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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Weekender, July 1-3

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Check out these events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area this weekend— as selected by the folks at

Creative Loafing.

Friday, July 1

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Su Casa

Dharma Lounge

The fresh-faced and funky nightlife event Su Casa is returning for its third installment — but the soul-house-Afrobeat-and-more-fueled party sports one major change this time. Instead of popping off on its usual Sunday, the latest Casa is happening on Friday, July 1. So, all you folks who have jobs and things to do on Monday morning can finally check out this shindig without guilt. And as always, the fun also includes photography by local photog Jasiatic, films and more.

Theater Central Piedmont Community College’s Theatre department likes a good thrill. In Deathtrap — performances in Pease Auditorium — there are so many unexpected twists and turns, the work has been hailed by some as a play-within-a-play. Murder, an affair, psychics and writer’s block are all the hilarious crumbs leading up to the final crunch. No dead giveaways here. more...

Comedy The Comedy Zone at N.C. Music Factory is open and that calls for celebration. This weekend Pat Godwin — a contestant on Last Comic Standing and guest on radio programs such as Howard Stern and Bob and Tom — performs. Godwin is a funny guy armed with a guitar and ready to pick fun at some of music’s most popular musicians, among other subject matter. Local stand-up luminary Sid Davis opens with a hilarious set. more...

Saturday, July 2

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Coca-Cola 4th of July Festival

U.S. National Whitewater Center

In honor of Independence Day, U.S. National Whitewater Center is hosting three days of live music and fireworks for its Coca-Cola 4th of July Festival. It all kicks off on July 2 with performances by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Riley Etheridge Jr., and Do It To Julia. Langhorne Slim (see pic), Overmountain Men and Holy Ghost Tent Revival perform on July 3 and Anders Osborne, The New Familiars and Sol Driven Train on July 4. Pretty good lineup and best of all, it’s free.

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Best bets in Charlotte comedy, June 30-July 2

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 4:11 PM

As the headline suggests, here are a few of the best places to find comedy events in Charlotte — from stand-up to improv to sketch comedy and more. For a complete listing of all comedy visit www.CharlotteComedyLIVE.com.

Thursday, June 30

Improv Comedy at 8 p.m.

Shows similar to Whose Line is it Anyway?. The entire direction of the show is dictated by the audience and their suggestions, making it a very unique, funny show.

Petras Piano Bar ~ 1919 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte ~ $5

Thursday, June 30 & Friday, July 1 & Saturday, July 2

Pat Godwin with Sid Davis at 8 p.m. & 10:15 p.m.

One of the most clever and prolific comedy songwriters in the business. Pat has appeared on Last Comic Standing, The Bob & Tom Show, The Bob & Sheri Show and The Howard Stern Show.

The Comedy Zone Charlotte at N.C. Music Factory ~ 900 Seaboard St., Charlotte~ $10-$15

Friday, July 1

Charlotte Comedy Theater at 8 p.m.

Competitive short form where improvisers compete against one another for your affection. Lots of audience participation.

Prevue ~ 2909 N. Davidson St., Charlotte ~ $10 cash at the door

Improv Charlotte at 7 p.m.

Improv Charlotte seeks to make a global impact by donating proceeds from their shows to charities. This show, titled "Proud to be an American" will feature musical guests and raise funds for Disable American Veterans.

Wine Up ~ 3306 N. Davidson St., Charlotte ~ $5 donation

Saturday, July 2

Robot Johnson Sketch Comedy at 8:30 p.m.

Charlotte's favorite sketch comedy troupe makes its triumphant return in a new venue. Good humor by bad people.

The Mill ~ 3306A N. Davidson St., Charlotte ~ $12 cash at the door

To join Debbie’s mailing list (just one e-mail a week, I promise), e-mail DebbieMillwater@gmail.com with the Subject Line “Subscribe.”

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Monte Carlo trailer

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 2:11 PM

In this twist on the classic "prince and pauper" plot, Selena Gomez plays two roles: Grace, an American girl in France, and Cordelia, a blue-blood staying in the same hotel. Grace's friends convince her to pass herself off as Cordelia, and their adventure begins. Opens this Friday, July 1.

