Sunday, November 28, 2010

If you were watching Beyoncé's I Am ... World Tour TV special on ABC Thanksgiving night, you probably saw Cubby Squires grace the stage. The 96.1 The Beat A.M. Mayhem radio personality became an Internet sensation two years ago when he posted a video of himself dancing in a black leotard to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies." That video has received nearly four million views on YouTube, and Cubby had appeared on several entertainment and news shows, including Anderson Cooper 360 and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The buzz had died down--until Cubby appeared on national television Thursday night. The ABC special aired footage from Beyoncé's yearlong concert tour, which is also being released this Tuesday on DVD, and Cubby got quite a bit of face time from when Beyoncé brought him on stage during her tour stop in Atlanta last year.

Cubby on stage with Beyoncé, as shown Thursday night on ABC.

Now Cubby is at it again, this time posting a video of himself dancing to Rihanna's "Only Girl." The leotard is back...sort of. See video below.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I was sitting in my mom's living room on Thanksgiving Day watching NFL Today when I was reminded of how much I have to be thankful for. The CBS pre-game NFL show ran a powerful and emotional segment on the four people who received organs from former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry who died last December in Charlotte. Henry died from head injuries after falling off the back of a pickup truck during a domestic dispute with his fiancée. But from his tragic death--he was just 26 years old--came four gifts of life.

Henry’s mother, Carolyn Glaspy, flew to Charlotte earlier this month to meet the four recipients of her son's organs along with their families. It was Glaspy who, in this same hospital, 11 months earlier made the decision to donate her son's organs after he'd been declared brain dead.

Gathered at Carolinas Medical Center, Glaspy met Donna Arnold, James Benton, Thomas Elliott, and Brian Polk. Arnold received Henry's pancreas and one of his kidneys; Benton received his liver; Elliott received his lungs; and Polk received Henry's other kidney. It was an emotional scene as they met Glaspy for the first time and thanked her. She carried a blanket that bore her son's face. “Believe it or not, this is my first tear," Glaspy said. "I think this is my closure. This is what he wanted me to do. I can rest in peace now."

This touching reunion was made possible by LifeShare of the Carolinas and Carolinas Medical Center. After the segment aired, the broadcast returned to the TV studio where sports analyst James Brown was overcome with emotion and his colleague Boomer Esiason had to take over.

Below is video of NFL Today's story, "Chris Henry's Legacy Lives On."

Visit to learn more about becoming an organ donor.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Andrea and I were coming from south Charlotte yesterday after participating in a hike at McDowell Nature Preserve. Since we were passing through Steele Creek, I decided to stop at the Mac's Speed Shop location over there for lunch. After leaving Mac's (I had the Hand Pulled Pork BBQ Platter with mac 'n cheese and onion rings and the complimentary hush puppies), I decided to take her to nearby Whitehall Corporate Center off Arrowood Road to see "The Big Head." She, like many people living in and visiting Charlotte, didn't know anything about Metalmorphosis.

Constructed in 2007 by Czech Republic artist David Cerny for the opening of Whitehall Corporate Center, Metalmorphosis is a 25-foot tall, 14-ton stainless steel, motorized public art piece in the shape of a human head. Comprised of seven layers, it rotates every few minutes and periodically spews water from its mouth into a fountain at its base. It attracts people daily who come to take pictures in front of it, like we did, but still many Charlotteans don’t know it’s there.

Below is a quick video I captured of the head, showing it rotating near the end. You can also view it through a live web cam at

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

UniverSoul Circus Is a Non-Stop Party

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/17/2010 No comments
UniverSoul Circus rolled into Charlotte this week and held its opening night Tuesday. Even though the three cities I've lived in over the last 10 years have all had the big-top show set up shop there, including repeated visits to Charlotte, this was my first time going. I've always heard good things about the Atlanta-based circus that was created in 1994 to spotlight African-American performers. But I was never too drawn to going to any of the shows since I don't have kids. The circus is for families, I thought. Well, I was thoroughly entertained at UniverSoul Circus.

A near-capacity crowd filled the tent on Freedom Drive for the 7:30 opening night show. There were plenty of parents there with their bunches of kids in tow. And there was also a surprising number of adults there without kids.

It was immediately apparent that music and dance would be a big part of the entertainment. It opened with African music with dancers strutting to every beat of the drum. Acrobatics also abounded, making you wonder how it's physically possible for people to be stacked on each other's shoulders. As the show really got going, hip-hop music became the staple--speakers pumping bass like a rap concert. Ringmaster Shuckey Duckey, who I'd mostly known as a comedian, orchestrated the evening.

