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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Can Charlotte Really Afford Major League Fútbol?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 5:15 PM

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The possibility of Major League Soccer in Charlotte quickly became the center of controversy this week because, well, it all happened so quickly.

If you haven’t been close to a news source, or just don’t care about soccer, let me come in with the assist: On Dec. 14, 2016, the MLS told national media outlets of its plans to add two new teams, and it mentioned Charlotte as a possibility. Burton and Marcus Smith, owner and CEO of NASCAR Speedway Motorsports, respectively, jumped at the opportunity, to the surprise of area government officials. The MLS set a Jan. 31 deadline if Charlotte wants in on the deal. 


But the city already has a minor-league soccer team that hopes to expand. The Charlotte Independence, founded in 2014, has been dribbling around the idea of renovating Memorial Stadium, installing 10,000 seats and leaving room for expansion, with the possibility of becoming a MLS stadium in the future. As far back as last year, the Charlotte Observer reported on the team’s hopes. On Wednesday, Jim McPhilliamy, president of the Independence, told the Observer that his architectural plans for the stadium had been used “without our knowledge or consent” to help Marcus Smith score one of the available MLS franchises.


Charlotte certainly has a robust soccer fan base, with the Charlotte Soccer Academy, Charlotte United Soccer, and other clubs. What’s more, Bank of America Stadium has held sold-out games for national and international teams, so there is a profit incentive, too.


The question is: Can Charlotte afford to spend big money on a MLS team?

While Mecklenburg County officials jumped at the opportunity, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said in a statement released today that city leaders are not ready to commit. “While this is very promising, it is clear that we are not prepared to move forward at this time on the current soccer proposal,” Roberts wrote. “Any major decision we make needs to be considered as part of the bigger picture, as we serve our entire community.”

The Smith family would shell out $150 million for one of the teams. But the rest of the project would cost $175 million, $87.5 million of which would be split between Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to help cover the construction costs of a new stadium over the Grady Cole Center and Memorial Stadium. The Smith’s team would agree to repay those costs at a rate of $4.26 million a year, for 25 years, raising the original $87.5 million to $106.5 million. But by that time the new stadium would need millions in renovations.

What’s more, that plan would kick the Charlotte Independence out, forcing the team to find a new home — halting its future like a dead ball.


In case you’re not already convinced that this deal is an attack on an integral part of the Charlotte community, including people's jobs and taxpayer dollars, take a look at what Jay Leach, senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte said in a Facebook post Tuesday:


“Keep in mind, these county funds are not restricted and could be invested in public education, affordable housing, social services, museums, parks, or other opportunities to enhance the well-being of our community. But this rushed proposal is in support of one of the wealthiest families in the nation and their interest in getting to own a pro soccer team.”


Let’s red-card the multi-billion-dollar family that will profit off a project that the city is so clearly not ready for; a project that tackles the dreams of a club that is already active in our community.



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Friday, January 20, 2017

LISTEN: 'Eyes Closed in Prayer' Documentary on Love, Hate, and the Charleston Church Shooting Premieres Tonight on WFAE

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 11:58 AM

Charlotte public radio station WFAE premieres its 60-minute documentary Eyes Closed in Prayer, about the racially motivated shooting at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, tonight at 8 p.m.

After tonight's premiere, the doc will air three more times: Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Listen to a clip from the documentary at bottom.

WFAE news director Greg Collard said the documentary came about after it occurred to him that the station was sitting on hours of material from its coverage of the Charleston massacre and trial, as well as tangential stories from the earlier debate over the flying of the Confederate flag outside the South Carolina state house. Most importantly, WFAE had stories from Charlotte residents who were either directly connected to victims — such as Malcolm Graham, brother of victim Cynthia Graham Hurd — or connected to the City of Charleston.
GWENDOLYN GLENN/WFAE
  • Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

"We spoke with one woman whose sister had died in the shooting and she had taken in her nieces," Collard said. "It told the story of one family's survival."

Collard knew there was an even larger story to tell about race in America, in the South, and in our region.

"We had a lot of other stories, so it just occurred to me, 'Hey we have so much material: Why don't we weave it together?" Collard said. "The great thing about a documentary is you can put all these pieces together and a story with a stronger message emerges."

