Saturday, December 29, 2012

Talking About 2012 In Charlotte

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/29/2012 No comments
I taped two interviews yesterday at WCNC (NBC Charlotte); one for a story that ran during the 4 p.m. newscast and one for the 11 p.m. news. For the first story, I was interviewed by Bill McGinty and it focused specifically on New Year's Eve events in Charlotte. I was asked to talk about some of the many NYE parties that are taking place Monday night since I'd put together a list on my Dusk Till Dawn blog for Charlotte magazine.

Sitting at the WCNC news desk preparing to be interviewed for the four o'clock show.

After I wrapped up the segment on NYE parties, Rad Berky interviewed me for a story he was working on that focused on the large, high-profile events Charlotte hosted in 2012--such as the CIAA Tournament and Democratic National Convention--and the economic impact, growth, and exposure those events have had on the city. I commented on it from a nightlife perspective, particularly how there were many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that opened in Charlotte in 2012. That story aired last night and again this morning on WCNC. It's also available online so I've embedded the video below.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cooking with Chobani in Uptown Charlotte

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/20/2012 2 comments
I had the privilege of attending a Chobani holiday cooking event last week. The maker of Greek yogurt invited a group of Charlotte food bloggers, and Andrea brought me along as her guest. Until that event, I didn't know Chobani, which is headquartered in Norwich, New York, had opened a sales office here, located on the 16th floor of the Charlotte Plaza building in Uptown. The Charlotte office opened about six months ago, and it has a large test kitchen, which is where the cooking event was held.

There were about 14 of us in attendance, hosted by two Chobani Charlotte chefs and two coordinators from their New York office (including Andrew Emerson who took the photos you see here). The Chobani team had a layout of recipes ready for us, and we worked in pairs to cook eight dishes that would come together for a compete meal. Each of the dishes featured Chobani yogurt as a main ingredient.

Andrea and I were tasked with cooking the holiday stuffing, which was made of unseasoned cubed bread stuffing, onion, celery, garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, low-sodium chicken broth, fresh oregano and thyme, salt, pepper, butter, and two-and-a-half cups of Chobani Low-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt. It took us about 20 minutes to prep and then about 30 minutes for it to bake in the oven. I enjoyed the whole process (which was enhanced by the free-flowing wine).


The rest of the group cooked up Chobani-inspired versions of gorgonzola crostini, salad with honey walnut dressing, steamed asparagus with hollandaise, pumpkin risotto, smashed potatoes with broccoli, roasted butternut squash soup, and an iced gingerbread bundt cake. When it was all done, we sat down and ate the large, yet healthy, meal. It was delicious and has opened my eyes to the many possibilities of cooking with yogurt.


You can find the recipes for what we cooked, along with plenty others, in the recipes section on Chobani's website. Since first hitting store shelves in 2007, Chobani has gone on to become the top-selling yogurt brand in America.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Charlotte Bobcats visited the Los Angeles Lakers last night, carrying with them a league-leading 11-game losing streak (the streak was a topic on yesterday's Pardon the Interruption on ESPN). But the Bobcats usually play the Lakers well and have upset them several times over the years, so I felt going into it that they shouldn't be easily counted out. Last night was a great game, and even though the 'Cats couldn't end their streak, they played hard and lost by only one point, 101-100.

What many sports fans are talking about today, however, is Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson's monstrous dunk over Dwight Howard in the fourth quarter.

See the video below of Gerald's dunk (notice how even a couple of the Lakers players on the bench get excited).

When I saw it, I immediately thought of two things. One was the irony that it was over Dwight because it was similar to Superman's dunk in the NBA All-Star Game in 2008, particularly how he leaped from far away and threw down the ball without actually touching the rim. And secondly, I thought of how fans in the Staples Center are accustomed to seeing these kinds of highlights in person, usually from L.A. Clippers star Blake Griffin (again, another non-hand-touching-rim posterizing dunk).

Next Wednesday, the day after Christmas, the Bobcats play host to the Miami Heat, which should be an exciting game to watch. On my Dusk Till Dawn nightlife blog, read about the team's season-long Wednesday Night Basketball promotion, which includes some cool free stuff with your game ticket.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The shooting yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut is one of the most tragic events in our lifetime. As you know by now, a 20-year-old man shot and killed his mother, then drove to the school and murdered 20 children--all ages six or seven--and six adult staff members, then killed himself. Unlike many major news stories in the past, I've kept myself from being overly consumed with the reports on the 24-hour news networks and websites, largely because I feel many of them and their reporters are exploiting this tragedy. Can we give victims' families some time to grieve and try to understand this horrific event before we try to get "exclusive" interviews? Not to mention the countless inaccurate and erroneous details that were published during the hours immediately following the shooting, as media outlets raced to be the first to report. I've also been turned off by similar exploitation and recklessness by people on social media, particularly on Twitter.

