Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cam Newton Can Afford a Lot of Haircuts

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/30/2011 1 comment
Now that the NFL lockout has ended, Carolina Panthers number one draft pick Cam Newton signed a four-year, $22 million, all of it guaranteed, contract yesterday. Many of the media outlets are reporting how Cam received far less than last year's number one draft pick, fellow quarterback Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams, who received a six-year, $78 million contract as a rookie, with $50 million guaranteed. If you compare apples to apples, which is the guaranteed money, Cam is getting paid less than half of what Sam got. Cam and all of the 2011 rookies are working under the NFL's new bargaining agreement, a product of the lockout ending, which includes a rookie pay scale that was much needed.

Sam's contract last year was the highest ever for a rookie, and for the past five years or so rookie contracts had really gotten out of hand. If you were drafted in the first round, you were going to get a big payday before you even proved you could play at the next level. And those big contracts could become a heavy burden on a team if the player ended up being a bust. For that, you need to look no further than 2007's number one draft pick, quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who signed a $61 million contract, $32 million guaranteed, with the Oakland Raiders. JaMarcus would go on to play three under-performing, losing seasons with the Raiders before being released by the team. He didn't play in the NFL at all last season and, while still only 25 years old, may never again. But he's made at least $32 million, which is more than a lot of players make during an entire career.

But Cam's not sweating all of that, or at least he's not showing it (ESPN: "No complaints from Cam Newton"). In a press conference today during the start of Panthers training camp at Wofford College, Cam said: "Either way you look at it, I've still got more money than I've ever had." And he also made remarks similar to comments from other top 2011 rookies, like Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, regarding their new pay scale, pretty much saying that if they play the way they're expected to, they'll receive much bigger contracts in the future. Not to mention that Cam has already signed lucrative endorsement deals with brands like Under Armour.

So Cam's not hurting for money, and since arriving to Charlotte he's been doing and saying all the right things. Before leaving to go to Wofford yesterday, he got a haircut on the balcony of his new Charlotte condo. Damian Johnson, co-owner with his twin brother of the local No Grease! Barbershop chain, was the barber of choice, and he posted a few photos on Facebook.

Cam's fresh cut, looking like new money.

The quarterback and his new barber, Damian.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Good Luck Stephen and Ayesha!

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/27/2011 No comments
Stephen Curry and fiancée Ayesha Alexander are getting married this Saturday in Charlotte, where they both grew up. At ages 23 and 22, respectively, I hope these two young lovebirds have a long, happy future together. (And if the NBA continues its lockout, the couple might be able to enjoy a long honeymoon).

Photo via ThanksUSA.

Keep up with the soon-to-be-newlyweds on Twitter--@stephencurry30 and @ayeshaalexander--and see if they share any of their wedded bliss (or wedding jitters). Ayesha tweeted earlier today her excitement about her bachelorette party tonight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Intolerance In Norway Looks Familiar

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/26/2011 1 comment
I avoided watching most of the news coverage over the weekend of the mass bombing and shooting spree that took place in Norway on Friday. Even though it happened in a country where we usually don't hear about any violence, when the story broke it seemed like another tragic account of hate and mass murder that unfortunately dominates world news. Finally, yesterday I began to watch the news stories and read some of the published reports about Anders Breivik and the carnage he left behind (death toll is currently at 76). By Monday, the narrative began to focus on why this maniac did what he did. From what I understand, he wanted to lead a violent revolution against multiculturalism, more specifically Muslim integration, in Europe. A New York Times article sums up the tension that had been building in Norway concerning immigration:
Norway has recently tightened its liberal immigration and asylum rules in the midst of a longstanding debate about assimilation and multiculturalism. Despite Norway’s oil wealth and low unemployment, there has been a growing concern over the increasing size of the Muslim population... But the Muslim population is growing, and Islam is now the country’s second-largest religion. The impact of an increasing, and increasingly visible, Muslim population in a relatively monoethnic, liberal and egalitarian Norway has led to a surge in popularity for the anti-immigration Progress Party, now the second-largest party in Parliament. And it appears to have been one of the triggers to the massacre carried out here on Norway’s white elite. The suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, claims he was compelled to act by the failure of mainstream politicians — including those in the Progress Party — to stem the Islamic tide.
The article goes on to state that Norway’s immigrant population nearly tripled between 1995 and 2010. And I've seen a few news reports of Norwegians interviewed who don't like that so many Muslims have moved into their country of just under five million people.

