Tuesday, August 31, 2010

N.C. Road Sign Crews Can't Spell

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/31/2010 No comments
We all make mistakes, especially when it comes to spelling and grammar. But if it's something important that's being printed or published, you should have it spellchecked, proofread, copyedited, etc. Especially if it's a road sign, where two mistakes this month have embarrassed North Carolina's transportation departments.

There's currently a misspelled "Independence Blvd" sign on Interstate 277 in Charlotte. It's in the process of being replaced. The second "d" and "n" were erroneously reversed.

And earlier this month, a road crew in Greensboro misspelled "SCHOOL" in a road crossing sign in front of Southern Guilford High School. The "C" and "H" were misplaced, but the sign was quickly repaved, though not until it made national news.

Some might blame North Carolina's under-performing public schools for producing students who grow up to get jobs and can't spell very well. Personally, I prefer to blame all the texting and tweeting that has caused spelling to take a backseat in communication. But in all seriousness, spelling mistakes are inevitable--and, in the words of Sarah Palin, that's something you can't refudiate.
I've given MAZ Entertainment props before for elevating Charlotte's nightlife. And if you've ever received an email from these party promoters then you know they also have a crazy sense of humor.

I just saw this "mini-movie trailer" MAZ created to promote Trilogy, the party they're having this Saturday, September 4 at Blue. It's part of their three-year anniversary celebration, and in the short promotional video they use scenes from Precious to convey how they've overcome obstacles to "party hard." (Antoine Dodson also makes a cameo.) See the funny video below.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The title of this blog post is inspired by an Ice Cube song from a few years ago called "Go To Church." The West Coast rapper provocatively taunted (with the help of Lil Jon and Snoop Dogg) that "if you're scared, go to church, go to church." The lyrics from that song couldn't be further removed from the tone of a luncheon I attended last week. But that one line, "if you're scared, go to church," popped in my head just now because that's really what city officials were hoping to do--get clergy to resolve the fears of their congregations over affordable housing.

I attended the Clergy Lunch on Affordable Housing last Thursday at Covenant Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall. Organized by Mecklenburg Ministries, the luncheon featured City of Charlotte officials to address the need for more affordable housing in the area. The purpose of the meeting was also to help diffuse some of the scare tactics and the misinformation about affordable housing that has been spread in Charlotte recently. Communities like Ballantyne and Ayrsley have made headlines this year in successfully keeping those housing units from being built in their neighborhoods.

Go to CrossroadsCharlotte.org, to read my coverage of the luncheon: "Clergy Lunch on Affordable Housing Sparks Conversation."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Much of this year has been relatively quiet for R&B group RichGirl. I first blogged about the sexy foursome nearly a year and a half ago after seeing them perform in Charlotte and discovering that one of the group members, Lyndriette, is from Gastonia ("One 'Richgirl' Is From Gastonia"). My first impressions of them were that they were an attractive, well-assembled group, and, most importantly, they can really sing. Plus, factor in that they're being produced and singing songs written by Rich Harrison, it should be a recipe for musical success.

But the music biz is tough to break through, perhaps more so now than ever. I'm guessing the record label pulled RichGirl off the road from their promotional tour--they also opened for Beyoncé on tour for several dates last year--to get back to working on their album and finding songs that will lead to chart success at radio and retail i.e. iTunes. Last year's "24" and "He Ain't Wit Me Now Tho" were pretty good songs to introduce the group, but didn't stick the way I'm sure the group and their backers would've liked, especially since they're trying to set the climate to release their debut album.

