Thursday, December 30, 2010

Get Money for Your Cultural Project

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/30/2010 No comments
The Arts & Science Council (ASC) is currently accepting applications for Cultural Access Grants it will award to qualifying nonprofit organizations for up to $7,500. The grants are designed to increase community access to African American, Asian, Latino, and Native American arts, science, and history/heritage experiences. The deadline to apply is March 18, 2011.

ASC provides the grants through money from its Annual Fund Drive and a grant from the Grassroots Arts Program of the North Carolina Arts Council. To be eligible, your project must occur between July 1, 2011 and June 15, 2012, serve one of the ethnic groups mentioned above, and your organization must be based in Mecklenburg County. ASC plans to conduct three Information Sessions (January 27, February 1 and 3) to assist applicants with the process. Click here for more details and to apply.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Reason for the Season via Social Media

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/25/2010 No comments
Merry Christmas from your favorite blog! ; (And Happy HoLLidays from your favorite blogger!) Here are a couple of heartwarming videos circulating through social media that are worth watching if you haven't seen them yet. Each tells the story of the birth of Jesus using social media as it would've been used had it been around more than 2,000 years ago.

The first video, titled "A Social Network Christmas," by Igniter Media, shows Joseph and Mary using Facebook, including when they update their relationship statuses to when they announce the birth of Jesus to Mary changing her profile picture to show their newborn. The second video, titled "The Digital Story of Nativity" (or "Christmas 2.0"), by Viral Videos, uses many social media sites--Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, GMail, Foursquare, and more. It shows everything from when Mary receives a text on her iPhone that she will be giving birth to the Son of God to Joseph creating a Facebook event for people to come meet the baby in Bethlehem to the Three Wise Men checking in using Foursquare.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lauryn Hill Concert in Charlotte January 8

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/21/2010 1 comment
One of the greatest artists of our time is slowly coming out of her years-long reclusive state and bringing her show to Charlotte. The incomparable Lauryn Hill will perform at Amos' Southend on Saturday, January 8. What an awesome way to start the New Year.

I'm a huge Lauryn Hill fan, but as a fan I haven't had much to go on the last several years. I still pop in The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill on occasion, which was was released in 1998 and was part of the soundtrack to my freshman year in college. As you know, that was Hill's first and only studio album as a solo artist, following the success of her supergroup The Fugees' second album, The Score, in 1996. Both of those albums are undeniable classics and reached the kind of ridiculous multi-platinum statuses we'll never see again from hip-hop and R&B albums, or any other genres for that matter.

So it's been 12 years since we got a new studio album from Ms. Lauryn Hill, which is how her new East Coast tour is being billed on Ticketmaster. Dates for shows in Boston and New York were announced earlier this month. And it came as a pleasant surprise when Charlotte was added among the handful of cities yesterday. She'll play here on January 8 and the following day at The Orange Peel in Asheville, then at Music Farm in Charleston on January 12.

The video for "Ex-Factor," one of my favorite songs by Lauryn Hill.

Hopefully Ms. Hill does better than she has in recent shows, in which she's a cancelled a few dates or reportedly shown up late. And it's not particularly a good thing that her Charlotte show was announced less than three weeks before it's scheduled to take place. I don't think it'll be difficult for her to sell out Amos' though, considering all of the people who will be looking forward to seeing her perform live in person for the first time in their adult lives. Tickets are $55 in advance and went on sale this morning.

I'm rooting for Lauryn Hill's comeback. Music needs her. And every artist from Kanye West and Drake to Beyonce and Alicia Keys will tell you how much she influenced them. There has yet to be another artist who is as equally talented as both a singer and rapper as her. Maybe after a great run of shows in 2011, she'll finally give us another album.

You can get showtime details and purchase tickets by visiting or by going directly to the Etix link where they're being sold.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I'd like to consider myself an authority on all things party in Charlotte. No, you won't catch me in the club every night, but you'll often find me at the events and venues that are worth my time...and yours. Plus, I've been writing about Charlotte's nightlife scene long enough that I know who the good (and bad) promoters are, which nightclubs are popping on which nights, and the types of crowds you can usually expect when you attend certain functions. My friends often email or text me asking me for suggestions when they're looking to go out. Now, I'm sharing that insight with you all a few times each week on Dusk Till Dawn, my new nightlife blog for Charlotte magazine.

The blog has been up for about a week and a half, and with a handful of posts under the belt I think you can start to get a feel of what to expect. Plus, you can read my inaugural post, where I outline what I'll be blogging about on the regular.

