inside the EpiCentre).

Super Fresh Sundays
This party for those who know how to get “fresh”—and want to party on a Sunday night. Music by DJ Magic. 10 p.m. Free for first 150 people. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Share Your Vision for Charlotte's Future

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/20/2009 No comments
The Center City 2020 Vision Plan team is holding the first of three community workshops to gather input on what Charlotte residents want to see for the future of Center City. Scheduled for Wednesday, October 21, 5:30-9 p.m., at the Charlotte Convention Center, the workshop will include a variety of interactive activities to give residents a chance to share their ideas, including video booths and artists to capture participants’ ideas and visions for the future.

Research for the 2020 plan will consider economic, destination, lifestyle, educational, residential, retail, and infrastructure issues. The plan will be completed in fall 2010 to be considered for adoption by City Council and County Commission.

This project is a collaboration between Charlotte Center City Partners, City of Charlotte, and Mecklenburg County. Click here for more info.

Friday, October 16, 2009

By Andrea L. Simon, guest blogger

Rumors have been buzzing and it has now been confirmed that H&M is set to finally make its debut in the Carolinas. The News & Observer reported yesterday that a deal for a 21,000 square-foot H&M store is slated to be finalized in about a week, with the store opening in the spring in--*cue the sound effects*--errrrrrrrr Raleigh?!

Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against Raleigh. Being the capital of our beautiful state, it frequently tops lists like “Smartest City,” “Best Place to Live,” and “Best Place for Business and Careers.” It will also likely draw a ready-made customer base for the store with several major universities and young professionals easily within driving distance. To be fair, I think Raleigh is a solid choice to host the store. But at the risk of sounding like a two-year-old, throwing a tantrum and stomping my feet when I don’t get my way: What about Charlotte?! We have long since been making a name for ourselves as the new metropolis of the Carolinas, and with H&M, known for being a “big-city” retailer, finally reaching out to our market; one would only assume Charlotte would be first choice.

In about six months, Raleigh will be holding an H&M grand opening like this one. A 21,000 square-foot store is planned for Crabtree Valley Mall.

Sure, Raleigh could argue that we were given the only IKEA in the Carolinas, and maybe it’s only fair that they too are given the opportunity to monopolize a sought-after retailer in the region. But upon hearing rumors that an H&M would finally be coming (clearly I’ve been waiting for this news for quite some time now), surely I’m not the only one who thought SouthPark Mall was a shoe-in! Being that I (like a host of other Charlotte residents) am not a Queen City native, it seems I’m finding new stores, restaurants, and businesses that I was accustomed to in my home state, popping up in Charlotte every day. I have to believe that this is due to a number of businesses taking notice of the ever-increasing population, diversity, and culture that Charlotte is building out of transplants from all over the country; included in this mix, many people who are already familiar with and consumers of their products.

So why, may I ask, didn’t H&M see fit to follow suit? While I’m markedly disheartened that this is not the case, I can only hope that the opening of the Raleigh store will merely be the first in the Carolinas, with announcement of a Charlotte launch not far behind. I guess until then, as one elated Raleigh dweller commented on a recent forum, “Charlotte will finally have to come to Raleigh for something instead of the other way around!”

If you too have an opinion on this, sound off.

To learn more about plans for the new Raleigh H&M store, visit The News & Observer’s article by clicking here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dinner at Fantasia's

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/15/2009 No comments
Fantasia Barrino often touts her Southern roots and North Carolina upbringing. But does this Southern belle know her way around the kitchen?

The singer is hosting a dinner party tonight at her Charlotte home as part of Macy’s and Feeding America's “Come Together” campaign. This initiative launched last month and aims to feed 10 million people suffering from hunger. Come Together invites the public to host special dinners in their homes, but ask their guests to pledge a donation to Feeding America and local food banks in lieu of the traditional host gift. In return, Macy’s will match these donations dollar for dollar. In Charlotte, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina will be one of the beneficiaries of this effort.

Fantasia at her Charlotte home during an episode of MTV Cribs.

“When I heard about the Macy's Come Together Campaign, I thought that hosting a dinner party would be a great way to give back to my community,” Fantasia said in a statement. “After gathering information about the campaign I realized and want others to know that hunger is not just something the homeless experience. In these tough times we have to recognize the need to assist our fellow neighbors and community as a whole. That is why I wanted to do something with the campaign and I encourage others to do so as well.”

