Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ric Flair Makes Losing Your Money Fun

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/29/2009 No comments
I saw this commercial for the first time last night. But apparently the Ric Flair-endorsed "Wooooooo!" instant scratch-off tickets have been offered by the North Carolina Education Lottery for a couple of months now. A ticket costs $5 and the top prize is $100,000. Whoever came up with the idea to make Flair the lottery's new pitchman and to give him his own lotto ticket should be applauded. Flair has the kind of energy that will keep people excited about buying lottery tickets, even though most of them are throwing their money away.

I only play the lottery about once a year, when the Power Ball reaches some ridiculous amount. Other than that, I don't really keep up with it, which is probably why I'm late to the party about Flair's new involvement. Click here for more info on the Wooooooo! instant scratch-off. See a video of the commercial below.

In other Ric Flair news, he got married a couple of weeks ago in Charlotte. It's his fourth marriage. The 60-year-old wrestler is currently on the Hulkamania tour.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Events for the Weekend: November 27-29

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/27/2009 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, November 27

Talk of the Town, the group that brought you the long-running, popular Friday Afterwork Rendezvous, has a new event it hosts on the second and fourth Friday of the month. Mingle with young professionals while enjoying great music by DJ DR. And this week features a performance by the all-female band Blac Catt. 8 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

Kickin It on the Southside
Digital Divas presents this new weekly Friday night event for those who live or want to party in south Charlotte. Enjoy drink specials and a DJ spinning hip-hop and R&B. 10 p.m. Free. On the Roxx, 14021 Conlan Circle (Ballantyne).

One Night Stand
It’s billed as a grown and sexy crunk party, which is an interesting combination. Featuring $5 Crown Royal, cosmos, and martinis. 10 p.m. Free till midnight; wear all black and get in free all night. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Black Friday - Homecoming Edition
The popular trio of party promoters have gotten together for an event that’s sure to draw a large crowd. Presented by The A-List, BlueGoose, and Sol Kitchen. 10 p.m. $10 and up. Blue Restaurant and Bar, 214 N. Tryon St. (corner of Fifth and College streets). or

Soul Night
It’s a night out at one of Charlotte’s most exclusive nightclubs. Music by 92.7’s Stacey Blackman. 10 p.m. Cost varies. Sunset Club, 1820 South Blvd.

Saturday, November 28

Beards BeCAUSE
Drink for a good cause, and enjoy specials all night like $4 Skyy Vodka. Proceeds will benefit United Family Services, a shelter for battered women. 8 p.m. Donations appreciated. Town Tavern, 200 N. Tryon St.

PlayDate Charlotte
Bring out the kid in you. Enjoy music and drinks while playing card games, checkers, dominoes, Connect Four, Twister, Monopoly, old-school video games, and more. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $10. Tyvola Marriott, 5700 Westpark Dr.

Marquee Saturdays (weekly event)
It’s Charlotte’s hottest Saturday night party. Enjoy the large dance floor, plentiful seating, and outdoor patio. 9 p.m. Cost varies. Halo, inside the N.C. Music Factory, 820 Hamilton St.

Sunday, November 29

Special Blend (weekly event)
This group presents genres of artistry, music, and humor. 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).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

King James and Shaq Party in the Carolinas

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/25/2009 No comments
The Charlotte Bobcats play the Cleveland Cavaliers at home Friday. A Friday night game against a visiting team with superstars is one of the few times a year the Bobcats potentially have a sellout. For every fan that will be at the game to cheer on the Bobcats Friday, there will be at least one who came to see LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal.

Speaking of the King and the Diesel, the two of them are coming to town the night before to celebrate Thanksgiving night with us Southerners. LeBron is hosting a party Thursday night at Club 935. This is nothing new for King James, though. The Cavs play in Charlotte twice a year, and almost every time you'll find LeBron's name as top billing on some club flyer (last December he hosted First Fridays at NV Nightclub and Lounge, which has since been renamed Synergy). He always shows up, too.

Well King James must have told his new sidekick that hosting parties is a lot of fun because Shaq is getting in on it tomorrow night as well. But apparently Charlotte isn't big enough for the two of them to host a party here on the same night. So Shaq is taking over Columbia, S.C. He's going to be the man of the night at Tabu Asian Ultra Lounge (click here for party details).