Today, I featured a post I'm particularly proud of and one I hope you will find extremely useful. I've given you my top picks of New Year's Eve parties in Charlotte, "NYE in CLT." That's the kind of service I look forward to providing you--making it easier for you to know which parties and social events are worth your time and money. Rather than posting long lists of events going on, I'll comb through the clutter to hopefully make your nightlife decisions easier. And on the occasion that I do give you a long list, you can still count on me highlighting my recommendations.

So bookmark and visit often. Tell your friends to do so as well.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

You can often tell a passionate college sports fan by his car--adorned with signature team license plates, bumper stickers, window decals, and the ever-present flags dangling above the car doors on game day. Now you can step it up a level with Mirror Pride, a rear view mirror cover that's in your favorite college team's color and prominently features its logo on the backside.

I have to get one of these as a proud South Carolina Gamecock alum and fan.

Mirror Pride covers are made of a stretch polyester material that slide over your side rear view mirrors and fasten in place with a draw string. So you can easily put them on during the week of a big game or keep them on all season long. For fans traveling to college football bowl games over the next couple of weeks, this can be a great way to show your team spirit. And you'll probably be among the growing crowd who's learning of this new fan fare.

Mirror Pride has only been around a few months after officially launching Labor Day weekend at a Clemson University home football game. The product was created by J&M Imports, Inc., whose partners, J.P. Michaud and Mike Smoak, are Clemson alumni. Both men also live here in Charlotte.

The creators of Mirror Pride live in Charlotte and are Clemson graduates. I won't hold the latter against them.

J.P. and Mike say they came up with the idea over the summer while visiting South Africa for the World Cup. They saw several products representing numerous countries' national flags and decided they needed to do something to showcase their beloved Clemson Tiger Paw. Soon after, Mirror Pride was born. With official collegiate licensing for their product, they first created the covers for South Carolina teams: Clemson, South Carolina, and the Citadel. With growing popularity, they quickly added North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, and a few other major college teams.

The company has recently partnered with Logo Products, Inc. to sell all universities and has plans to soon launch MLB and NBA teams.

Mirror Pride is sold for $14.99 per pair and can be ordered online at (plus $5 for shipping and handling). It's also begun being carried at select retail locations.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Michael Jordan and his Jordan Brand are releasing the Air Jordan 11 Retro on Thursday, December 23, and it looks like MJ is taking my advice. I've written about Jordan often on here, but there's one particular post from more than two years ago that shows me he's a Grown People Talking reader (yeah, right). In August 2008 leading up to the release of his highly anticipated Jordan Six Rings sneaker, I said, "We need to have special release parties in Charlotte, signings at local sneaker stores, Jordan Brand fashion shows—something." Well, we're having "something" next Thursday.

The Jordan 11 Retro shoes will be released during a special event at the Charlotte Bobcats Team Store inside Time Warner Cable Arena (333 E. Trade St.). You'll be able to purchase a pair of the Jordan 11's while supplies last. And Bobcat players Gerald Wallace, D.J. Augustin, and just-added-to-the-event Stephen Jackson will be there signing autographs. There will also be music by DJ Complete, so it's going to be an afternoon sneaker party, y'all.

The event takes place in the main lobby at the arena (enter from the Fifth Street side), and fans/customers will be allowed to begin lining up at 12 p.m. with the shoes going on sale at 2 p.m. The players will sign autographs from 2-3 p.m. And currently, you can enter to win a pair of the Jordan 11's autographed by Jordan himself, by visiting the contest page on Facebook.

While I would like to take credit for this event, it's more likely that Jordan is doing stuff like this now that he's majority owner of the Bobcats and calling all the shots. When Bob Johnson was majority owner and Jordan had a small percentage of the team, I don't think he felt obligated to leverage so much of his brand and resources. But now with him owning more than 70 percent of the franchise, he needs to put a lot of eggs in this basket to make the venture profitable. I want to see him succeed because if he does, the team does, and so does the city.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This is a bit of a departure from what I typically blog about here on Grown People Talking. But it's in honor of a great, young man who lost his life too soon.

Around this time a year ago tonight, December 14, 2009, I received a call from my mom saying that she'd just heard that my cousin Kemper Holiday* had been shot and killed. She didn't want to believe it, and neither did I. He was one of the last people you'd expect to hear this had happened to. But sadly, it was true. In this age of mobile phones and text messages, we were all getting the news seemingly minutes after the shooting had taken place.

Kemper was just 23 years old. While that age made him an adult, I still thought and think of him as a kid because I grew up with his older brother Felepe. Felepe, my twin brother Marvis, and I were inseparable as kids. And Kemper was his little brother who looked up to him a lot and often followed us around when we'd be at their house or in their neighborhood. So most of my memories of Kemper are from his youth, but over the years I watched him grow into a talented, young man.

