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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 12:11 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 27, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

The Stray Birds at The Evening Muse

• Black Southern Belle Charlotte Tastemaker Summit at Tuft

• Patabamba w/ El Malpais at Snug Harbor

• Sustainability Education through Action and Outreach at Freedom Park Pavilion

• Counting Crows w/ Rob Thomas, K Phillips at PNC Music Pavilion

Lunch Break (7/27/16): VIDEO: County officials say 'Adios, amoebas'

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 11:43 AM

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention being held in Charlotte yesterday, just a day after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton addressed the same crowd. Following his speech, a local lawmaker and Charlotte's mayor teamed up to call Trump out for his shady records regarding veterans. The statement, released by Mayor Jennifer Roberts and N.C. Senator Jeff Jackson, reads as follows:

“Donald Trump has made his supposed support for veterans one of his signature issues in this election. But his record simply does not live up to his rhetoric. The truth is that Trump has displayed a pattern of disrespect toward those who have served our country. He has lied about his donations to veterans’ charities and shown contempt toward prisoners of war, claiming that Senator John McCain is ‘not a war hero’ because he spent five years in captivity. Additionally, Trump has put forward proposals that would negatively impact our veterans, such as supporting the privatization of the Veteran’s Administration, which would force the men and women who served our country into a private market that isn’t equipped to handle their unique health needs. Donald Trump lacks the knowledge, stability, and values to be America’s Commander-in-Chief. His ideas are not resonating with North Carolina’s veteran population.”


Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the day President George W. Bush signed a reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Since then, the VRA has been stripped by decisions like the Shelby County vs. Holder decision of 2013, which did away with a VRA provision that requires states and local governments with histories of racial discrimination to obtain federal clearance before implementing changes to their voting laws.

This morning, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights coalition of more than 200 national civil rights groups sent letters to the Republican chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees noting that two bipartisan VRA restoration bills are languishing in their committees without action.

“Just months before the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, we write to express our frustration that two bills to help restore the law continue to languish in the committee you chair," the letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte said. "More than three years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s devastating Shelby County v. Holder decision, voters across the country desperately need Congress to take action to protect their rights.”


Mecklenburg County Health Director Dr. Marcus Plescia held a press conference this morning to discuss the newly released plan to drain the remaining water in the U.S. National Whitewater Center into the Catawba River.

The plan includes treating the water with chlorine and ultraviolet rays to make sure there is no threat from the infamous brain-eating amoeba that killed an 18-year-old visitor to the center in June. The amoeba is common in warm, freshwater environments like Catawba River, where the USNWC cycles its water from, but Lauren Seitz's death has caused alarm throughout Mecklenburg County.

The new plan was approved by Mecklenburg County Environmental Health and Storm Water Services, Charlotte Water, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USNWC.

Dr. Plescia assured the public that the treatment plan and dilution of the water would render the water harmless, which is probably already is anyway. "Anything that's in there is going to be hugely diluted to the point where it won't be any different from what you'd normally find [in the Catawba River]," Plescia said. The entire press conference can be seen below. 

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lunch Break: HB2 just one big unfunny joke to McCrory

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 12:16 PM

Turns out there may actually be something Pat McCrory is worse at than governing the state of North Carolina: stand up comedy. The governor tested his comic chops when he spoke at a Trump rally in Winston-Salem Monday night and attempted to make light of his notorious House Bill 2: “If any of you need to use the restrooms and if you have any questions, go to the Philadelphia convention where all the Democrats are.”

McCrory’s problematic punchline comes a week after the NBA announced plans to pull the 2017 All Star game from Charlotte, costing the city a cool $100 million in projected revenue and joining a growing list of companies that have yanked operations out of North Carolina in response to HB2. 
“Governor McCrory may be making jokes, but his discriminatory law is no laughing matter,” says Jamal Little, campaign spokesman for McCrory's gubernatorial challenger Roy Cooper. “It has already cost us jobs, hurt our economy and damaged our reputation.” 

The ill-advised joke came hours after Cooper released an online ad comparing the Trump and McCrory campaigns: 

One organization that isn’t abandoning the Queen City in light of HB2 is the National League of Cities (yes, that’s a real thing). The group of 4,000 city leaders meets annually to discuss the goings-on of running cities (no, Sim City doesn’t count), and had made plans to convene in Charlotte in 2017. In a statement Monday, the NLC confirmed that they intend to keep that engagement and continue to support Charlotte.

“We stand with the City of Charlotte, and we will oppose any actions that preempt local control or discriminate against members of our communities,” said CEO Clarence E. Anthony. “Changing the location of City Summit would effectively penalize the City of Charlotte for the state’s action. We will continue our efforts to combat North Carolina’s HB2 and similar state laws across the country.”

Though the Atlantic Ocean has dodged a bullet when it comes to offshore drilling, conservation activists with Oceana say a stretch of ocean along the east coast is still at risk. According to the organization, an area “twice the size of California” between Delaware and Florida is the target of a process called seismic airgun blasting, which is used to detect oil deposits in the ocean floor. State officials in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia banded together to address the White House today in opposition of the process.

“If seismic airgun blasting is allowed to move forward, it would undoubtedly put at risk marine life, coastal communities and local economies along the entire East Coast,” Oceana said in a statement. “With offshore drilling off the table in the Atlantic, there is absolutely no reason to risk the damage that would be caused by seismic airgun blasting in the region.”

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 3:59 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 25, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

• Still Life Workshop with Marc Chatov at Charlotte Fine Art Gallery

Donna Scott Productions' Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Arts Speaker Series at Charlotte Art League

Monday Night Allstars at Double Door Inn

Yoga on the Roof at Rooftop 210

Cocktails and Gardens at The Duke Mansion

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

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