Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Look Mom, I'm On a Billboard!

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/29/2012 1 comment
I was honored, and a little nervous, when the good folks at Levine Museum of the New South asked me back in June if I would pose for a new branding campaign they would be unveiling, highlighted by new signage, graphics, and window boxes on the exterior of their building. If you drive or walk past the museum on Seventh or College streets this evening or tomorrow, you'll see many of the new pieces being put into place. One of the first things to go up is this new billboard on the side of the building facing Seventh Street Station parking deck.

The branding makes use of Levine Museum's slogan, "Come To Understand," which it has used for several years, but now presents in a more contemporary way. The museum celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, and this is the first extensive change to the building's exterior since a major fundraising campaign concluded in 2000 with the expansion of the beautiful building you've gotten to know--and come to understand--in Uptown. I think you'll be pleased with these new changes (not just saying this because my likeness is used), which should be completed by this weekend.

New window boxes are under construction. 

Those iconic images in the 12 window boxes facing Seventh and College streets, such as the photos of Joseph Benjamin Ivey, who opened J.B. Ivey and Sons department store in the early 1900s, and Betty Freezor, who hosted a local cooking show on WBTV from the 1950s to 1970s, have been removed and are being replaced with photographs of new people, including myself, and artifacts to showcase the diversity of the New South. Above them, corresponding green-colored boxes are being added showcasing the museum's logo. The building will look especially cool at night, as shown in this architectural rendering below.

UPDATE: Below, me visiting me a few nights later (I promise you I'm not too vain).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

When A Community Comes Together

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/21/2012 No comments
I'm constantly reminded of how there are so many people in Charlotte who are working, volunteering, donating, and doing many great things to help address one of the most challenging issues of our time: how to provide a quality education and learning environment for all children.

I attended a luncheon not quite three weeks ago that the Charlotte Chamber put on at Ballantyne Hotel. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' new superintendent, Dr. Heath Morrison, was the guest speaker. Of the many memorable and encouraging remarks by Dr. Morrison (click here, here, here, here, and here for some of my then-live tweets), one of the things I concur with the most is when he said: I've never seen a business community so ready to roll up its sleeves to help education the way Charlotte does.

A shining example of that was the second annual Back to School Youth EmpowHERment Summit a few weeks ago, put on by T.I.M.E. (Taking Initiative Moving Efficiently), and led by Carrie Cook. I had the privilege of dropping in for the afternoon portion of the all-day event. Carrie rounded up sponsors, presenters, volunteers, entertainment, and more to present an impactful experience to 100 Charlotte girls in grades seventh through 12th. Carrie, since 2009, has worked as a regional liaison for U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, leading the Charlotte office and 14-county area, but it's the many hours of her personal time she devotes to the community, through events like the summit, that is most impressive.

Carrie Cook.

"I already had a passion for working with young girls, but something was saying to me to do more," Carrie says, regarding why she launched the Youth EmpowHERment Summit in 2011. "They need to see that there are a lot of positive, dynamic women in the Charlotte community that they can look to as role models. Because when they look on TV, their role models are [on] Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, and Real Housewives, and Basketball Wives. They need to see that there are women in the community who are roboticists, and engineers, and authors, and professors, nurses, and everything else we had on the panel... But more important than those occupations, these women are servant leaders."

Click here to see hundreds of photos from the Youth EmpowHERment Summit.
Photos by Jon Strayhorn/Media Arts Collective. 

Here are a few upcoming back-to-school events that further exemplify the great efforts by local volunteers, community leaders, and organizations. Please show your support.

Back to School Bash—New Life 91.9
Wednesday, August 22, 6:30-8 p.m. | Stumptown Park, 120 S. Trade St., Matthews
New Life 91.9 presents this event in support of A Child's Place, featuring a performance by contemporary Christian singer Chris August. Price of admission is school supplies for ACP, and you're encouraged to bring blankets and folding chairs to enjoy an evening in the park. Vendors will be selling food, and you're allowed to bring your own food and drinks (alcohol not permitted).

Back to School Bash—Prodigal Son Foundation
Saturday, August 25, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. | Ray’s Splash Planet, 215 N. Sycamore St.
The Prodigal Son Foundation, in association with Glam23 PR & Events, is putting on this event for the third consecutive year. School supplies will be given away, while kids will also be treated to fun activities. The event will take place on the field, the gym, and inside the actual splash park. It’s free to the public, with the first 50 kids being allowed to swim for free between 10:30 a.m. and noon, and a $6 fee for anyone else inside the splash park. If you would like to sponsor or donate to this event, email or call 704-942-8381.

Cuttin' Class: Community Hair Cutting Day
Saturday, August 25, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | No Grease! Barbershop, 1531 Central Ave.
No Grease and The It Factor Media Group present this event twice a year as kids prepare to go back to school (the other is in January after the holiday break). Boys will be given free haircuts, and boys and girls will receive book bags and school supplies. NBA players will also be present to sign autographs, and complimentary refreshments will be served. RSVP at

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cam Newton Covers GQ, Gatorade

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/16/2012 No comments
Carolina Panthers' second-year quarterback Cam Newton continues his role as the most marketable professional athlete Charlotte has ever had. He appears on the cover of the September issue of GQ, one of two covers the leading men's magazine has published for its NFL Kick-Off issue. The other cover features the world's most famous backup quarterback, Tim Tebow, who, coincidentally, Cam backed up for one year at the University of Florida before transferring and eventually having that legendary season at Auburn that led to him winning the Heisman Trophy, college national championship, and becoming the No. 1 pick by the Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Cam, who rarely grants media interviews outside of brief pressers at Panthers practice sessions or post-game press conferences, opens up to GQ writer Brett Martin, who writes a great story. He takes you inside Cam's inner sanctum of agents, sponsors, trainers, and his family. You can read the story here as well as check out a photo gallery that features him in a sports-influenced fashion shoot, including a few pics of him with the TopCats cheerleaders.