Kemper Holiday.

He developed an amazing talent for music. At a young age, he began singing in his mom's gospel choir. And as a teenager, he became minister of music at a local church, a position that showcased his talent to many. He became the go-to guy to sing and play keyboard at weddings, funerals, and special events. Kemper was also an aspiring rapper who had a knack for harmonies and songwriting that helped him make a name for himself.

The last time I saw him, I believe, was in March of last year. He lived in our hometown, Rembert, SC, where we all grew up. Marvis called him up one day because we were planning a memorial service for two of our childhood friends and classmates who died in a car accident in March 1999. We knew that the 10-year-anniversary of that was approaching last year so we wanted to honor their memories and their families by getting everyone together for an evening in Rembert. Marvis asked Kemper if he would provide the entertainment because we felt he would be perfect for this event that we knew would be part-somber, part-celebratory. He agreed, and that night he added the perfect touch to the event. As he’d done so many times, he sang songs that provided comfort to people.

That was the gift Kemper had. He was the gift a group of senseless thugs took away one year ago, one night in Rembert. My hometown is small, but violence happens anywhere, and far too much violence happens there. Kemper was in the wrong place at the wrong time when a home invasion took place. A shootout ensued, even though he wasn’t armed. He was the only one who lost his life.

A few weeks ago, while we were back home during the Thanksgiving holiday, we went to see Kemper's parents. His mom, Pat, greeted us at the door, saying that she was happy to see us and that we must have known she was struggling today. It was a sad day because it was their first Thanksgiving without Kemper, who lived with them up until the time of his death. Last Thanksgiving, both of her sons were home--Felepe was visiting from Atlanta--and it was a joyous occasion. This Thanksgiving, with Kemper no longer with us and Felepe in Colorado for work, Pat was having a tough time dealing. I'm glad we were able to visit her for about an hour. We sat in the living room talking, while James was asleep around the corner in the den.

Sitting there was my first time hearing Pat recap Kemper's last day. She talked about events of that day from when she'd last seen him that morning up until that night when she received the call no mother ever wants to get. Her eyes welled up the entire time she was talking, but she remained strong and composed.

The most touching moment, though, is when she talked about how different life is now without Kemper. How she still often expects that he'll come walking through the door. She said that they'd recently sold his car because it became too painful seeing it parked under the carport each day. One day, she'd pulled into the driveway and saw his car and said to herself, "Oh, Kemper's home already," thinking that he'd gotten home from work early. But the instance his name passed her mind, she snapped back to reality, realizing that Kemper's car was there, but he wasn't home. Nor would he ever be again. When she told that story, I felt my emotions building. It was hurt mixed with anger. I began to think that every young man who walks around here carrying guns, having no regard for life, should have to sit and watch a mother tell this story. How would they feel if it was their mother telling this story?

We walked over to speak to James, who in Thanksgiving tradition had fallen asleep on the couch watching a football game. He hugged us and began talking about how tough this holiday was without Kemper. He shared stories about how he's learned how his son impacted so many people's lives in just 23 years.

Several members of Kemper's family gathered last year during Christmas, less than a week after his funeral.

I think about Kemper often. Even though I hadn't seen him much over the last few years, I think about him because I know he should still be here living his life. But God had other plans. And Kemper's family has some of the strongest faith I've ever seen, so we're all comforted in knowing that they are comforted by that.

Okay, that's where I should end this. But since this is my blog and I say what I want, I'll say this. This past year, I've gone back to my hometown the fewest number of times I ever have since I moved away years ago. I've always lived less than two hours away (Charlotte and Augusta are about equal distance from there, and before that I was in college in Columbia, which is even closer), but I didn't realize this until recently. After Kemper died, something changed in how I see my hometown. While he lost his life that night, the guys he was with, some who are his cousins and friends, and some who I grew up with, haven't learned the lessons of that night. Kemper was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there are too many wrong places in these times we're living in. And it's happening to too many young black males in small towns like Rembert, SC, and big cities all over this country. How many young black men do we have to lose before young black men decide they want a better future for themselves; a different future for their mothers?

Earlier this year, Pat launched the Kemper Brennen Holiday Memorial Scholarship Fund in her son's honor, giving an initial $5,000 in October to Allen University in Columbia, where Kemper had attended. Contributions can be mailed in the scholarship's name to 8080 Black River Road, Rembert, SC 29128.

Kemper's in a better place. We all try to remind ourselves of that, even though it's hard. And I'm thankful for the memories I have of him.