I doubt if 'Tasia will do any cooking (you never know, though), and she's to be commended for taking part in this great cause. Hopefully this will inspire others to do the same. Maybe next week, dinner at Steve Smith's?

For more info on Come Together, visit Martha Stewart is even there to give you tips on hosting a dinner party.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NASCAR Announces Hall of Fame Class

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/14/2009 No comments
Fresh off the wire (that's old-school journalist talk), below is an excerpt of a press release I received this afternoon announcing the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame Class. I got three out of five of the selections right--Earnhardt, France Sr., and Petty--from when I blogged about the nominees in August ("NASCAR Hall of Fame: Class and Race").

There was never any doubt that The King and The Intimidator would get in.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 14, 2009) – The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame today that includes: Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Junior Johnson and Richard Petty.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, consisting of members of the Nominating Committee along with 29 others representing NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, major race track ownership groups, retired drivers, owners and crew chiefs along with motorsports media representatives, met in a closed session in Charlotte, N.C. to vote on the induction class of 2010.

The class was determined by the 51 votes cast by the panel and the nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.COM. The accounting firm of Ernst & Young presided over the tabulation of the votes.

The Class of 2010 will be officially inducted in a ceremony on May 23, 2010 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.

The results of the voting for the final five chosen in this inaugural class proved competitive. Also receiving votes were David Pearson, Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison.

As part of the inclusive voting process, more than 670,000 NASCAR fans submitted votes online at NASCAR.COM as part of the fan voting process. This remarkable fan feedback once again demonstrates fans’ passion and knowledge of the sport and its heritage. The fans voted Petty, Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison as their top five.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame broke ground in Charlotte on Jan. 25, 2007 and will open May 11, 2010. The facility honors the history and heritage of NASCAR and the many who have contributed to the success of NASCAR.

To read the full press release, which details the five drivers' accomplishments, click here. For more info on the NASCAR Hall of Fame, visit

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There's a lot of excitement leading up to the opening of the new Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture. As part of the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus in Uptown Charlotte, the new Gantt Center represents a vision that started more than 35 years ago.

The Gantt Center is holding its Community Celebration on Saturday, October 24, which will be an all-day and all-night grand opening event. In this week's issue of Creative Loafing (October 14-20 edition), you can read the article I wrote that chronicle's the significance and potential impact of this new $18 million facility. The building itself, which stands where the historic Brooklyn neighborhood once thrived before being razed in the name of urban renewal, is a work of art. Click here to read the article.

Also, the Gantt Center held Media Day today. Below are a few photos I snapped while I was there.

Monday, October 12, 2009

There's a cool promotion going on with this Saturday's NASCAR race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Watch on October 17 as Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon take the battle of the Autobots and Decepticons to the racetrack in Charlotte live on ABC at 7 p.m.," the promotion reads. "With Newman in a specially designed Optimus Prime car and Gordon in his custom Megatron car, the Transformers adventure will be taken to a new level."

As you can see, Newman and Gordon are helping making the popular Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie, which comes out on DVD next week, close to reality. It's only natural since they drive cars at upwards of 200 mph, and when they crash it often looks like something out of a scene from the movie.

For the contest, you can vote--now and during the race--on which side you think will win this battle. You'll be entered into a chance to win a VIP trip to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway to meet Newman and Gordon. Or you could win a copy of the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen DVD signed by Megan Fox. Now if they would've reversed this prize package--offer autographs from Newman and Gordon, and given a chance to meet Fox--then I would be all over this contest.

Click here for more information.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Raleigh Is 'Smartest City;' Charlotte 16th

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/10/2009 No comments
Earlier this week, released its rankings of "America's Smartest Cities," from first to worst. The popular news and blog site ranked metropolitan areas--the cities and their suburbs--of 1 million people or more, which gave them 55 in all. So being ranked number one means your city is the smartest, and being ranked 55th means your city is the dumbest. Raleigh, North Carolina wins the honor of being ranked America's Smartest City.

In creating the rankings, The Daily Beast divided the criteria into two halves: half for education, and half for intellectual environment. The education half encompassed how many residents had bachelor’s degrees (35 percent weighting) and graduate degrees (15 percent). The intellectual environment half had three subparts: nonfiction book sales (25 percent), the ratio of institutions of higher education (15 percent), and the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in the last presidential election (10 percent).