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Democratic National Convention 2012 Notebook: Some public relations lessons ... from Detroit?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 11:23 AM

To the folks who thought boosterism Charlotte-style could not be more frenzied, I just returned from a place that could give lessons. If ever a city had to dig itself out of a public relations hole, it would be Detroit. As Charlotte works out any flaws — including taking another look at the operation of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority — Charlotte’s problems seem small when compared to the shrinking city on the Detroit River. (After the 2010 census, Charlotte moved ahead to rank at No. 17 to Detroit’s 18.) Current Mayor Dave Bing is trying to rebuild while living down the memory of his recently paroled predecessor Kwame Kilpatrick, and Michigan’s auto industry — on a slow road back — is no longer an automatic path to the middle class.

I traveled there for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists annual conference, to moderate the panel “Lies, Damned Lies and Talking Points: How to write about hot-button political issues in the upcoming election cycle without getting played.” And I got to pick up a writing award in a ceremony in the gorgeous Detroit Institute of Arts where our dinner companion was “Detroit Industry,” the massive Diego Rivera mural looking on from above.

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Each day was packed with field trips, some like the Motown Museum a sign of past glory. The Heidelberg Project promised a creative renaissance; the outdoor art installation in a once-crumbling block has been transformed by the vision of neighborhood artist Tyree Guyton.

Most outings looked forward: a stop at TechTown, the Wayne State University research and technology park that’s an incubator for entrepreneurs; a tour of Quicken Loan’s new downtown office, and lunch at Compuware. The phrases we heard: “one of the best-kept secrets in the country” and “it’s not about problems, it’s about people.” But as panelist Rochelle Riley from the Detroit Free Press reminded everyone, opportunities won’t mean much if public schools don’t prepare all children for those new jobs.

On a personal tour with a friend, I saw neat homes with manicured front yards next to burned-out hulks, mansions a block away from rubble. It took a long time for Detroit to become unfortunate shorthand for what a troubled city looks like. It makes that rise to glory tougher no matter how many community and business leaders work to make it so.

Even though it’s easy to make fun of Charlotte’s world-class aspirations, things could be worse. But remember that Detroit hosted the 1980 Republican convention that nominated Ronald “Morning in America” Reagan.

Without a strong commitment to economic and infrastructure development and strong schools, a convention is a nice, but passing, event.

Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to The Root, NPR, Creative Loafing and the Nieman Watchdog blog. Her “Keeping It Positive” segment airs Wednesdays at 7:10 on TV’s Fox News Rising Charlotte, and she was national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter. http://twitter.com/mcurtisnc3.

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Analysis: N.C. marshes shows sea-level on the rise

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Photo credit: Julie G.
  • Photo credit: Julie G.

Shocking science: Climate change and rising seas coincide with the Industrial Revolution and is "not part of a natural cycle."

But we already knew that, didn't we?

From Science News:

Sea levels began rising precipitously in the late 19th century and have since tripled the rate of climb seen at any time in at least two millennia, a detailed analysis of North Carolina marsh sediments shows.

“This clearly shows the recent trend is not part of a natural cycle,” says Ken Miller of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, who was not associated with the analysis.

Andrew Kemp of the University of Pennsylvania and his colleagues spent five years plumbing salt marsh sediments that had remained largely undisturbed for millennia.

The cores show that sea level at the North Carolina sites was largely unchanging from 100 B.C. until A.D. 950. Then sea level underwent a four-century rise averaging 0.6 millimeters per year. Sea level didn’t rise again until after 1865. Since then, it’s been climbing an average of 2.1 millimeters annually. And at least for the last 80 years, Horton says, “the fit with North Carolina tide gauge data is one to one: It’s perfect.”

Read the entire article, by Janet Raloff, here.

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Landfill ban on electronic waste begins July 1

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Photo credit: Keoni 101
  • Photo credit: Keoni 101

Please be aware of this new regulation:

The North Carolina’s Electronic Recycling Session Law 2010-67 (Senate Bill 887) Disposal Ban mandates that on July 1, 2011, the disposal of discarded computer equipment and televisions is prohibited in North Carolina landfills. The law was approved in July 2010 by state lawmakers and regulates the disposal of electronic equipment.

The disposal ban is not expected to have an impact on Solid Waste collections operations or 311 call volumes. Currently Solid Waste Services provides collection services for bulky items and white goods. White goods – large household appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, air conditioners, and washing machines – are taken to a facility where they are recycled. Non-recyclable bulky items are taken to the landfill.