Yeah girl, there's going to be some ballers at the club.

Monday, November 23, 2009

10 Things Sarah Palin Said to Billy Graham

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/23/2009 1 comment
Sarah Palin made a stop in Montreat yesterday to have dinner with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son, Franklin Graham. Franklin invited Palin when he realized she would be in the area. She's visiting Fort Bragg in Fayetteville today during a stop on her book signing tour for Going Rogue.

An article on today describes the two-and-a-half hour meeting between Palin and the Grahams, which included dinner with several of Palin's family members. Numerous media outlets are reporting on the meeting, and of course the blogosphere is adding its two cents. No commentary would be complete without mentioning that Billy Graham has counseled and/or befriended every U.S. president in recent memory--President Obama called him earlier this month and the two plan to meet in the near future. So the buzz is on whether Palin's visit to the home of the 91-year-old Charlotte-born evangelist is her checking off another prerequisite toward a 2012 run for presidency.

I say nah, don't read that much into it. It made perfect sense for the two to meet yesterday, with Palin being so close by. But the reasons for meeting aside, what I would like to offer here is my (fictional) account of "Ten Things Sarah Palin Said to Billy Graham" during their meeting.

  • Can I call you Billy?

  • Don't worry; they said John McCain was too old also.

  • No, I'm not the governor anymore.

  • I'm signing books at Fort Bragg because we should support our troops.

  • Are you on Facebook?

  • I love it here in the lower 48.

  • Also, too.

  • How come it's called North Carolina when this is the South?

  • What was Ronald Reagan like in person?

  • Yes, I pray every night. I pray that God helps us take back our country.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 posted an exclusive article yesterday about music producer 9th Wonder being tapped to lead a music program at Barber-Scotia College in Concord. The North Carolina native, who's produced songs for a wide range of artists including Jay-Z, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, and his former group Little Brother, will develop the 9th Wonder Center for Music and Entrepreneurial Studies. He says he'll be in charge of developing programs and courses of study as well as selecting faculty.

Barber-Scotia began as a female seminary in 1867 and became a college in 1916. But the future of the now co-ed HBCU is in jeopardy since it lost its accreditation in 2004. By losing its accreditation, students were no longer eligible for federal financial aid, causing enrollment to drop from 600 in 2004 to fewer than 100 the following school year. Today, there are just 20 full-time students enrolled.

The college has begun the process for re-accreditation and hopes to be approved in the spring. 9th Wonder has a big challenge ahead of him, but I think it will be an exciting opportunity for both him and future students. He was one of the first people I interviewed for Grown People Talking when I launched this site ("GPT Interviews 9th Wonder"). If you've ever read or seen any of his interviews then you know he's a very intelligent musician who is passionate about preserving and progressing hip-hop culture.

Click here to read the article on

And 9th Wonder won't be alone in his efforts to help revive Barber Scotia. Singer Monica signed on last spring as honorary chairperson to help raise funds for the Faithful Promise campaign. Click here if you would like to contribute. And below is a video message from Monica asking the public to get involved.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Video from Flash Mob in Huntersville

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/16/2009 1 comment
There was a flash mob held at Birkdale Village in Huntersville on Saturday. It was organized by Terry Vaughan of High Intensity Teambuilding, and choreographer Ian Burke. An estimated 2,000 people showed up to dance to the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling." Vaughan had posted a video of the dance routine on YouTube a few weeks prior, so most of the crowd knew the moves. It was sort of cool. They mobbed, but didn't really flash--they didn't disperse right after.

See the video below of Saturday's flash mob.

UNC Charlotte students held a cool flash rave last December to celebrate the end of final exams. It was less organized and more chaotic, but that's what made it so entertaining. Click here for "UNCC Students 'Rave' Over End of Finals."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gamecocks Support Troops Against Gators

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/14/2009 No comments
Today when my South Carolina Gamecocks host the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators in Columbia, our proud Garnet and Black will be accentuated with camouflage and other special touches to honor military veterans and promote the Wounded Warrior Project.

The black with tan camouflage uniforms, designed by Under Armour, will have a Wounded Warrior logo on them. And instead of players' names, the backs of the jerseys will have words such as courage, loyalty, integrity, and service. The players will also wear camouflage cleats.

