Saturday, June 29, 2013

Matrimony Debuts Video for 'Golden City'

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/29/2013 1 comment
Matrimony, the Charlotte band that released their EP, Montibello Drive, earlier this month on Columbia Records, has debuted their new video. The song is titled "Golden City"--check out the video below.


Matrimony is an alternative band with folk influences, comprised of husband-wife duo Jimmy Brown and Ashlee Hardee Brown as lead vocalists, and Ashlee's brothers C J Hardee and Jordan Hardee on banjo and drums. Read their story here.

"Golden City" is folksy and catchy, and sounds like something you'd hear on the radio. If you're familiar with different neighborhoods in Charlotte, then you'll recognize that the video was filmed here. It's apparent they wanted to avoid the big-city look, not using areas like Uptown but instead going with neighborhoods like NoDa that convey a quaint town look. Perhaps that's to epitomize what Golden City is meant to be. As for the title of their four-song EP, Montibello Drive is an actual street in south Charlotte. And interestingly enough, track two is titled Mecklenburg Co. Jail. It's no doubt they're representing where they're from on their major-label debut.

Credit: facebook.com/MatrimonyNC 

The band is currently touring the country. You can follow them on Twitter @MatrimonyBand and Facebook.com/MatrimonyNC.


Friday, June 28, 2013

The Charlotte Bobcats hosted an NBA Draft Party last evening at Time Warner Cable Arena. By most accounts it was a fun, well-organized event. That is, until it was time for the Bobcats to make their selection with the fourth overall pick. Watch the YouTube video below of fans inside the arena, who are gathered in front of TVs, as they react to NBA Commissioner David Stern's announcement of the Bobcats' pick.


The fans in the video clearly aren't happy, but let's hope the Bobcats front office made the right choice by picking Cody Zeller, the seven-foot, 240-pound center from Indiana University. The decision is being scrutinized all over media and social media, particularly because Kentucky star power forward/center Nerlens Noel was still available. Maybe the Bobcats saw something in Cody that made them think he'd be the best fit for their fledgling team (he put up good numbers in college). But it doesn't help that the Bobcats--and owner Michael Jordan--don't have a good track record with first-round draft picks (check out my 2011 Charlotte magazine article with ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, where we analyzed "A History of the Bobcats' First-round Draft Picks").

David Stern congratulates Cody Zeller at the 2013 NBA Draft. Credit: Bobcats.com

In this CBS Sports video below, a trio of sports analysts tells us more about Cody Zeller. I'd never heard of him until last night.


You can follow the new Bobcat on Twitter @CodyZeller and Facebook.com/codyzeller40.


When Celebrity Wife Swap airs this Sunday, it'll feature "the girlfriend and the wife of two of the biggest former stars of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) swapping lives and homes for one week," as the show describes the upcoming episode. Those legendary wrestlers are Ric "Nature Boy" Flair and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.

Celebrity Wife Swap is now in its second season on ABC, a spinoff that was created last year from the long-running Wife Swap series. I happened to catch the show, coincidentally, for the first time last Sunday, which featured mother-daughter duo Joan and Melissa Rivers trading lives for a week with sisters Bristol and Willow Palin. I found it to be a little entertaining. I think people are drawn to this show, like they are to many other celebrity reality TV shows, because they're interested in seeing how these popular figures live.

Credit: ABC

As for this Sunday's episode with the wrestling stars, the synopsis describes Ric Flair as living in Charlotte with his girlfriend Wendy Barlow and her four children. "Ric and Wendy live a very lavish and fast-paced lifestyle and enjoy the finer things in life, spending most evenings out on the town where Ric revels in his celebrity and the attention of fans." I can attest: if you live in Charlotte, you will almost certainly eventually run into The Nature Boy at a restaurant, bar, or event, so the show is absolutely right about Ric spending a lot of time out on the town.

Meanwhile, the Piper family live "on a large piece of land on a mountain in Portland, Oregon" and the wife and mother "Kitty is solely responsible for the running of the home, including cooking, cleaning and caring for the family's animals." With this contrast in lifestyles and the big personalities of Ric and Roddy, this episode should be quite entertaining. It airs this Sunday, June 30 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Woooooooooooooooo!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

I think most of us were surprised when New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder yesterday. Rumors and speculation had been building for more than a week, after the body of Odin Lloyd was found in a field in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, but it largely alluded to Aaron being charged with something like obstruction of justice. Even though we don't know all of the facts of this case yet, it's clear that Odin is the victim here, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. At 27 years old, it's sad that his life was taken away. Another tragedy in this case: Aaron Hernandez.

