Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween, Jay and 'Ye, and Demons

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/29/2011 No comments
It's Halloween weekend. If you're a kid, you're probably getting your costume ready to go trick-or-treating. If you're an adult, you're probably getting your costume ready to go clubbing. For all you Grown People in Charlotte, I've got you covered. Over on my Dusk Till Dawn nightlife blog on CharlotteMagazine.com, I've compiled a list of 20 of the best Halloween parties taking place through Monday. Since the majority of the Halloween parties are going on tonight (I've listed nearly a dozen for Saturday night alone), I wanted to drop this quick note to direct you to the list.


I probably won't have time to partake in any Halloween fun this weekend because I'm headed to Columbia today to see family, and then to Greensboro tomorrow to see Jay and 'Ye. Yes sir, my brother and I are going to the Watch The Throne concert Sunday. As if it wasn't cool enough that Jay-Z and Kanye West, my two favorite rappers, made an entire album together, now I get to see them in what could be the concert of the year. Since the tour just kicked off last night in Atlanta, we'll be among the first to see it.


This will be my second time seeing Jay-Z in concert--the first was also in Greensboro in 2008 when he toured with Mary J. Blige (I wish he'd start choosing to tour in Charlotte). But this will be my first time seeing Kanye in concert--I didn't see him when he came to Charlotte in 2008 with his Glow in the Dark Tour, but I was lucky enough to go to the official after-party that night at what was then HOM nightclub.

Back to Halloween, if you're looking to be frightened and to get in the spirit (or for the spirit to get in you), check out these short Demon Cam video clips. FOX Charlotte weatherman Reg Taylor created these demonic visuals of his fellow news anchors with the Demon Cam app on his phone and posted them onto his Facebook page. It's amazing what you can do with smart phone apps these days. In the videos below, you'll see Morgan Fogarty (who's also on the cover of Creative Loafing's Halloween-themed issue this week), Ramona Holloway, and Reg each transform into demons.

Morgan
video

Ramona
video

Reg
video


Friday, October 28, 2011

J. Cole Is Having the Best Week Ever

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/28/2011 No comments
A month after his debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, hit stores and eventually went on to reach number one on the Billboard charts in its first week, J. Cole continues to ride high. The rapper from Fayetteville has had many great, well-deserved opportunities come his way recently thanks to his chart-topping success and Roc Nation support. But I'd like to go on the record as saying the reason J. Cole is having the Best Week Ever (remember how VH1 used to do it?) is because on Wednesday, Beyonce the Great debuted her new video for "Party" and J. Cole has a featured verse and appears in the video.


The version of the song in the video is actually a remix of sorts, in that J. Cole has replaced Andre 3000, who appears on the album version. There are all kinds of rumors circulating as to why the reclusive Outkast rapper didn't appear in the video--and his name was a trending topic on Twitter for two days because of it--but his omission has been to J. Cole's advantage. And I don't think it would be a stretch to say that Mr. Cole World benefited from the fact that his label boss Jay-Z is married to Beyonce. Nevertheless, J. Cole shined during his brief verse and appearance in the video.

He even shouts out his home state when he raps: "We out in Abu Dhabi, we like to party. / We don’t cause trouble, we just ride Bugatti. / Bad chick shawty, sorta resemble Sade. / Imported her in from Raleigh, and pulled up into the valet.”


The "Party" video has averaged more than a million views a day since debuting, and I have to say that I'm loving the song and video. It just puts me into a feel-good mood. Even though Beyonce has no reason to go to a trailer park other than to shoot this video, she captures the spirit that people can have a good time and enjoy life even if they don't have a lot by society's standards.

Keep up with J. Cole at www.jcolemusic.com.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wells Fargo, which recently completed its conversion of Wachovia signs and banking locations to Wells Fargo nationwide with Charlotte and North Carolina being the final changeovers this month, is throwing the largest cultural arts festival I think this city has ever seen. The Wells Fargo Community Celebration takes place this Saturday in Uptown Charlotte, featuring more than 60 performances and events, and it's all free to the public.