This all reminded me of a documentary I saw last October during a special screening at Levine Museum of the New South. The film is titled Welcome to Shelbyville and depicts a small Tennessee town that historically was mostly populated by whites and blacks, but in recent years had seen an influx of Latinos and Somali refugees. Because of their Muslim faith, the Somalis are met with increased resistance from the townspeople. Some locals say they feel threatened by them ("they're going to start blowing up in Shelbyville next"), blame them for the overcrowding of schools, and say they bring down property values. Some of the allegations are even published in the local newspaper.

Welcome to Shelbyville reminds us how race, religion, and cultural differences can divide people before they even attempt to get to know or understand each other. What happened in Norway reminds us how far some will go with intolerance and hate. Fortunately, the Shelbyville film shows people in the town making progress--though it is a work in progress. You should watch the 60-minute documentary, directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder along with the BeCause Foundation and Active Voice. After you do, think about your own views on immigrants, who have become our neighbors in Charlotte and throughout the South. You might be able to catch the film airing again soon as part of PBS' Independent Lens series. It's also available on DVD. You can view the trailer below.

For more details, visit

Friday, July 22, 2011

On Q Productions Is Ready for Season 3

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/22/2011 No comments
Charlotte is filled with talented, hard-working people who are helping to nurture and expand the local arts scene. One of those individuals is Quentin "Q" Talley. You've likely heard of this actor, slam poet, musician, and all-around creative guy. He's the founder and artistic director of On Q Productions, which is in residence at N.C. Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

They recently announced the kickoff of the theatre company's third season, "The Sound of Music," with this creative video. Q says the performance was inspired by Janelle Monae's "Tightrope" and Gnarls Barkley's "Transformer." Watch the video below and see Q and company perform on the streets of Uptown.

On Q Productions is currently offering a two-for-one special on season passes. The "Season 3: The Sound of Music Kickoff" concert takes place next Friday, July 29 at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. It's described as a "one-night-only show that will feature amazing musical talents who will share their instrumental and vocal gifts with the Charlotte community as they interpret each genre in the season." Local singer and Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam artist Rudy Currence is the headliner (his new single, "Cold Hands Warm Heart," is available on iTunes), and the event is being hosted by Q and fellow slam poet Bluz. For more details, visit

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I just clicked on it a few minutes ago and there are still seats remaining for the free, advance screening of The Help, scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday, July 21), 7 p.m. at Regal Ballantyne (14815 John J Delaney Drive). The screening is being presented in partnership with the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment (NABFEME), and you can see it nearly three weeks before the DreamWorks movie officially opens in theaters. Also, before the 7 p.m. screening is held, there will be a dessert reception 5-6:30 p.m.

Coincidentally, I talked to a friend tonight who's reading the book that the movie is based on. Here's the synopsis of the movie according to its website:
Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, The Help stars Emma Stone (Easy A) as Skeeter, Academy Award–nominated Viola Davis (Doubt) as Aibileen, and Octavia Spencer as Minny—three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed—even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.
Click here to register for the Thursday screening (it appears that the online registration will end at noon). The movie officially opens in theaters August 10.
This Saturday, July 23, Lake, Land & Lyrics takes place at Queen’s Landing on Lake Norman, as a fundraiser for Autism Services of Mecklenburg County. The eventful evening features three dinner options (two dinner cruises on the lake and one dinner on land), the Brentson A. Buckner Celebrity Poker Tournament, a concert at the outdoor amphitheater featuring Boyz II Men and Jim Quick & Coastline, and several celebrity guest appearances.

I interviewed Shawn Stockman from Boyz II Men for Creative Loafing. The article was posted online yesterday and you can read it here.

Visit for more details on the event, and buy your tickets today to support this great cause.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Great News Story On Mentoring In Charlotte

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/19/2011 No comments
The latest story in FOX Charlotte's "Reboot Charlotte" series is about mentoring youth ("More People Are Mentoring"). If you aren't familiar with the series, "Reboot Charlotte" is the news station's ongoing chronicling of the city as it "emerges from the recession and is thrust onto the world stage with the Democratic National Convention." The segment on mentoring captures an important piece of Charlotte's great philanthropic culture.

FOX Charlotte anchor Morgan Fogarty tells the story of how local people are giving more of their time, at a time when it's more difficult for some to give money. If you've ever volunteered as a mentor to a young person then you likely agree that time is the most valuable thing you can give.

