Saturday, January 31, 2009

My First Time: StrikeCity

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/31/2009 No comments
Last night my homeboy Lenny and I attended the grand opening of StrikeCity at EpiCentre. I'm not going to spend too much time describing StrikeCity here but to let you know that it's a bowling alley on steroids and you should check it out.

StrikeCity has more TVs than you can count--I can assure you've never seen more projection screens and plasmas in one place. That makes me think it will become just as popular as a sports bar as it will a bowling alley. The place was packed when we got there a little after 8 p.m. We managed to snag a seat at one of the bars, which was perfect for us to watch the Boston Celtics-Detroit Pistons game (Celtics guard Ray Allen is from our high school). I ordered a drink and the chicken Parmesan sandwich with fries, and my food arrived in five minutes. I knew that StrikeCity had a partnership with Libretto's Pizza next door but I didn't expect my food to get there so quickly and so hot.

So we're sitting at the bar along the front counter, and the side counter of the L-shaped bar extends into one of the bowling alley's private rooms. We could see directly into the room's lounge area, but we couldn't see the private lanes that were around the corner. While chomping on my sandwich in between glancing up at the game, who do I see standing five feet away from me as he walks up to the bar? None other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. himself.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the bar. I didn't bring my digital camera, so all I could muster were these camera phone pics.

I've met Dale Jr. a couple of times before at NASCAR races and media events, but this is the first time I've ever seen him out in a social setting. He was classic Jr.--collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up and blue jeans (couldn't tell you if they were Wrangler's, though). It was him and his crew, including several attractive women, hanging in the private room. I saw a couple of his homeys motion for hot chicks to come around from our side on over to their side. Hey, that's one of the primary roles of members of an entourage. Man Law.

And I must say, not only was the food excellent, but so was the service. Our bartenders were Jack and Jill, two hotties in their own right (short for Jackie and Jillian, if I remember correctly). I asked Jill to recommend a drink and she told me I should have the Mighty Mouse. I'd never heard of it but she made it of 151 Absolut, Amaretto, 99 Bananas, orange juice, pineapple juice, and Sprite. I now think I have a new favorite drink.

Jill, left, and Jack are bartenders at StrikeCity.

This was my second night in a row hanging at EpiCentre. Lenny was in town for a couple of days and when I have friends visiting I usually end up going out more than I would ordinarily. Plus, this happened to be a week when I had tickets/invites to a couple of events. Thursday night we went to the Swatches & Scotches event at Suite. It was to introduce the launching of Astor & Black Custom Clothiers in Charlotte. That was the swatches reference; the scotches was the free samples of scotch. We stayed there for a couple of hours then went to Mez for dinner, the trendy restaurant that's connected to Epicentre Theaters. Mez was crowded, too, as was PJ's Coffee & Lounge, which we only popped into for a minute before heading home.

It's going to be interesting to see how the EpiCentre continues to transform nightlife in uptown Charlotte. I think StrikeCity was the last major opening for the massive entertainment complex. If you haven't been to EpiCentre yet, you have to see it for yourself. It's like an outlet mall of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, with a few shops and the Aloft Hotel sprinkled in between.

Friday, January 30, 2009

IKEA Grand Opening—Is It That Serious?

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/30/2009 1 comment
As the grand opening date for IKEA Charlotte approaches, I'm hearing more people talk about it. It's been mostly women and they speak of their excitement. I can understand the appeal of being able to buy designer furniture at prices lower than you would at most home-furnishings stores, but to some people the opening of an IKEA is a life-changing event.

IKEA grand openings are legendary for attracting thousands of people, many who arrive ridiculously early. How ridiculous, you ask? Here's a note from the Swedish chain's website: "Air out your camping gear! Customers can begin lining up at IKEA Charlotte at 9:00 AM on Monday morning, February 16, 2009—in advance of our February 18, 2009 opening." Getting in line two days early—it can't be that serious.

There are more than 250 IKEA stores worldwide and this will be the first in North Carolina. It's located on City Boulevard (I-85) in north Charlotte and at 356,000 square feet, it will be one of the company's largest. While our economy tanked last year and is even further in the toilet now, IKEA managed to open 21 stores in 2008 and saw sales rise 7 percent. The company plans to open 20 stores this year. Click here for more on IKEA Charlotte.
Crossroads Charlotte: The Movie can be seen during a special premiere Tuesday, February 3, 6 p.m., at six area theaters. The film is a cinematic version of the four Crossroads stories, each depicting a possible future for the Charlotte community in the year 2015. Below is the trailer.



Click here to RSVP to attend the free premiere.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Before Blagojevich There Was Nixon

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/29/2009 No comments
Last evening I attended an event at Queens University titled "How Does the Media Influence Public Perception?" The event was part of the Get to Know the Shows series the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center's Education Institute puts on, and this one pertained to the Frost/Nixon show coming to the Belk Theater February 10-15. The panel, which included Rod Garvin, Charlotte community director at GenerationEngage; Dr. Bill Thompson, history professor of Watergate Research at Queens University; Dr. Leanne Pupcheck, professor of communications at Queens; and NBC News journalist Chris Clackum, led an engaging and informative discussion on the effects of David Frost's groundbreaking televised interview with President Richard Nixon.

Watergate was an interesting time in our country's history and it has heavily influenced how we view our government leaders and our expectations of media today. And with the advent of the Internet and 24-hour cable news shows, those elements continue to evolve. After attending this event, I now want to see both the Frost/Nixon movie and stage play.

You can catch a second installment of the event this evening, 6:30-8, at Stage Door Theater (130 N. Tryon St.). The scheduled panelists are Brian Blakely, anchor at Fox Charlotte; Rick Thames, executive editor at The Charlotte Observer; Molly Grantham, anchor at WBTV; and Beatrice Thompson, V101.9 news and public affairs director. The event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No Place For 'Hom'

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/28/2009 No comments
I emailed an event sponsor this morning about an event that seemed to have been moved from Hom to Suite. She emailed me back saying that the event has been moved to Suite because Hom closed this week. Wow!

Hom, the once-popular and very swank nightclub that's "home" to three levels known as Liv, Feast, and Play, lasted 14 months. I blame its closing largely on two things: the bad economy and the EpiCentre. The economy has people being more frugal and selective with their spending dollars. And the EpiCentre (the massive entertainment complex that houses Suite, Whisky River, BlackFinn, PJ's Coffee Lounge, Wild Wing Cafe, EpiCentre Theatres, the StrikeCity bowling alley that just opened a few days ago, and several other places that are too many to name) has partiers not wanting to leave College Street.

Liv, the bottom level at Hom, is the lounge.

Feast, the middle level at Hom, is the eatery.

Play, the top level at Hom, is the dance club.

The downward spiral of the economy and the ascension of EpiCentre were beyond Hom's control, but the nightclub has to bear some of the responsibility for its own undoing. The last time I partied at Hom was on New Year's Eve. My friends and I had a fairly good time, all things considered. All clubs are packed on NYE so I don't expect things to be perfect. But Hom struggled handling the large crowd, particularly at Feast where many people, including my date and I, had purchased the dinner package (we never did get our champagne). But to make amends, the manager of the club emailed everyone a couple of weeks later who had paid for that special package apologizing for the poor service and offering us gold membership for a year that guaranteed free admission to Hom for a year. I thought that was a great gesture, because I think any business can overcome a bad night if they show customers how much they appreciate their business. Looks like I won't be able to enjoy that gold membership now, though.

Also, unfortunately, there were ongoing complaints I would hear from people about the service at Hom being rude, particularly the doormen. I never experienced that. I think people sometimes too easily get offended by doormen, but one thing I'll give Hom credit for is that they kept the club from attracting the wrong crowds like their predecessor Menage did. If you're projecting your business as an upscale establishment then you must continue to attract upscale clientele. But you must also balance that delicately. I think many people felt that Hom was trying to be a little too exclusionary.

