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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Today's Top 5: Sunday

Posted By on Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 24, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Tunes for Tarrah at Evening Muse

• Urban Gypsy Traveling Trunk Show at Tuft

Sarah Jarosz at McGlohon Theater

• Paint Session at Rocky River Vineyards

• Snoop Dogg w/ Wiz Khalifa at PNC Music Pavilion

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Today's Top 5: Saturday

Posted By on Sat, Jul 23, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 23, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Garbage at The Fillmore
Garbage (Photo by Joseph Cultice)
  • Garbage (Photo by Joseph Cultice)

• Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made at C3 Lab

• Urban Gypsy Traveling Trunk Show at Tuft

• Campus Pride Homecoming Celebration at Johnson & Wales University

Gwen Stefani at PNC Music Pavilion

Friday, July 22, 2016

Theater review: If/Then

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 5:13 PM

Unless you’ve been stubbornly clinging to some medieval idea of predestination, you’ve probably realized that the unfolding of your life, like human history, is simply one actuality plucked from an infinite number of possibilities. There are so many profound, iffy, or split-second decisions along the way that could have led you to different outcomes, so many instances of split-second timing that could have put you in different places – or in different company.
If/Then (Jackie Burns)
  • If/Then (Jackie Burns)

Brian Yorkey’s book for If/Then, with music by Tom Kitt, isn’t the first script to show us what happens if a single stitch in history is dropped. It’s a Wonderful Life demonstrated the difference a single person can make in the lives surrounding him and in a town’s destiny. Back to the Future was a sci-fi study of a how the slightest tweak of the past can resonate – and radiate – for generations to come.
Yorkey gives us an evening-long double exposure for just a few years in the life of Elizabeth. A talented woman with city planning creds, Elizabeth bumps into two old chums in Madison Square Park when she returns to New York after divorcing her husband in Phoenix. Lucas is a bisexual old flame who is hyper-seriously immersed in activism, while Kate is a gregarious lesbian who’s an ace kindergarten teacher.

Hinging on whether she picks up a cell phone call or not, Elizabeth either leaves the park with the intention of meeting Lucas or Kate that night. Meeting Lucas, she becomes Beth, the powerful city planner. Or she’ll rendezvous with Kate – on a course to become Liz, meet a future husband, drift into teaching and motherhood, and wear glasses to make herself look smarter.

Scenes in Beth’s life and Liz’s life dissolve into one another as the glasses come on and off, lightly pointing out the joys and sacrifices of both career and family. At times, scenes merge – at Elizabeth’s birthday party or in her bedroom. Sound confusing? It is.

After seeing Idina Menzel star as Elizabeth on Broadway, I found it much easier to track Liz and Beth’s separate lives in the touring version now at Belk Theater. Yet after concentrating so hard on sorting out the Beth path from the Liz path, I still had to confront Yorkey’s confusing loop back to Madison Square Park at the end of the night – and the numinous haze that Elizabeth’s best friends had been turned into.

For the paths Elizabeth takes affect the destinies of both Lucas and Kate. In one scenario, Liz’s future husband introduces Lucas to his future husband, and in the other scenario, Beth is there to prevent Kate from divorcing her wife. In the welter of Kitt’s power ballads, the ones Liz sings so much like Beth’s, the background and the whole point begin to get blurry.

On Broadway, Menzel appeared to be a self-absorbed superstar condescending to play two mere mortals most of the night. I actually like Jackie Burns better on the tour. Yes, Burns turns every one of her ballads into an American Idol extravaganza as Menzel did, adoring her own voice to the point of frequently obliterating Yorkey’s lyrics, but she invests herself more in Liz and Beth between ballads, and we can feel more for her when her hearts are broken. True, her climactic “Always Starting Over” isn’t the three-act opera Menzel made of it, but her “What the Fuck?” just might be a little more comical – because Burns is more inclined toward vulnerability.

As Lucas, Anthony Rapp gets to be tender in the Beth scenario, singing “You Don’t Need to Love Me.” Opposite Liz, Lucas is more appealing and domestic, responding to the more romantically inclined David (Marc Delacruz) in the “Best Worst Mistake” duet. But apart from his opposition and cynicism when Beth accepts a high-powered government job, Lucas doesn’t really figure in the important dialectic.