Aaron Hernandez during better days. Credit: patriots.com

Yes, if Aaron committed or is responsible for Odin's murder, he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. And the case against him, while still in its early stages, looks strong. But as I watched his bail review hearing this afternoon live on ESPN, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Here's a 23-year-old, who had a great career, a lucrative ($40 million) NFL contract (the Patriots released him from the team an hour after he was arrested Wednesday), and a fiancĂ© and eight-month-old daughter at home (7,000-square-foot home at that), who seems to have thrown it all away. After statements from the defense and the prosecutor, the judge denied Aaron's request to be granted bail. So, he'll sit in jail for at least the next year or so until he goes to trial.

It seems likely that Aaron will never see the outside world again. But one thing's for certain: Odin will never see life again.

It's always baffling to me when a person senselessly takes the life of another human being. Don't they realize they're taking that person's life, ruining that person's family's lives, AND destroying their own life as well as devastating the lives of the people who love them?


Aaron Hernandez (left) and Rae Carruth.

The Aaron Hernandez case is quickly drawing comparisons to Rae Carruth, the then-25-year-old Carolina Panthers wide receiver who, in November 1999, hired hitmen to shoot and kill his pregnant girlfriend. In 2009, I wrote a cover story for Creative Loafing, titled "Remembering Infamy: The life and crimes of Rae Carruth — 10 years later," that I think is worth revisiting in light of this new case. Like Aaron--if he's guilty--Rae ruined many lives, including his own.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

One of the biggest artists in the music biz today, hip hop star Drake, recently announced his Would You Like A Tour, a concert trek that features fellow chart-toppers Miguel and Future. The tour begins with its North American dates on September 25, running for two months and stopping in more than 40 cities. It comes to Charlotte on Saturday, November 2, to Time Warner Cable Arena. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 28 at 10 a.m., prices ranging from $62.95 to $117.40 (includes fees).


Drake brought his Club Paradise Tour to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in May 2012. And, most recently, he came to Charlotte in early March to host a weekend of parties during CIAA Week. Even with his frequency to the Queen City, you can count on his November stop here, and this new tour as a whole, to be a big draw because he plans to release his next album, Nothing Was The Same, on September 17. Drake's albums are always filled with instant radio hits, club bangers, and fan favorites, so audiences will be eager to see him perform his new material when the tour kicks off a week after his new album drops. And by the time he comes to Charlotte, fans will know many of the new songs word for word.



Sunday, June 23, 2013

About a week and a half ago, I saw a post on Facebook about Aria Tuscan Grill offering an "Express Lunch" on weekdays. I'm noticing more upscale restaurants in Charlotte, particularly in Uptown, offering these express or quick lunches as a way to attract patrons and to convey to them that the restaurant will serve them in a timely manner befitting of their typical one-hour lunch break. But another thing that was intriguing about Aria's express lunch is that it offers three courses for $8.99.

So, Andrea and I made plans to go to lunch Friday and I figured it would be a good opportunity to check out Aria. I've been there a a handful of times--including its grand opening in January 2010--but this was my first time going to Aria for lunch. I'll tell you, they've perfected the express lunch.


First off, the hostess greeted and seated us immediately upon entering. And within a minute or two, a waitress was taking our drink order. The express lunch menu is inserted onto the top of the full menu. For the three courses, you can choose one of two salads, one of four pasta dishes, and the third course is one option for dessert. By narrowing the selections, it ensures that the wait staff and kitchen staff can get your food out quickly. We placed our orders, and almost immediately after another server brought out the complimentary bread and olive oil with beans.


Our lunch was brought out six minutes after placing the order. I've never been served so quickly at this type of restaurant. And it was delicious. I had the Caesar salad, spaghetti and meatballs, and cheesecake. Yes, they're smaller than the portions you might be used to, but the fact that it's three courses makes it filling. And again, it's only costing you $8.99. You'll spend that at the local burger joint.


I certainly recommend eating at Aria for lunch, especially if you work or are meeting in Uptown. And if you don't want to spend half your time waiting. (The regular lunch menu is available too, of course).