But a lot of this still comes down to the effects of the economy. No industry is immune from it. I wrote a news article last month about Charlotte's abundance of upscale steakhouses and how they were addressing this recession. One steakhouse manager put it perfectly: “There’s no room for mediocrity anymore. Whether or not a restaurant is going to make it in a bad economy or good economy—a good economy only prolongs the inevitable, which is someone’s going to go out of business if they don’t do a good job."

Hom is/was one of the best-designed clubs in Charlotte. The guys that transformed it from Menage to Hom spared no expense. I can't see this place staying closed for too long. But whoever tries to run it is going to have an uphill battle. As I've said on this blog repeatedly, Charlotte has more nightlife options now than ever. Competition is good for the consumer, but not always for the owner.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Future of Dale Jr.'s Camaro?

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/27/2009 1 comment
General Motors recently announced that it would be delaying the start of production of the 2010 Chevy Camaro by one month. The start date is now scheduled for March 16 and GM expects the first cars to be ready by late spring. The completely redesigned Camaro was a big hit at auto shows last year, and it's been reported that more than 10,000 people are on the waiting list to purchase them once they begin arriving at dealerships. It's presumable that the terrible state the U.S. car companies are in, in this case GM, is what's caused the delay.

But GM needs to get the Camaro out as soon as possible. This is a car they have that people actually want to buy, and a Chevy at that. I'm sure it'll debut eventually, but I'm now wondering what will come of the Chevrolet Camaro Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concept car that premiered at the SEMA Show last fall. The popular NASCAR driver, who is known for driving his own 1972 Camaro around Kannapolis and Mooresville, partnered with GM on the design and tricked out the new Camaro by lowering it, putting on bigger tires and custom rims (21 inches), flipping the paint scheme, and customizing the interior including upgrading the sound system. And under the hood there's added horsepower.

If Dale Jr. is nothing else, he's an iconic brand. I bet GM would sell thousands of this model just off his name. They need to put one on display outside Whisky River and let the young guys get a look at it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Events for the Week: Jan. 26-Feb. 1

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/26/2009 No comments
Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. If I learn of more events, I’ll update this post throughout the week.

Weeklong

Queen's Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week
This celebration of Charlotte’s restaurant scene runs through Friday. Each participating restaurant will offer a three-course, prix fixe dinner menu for only $30 per person (not including tax and gratuity). More than 60 participating restaurants. Visit website for details. www.charlotterestaurantweek.com.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
The theme of this year’s Greatest Show on Earth is “Over the Top,” and in it you’ll experience a wacky circus spectacular filled with mayhem as Ringmaster Chuck Wagner and clown eccentric Tom Dougherty compete for control of a magical top hat. Runs Jan.28-Feb. 1. Visit website for times. $15-$100. Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St. www.timewarnercablearena.com.

Tuesday, January 27

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

A Night of Hip-Hop
See several of Charlotte’s homegrown hip-hop artists perform, as well as up-and-coming “urban folk” artist Jocelyn Ellis. 6:30 p.m. $10. The Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. (NoDa). www.theeveningmuse.com.

Tone-X and Friends
Not sure of the reasons, but after debuting to a full house at Alive two weeks ago as its new location, after leaving Skandalos last year, the comedy night is going back to its first home. Anyway, come laugh at the jokes and skits by Power 98’s Tone-X, Chris “Funnyman” Robinson, and other comedians. Music by DJ Stacey Blackman. 8 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Skandalos, 5317 E. Independence Blvd. www.myspace.com/tonexandfriends.

Wednesday, January 28

North Carolina Conference for Women
This all-day conference is designed to provide a platform for women of all ages and backgrounds to network and become informed on timely issues that are of value to today’s women. Celebrity speakers include Lisa Ling, Susan L. Taylor, Alek Wek, Jean Chatzky, and Sheri Lynch. Cost includes breakfast and lunch. 7 a.m.-5 p.m. $150. Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St. www.ncwomensconference.com.

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but often runs past midnight. Music by select DJs. This week, Flawless Make-Up Art presents “The Make-Up Soiree.” Sponsored by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St. (South End). www.apostrophelounge.com.

How Does the Media Influence Public Perception?
In advance of Frost/Nixon coming to the Belk Theater in February, the Blumenthal Center's Education Institute is presenting this event to explore how journalist David Frost was able to successfully question President Nixon after the Watergate Scandal and how the interview affected the public's perceptions of Nixon. This event is part of the "Get to Know the Show" series. 6:30-8 p.m. Free. Queens University of Charlotte, Sykes Auditorium, 1900 Selwyn Ave. Click here to RSVP.

Thursday, January 29

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

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

Friday, January 30

Strike City Grand Opening
As if the EpiCentre is dominating uptown Charlotte enough, the highly anticipated upscale bowling alley is now open and is holding an official grand opening party. You must have tickets to attend the opening, but everyone is admitted afterwards. Come experience the bowling alley that’s more like a club (dance floor, dozens of flatscreen TVs). Grand opening party 7-10 p.m., general admission 10 p.m-2 a.m. Strike City Bowling, 210 E. Trade St., inside the EpiCentre. www.strikecitycharlotte.com.

Kickin’ It Uptown
Digital Divas takes the party to the all-new Club Ice. Expect a beautiful crowd of young professionals. Music by DJ C-Rob. 10 p.m. $10 in advance. Club Ice, 300 E. Stonewall St. www.digitaldivasevents.com.

Saturday, January 31

An Evening at the Heartbreak Hotel
Inner Circle Events is getting a jump on the Valentine’s parties. Expect a large crowd so get there early (plus admission goes up). Come dressed to impress. 10 p.m. Cost varies. Ember Grill at The Westin Hotel, 601 S. College St. www.innercircleevents.com.

Club Illumination Part 1: The Ms. Officer Party
It’s a “blue-light affair” that promises to be a night of top-level partying. Plenty of models will be on hand strolling the catwalk. Music by DJ Chase and hosted by Q 92.7’s IfĂ© Moore. First 50 ladies admitted free and all Aquarius birthdays in free til 11. Presented by Dream Team Entertainment. 10 p.m. $15 in advance. Extravaganza Depot, 1610 N. Tryon St. www.experiencedreamteam.com.

Sunday, February 1

Super Bowl Sunday!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

High School Fights and YouTube

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/25/2009 1 comment
I was talking to a group of teenagers the other day whom I counsel, when they put me on to an alarming trend. We were standing around my laptop talking, when one of them asked me to go to YouTube and search for some crazy new dance called the "Stanky Leg" because they wanted to learn it. Unfortunately, all these ridiculous new dances that are out isn't the alarming trend I'm referring to (plus, I see that as just kids being kids). After looking up a couple of dances, one of them asked me to search for a fight. And that began them calling out different high school fights for me to look up.

So what I learned is that you can type in a number of Charlotte high schools, followed by the word "fight," and you're likely to find a video posted of students fighting. I did a quick YouTube search again just now and I found videos of fights at Independence High (a fight outside), East Meck (a fight in the classroom), and West Meck (a fight in the bathroom, which someone has posted and set to music). Each of the videos is less than a minute long, which leads me to believe the students were recording them on their camera phones, which usually only allow short videos.

This video of a fight at Independence High School was uploaded to YouTube last May and has received more than 26,000 views. (I only posted a still as opposed to the actual video because I don't condone this.)