One of the people Morgan interviewed is Katie Black, a wonderful, caring woman who mentors at Druid Hills Elementary School and is actually the person who recruited me. Thanks to Katie, I began mentoring a fourth grader at Druid Hills during the last six weeks of the school year--meeting with him for one hour a week during his lunch and recess period. I plan to continue to be his "lunch buddy" during this upcoming school year. If you would like to learn more about this program, which is a part of Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, email me and I'll gladly tell you more about it: Druid Hills is being expanded from K-5 to K-8 this upcoming school year, so the mentoring program will certainly need more volunteers. It only requires a little of your time and makes a big difference.

Katie Black discusses her mentoring program with Morgan Fogarty.

Another person Morgan interviewed is Brian Willis, president of 100 Black Men of Charlotte, which has the Movement of Youth mentoring program. Brian has a great part in the news clip where he says, "They ask you two questions in Charlotte: what church do you go to and where do you volunteer? And if you don't have an answer, then your conversation is pretty short in this city." I agree wholeheartedly. I've attended several meetings and events during the last six months or so where some very successful people were present and they talked about the importance of volunteering, mentoring, or just overall making a positive difference in the community. We're seeing this come together in a big way with Project L.I.F.T., for example.

Watch the four-minute news video below (or click here to view it).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Some entertainment blogs are reporting that filming for The Hunger Games is headed to Charlotte earlier than originally scheduled. The Lionsgate movie is based on the best-selling, science fiction novel about a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem, where North America once existed. These games are held there, during which one boy and one girl from each district fight to the death. Filming for the movie has been taking place for the past month or so in small towns in North Carolina (such as Shelby), in Asheville, and in the mountains. Charlotte and Concord reportedly are going to be used for the Capitol scenes--Capitol is the city in Panem that's home to the totalitarian government--and filming here was previously announced to "take place on or around Aug. 1-3, 9-12, 15 and 22." It now might begin sooner, so if you see big tractor trailers rolling up in the next few days, this could be why.

Jennifer Lawrence appeared on the cover of the May 27 issue of Entertainment Weekly for its exclusive, first-look coverage of The Hunger Games.

According to IMDB, actors cast in the movie include: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, and more. It will be interesting to see which of the big stars come to Charlotte for the scenes.

The movie is tentatively scheduled to be released in spring 2012. For more on The Hunger Games, visit the following websites:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's that time of year again when you can eat out at a great restaurant without hurting your pockets. The summer installment of Charlotte Restaurant Week began yesterday and runs through next Sunday (July 15-24). Also known as Queen's Feast, and held for ten days twice a year--once in the winter and once in the summer--Charlotte Restaurant Week is as popular as ever. You can tell that by the huge banner hanging in Uptown and by the fact that there are 92 restaurants participating this time, which I think is a record number. When CRW started a few years ago, there would be around 70 restaurants involved.

It's the same deal that people have come to love: a prix fixe, three-course dinner for $30 per person (not including tax and gratuity) at each of the participating restaurants. Plus, several of the restaurants either throw in a fourth course or a glass of wine. Eighteen restaurants in Uptown are participating, which is the most for any section of town. Followed by sixteen in the SouthPark/Park Road/Foxcroft area. There are several participating in Dilworth, south Charlotte, Lake Norman, and a few in Elizabeth, South End, Plaza Midwood, and other neighborhoods around Charlotte.

While there are a lot of top-notch, typically expensive restaurants on the list--Del Frisco's, Upstream, BLT Steak, etc.--I'm more inclined to try some of the places I've heard a lot about but have yet to visit, like Fran's Filling Station, Table 274, 15 North Roadside Kitchen, and Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge.

Go to for all the details, which includes a page for each restaurant and the menu it's offering for the special. You can also become a fan on Facebook (, where you can see people post comments about their experiences.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On Monday night, the story of the disappearance of Kyle Fleischmann aired on national television. His story was depicted in the latest episode of Vanished With Beth Holloway on Lifetime, a show about missing person cases that's hosted by Beth. She, of course, is the mother of one of this country's most famous missing persons, Natalee Holloway. Kyle, a Charlotte man who was 24 years old when he disappeared, is featured in the first half of the one-hour episode, which I watched online tonight.

Kyle's parents with Beth Holloway.

The episode tells you about Kyle's life before he went missing. It then guides you through that November 2007 night when he was last seen leaving Buckhead Saloon in Uptown after 2 a.m. Scenes of Uptown are on full display, and it's a little haunting to see places I often go to or pass by regularly and think that a young man likely lived out the last moments of his life there. The episode also shows how Kyle's family, friends, and the larger community rallied to search for him within a couple of days of him going missing.

