Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You've been hearing a lot lately about how increasingly deadly and powerful Mexican gangs and drug cartels are becoming, and how they're impacting the U.S. border. Well, in the August issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine, it reveals how over a three-year period Wachovia was used by drug cartels to launder money. Several U.S. banks are implicated, but Charlotte-based Wachovia, which is now own by Wells Fargo, sits atop the heap. It's reported that Wachovia handled $378 billion (yes, billion) in illegal funds for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. And that's said to be the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history.

Also playing a role is Charlotte-based Bank of America. This is depicted in a scene during an incident in 2006 when law enforcement search a jet at an airport in Mexico: They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else. The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp.

The article says that Wachovia, which federal prosecutors charged, ignored signs that drug cartels were funneling money through its banks. It also goes on to state that since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have occurred mostly along the 2,000-mile border that Mexico shares with the U.S.

Read more about the Bloomberg article by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

During the BET Awards Sunday night, the network introduced a great new segment called "Music Matters." The purpose is to showcase new artists in what it says could be the next BET Superstar. During the award show, some of these artists got a chance to perform right before commercial break. I thought it was good of BET to give these deserving artists some shine, but then I quickly realized it was wack because they were only given about 30 seconds of camera time before the network cut to commercial. One of those artists who performed/got slighted was Fayetteville rapper J. Cole. And in the video below is what TV audiences missed--J. Cole adding a second verse to his cameo on Jay-Z's "A Star Is Born." And he ripped it!

My South Carolina Gamecocks showed no mercy against UCLA last night in Game 1 of the College World Series Championship. Now USC is one game away from bringing the trophy home. Game 2 of the best of three series is tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. where they're playing in Omaha).

The USC Charlotte Gamecock Club, an organization of more than 300 members of USC alumni living in the Charlotte area, is hosting a game viewing party tonight. It's being held at Icehouse South End, 2100 South Blvd., (formerly the short-lived Woods on South, and before that South End Brewery for several years) and begins at 7:30 p.m. Icehouse just opened two weeks ago, so this can be your chance to check out this "upscale sports bar" (they made a lot of changes to the layout). Come out and show your Gamecock pride!

Monday, June 28, 2010

This evening on BET's 106 & Park, Fonzworth Bentley premiered his new video for "Greener." The song features Anthony Hamilton, but he doesn't appear in the video. It's a conceptual video, and you can judge for yourself as to whether you like it. As for the song, I like it because of the beat and A-Ham singing the chorus. Hamilton use to be the go-to guy for singing hooks on rappers' songs before he started churning out hits of his own. More rappers need to request the Charlotte native's services because his style of crooning can take a song from decent to pretty good, as is the case with "Greener."

Even though the song leaked more than a year ago, it now has a video--in fact, I asked Hamilton about the song last year during an online interview for Charlotte magazine (click here to read it). It's apparent that G.O.O.D Music, the Kanye West-run label that Bentley is signed to, is now pushing "Greener" as a single. And Bentley said on 106 & Park that he'll be releasing an EP before the end of summer, as a set up to his long-awaited debut album, C.O.L.O.U.R.S. He's an above-average lyricist, but it's hard to take him seriously as a rapper. I still see him as the guy who dances with umbrellas in music videos. Plus, his persona as a stylish gentleman, as he's instructed in MTV's From G's to Gents, doesn't mesh well with the hip-hop world. I'm all for mature, sophisticated hip-hop, but I'm not sure I can get into a rap artist who always seems to be in character--a distinctively well-dressed character.

See the "Greener" video below. And for more on Bentley, follow him on Twitter (@cooloutrageous) or visit

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Events for the Week: June 24-27

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/24/2010 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. Use contact/website info listed to verify event details.

Thursday, June 24

Alive After Five at EpiCentre (weekly event)
This week’s featured bands are Sleeping Booty (70s cover band) performing on the Rooftop Stage, and Skate Rink Jukebox (group of Charlotte musicians) playing on the Vineyards Stage. There will be drink stations selling beer, wine, and cocktails. Wristbands also get you into several EpiCentre bars for the after-parties. 5 p.m. Free. The EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

The STYLE Suite: Men’s Appreciation Event
Fellas, this is for you (ladies, come out too). The organizers want to celebrate men by offering complimentary desserts, MANicures, massages, and a fashion show. Hosted by Kelly Hood, and brought to you by Charlotte STYLE Magazine, JSW Media Group, Carolina Talent, and Scott Jaguar. 6-10 p.m. Free. Crave Dessert Bar, 500 W. Fifth St.