Now they're back with a new single, assisted by some heavy hitters. RichGirl's "Swagger Right" features Fabolous and Rick Ross, two of the hottest rappers in the game. That cosign alone will garner the song a second look, and if the label decides to shoot a video for it, it could introduce RichGirl to a larger fan base. The song is good--and catchy--and Fabolous, whose the king of batting leadoff on R&B tracks, starts the song with an array of witty punchlines: "Swagger opposite of left, money opposite of small. / If being fly is a crime, then the cops should get a call."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Best Picnic Spot in Charlotte

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/25/2010 1 comment
Friday was my birthday. Yes, I've stopped celebrating--it only lasted through the weekend. But I wanted to tell you about the great evening my girlfriend, Andrea, planned for me on Friday. She arranged a private picnic for the two of us at VanLandingham Estate and not only was it picture perfect, but you can do it too.

It's something like a best kept secret that this historic bed and breakfast caters private picnics on its beautiful grounds. Andrea called ahead early in the week to inquire about the menus offered (she even stopped by to see what spot she wanted). When we arrived at 6 p.m., all we had to do was pick up our fully packed basket, wine chiller, and blanket. Then we sat down in a shaded area near the pond. The weather was perfect for it.

The basket was packed with five courses and a bottle of wine. We were nearly full before even eating the main course (a turkey, brie and pepperoncini panini), and although there was a dessert for each of us we only had enough room in the belly to split one. (Plus, I had a yellow cake with chocolate icing--my favorite--waiting at home that Andrea made for me earlier that day.)

Click here for more details on the picnics offered at VanLandingham Estate.

Stephen Curry Makes USA Team

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/25/2010 No comments
Charlotte native and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry was named to the 2010 USA Basketball Men's World Championship Team yesterday, after the roster was cut down to the final 12.

The other players on the U.S. team are Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets); Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers); Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).

The U.S. is one of 24 teams that will compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Men, which runs from August 28 to September 12 in Turkey. The U.S. will play their first game this Saturday against Croatia.

For more details, visit www.usabasketball.com.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's been a whirlwind past two weeks for Fantasia Barrio, since reports surfaced that she attempted suicide at her Charlotte home. You can read all the gossip and rumors just by Googling her name, but tomorrow (Tuesday, August 24) you can get the story as to what happened from Fantasia herself.

In the morning, Fantasia will appear on Good Morning America, where she's scheduled to perform. This is, after all, the time in which she should be focusing solely on promoting her new album, Back To Me, which also comes out Tuesday. Instead, you can expect the GMA crew to ask her tough questions about her suicide attempt and alleged affair with a married man, Antwaun Cook, also from Charlotte.

Then tomorrow night, you can see Fantasia on VH1's Behind The Music at 9 p.m. I mentioned on this blog a couple of months ago that she was slated to be chronicled on the iconic show. I would imagine that the taping for the one-hour episode had wrapped up before Fantasia's suicide attempt, but being the true storytelling show that it is, Behind The Music reportedly taped Fantasia again on Saturday so that this episode could address her recent headline-grabbing ordeal. You can see a brief clip of it in the video below.

From what I've heard of the music and the producers involved with the project, this could be Fantasia's best album yet. But it could also be overshadowed by the turmoil in her personal life. A similar thing happened with Britney Spears three years ago when she released Blackout, during a time when she was making news for her troubled personal life instead of her music. Many music critics rated the album highly, some calling it her best album ever, but it was largely ignored by fans, becoming her worst selling album and not even reaching platinum status.

Next week, when the Billboard charts are released for this week's album sales, we'll see if Fantasia's fans have come out to support her by buying her album. She really needs Back To Me to help turn the focus back to music.

Free Hair Cuts for Kids Today

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/23/2010 No comments
No Grease Barber Shop and The It Factor Media Group are presenting Cuttin' Class: Community Hair Cutting Day today (August 23), 6-9 p.m. at No Grease School of Tonsorial Arts (4600 Holbrook Drive in east Charlotte). Parents and community groups are encouraged to bring their kids in to get free haircuts by professional barbers. There will also be a few celebrities on hand to sign autographs, including Derrick Brown and Tyrus Thomas from the Charlotte Bobcats. Free food and drinks will also be served.