Now before anyone jumps on the bashing-CMS bandwagon, understand that this is not a Charlotte problem. This is a societal problem. Fights have always happened and will always happen at school, and I can't say whether kids today are more violent than we were. But they have more technology at their disposal that brings these things to the forefront. Plus, these fights aren't just being captured at schools. You can find thousands of videos on YouTube of kids (and adults) duking it out in parks, parking lots, streets, backyards, and just about anywhere. If someone can sneak in a camera to capture Saddam Hussein's execution (which I refused to watch), anything can be caught on video at anytime. What we have to do, as a society, is stop lending credence to this kind of thing.

We shouldn't be enticed to run and see or hear every caught-on-tape moment. I reminded those group of teens that kids have gotten arrested over similar video postings. It may seem like something funny and entertaining until you're going to jail over it. My solution to this--and most other problems facing our kids today--is simple. Parents: Be more involved in your kids' lives. Find out what they're doing on MySpace, YouTube, and with their phone texting. Or learn about it the hard way.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Anthony Hamilton is scheduled to perform during the 2009 BET Honors Award Show, airing February 9 on the cable network, according to an email I received tonight from his publicist at studio b public relations. The Charlotte native will sing during a tribute to Judith Jamison, a 2009 honoree and artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

It'll be an exciting week for Hamilton. A day earlier, on February 8, he'll learn if he wins a Grammy Award during the live telecast of the 51st annual award show on CBS. He's nominated along with Al Green for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for their duet, “You’ve Got the Love I Need."

Hamilton continues to tour in support of his album, The Point Of It All, which was released last month. Below is a video montage of him performing the classic Sam Cook song, "A Change Is Gonna Come," during some recent concerts. He's one of the best voices of our generation, but it's almost as if he was born two generations too late.


Survivors of last week's US Airways Flight 1549 plane crash appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres show yesterday. Six of the eight guests on the show are from the Charlotte area (four from Charlotte, one from Cornelius, and one from Davidson; the other two are from New York and Tennessee). Watch the two videos below of how they came out dancing to Destiny Child's "Survivor" (you gotta dance if you go on Ellen) and then go into details of the crash. It's great that they can laugh about it now, but I don't know if I would be able to hop on a plane so soon, which they had to do to get to the show.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

'NASCAR Wives' Airs Saturday

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/22/2009 No comments
UPDATE: NASCAR Wives didn't air on January 24 as originally scheduled. It was reported by a few NASCAR "insiders" websites that the debut of the show was delayed so that footage from February's Daytona 500 could be included. Websites were reporting a March or April premiere date for the show but even that didn't happen. TLC hasn't released any further details on the status of the show, so it looks likely that NASCAR Wives may have been cancelled.

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TLC is debuting a new reality show called NASCAR Wives that will chronicle the lives of women who stand by their race-car driving husbands. TLC will air a one-hour episode this Saturday, January 24, 10 p.m., after the Miss America pageant. The show is being billed as a docusoap, following in the success of similar "wives" shows The Real Housewives of Orange County and Army Wives.

The stars of the show are DeLana Harvick (Kevin's wife), Shana Mayfield (Jeremy's wife), Angie Skinner (Mike's wife), and Kelley Earnhardt (Dale Jr.'s sister; hey, you gotta respect the last name). All of these women live in the Charlotte area, so imagine it will show them relaxing on Lake Norman, shopping at Birkdale Village, and flying in helicopters to races--you know, their typical lifestyles.

Jeremy Mayfield's wife Shana will star in the show. Presumably he'll make appearances as well.

I have the DVR set to record it. This is sort of an introductory episode, with the full series set to air in the spring. I'm just mad that I'm not in on this deal. I had the idea for a reality show like this two years ago, when my infatuation with NASCAR drivers' wives began. I used to refer to Lake Norman as our version of the OC, after my first time visiting the lake and seeing all of the ridiculous mansions, many of which are owned by NASCAR drivers and executives.

The show is produced by NASCAR Media Group, which is based in Charlotte and will soon be moving into the new office building that's part of the NASCAR Hall of Fame under construction uptown.

Pop Life and Facebook

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/22/2009 No comments
I went to Pop Life last night. Even though the event is held each Wednesday night at Apostrophe Lounge and I list it each week in my "Events for the Week," I hadn't been in months. In fact, I hadn't been to Pop Life since last summer when it was being held at Loft 1523. I'd been to Apostrophe before, but this was my first time attending Pop Life there. And I was surprised to see that the popular social networking event hasn't slowed down.

It's not often that weekly events continue to go strong after several months, especially with venue changes. Pop Life, which is presented by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen, originally launched in spring 2007 at Prevue in NoDa. It ran until December that year before taking a winter break. It returned for one night during CIAA week, then relaunched last April at Loft 1523. Pop Life and Loft were a perfect fit. The weather and the people were beautiful, and holding conversations on the balcony while overlooking the city's skyline was a favorite for many. But unfortunately, in August the Pop Life organizers and the bar's owners decided to part ways.

Thus, Pop Life was reborn at Apostrophe a month later. Even though it took me four months to check it out here--hey, Charlotte has more nightlife options than ever now--Pop Life is still the best event to go to on a Wednesday night. It has evolved a little since its beginnings, though. It continues to be free and start at 6 p.m., but the crowd is now less after-work and more late-night. Not too late, but last night I arrived around 8:45 and Apostrophe was only about a third full. By 10 p.m. though, it was packed. When I left a little after 11, people were still coming.

This is Apostrophe Lounge before the crowd takes over.

The best thing about Pop Life has always been the crowd and the music. It's a group of mostly 25-35-year-olds, slightly more women than men, and just about everyone is well dressed (I think they all go home after work, change clothes, then come out). And the music last night was particularly great. I know DJ Johnnie Davis was in the house, but he wasn't playing while I was there. Whoever the DJ was, he was rocking, and he did it mostly by playing music from what I consider the best period in hip-hop: 1995-2000. He played the Fugees, Lauryn Hill, early Nas, classic Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Outkast, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, and he blended it all so perfectly. You could nod your head or do a two-step and not have to change your bop the whole time.

And there's something else that's different about Pop Life now, at least for me. I joined Facebook a few months ago, after resisting the urging of friends for about a year. Everybody and their mama is on Facebook now (literally) and a lot of people are addicted to it. I like it, but I'm no addict. But it made last night different because there were a few people there who I don't really know but they're my Facebook friends, largely because of the social site's "People You May Know" tool. Throughout the night, as I would see them, I was wondering, "Should I go over and say hello?" It felt weird so I didn't. I did go over and speak to radio personality Consuella, however (I don't know her either but her trademark hair is easily recognizable). I told her how my blog post about her birthday party last July at Stir continues to get a lot of web traffic. The party was hosted by R&B singer Mya and I posted a few pics.

We're partying and networking in the Internet age. Get use to it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bad News About the Big Banks

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/21/2009 No comments
After watching picturesque, historic, and inspiring images of President Barack Obama's inauguration and celebration all day yesterday, I awoke to much of the same this morning. But CNN broke a little from the round-the-clock coverage and recap of the events to offer some other news, though still related. When talking about the troubling economy Obama has inherited and that we're all facing, CNN flashed a simple graphic that contained this information:

Bank stock prices decline since election day
Citibank 81%
Bank of America 79%
Wells Fargo 59%


That's how much value the three big banks have lost in just two and a half months. While analysts (and loud talkers) like Suze Orman stress that the state of the stock market is separate from the state of the economy, saying that Americans shouldn't rest their everyday economic concerns and fears on how Wall Street is doing, you can't help but worry. Especially here in Charlotte. We've all been anticipating the previously announced job cuts at Bank of America due to their acquisition of Merrill Lynch, and cuts at Wells Fargo because of their purchase of Wachovia. With BofA and Wells Fargo's stock prices continuing steep declines since their major deals, it's only reasonable that we should expect even more changes than previously announced.

