Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mallard Creek High School quarterback Marquise Williams is putting up the kind of numbers this season that makes you wish there was a fantasy football league for Charlotte high schools. Last night, he led his team to a 76-30 victory over West Charlotte, while completing 11 of 15 passes for 326 yards and six touchdowns and rushing 12 times for 129 yards and one touchdown.

Marquise is certainly an exciting player to watch and read about, and you can do the latter in the November issue of Charlotte magazine, on newsstands now. I interviewed Marquise as part of the magazine's cover story, "Friday Night Lights". It's a feature package comprised of several stories that illustrate the culture of the city's most popular sport, depicting a high school football program (South Point High), a coach (from Charlotte Catholic), a cheerleader (from Charlotte Christian), a player (Marquise, from Mallard Creek), a marching band (Harding University High), and a rivalry (Independence vs. Butler).

In the web version of my story on Marquise, you get to read a Q&A that's not in the printed version of the magazine. And while this might be the first time he's appeared on a magazine cover, I doubt it will be his last.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Say what you want about Charlotte's nightlife scene, but when it comes to Halloween weekend, the city knows how to party. There are so many parties and events that go on here for the ghostly holiday, and to help make it easier for you to decide where you want to go, I was planning to compile a list of about ten of my top recommendations, complete with descriptions and background info. But I've been a little busy this week and haven't had time to comb through all of the emails and Facebook invites I've received.

Luckily, Creative Loafing has compiled a "Massive list of Halloween events in Charlotte." But because it's such a massive list (more than 75 events listed for Friday through Sunday), you probably still need that help narrowing down. So I'm linking you to CL's list, where you can get all of the descriptions, prices, times, locations, etc., and I'm picking a few from that list that I recommend. And there are a few I'm listing here that are not on CL's list.

Friday, October 29

  • Civil War Ghost Walk, 7 p.m. at Latta Plantation.
  • 5th Annual Halloween Howler Bar Crawl, 7 p.m.
  • Wicked Women of Wax, 10 p.m. at Halo.

Saturday, October 30

  • Rich and Bennett’s 10th Halloween Pub Crawl, 1 p.m.
  • GraveDiggers Ball featuring Ke$ha and Kevin Rudolf, 6 p.m. at Dixie’s Tavern.
  • Insurrection: An Unholy Union (not on CL's list), presented by Inner Circle Events and Blue Goose, 10 p.m. at three venues: Sunset Club, Deja Vu, and Pewter Rose (all in the same complex),
  • Disturbia II (not on CL's list), presented by Six Figure Entertainment, 10 p.m. at LAVA Bistro and Bar,
  • Hollywood Halloween (not on CL's list), presented by MAZ Entertainment, 10:30 p.m. at Maggiano's Italian Restaurant,

Sunday, October 31

  • Dia De Los Muertos: Day of the Dead, presented by Latin American Coalition, 12 p.m., free, at Levine Museum of the New South.
  • The Halloween Edition, presented by The Sol Kitchen, 9:30 p.m., free, at Marigny (a new venue in South End).

Also note, the organizers for the HAUTE! party at Grand Central sent out an email this morning saying that it had been cancelled. As of the time I'm typing this, CL hadn't made that update to its list.

Visit Creative Loafing's complete list at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

City of Charlotte Launches Phone App

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/27/2010 No comments
According to a press release sent out yesterday, the City of Charlotte has launched “My-Charlotte,” a mobile application for wireless smart phones that allows users to access municipal services on the go. I applaud the city for embracing the digital and mobile age we're living in, but I'm not sure spending $120,000 developing this application is the best use of funds right now. Especially since the app doesn't appear to have many beneficial uses yet. Searching traffic accident locations from CMPD or reporting potholes to 311 are not strong selling points to me. This app sounds like an idea a city IT guy made seem cool to his bosses.

I'm sure there are more features to come, but the city's web services are probably not advanced enough or compatible to make the application worth having. The one customer review posted so far on the iTunes page where the app is sold, points out that "it's less an app and more just a collection of web pages. Most are not even formatted to be used easily on an iPhone." Currently the application is available only on the iPhone, but the city said it plans to expand into other mobile platforms such as the Motorola DROID and BlackBerry early next year.

I'm not the type who bashes government spending simply for the sake of doing it, and maybe the potential dollars the city believes it could save by people using their mobile app rather than calling 311 will help the investment pay for itself. Hopefully within a few months the city will update us on the success of this venture. And I'm sure users will post their reviews.