This is one of several ways No Grease gives back to the community throughout the year. Founded by twin brothers Damian and Jermaine Johnson, they have three locations and a barber college in Charlotte. I attended the Community Hair Cutting Day they held in January and the first thing that came to mind was how great an idea this is, especially at a time when some parents are struggling during this recession. The second thing I thought was that more people should be aware of the next time they hold this because they had the barber shop fully staffed and ready to give as many free haircuts as possible. So spread the word!

Click on flyer for larger view.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's My Birthday!

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/20/2010 No comments
So this is what 30 feels like, huh? I ain't tripping. My 20s were great, I'm grateful to see another year, and I'm excited about what this next decade holds. Happy birthday to my younger brother (by eight minutes) Marvis. My (our) birthday is today, but we're partying it up tomorrow night. I've invited my closest family, friends, and colleagues and I'm looking forward to us having a good time. Always make time to celebrate life and those who are a part of it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Matthews/Charlotte's brightest star, Brooklyn Decker, continues her meteoric rise in 2010. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover girl has landed on several other covers this year, including the latest: the September 2010 issue of Women's Health. The issue, which is also the mag's Fall 2010 Style Guide, hit newsstands yesterday. Click here to see behind the scenes video of her cover shoot.

Also announced yesterday is that Brooklyn has been cast to star in Battleship, the Peter Berg-directed, blockbuster-in-the-making that's set to be released in May 2012 ("Brooklyn Decker Joins 'Battleship' Cast"). She's well on her way to becoming a bona fide actress. A couple of months ago, she wrapped production on Just Go With It, a romantic comedy in which she stars alongside Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, and Nicole Kidman. It's scheduled to be released in February.

And the year's hottest cover girl also appears on the cover of the September issue of Vegas Magazine.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

'Beautiful People Event' Was a Good Look

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/17/2010 2 comments
I get invited to events often, many times because I'm a journalist, but also frequently through Facebook, which has become the go-to method for promoters. I usually decide whether I'm going to attend an event based on who's having it and where it's being held. I do a pretty good job of picking them, rarely do I regret having gone. But also, because of the plethora of events taking place these days, rarely am I actually impressed. On Thursday I was.

When my girlfriend and I arrived to Chima Brazilian Steakhouse for "The Beautiful People Event," I had no idea that such an auspicious occasion awaited us. Certainly, I knew that Chima was a great venue choice--its upstairs lounge is one of my favorite in town--but I didn't know that it would be transformed into a fashion and style oasis.

On one side of the room was a Glam Bar where complimentary makeup was being done by Flawless Makeup Art. On another side, custom jewelry was being sold. In a far corner complimentary hand, foot, and back massages were being offered. In the center of the room was a shoe buffet, a clever way to present ladies shoes. And in the back of the room was the runway. I've attended several fashion events, but I was surprised to see that the organizers of this event had actually built a runway for the fashion show.

I was thoroughly impressed by this event, put on by the "Fab Four" team of T. Strong aka StyleMayvin, Joy Randall of Flawless Makeup Art, Ezekiel Cheney of Zeek&Co., and Johnatha Camp.

Below are a few photos from the event by photographer Kevin Douglas.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Like many of her Facebook friends and followers, I learned on Thursday that Jacinda Garabito will be returning to Charlotte radio. Thousands of local listeners were angered and upset when Jacinda was let go this spring from 96.1 The Beat's A.M. Mayhem morning show. Now they'll be happy to know that starting this Monday (August 16), they'll be able to tune in weekdays, 1-3 p.m., and listen to Just Jacinda on WGIV 103.3 FM.

Jacinda will host the two-hour show, playing old-school R&B and interluding periodically for some short conversation. She says as the show grows, she'll get more talk time, but in the beginning it'll be led by the music. She'll come on daily before The BJ Murphy Show, which is led by the local radio legend who's probably most remembered from his years on The Breakfast Brothers Morning Show on Charlotte's Power 98 FM in the 1990s and early 2000s. If you want to learn more about Jacinda's show, read about it on her blog.