If you paid attention to Obama's inaugural speech yesterday, he told us it's only going to get worse before it gets better. I say it's time we all got serious about this economy. Serious, not scared. Do things differently than you had in the past. The partying is over. And I don't think Obama will even get a honeymoon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

'Brooklyn' In Australia

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/20/2009 No comments
Charlotte native Brooklyn Decker has the blokes buzzing. She's been sitting courtside at the Australian Open this week in support of her fiancé Andy Roddick. The papers and paparazzi have been focusing on her large engagement ring: "Brooklyn Decker sparkles courtside for Andy Roddick."

On her left hand, Brooklyn is blinging.

Twenty-one-year-old Decker, most known as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, is also an aspiring actress and makes her television sitcom debut in an episode of Chuck that is scheduled to air Monday, March 2, 8 p.m. on NBC. She was already famous when I interviewed her nearly two years ago, but, as I said at the time, she's poised to see her star rise.

Me interviewing her in 2007. I knew her when.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Random Notes From MLK Day Event

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/19/2009 No comments
I'd like to think I did my part to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This is one of the most important holidays we have in this country, but far too many of us treat it as just another day off from work--those of us who are lucky enough to get the day off (I made a pledge to myself a couple of years ago that if I had a job that didn't give MLK Day off, I would use a vacation day).

I'm not trying to sound like an old man here, but I think a lot of young people today view Dr. King as just a figure in history books. He died several years before I was born, but I've always had an affinity for what he represented. If it wasn't for him, and countless others who stood with him, not only would we not be witnessing Barack Obama be inaugurated as president tomorrow, but the United States would not currently be the leader of the free world. How would this country be able to speak of any injustice today, whether it be in Iraq, Israel, or Darfur, if it still prevented a segment of its population from voting, using certain entrances, attending adequate schools, getting home loans, moving into certain neighborhoods, and then turned dogs, fire hoses, and police on them when they rallied against this?

We've moved beyond those dark days, thankfully. But we have to keep in mind that this was all just a little more than 40 years ago, which means that plenty of people are living now who experienced and contributed to this, both the oppressors and those who were oppressed. Change--and the results of change--take time. Celebrations like the one I attended today aren't about dwelling on the past, but are intended to inspire current and future generations to show them how people can overcome any odds and that the freedoms we enjoy in this country shouldn't be taken for granted, no matter what race you are. That's why I took a group of teenagers with me to the City of Charlotte Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday Celebration, held this morning at McGlohon Theatre.

This is an annual event that honors the achievements of Charlotteans who epitomize Dr. King's dream. I thought the kids I took would have fought me on the idea of going because I just knew they would've preferred to sleep in during this day off from school. They complied though, and I think it helped that I didn't fully tell them where we were going. I can't say this event was exciting, because it certainly had its dry moments, but I'm glad I went because it's good to see people come together for a positive cause. Here are the event's highlights:

  • Cherise B. Johnson did a great job emceeing the event. She was way more interesting than the other speakers.
  • Eric Watson, a VP at Food Lion, one of the event's sponsors, ended his remarks with a funny story about a bird getting pooped on by a bull, then getting eaten by a cat when it complained. It made sense and had a great lesson in it, but I would only butcher it if I tried to repeat it.
  • Eight students from grades K-12 were honored for winning the MLK essay and art contests. They were each awarded scholarship checks.
  • The MLK Medallion Award was given to three outstanding community leaders who passed away last year: Barbara Brewton Cameron, Stephanie Jennings, and Valerie Woodard. Each of their husbands accepted the awards on their behalf.
  • Eighteen-year-old NASCAR driver Marc Davis was given the MLK Keeper of the Dream Award. He's currently the only African-American driver competing in any of NASCAR's top three series. He races mostly in the Truck Series and Nationwide Series, but he's scheduled to make his Sprint Cup debut in June (Sprint Cup is the big league in case you didn't know).
  • The event concluded with a performance by the Leap of Faith Dance Company.

More Than I Was Looking for On Bobcats Site

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/19/2009 1 comment
I just got home from attending an MLK Day event (I'll blog about that later) and I remembered that the Charlotte Bobcats have a home game going on right now. As is tradition for the team, they play an afternoon game on MLK Day and they use it to not only pay tribute to the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but also to honor middle school students who are doing well in school. Those kids usually get free tickets to the game, I think.

So I went to the Bobcats website to see if the game is being televised and, if so, what channel. While there I saw a link on the homepage that said "New Lady Cats Gallery." Of course I had to check it out. Man Law.

Her name is Gigi.

Click here to see the Lady Cats photo gallery.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gerald Wallace Dunks On Greg Oden

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/18/2009 No comments
Watch this video of Gerald Wallace catching an alley-oop and dunking over Greg Oden. And more importantly, the Bobcats beat the Trailblazers last night.

Events for the Week: January 19-25

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/18/2009 No comments
Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. If I learn of more events, I’ll update this post throughout the week.

Monday, January 19

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

City of Charlotte MLK National Holiday Celebration
In recognition of MLK Day, this event will feature music, dance and special guest performances. NASCAR driver Marc Davis will be honored with the Keeper of the Dream Award, and the lives of Barbara Brewton Cameron, Stephanie Jennings, and Valerie Woodard will be celebrated with the presentation of the MLK Medallion Award. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 North College St. www.blumenthalcenter.org.

Daybreak of Freedom
The Charlotte Symphony, a chorus of students from area historically black colleges and universities, and conductors Chelsea Tipton and Andre Thomas lead a community celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy. The program includes a multi-media film presentation about the Civil Rights movement in Charlotte. 7 p.m. Free. Belk Theater at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 130 N. Tryon St. www.blumenthalcenter.org.

Tuesday, January 20

MLK/Inaugural Celebration
This is part one of a two-part celebration at Kiss. Jaye Delai and his wife Monica along with Q92.7 are presenting this event to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama in style and comfort. Complimentary buffet will be served. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost varies, advanced tickets available online. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd. www.jayeandmonica.com.

A Peace of Jazz (weekly event)
Radio personality Jaye Delai and his wife Monica present this weekly jazz series at one of Charlotte’s swankest lounges. This week’s musical guests are Innertwyned and Jeff Bradshaw. 6-11 p.m. Cost varies, advanced tickets available online. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd. www.jayeandmonica.com.

Tone-X and Friends
After holding court for several months last year at Skandalos, the weekly comedy night is back at a new location: Alive. Come laugh at the jokes and skits by Power 98’s Tone-X, Chris “Funnyman” Robinson, and other comedians. Music by DJ Stacey Blackman. 8 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Alive, 2909 N. Davidson St. (NoDa). www.myspace.com/tonexandfriends.

Wednesday, January 21

Pop Life (weekly event)
It’s the most popular social networking event on a Wednesday night. Starts after work but ends late. Music by select DJs. This week is a special “Skirts in the Boardroom edition” that will be paying tribute to women. Presented by Creative Loafing and The Sol Kitchen. 6 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St. (South End). www.apostrophelounge.com.

Beauty and Fashion Industry Night
Stylist, barbers, makeup artists, models, fashion designers, and clothing retailers come together to meet and mingle. Event will also be an afterparty for the Bobcats-Grizzlies game. Music by Power 98’s Mr. Incognito. Presented by Platinum Star Marketing. 8 p.m. $10. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd. www.kisscharlotte.com.

Thursday, January 22

Northwest Chapter After Hours
Networking is more important than ever in a tough economy, so bring your business cards and prepare to build your contacts while enjoying drinks and complimentary hors d'oeuvres. Presented by the Charlotte Chamber. 5:30 p.m. Chamber members free (but register online), $15 nonmembers. Pine Island Country Club, 1701 Stoneyridge Dr. www.charlottechamber.com.

Kickin' It On the Northside (weekly event)
Enjoy an after-work networking event in north Charlotte. Featuring drink and appetizer specials and live jazz. Presented by Digital Divas. 6-9 p.m. Free. Utopia Restaurant and Lounge, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr. www.utopianc.com.