Because I don't want to give too much away to people reading this who might be planning to go this week--there are a lot of surprises and breathtaking feats--I'll just touch on a few highlights. Since it was opening night, we probably got extra treats such as Charlotte's professional sports mascots--Sir Purr (Carolina Panthers), Rufus Lynx (Charlotte Bobcats), and Homer (Charlotte Knights)--being a part of the show. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis came riding in on an elephant and Power 98's No Limit Larry was part of a high-flying slam dunk performance group.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My girlfriend and I go to different churches. I like mine better; she likes hers better. We'll figure it out eventually. But the thing I really like about her church, Elevation Church, is that it broadcasts services online. Elevation, of course, is one of the largest, fastest growing churches in the Charlotte area, and it has multiple campuses (including a new one it opened this month in Blakeney). And because the church has multiple locations, many of its attendees watch Pastor Steven Furtick and his worship services on screens via remote feed.

So that's what Andrea and I did. From the comforts of my living room, we engaged in The Elevation Experience and watched the 6 p.m. service online. I plugged my laptop into my TV. So as far as I'm concerned, I went to church yesterday! Though, I'd feel a little guilty (and lazy) if I did this every Sunday. And even though this wasn't First Sunday, which is when many churches offer Communion, let's just say there was some wine involved (don't judge me).

It was a great sermon and I'm glad I got to experience it. You can watch (or listen to) many sermons by visiting Elevation's sermon archive. And it's worth noting that several other Charlotte churches stream their worship services online and have been for a few years now. This could be a great way for you to check out a church before actually visiting it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I often hear people say they don't read the newspaper. Contrary to what they might think, that statement doesn't come with the same aura of sophistication as when people say "I don't watch television" (and even that's often a misguided attempt at intellectual supremacy). But most likely, when people are saying they don't read the newspaper, they mean they don't read the printed edition. Many of you are reading the stories newspapers publish--you're just reading them online, either by going directly to newspapers' websites or from being led there by a link a friend posts on Facebook or Twitter. But if you're not even reading the newspaper online, shame on you.

I haven't read a print edition of a newspaper regularly in about five years. I remember moving into my first apartment in my first city for my first job after college and buying a subscription to the local newspaper. I felt it was important for me to do as a professional journalist. Plus, I'm a news junkie so reading it was a form of information and entertainment. But when that subscription expired, I didn't renew it. It became hard to justify it when I had visions of stacked up, unread papers in my living room. As life got so busy, it became harder to find time to read the newspaper every day. I wouldn't want to crack open the paper because I didn't have the time in the evening to devote to reading it. Or I would pick it up and just scan the front page.

Since then, which was around 2002/2003, newspapers have greatly improved the quality of their websites and the quantity of stories they publish to them. Having lived in Charlotte now for the past five years, I read The Charlotte Observer every On a typical day, I'll visit at least five times, from morning to night. I look forward to the updates they make to the homepage, and it's how I best stay informed on what's going on around me.

Unlike some people I know, I've never doubted the importance of a quality local newspaper. Sure, it's vital to the industry I work in, but it's even more important to local residents. And The Observer is important to everyone who lives in Charlotte, whether they realize it or not (and I'm not getting paid a dime to say this). The importance of the newspaper has become abundantly clear over the last few weeks through The Observer's coverage of what's happening at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the proposed school closings. No other media outlet is covering this issue more thoroughly than The Big O.

Stories about CMS and the concerns of the community have been on the front page of the printed edition most days during the past month. And The Observer has built a newsbank of information on CMS on its website. You'll find a database that features a profile on each school, which includes demographic breakdown, number of suspensions, etc. There are databases on CMS salaries and a directory of board-certified teachers, as well as a listing of contact information for each CMS board member (should you be inclined to take this issue seriously enough to want to contact them). And all that's in addition to the day-to-day news coverage, such as recaps of school board meetings, analyses of school funding, and details on exactly which schools are on the closure list. Again, no other media outlet is providing information this extensively. Not your favorite TV station, and certainly not your favorite blogger.

Friday, November 12, 2010

J. Cole dropped his highly anticipated Friday Night Lights mixtape tonight, and in the words of Paul Wall: he's got the Internet going nuts.