Wells Fargo, which now employs about 20,000 people in Charlotte and nearly 30,000 in the state thanks to its acquisition of Wachovia, has partnered with the Arts & Science Council (ASC) and Charlotte Center City Partners for this all-day celebration. There will be live art demonstrations, a street festival featuring LEGO sculptures, a chalk art competition, stage plays, dance shows, and concerts such as those by Nicci Canada and headlining act, jazz great Branford Marsalis.

Branford Marsalis headlines the celebration Saturday. Credit: facebook.com/branfordmarsalis.

Wells Fargo is also underwriting free admission into several Uptown cultural facilities on Saturday, including: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Discovery Place, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, Levine Museum of the New South, McColl Center for Visual Art, The Light Factory, and more. Plus, the celebration will commemorate the opening of the Wells Fargo History Museum in Three Wells Fargo Center, which honors Charlotte and North Carolina's rich banking heritage in addition to telling the history of the San Francisco-based bank.

The main hub for the activities will be the Levine Center for the Arts, so you'll want to make your way there Saturday as a starting point. CATS Gold Rush, the free center city trolley on wheels, is operating a special route to help attendees maneuver easily to the various facilities and events. You can find a detailed list of all of Saturday's events here on the ASC's website, including this printable event guide and information on parking.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mayor Foxx Is Leading 'Souls to the Polls'

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/26/2011 No comments
Souls to the Polls takes place this Sunday, October 30, 2-4 p.m. at Holly Plaza. It's a community event, supported by local churches, to encourage early voting. Mayor Anthony Foxx will be on hand along with other dignitaries and local Democratic candidates seeking office or re-election. There will also be music, free food, and WGIV will broadcast live.

A volunteer at a recent Foxx campaign event. Credit: Meredith Jones/facebook.com/AnthonyFoxx09.

Holly Plaza is located on the corner of Holly Street and Beatties Ford Road, next to the Beatties Ford Library, 2300 Beatties Ford Road. This library is one of several locations around Charlotte and Mecklenburg County where you can vote early any day until November 5. The Souls to the Polls event, in particular, will encourage people to vote after attending church service on Sunday. Click here for a list of early voting locations and hours.

Election day is November 8. Visit www.meckboe.org for answers to any questions you might have regarding voting in Mecklenburg County.

Below is a video of Mayor Foxx greeting voters on the first day of early voting last week.


Bobcats Keeping It Hot During NBA Lockout

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/26/2011 No comments
The NBA season was supposed to start next week, but we've known for a while that wasn't going to happen. As the lockout carries on and rumors surface that commissioner David Stern is about to cancel another two weeks of the regular season--eliminating more than 100 games through November 28--I applaud the Charlotte Bobcats for keeping fans engaged. Even without players, the franchise has been holding events for fans as well as conducting contests and giveaways through social media. They're currently giving away free stuff from the "Time Warner Cable Arena Closet."

And this week, the 2011-12 Lady Cats Swimsuit Calendar went on sale. Bobcats staff have been posting behind-the-scenes photo galleries of the calendar shoot on bobcats.com and facebook.com/bobcats.

Behind-the-scenes calendar shot of Lady Cat Rhema. Credit: bobcats.com.

While we won't have any Bobcats games to watch on TV anytime soon, FOX Sports Carolinas is airing a behind-the-scenes episode of the Lady Cats Swimsuit Calendar on Thursday, November 3 at 9 p.m. The Lady Cats are hosting calendar release parties that night at the EpiCentre: at Mez from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and at Whisky River from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Click here for more info on and photos of the Lady Cats.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Angie Harmon is prolific on Twitter (@Angie_Harmon), at least that's the impression I got when I began following her yesterday. She might have been in a particularly festive social networking mood because she tweeted 133 times Sunday (some were retweets of other people's). Yes, I counted.

The beautiful model-turned-actress moved to Charlotte a little more than a year ago with her husband, retired NFL player Jason Sehorn, and their three daughters. From people I know who have run into her here, they say she's very approachable. And that kindness seems to carry over onto Twitter.