When I was on Twitter this afternoon, however, I learned that The Herald newspaper in Rock Hill had placed an advertisement for a gun store on the same page as a story on the Newtown shooting in today's paper. The half-page ad is for a Christmas special on guns at Nichols Store in Rock Hill, and it ran on an inside page where the Newtown story had continued from the front page.

Credit: @DianneG

Paul Osmundson, the editor of The Herald, apologized around midday with a statement posted online, and I assume that same statement will appear in tomorrow's print edition. Below is an excerpt.
"In Saturday's Herald, an advertisement for guns was placed on a page near stories and a photograph about the tragic school shooting in Connecticut. Please be assured that this was neither intentional nor the fault of the advertiser. Advertisements are usually placed days before the newspaper lands on your doorstep. In this case, the advertisement in question was placed Thursday morning. But we at The Herald should have recognized the unfortunate juxtaposition of the advertisement with stories and a photograph about gun violence."
The newspaper apologized and took full responsibility, and I think that should suffice. But what began as an inadvertent placement of an ad, should actually serve as a moment of reflection and introspection for us. That ad, and the fact that it was promoting a special on guns for Christmas, epitomizes just how large a part of American society guns have become. In coming days and weeks, there'll be disagreements over whether this country needs more gun control laws. And regardless of what side of the debate you're on, you can be fairly certain that nothing will be done and we'll, unfortunately, be facing another tragedy all too soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Falling asleep with the TV on, as I often do, I learned a few things about Scotty McCreery this morning from programs and commercials that aired while I dozed in and out of consciousness. 

  • Scotty, a native of Garner, North Carolina, stars in a new commercial for Bojangles' that couldn't be more Southern.

  • Plus, Scotty, who's only 19 years old, is currently a student at North Carolina State University, taking classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. He spends the other days of his week touring and meeting the demands of his music career, as he explained this morning on Good Morning America, where he also sang "Let It Snow."

This week has already been a busy one for the young man. He performed at the "Christmas In Washington" event Sunday in front of the First Family and other dignitaries and celebrities. The special was taped and will air Friday, December 21, at 8 p.m. on TNT. Then on Monday night, he appeared at the American Country Awards, which aired live on FOX from Las Vegas. All the while he's been squeezing in time to take his final exams at NCSU.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chart-topping and recently Grammy-nominated rapper Rick Ross's street cred is taking a beating today. Yesterday afternoon, Live Nation announced that The Maybach Music Group tour concerts, featuring Ross, Meek Mill, Wale, and Machine Gun Kelly, scheduled for Friday, December 7 at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro and Saturday, December 8 at Bojangles’ Coliseum here in Charlotte have been cancelled. Though Live Nation didn't give an explanation, other than to say that tickets would be refunded, media outlets began to link the North Carolina show cancellations to ongoing and recent death threats made against the rapper by a gang known as the Gangster Disciples.

I'm not going to get into what the alleged beef is about (you can watch a couple of the many Gangster Disciples' YouTube video threats against Ross by clicking here and here), but what's interesting is how several leading news/entertainment websites began running the headlines last evening on through today, that are some variation of "Rick Ross Cancels North Carolina Tour Dates After Death Threats." You can find the articles at MTV, Rolling Stone, E!, XXL, Vibe, just to name a few. Most of them took the early reports by NBC Charlotte (WCNC) / The Charlotte Observer and ran with them.

And they're all giving the gang members too much credit.

After the news broke, awesome FOX Charlotte anchor Morgan Fogarty emailed me yesterday and asked if I would comment on Ross cancelling his North Carolina shows, for a story on her 10 p.m. newscast. I met Morgan and her cameraman in Uptown shortly before 6 p.m. to tape the interview (she also interviewed Power 98's Nolimit Larry). Even though I was just learning of the shows' cancellation like everyone else, my experience in covering entertainment led me to doubt that the concerts were being cancelled because of the threats made by gang members.

Are gangs to be taken seriously? Yes. Are the Gangster Disciples scary? Absolutely. But they've been posting those videos threatening Rick Ross since at least back in October. And the concerts in North Carolina didn't get cancelled until this week, a couple days before they were scheduled to take place. Sounds fishy.