Friday, June 25

The Art of Body
This after-work event is poised to get your weekend off to a great start. Enjoy drinks in a posh lounge, while listening to music by DJ Shogun. And the treat of the evening will be models wearing body paint. 4-8 p.m. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St.

1-2-3 Fridays (weekly event)
Ridiculous drink specials: $1 drafts, $2 domestic bottles, $3 well drinks. So basically, get wasted with about a $15 bar tab. 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Free. Town Tavern, 200 N. Tryon St.

Meet The Artists - Romancing The Eye
Louis Delsarte, Charles Farrar, and Larry Lebby will be on hand to discuss their inspiration and technique at the opening of this new exhibition, Romancing The Eye. 6 p.m. $8 (the cost of museum admission); free for museum members. The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, 551 S. Tryon St.

Saturday, June 26

Secrets to Accessing the Media
Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists (CAABJ) presents this annual workshop for the community. Learn how to write press releases, how and where to send info to media outlets for news coverage, and get tips on how to get your story told. A panel of journalists, representing TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, the Internet and social media, will be on hand to discuss how their news cycles work and to answer your questions. Complimentary refreshments will be served. 1-3 p.m. Free. Sugar Creek Branch Library, 4045 N. Tryon Street.

The owners of the Evening Muse, who also bring you the annual Charlotte FemmeFest, have put together a new festival for men. Among the highlights of DudeFest will be the chicken-wing-eating contest, where proceeds will benefit the Save the Ta-Tas Foundation; a beer tasting featuring at least fourteen different craft beers; and a motorcycle competition. And, of course, there’s music—twenty-one bands will perform at three different venues in NoDa (your wristband gets you into each of these venues at no extra cost). 2 p.m.-2 a.m. $20 (entry into chicken-wing contest and beer tasting extra). NoDa, corner of E. 36th and N. Davidson streets.

Uptown Charlotte Jazz Fest
Uptown livens up to the sounds of some of the world's best jazz performers, including The Rippingtons, Norman Brown, Mike Phillips, Maysa, Ken Navarro, and Alex Bugnon. 6-11 p.m. $43-$103. Road Runner Mobile Amphitheatre at NC Music Factory, 820 Hamilton St.

Summer Concert Series Kick-Off with Jason Derulo
The hit pop singer is the first performer at this free summer concert series that will go on each Saturday for six weeks. Come see him perform his hits "Whatcha Say" and "In My Head." Gate opens 6:30 p.m.; DJ begins at 7 p.m. Free. Pavilion at EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

MAZ Mansion Party
MAZ Entertainment continues the raise the bar with Charlotte's nightlife. They've rented out a 13,000 square foot mansion for a party that's sure to be talked about for a long time. Music by DJ Tab D'Biassi and DJ Paradime. 10 p.m. Cost varies.

Sunday, June 27

Public Free Day and Renovation Celebration
Discovery Place wants you to come and help it celebrate the largest renovation in its history and experience its new exhibits. Highlights of the afternoon are the openings of World Alive (includes a new aquarium and rainforest) and Fantastic Frogs (features live frogs from around the world). 12-5 p.m. Free. Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St.

An Evening with Adina Howard
Enjoy a performance by the sultry singer (who resides in Charlotte). Evening will also feature music by Moments Notice and DJ Cat-X. Doors open 6 p.m.; show starts 8 p.m. $15. House of Jazz, 8630 University Executive Park Dr.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I just finished watching J. Cole's new video for "Who Dat," the latest song and possible album-set-up-single from the Roc Nation artist. Cole, a Fayetteville native who reps his city and North Carolina harder than anyone since Petey Pablo, has had a strong and ever-building buzz for a year now since releasing his acclaimed mixtape The Warm Up, which came after he was the first artist Jay-Z signed to the newly minted Roc Nation. And let's not forget that Jay-Z gave Cole a guest spot on "A Star Is Born" on last year's classic, The Blueprint 3.