The Wounded Warrior Project acts as an advocate for injured service men and women and provides services and programs for them. It's only fitting that USC would support this cause since its campus is only 15 miles from Fort Jackson, the Army's largest training base.

The Maryland Terrapins are also participating in the Wounded Warrior Project and will wear special uniforms today in their game against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Some jerseys will be auctioned off after the games on the university websites, with all of the money being donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. You can also purchase specially designed T-shirts and polos.

For more details, visit, and click here to shop for apparel on the Under Armour website.

Click here for the Gamecocks athletics website. And be sure to tune in to CBS at 3:30 p.m. to watch the nationally televised game. I'm pulling for an upset, and you should too--support our troops! ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Events for the Weekend: November 13-15

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/13/2009 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, November 13

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

Loïs Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color
Get this "First Look" of this exhibit before it opens tomorrow. The exhibit features a collection of paintings, textiles, and sketches that span the nearly 75 year career of this pioneering African-American artist, Ms. Jones. The evening will feature a jazz trio and performances by the Queens University Chamber Singers and Johnson C. Smith University Choir. There will also be a brief lecture by Barry Gaither. 6-9 p.m. $10 (free for Mint members). Mint Museum of Art, 2730 Randolph Rd.

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 by DJ DR. 8 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

Kickin It on the Southside
Digital Divas presents this new weekly Friday night event for those who live or want to party in south Charlotte. Enjoy drink specials and a DJ spinning hip-hop and R&B. 10 p.m. Free. On the Roxx, 14021 Conlan Circle (Ballantyne).

Black Friday
For Friday the 13th it’s all black everything: black clothes, black shoes, black cards, 1800 Black tequila, and even black carpet leading to the club. Black attire preferred. 10 p.m. Free before 11:30 p.m.; cost varies after. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd.

Saturday, November 14

Fashion with a Conscience
Joseph’s House of Threads and Amped-4-A-Cure invite you to an evening of fashion, including a reception and silent auction. Proceeds will benefit Amped-4-A-Cure and the American Cancer Society. 6-11 p.m. RSVP at 800-890-5563 or Mint Museum of Art, 2730 Randolph Rd.

Fight Party: Pacquiao vs. Cotto
Watch the fight at this intimate lounge. Plenty of drink specials, including $2 Bud Light, $3 Heineken, and $6 martinis. Sound for the fight will be on, and a DJ will play after. 7 p.m. $5 before 9 p.m.; $10 after. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

Robbie Hardkiss
If you like house music, you’ll love this night with the legendary DJ. And it’s being held at one of Charlotte’s newest and trendiest lounges. 9 p.m. $5. Dharma Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St., Suite 105 (facing Summit Avenue).

Sunday, November 15

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sex Toy Charlotte Is Offering the World

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/12/2009 1 comment
I received a press release yesterday that announced the RealTouch had gone on sale to the public. RealTouch is a men's sex device and back in February I actually had the pleasure (no pun intended) of visiting the facility where the device was being developed, which is in Charlotte. Yep, Charlotte is the home base for Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network (AEBN), the largest provider of video-on-demand services for the adult entertainment industry. I met with the company president and staff there and they gave me a tour of the facility and showed me how the RealTouch works. Yes, it was pretty much like watching porn on the job. But hey, as a journalist I must go to the source to be able to report these things.

So when I received the press release yesterday, it reminded me that back in February I had written an article for a magazine, but that version of the article never saw the light of day (my editor only wanted a small blurb about the product, so a paragraph-size write-up was published in the mag). So I'm giving you that original article now. Below, I shed insight into how the RealTouch works and show how AEBN is a flourishing company.

A Wii for the Wee-Wee
Local company seeks to revolutionize porn with virtual sex device

By Jarvis Holliday

The Internet has been a gift and a curse for many industries. The music biz loves it because of the ease of promoting new artists, but hates it because of the illegal downloading that hurts record sales. No industry has been in bed more with the web than porn, though. Over the past decade, it has led to record-breaking sales for videos, sex toys, and services like web chats. But with all the pay sites out there, they’re hit hard by piracy, too.