When I talked to Morgan last evening, I told her, among other things (this blog allows me to elaborate more than TV soundbites), I believed the promoter cancelled the shows because of low ticket sales. My assumption was that because Ross, Meek, and Wale have been to Charlotte and Greensboro several times in the past year, the concerts that were planned for this weekend probably weren't drawing much interest.

I know about the Charlotte visits particularly well--heck, Ross and Meek performed at Bojangles' in March while the 2012 CIAA Tournament was in town, when Ross also proceeded to host at least four Charlotte parties over three days. Then Ross returned to Charlotte in June, when he headlined the 2012 Dub Show Tour at Charlotte Convention Center, and hosted an after-party at Club 935. So he's saturated this market all by himself. Not to mention, his MMG artist Meek Mill was a part of Drake's Club Paradise Tour that stopped at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in May. Wale also had a concert during CIAA Weekend in March at The Fillmore.

Morgan Fogarty interviewing me.

One other thing. You might recall that last year rapper Waka Flocka Flame had his tour bus shot up while he was in Charlotte. Three months later he was back here performing at the Dub Show Tour and hosting an after-party. That led me to ask, "Why, Waka?"

Some might say, Waka came to Charlotte when it was potentially dangerous, but Ross didn't. In hip hop, street credibility is (foolishly) all-too important. The difference here, however, is the money. Low ticket sales led to the cancellation of the North Carolina shows for this weekend, and I don't care how many news headlines claim the contrary. Ross, who was also scheduled to host an after-party this Saturday night at Club 935, is being clowned by many people on social media sites for the cancellations. He hasn't commented on the controversy yet, other than this tweet last night:

Most importantly, as I often say, the hip hop community (primarily, the African-American race) needs to once and for all stop condoning and supporting the violence in hip hop music's lyrics, videos, and culture. I've been a fan of hip hop forever, and always will be. Have I ever bought a Rick Ross album? No. Have I ever bought a Waka Flaka album? No. And I don't plan to. Hip hop isn't the blame for all violence that goes on in the culture, and people are absolutely responsible for their individual actions. But you'd be a fool to ignore the correlations between what goes on in hip hop music and what takes place in the streets.

Because album sales have decreased dramatically over the last six or seven years, artists are hitting the road more and more because concerts are one of the ways they continue to successfully make money. Though the decrease in album sales is largely attributed to Internet piracy and a new generation of fans who, when they decide to pay for music, prefer to buy single songs online (mp3s) as oppose to whole albums, no genre of music has seen its album sales decline as much as hip hop. I'd like to believe that fans--many of whom aren't African-American--are being turned off by all of the ignorant talk, drug references, glorification of violence, and misogyny towards women. And it might finally be also affecting the turnout at concerts.

Waka Flaka was scheduled to perform at The Fillmore just last month, but that show was cancelled too.

By the way, if you don't understand the first part of the headline of this blog post, watch this Rick Ross music video

UPDATE 12/11/12
Rick Ross spoke at-length about the cancelled tour dates and situation with the Gangster Disciples in this interview with 99 Jamz radio station in his hometown of Miami. In summary, he explains that he cancelled the tour dates because of a promoter who wasn't handling business effectively and not because of gang threats. He makes it clear that he isn't scared--he's a bawse, he says repeatedly. "I was just in Chicago a week and a half ago. That's the birthplace of the G.D.s. And if I'll go to Chicago to handle my business like I did, I have no problem going to North Carolina or South Carolina.... I'm certified worldwide. I can put a thousand gangsters in any hood. But that ain't what I'm here for. I'm here to make stars, I'm here to make icons, I'm here to break records. I'm here to be Grammy nominated," he says.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Last week, I saw a headline on The Charlotte Observer's homepage about “Restaurant Impossible coming to Pineville." For some reason, I didn't click on the article's link at the time, and then it slipped my mind. Until this morning I saw a friend on Facebook write on her wall that she was going to the taping of Restaurant Impossible this evening.

If you aren't familiar with the TV show, it's a top-rated series on Food Network, in which Chef Robert Irvine tries to save struggling restaurants around the country. The chosen restaurant is usually on the verge of financial failure to the point that it would have to soon permanently close its doors. Irvine comes in with a crew, shuts down the restaurant for two days, and spends that time and $10,000 trying to revive the business, doing everything from remodeling the place, re-training the staff, updating the menu, helping management work on maintaining budgets, etc. And again, he does all of this in two days, with camera crews taping, so you get to see all of the chaos, drama, and then the final product.