While Angie probably equaled or surpassed her weight in tweets Sunday, about half of them were replies to her fans, which she refers to as her #Twangels. She actually started the day by replying to a tweet from NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) in which he tells her and mutual friend Barry Byrd to "Don't forget the bottle of Captain. Glow=Captain." She replies, "& a club to the inner thighs." That appears to be an insiders' joke/conversation, but it's pretty cool that they're having it on Twitter.

Her final tweet of the day came at 11:59 p.m. Angie responded to Samantha Hudson (@SamluvsParis), whose Twitter bio says she's "18 years old. Single mom of a beautiful 10 month old girl. Loving life." Samantha tweets: "@Angie_Harmon My baby girl's gonna become a boxer or a baseball player. She keeps hitting me or throwing stuff at me :( What can I do?" Angie replies: "@SamluvsParis gently take put her hand in urs & tell her no & that it hurts u... Then admire her strong personality! ;)"

It doesn't get sweeter or more sincere than that from a celebrity, ladies and gentlemen.

Angie currently stars in TNT's Rizzoli & Isles, which returns November 28.

Friday, October 21, 2011

American Roadside is holding its grand opening this Saturday, October 22. It's an all-day event to celebrate the burger joint's expansion into the Southeast--up until this point it's only location has been in Smithtown, New York. Now there's an American Roadside in Uptown Charlotte, and another one is scheduled to open in SouthPark in the spring. Curiously, there are a few businesses--restaurants, boutiques, and others--that for years had only one location, but recently have made Charlotte the first market they've expanded into (I'll blog about a couple of those others soon). I guess they're recognizing Charlotte is a hot city.

Credit: Facebook.com/AmericanRoadsideBurgers.

Located in the Ally Bank building in Uptown, American Roadside opened at the beginning of this week. I'm sure many of the people who work in the shiny South Tryon buildings around it (Ally, Duke Energy Center, the multiple arts venues and museums that make up the Levine Center for the Arts, etc.) have been checking it out all week. This Saturday is a great time for all of you to give it a visit.

The grand opening event goes from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and there will be food and drink specials all day, such as $1 American Roadside drafts, $1.50 bottled domestics, a free side item with the purchase of a burger and drink, and free ice cream for the kids. There will also be live music on the patio and a display of classic cars and motorcycles.

American Roadside, 440 S. Church St., 704-335-3352, www.americanroadside.com, www.facebook.com/AmericanRoadsideBurgers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

MENCONNECT Kick-Off Breakfast this Saturday

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/20/2011 No comments
The MENCONNECT 2011-2012 Kick-Off Breakfast takes place this Saturday, October 22 and if you're an adult male in Charlotte who wants to volunteer as a mentor or tutor to make a positive difference in a young boy's life, then you should come see what this program is all about. You'll be served a free, delicious breakfast so what do you have to lose? The event takes place 10-11:30 a.m. at the Charlotte Scottish Rite Building, 4740 Randolph Road.


MENCONNECT is an initiative of Communities In Schools that creates opportunities for positive males in the community to connect with students at four local schools--Berryhill School, Druid Hills Academy, Hidden Valley Elementary, and Thomasboro Academy--to develop long-term mentoring relationships.

I started volunteering with the program last spring when I began mentoring a fourth grader at Druid Hills during the last month and a half of the school year. I would come to his school and have lunch with him once a week. I found that time I spent with him to be very rewarding and not demanding on my schedule at all, and I have continued to be his lunch buddy this school year.

I plan to attend the breakfast this Saturday and hope that several of you will join me there.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meet CMS School Board Candidates Monday

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/16/2011 No comments
Three at-large seats on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education are on the ballot during next month's election. None of the incumbents are running and there are 14 candidates vying for those three positions--that's a lot of options to choose from. Come meet, hear from, and ask questions to several of those candidates at The Community's Forum, this Monday, October 17, 6 p.m., at West Charlotte High School (2219 Senior Drive).