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

Friday, January 23

Take Over Friday
Enjoy a walk-through of Andy Warhol Portfolios: Life & Legends. The evening will feature an exhibition viewing and discussion with the curator, hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and music by DJ Edward Jones. Presented by the Mint Museum of Art, Takeover Friday, the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund, and Wesley Mancini. 7-10 p.m. Free. Mint Museum of Art, 2730 Randolph Rd. www.takeoverfriday.com.

2009 Leadership Awards
Urban League of Central Carolinas Young Professionals presents this second annual awards event. This year’s recipients are Tonya Jameson (Charlotte Observer columnist), Mike Minter (businessman and retired Carolina Panther), and Johnny Taylor Jr. (RushmoreDrive.com CEO). Featuring a performance by Noel Gourdin. Hosted by Power 98’s Janine Davis. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. 9 p.m. $35 single, $60 couple. Big Chill, 911 E. Morehead St. www.leadership.urbanleaguecc.org.

Press Play
Experience the best in old-school hip-hop and R&B from the 1970s to mid-90s. 10 p.m. $10 in advance. Presented by Old School Carolinas. Alive, 2909 N. Davidson St. www.oldschoolcarolinas.com.

Saturday, January 24

Charlotte Restaurant Week
This week-long celebration of Charlotte’s restaurant scene kicks off, running from Saturday, January 24 through Friday, January 30. Each participating restaurant will offer a three-course, prix fixe dinner menu for only $30 per person (not including tax and gratuity). More than 60 participating restaurants. Visit website for details. www.charlotterestaurantweek.com.

Passion for Fashion
This second annual fashion show is a fundraiser for the Allegro Foundation. 7-10 p.m. Felix Sabates' Mercedes-Benz of South Charlotte, 950 N. Polk St., Pineville. www.allegrofoundation.net.

Soul Bowl Lounge
The popular bowling and social networking event is held in a dozen cities including Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York. In addition to knocking down pins, enjoy live music, food, and card games. 10 p.m. $25. AMF Carolina Lanes, 11210 Brigman Rd., Matthews. www.soulbowllounge.com.

Sunday, January 25

Divine Innovations: An Afternoon of Inspirational Dance Performances
The Leap of Faith Dance Company combines dance and spiritual praise in these uplifting performances. Guests are asked to bring nonperishable food items to be donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank. 3 p.m. $15 (you must purchase your tickets online). CenterStage@NoDa, 2315 N. Davidson St. www.ticketleap.com.

Ssshh: Sensual Seduction Sundays at Happy Hour (weekly event)
Enjoy an infusion of open-mic poetry and jazz over candlelight. Hosted by poet Bluz. After-party and dancing follows. Presented by Pink Diamond. 9 p.m. $10. Happy Hour Bar and Lounge, 3603 S. Tryon St. www.pinkdiamondpromo.com.
I blogged a few days ago about Jamal "Gravy" Woolard's ties to Charlotte ('Notorious' Star Was Living In Charlotte When He Got the Role). Now, he has an unfortunate connection of being in attendance at the Greensboro movie theater where a shooting took place Friday night during a showing of Notorious. See news video below.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My First Time: Noodles & Company

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/17/2009 1 comment
I had a board meeting this afternoon for my black journalists organization and we met at Noodles & Company in South End. The restaurant opened at the end of October and I first noticed it a few weeks later when I was visiting Estelle's Cafe and Coffeehouse, which is across from it in the Village of Southend condos. (Estelle's is one of three late-night coffeehouses I profiled for the January issue of Charlotte magazine. You can read that article--"Night, Joe"--online by clicking here.) Today was my first time going to Noodles & Company and I found it pretty interesting.

The restaurant has a cozy, very modern layout. Walking up to the counter to place your order can be a little intimidating if it's your first time there, but the cashier explained the large menu to us. I opted for the Trio, which allowed me to pick any small bowl of noodles (Asian, Mediterranean, or American), a protein (chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu), and a side salad or soup. I ordered the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese with the Parmesan Crusted Chicken and the Chicken Noodle soup. It was very good and, actually, the soup is probably the best chicken noodle I've ever had.

I can't say I'm a big fan of noodles. I wasn't like some of my childhood and college friends who hoarded Ramen Noodles (aka oodles and noodles). So I was surprised I liked my meal. And it was great for this freezing weather today--that chicken noodle may have prevented me from getting a cold.

As I was getting ready to blog about this, I visited the Noodles & Company website. It's very campy (Welcome to Noddleville, it says) and one of its interesting features is the Moodle Meter. It gauges your mood and determines which noodles you'd want. You simply place your hand in front of the sensor on your computer monitor and click scan. After scanning your hand, which obviously is not real or computer technology has gone farther than I realized, it asks you a silly question like "What's your preference: innie or outie?" I thought this analysis was fun and games until the results popped up: "Your Mood Analysis: You're Comfortable and Relaxed. Hungry? Settle in with our Wisconsin Mac & Cheese." I am comfortable and relaxed, and the mac & cheese is exactly what I ordered today. I'm scared.

This is the second Noodles & Company location in Charlotte. The first one opened on Providence Road in The Arboretum Shopping Center in July.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pepsi's 'Dear Mr. President' Viral Videos

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/16/2009 No comments
Pepsi has launched a "Dear Mr. President" viral video series as part of its Refresh Everything marketing campaign. It features celebrities, including Eva Longoria, Will.i.Am., and Lady Gaga, speaking to Barack Obama about an issue they care about. But regular folks like you and I can submit videos, too. The best ones are selected and featured on the Refresh Everything YouTube site.

As the guidelines state: "All videos should begin with the words Dear Mr. President and end with your first name and where you are from. What you put in between is up to you."

One other celebrity speaking to the president is a NASCAR driver who talks about kids battling cancer. He signs off simply, "Jeff. Charlotte, North Carolina."

Tickets On Sale for T.I./Jeezy Concert

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/16/2009 2 comments
At 10 a.m. this morning, tickets go on sale for the T.I. and Young Jeezy concert, taking place February 26 at Bojangles' Coliseum (formerly Cricket Arena). This is happening during CIAA Week--the week in which the CIAA basketball tournament comes to Charlotte (February 24-28)--and you can expect a ridiculous amount of parties, concerts, and special events to be going on around the city. Oh, and five days of basketball, too. I'll begin posting CIAA events on this blog around February 1.

Now back to the T.I./Jeezy concert. I'm sure it will be a great show. These are two of the hottest rappers in the game right now. I don't care who the opening acts are going to be--these two have enough hits to go for hours themselves. Tickets are $45-$75. Click here to purchase them on Ticketmaster. And if you're a T.I. fan, you better go see him at this show. He starts serving his one-year prison sentence a month later.

When the Lil Wayne concert, which was held January 2, was announced, I blogged about it and ended my remarks by saying "Hopefully...that will lead to a great year of concerts in Charlotte." Well, we're off to a great start.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Obama Hit Me On the Hip Again

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/15/2009 No comments
I received a text message from President-elect Barack Obama this evening. It's been weeks since he hit me on the hip. While the days leading up to the election, he was blowing me up. "Remember to vote." "Take a friend." "Do you know where your polling place is?" The text I received from him this evening came at 6:56 p.m. I was eating dinner, man. But I ain't tripping. We cool.

Here are the contents of the message: "Help President-elect Obama renew America w/service projects around the Inauguration. Txt SERVE to 56333 for info. For Inauguration updates txt HISTORY to 56333.