Jacinda pictured here from Charlotte magazine's 2009 Best of the Best issue.

I happen to run into Jacinda at an event at Chima Thursday night and while talking to her, I could tell she was genuinely excited about her new radio opportunity. I told her I know she'll do well because she developed a loyal following while at The Beat, and that many of those people will want to check her out in her new gig. In fact, I told her, one of the most popular search phrases that draws people to this blog is "where did Jacinda from 96.1 The Beat go" (or some variation of it).

For those of you not familiar with WGIV, it's an historical, independently owned radio station that dates back to the 1940s. Throughout most of its history, its been a gospel and inspirational talk station on the AM dial (1370 AM, where it can still be heard), but it recently adopted the FM frequency (103.3 FM) and has been transitioning to a largely old-school R&B format. The station is also giving many talented local personalities a home, as is the case with Jacinda, BJ, and Tonya Rivens (formerly a host on V101.9 and Praise 100.9). WGIV also broadcasts Warren Ballentine's syndicated show weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. You can listen to the station live online at www.wgiv.net.

UPDATE: Jacinda is now the afternoon traffic reporter at WBTV. Click here to read her bio.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just when I thought Antoine Dodson's 15 minutes of fame were coming to an end, and just when the auto-tuned song created from his news interview was finally getting out of my head, I see this. N.C. A&T's marching band plays their rendition of the "Bed Intruder Song." See the YouTube video below.

Don't you just love the creativity and risk-taking displayed by marching bands at HBCUs?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Events for the Week: August 11-15

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/11/2010 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.

Wednesday, August 11

Pop Life
It’s still the city’s most popular Wednesday night event. Starts after work but runs late. Complimentary food 7-9 p.m. from Sadie’s. Music by DJ DR. Presented by Sol Kitchen. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Free. Luna Lounge, 521 N. College St. www.lunacharlotte.com or www.thesolkitchen.com.

Thursday, August 12

The Beautiful People Event
This stylish event offers an evening that includes photo shoots and a Glam Bar. Mingle with tastemakers from Charlotte's fashion scene. For guest list consideration, send an email including your name and occupation to stylemayvinpr@gmail.com. 7-11 p.m. Free. Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, 139 N. Tryon St. www.stylemayvin.com.

Friday, August 13

The Art of Body
This artistic event is poised to get your weekend off to a great start. Enjoy Gentleman Jack and other drink specials in a posh lounge, while listening to music by DJ Shogun. And the treat of the evening will be models wearing body paint. Presented by Team Takerz. 7 p.m. Free. Apostrophe Lounge, 1440 S. Tryon St. www.apostrophelounge.com.

Saturday, August 14

5K Rock 'N Run/Walk Event
North End Partners invites you to run (or walk) this 5K event to support four non-profit agencies: Crisis Assistance, Hope Haven, Historic Rosedale, and Uptown Men's Shelter. Immediately following the run will be a concert. 6:30-7:30 a.m. registration; 8 a.m. 5K begins. $25-$30. NC Music Factory, 820 Hamilton St. Register at www.ncrockandrun.com.

Back to School Bash
Celebrate back to school time during this event presented by The Prodigal Son Foundation, an organization that provides education assistance and mentoring to youth. There will be free food, games, school supply giveaways, prizes, moon bounce, music, new student registration, and more. 4-7 p.m. Free. Nathaniel Alexander Elementary School, 7910 Neal Rd. www.prodigalsonfoundation.org.

Le Reve II
Upgrade your nightlife experience at one of Charlotte's most luxurious sceneries. This party caters to the classy and sophisticated. VIP includes heavy hors d'oeuvres, complimentary champagne, and private massages. Presented by Blue Goose Entertainment. 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. General admission $15, VIP $25. M5 Modern Mediterranean, 4310 Sharon Rd. www.bluegoosenc.com/lereve.