About number-one ranked Raleigh-Durham, which has a metro area population of 1,578,527, The Daily Beast writes: "Raleigh-Durham has just about every intangible useful in attracting and developing a smart populace: It’s a university hub, including two of the nation’s elite schools (Duke, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and North Carolina Sate University), and those schools led to one of the nation’s great technology incubators (Research Triangle). On top of that, Raleigh, as the state’s capital, attracts engaged political minds, as well."

Break out the foam fingers, Raleigh is number one.

Rounding out the top five on the list of smartest cities are San Francisco, Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Denver.

Charlotte, with a metro area population of 1,701,799, ranked a not-too-shabby 16th. "Charlotte, home of Bank of America and Wachovia, may be taking a recessionary licking, but its above-average citizenry positions it to bounce back," The Daily Beast surmises. "Charlotte scored high in bachelor’s degrees per capita, but its strongest showing was in the voter-participation category. A commitment to civic duty shouldn’t come as a surprise from a patriotic city like Charlotte. British Revolutionary War General Charles Cornwallis was so put off by Charlotte’s nationalistic fervor that he called the city 'a hornet’s nest' and unwittingly became the only 18th-century military figure to name an NBA franchise."

Other notable rankings: New York, 13th; Chicago tied with St. Louis for 24th; Los Angeles tied with Pittsburgh and Richmond for 27th; Greensboro tied with Jacksonville for 37th; and Las Vegas at 54th: "A city that prides itself on sin performs predictably for each of our intellectual-based criteria."

And arriving in the caboose is Fresno, California at 55th. "The race to the bottom wasn’t even close. The largest city in California’s San Joaquin breadbasket, Fresno, had deficiencies across the board. College education (less than 20 percent of the local population have four-year degrees), graduate studies, academic institutions (not much besides Fresno State), book purchases, voter engagement—it ranked in the worst 5 percent in almost all of our categories. Problems with gangs and crystal meth tend to deter the best and brightest."
Syndicated radio and TV host Tavis Smiley is leading a free event on financial empowerment today at the Charlotte Convention Center. The Nationwide On Your Side Tour event starts at 10 a.m. and will include guest speakers and seminars aimed at educating you on how to make good decisions regarding your finances (click here for more info on the event).

Last week, I got the opportunity to interview Smiley for Creative Loafing. If you've ever heard him speak, then you know he's a fast-talking (not Michael Eric Dyson fast, though), truth-telling, politically active, and socially conscious man who doesn't bite his tongue. I didn't even have to ask him many questions, because he knows what he's trying to convey, particularly to African-Americans. He's bringing a message of accountability. And unlike many African-Americans, he has no qualms about criticizing President Barack Obama. But like it or not, Smiley is fair and rather objective in his criticism. He would probably congratulate Obama on winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Click here to read my interview with Smiley on Charlotte's Creative Loafing website.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Events for the Weekend: October 9-11

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/09/2009 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.

Friday, October 9

Prowl Pep Rally
Come out and celebrate with other Carolina Panthers fans in preparation for Sunday’s home game against the Washington Redskins. Enjoy free food, happy hour drink specials, cornhole, and there will be chances to win tickets to the game. Celebrity NFL bartenders will also be on hand. 5-9 p.m. Free. BlackFinn (inside the EpiCentre), 210 E. Trade St.

Talk of the Town, the group that brought you the long-running, popular Friday Afterwork Rendezvous, has a new event it’s hosting on the second and fourth Friday of the month. Mingle with young professionals while enjoying great music. 8 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

The Civil War: New York vs. The South
Whether you’re from one of the Five Boroughs or the Carolinas, come represent your hometown. DJ Skillz will be playing the best in hip-hop and R&B from those regions. Drink specials include $5 Crown Royal, cosmos, and watermelon and apple martinis. Presented by SolFusion Charlotte. 10 p.m. Free until 11:30 p.m.; $10 and up after. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Saturday, October 10

Nationwide On Your Side Tour with Tavis Smiley
The popular syndicated TV and radio host leads this daylong event that focuses on financial empowerment. There will be seminars and guest speakers, and lunch will be served. Hosted by Power 98's Janine Davis. Doors open 9 a.m.; event starts 10 a.m. Free. Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St.