Eyes Closed in Prayer was written and produced by Tom Bullock, and hosted by Gwendolyn Glenn, who traveled to Charleston for much of the reporting.

Listen to a segment of the Eyes Closed in Prayer below, and tune in to WFAE tonight at 8 p.m. for the full documentary.



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Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Black Sheep and Nike SB collabo goes quick in nationwide release

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 2:19 PM

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Snow and ice couldn't stop over 100 people from showing up at Black Sheep Skate Shop in Plaza Midwood on Saturday morning to sell the store out of the “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” sneakers, the store’s newest collaboration with Nike SB, so it’s no surprise that today’s nationwide release saw the shoes disappearing from Nike’s site and independent shops around the country within minutes.

“I’m struggling to even describe it,” said Black Sheep founder Josh Frazier of the national reaction to the shoe’s release.

Not only did Black Sheep sell out of nearly 150 pairs of the Dunk High Traditional sneakers, — then go through an undisclosed amount of pairs available online in three minutes — on Saturday, but the Nike website also sold out of the shoes within a matter of minutes this morning.

“I was shocked by how quickly it sold out. It’s sort of unprecedented for it to sell out that quickly on Nike,” Frazier said. “I’m kind of reeling from the whole thing right now.”

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing is named as such thanks to some hidden features below the 
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 seemingly simple design. The shoe’s “Summit White” vintage suede along with white tongue and white Nike swoosh give the appearance and feel of a “sheep,” but sinister designs lurk below.

The white swoosh is susceptible to wear, and once its worn down or taken off scratch-off style, the shoe bears fangs once hidden within the iconic checkmark. The soles also depict a wolf's face in a symmetrically drawn graphic.

The “Wolf” is Black Sheep’s second collabo with Nike SB. The 2014 “Paid in Full” Dunk High sneakers featuring a Gucci print were hugely popular, and became even moreso after a legal snafu led to a recall, but even those can’t compare to the reaction the new “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” got.

What Frazier believes put things over the top for Black Sheep in terms of local sales was the exclusive packaging he put together with the help of some partners that drove collectors to the newly relocated shop on Saturday. A purchase at Black Sheep included a specially designed box, an exclusive “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” dust bag and other accessories — namely the exclusive shoe laces designed by San Francisco-based company Fully Laced that feature a pattern of blood spatter to go along with the shoe’s theme.

“We created the box to give us a point of differentiation. There are a lot of collectors out there, we wanted to give them a reason to want to purchase it from us,” Frazier said. He also shared the special packaging with some other independent shops around the country — “our friends,” as Fraziers puts it — as a way to support local ventures.

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As could be seen in retweets on Black Sheep’s Twitter account throughout the day today, local shops throughout the country sold out on Thursday just as quick as he did on Saturday, and by afternoon, the only pairs available online were size 6 or lower, for the most part.

In fact, except for the tight-knit sneakerhead community here in Charlotte, the release came and went with little fanfare locally, while national and international sneaker blogs hailed the release.

“I feel like we’ve gotten a lot more national coverage than we have locally,” Frazier said. “We’re kind of wondering, does anyone here even know?”

Unfortunately, if you’re just now finding out, it’s too late. The nature of the “quick strike” release, as Nike calls it, is to create buzz around a very limited release. Once their gone, there’s not much of a chance you’ll find them in stock anywhere again.

“I’m hoping that we might see a small restock, but I’m not certain,” Frazier said. “We sold through our allotment. Everyone is sold out at this point. It’s sort of the nature of these types of products. It’s sort of evaporated.”

They’ll certainly reappear online as resellers look to turn quick profit on the quick strike, as they’re wont to do, but as far as finding a decently priced pair with all the packaging, the odds are against you.

A release like this only comes around so often, and like the breath of a wolf hunting on a snowy day, the shoes will disappear into thin air as quickly as they appeared.

Better act quicker next time, Charlotte.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

CORRECTION: New crossword puzzle for Jan. 5 issue

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 10:37 AM


We ______ up. (6 letters)

As crossword puzzlers across the city quickly brought to our attention when print editions of Creative Loafing hit racks yesterday, we made a big mistake. Somehow in the process of putting the paper together, we included last week's puzzle board with the clues for the this week's puzzle.