During Obama's run for the presidency, millions of Americans joined his mobile campaign. Many did it to receive updates and get news first, such as when Obama was announcing his VP pick. I wasn't intrigued by all of that. I don't care to receive mobile alerts, unless one of my homeboys is texting me to say that the club is full of honeys (Man Law). I actually got on Obama's mobile phone list when it was announced that Jay-Z was coming to Charlotte for a rally during the weekend before the election. I texted his campaign to get special access to the event, and they've had my number ever since (even though the Jay-Z rally was cancelled due to them being unable to secure a venue at the last minute).

I don't mind getting texts from Obama now, though. They're few and far between. And I'm actually interested in seeing how he continues to use this 21st century technology once he takes office. But I also wonder if I'll continue to get text messages from him if the Secret Service does indeed force him to give up his BlackBerry.
Bravo has revealed the aspiring models who will be competing in season two of its reality show competition, Make Me A Supermodel. One of the 16 lucky men and women is a Charlotte native named Gabriel (no last name given). He's 22 and is currently living in Nashville where he's a student at Belmont University.

Gabriel is wearing the fedora, third from the left in the back.

A casting special introducing the new season airs February 7 at 11 p.m. on Bravo. While the season itself doesn't start until March 4 at 9 p.m. The winner of the competition will receive $100,000 and a fashion pictorial in Cosmopolitan. This might be breaking Man Law, but for the chance to win a hundred grand and live in a house with eight female models I'd do this show.

Click here for Gabriel's bio on the show's website.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Just Voted...

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/14/2009 No comments
For the NBA All-Star team that is. As it has been for several years now, we, the fans, pick the starters and the coaches select the reserves. I've always liked that process because it let's the fans have their say, which often means the most popular players get picked, while the coaches ensure that the most deserving players make the team, too. Regardless, though, I'm pretty sure no one from the Charlotte Bobcats will be making the All-Star team for the fifth year in a row.

But at least four of the Bobcats made the ballot: Emeka Okafor, center; Raja Bell and Raymond Felton, guards; and Gerald Wallace, forward. If your favorite player isn't on the ballot, you have to vote for him by write-in. Below are my picks for the Eastern and Western conferences.

I'm a supporter of the Bobcats, but I'm sorry--I didn't think any of them were All-Star caliber. The only hint of bias I displayed was in my selection of Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics. He usually makes the team as a reserve. He's not a flashy player, but the coaches recognize that he's one of the best pure shooters to ever play. I picked him because we went to the same high school, Hillcrest High in Dalzell, S.C. (He's older than me, but I was in the same grade as one of his sisters, who now lives in Charlotte, coincidentally.)

Click here if you'd like to exercise your democracy. Voting ends Monday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'd heard about Jamal Woolard for a few years, but knew him mostly by his rap name, Gravy. If you're as big of a hip-hop fan as I am, then you usually know about the rappers who are making noise in the underground scene. Gravy was one of them. But he's had difficulties breaking through, as have many artists in this tightening music industry. But he's now about to become more famous than he'd ever imagined with his starring role as Christoper Wallace aka the Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls) in the new movie, Notorious, that hits theaters this Friday. With all the fame Woolard is getting (and the movie is receiving good reviews), I hope he shows a lil' love to Charlotte.

Everything I'd ever read about Woolard talked about him hailing from Brooklyn, New York, which is also the birthplace of Biggie. But I was just reading an MSNBC.com article about Woolard's role in the movie when I came across this line: “There were similarities going on while we were shooting,” said Woolard, who was an unemployed expectant father living in Charlotte, N.C. when director George Tillman tabbed him for the role.

When I read that he had been living in Charlotte, I got excited. You have to excuse me; I grew up in a very small town in South Carolina that wasn't known for much else other than being very small. So while I will always have a lot of love for Rembert, S.C. (I'm going back there Thursday), Charlotte is my adopted hometown and I still have that small-town pride when it comes to seeing the place I live making headlines. As for why and for how long Woolard was living in Charlotte, I don't know. But I'll see if I can find out. (And I still have to update y'all on Jada Pinkett Smith's Charlotte connection).

Click here to read the MSNBC.com article, Jamal Woolard fills B.I.G. shoes in ‘Notorious.’

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fantasia Keeps Her House

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/12/2009 4 comments
It's been widely (and embarrassingly) reported that singer Fantasia Barrino was in jeopardy of losing one of the two houses she owns in Charlotte. She borrowed $65,000 in 2006 to pay taxes on her Piper Glen home and after she defaulted on repaying the loan, the lender won a judgement to auction off her house. The auction was scheduled to be held today by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, but Fantasia reached an agreement with the lender over the weekend to keep her house off the auctioning block.

This is the 4,500-square-foot home Fantasia owns in the Piper Glen neighborhood in south Charlotte.

Fantasia bought the home in question in 2004, a few months after winning American Idol. It's assumed that her relatives now live in the house because she bought a second, larger and more expensive home in Charlotte in 2007.

This 6,200-square-foot home Fantasia owns in Charlotte appeared in a 2007 episode of MTV Cribs.

While some may poke fun at Fantasia's financial troubles, I say don't throw stones if you live in a glass house. True, she's wealthier than most of us and is famous, but celebrities are feeling the effects of this economy just like the rest of us. While some everyday folks are struggling to keep their homes, some rich people are having problems paying for their second or third homes.

Events for the Week: January 12-18

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/12/2009 No comments
Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. If I learn of more events, I’ll update this post throughout the week.

Tuesday, January 13

A Peace of Jazz (weekly event)
Radio personality Jaye Delai and his wife Monica present this weekly jazz series at one of Charlotte’s swankest lounges. This week’s musical guest is Shawn “Shableek” Richardson. 7 p.m. $10. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd. www.jayeandmonica.com.

Bridging Musical Worlds: Blues and Bearden
Through musical performances (Robin Rogers and Dawn Anthony), readings, and discussion, this event explores the blues, the art of Romare Bearden, and the struggle for justice, dignity, and freedom in African-American expression. 7 p.m. Free. Mint Museum of Art, 2730 Randolph Rd. www.mintmuseum.org.

Tone-X and Friends
After holding court for several months last year at Skandalos, the weekly comedy night is back at a new location: Alive. Come laugh at the jokes and skits by Power 98’s Tone-X, Chris “Funnyman” Robinson, and other comedians. Music by DJ Stacey Blackman. 8 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Alive, 2909 N. Davidson St. (NoDa). www.myspace.com/tonexandfriends.

Wednesday, January 14

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

Thursday, January 15

Third Thursdays: Live Jazz (monthly event)
Enjoy live jazz, light refreshments, and great art during special late hours at the museum. This month’s featured musicians are Sabra Callas and Steve Shoaf. Sponsored by V101.9 FM. Mint Museum of Craft + Design, 220 N. Tryon St. 5-8 p.m. (music 6:30-7:30 p.m.) Free. www.mintmuseum.org.

Drinks @ Kiss (monthly event)
This party takes place every third Thursday. Enjoy drink specials—$3 Kiss Shots, $5 martinis, and $5 glasses of wine—and the best in hip-hop, R&B, reggae, and old school. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Crisis Assistance Ministry. Presented by Mingleberry.com. 8 p.m. Free before 10 p.m. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd. www.mingleberry.com/drinks.

Friday, January 16

Notorious
The highly anticipated biopic of the life of Christopher Wallace aka the Notorious B.I.G. opens in theaters. Click here for local movie times and theater info.

Notorious Flirt Friday
Party real B.I.G. in honor of the legend and the new movie about his life. DJ Chase will be playing the best of Biggie. Presented by The FunkLabb and Thomas Washington. 10 p.m. Cost varies; ladies free before 10:30. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd. www.kisscharlotte.com.

Saturday, January 17

Hands On Charlotte
Volunteer and participate in service projects taking place around Charlotte. Visit website to register and for more details. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. www.handsoncharlotte.org.