The video for "Who Dat" is surprisingly good. Surprisingly because the song is what the industry considers a warm-up single or street single, meaning it's something to get current fans excited and potential fans interested, before the "big" single is released. And songs like "Who Dat" usually don't get much of a video budget from the record label, but Cole pulls it off in the clip that's listed as "shot by BBGUN." The setting is a gritty, industrial-looking area in Fayetteville, of course. And throughout, Cole is flanked by an army of people shouting "who dat," which includes cheerleaders and a marching band. Even the small explosions and trails of fire seem to work, when they could easily come across cheesy. Cole is sending the message that he's hot and blazing a trail.

See the video below. Warning: It contains explicit lyrics. If you'd like to see the clean version, click here.

In other news from Cole World, he's currently in contention in MTV's "Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010" contest, in which you can vote until July 16. He faces strong competition as one of 20 candidates, which include Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, Jay Electronica, and Donnis. In fact, I expect those four plus Cole to be the top-five vote-getters, which means they would be featured on the "Sucker Free Summit" awards show July 25.

Okay, so now to my criticism of Cole. First off, I'm a fan. I had The Warm Up in rotation for months last year, which is more than I can say for many artists' albums these days (and this, remember, is a mixtape). Cole is a great lyricist who knows how to go beyond punchlines to deliver both thought-provoking songs and catchy hooks. But he curses too damn much! It's not what you would expect from someone with his lyrical ability--leave that to the Southern rappers who don't have your vast vocabulary. Some of his profanity actually distracts from his songs. I would hate to think that he thinks that a foul mouth will give him an edge to separate him from all the Drake comparisons he gets, which he's not too fond of. So J. Cole, do us a favor and clean it up a little. I know this is rap music, the genre that led to the creation of the Parental Advisory label on albums, but don't feel the need to dumb down your talent. You're the same guy who on The Warm Up said: "Tell haters go to rehab. Kick rocks." Genius.

Keep up with the latest on J. Cole by visiting

Monday, June 21, 2010

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett and fashion store DTLR are teaming up to present a free one-day football camp this Saturday, June 26 for Charlotte-area youth ages 12 to 18. The camp will be held at Hopewell High School (11530 Beatties Ford Road, Huntersville) and Jarrett will bring along a few of his NFL buddies to show the youngsters position drills. There will also be a recruiting seminar for parents and student-athletes in addition to lunch. Youth are required to register by Thursday afternoon by visiting this site.

Jarrett, 23, is entering his fourth season with the Panthers. The team is hoping this will be his breakout season now that the number two receiving spot has opened up after the retirement of Muhsin Muhammad two weeks ago. DTLR, which has locations in five states and D.C. and locally at Northlake Mall, Carolina Place Mall, and Westerly Station, has held free football camps over the past couple of weeks in Atlanta (led by Falcons Chauncey Davis and Jonathan Babineaux) and Chicago (Bears linebacker Lance Briggs).

Bojangles' 'Horse' Commercial Reviewed

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/21/2010 No comments
Bojangles' new TV commercial was reviewed today by Adweek as the "Ad of the Day." The commercial for the Charlotte-based Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits restaurant chain was created by BooneOakley, the Charlotte agency Bojangles' hired earlier this year to handle its $10 million advertising account.

Bojangles' commercials are known for their knee-slapping humor and this one is no different. Says Adweek: "It's not every day you see a commercial in which a woman who has just gone into labor apparently elects to speed (on horseback, no less) to a fast-food outlet rather than to a hospital."

See the commercial below. And click here to see the Adweek review.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

See Shaq Vs. Dale Jr. This Wednesday

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/20/2010 No comments
Shaquille O’Neal will race Dale Earnhardt Jr. this Wednesday, June 23 for his upcoming season of Shaq Vs. The reality competition show that debuted last year returns for a second season, and Shaq continues to go head to head with some of the professional sports world’s elite.

Shaq will hop into a stock car and race Dale Jr. at Concord Speedway. The two stars will negotiate the terms of the race the day of.

The public is invited to attend this event, which has free admission and will be taped by ABC. The gates at the speedway will open at 1 p.m. and the event will begin at 4 p.m. Please note that no cameras, phones of any kind, or recording devices will be allowed inside—so forget about trying to capture video to post on YouTube or photos to tweet.

Shaq doesn’t have a good record going against pros from other sports, losing last season to Michael Phelps, Albert Pujols, and Oscar de la Hoya, among others, but it’s usually entertaining to watch. And what should be a spectacle itself is his 7’1 frame fitting inside the tight confines of a race car (not to mention he’s north of 325 pounds). Season two of Shaq Vs. begins airing in August on ABC.