I know a lot of you will go to the polls next month with plans to vote for mayor and city council, but you won't know a thing about a single person running for school board. Monday's event is your opportunity to get informed. These are the people who make the decisions that impact your children's future--or if you're like me and don't have any children, then you should understand the importance to the community as a whole. Remember, it was the school board that decided what forms of testing would be used in the schools; that decided which schools would close this year because of budget cuts; that makes policy decisions that affect students and teachers; that will hire the new superintendent for CMS next year.


The Community's Forum is open to the public, and being presented by the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists (CAABJ) and the Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. WBTV’s Brigida Mack will host.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Carolinas artist is shining on BET's 106 & Park Freestyle Friday competition. Charlotte rapper Yung Nut won this evening, making that five wins in a row in the weekly battle of MCs. Yung Nut (what a name, right) can now put his feet up for a few months because the fifth win qualifies him for the March Mayhem tournament that takes place next year. About ten or so of the top rappers from the past year's Freestyle Friday battles will face-off in a tournament bracket-style competition for several weeks until there's only one rapper left standing, whom will be crowned the champion and receive cash, recording opportunities, and other prizes.

Blind Fury, from Lugoff, South Carolina (near my hometown; I worked in Lugoff as a teen), won the championship earlier this year. You might have seen Fury rapping in one of the coveted cyphers during the BET Hip-Hop Awards on Tuesday night. That's one of the opportunities the overall Freestyle Friday champion gets, and is what Yung Nut will be gunning for next year.

On 106 & Park Friday, Yung Nut wore the late Chris Henry's jersey, and paid tribute to the Cincinnati Bengals player who died in Charlotte during an accident in December 2009.

Below are two videos from tonight's Freestyle Friday segment.



Going to See Risks Taken and Dreams Made

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/14/2011 No comments
TEDxCharlotte 2011 is upon us, taking place this Saturday, October 15 at Queens University. The theme for the second annual event is “Risk-takers and Dream-makers” and since this will be my first TED event, I'm looking forward to seeing firsthand what it's all about.

A couple of days ago I saw a young lady on Twitter asking if anyone wanted to sell their ticket to TEDxCharlotte, which made me LOL because clearly she didn't know how the process worked. You had to apply by late August and then invitations went out to selected people a couple of weeks later. Invitations weren't transferable.

If you're not attending, you can still follow the TEDxCharlotte action Saturday via Twitter. The conference is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and during that time I guarantee you'll find dozens of people live tweeting using the pre-advertised #TEDxCLT hashtag--it's a TED event so this is definitely a Twitter and social media crowd.

And one other cool thing is there's TEDxtra--an after-party, 5-7 p.m., at Butter NC (950 Seaboard St. at NC Music Factory). It's free admission, there will be TEDxCharlotte drink specials, and music by DJ Edouard.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Speaking At the WU Tonight

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/12/2011 No comments
I'm speaking on a panel tonight at an event being put on by the Winthrop University Association of Black Journalists (WUABJ), a student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). The event is titled "Self Made" and will be a discussion by a group of professionals in media who've ventured out on our own. I was happy to accept the invitation to speak. I enjoy talking to young people (keeps me young) and always hope that I can at least share one piece of advice or tip they find useful. Plus, I enjoy visiting college campuses because it usually takes me back to memories of the best four years of my life (shout to my alma mater, USC; Go Gamecocks!).


The event takes place tonight (October 12) at 7 p.m. at the DiGiorgio Campus Center (Room 114) at Winthrop. My fellow panelists are Brandi Williams, owner of Studio B Public Relations; Jaye Delai, a veteran broadcaster; and Anne Marie Holder, CEO of Spark Strategic Ideas.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What's up with Occupy Charlotte?

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/09/2011 No comments
I've been following the national news coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement over the last three weeks or so. And as the rallies and protests spread from New York to other major cities like Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles, so did the national media's inclusion of those cities in its coverage. But I hadn't been hearing any mention of Charlotte. Surely the citizens of this country's second largest banking city would get involved, right?