But Charlotte-based Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network (AEBN), the largest provider of video-on-demand services in the $12 billion a year adult entertainment industry, is about to change the game. The company plans to begin selling its RealTouch men’s virtual sex device in coming months and it believes that its more than 10 million subscribers—who watch videos through the pay-per-minute service—aren’t going to be able to do without it.

The prototype for RealTouch was being developed for several years by a company that specializes in haptic (touch) technology when they approached AEBN. “They had a pretty good prototype, but didn’t know anything about the porn industry,” says Scott Coffman, president of AEBN. “So we partnered with them to take the prototype to develop it for use.”

What you have now is a sleek device that looks like something for your computer, but you’re not sure what at first glance. “It has the shape of a woman in some aspects, if you look at the curves,” says Brett Drysdale, product manager. “And we wanted to give sort of a modern, sleek look to it. But ultimately, we had things to fill in there like the three servo motors and the belts.”

The RealTouch is now for sale. The lady doesn't come with it.

It connects to your computer by a USB cable (the same way your printer and digital camera does) and after installing a supplied plug-in to Windows Media Player, you’re ready for action. It accepts lubrication, has a warming element, squeezes, and shakes--all to simulate the feeling of sex. RealTouch is engineered to be used exclusively on videos that stream online through AEBN’s website and those of its more than 20,000 affiliates ( being one of the sites it provides video on demand for). The company currently has more than 100,000 adult titles in its catalog, but to be used with RealTouch the movies have to be individually configured frame by frame for use, a process that takes dozens of hours for a single scene by AEBN’s team of programmers. (AEBN currently has about 400 adult movies configured for use with RealTouch.)

Business is good for AEBN, which Coffman started in 1999. The company employs 250 people in its Charlotte headquarters and has recently moved into a 30,000 square foot office building that it purchased (not far from Billy Graham Parkway, coincidentally). Coffman says by the time RealTouch launches (25,000 will be stocked in a local warehouse), he will have invested about $10 million in its development. The device will go on sale for $199.99, but the company expects to generate most of its related revenue by charging $0.99 per minute to stream the videos that must be played with it. And they expect it will be played with.

"I would compare it to the video game world where Xbox and PlayStation were going about it the same, like 'we need to make better graphics and sound,' " Coffman says. "And Wii said, 'you know what, probably the better way to go is to change the controller and the whole concept of how you play the game.' Up to that point, the controller was never the focus. Now, it’s the same game, no major change in graphics, but it makes you feel like you’re in the game. And it gives them such an edge up on everybody else. And that’s kind of how we see what we’re about to do."

For more details, visit (NSFW).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November 16, 2009 marks 10 years since Rae Carruth had his pregnant girlfriend Cherica Adams shot during a planned drive-by shooting as the two left a south Charlotte movie theater. Carruth was just 25 years old and was a promising wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers. Adams was 24, and even though she was riddled with bullets she managed to tell police that she believed her boyfriend had arranged the shooting, and she gave birth to a son, born 10 weeks premature. Adams died four weeks later.

You can relive what took place that night in 1999, along with what followed a year later when the infamous "Rae Carruth Trial" got underway, and what has evolved over the past decade. In the cover story of this week's issue of Creative Loafing (Nov. 11-17), I chronicle Carruth's life behind bars, how he and Adam's son Chancellor is about to be 10 years old and is being raised by Adam's mother, and how so many lives were forever changed by such a senseless murder. The issue of Creative Loafing is on newsstands now, or you can read the article online, "Remembering Infamy: The life and crimes of Rae Carruth — 10 years later."

I was in college at USC in Columbia when the murder and subsequent trial took place. I remember watching the trial play out on CourtTV. The cable network would re-air the day's testimony at night. At times, it was more entertaining, suspenseful, and drama-filled than anything you might see fictionalized on Law and Order. Charlotte had become home to a media circus.

But when I was researching and doing interviews for this article, I took on a whole new perspective of the events. I was reminded of the harsh realities that a young woman lost her life. That a young man lost his professional football career and freedom. That a child suffers from cerebral palsy from having been delivered too soon and now doesn't know either of his parents.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Charlotte (and the nation) is showing love to our military service men and women in honor of Veterans Day. Even though the holiday is this Wednesday, November 11, there are specials going on throughout the week. Here are a few that GPT has learned of, and I got the idea to put this list together after talking to an old friend.