Click here for more details on the event.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Up Against the Ropes...Course

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/19/2010 No comments
Yesterday I wrapped up my weeklong position at a summer leadership camp for rising ninth graders. It was a lot of fun and a rewarding experience for both the students and staff, enhanced by the fact that we spent the final day of camp at Xtreeme Challenge, a ropes course facility in Monroe.

Xtreeme Challenge offers high and low ropes courses, and our group of 22 did the low ropes. We conquered The Challenge Walk, which is 12 interconnected activities, and as the site leader instructed us: "For the next two hours you aren't supposed to touch the ground." The challenge in many of the obstacles was to not fall off because if you touched the ground your team would be penalized one point. The overall purpose of the challenge is to promote team building, and you'd be surprised what lessons you could learn trying to figure out how you and your teammates are going to make it across a row of drawbridges or swinging on ropes like Tarzan.

Xtreeme Challenge is a good idea as an activity for anyone ranging from youth groups to corporate staffs. Adults, if they're brave enough, would want to try the high ropes courses, which include activities that are suspended 24 feet in the air and a 300-foot zip line that races across a lake. Visit for more details.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

WBTV broke the news today that UNC Charlotte police chief Marlene Hall has resigned. WBTV also broke the story back in 2006 when it learned that Hall had once posed for Playboy when she was a college student back in the 1980s and, more importantly (I guess), that she hadn't received the proper certification to run the police department. According to reporter Steve Crump, who's been covering the story over the years, Hall eventually got her paperwork in order but over the next three years she failed to bring the 40-person department up to full strength.

It's likely Hall was forced to resign. If that's the case, UNCC has made a big mistake--now and since the beginning of Hall's hiring. The mistake was not because Hall wasn't qualified to be police chief to begin with. UNCC made the mistake of not promoting the fact that its police chief, who's sworn to protect and serve a student body of nearly 25,000, is a former Playboy model. Male student enrollment, which is currently 47 percent of the student population, would've skyrocketed since 2006 if the university would've marketed this. Forget "Hot for Teacher"--think "Hot for Police Chief." UNCC should've had that emblazoned on college T-shirts and koozies. The increase in male student enrollment would've led to more money for the school from tuition, which would help its campaign to start a football program in the next few years, which would've, in turn, also served as a great recruiting tool for future players.

How many drunken male college students wouldn't fantasize about being put in handcuffs by a former Playboy model? Ooh, and the university could've allowed her to wear a sexy police uniform like girls wear during Halloween.

Okay, now as I remove my tongue from cheek, below I offer the serious news story from WBTV on Hall's resignation.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame, which opened last month in Uptown Charlotte, yesterday launched the Ultimate Fan Experience Tour. The daylong tour begins with admittance to the hall then takes guests to several Charlotte-area NASCAR race shops and attractions.

During the tour, you're given three hours to explore the 40,000 square feet of exhibit space of the $200 million NASCAR Hall of Fame, which includes more than 50 interactive stations, iRacing simulators, authentic artifacts, historic stock cars, and more. This portion of the tour concludes with a catered lunch served in a souvenir lunch bag.

You'll continue the tour with an afternoon of behind-the-scenes visits to a variety of local race attractions. Tour itineraries vary but include stops such as Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sam Bass Gallery, Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Curb Motorsports Museum, MacDonald Racing, and Michael Waltrip Racing. Guests are treated to tours of race shops including areas not generally viewed by the public, access to personal work spaces, opportunities to view collections of selected celebrities, live pit stops, and discounts on race merchandise.

The Ultimate Fan Experience Tour is all-inclusive and costs $99 for adults, $89 for children ages five-12; children four and younger are free. Tours pick up Monday through Thursday at 8:45 a.m. at Concord Mills Mall or 9:15 a.m. at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Seats are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Click here to book a tour.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Washington Post published an article yesterday about the day party phenomenon that's hitting the D.C. area ("Daytime parties are bringing District nightlife into the light"). The article chronicles the scene at a recent day party held at Zanzibar on the Waterfront, put on by ForWard Vision Group. ForWard's promoters throw these day parties, which they call Dā`Pär-Tē, once a month and they "draw mostly young, African-American professionals in their late 20s to early 40s."