Ciao, Italia! Festival
This annual event, now in its 13th year, celebrates Italy’s rich culture, traditions, arts, wine, and cuisine. Enjoy nonstop music while you dine and peruse displays from vendors. Menu includes the event’s famous sausage and pepper sandwiches, along with pasta, pizza, Italian ice, pastries, and more. Wine, beer, soft drinks, cappuccino, and espresso will also be served. Presented by The Christopher Columbus Italian Club of Charlotte. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. $3; children 12 and under free. Wachovia Atrium, 401 S. Tryon St.

Origami with Christine Navarro
Be entertained while you check out Charlotte’s newest lounge. The night will feature art and the vocal talents of Christine Navarro, who was voted Charlotte’s Best Female Vocalist. Music also by DJ Nat Eichler. 9 p.m. Cost varies. Dharma Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St., suite 105 (facing Summit Avenue).

Marquee Saturdays (weekly event)
It’s Charlotte’s hottest Saturday night party at this newly revamped nightclub. Enjoy the large dance floor, plentiful seating, and large outdoor patio. DJ Complete spinning in the main room while DJ Wonz mixes it up on the patio. 9 p.m. Cost varies. To get on the guest list, email before 3 p.m. Saturday. Halo, inside the N.C. Music Factory, 820 Hamilton St.

Sunday, October 11

Panthers vs. Redskins Tailgate and Viewing Party
The Panther faithful will be joined by the legion of Redskin fans that live in the area. Tailgate from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot, then come inside to watch the game on one of several flatscreen TVs. Music by DJ Dex, and food provided by Bodricks BBQ. Presented by Executive Entertainment and B-Different. Ladies free before 1 p.m.; gentlemen free before 12:30 p.m. Bentley’s RSVP, 305 W. Fourth St.

PLAY: The Overtime Edition
With many people being off from work Monday for Columbus Day, this is sure to be a live and sexy party. The collaborators putting on the event usually draw a large crowd. Music by DJ DR. 10 p.m. $10 and up; free until 10:30 p.m. Luna Lounge, 521 N. College St. or

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bobcats Holding Open Practice

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/08/2009 No comments
The Charlotte Bobcats are holding an Open Practice on Thursday, October 15 beginning at 6:30 p.m. It's a free event, but to guarantee entry you're asked to register for tickets online. The process (Ticketmaster) takes only a few minutes and you can even print the tickets at home. This is your chance to see what the team (and the Lady Cats) looks like as the regular season approaches. Complimentary popcorn and soda will be served.

Click here for tickets. Visit for more info.

'Last Call' for Bartenders

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/08/2009 1 comment
Many of us have dabbled with bartending, often when hosting our own parties (I have a signature drink I make that I call Pimp Juice). But for some people, being a bartender is a serious and lucrative profession. Whichever floats your banana martini boat, there's a bartending school in Charlotte that might interest you. I recently learned of Last Call Bartending School.

Launched seven months ago by local bartender Jessica Sheckler, an eight-year veteran in the trade, the school offers you forty hours of training, spread out over two or three weeks, depending on the schedule you choose. Sheckler says she tries to be very hands-on with the training so you don't have to spend as much time in the book, and she says she'll teach you everything you need to know about making drinks.

The bartending class costs $400, and Sheckler says her students have been a combination of people wanting to learn it to make some extra income as well as those who want to be able to supe up their skills when entertaining friends. "With the economy being bad, a lot of people are doing it for second incomes," she says. "It's a job where you can make good money, and with the tips you get paid in cash." After completing the course, you'll be awarded a Responsible Alcohol Sellers Program certificate, which is recognized by the North Carolina ABC Commission.

Sheckler has tended bar at Ruth's Chris and Zink, and she's currently general manager of Rustic Martini, which is where her bartending school operates.

For more info, visit

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Chase for Danica

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/06/2009 No comments
Several sports news outlets, including ESPN and Sports Illustrated, have reported over the last couple of days that IndyCar Series star Danica Patrick has been meeting with Charlotte-area based NASCAR teams. Team owners Rick Hendrick and Micheal Waltrip have confirmed meeting with Patrick, who would be highly coveted because of the lucrative sponsorships and endorsement deals she brings to a sport that is fueled by corporate dollars. Hendrick, who usually gets the drivers he wants, says he would like to place Patrick in the JR Motorsports team that is co-owned by him and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It's been widely speculated that she will race part-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010, around her IndyCar season. The IndyCar season ends this weekend, and if I was a betting man I'd say we'll see her in Charlotte next week leading up to next weekend's NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. It makes perfect sense because that race is considered a homecoming for many of the NASCAR drivers who live in the area, which means they would be on hand to try to woo her to their respective teams. Patrick, who finished third in this year's Indianapolis 500, would be a huge spectator draw at NASCAR races.