Solid Waste Services has coordinated with Mecklenburg County to dispose of discarded electronic equipment using a method compliant with the new legislation. Electronic items will be separated and taken to the white goods facility for processing. Citizens may also utilize County recycling centers or Goodwill Industries locations to dispose of electronics. To see a full list of banned landfill items and disposal locations, please visit http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wm/sw/electronics.

Source: Council-Manager Memo 6/22/11

This is actually a good thing, as Shannon Binns from Sustain Charlotte explained in a recent e-mail:

Electronic waste is the fastest growing component of the waste stream.  It is accumulating three times as fast as other wastes.  Yet e-waste contains many toxic materials such as lead, mercury, and chromium that cannot be safely disposed of in landfills because these toxins can leach into the surrounding soil and water table.  Equally important, the resources used in electronics are extremely valuable and can be used again in new products so banning their disposal in landfills keeps those resources flowing through our economy and creates jobs in the recycling industry.

And Shannon's not just yammering; he knows what he's talking about. Here's a link to a report he wrote about e-waste back in 2006, if you're interested in digging into the issue.

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Booming 4th of July events

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Check out this list of events celebrating Independence Day in Charlotte and the surrounding area — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

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Friday, July 1

• CHARLOTTE SYMPHONY SUMMER POPS "CELEBRATE AMERICA" CONCERT Albert-George Schram conducts. For more information, visit www.charlottesymphony.org. Free. 8:15 p.m. Belle Johnston Park, 358 Lake Drive, Pineville.

• RED, WHITE AND BBQ AT WILD WING CAFE Celebrate 4th of July weekend at the wing. All-American specials include $2.50 Miller Lite bottles and pints and $3.50 Blue Moon pints. Live music: Crossing Yellow Lines at EpiCentre location; The Remingtones at University location; DJ dance party at Ayrsley location. EpiCenre location: 210 E. Trade St. 704-716-9464; University location: 711 W. Mallard Creek Church Road. 704-708-9453; Ayrsley location: 2132 Ayrsley Town Blvd. 980-297-7000; For more information, visit www.wildwingcafe.com.

Saturday, July 2

• CHARLOTTE SYMPHONY SUMMER POPS "CELEBRATE AMERICA" CONCERT Albert-George Schram conducts. For more information, visit www.charlottesymphony.org. Free. 8:15 p.m. Village Park, 700 West C St., Kannapolis.

• RED, WHITE AND BBQ AT WILD WING CAFE Celebrate 4th of July weekend at the wing. All-American specials include $2.50 Miller Lite bottles and pints and $3.50 Blue Moon pints. Live music: Hard to Handle (Black Crowes tribute band) at EpiCentre location; John Linker at University location; Brent Cates Duo at Ayrsley location. EpiCenre location: 210 E. Trade St. 704-716-9464; University location: 711 W. Mallard Creek Church Road. 704-708-9453; Ayrsley location: 2132 Ayrsley Town Blvd. 980-297-7000; For more information, visit www.wildwingcafe.com.

• COCA-COLA 4TH OF JULY FESTIVAL A three-day 4th of July celebration featuring live music and fireworks. Today's performance lineup includes Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Riley Etheridge Jr. and Do It To Julia. Free admission. $5 parking fee applies. 4 p.m. U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway, Charlotte. 704-391-3900. www.usnwc.org.

• FOUNDING FATHERS BASH: BURGERS FOR A BUCK 4th of July celebration with $1 hamburgers, live music, games, prizes and more. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Earth Fare (Ballantyne location), 12235 North Community House Road, Charlotte. 704-926-1201. www.earthfare.com.

• THE SOUL FOOD FESTIVAL An outdoor concert with soul food. Performers include Cameo, Barkays, After 7, Dazz Band, SWV and Confunkshun. For more information, visit www.ilovesoulfood.com. $22-$52. 7 p.m. Rural Hill Farm, 4431 Neck Road, Huntersville. 704-875-3113. www.ruralhill.net.

Sunday, July 3

• RED, WHITE AND BLUE 7TH ST BLOCK PARTY AND CARNIVAL Jackalope Jacks, Kennedy's, The Philosophers Stone, Sub Station II will feature live music. In addition, there will be a dunking tank, adult water slides, a kids bouncy house, $5 fish bowls, $2 beer specials, and a corn hole tournament and hot dog eating contest. Free. Starts at 1 p.m.