That’s where Kate and Josh come in. When Liz runs into her future husband for a second time in a subway car, it’s Kate who tells her that the universe is trying to send her a message in “It’s a Sign” – and that Josh is the messenger. Combatting Liz’s rationality, Tamyra Gray has the kooky energy you’d expect from a prize-winning schoolteacher who proudly consults her horoscope and believes in fate.

Seen first in military camo after a tour of duty overseas, David either does or doesn’t encounter Elizabeth at the right split second in the park, but it turns out that he combines brawn and brains when he does, for he’s a surgeon. His arguments against Liz’s rationalism and her actuarial calculations of probability are more eloquent in “You Never Know” and more existential in the “Here I Go” duet.

Matthew Hydzik keenly understands the connection between those songs as Josh, and he brings out what is compelling about their arguments better than his Broadway counterpart. Statistics aside, we don’t really know what’s going to happen in the future, and any tough but important decision we make in life will always be an intrepid plunge into the unknown. Even when things don’t work exactly as we hoped and planned – which is what the odds truly favor – it’s questionable that we’d want a do-over. For what we experience becomes who we are.

That’s pretty much what Liz is telling us in “Always Starting Over.”

Now do Elizabeth’s forking paths offer us a fresh insight – or are they an effective way to underscore the preciousness and suspense of every moment that we live? I’m only slightly more convinced the second time around. People that I overheard leaving Belk Theater on opening night were more preoccupied with figuring out what had happened than what it meant.

Today's Top 5: Friday

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 4:20 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 22, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Zakk Wylde at Amos' Southend
Zakk Wylde (Credit: Justin Reich)
  • Zakk Wylde (Credit: Justin Reich)

Christmas in July at Rooftop 210

Donnie at Neighborhood Theatre

• 12th Annual Schloss Summer Lecture and Dinner at Temple Beth El

Sister Act at CPCC's Halton Theater

Lunch Break (7/22/16): Leaders, organizations respond to All Star Game cancellation

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 11:39 AM

The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver made good on their threats to cancel the NBA All Star Game scheduled for February 2017 in Charlotte due to the discriminatory nature of House Bill 2, passed into law during a special session of the North Carolina legislature earlier this year.

Almost immediately, people and organizations began releasing statements praising or decrying the decision. We've collected a few of these statements to see what folks around the state ahd around the country had to say about it. 

The following is an excerpt from the NBA's statement announcing the relocation of the All Star Game: 

"Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.
"Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community — current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2."

Gov. Pat McCrory (surprise) refused to take any accountability for the woeful impact of House Bill 2 yet again and instead blamed the liberal media, among others. His statement read: 

""The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present. Twenty-one other states have joined North Carolina to challenge the federal overreach by the Obama administration mandating their bathroom policies in all businesses and schools instead of allowing accommodations for unique circumstances. Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children."

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts referenced Silver's implication that Charlotte could still host the All Star Game in 2019 if House Bill 2 is repealed or overturned in court:

"I am deeply disappointed that the discriminatory actions reflected in HB2 have caused the NBA to move the All-Star Game from Charlotte. All-Star weekend would have provided an excellent opportunity to further showcase our great and welcoming city. Charlotte has show its commitment to equal rights and inclusion will continue to promote those values. 
"I am encouraged that Charlotte has the opportunity to host the game in 2019 of changes to HB2 are made and I encourage the state to take action as soon as possible. I appreciate the NBA and our Charlotte Hornets being such strong champions of equality." 

Speaking of the Hornets, owner Michael Jordan released a statement in support of the decision while also hoping to see the All Star Game come to Charlotte in 2019: 

"We understand the NBA's decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season. There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so. With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star Weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019. We want to thank the City of Charlotte and the business community for their backing throughout this entire process, starting with the initial bid. We are confident that they will be just as supportive and enthusiastic for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game."

Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action, released a statement focusing on the negative economic impact that HB2 has had and continues to have on the state of North Carolina: 

“Today’s news is further evidence that HB2 is an economic disaster for North Carolina. Over $100 million in economic activity is leaving our state because of Gov. McCrory’s discriminatory law, on top of the hundreds of jobs and millions in tourism dollars that our state has already lost over HB2. But instead of admitting his mistake, the governor is busy raiding our disaster relief fund to defend this man-made disaster of a law in court. It’s time for Gov. McCrory to accept reality and call for a full repeal of HB2 before any more damage is done to our economy.”