One of my childhood friends from South Carolina visited Charlotte today and he paid me a visit while in town. We were chilling at the crib when he mentioned that after he left my house he was going to the Charlotte Bobcats box office because they're giving away two tickets to tomorrow's (Tuesday) home game against the Orlando Magic. I told Caleb, who served in the Army for a few years after high school, that I hadn't heard anything about the ticket giveaway. But sure enough, at about 5:30 p.m. he was calling me as he was leaving the box office at Time Warner Cable arena saying he'd picked up his two free tickets. And he said "they're pretty good seats."

If you're a veteran or active duty, you can pick up your tickets by showing proof of service (military ID card, DD214 form, military orders, etc.). The box office opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday and will be open through the start of the game, which begins at 7 p.m. Call the box office at 704-688-9000 if you have any questions. I didn't see any info about the giveaway on the Bobcats website,

There are also some sweet food deals for veterans.

Applebee's nationwide is offering a free entree to all veterans and active duty military personnel on Wednesday. There are several ways you can show proof of eligibility to obtain your free meal: U.S. Uniform Services ID card, current leave and earnings statement (LES), veterans organization card (i.e., American Legion and VFW), photograph in uniform, wearing uniform, DD214, citation, or commendation.

There are 12 Applebee's locations in the Charlotte area, including Concord, Matthews, Pineville, Gastonia, and Rock Hill. Click here for more information on the Veterans Day special.

Also on Wednesday:

Wolfman Pizza, a Charlotte-based, California-Style pizza restaurant with four area locations, is offering 50 percent off your meal if you're a veteran or active duty. If you like 'em hot and sweet, Krispy Kreme is giving a free donut to our brave men and women (click here). Veterans and active duty personnel can get a free Bloomin’ Onion and a drink at Outback Steakhouse. Click here for more details.

The food love is even spilling into next week. On Monday, November 16, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Golden Corral is holding its Military Appreciation Monday Dinner. Get your free meal, and visit for more details.

The big-box stores are getting into the spirit as well.

Mooresville-based Lowe's Home Improvement is honoring Veterans Day at its more than 1,600 stores nationwide. Through Saturday, people from the active duty ranks, reservists, honorably discharged, and retired military men and women with valid identification or proof of service are eligible to receive a special 10 percent discount on in-store and special order purchases up to $5,000.

On Veterans Day only, Sam’s Club locations nationwide will be giving away 25,000 Hugo canes free of charge to military veterans in need of mobility assistance. Limited quantities per location and available only while supplies last. You don't have to be a Sam’s Club member, but proof of military service is required. Visit

If you know of any special offer that I've missed, feel free to post it in the comments section. And if you go get one of these freebies, come back and post your experience in the comments as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Maybe BofA Should Use TheLadders

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/03/2009 1 comment
Over the past 24 hours, and particularly this morning, news of Bank of America's search for a CEO to replace the retiring Ken Lewis has been dominating business news websites and the blogosphere. Apparently the job isn't very appealing to some of the top-notch executives who BofA is going after. Maybe they should use TheLadders for their job search ("$100k+ jobs for $100k+ people"). Ranging from speculation to confirmed reports, the latest news suggests that when BofA announces its new CEO, which is expected to come next week, that man (wouldn't you be surprised if it was a woman?) likely won't already be living here in Charlotte and probably won't be required to move here. That in itself has opened the door to a whole new realm of speculation.

I've selected a few news and blog links below.

Bank of America’s Next Chief May Be Based in New York. Bloomberg

BofA CEO may be based outside Charlotte. Reuters

Bank of America's next chief could be based in the Big Apple. Daily Finance (AOL)

Nobody Wants To Lead Bank Of America. DealBreaker

The Dowager City: Next BofA Chief May Quit Charlotte. DealBreaker

BNY Mellon CEO Kelly Tells BofA: No, Thanks. The Wall Street Journal

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday is an important election for local government. Decide who's going to be Charlotte's next mayor, who's going to be on your city council, and who's going to run you kids' school board.

The polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Visit for everything you need to know about candidates and voting locations.
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