It quickly became apparent to most that some obviously right answers were not fitting in the puzzle. We apologize, and have included here the full, correct puzzle as it was supposed to appear in this week's paper. We've made it big enough to print and enjoy, although we know it's just not the same as a crossword on newsprint.

If you just print this page, the puzzle will split on two pages. If you press the image, open it in a new tab and then print, it should come out just fine. I know, so annoying. We'll be sure not to make the same mistake again.

Email us at backtalk@clclt.com for the answer key and we'll send it right over.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Walker, Charlotte Ranger aims to end Charlotte's NBA All Star drought

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Kemba Walker (right) and his deputy Frank Kaminsky in Walker, Texas Ranger.
  • Kemba Walker (right) and his deputy Frank Kaminsky in Walker, Texas Ranger.


Who said the local film industry is dead?

A new web series that debuted at the Spectrum Center over the holiday weekend is filmed wholly in Charlotte and aims to raise awareness for a problem that has plagued our local NBA franchise for years: no players in the All Star Game.

Let's just sidestep the fact that Charlotte was in line to host the upcoming All Star Game until House Bill 2 inspired commissioner Adam Silver to move it — lost to New Orleans just as the franchise itself was in 2002.

The more immediate problem faced now by the Hornets — one that can potentially be fixed without having to deal with slithery members of the NCGOP — is a six-year drought in sending a Charlotte player to the NBA All Star Game. The last player to make it was Gerald Wallace, who appeared in the 2010 game as a representative of the Charlotte Bobcats. It's been 14 years since a player went as a Charlotte Hornet, when point guard Baron Davis repped the Hornets in 2002, their last year before moving to New Orleans.

Now in steps a brave new point guard — one who has arguably proved to be the best at his position in franchise history in five-and-a-half seasons — with a cowboy hat, a duster and a seemingly magical basketball.

Over the weekend, the Hornets debuted the first two episodes of Walker, Charlotte Ranger, a web series that parodies the awful '90s Chuck Norris vehicle Walker, Texas Ranger. In it, Walker stars as the namesake of the show alongside his deputy, played by the goofy Hornets big man Frank Kaminsky.

SPOILER ALERT: In the first two episodes, Walker assists a young Hornets fan in distress with a simple bounce pass of his basketball, then saves Hugo from three bad guys — conveniently wearing shirts that read Bad Guy 1, Bad Guy 2 and Main Bad Guy — with juke moves. The main bad guy then makes off to New Orleans, where Kaminsky promises Walker will eventually follow. The acting is laughably bad throughout and can be hard to watch, but that's what makes it fun. There won't be any Webby awards handed out for these performances, but the Hornets are hoping the awkwardness of it all will lead to a trip to New Orleans for Walker.

The series is meant to inspire fans to vote Walker into the All Star Game. Corny but fun campaigns like this have become the norm for the Charlotte marketing team. In 2014, they launched a "Big Al's Paint" website in an attempt to make the case for Bobcats center Al Jefferson to be named to the All-NBA team. He was named third team All-NBA that year.

Near the end of the 2014-15 season, the Hornets launched a "MKG Security" campaign complete with commercials and a press kit seen below. That campaign to get Michael Kidd-Gilchrist named to the NBA All-Defensive team was not successful, although it appears MKG will reprise his role as "chief security officer" in an upcoming episode of Walker, Charlotte Ranger.

The Hornets are expected to release new episodes at upcoming home games on Thursday night against the Miami Heat, New Year's Eve against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Jan. 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. All-Star voting ends on Jan. 16.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2016 at 4:54 PM

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

Holy Ghost Tent Revival at Visulite Theatre
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Christmas Karaoke at Milestone

Uptown Crawl

Leanna Eden and the Garden Of, Blu House and Monty Mak at Petra's

America Is A Mistake at Lunchbox Records

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Mark Kemp returns to Creative Loafing as editor-in-chief

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 4:06 PM


Mark Kemp
  • Mark Kemp
For the third time in the past decade, we here at Creative Loafing Charlotte have welcomed North Carolina-native Mark Kemp as editor-in-chief at our award-winning alternative newsweekly and website.