Robert Irvine consults with an owner during a past episode of Restaurant Impossible.

So back to how it had slipped my mind to read that Observer article. I pulled it up this morning, read it, and found out that the Pineville restaurant is Sweet Tea's Restaurant and Catering. I actually attended a wedding last month that Sweet Tea catered. The wedding was at a beautiful, historic mansion, and was well-planned from start to finish, including the delicious food that was served at the reception--it was a Southern-style menu. The wedding reception also had an open bar, staffed by Sweet Tea's. That's how I learned of the restaurant, after I saw the name on the bartender's shirt. I thought Sweet Tea's was an interesting name, so I asked her about it and she told me a little about the restaurant in Pineville and that they cater throughout the Charlotte area.

Today is day two of Restaurant Impossible's work at Sweet Tea's, with the grand re-opening scheduled for this evening at 7 p.m. According to an associate producer for the show who talked to the Observer, this particular episode will air in late February or early March. The series airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Food Network.

I hope the restaurant is able to make a successful recovery, and I hope to visit there soon. There have been a couple of people on Yelp who've said they ate at Sweet Tea's over the last few days simply because they learned it was going to be the focus of Restaurant Impossible, including one reviewer who said he and his wife "wanted to see what the place was all about before it got fixed."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It was announced last month that Nick Cannon would be reviving his popular sketch comedy TV series, Wild 'N Out, in 2013 for MTV2. The series originally aired from 2005 to 2007 on MTV, and helped propel the careers of comedians Affion Crockett, Kevin Hart, Katt Williams, and others. This time around, in addition to appearances from established funnymen, Nick is looking for a new crop of comedians and improv actors to join the show.

He's holding auditions this Monday, December 3 in Charlotte. Not a whole lot of details are available, but if you want to find out more info you should probably listen to Power 98 (97.9 FM). On the radio station's website, it says to "send a video showing your funny for casting to: Videos should be no longer than 3 minutes. If your video is chosen, we’ll send you the address and location info to meet with Nick Cannon for an in person audition."

You should also follow Nick on Twitter @NickCannon. He shared on Twitter and Instagram this evening that he was leaving Atlanta, where he held auditions today, and was on his way to Charlotte.

Wild 'N Out was a funny show and it also featured great musical performances (and sexy Wild 'N Out Girls) each episode. I think the reruns still air, and it'll be good to see new episodes return next year. Nick, as you know, is also host of America's Got Talent on NBC.

He's also coming to town to do charitable deeds. He's scheduled to make appearances in Charlotte on Monday, including Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, Levine Children's Hospital, and Buffalo Wild Wings at NASCAR Hall of Fame, for the Second Annual Celebrity Charity Wishes “Bears for Buddies" event, an initiative that raises money for terminally ill children and provides them with the essential needs of everyday living. Nick will be joined by DJ Drama, Grammy Award-winning producer Bruce Irvine, singer/songwriter Tocarra Hamilton, and Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon as they distribute hundreds of new teddy bears and gift bags to children.

Great Burger at Queen City Q

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/02/2012 No comments
Whenever I blog about food on here, about half the time I'm writing about some great burger I had. What can I say--I'm a burger man. Last night, after attending the Fourth Annual Red Pump/Red Tie Affair at Levine Museum of the New South (put on by The Red Pump Project-Charlotte in recognition of World AIDS Day), I was hungry, it was about 10 p.m., and I had a little time to spare before I was going to walk around the corner to the after-party at Re:Public nightclub. Also within that block, the area around Seventh Street Station, is Queen City Q, so I popped into the restaurant for some quick eats.

Open since February, Queen City Q has quickly become one of Charlotte's top barbecue restaurants. I've enjoyed the barbecue there a few times and whenever out-of-towners ask me where they should go to get some good BBQ in Charlotte, the Q is one of the places I recommend. But last night, barbecue would've been too heavy on the stomach in the middle of a night out. So I opted for a burger, and I made the right choice.

Camera phone pic.

I ordered the All-American Burger, comprised of a grind of beef brisket, porterhouse, and chuck; topped with provolone cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato (I asked them to hold the onion); along with a side of sweet potato fries ($10). It was juicy, tender, and flavorful--just the way I like my burgers--and proves that Queen City Q does more than cook good barbecue.

Queen City Q, 225 E. Sixth St., Suite A, 704-334-TheQ (8437),; parking is validated for the Seventh Street Station parking deck.
Related Posts with Thumbnails