The 23-year-old is also featured on a limited-edition Gatorade bottle.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Awhile back, Gap launched its global marketing campaign for fall 2012, called Shine. Now it's introducing a new collection within that campaign, billed as Icon Redefined. To market it, the department store chain is "featuring an eclectic mix of musicians and dancers wearing Gap's signature pieces updated with a modern design point of view and rich fall color palette," according to a press release. Among those musicians are Concord natives Seth and Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers.

Credit: Gap Inc.

Joining the Avetts in the promotional campaign are pop duo Karmin; professional "Jookin" dancer Lil' Buck; singer-songwriter Lia Ices; Chinese-born San Francisco ballet dancer Yuan Yuan Tan; musician Kaki King; and singer-songwriter Nicki Bluhm. So as you can see, Gap is truly redefining icons and not going for the typical mainstream artists.

The Avett Brothers also appear in a Gap commercial, which you can see below, where they perform a snippet of their new single "Live and Die." The 30-second clip is part of an eight-week content series being featured on Gap's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.; the Avetts' image is currently Gap's Twitter background).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My First Time: The Burger Company

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/07/2012 1 comment
It shouldn't have taken me this long to eat at The Burger Company for the first time, but lo and behold I finally had lunch there today with a colleague (whom I also hadn't seen in a long time). I actually tried eating there more than a year and a half ago, but the time I went the restaurant was closed (it was a holiday), so I simply drove about another couple hundred yards and went to Pinky's Westside Grill for the first time. There's a nice restaurant row, if you will, developing along this stretch of West Morehead Street, including The Burger Co., Pinky's, Picante Mexican GrillSavor Cafe, and long-timer The Open Kitchen, among others.

Now, back to The Burger Co. We got there at noon and there were at least 30 people in line--this is clearly a popular burger joint. You place your order, the cashier gives you a number, you have a seat, and a server brings the food to your table (it took less than 10 minutes for our food to come).

It's a fairly large menu, which reminds you that "We grind our meat fresh daily." I ordered one of the stuffed burgers, in which the patty is stuffed with cheddar cheese, choosing the BC Burger ($6.50), topped with chili, diced onions (I told them hold the onions), and coleslaw. I ordered the sweet potato tater tots ($3) as my side. And I ordered a soft drink, which is self-serve, and when I went to fix it I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was Cheerwine in the fountain. I drank entirely too much Cheerwine as a kid growing up in South Carolina. But there aren't enough Charlotte restaurants serving it, considering that the nearly 100-year-old soft drink continues to be produced by Carolina Beverage Corporation in nearby Salisbury.

So, I was sipping on some Cheerwine (sip, sipping on some, sip, sipping on some Cheerwine--ode to Three Six Mafia), then my food arrived. It was a mountain of tater tots in the basket, and they were tasty and piping hot. The burger was as fresh as you would expect from a place that grinds its own beef and uses homemade ingredients. The patty was juicy and tender, but it wasn't as flavorful as I would've liked. The chili and slaw on top, and the soft bun made up for it though. So, yeah, I was licking my fingers.

I plan to make return visits soon because I want to try the Freemore stuffed burger and the meatloaf burger, in particular, as well as the fried pickles. Plus, The Burger Co. has an intriguing way of serving milkshakes. It's self-serve in which you select a small carton of ice cream of the flavor of your choice, and combine it with a couple of other things and place into a machine.

The Burger Company, 1500 W. Morehead St., Ste. C, 704-332-7333, A second location is scheduled to open soon at 200-A W. Woodlawn Rd.
Charlotte has one of the top slam poetry communities in the country. SlamCharlotte won the National Poetry Slam in 2007 (host city: Austin, Texas) and 2008 (Madison, Wisconsin), but it's been a four-year drought since the spoken-word crown has belonged to the Queen City. Well now the home team, led by well-known slammaster Bluz, gets to go for it on their own turf. National Poetry Slam 2012 is underway in Charlotte now through Saturday, August 11.

Credit: Facebook

The annual competition, now in its 23rd year, officially kicks off today, but there were some registration and welcome events held yesterday afternoon and evening as many of the expected 400 poets began arriving to Charlotte. They represent 72 teams from across North America (United States and Canada) and will compete in 46 bouts over five days. If you aren't familiar with slam poetry, it, essentially, is competitive performance poetry. Performers use a combination of poetry, storytelling, songwriting, theatre, stand-up comedy, and anything else dramatic and engaging to go for the high score of 10 from judges.

Most of the National Poetry Slam 2012 events are open to the public (see schedule); some, like the workshops, are free, while others, like the bouts, cost $7 to attend. Among the nearly 50 events on the schedule, most are taking place at theaters, museums, and galleries throughout Uptown, and there are also a few social events like parties, a movie showcase, and a picnic. If you happen to be in Uptown late this afternoon, there's an event you'll want to check out. A poetic flash mob is scheduled to take place at 5:15 p.m. at the corners of Trade and Tryon Streets.

Visit for all the details. You can also follow on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag: #NPSCLT2012).
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