Do you plan to buy the app? Do you think it's useful?

Click here to read the full press release from the city.

Click here to purchase the My-Charlotte app from iTunes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Denny Hamlin: 'All He Do Is Win'

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/25/2010 No comments
I guess this personalized license plate is true.

Yesterday, Denny Hamlin won his seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup series race of the season and second during the Chase. He's now just six points behind leader and four-time champion Jimmie Johnson with only four races remaining. If Denny was to win the championship, you can expect a ridiculous party next month at Butter NC, the popular nightclub he co-owns.

Charlotte Bobcats Hold Open Practice Today

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/25/2010 No comments
The Charlotte Bobcats are holding an open practice this evening. The event is free, but you'll need to go online to get your free tickets. The open practice will be held at Time Warner Cable Arena, with doors opening at 6 p.m. and the event beginning at 6:30.

The Lady Cats and team mascot Rufus will make appearances, and then join players for autographs and photos at the conclusion of practice. This will be the Bobcats' final practice before they head to Dallas tomorrow to prepare to play the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday for the regular season opener. The Bobcats' home opener is Friday against the Indiana Pacers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

You're probably aware that Belk unveiled its new logo earlier this month. The Charlotte-based department store chain decided to update its image with a new logo, colors, and tagline as it kicks off a new branding campaign. It's seeking to enhance its image as it embarks on a $500 million investment over the next three years, focusing on improving e-commerce, remodeling stores, expanding shoe departments, and refocusing marketing to customers.

Belk seems to have done a better job with its new brand identity than GAP, which coincidentally was unveiled the same day as Belk's (only to be scrapped a week later). And even though we consumers don't care a whole lot about corporate branding strategies, we know what we like. And I like Belk's new TV commercial that I've seen running the last couple of weeks.

The 30-second TV ad showcases Belk's new tagline: "Modern. Southern. Style." And not only could that slogan be a good fit for Charlotte, the city is the backdrop for the commercial. If I had to describe Charlotte in a few words, modern and Southern would be two of them.

In the two YouTube videos below, the first is the 30-second TV commercial and the second is a behind-the-scenes look at how it was created. The catchy tune you here is "Little Bitty Pretty One" by Thurston Harris, but performed here by Joe Firstman. Firstman is a Charlotte native who rose to prominence as musical director for the house band on Last Call with Carson Daly.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rudy Currence On BET's '106 & Park' Tuesday

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/22/2010 1 comment
R&B singer Rudy Currence, a native of Rock Hill who lives in Charlotte, will appear on BET's 106 & Park Tuesday, October 26. He's performing on the live, nationally televised show as part of the BET Music Matters series, which spotlights artists on the come up and those who are bringing a refreshing and much-needed dose of energy and creativity to hip-hop and R&B music. Rudy will be the second Carolinas artist to appear on Music Matters, following Fayetteville native/Roc Nation artist J. Cole. J. Cole is also a part of the first-ever Music Matters Tour, along with K. Michelle and CJ Hilton, which kicks off Wednesday in Norfolk, VA.

Rudy signed to Disturbing Tha Peace Records last year, the label ran by rapper/hip-hop mogul Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, and he's currently working on his major label debut album, Black Keys and Blue Skies. He'll be in Los Angeles this weekend to shoot a video for "Soul Bossa Nostra," the new song from Quincy Jones that features Ludacris, Naturally 7, and Rudy Currence. For more on the artist, visit or follow him on Twitter @Rudy_Currence.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

There's a great article published in today's New York Times (posted online last night) that proves that many people aren't very knowledgeable of the issues they're concerned about during these tough economic times and especially during this heated political season. "From Obama, the Tax Cut Nobody Heard Of," by reporter Michael Cooper, chronicles a tax cut the Obama administration implemented several months ago that reduced taxes by a total of $116 billion for the majority of Americans. But when polled, people are more likely to either not know their taxes had been cut or think that their taxes had been raised. But the people weren't just polled by the large New York Times/CBS News poll, for this story the Times reporter also visited some good old town's people in Huntersville.

Scene from Huntersville gathering. Photo by Travis Dove for The New York Times.

The setting for the article takes place at Pig Pickin’ and Politickin’, a barbecue-fed rally held in Huntersville last week by a Republican women’s club. Despite the partisan nature of the group, they represent typical Americans. And I feel the article was balanced while also maintaining its purpose of informing readers of what's been happening with their taxes.