Oh, and in case you forgot, she models too.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Beating on Trash Cans Is Cool

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/04/2009 No comments
The Blumenthal Center's Education Institute holds "Get to Know" workshops throughout the year to give you insight into some of the upcoming plays, musicals, and other events that come to the Blumenthal's theaters. On Friday, I took a few teenagers from a youth group I work with to the Get to Know Street Beat workshop at the Johnston YMCA in NoDa. I captured this 30-second video of the group of artists that were there breakdancing and playing music on trash cans, a small sampling of what you'll experience when Street Beat comes to the Knight Theater October 21-22. This can also be your chance to check out one of the first shows at the beautiful new Knight Theater that's opening at the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus in Uptown.

At this workshop, guests were asked to bring household items to act as drums. It was adorable seeing the little kids there beating on pots and pans (good luck to the parents trying to tell them that they can't do that at home). The performers also led the crowd in sessions that taught them some of there moves.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Democratic candidate Anthony Foxx and Republican candidate John Lassiter are participating in several public events this month to help you decide who you want to be Charlotte's next mayor. Below is a schedule released by Foxx's campaign. Foxx and Lassiter will be facing off in each of these events.

Tuesday, October 6, 7-8 p.m.
Host: Charlotte Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees)
Location: Holiday Inn Center City, 230 North College St.

Wednesday, October 7, 1-3 p.m.
Host: Charlotte Chamber
Location: Pinehurst Golf & Country Club

Wednesday, October 7, 7-8:30 p.m.
Forum, to be rebroadcast on WFAE
Host: Queens University
Location: Dana Auditorium, Queens University, 1900 Selwyn Ave.

Thursday, October 8, 12-1:30 p.m.
Host: Mecklenburg County Bar Association
Location: First Presbyterian Church, 200 W. Trade St.

Thursday, October 8, 6:30-7:45 p.m.
Host: Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance
Location: Dowd YMCA, 400 E. Morehead St.

Friday, October 9, 7-8:15 p.m.
Host: First Ward Neighborhood Group
Location: Trinity Episcopal School, 750 E. Ninth St.

Tuesday, October 13, 7-8:30 p.m.
Host: East Charlotte
Location: Amity Presbyterian Church, 2831 N. Sharon Amity Rd.

Wednesday, October 14, 7:30-9 p.m.
Host: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
Location: Ramses Temple, 4919 Beatties Ford Rd.

Monday, October 19, 11:30-1:30 p.m.
Debate (luncheon)
Host: Values for America
Location: Myers Park UMC, 1501 Queens Rd.

Tuesday, October 20, 7-8 p.m.
Debate, televised on WBTV
Host: Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte
Location: Sam Lerner Center, Shalom Park, 5007 Providence Rd.

Thursday, October 22, 8-11 a.m.
Host: Council on Aging
Location: WTVI, 3242 Commonwealth Ave.

Thursday, October 22, 7:30–9 p.m.
Host: Helping Empower Local People (HELP)
Location: Providence UMC, 2810 Providence Rd.

Tuesday, October 27, 12-1:30 p.m.
Host: Rotary Club of Charlotte
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 201 S. McDowell St.

Wednesday, October 28, 5-8 p.m.
Debate, televised live on WCNC
Host: WCNC and The Charlotte Observer
Location: McGlohon Theatre, 130 N. Tryon St.

For more info on Foxx, visit

For Lassiter, visit
President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, millions of Chicagoans, and Americans everywhere are licking their wounds after Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games was rejected yesterday. I was actually watching live coverage on CNN when Chicago was eliminated. Later that day, Rio de Janeiro was chosen as the host city. (I'm predicting now that the USA's usually dominant men's basketball team will not when gold in 2016 because they will be distracted by all the sights of beautiful Brazilian women.) So the star-studded, politically powerful caravan led by Obama and Oprah wasn't enough to impress the International Olympic Committee. Some have criticized another famous Chicago figure--Michael Jordan--for not taking the trip to Copenhagen to present to the IOC.