The article does a good job of painting the scene and showing the following built by ForWard Vision Group, which is made up of three friends from Hampton, Virginia who moved to Washington, D.C. and are now in their mid-30s. The guys admit that they got the idea of doing day parties from attending CIAA basketball tournaments. But the article stopped short of crediting Charlotte, which is where the CIAA Tournament has been held the last five years. While Charlotte didn't invent the day party, we perfected it.

ForWard Vision Group actually held two day parties here during CIAA Week--at The Breakfast Club on that Friday and at Crave Dessert Bar on Saturday. They were one of several promoters and event planners flooding us with emails the weeks leading up to the tournament in February.

Some of Charlotte's most popular party promoters have continued to throw day parties outside of CIAA Week, continuing to draw large crowds. Both MAZ Entertainment and The Sol Kitchen held day parties last month at Fiji/Kashmir and Forum, respectively. The Sol Kitchen is actually having another one at Forum this Saturday, 4-8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kourtney Kardashian and her fiancé Scott Disick were in Charlotte during Memorial Day weekend, and Kourtney has written about it today on her website. They partied at Butter NC that Friday night where it was advertised that Scott would be celebrating his 27th birthday. The couple brought their five-month-old son on the trip (not to the club, of course) and among the highlights Kourtney notes is eating at Chick-Fil-A. "We were all dying over the chicken sandwiches with pickles...yum!"

Click here to read about the Kardashians' experience and see photos from their night.

Fantasia Graduates High School

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/08/2010 No comments
If you watched Fantasia Barrino's reality TV show, Fantasia For Real, which is largely centered on her family life in Charlotte, then you'll recall that she was working on getting her GED. Reportedly, Fantasia has completed the requirements for her GED, and over the weekend she was allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony of Andrews High School in Greensboro. See video below.

Also, Fantasia For Real was recently picked up for a second season by VH1. I wouldn't doubt that the show's camera crews were on hand to capture her walking across the stage. And in more Fantasia/VH1 TV news, she's scheduled to be featured in Behind The Music later this year, though an exact date has yet to be set.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Talking Trash: New Carts in the 'Hood

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/05/2010 No comments
I heard some rumbling outside of my house yesterday so I looked through the window and, to my excitement, discovered that the new Charlotte recycling carts were being delivered in my neighborhood. Okay, so I wasn't that excited, but I do like the new carts because they're the same size as the city-issued garbage cans (96 gallons), so they'll hold a lot more than the small, red bins we've been using for years. I've become an avid recycler since moving into my house three years ago, and on a given week my recycle pile is often nearly as big as the regular trash.

One other thing about these new carts, which you probably have heard by now: they have microchips in them. Small computer chips have been placed in each cart, the city says, to track who's recycling. And if some neighborhoods aren't recycling like they should, the city can use this data to target them with campaigns on the importance of recycling. Some of the public, of course, has become outraged over the chips, saying that the government could be doing more than just monitoring their trash pickup--i.e. listening to conversations. I think that's highly unlikely, but you can't convince those who don't trust the guvment. I think reporter/columnist Tara Servatius was the first to break the story ("'Spy chips' in Charlotte's recycling bins").

You can learn more about the new recycling carts, including requesting that they take it away and you continue using the old bin, by visiting

Friday, June 4, 2010

Events for the Weekend: June 4-7

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/04/2010 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. Use contact/website info listed to verify event details.

Friday, June 4

Art of Dope Vol. 1 Opening Reception
God City artists are presenting a series of shows that play off of drug culture, done through artistic expression in order to bring awareness to what’s going on in our society. 7-10 p.m. The ArtHouse, 3103 Cullman Ave., NoDa.

AZÚCAR! A Caribbean Celebration
Experience a true Caribbean evening featuring native music and dancing in a family-friendly atmosphere. Enjoy the cuisine of the Spanish Caribbean, purchase handmade artisan craftwork, and sip tropical mojitos. Presented by Latin American Coalition. 7-11 p.m. $15. Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St.

Free Friday
This monthly night out has a new location (formerly held at Kiss Lounge). Enjoy a great view of the city while listening to music by DJ C-Rob and a live performance by Unique Rhythm. 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Free until midnight. Loft 1523, 1523 Elizabeth Ave.

Saturday, June 5

Grand Opening of Pickles Farmers Market
This new, indoor farmers market will be open every Saturday in NoDa. Shop from a lineup of vendors offering fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods, herbs, plants, cut flowers, crafts, grass fed beef, pasture chickens and eggs, fair trade coffee, and more. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Hart Witzen Gallery, 136 E. 36th St.