Kemp returns to Charlotte after three years in the San Francisco Bay area, where he served stints as editor of the music-instruction magazine Acoustic Guitar and editor-in-chief of SF Weekly. A former senior music editor at Rolling Stone, VP of music editorial at MTV Networks, and entertainment editor at The Charlotte Observer, Kemp began his journalism career as a reporter for the Times-News of Burlington. In the early ‘90s, he served as longtime executive editor of Option, the groundbreaking alternative music and culture magazine.

Kemp edited Creative Loafing in the mid-2000s as well as the early 2010s, spearheading CL’s joint coverage of the 2012 Democratic National Convention with Huffington Post. His book Dixie Lullaby: A Story of Music, Race, and New Beginnings in a New South, was published by Simon & Shuster in 2004.

“The addition of Mark Kemp as editor-in-chief at Creative Loafing in Charlotte is something that the staff and readers of CL should be very excited about ,” says Womack, publisher at CL's parent company, Womack Newspapers, Inc. “Kemp brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the position and knows the Charlotte market extremely well. Personally, I am a huge fan and am anxiously looking forward to his taking the CL brand of print, social media and more to the next level.”

Council holds new vote on nondiscrimination ordinance, awaits action from state

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 11:44 AM

City attorney Bob Hagemann addresses council members at an emergency meeting this morning. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • City attorney Bob Hagemann addresses council members at an emergency meeting this morning.

The Charlotte City Council held an emergency meeting this morning following reports that state lawmakers did not feel their Monday vote to repeal a nondiscrimination ordinance went far enough to justify a full repeal of House Bill 2.

An hour before a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly was to begin in Raleigh, the council repealed Monday’s ordinance and voted again to fully repeal all changes made to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance in February, when sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and marital status were added to the list of characteristics protected against discrimination in the city’s places of public accommodation.

Today’s change was based on the fact that the city’s protections against LGBT discrimination by city vendors were left in place on Monday, which led some Republican lawmakers in the state to believe the city was trying to cheat on the agreement to repeal its non-discrimination ordinance with the understanding it would lead to the repeal of HB2.

City officials said those protections were left in place because they were not preempted by HB2, and it was their understanding that only parts of the ordinance affected by HB2 were to be rescinded. Today’s vote fully repealed all changes made to the nondiscrimination ordinance in February.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts and council members listen as Hagemann explains today's changes. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • Mayor Jennifer Roberts and council members listen as Hagemann explains today's changes.
The miscommunication between city and state officials added to the already growing rift between them, as two council members backed out of supporting today’s vote after voting in support on Monday.

Council members LaWana Mayfield and Al Austin, both open members of the LGBT community, voted against today’s repeal.

“This language was created based on a weekend of conversations that I really was not a part of,” Mayfield said after the vote. “The reps in the General Assembly said this is what you wanted, so to say that we were not being forthright and honest, I have a clear concern about.”

Mayfield and Austin had voted in favor of Monday’s ordinance, which passed unanimously. Council member Patsy Kinsey was absent from both votes, while council member John Autry was only absent from this morning's vote. In Monday's ordinance, a provision stated that if House Bill 2 were not repealed by Dec. 31, the nondiscrimination ordinance would go back into effect. No such provision appears to be attached to the ordinance passed today.

Mayfield said she has little confidence the legislature will follow through on its promises today.

“I would hope, but I have little faith in them representing our entire state and recognizing that this was spurred by legislation that they created, that caused a negative impact for all people regardless of your ethnicity and/or identity or expression,” she said.

Even some council members who voted in favor of full repeal of the nondiscrimination ordinance this morning came out of the meeting feeling uneasy about the implications of allegations from state lawmakers.

Julie Eiselt said she was unsure whether the legislature would repeal HB2 as promised.

“I have no idea now. I have no idea,” she said. “There is nothing that was uncovered that Raleigh didn’t know about and that we didn’t know about before, and this was a good faith effort. I’m discouraged that somebody would make it anything except that.”

The NCGA did convene this morning at 10 a.m., but has since recessed. They are expected to reconvene at 11:45 a.m. Creative Loafing will continue reporting on the story as it develops.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2016 at 3:27 PM

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

Carolina Shout w/ Ethan Uslan at Petra's

Knocturnal at Snug Harbor

WBT Holiday on Ice at NASCAR Hall of Fame

Monday Night Allstars at Double Door Inn

Find Your Muse Open Mic at The Evening Muse

Lunch Break (12/19/16): Non-discrimination ordinance rescinded in surprise vote, expected to lead to HB2 repeal

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2016 at 11:30 AM


The Charlotte City Council held a surprise vote this morning in which they rescinded a non-discrimination ordinance passed in February with the understanding that it would lead to the full repeal of the infamous House Bill 2 by the North Carolina General Assembly as soon as tomorrow.