But Jordan had something more important to do this week: Attend the opening of the Charlotte Bobcats training camp. People, ranging from Charlotte sports fans to national sports writers, have often criticized Jordan for what they consider not enough hands-on involvement with the team. Last year, USA Today scolded him for attending a celebrity-filled celebration in Dubai for the opening of an exclusive resort ("USA Today Disses Jordan for Ditching Bobcats") when they say new head coach Larry Brown needed him. Jordan is a part owner, and as managing member of basketball operations he calls the shots.

Still, and as I have detailed often on this blog, including after I saw Jordan speak at a Charlotte Chamber event last year, he has a lot of obligations. Well, this week he made the Bobcats his top priority. At a time when his loyal Chicago Bulls fans needed him and his country's Olympic hopes rested on the shoulders of powerful people like him, he chose Charlotte. And for that, I think we should say thank you.

Thank you MJ.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Events for the Weekend: October 2-4

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/02/2009 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.

Friday, October 2

Get to Know Street Beat
The Blumenthal Center’s Education Institute has partnered with the Johnston YMCA to offer this workshop in preparation of the upcoming show Street Beat at the Knight Theater (October 21-22). Local artists with Create Don’t Hate Productions will prompt participants to use common household items as drums to create urban rhythms and high-energy choreography using break dance and hip-hop moves. 6-8 p.m. Free. Johnston YMCA, 3025 N. Davidson St.

Bud Light One Night Stand
Enjoy this outdoor rock concert under the fall sky, featuring LIT, Alien Ant Farm, and Parmalee. 6-10 p.m. Free. Pavilion at the EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

Whip It
The Charlotte Roller Girls are holding an exhibition bout to celebrate the opening night of Whip It, a roller derby-themed movie starring Drew Barrymore. Giveaways will be distributed while supplies last. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Free. Ayrsley Grand Cinemas 14 (parking lot), 9110 Kings Parade Blvd.

First 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’s event celebrates Troy Veale’s birthday and features music by DJ Biz Markie. Presented by Dee Autry, Troy Veale, and Thomas Washington. 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. $20 in advance. Ladies free before 10:30 p.m. Cans Bar and Canteen, 500 W. Fifth St.

Free Fridays
The first Friday of the month means free admission at one of Charlotte’s swankiest lounges. Enjoy the best in hip-hop, R&B, and reggae. On this night, the club often reaches capacity so get there early. 10 p.m. Free until capacity; cover charge after. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Celebrity Fridays Hosted by Anthony Hamilton
The platinum-selling, Grammy-winning Charlotte native hosts this party that’s sure to bring out the city’s stars. 10 p.m. Cost varies, members and ladies free before 11:30 p.m. Club 935, 935 S. Summit Ave.

Saturday, October 3

Great Grapes! Wine, Arts & Food Festival
Enjoy a day on the lawn while listening to some of your favorite tunes and tasting a selection from hundreds of North Carolina wines. Gourmet food will be served and art will be on display. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. $10-$20. Symphony Park at SouthPark Mall, 4400 Sharon Rd.

The Premier
For the first time ever, Mez will be transforming theater 3 at EpiCentre Theaters into a full nightclub experience, complete with VIP sections, bars, dance floor and lights. All this while DJ Roonie G spins video mixes live in concert on the 50-foot silver screen. 9 p.m. Cost varies. Mez, EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

Marquee Saturdays (weekly event)
It’s Charlotte’s newest and hottest Saturday night party at this newly revamped nightclub. Enjoy the large dance floor, plentiful seating, and large outdoor patio at this upscale party. DJ Complete spinning in the main room while DJ Wonz mixes it up on the patio. 9 p.m. Cost varies. To get on the guest list, email before 3 p.m. Saturday. Halo, inside the N.C. Music Factory, 820 Hamilton St.

Sunday, October 4

SlamCharlotte’s Youth Slam
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and SlamCharlotte are launching this new addition to Charlotte’s poetry slam scene. Promoting writing and artistic expression through the eyes of tomorrow’s future, this will be a monthly exhibition of the most dynamic young performers in the area. This event is open to all ages. 6-10 p.m. $5. Duke Energy Theatre, 345 N. College St.

Super Fresh Sundays
This party for those who know how to get fresh—and want to party on a Sunday night. Music by DJ Magic. 10 p.m. Free. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.
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