Well, the Occupy Charlotte movement appears to have been quietly building momentum for about two weeks, and this past week and this weekend made its biggest showing yet. An estimated 500 protesters gathered in Uptown Saturday and marched from the old City Hall on East Trade Street to the Bank of America headquarters on Tryon Street. Some even slept outside overnight to continue the rally today. So Charlotte's efforts finally got mentioned in news stories by The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, and others over the last 24 hours.

Supporters of Occupy Charlotte gathered in Uptown Saturday. Photo by Enid Valu.

Occupy Charlotte protesters reportedly will also march to the Charlotte City Council meeting Monday. So you'll likely see a lot more local coverage in coming days.

Like many of you, I'm curious to see how this movement progresses nationally and what the overall objectives are. I know the participants are largely rallying against the corporate greed that has ruined this economy, but Occupy Wall Street--and the groups that have spun-off--have been criticized for not having a conventional leader nor a clear organizational structure.

As for Charlotte, I'm a little skeptical about the impact the movement will have here because this city does not have a strong history of successful grassroots organization in the name of protests. This has long been a buttoned-up town. And despite what many across the country might say about the evils of the financial industry, the big banks--Bank of America and Wachovia-turned-Wells-Fargo--have done a lot of great things for this city. You don't want to bite the hand that feeds you, but at the same time a lot of people are already starving (and have lost their jobs and homes) because of some of the greedy and shady practices banks and other big corporations engaged in for years.

Keep up with the Occupy Charlotte movement at these links:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Most rappers want to be ball players. And most ball players want to be rappers (or some musician of sorts). So it shouldn't be surprising that NBA star Stephen Jackson is rapping and debuted his first music video this week. But I never knew "Stack Jack" rapped. I guess with the NBA on lockout, he figured now would be a good time to publicly display his other skills.


In a song titled "The Season," Jack is surprisingly good with his lyricism, flow, and delivery, unlike, say, Ron Artest. But I must say I'm disappointed that he would release this video. It contains plenty of foul language and use of the N-word, which, unfortunately is typical of many rap songs. But Jack has often talked about people misjudging or unfairly characterizing him based on some past incidents from early in his career. He would say that he's matured, grown, and become a better person. Well, he's just given the critics more ammo.

He was my second-favorite player for the Charlotte Bobcats over the past two seasons (behind Gerald Wallace) and I was sorry to see him traded to the Milwaukee Bucks over the summer. Back in December 2009, I attended a community event he sponsored as part of his efforts to get to know his new city better. I gave him props on this blog--"Stephen Jackson Does Good"--for donating sweater hats and gloves to kids that day. And he continued to do good deeds in Charlotte.

But Jack, and any other person in his prominent position, has to remember that image is everything. And I'll never respect any rapper for shouting out a gang in a song--Stack Jack, Lil Wayne, Game, none of them.

Seriousness aside, one clever, if not funny, moment from the music video comes when a voiceover of news footage from ESPN's Chris Broussard is played, referencing the lockout by saying "A lot of people feel like they really want to see how players respond when they start losing checks," while Jack is, conveniently, shown counting a large stack of money. He's making about $10 million a year so I certainly can't knock his hustle. I'd just prefer he do better.

Watch the video below (NSFW). And the song is supposedly from a soon-to-be-released mixtape titled What's A Lockout.


Monday, October 3, 2011

This Wednesday evening, October 5, you have the opportunity to be enlightened on some important issues from our country's history that are still prevalent today.

Levine Museum of the New South presents "Para Todos los NiƱos/For All the Children: Access to Education, Then, Now, and in the Future," featuring a conversation with Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Sylvia Mendez and The Honorable Judge Albert Diaz. They'll explore educational access and community equity. The event, sponsored by Norsan Multimedia, takes place 7 p.m. at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, 345 N. College Street. Admission is free.

Sylvia Mendez received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February.