• 11TH ANNUAL PLAZA-MIDWOOD PIG PICKIN' Gordon Street block party, featuring food, drinks, music (Belmont Playboys, Temperance League, Sea of Cortez, Aqualads and Modern Primitives), a rockabilly car show, a Cafe Racer motorcycle show and a pin-up girl fashion show. After-party at Snug Harbor with Alternative Champs and The Poontanglers. Held from 4 p.m.-11 p.m. in parking lot on Gordon Street (between Snug Harbor and The Diamond).

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Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, June 30, 2011 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Charlie Faye at The Evening Muse

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Charlotte House of Comedy at Allure Restaurant

One Voice Chorus' Holiday Squares at Duke Energy Theatre

Neon Psalms at Carolina Actors Studio Theatre

My Family, Our Stories exhibit at The Light Factory

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gov. Perdue, veto the 'fracking' bill!

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

“Fracking,” short for hydro-fracking, is a highly controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations — and with the help of our fine lawmakers in Raleigh, it could be coming here. Also called “horizontal drilling,” the Halliburton-invented method fractures deep rock formations with a highly toxic mix — the industry calls it its “secret sauce” — of water, various toxic  chemicals and sand. The main problems with fracking are 1.) it uses millions of gallons of water, which can hurt local water supplies and, in any case, have to be detoxified later, and 2.) it can open fractures to freshwater formations and wreak havoc on local water supplies. Large numbers of wells tainted by methane have been reported, as well as major accidents — including a well blowout in Pennsylvania that garnered a $400,000 fine after churning out toxic water and gas for 16 hours. The state of New York has essentially stopped all new fracking permits there out of fear for the water supply of millions. People complain of oily-tasting water coming from their taps within miles of fracking sites, and a video of a man in the vicinity of a fracking site lighting his tap water on fire went viral on the Internet.

A New York Times investigation showed that huge amounts of radioactive material have been found in water supplies near fracking sites, in addition to the smelly, flammable tap water mentioned above, and, oh by the way, a home in Cleveland, Ohio blew up.

In North Carolina, gas company buzzards are circling, and already buying up land in the central area of the state where shale deposits are located, even though, for now, fracking is illegal here. In a process that brings to mind the timber companies that raped the Appalachian mountains in the early 20th century, gas company “land men” are scouring the state for suckers, offering folks $3 or $4 dollars per acre, plus percentages from future development, while New York and Pennsylvania residents are offered $2,000 or $3,000 plus percentages. Needless to say, considering the current business-fellating mood of the General Assembly, lawmakers passed a bill to allow fracking in N.C. That bill, which was introduced by Mecklenburg senator Bob Rucho,  now sits on Gov. Perdue’s desk; she has until late tomorrow to sign it, veto it, or let it take effect without her input. The phone number for the governor’s Charlotte office is (704) 330-5290; her e-mail address is governor.office@nc.gov. Meanwhile, here’s the video of the guy lighting tap water on fire.

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Coal ash is polluting our water as feds keep their hands off regs

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 11:29 AM

These two Duke Energy coal ash ponds drain into our drinking water, aka Mountain Island Lake.
  • These two Duke Energy coal ash ponds drain into our drinking water, aka Mountain Island Lake.

Coal ash. By now, you should know that it's draining into our main drinking water reservoir — Mountain Island Lake. If you're not up on this topic, get up to speed with one of our former cover stories (which I wrote): "Is coal ash poisoning Charlotte's drinking water?"

In recent coal ash news:

The U.S. Congress would prefer it if the feds didn't regulate coal ash, even though they said they would.

The EPA began pushing for regulation after a massive coal ash spill at TVA’s Kingston power plant in East Tennessee in December 2008. More than 5 million cubic yards of ash sludge poured through a broken dike into the Emory River and a lakeside neighborhood, covering 300 acres in sludge from 4 to 6 feet deep.

Cleanup of the Kingston spill is costing TVA more than $1 billion, and the giant public utility is spending another $1 billion to make improvements to ash storage facilities at coal-fired plants.

Industry representatives and some Republicans have argued that labeling the waste hazardous would saddle the industry with costly regulations, exhaust existing landfill space, raise utility costs for consumers, and stigmatize the use of coal ash in commercial products.

All of that would cost jobs, they say.

If the bill is approved by the full committee, it will move to the House floor. Waxman said the bill has little chance of passing the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

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