Governor-elect Roy Cooper released a statement following the city council's vote stating that he was told by NCGA leaders that a special session would be called for tomorrow with the goal of fully repealing House Bill 2, which is credited with losing the state millions of dollars in revenue due to boycotts and lost opportunities for economic development.

"Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte's vote, a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal HB2 in full. I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full," Cooper wrote in the statement.  "Full repeal will help to bring jobs, sports and entertainment events back and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state."

A section of the ordinance passed today states that it will no longer be valid if HB2 is not repealed by December 31.

Governor Pat McCrory's office released a statement confirming that he would call for a special session, claiming that the timing of the surprise vote proved that the entire issue was political in nature, aimed at unseating McCrory.

"Governor McCrory has always publicly advocated a repeal of the overreaching Charlotte ordinance. But those efforts were always blocked by Jennifer Roberts, Roy Cooper and other Democratic activists," wrote Graham Wilson, McCrory's press secretary. "This sudden reversal with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves the entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor's race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state."

A statement released following the council's surprise vote reads in part, "The City of Charlotte continues its commitment to be a welcoming community that honors and respects its people. The Charlotte City Council recognizes the ongoing negative economic impact resulting from the passage of the City's Non-Discrimination Ordinance and the State's House Bill 2. The Council acknowledges that North Carolina House Bill 2 'supersede(s) and preempt(s)' the City's Ordinance. In order to continue thriving as an inclusive community and compete for high paying jobs and world-class events, the City and State must take action together to restore our collective reputation."

The surprise vote has been criticized by Charlotteans on social media who see it as a capitulation in a struggle the city has undergone against the state for nearly the entire year. Three months ago today, Jennifer Roberts stated clearly in a press conference that the city would not consider repealing the non-discrimination ordinance.

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Five people have been charged following shootings in the NoDa and Plaza Midwood areas on Saturday night that happened within 30 minutes of each other.

The first shooting happened just before 10:30 p.m. in front of the Spice Lounge on North Tryon Street, just outside of the NoDa neighborhood. At least two people fired shots in the club's parking lot during what was apparently a teenaged party. Four victims were transported to the hospital, all between the ages of 14 and 16 years old. One of the victim's injuries were considered life-threatening, although as of Monday morning, nobody has died as a result of the shooting.

Carnis Poindexter, Jr.
  • Carnis Poindexter, Jr.
Two teenagers were arrested and charged following the incident, although police believe the suspect who actually shot into the crowd is still on the loose. Police arrested Carnis Poindexter, Jr., 16, and charged him with possession of a firearm by a minor after finding a gun in his car following the shooting. Another 15-year-old juvenile was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by a minor and shooting in the city limits. Police say the juvenile was riding with Poindexter and admitted to shooting a gun into the air after the original shooting occurred.

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About 30 minutes later, in a completely unrelated incident, a couple was shot following an armed robbery in Plaza Midwood. According to police, the couple was shot right under the Family Dollar sign in the middle of the neighborhood, where many people park to go to the surrounding bars and restaurants.

Antonio Worthy
  • Antonio Worthy
According to Lt. Durant with CMPD's Eastway division, a bike patrol that had been assigned for the area following the shooting death of Ketie Jones in October had been pulled out to help with the North Tryon shooting when the robbery happened in Plaza Midwood. However, two CMPD officers were working security nearby and heard the shots. One rendered aid to the victims while the other pursued the suspects. The suspects eventually crashed their car in front of the Presbyterian Hospital. A foot chase ensued and one person was arrested. Further investigation led to the arrest of two more suspects.

Recent reports state that 25-year-old Antonio Worthy has been charged with
Ebonee Ward
  • Ebonee Ward
 two counts of armed robbery, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Jamall Glenn, 33, was charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and two counts of hit and run. Ebonee Ward, 29, was charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.   
Jamall Glenn
  • Jamall Glenn

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