Featured in Levine Museum's current exhibit about the 1946 Mendez v. Westminster School District court case, Sylvia Mendez learned about discrimination at a very young age. When she was eight years old, her parents attempted to enroll her in a local all-white school close to her home. She was denied admission and directed to the all-Mexican school in their California community, a school with significantly fewer resources. Sylvia's parents refused. Her father, Gonzalo Mendez, a Mexican immigrant, and her mother Felicitas Mendez, a Puerto Rican immigrant, decided to sue the school district, The subsequent case Mendez v. Westminster led to a landmark decision in the fight against educational segregation. Many commentators say the case was won largely based on young Sylvia’s testimony.

Admission is free; reservations recommended. To reserve seats, contact 704-333-1887 ext. 240 or lfairbrother@museumofthenewsouth.org.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Last night on her show, Rachel Maddow did what she often does, which is bring to the forefront some of the important issues being faced in cities and states across the country. With her The Rachel Maddow Show each weeknight on MSNBC, she places those issues on a national stage. Maddow, by all definitions, is a liberal, and as much as I respect her as a journalist and admire her brilliance, I think she confronts and challenges the conservative agenda a little too often. But last night was a just cause. And a few Charlotte news stations got some face time during the opening of a particular segment.

During an eight-and-a-half-minute segment, Maddow staked her claim that inalienable rights should not be subject to vote. She addressed how several states have or are seeking to amend their constitutions to ban same-sex marriage, and there's even one that's seeking to ban abortion and perhaps birth control. The segment opened with North Carolina's plan next year to allow voters to decide if same-sex marriage should be banned, and it began with news clips from local stations.

WCNC's Sonja Gantt is shown saying, "Should gay marriage be banned in North Carolina? It could be up to you." Then it cuts to an anchor at WBTV reiterating the fact the N.C. voters will have the chance to decide if there should be an amendment to the state's constitution. Then it's Ramona Holloway of FOX News Edge who steals the show, when shown asking if North Carolina will become a "same-sexy destination" for newcomers. "That may be the year's nominee for most unexpected moment in a local news lead-in," Maddow says. "All hail WCCB (FOX Charlotte) in Charlotte, North Carolina. You win."


Then Maddow reminds us that gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina, like it is in 44 other states, but "North Carolina is the only state in the South that hasn't amended its state constitution to ban gay marriage over and above the ban on it in just normal state law." She asserts that such laws and amendments go against what this country was founded on, the Declaration of Independence. "...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even if your particular brand of happiness is same-sexy happiness," she says.

Maddow goes on to depict what's underway in Mississippi. That state will allow its people to vote next month on a "Personhood Amendment" to decide if they want to change their definition of a person, which, in effect, would ban abortion and, based on the language of the proposed bill, could possibly include banning the right to use birth control. Language from the bill: "The term 'person' or 'persons' shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof."

Maddow further exposes the culture in Mississippi, that most of us probably are shocked to believe exists. In 2004, the same-sex marriage ban was passed with an 86 percent vote of yes by Mississippian voters. That's not surprising, considering most states have passed this ban when they've placed it on the ballot, but wow, a whopping 86 percent. I don't know if such a usually divisive issue would get such an almost unanimous response anywhere else.

But there's more. In March of this year, as Maddow shows, Mississippi Republicans were polled as to whether they think interracial marriage should be legal or illegal. Even though this appeared to be an informal poll, I'm not sure why anyone would conduct it. But Mississippians seemed to show their true colors with 46 percent of them saying interracial marriage should be illegal and 14 percent being unsure; 40 percent said it should be legal, which it already is thanks to something a few decades ago known as the Civil Rights Movement. Maddow sums it up: "So if you ask Mississippi Republicans about interracial marriage in 2011, 60 percent of them think interracial marriage should be illegal or they're not sure. ... This is the political environment in which abortion rights are going to be voted on in November in Mississippi."

Watch the video below from Maddow's segment last night. I respect whatever side of the issues people fall on, but I think this shows the biggest problem with some of this states rights stuff. Once and for all, issues like same-sex marriage need to be decided on a federal level. But most members of U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration--like all presidents before him--don't want to touch it. Instead, they're letting states decide individually. It's an embarrassment to the whole notion of a "United States."

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