*Some of my relatives spell Holliday with two L’s and some spell Holiday with one. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Today's New York Times features a rundown of the pros and cons of the four cities that are finalists to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The Times leads off with Charlotte (referencing Mayor Anthony Foxx) in the article, "Cities Compete for 2012 Democratic Convention," and it links to mini-profiles of each of the cities, which also include Cleveland, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. Having grown up in a small town in South Carolina, where nothing major ever really happened, I tend to be a fan of big, shiny events coming to the city in which I live. If it was up to me, Charlotte would host the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Game, Summer Olympics, Comic-Con, NAI Auto Show, and a few others all in one year. Okay, that's absurd. But what's not absurd is Charlotte's chances at hosting the coveted DNC, which would pump tens of millions of dollars into the local economy and literally place the city on the world's stage.

After reading The New York Times' breakdown and their "Pick It" and "Skip It" criteria, I would say that if Charlotte doesn't win the bid, the next likeliest choice is St. Louis. But if it came down to CLT and STL (as it has been rumored to be), we should remind Obama and 'em that St. Louis was recently ranked as the most dangerous city in America. I'm surprised the Times didn't mention that in the "Skip It" category.

As the newspaper points out, Democrats were expected to make an announcement this month regarding the host city. Who knows if it will happen by then, which could be a heckuva Christmas present for the Queen City.

If you didn't know, months ago Charlotte boosters created a website to publicize their efforts to attract the DNC. You can find it at, which includes links to their social media sites.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thanks Duke Energy for the Free Light Bulbs

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/12/2010 No comments
Last spring, Duke Energy announced that it would mail a coupon for a free six-pack of 13-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. I received my coupon in April, I think, and I had something like six weeks or so to redeem it at Walmart for the free bulbs. Of course, whenever I went to Walmart I would never have the coupon with me; then eventually I lost it. Then last month, when I went online to pay my electric bill, a screen popped up for me to redeem my free CFLs. I clicked yes, and about 10 days later a box of 15 CFLs arrived at my door.

Eight of the bulbs are 13-watt, which is equivalent to a 60-watt standard bulb, and seven of them are 20-watt, equivalent to 75-watt. After the box sat for about two weeks, I finally started switching them out yesterday. According to Duke Energy, each CFL saves about $30 in electricity costs in its lifetime, lasts six to 10 times longer, produces 75 percent less heat, and prevents more than 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime. With all those benefits--financially and environmentally, why wouldn't anyone switch to these bulbs?

Unless you're worried that the energy company is working with a secret agency inside the federal government and have installed tiny cameras and microphones inside each bulb to spy on you, you should take advantage of this offer if you live in the Carolinas. Click here to see if you're eligible.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rolled Cigars in a Rolling Lounge

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/10/2010 No comments
Lashes and MustASHES has hit Charlotte. The portable, luxury cigar lounge-on-wheels is here for a few days. I visited it Wednesday night as it set up shop outside Luna Lounge. Lashes and MustASHES is housed in a silver RV known as the "Land Yacht," where guests come inside to smoke some of the finest cigars amongst leather seating, flatscreen TVs, and music. It's an intimate party that can attach itself to a party.

Photos by Jon Strayhorn/Media Arts Collective.

Based in Atlanta and owned by Joyce Larkins, Lashes and MustASHES is a great concept and should be a good fit for Charlotte. Since you can't smoke at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in North Carolina anymore (unless it's a licensed cigar bar, which there are few), the mobile lounge allows cigar aficionados to get their fix away from those who don't want to experience the thick clouds of smoke. Wednesday night, guests bounced back and forth from Luna with drinks in hand, as they kicked back inside the Land Yacht. Joyce was selling cigars left and right to the eager crowd.

Lashes and MustASHES will be making stops in Charlotte through Sunday, with plans to tailgate at Sunday's Carolina Panthers home game against the Atlanta Falcons. Keep up with the rolling lounge on Facebook. And for more details on its services, visit

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

UPDATE: A second casting call for Homeland has been added, scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 4-7 p.m. at Carolina Mall in Concord. Click here for details.

There's a casting call being held locally this Friday for a new Showtime pilot called Homeland, the Charlotte Regional Film Commission announced yesterday. The casting call is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. at Plaza Fiesta Carolinas in Fort Mill, which is near the Charlotte border. Last month, Showtime announced that Claire Danes had signed on to play the lead in the one-hour drama.

Claire Danes.

In addition to Emmy Award-winner Danes, there's plenty of star power behind the scenes with this pilot. Homeland is being produced and co-written by Howard Gordon, former 24 and The X-Files executive producer and writer, while Dexter director Michael Cuesta is directing. Gideon Raff, Homeland’s creator, based the show on his Israeli TV series Prisoners of War.