The Fayetteville native has countless fans burning up their bandwith to download his free mixtape. Over the last few days he's been posting songs from Friday Night Lights on his blog, Dream Villain. Weeks ago he stated that the mixtape would be dropping 11/12/10 and so by the middle of this week anticipation was at a fever pitch. His site crashed a couple of times during the last couple of days from the frequent visitors, particularly after yesterday when he posted "In The Morning," his collaboration with Drake.

I downloaded my copy of Friday Night Lights about an hour ago. I'm about to load it onto the iPod and burn it to CD--I'm hitting the city tonight and this is going in the deck. It's Friday Night. I hope it's worth the hype.

Click here to download a free copy of Friday Night Lights from J. Cole's site. And here's a second, direct link he posted via Twitter because the first was getting overwhelmed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Comedy Zone to Open at NC Music Factory

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/09/2010 1 comment
I just checked my email a few minutes ago and saw that I'd received a press release from Charlotte Center City Partners tonight. They often forward releases from companies who make announcements concerning openings in center city. In this one, The Comedy Zone will be returning to Uptown Charlotte with a new location at NC Music Factory.

This is big news for fans of comedy. Heffron Talent, the company that owns The Comedy Zone, which has dozens of locations around the country, is headquartered in Charlotte. There used to be an Uptown location on College Street, but that closed at the end of 2007. The other area locations are in Lake Norman and Fort Mill, but having it return to the heart of the Queen City has been something people have been wanting for a while.

This could also prove to be a great fit for NC Music Factory, which is keeping its momentum going with the opening of another venue (there's a huge vacant space on the backside of Wet Willie's; I wonder if it's going there). Being able to boast a comedy house gives it one more bullet in the chamber for its shootout with big gun the EpiCentre. Rumor has it, Crobar, the internationally renown nightclub that had supposedly been "coming soon" to NC Music Factory for the past couple of years, has changed course. Crobar is no longer listed on the Music Factory's website, and whisperers are saying that it could instead open at the EpiCentre (Crobar still lists Charlotte on its website but no further details).

But the success of this new Comedy Zone isn't guaranteed. People are cutting back buying tickets to shows--this past summer's music concert season took a beating. Though laughter is often what people are looking for during tough times.

Below is the press release.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm a Carolina Panthers fan. Been one since I was a kid growing up in Rembert, SC and it was announced that the Carolinas would be getting an NFL team placed in Charlotte. But as a fan, I don't want to see any more Panthers games on TV the rest of this season.

Panthers games, which air each Sunday on FOX, have become painful to watch. There's practically no offense, and it's offensive to me that I now have to watch the Panthers each Sunday at 1 p.m. because no other games will be shown in our region while their game is on. Yesterday while the New Orleans Saints were beating the hell out of the Panthers, better games were on that FOX, home to NFC games, could've shown such as the competitive match-up between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (both teams entered the game with 5-2 records and the Falcons went on to win 27-21). And because of the powerful NFL television rights deals, when the Panthers games are on FOX, we, locally, don't get a 1 p.m. AFC game on CBS (we get infomercials or some movie no one really wants to see). Fortunately, we got the 4 p.m. game on CBS, which was the Philadelphia Eagles versus the Indianapolis Colts.

This is not a rant on the Panthers. At the halfway point they're 1-7, and their season is all but over, so there's no need to beat a dying horse. This is a rant on how the NFL chooses to televise games. When the TV schedule was created, at the time it looked like a good match-up for the home-viewing audience to watch the defending Super Bowl champs play their usually tough divisional opponent. But we've all known for about a month now that this game wasn't going to be much of a game. And because of that, the NFL should've revised the TV schedule and broadcast the Falcons/Bucs game in our area--fellow NFC South rivals in which both teams are currently on pace to make the playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys games shouldn't be televised the remainder of this season either.

I know what you're probably thinking, "Jarvis why don't you just get the NFL Sunday Ticket package through DirecTV?" I do have DirecTV, but I'm not that much of an NFL fanatic to shell out extra cash to watch all those games, when I prefer to just see the highlights for most of them anyway. I'd be content if every Sunday at 1 p.m., I'm given an AFC game on CBS and an NFC game on FOX. And for the latter, that game not be the Panthers the rest of this season.

Or even if they are showing the Panthers game, in the case of yesterday, FOX should've cut away from the Panthers/Saints game at the start of the fourth quarter to show us another game. That's what networks do when broadcasting NCAA basketball games during March Madness, for example. Once one game is virtually decided because of an insurmountable lead, they switch to a different, more compelling game. All FOX does with NFL games is take us to another game once one has ended and if the other has a couple of minutes left and is close. I'd prefer they do a full-on switch during the fourth quarter (if not halftime).