Beth interviews Kyle's parents, Dick and Barbara Fleischmann, and it showcases the kind of pain and uncertainty no parent should have to endure but is one Beth can certainly relate to. Throughout the show, a couple of Kyle's friends are also interviewed. FOX Charlotte anchor Morgan Fogarty makes a cameo as well.

A show like Vanished can be heart-wrenching because it's based on true stories, but it's a great platform for bringing attention to missing person cases that have often gone cold. The show's website even has a section where you can submit information on the cases that have been profiled.

Kyle was last seen on November 9, 2007.

The "Help Find Kyle Fleischmann" Facebook group that Kyle's friends set up a couple of days after his disappearance now has nearly 49,000 members. His family is offering $50,000 for information leading to him.

Click here to watch the full episode of Vanished.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I found out about this event this morning and thought I'd share it in hopes that some of you can make it out, because it addresses some important issues. The 2011 Verizon Community Empowerment Tour is in Charlotte today, taking place 12-4 p.m. at Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St. Admission is free.

The event is hosted by gospel radio and TV personality (BET's Lift Every Voice) Cory "CoCo Brother" Condrey and features top gospel artists from Verizon’s How Sweet The Sound, including Brian Courtney Wilson and Wess Morgan. There's also a panel of speakers that includes syndicated radio personality Warren Ballentine, special guest Terrence J from BET's 106 & Park, and community leaders.

The Verizon Community Empowerment Tour offers workshops, speakers, and panel discussions to provide practical solutions to the needs of people and their families. You can expect to receive information on: educating your children, achieving financial freedom, career enhancement, and improving your health and wellness. And one more thing you'll be particularly interested in: they're giving away a $250 cash prize every hour. Click here for more details.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Aspiring singers listen up. Myspace Music and Budweiser are giving you the chance to open up for Jill Scott, Charlotte native Anthony Hamilton, Mint Condition, Doug E. Fresh, and DJ Jazzy Jeff at the 2011 Budweiser Superfest tour, billed as "Jill Scott's Summer Block Party." The opening act competitions take place about a week before each of the 12 selected concert tour stops in July and August, from D.C. to Dallas, including Charlotte. The opening act competition here is scheduled for August 16, and the concert is August 24 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

Here's how to enter the contest to become the opening act for your local market. You must be 21 years old or older; and go to, fill out the contest form, and upload a video of you singing one of two songs acapella: "One Last Cry" or "Sweet Thing." The submission deadline for the Charlotte show is July 28. A select number of contestants will be chosen to compete at the showcase on August 16, and the local winner will receive $5,000 and the opening slot at the tour stop on August 24. Plus, each of the local winners from the 12 cities will then be voted on in another competition, with the national prize winner receiving $25,000.

In this video below, DJ Knuckles explains the contest rules.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

As millions of people nationwide continue to express their opinions (mostly outrage) on Casey Anthony being found not guilty of murder yesterday, I'm reminded of an interview I conducted in 2009. I talked to renowned forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs for the May 2009 issue of Charlotte magazine. Kathy, who lives in Charlotte, is, of course, a best-selling author and a producer for the FOX television series Bones, which is based on her books.

Kathy Reichs, right, on the set of Bones with actress Emily Deschanel.

A few months prior to our interview, she'd been hired as a forensic expert by Casey Anthony's defense team, and she examined the remains of two-year-old Caylee Anthony. She told me she was expecting to be called to testify once the trial got underway, but I had no idea it would be two years until the trial actually began (I don't think she expected it would take that long either).

Click here to read the Charlotte magazine article, "Lovely Bones."

And below is a video clip of Kathy appearing on Piers Morgan Tonight last night. I see parallels to what she told me before the trial began and what she says here after.

Free Tennis Lessons for Beginners

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/06/2011 No comments
MatchMaker Tennis is offering free tennis classes for beginners throughout the summer. The next session is this Saturday, 10 a.m. at Freedom Park in Dilworth, 1900 East Blvd. The classes are open to adults and all you have to do is sign up on their website and show up with a tennis racquet. Visit for more details or go directly to their events calendar.

I attended this MatchMaker Tennis class last summer (that's me on the far left). Gotta work on my form. Photo via

This Saturday, the instructor will be teaching the serve and forehand; next Saturday, it's the backhand and volley. I attended a couple of classes last summer and really enjoyed it. Tennis is certainly a sport of skill, but you'll be comfortable at these beginner classes because most of the other attendees are just as uncoordinated and green as you. Plus, this could be a way for you to get in some exercise. If you're more seasoned or want to become more active, you should consider becoming a member of MatchMaker Tennis, for $15 a month, and you can participate in leagues, clinics, social events, and more.
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