The casting call is part of the pre-production work 20th Century Fox Television is currently in town doing. According to the Charlotte Regional Film Commission, the studio is planning to begin shooting the pilot in the area at the beginning of the year and if it's picked up as a series by Showtime, there's a possibility it could continue shooting here.

Click here for more details on the casting call, including a link to a downloadable PDF of a talent profile that's suggested you fill out if you're planning to audition.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A month ago, I shared my views on the Carolina Panthers' TV schedule ("Monday Morning QB: No More Televised Panthers Games this Season, Please"). Four Sundays and four losses later, it's even more painful to watch the Panthers play. I'm a fan, for the record.

In looking through the photo gallery posted by The Charlotte Observer, this one, particular photo sums up the frustration Panthers players have with this one-win season. Observer photographer David T. Foster III snapped shots of the players heading to the tunnel after losing to the Seattle Seahawks yesterday. Looks like Steve Smith let his emotions get the best of him as he leaps in attempt to snatch down a Seahawks fan's sign, which read, "NICE FIRST HALF CAN'T FINISH."



Click here to see more than 30 Observer photos from yesterday's game.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

This Is Gamecock Weekend

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/04/2010 No comments
I'm in Atlanta right now. My brother and I drove down yesterday in support of our South Carolina Gamecocks as they prepare to play the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship. I know the ACC Championship is taking place in Charlotte today--I wish a good time to all those fans. But there's nothing like the SEC right now when it comes to college football.

The Georgia Dome, site of today's SEC Championship Game.

The energy in Atlanta and our hotel is crazy with all the USC and Auburn fans around. The two schools are almost equal distance from Atlanta, so both are being represented heavily. But as far as I'm concerned, this is Gamecock Country!

Some college classmates threw a "Welcome to Atlanta" party last night at 595 North Lounge. It felt like the Russell House parties and Club Y2K all over again (my USC alums from my era know what I'm talking about). There's an after-party tonight at Ten Pin at Atlantic Station (, that I hope turns into a victory celebration for us. I want to see the trophy make its way up I-20 East for its rightful place at Williams Brice!

If you're in Atlanta and want to watch the game with USC fans, I suggest either Fox Sports Grill or Room Service Lounge.

If you're in Columbia, there's an SEC Championship Game Watch Party at Colonial Life Arena. Doors open at 3 p.m., with free admission. Click here for more info.

If you're in Charlotte, the Charlotte Gamecock Club is having a viewing party at The Tavern On Park, beginning at 3 p.m. Click here for more info.

The game airs at 4 p.m. on CBS, live from the Georgia Dome.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Charlotte Chamber held its 2010 Annual Meeting last night at NASCAR Hall of Fame. I attended the event for the first time in 2008 (when Michael Jordan was honored), so I knew to look forward to a great evening. You wouldn't necessarily think that a business event such as this would be entertaining, but there's a reason 1,800 people showed up (at $75 a ticket). The Charlotte Chamber and the teams of creative people they hire to put on the event, once again gave a top-notch performance.

With the theme "Brand New Day," including an opening performance by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (I can still hear the catchy tune in my head), the annual meeting was a celebratory event after a worrisome last couple of years for people in all levels of business. The Chamber touted the number of companies it helped relocate to, expand, or open new offices in Charlotte during the past year, and the number of new jobs created as a result--4,400--reminding us of the big announcements that came in 2010 from Husqvarna, Electrolux, Siemens, Fifth/Third, and others.

And there was another big announcement, saved especially for the event. Shaw Power Group's CEO took the stage and announced that his company would be adding 225 jobs in Charlotte, 80 percent of those being engineering jobs with an average salary of $95,000. The audience was instructed to ring the little gold bells that were placed in our seats. The ringing of the bells was to mirror a practice that has become a tradition at the Chamber whenever a new business announcement is made.

The evening also featured the passing of the gavel from the 2010 Chamber chair, David Darnell of Bank of America, to 2011 chair Pat Rodgers of Rodgers Builders. Carolinas HealthCare System was given the Belk Innovation in Diversity Award. And Leon and Sandra Levine were honored with the Citizen of the Carolinas Award. As the founder of Family Dollar, Leon Levine has amassed a fortune, and he and his wife have given a lot of it away to charities, the arts, and education.

Perhaps the best thing about the program is that it only lasted an hour. So the crowd quickly got to the food. If you've ever been to the Annual Meeting, you know the food offerings are always spectacular. I was actually a little embarrassed as I walked through the crowd with a plate that looked like I didn't want to have to get up for seconds. Complimentary drinks made the cycle complete.
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