Because of so much clutter and nonsense that's being projected in campaign ads, bias media reports, and rallies from disingenuous "grass-roots organizations," an alarming number of people have become overly worked up over topics that they haven't taken the time to become fully educated on. Far too common these days, people are becoming anti-something or denouncing something that in actuality benefits them. Regardless of whether you're a Democrat or Republican (or Tea Partier), you should be aware of the fact that the Obama administration cut your taxes or that about one-third of the much-hated and debated $787 billion stimulus bill was in the form of tax cuts. I learned this months ago and, lately, Bill Maher and Jon Stewart, among others, have been shouting it from the rooftops (sometimes it takes a little humor to get to the truth).

As I've done the past two years, for the 2008 and 2009 elections, I'll soon be posting links to a few local resources that aim to inform the public on policies and candidates they'll be voting on this November. I think it's a responsibility for those of us who disseminate information regularly into the blogosphere. Too many people go into the ballot boxes blindly, or support or oppose something they don't know much about. That's really inexcusable in this Internet age we live in. Some of you spend more time researching players for your fantasy football teams than you do the candidates whose policies can greatly affect you and your family's lives.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mark Martin Is a Hip-Hop Head

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/15/2010 1 comment
I just saw the coolest thing a few minutes ago. I was watching Jim Rome Is Burning on ESPN, and Carl Edwards was serving as the correspondent at the end of the show. Edwards was walking around interviewing other NASCAR drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway, getting ready for this weekend's Bank of America 500. When he's talking to Mark Martin he says, "Mark has a diverse taste in music. What are you listening to right now?" Mark replies, "Gucci Mane's got a new album out, so I'm listening to that."

Yes, the 51-year-old, who's currently the oldest driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, is a hip-hop head. Can you imagine him speeding down the racetrack with "Gucci Time" blaring out the windows? Martin said he's also playing Eminem's latest album.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You've probably been wondering what's been going on with K-Ci and JoJo--and even more importantly, what's up with Jodeci? I tried to get some answers for you when I interviewed the Hailey brothers for their new reality show, K-Ci & JoJo ... Come Clean, which premieres Tuesday, October 19 at 9 p.m. on TV One. You can read about it in my article for Creative Loafing: "Singers K-Ci and JoJo Come Clean with new reality show."

One particular question I asked them, that I hope we see some traction on, is what will it take for all of Charlotte's R&B stars to do a concert together. Imagine if K-Ci and JoJo, Anthony Hamilton, Fantasia, Calvin Richardson, Sunshine Anderson, and Horace Brown all put on a show in Charlotte. It would be hours of great soul music from artists who got their starts right here in North Carolina, who are either from Charlotte or currently call it home. I think fans would come out to support this momentous occasion.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bobcats' 'Pick 5' Makes Dollars and Sense

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/12/2010 1 comment
The Charlotte Bobcats have an aggressive ticket marketing campaign that's highlighted by their Pick 5 Plan. For starters, five home games is what I would guess is about the number of games the average Bobcats fan would be interesting in attending, especially in this economic climate when people are clutching their wallets tighter. And the Bobcats have been strategic to make sure you get a five-game plan that makes sense for you and makes dollars for them.

The Pick 5 Plan is being advertised as "The Only Way to Guarantee Miami," meaning you can't buy single-game tickets to see the Miami Heat in Charlotte. The Pick 5 Plan is the starting level in which you can purchase tickets to watch The Big Three--LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh--take on the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. They visit Charlotte twice during the regular season.

When selecting your five games, you're given three categories of options. The first is required: you receive a ticket to opening night. In the second, you're given the option of choosing one of the games versus Miami (Monday, Jan. 3 or Friday, Feb. 4) or the game versus the Los Angeles Lakers (Monday, Feb. 14). And in the third category, you're able to pick your remaining three games from the other 37 home games on the regular season schedule.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hometown girl and supermodel (and one of GPT's favorite blog subjects) Brooklyn Decker is appearing on this Sunday's episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, airing at 8 p.m. on ABC. Brooklyn is assigned to the team that's building the closets and, putting her fashion model experience to use, she decides they should fill them with clothes.

The Johnsons are this week's lucky family to receive a home makeover.

See video below of a bonus scene of Brooklyn's work on the show.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Charlotte Observer is holding a "Hyper-local Publishing and Blogging 101" seminar this Saturday, October 9, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sponsored by the newspaper with support from a grant coordinated by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, the seminar will focus on the future of journalism and how mainstream newspapers can work with citizen-based websites and blogs.