The Panthers are struggling right now and probably will the remainder of the season. The NFL and FOX should spare them the embarrassment of broadcasting their trouncing into millions of homes. And both entities would be better served for the switch--the NFL would continue to give fans a compelling product, and FOX would get better ratings--because I'm sure many people, like myself, have stopped watching that 1-4 p.m. Sunday time slot.

Friday, November 5, 2010

If you're a supporter of Charlotte's music scene and/or a fan of underground artists, you'll want to see Brody & Choch perform tonight at The Evening Muse. The hip-hop duo have been bubbling of late--as much as their bubbling personalities. Their playful, witty, yet lyrical rhyme style is like Digital Underground meets Gym Class Heroes.

Brody & Choch (pronounced broh-dee and chah-chee) are re-releasing their album, The Boys Will Be Boys, and tonight you can witness the energy they bring to the stage. The Evening Muse (3227 N. Davidson St. in NoDa), where they've performed before, is a great venue for this type of show, which will feature opening acts The Beast and One Another. And a very cool element will be live art by John Hairston Jr.

The show starts at 10:30 p.m. and tickets are $8 at the door.

Listen to Brody & Choch's music at And below is a video for their song "4am Smoke."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When the football teams for Johnson C. Smith University and Livingstone College, who have a rivalry that dates back more than 100 years, play in the annual Commemorative Classic this Saturday, November 6, the game will be preceded by a two-day symposium on the black and minority male crisis.

This Thursday and Friday, November 4 and 5, JCSU and Livingstone are hosting “Black and Minority Males Taking Flight through Personal Development, Knowledge Sharing, and Commitment to Community.” Topics to be covered during the symposium include health and wellness, relationship development, leadership development, and gang and violence prevention. The goal is to address some of the problems currently plaguing young black males, particularly the staggering high school dropout rates (53 percent nationwide). Scheduled keynote speakers include Dr. Maya Angelou, Stedman Graham, Captain Barrington Irving, Donnie Shell, and Mike Minter.

The two HBCUs are also collaborating on a two-year research project on "The Black/Minority Males in America: Identification. Impact. Diversion. Redirection." They plan to present its results at the 2012 classic.

The symposium is open to the public and is being held at the Park Expo and Conference Center. The game will be played at 1 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. For more details and ticket information, visit

And in related news, you can read my profile of JCSU President Dr. Ronald L. Carter, "Answering the Call," in the November issue of Charlotte magazine, where you'll get a background on why the university is tackling such important community and societal issues.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunshine Anderson has a new album out today. The Sun Shines Again is her third and it pretty much conveys what her life's been like since she released her last album nearly four years ago.

Sunshine grew up in Charlotte and graduated from North Carolina Central University before eventually hooking up with another Charlotte native, music exec/producer Mike City, and seeing her career as an R&B singer take off (she was managed by Macy Gray). Most people remember her from her 2001 debut album, Your Woman, which spawned the hit single "Heard It All Before," on its way to selling more than 750,000 copies.

She seem destined to be a part of that new breed of soul singers who were bubbling around the new millennium. But her second album, which took more than five years to come out, didn't register on most people's radars. So Sunshine began focusing on her family life--getting married and having a kid. Unfortunately, her marriage hasn't worked out and three years into it she's going through a divorce.

But her failed marriage has spawned an entire album. The Sun Shines Again is all about cheating/lying men, bad breakups, rediscovering yourself, and trying to trust and love again. While it might be a reflection of Sunshine's personal experiences, I'm sure it will resonate with many women.

I was given an advance copy of her new CD a couple of weeks ago, and I've listened to it all the way through about four or five times. I would usually play it while I was driving somewhere, which is the best way I get a feel for music.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crown for Best Halloween Costume Goes to...

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/01/2010 No comments
...Anthony McPherson of MAZ Entertainment. His company threw a Halloween party Saturday night at Maggiano's in SouthPark that drew more than 1,000 people. Many of them wore costumes and competed in the costume contest. In the spirit of the event, Anthony came dressed as Precious. The first photo below is him in costume, and the second is how he typically dresses at parties. Dude deserves a prize for going all out. I've looked at hundreds of photos from Halloween parties thrown over the weekend in Charlotte, and his takes the cake (or should I say the chicken--he carried around a bucket of chicken to complete his ensemble).

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