Minute to Win It – Charlotte Casting Call
NBC’s new hit game show, which features 10 deceptively simple games that require savvy contestants to complete under pressure with a prize of $1 million awaiting the winner, is holding a casting in select cities including Charlotte. Come see if you have the skill it takes. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. StrikeCity, inside the EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

Prince Tribute/Funky Disco Brunch
DJ Rsenal will be playing your favorite Prince (and other disco) songs while you order food from one of the city’s best brunch menus. 11 a.m. -3 p.m. Free admission. Soul Gastrolounge, 1500 Central Ave.

On The Roxx Ballantyne’s 3 Year Anniversary Party
Enjoy great music from Red Bull-powered DJ Ben Hamilton, and plenty of drink specials including $2 select beers, $3 flavored vodka shooters, and $5 jager bombs. Plus, play in the corn hole tournament, Wii, and more. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Free. On The Roxx, 14021 Conlan Circle.

Sunday, June 6

Kazba Café Brunch Party
This monthly brunch event gets quite wild, yet fun, against the backdrop of a posh lounge. DJ Stan Courtois and Felly (saxophonist) will be performing with DJ Stan on the turntables. Event will be videotaped and recorded to be broadcast on Sirius Radio channel AREA. 1-6 p.m. Kazba, 210 E. Trade St., third level of EpiCentre.

Symphonic Dances
The Charlotte Symphony opens its Summer Pops season by showcasing the best of classical dance music. Albert-George Schram conducts. Prelude performance (7 p.m.) by the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra. 8:15 p.m. Free; donation appreciated. Symphony Park at SouthPark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I received the following today in a press release:

Mayor Anthony Foxx and Samara Foxx will help launch a new initiative today, “Charlotte, Get Your Move On!” The initiative, which will tackle the issue of childhood obesity, kicks off at this evening’s movie premiere of The Fat Boy Chronicles at UNC Charlotte’s Student Union.

Based on the book by Diane Lang and Michael Buchanan, the movie follows 14 year-old Jimmy as he enters his freshman year of high school and chronicles his struggle with bullying and obesity.

The local community effort is modeled after the nationwide campaign, “Let’s Move” (

For more information, contact Erica Johnson at or 704-336-3438.

Launch of Charlotte, Get Your Move On!
Wednesday, June 2, 6:30 p.m.
UNC Charlotte Student Union
8845 Craver Road
Multipurpose Room, third floor

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Charlotte has a lot of party promoters. I've seen the number of individuals and groups who throw parties skyrocket during the nearly five years I've lived in Charlotte. During that time, the city's nightlife scene has come a long way (though some feel it still has a long way to go), and as the people who have helped shape the scene have made their impact, they've also spawned many copycats.

Largely, I blame the Internet. It doesn't take much for someone to launch a website, create a Facebook page, jack an email list, and suddenly they're promoting the "hottest party around." It had actually gotten to a point where I had grown tired of promoters taking the easy way out--renting out upscale restaurants like Blue, Ruth's Chris, LaVecchia’s, and even P.F. Chang's and throwing parties. I'm not knocking those, because some of the best parties I've gone to in Charlotte have been at those fine establishments. But if everyone is doing it, it becomes monotonous (as Eddie Murphy's character said in Vampire In Brooklyn, "If every day is a sunny day, well, then, what's a sunny day?"). Charlotte's party promoters needed to step up their game. Some of them have begun to.

First off, in case you didn't know, whenever there's a holiday on Monday (Memorial Day, Labor Day, MLK Day, etc.) there are usually several parties happening at nightclubs and venues in Charlotte on Sunday, which don't typically happen on that night of the week. (It goes back to Charlotte's culture as a banktown, where many people get those holidays off work so young professionals, in particular, want to party it up.)

Sunday night, my homeboys and I attended a party thrown by Inner Circle Events. As one of Charlotte's most popular events groups (they've been putting on events since 2004), Inner Circle rented a penthouse above Emerson Joseph on South Tryon Street in the heart of Uptown. The penthouse is actually for sale ($4 mil and it's yours), but on this night it was livelier than any nightclub.

Photos of 221 South Tryon Penthouse, courtesy of The McDevitt Agency.

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