Antawn Jamison's 2nd Annual All-White Party
Wear your best white attire and join the Cleveland Cavalier and Charlotte native along with his NBA friends. Hosted by Columbia radio station Hot 103.9's Neek. 10 p.m. Members and ladies dressed in white free until 11 p.m. Advance tickets: general admission $15, VIP $30. Club 935, 935 S. Summit Ave. www.club935.com; tickets at www.ez-tixx.com.

Sunday, August 15

So Fancy Yacht Party
“I'm on a boat” is what you can be saying during this party on the water. Special birthday celebration for the Leos. Music by DJ Polo. Presented by SDE Marketing & Promotions. 8-11:30 p.m. $30 and up. Kingspoint Marina on Lake Norman. sofancy.eventbrite.com.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm a news junkie. My addiction began during the fall of my senior year at the University of South Carolina. I was heavily immersed in my courses as a journalism major when the September 11 attacks happened. Like most Americans, I became glued to the round-the-clock coverage of this tragic event. Except I never became unglued from the news. I love cable news shows--I watch Morning Joe to start my day, MSNBC and CNN throughout the day (I even check on Fox News), and my evening isn't complete without Countdown with Keith Olbermann. And even though my J-School professors required that we subscribe to the local newspaper and to industry publications like Advertising Age, my love for reading print publications has largely been transferred to reading news stories on the Internet.

So I was particularly interested when my editor at Creative Loafing, Carlton Hargro, asked me to write an article about The Charlotte Observer. The idea was to chronicle many of the changes that have occurred at the big O--this recession has caused them to lay off hundreds of workers over the last two years--and to see what kind of daily newspaper we're left with. I was surprised and pleased that both the Observer's publisher, Ann Caulkins, and editor, Rick Thames, agreed to talk to me for the article. It showed their journalistic integrity and respect for the medium that they would agree to be interviewed for an article in the city's alternative weekly.

I learned a lot about the Observer during the process of researching and writing this story. Some things I already knew, having friends and colleagues who either work there or used to work there before the layoffs and buyouts, but a lot I didn't know. I hope you learn a lot in this week's Creative Loafing cover story, "Remains of the Daily: What's left of — and what's next for — The Charlotte Observer?" The story posted online today, click here, and it hits newsstands tomorrow.

Monday, August 9, 2010

WIE Is Great for Charlotte Women

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/09/2010 No comments
Last week I attended a one-night only exhibit at The Light Factory put on by the Women's Inter-Cultural Exchange (WIE). The exhibit is titled My Family, Our Culture and it showcased photos and stories from 31 of WIE's members. You can read about the exhibit and the organization on CrossroadsCharlotte.org in the article I wrote ("Special Exhibit Showcases Diversity of Charlotte Women").

If you're a woman living in the Charlotte area and are looking to bond with a group of women who are excelling in their professional and personal lives and who are making a difference in their communities, you might want to consider joining WIE. The organization's mission is to bring together women of different races and cultures, and WIE is hosting its annual Members & Friends Appreciation Reception on Wednesday, September 1, 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Coffey & Thompson Gallery, 109 W. Morehead Street. If you wish to attend, you're asked to RSVP to Laura Everett by August 28 at laura.everett@wi-ce.org. For more details, visit www.wi-ce.org.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Michael Jordan Buys Charlotte Home

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/08/2010 No comments
After putting up a couple-hundred-mil-plus to become majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats earlier this year, Michael Jordan said he would also be buying a home here. It would show both his commitment to the team and the city. He's now made good on that promise, purchasing the top floor of The Trust, one of the most exclusive condo buildings in Uptown. The seven-story building houses Chima Brazilian Steakhouse on the first two floors and is in a prime location, just a block away from Jordan's office and the Bobcats home court at Time Warner Cable Arena.

WCNC reporter Michelle Boudin took a tour of The Trust, showcasing the unit that's for sale beneath Jordan's. His unit is under renovation. See Boudin's report in the video below.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I was driving home Wednesday evening and saw that Kennedy Fried Chicken & Pizza on Brookshire Boulevard had hung a "grand opening" sign. The restaurant had a "coming soon" sign for months, and ever since its marquee went up with "fried chicken & pizza" on it, I've been curious because of that combination. So I popped in really quick to check out the place.