Daniel Bernard Roumain
DBR showcases his eclectic musical skills on the violin, keyboards, turntables, and even a laptop. 8 p.m. $19 and up. McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 North College St. www.blumenthalcenter.org.

Meet the Browns of Comedy
Comedy by Benji Brown and Steve Brown. Hosted by Nick Lewis, with music by DJ Skillz. Afterparty follows. 8 p.m. $20 and up. Stir, 3500 E. Independence Blvd. www.stirnc.com.

Sunday, January 18

Hip-Hop Inauguration Concert
Featuring live music by Pradigy and his band. GenerationEngage will also be present so come party and get informed. 8 p.m. $5. Wine Up, 3306 N. Davidson St. www.wine-up.com.

Pre-Inaugural Ball
Get an early start on the celebration of Barack Obama’s inauguration, especially if you’re off work Monday for MLK Day. Music by DJ DR. Valet parking and VIP will be available. Presented by the Sol Kitchen and M. Simmons. 9 p.m. $10 in advance, more at the door. Blue Restaurant & Bar, 214 N. Tryon St. (corner of Fifth and College streets). www.thesolkitchen.com.

The Inauguration Celebration
This party celebrates the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the inauguration of Barack Obama. Basically, people just want to party. All three levels of this trendy nightspot will be open. 9 p.m. Cost varies. Hom, 116 W. Fifth St. www.eddietainment.com.

MLK Cool Down
Expect a nice crowd of partygoers, happy to be off work the next day. Presented by 11th Hour Entertainment. 10 p.m. Cost varies. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd. www.kisscharlotte.com.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My First Time: Club 935

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/11/2009 16 comments
I finally visited Club 935 last night. The hip-hop nightclub opened a little over a month ago and I blogged about its grand opening event and have listed its parties in my Events for the Week each week, but I just got around to checking it out for myself. And I have to say that I like it, and it's different than any other nightspot in Charlotte.

A few friends and I went there to watch the Carolina Panthers-Arizona Cardinals playoff game (sidenote: you can see Bank of America Stadium from outside the club). Club 935 opened its doors three hours earlier than usual for a game viewing party and it offered free admission before 10 p.m. That drew a large crowd. There were several TVs on which to watch the game and the best part about watching it here is that the DJ played music during halftime and every commercial break.

When the game ended, which I think was a little before 11:30, the vibe turned into a full-fledged party (people quickly got over the Panthers' loss--at least for the night). Club 935 is very big, divided into two large rooms that could be separate clubs. The first room has a large bar, several flatscreens, and a VIP room. It resembles many lounges in Charlotte, and I would compare this room to the size of the Sunset Club (but not nearly as ornate). It's funny because I spent most of my time in this room during the game and it wasn't until I went to the restroom that I saw that there was a second, larger part of the club.

The second room is huge and is where the dancefloor is located (though people danced in the other room too). Also here is a DJ booth, a large bar, flatscreens, raised platforms for dancing (sort of like cages), and a large VIP area with several booths and its own bar. This room itself is larger than most Charlotte clubs.

Club 935 has many appealing features, including plentiful free parking. But you can build the biggest and best club and it still not succeed. Club 935 is the new hotspot, and new places often draw large crowds, but sometimes, particularly with nightclubs, the interest wanes and people stop coming. But I think this place might become the club that people travel from beyond Charlotte to party at. The club is very well-run. There was plenty of staff--bartenders and, most importantly, security. And it's being run by Adolph Shiver, a club and concert promoter who has been throwing big parties and events for years.

And then there's the whole "Where the stars party" motto the club has, which I'm sure Shiver is responsible for. Since the club opened, it has brought in Nia Long, John Legend, Nelly, and several other celebrities and NBA and NFL stars to host parties. It brought in two hip-hop video vixens and models for the weekend: Angel Lola Luv on Friday and Melyssa Ford on Saturday. While it was announced at the club on Saturday when Ford arrived, I never saw her (shoot!), mainly because we didn't stay very late. It's hard to party late when you arrived at a club early to watch a football game, but that didn't stop some people. Plus, many people were still arriving after 1 a.m. when we were leaving. Also when we were leaving, we passed RZA and Ghostface in the hallway. I think they were headed to VIP and they were walking through the crowd all nonchalantly (well, the ever-flashy Ghostface was rocking a jacket with his name on it). They're in town because the Wu-Tang Clan have a concert at Amos' Southend, which is going on as I'm writing this.

The challenges I see for Club 935 are maintaining a safe environment when they're having crowds of what seemed to be like at least 700-800 people last night, if not more, and attracting the kind of crowd they envisioned when opening the club. There were plenty of well-dressed men and women there in blazers and dresses, but then there were some who looked like they don't adhere to dress codes.

Club 935 is located at 935 S. Summit Ave. and you can find out more by visiting www.club935.com.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

TNT announced today that it has picked up the pilot Time Heals for 10 episodes. The series will star Jada Pinkett Smith as "the director of nursing at a Charlotte, N.C., hospital," and the show "focuses on her struggles to care for patients at work and as a recently widowed mother at home." I blogged about this new show in September, but there hasn't been much new info on it since. The latest announcement basically repeats the info from a few months ago, except now it confirms that the show has been given the green light.

I'm a little confused because I'm not exactly sure the show will be filmed here as I initially thought. It may be a situation where the show is fictionally set in Charlotte, but filmed in a Los Angeles studio. That's what happened with Frasier, for example. The popular sitcom was set in Seattle, including the skyline showing from the balcony of Frasier's apartment, but the show was filmed in Paramount Studios. The first reports of Time Heals went as far as to give the name of the hospital: Mercy. There's an actual Mercy hospital in Charlotte. It's more than 100 years old and was acquired by Carolinas Medical Center in the 1990s. But the producers of the show could just be using that detail to add to their storyline.

I guess it's time I take off my blogger hat and put on my journalist cap and actually see if I can find out more details. I'll let you know if I learn more.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Volunteer In Honor of MLK Day

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/07/2009 No comments
I received this press release and thought it was worthy of sharing.

Hands On Charlotte Volunteer Event Honors MLK Through Service

Charlotte – January 7, 2009 – "Building On The Dream" is an annual large-scale volunteering event organized by the local nonprofit agency Hands On Charlotte (HOC). Its purpose is to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through service to the greater community. Building On The Dream offers volunteers the chance to participate in a range of service projects on Saturday, January 17, with a kickoff celebration on that morning at Thomasboro Elementary School, as well as projects taking place on the MLK Holiday of Monday, January 19. Building On The Dream will activate as many as 500 volunteers at approximately 20 volunteer project sites around Charlotte, with each project focusing on the issues of poverty and challenged neighborhoods.

Opportunities to volunteer—either as an individual or as a group—are still available. Those interested can see a list of volunteer projects and register for the event online by visiting
www.handsoncharlotte.org.

Sponsored by Duke Energy, The Home Depot and the Corporation for National and Community Service, Building On The Dream kicks off on Saturday, January 17 with volunteer registration/sign-in (8am-9am) and an opening celebration (9am-9:30am) at Thomasboro Elementary School (538 Bradford Drive). Volunteer projects will then take place from 10am until 1pm. Projects on Monday the 19th will take place at various times, primarily from 10am until 1pm, but there will be no kickoff event on Monday.

Bobcats Games Can Be Fun

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/07/2009 No comments
I know most Charlotte sports fans have their minds on Saturday's Carolina Panthers playoff game, but I attended the Charlotte Bobcats-Boston Celtics game last night and it's one of the few times I've been able to appreciate how entertaining an NBA game can be. First off, I arrived about 10 minutes before tip-off. I've gone to several Bobcats games since I moved here in 2005, but I'd never gotten there that early before (I usually show up some time during the first quarter). Getting there early allowed me to see the singing of the national anthem (I don't remember the lady's name but she sounded great) and the announcing of the starting lineups.