Here's the Express Lunch menu:
3 courses for $8.99

Choice of
Classic Caesar with Croutons, Anchovies, and Parmesan Dressing
Field Greens with Red Onion, Cherry Tomato, and Lemon Vinaigrette

Choice of
Fettuccine Carbonara with Pancetta, Parmesan, and Cracked Pepper
Spaghetti and Mimo's Meatballs with Red Sauce and Parmigiano
Orecchiette with Sausage, Toasted Garlic and Broccoli Rabe and Chiles
Penne a la Vodka with Tomato Cream Sauce and Ricotta

Dessert
NY Style Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

Aria Tuscan Grill, at Founders Hall, 100 N. Tryon St., 704-376-8880, ariacharlotte.com.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

This is an important week for J. Cole. The Fayetteville native released his sophomore album, Born Sinner, yesterday and, because there's a lot of hype surrounding it, he's making several public and media appearances in support of it (he was on BET's 106 & Park yesterday). One of his stops included an interview this morning on The Breakfast Club on New York City's Power 105.1 FM.


Because I'm a fan of J. Cole, I've watched most of the interviews he's done recently. And since, interviewers tend to ask many of the same questions, a lot of the content of his interviews aren't new to me. But you can always count on The Breakfast Club to think outside of the box. It was funny (literally) how the show's personalities--Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy--began by asking J. Cole about his so-called beef last year with fellow, albeit much younger, rapper Diggy Simmons (Cole took it all in jest). The interview then gets into the typical questions about specific songs on the album, like "Let Nas Down," but also allows Cole to share some anecdotes about his music career and views on hip-hop.

I especially like how (at the 20:14 mark) Charlamagne asks Cole about the reception he gets in the Carolinas, prefacing it with the notion that we aren't really known for creating rap stars. Cole explains that he gets a lot of love in Fayetteville (of course), Greensboro (saying it's one of his strongest markets in the country), Raleigh, and Charlotte. And he says some interesting things about how Charlotte embraces him.

Watch the 27-minute interview below, which concludes with a J. Cole freestyle, proving why he's one of the best lyricists out.



Monday, June 17, 2013

The DNC's $54K Blackberry and $30K iPhone

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 6/17/2013 No comments
The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance released a report last Tuesday that analyzed the work of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department during last year's Democratic National Convention. The 67-page report is titled, "Command, Control, and Coordination: A Quick-Look Analysis of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Operations during the 2012 Democratic National Convention," and while it highlights what CMPD did right and where the department failed, for the most part the feds believe our boys in blue did a good job. It's estimated that as many as 75,000 people visited Charlotte that week for the convention, and there were no major incidents reported and only 25 people were arrested--a great feat considering the number of protesters and the concern that was expressed by local and federal officials during the months leading up to it (read here and here).

Credit: bja.gov

The same day the DOJ released its report, CMPD released one detailing how it spent the $50 million federal grant (click here for the item-by-item list of expenses) it received to provide security during the DNC (if you'll recall, Tampa received the same grant for Republican National Convention security). Shortly after reviewing the report, several media outlets published articles that focused on some of the billed items, ranging from the $1.76 million spent on a wireless video camera system to the $450 shelled out for horse manure removal.

Then by the end of last week, media became intrigued by the publishing of a police report that was filed last month with CMPD by the Democratic National Convention Host Committee for lost and stolen electronics. Most of the 41 items listed on the nine-page report are things like mobile phones, laptops, and iPads. That's understandable considering the thousands of special personnel who worked during the convention (most of them brought in from out of town) and the thousands of pieces of equipment they were sharing. It's inevitable that some items would go missing.

But where the DNC has some explaining to do is why a reportedly stolen 13-inch MacBook Pro laptop is listed on the report as being valued at $75,537, an iPhone at $30,503, and a lost Blackberry at $54,250. The values of several items are grossly inflated on the report, including many laptops listed above $25,000, and to the extent that the 41 missing electronics are totaled at $465,142.97.

Maybe each of those iPads, MacBooks, and the like had special diamond-encrusted presidential seals on them to commemorate the re-nomination of President Barack Obama?

So far, I don't believe representatives from either the DNC or CMPD have commented on the missing items report.

Bling-bling, ring-ring. Credit: techflyover.org


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