I talked to one of the employees, Khalil, and he told me that this was their first day open. He also said Kennedy Fried Chicken restaurants are popular in New York and that the restaurant chain is named after the late JFK himself (the first location opened years ago near John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx). I'd never heard of Kennedy Fried Chicken, even though I've visited New York and New Jersey where they're said to have several locations. I'm sure some of Charlotte's many Yankee transplants will be happy to see we now have a restaurant from their old neighborhoods.

I didn't eat there Wednesday because I was on my way home and my mom was in town visiting and had cooked dinner (nothing beats mama's cooking). But I plan to check it out soon and will let you know what I think of the food. The menu has more than 100 items including chicken boxes, pizzas, burgers, fish sandwiches, seafood, beef ribs, gyros, desserts, and more. Maybe I'll get a slice of pizza with a side of wings and mac-and-cheese (cholesterol???). Khalil says they're open daily til 3 a.m., which is definitely a New York thing. After my recent blog post on Price's Chicken Coop you probably think I'm on some kind of chicken tour, but this is purely a coincidence. I actually don't eat fried chicken too often.

Kennedy Fried Chicken is located at 3800 Brookshire Boulevard, 704-837-7838. You can learn more about the chicken franchise on Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Here are two opportunities for you to get involved with organizations that are working to create brighter futures for our youth.

The Urban League of Central Carolinas needs tutors for math, reading, and social studies for grade levels 6-12. Tutor/volunteer orientation will be held this Friday, August 6, 8:30 a.m. at the Urban League's office in Uptown, 740 W. Fifth St. They can work around your schedule if you're willing to give some of your time to help youth improve in their academics. For more information, email Shannon McKnight at smcknight@urbanleaguecc.org or call Roderic Garner at 704-373-2256 ext. 206.

Then on September 1, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte is teaming with Guardian ad Litem to recruit mentors and child advocates. The recruiting event will be held 5-8 p.m. at Buckhead Saloon, 201 E. Fifth St., and will feature live music and complimentary food and drinks. Plus, if you sign up to be a mentor or child advocate, or refer a friend, you'll be entered to win tickets to the Kings of Leon concert coming next month to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. Click here to RSVP for the September 1 recruiting event.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a well-known organization that has been doing great work for decades. My brother (actual brother) is a Big and has a Little whose 12 years old. The program is looking for Bigs of all kinds, but I know they are often especially in need of black males. Also, Guardian ad Litem is an organization I have dealings with through my work with group home kids. GAL does great work to assist kids one on one who are going through a tough time in the system comprised of family court, social services, counselors, etc.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Price's Chicken Coop and 'The Boondocks'

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/04/2010 1 comment
I had to run an errand yesterday in South End and I was hungry because it was about three o'clock and I hadn't eaten lunch yet. On my way out, I passed Price's Chicken Coop and decided that on my way back I would stop there to grab lunch.

When I eventually went to Price's, it was about four o'clock and, if you know anything about the popular fried chicken takeout restaurant, you know that the place is almost always packed and there's often a line out the door. That was the case yesterday, but the veterans working the counter get you in and out rather quickly.

Once I grabbed my food and headed home, I started to get excited. It was the kind of excitement you get when you're extremely hungry and your car is being filled with the smell of fried goodness. Plus, I began to realize that it had been several months since I had eaten fried chicken, let alone more than two years since I had eaten at Price's.

My experience with the chicken run yesterday reminded me of this week's episode of The Boondocks, in which havoc breaks out nationwide when a free-chicken promotion causes a chicken franchise to run out of chicken. Then people believe they've contracted fried chicken flu from eating it. If you haven't seen the hilarious, too-funny-to-be-offensive episode, check out the clip below.

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