The Bobcats' introduction is really cool. It makes the players look like rock stars. A pre-recorded video shows them in practice, during workouts, at press conferences--shot in black-and-white, with some scenes in slow motion for extra drama, and with Fort Minor's "Remember the Name" providing the soundtrack. ("This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill. / Fifteen percent concentrated power of will. / Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain. / And a hundred percent reason to remember the name.") Then when they cut from the video to the players courtside, Young Jeezy's "Put On" started playing. "I put on for my city. On, on, for my city..." The Bobcats did in fact put on for their city last night by beating the defending champion Celtics in overtime.

In addition to a great game (though I had to leave early), the halftime show was particularly interesting. It was performed by Ioan Veniamin Oprea aka the Human Slinky. My homeboy Lenny and I were watching the performance, trying to figure out if someone was inside the contraption. See for yourself.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Video Vixens Invade Charlotte

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/06/2009 1 comment
Since Club 935 opened a month ago it has lived up to its motto that it is the club "Where the stars party," bringing in actors, musicians, models, and professional athletes to host parties each week. And this weekend, they're offering a double dose of video vixenity (I think I made up that word).

Angel Lola Luv hosts a party at Club 935 on Friday and Melyssa Ford hosts a party there Saturday. You can find details of both in this week's Events for the Week. There's a lot of great events going on in Charlotte this week, but if only every weekend could be like this. Man Law. Playoffs...what playoffs?

Battle of the bods!

Angel Lola Luv


Melyssa Ford

Monday, January 5, 2009

Events for the Week: January 5-11

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/05/2009 1 comment
Your best weekly list for parties, nightlife, social, and cultural events in Charlotte. If I learn of more events, I’ll update this post throughout the week.

Tuesday, January 6

A Peace of Jazz (weekly event)
Radio personality Jaye Delai and his wife Monica present this weekly jazz series at one of Charlotte’s swankest lounges. 7 p.m. $10. Kiss Lounge, 204 W. Woodlawn Rd. www.jayeandmonica.com.

Wednesday, January 7

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

Thursday, January 8

Kickin' It On the Northside
Enjoy an after-work networking event in north Charlotte. Featuring drink and appetizer specials and live music by Rhythmology. Presented by Digital Divas. 5-10 p.m. Free. Utopia Restaurant and Lounge, 10210 Berkeley Place Dr. www.digitaldivasevents.com.

Cufflinks and Cocktails / Kappa Weekend 2009
Presented by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity’s Charlotte Alumni Chapter, Cufflinks and Cocktails is held at a different bar each month. And this month’s event kicks off Kappa Weekend 2009, the fraternity’s national founder’s day celebration (visit website for Friday and Saturday’s events). Come mingle with a group of well-dressed professionals, from 20- to 40-somethings. Drink specials and free appetizers will be served. Free. 6 p.m. Blue Restaurant & Bar, 214 N. Tryon St. (corner of Fifth and College streets). www.kappaweekend.com.

Indulge Thursdays
Enjoy a relaxed evening with music and food and drink specials at Charlotte’s newest coffeehouse—it transforms into a trendy late-night lounge. Music by DJ Rsenal. Presented by JSW Media Group. 6:30-9 p.m. Free. PJ’s Coffeehouse and Lounge, 210 E. Trade St., (first floor of the EpiCentre). www.jswmediagroup.com.

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

Friday, January 9

Friday Afterwork Rendezvous (weekly event)
End your workweek on a high note at this networking event, held at a different venue each week. Enjoy live music and drink and appetizer specials. Presented by Talk of the Town. To learn this week’s location, text “rendezvous” to 38714. 6-10 p.m. Free.

Legacy of Black Women Film Showcase
Enjoy award-winning short films by African-American female filmmakers at this sixth annual event. Presented by the Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Reception 6:30 p.m., films begin 7:30 p.m. $20. McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 North College St. www.deltasofcharlotte.org.

Angel Lola Luv’s Welcome to Charlotte Party
The model and video vixen hosts this party. Music by Power 98’s Mr. Incognito. 10 p.m. Cost varies; members free until midnight. Visit website for membership. Club 935, 935 S. Summit Ave. www.club935.com.

Saturday, January 10

Platinum Saturday’s with Melyssa Ford
For the second night in a row, a top model and video vixen hosts a party at this club. This will also be a Carolina Panthers playoff viewing party with more than 20 TVs to watch the game. 7 p.m. Cost varies; everyone free until 10 p.m. Club 935, 935 S. Summit Ave. www.club935.com.

Sunday, January 11

TNA Wrestling Live
You’ve seen these wrestlers battle it out on Spike TV, now see them in person. 7:30 p.m. $20-$150. Bojangles’ Coliseum (formerly Cricket Arena), 2700 E. Independence Blvd. www.cricketarenacharlotte.com.

Wu Tang Clan
The only thing that surpasses the excitement of this live show is the anticipation over which of the eight members will actually show up. 8 p.m. $40-$45. Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. www.amossouthend.com.

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

Sunday Seductive (weekly event)
It's a party strictly for the 30-and-older crowd. Hosted by Q92.7's Stacey Blackman. 9 p.m. Free. The Cafe Room, 1250 S. Lucky Penny Dr. www.carolina30.com.

Hakeem Nicks Is Making A Mistake

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/05/2009 No comments
University of North Carolina star wide receiver Hakeem Nicks announced today that he'll forgo his senior season to enter this year's NFL Draft. Some analysts predict that he'll be drafted in the second round, which is pretty good for the receiver position. But I see some eerie similarities to another receiver who left college early, which leads me to believe that Nicks is making a mistake.

Could Nicks meet the same fate as Carolina Panthers wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett? Like Nicks plans to, Jarrett left college after his junior season (at the University of Southern California). Like Nicks, Jarrett holds several of his college's receiving records (if I held records as a junior, I would be motivated to stay my senior year to put those records further out of reach). Like Nicks is projected, Jarrett was drafted in the second round. And I hope this is where the similarities end.

Jarrett has struggled greatly during his first two seasons in the NFL. His rookie year he only played in seven games, with 6 receptions for 73 yards. He didn't dress in several games as he struggled to adjust to the plays and receiving routes of the faster-paced professional game. This season was only slightly better: nine games (started one), 10 receptions, 119 yards. No disrespect, but Steve Smith gets that in a single game. I have to believe if Jarrett had stayed his final year in college, he could've improved his game. Instead, he struggled his rookie year in the pros, which has to have had a lingering psychological effect on him.

Nicks, I wish you luck. Though, I wish you'd stay. I'm not a Tar Heels fan, but I think you would be doing yourself and your team plenty of good by staying for your senior season.

I met Nicks in 2005 when he was a senior at Independence High School. I was writing a magazine feature on the Patriots' remarkable nation-leading win streak (it was 80-something straight wins at the time; the streak ended two years later at 109 games and seven state championships). While Independence has dominated Charlotte--and the state--high school football this decade, and has sent dozens of players to college teams (like quarterback Chris Leak who started for three and a half years at Florida and won the national championship in 2007), Nicks has the chance to become the most successful Independence alum in the NFL. His former high school teammate, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, is also likely to be drafted this year. Massaquoi just completed his senior season at Georgia and it should be noted that he nearly doubled his receiving stats from the year before.

And lastly, I think this is what sealed the deal for Nicks. He enjoyed playing on the big stage. When North Carolina played West Virginia last month in the Meineke Car Care Bowl at Bank of America Stadium, Nicks had eight catches for a school bowl-record 217 yards and three touchdowns, including this unbelievable catch (see video below). And I know what a lot of local fans are going to start saying, that the Panthers should draft Nicks.


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