This morning Roy Cooper, current North Carolina attorney general and gubernatorial candidate who was blamed by Gov. McCrory for the NBA's decision, despite having nothing to do with the law that truly did cause the decision, responded to McCrory's morning appearance on WFAE's Charlotte Takes in which he called the decision "total P.C. B.S." in a statement from his spokesperson:  

"While the economic consequences of HB 2 grow, Governor McCrory continues to pass the blame onto others while refusing to take any action to stop the bleeding. Make no mistake, the NBA’s decision to pull the All-Star Game is a damaging blow to our economy and our reputation, and Governor McCrory should stop pointing fingers and take responsibility. It’s time for Governor McCrory to listen to the many North Carolinians who oppose this legislation and repeal HB 2." 

A new location for the 2017 NBA All Star Game has not yet been announced, but it's been widely reported that New Orleans is the front-runner. In a not-so-subtle reminder to Silver that they'd be happy to host, the New Orleans Pelicans also released a statement yesterday: 

"The New Orleans Pelicans fully support the NBA's decision to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game form Charlotte, North Carolina, as a result of the state's rejection to rescind HB2. We're proud to represent a league which upholds the highest standards of humankind. The Pelicans stand alongside Commissioner Silver and the NBA family in support of the LGBT community." 

And then, there's this: 

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 8:45 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 21, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Truckstop Preachers at Visulite Theatre

Dominique at The Comedy Zone

• A Milestone in History: You Should Have Seen What I’ve Heard exhibit at Milestone

• Michael Franti & Spearhead at The Fillmore

Alive After Five w/ Mr. Potato Head at Rooftop 210

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lunch Break (7/20/2016): Explosion at truck loading dock; armed robbery and more

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 1:04 PM

Six people were hospitalized after an explosion at a truck loading dock early this morning. The explosion happened at around 6 a.m. at Wilson Trucking Corporation in north Charlotte, and quickly spread to tractor-trailers docked nearby. 90 firefighters responded to the blaze, and it took two hours to suppress the 4-alarm fire. (WSOC, staff)

Police have released surveillance photos of a man wanted for an attempted armed robbery in southeast Charlotte. The incident took place on July 4, when a woman was using an ATM on Monroe Road near Sardis. A man approached her at gunpoint and attempted to rob her, but then got into a blue Dodge Avenger and fled the scene empty-handed. The man is described as 5’6” and looks to be in his mid-twenties. (WBTV, staff)

Emails outlining plans for the disposal of infected water at the US National Whitewater Center were leaked Tuesday night. The emails depict plans to treat the water with a process known as hyper-chlorination, which will kill the bacteria that infected and killed a USWC visitor last month. The water will then be de-chlorinated and discharged by a ground filtering process, before eventually reaching the Catawba River. County officials say this entire disposal process will be monitored, and will not affect the Catawba River. (WCNC, Elizabeth Thomas and Rachel Brown)

Two Charlotte-area teenagers were struck by lightening while visiting a Clearwater, Florida beach Tuesday. The teens, identified as Cameron Poimboeuf, 15, and Jansen Tabor, 18, were on the beach when a storm broke out. They were reportedly running for shelter when lightening struck. A police officer and a pediatric nurse, both vacationing at the beach, witnessed the incident and began performing CPR while they waited for medics to arrive. The teens remain hospitalized, but reports say their conditions are improving. (Charlotte Observer, Joe Marusak and Mike Reader)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Today's Top 5: Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 5:19 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 19, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Lindsey Stirling at Ovens Auditorium
Lindsey Stirling (Photo by Andrew Zaeh)
  • Lindsey Stirling (Photo by Andrew Zaeh)

Beer Ed at Growler's Pourhouse

If/Then at Belk Theater

Trivia at Big Ben British Pub

Laugh Your Tail Off at The Comedy Zone

Monday, July 18, 2016

Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 18, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Find Your Muse Open Mic at The Evening Muse

Mo' Betta at The Tavern

Yoga on the Roof at Rooftop 210

Karaoke at Vida Vida

Bingo at Big Al's

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Today's Top 5: Saturday

Posted By on Sat, Jul 16, 2016 at 2:34 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 16, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Sister Act at CPCC's Halton Theater

Ray LaMontagne at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater

Hoshicon at The Westin

The Kyle Perkins Band at The Milestone

OTC Improv at Carion Hotel

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