Experts from local websites and blogs, and the Observer, will give tips and answer questions. The seminar will show attendees how to identify their audience, streamline their writing, and boost traffic to their site.

For whatever reason, the organizers think I know what I'm doing and asked me to be one of the speakers. I'm presenting in Session 2/Track 1, 11-11:45 a.m., "What’s news? Writing for the hyper-local reader." Serving on that panel with me are Liz Chandler, news editor for the Observer, and Jon McPherson from Uptown SAHDness on

Unfortunately, registration for the event has ended--looks like there are about 90 people who signed up (cost was only $10). I'll report back here after the event and share any tips I learned. I'll be attending at least a couple of the five other sessions being offered.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Anthony Hamilton's Twins Almost Here

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/05/2010 No comments
I interviewed Anthony Hamilton this morning for an article I'm writing for a publication (I'll post the link to the article when it is published, likely next week). I wanted to talk to him to get his perspective on a couple of artists I'm profiling, and as soon as he came on the line he said, "I got twin boys on the way. Tell me something!" We then joked for a minute because he knows I have a twin brother. I told him a couple of things to get ready for, but he should probably seek advice from someone like Diddy, who became the father of twins a few years ago.

Anthony said his wife, Tarsha, is 34 weeks into her pregnancy, so the bundles of joy will likely arrive here around the end of the month.

Monday, October 4, 2010

WalletPop, an AOL site, has released its list of the 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods for 2010. The list was generated by using research from a company that tracks data on neighborhoods and cities, and from FBI data from 17,000 local law enforcement agencies. The end result, Chicago's West Lake Street neighborhood, 60612 zip code, ranks as the most dangerous neighborhood in America. Charlotte's North Tryon Street neighborhood, with a 28206 zip code, ranks 11th.

As the study points out, neighborhoods were ranked instead of cities, because "even the cities with the highest crime rates can have relatively safe neighborhoods, and thus it is less useful to generalize an entire city." I think that makes perfect sense, because all cities have their "bad" parts of town, but it's not always a reflection of the entire city.

In ranking number one, the Chicago neighborhood has a violent crime rate of 257 per 1,000 and your chances of being a victim there within a year are 1 in 4. That's head and shoulders above the second most dangerous neighborhood, Cleveland Ohio's Covill Avenue, 44104 zip, with a violent crime rate of 165 per 1,000, and the chances of being a victim there within a year are 1 in 6. Rounding out the top five are neighborhoods in Las Vegas at third and fourth, and Atlanta's Carter Street, 30313 and 30314, neighborhood is fifth.

Charlotte's North Tryon Street neighborhood has a 109 violent crime rate, and your chances of being a victim there are 1 in 9.

Other relative neighborhoods on the list are one in North Charleston, 13th; one in Winston-Salem, 16th; and Atlanta has four neighborhoods on the list at fifth, seventh, 17th, and 22nd--more than any other city. Las Vegas has three and they're all in the top ten.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tampa Praises Charlotte's Light Rail

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/03/2010 No comments
I often hear people saying Charlotte is trying to be like this city or trying to be like that city. And their remarks are usually in a negative tone. I always talk about how this is a great city to live in (if you don't like it, move) and it has a lot to offer. National media often recognizes, and such was the case with the front-page story in today's St. Petersburg Times.

The Times lauds Charlotte's light rail system and talks about how it is a model Tampa Bay should follow. Voters in the Florida city are facing a referendum in this November's election to decide if they want a tax hike to help pay for a rail line that would stretch from Tampa International Airport to downtown, the University of South Florida and Cross Creek Boulevard near New Tampa.

The newspaper sent a couple of journalists to Charlotte. The article in today's paper, "In Charlotte, Tampa sees its vision for light rail," shows how many Charlotteans had doubts about building the LYNX Blue Line when the issue was being debated years ago, but that since opening in November 2007 the light rail has been largely deemed successful. The article touts how the light rail has exceeded ridership projections and the line has spurred development.

In an accompanying article, "In downtown Charlotte, a car-free option awaits travelers," the writer chronicles how when he visited Charlotte he tested to see if he could get around the city efficiently on our transit system. He rode the Sprinter bus from the airport and, over four days, rode the buses, Gold Rush, and light rail. During his trip, he says he spent a total of $17 on transportation--"less than what it cost me to check a bag on the plane each way," he points out.

Below is an accompanying video the Times journalists captured while riding Charlotte's light rail.

Related Posts with Thumbnails