Thursday, February 22, 2018

Listen Up: Erick Lottary Drops New Heat on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 31

Posted By on Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 12:00 PM

When Charlotte rapper Erick Lottary agreed to come on the podcast, he told Ryan he'd play a never-before-heard track on air. Once he got in the studio, though, he felt the 'Vibes' and decided to play us three tracks off the new project.

We also did some talking, too. Lott tells us about expanding beyond the Queen City as he prepares for another busy year at SXSW. Shome also dropped in fresh from the barber chair for the last segment, and he and Erick discussed why presentation is important if you want to start playing the bigger venues in Charlotte.

As always, catch up with our past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher. Or, you can now just type "Local Vibes" into the Spotify search bar and that's an easy way to find all our episodes on the go.

[From left] Shome, Ryan Pitkin and Erick Lottary.
  • [From left] Shome, Ryan Pitkin and Erick Lottary.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Billy Graham's Other Legacy

An honest look at the famous evangelist's views on war, Jews and homosexuality

Posted By on Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 7:00 AM

In the days following Billy Graham's death, there will be no shortage of obituaries and profiles in newspapers and TV news stations extolling the brighter and more positive portions of Graham's legacy. Indeed, in the minutes and hours after Graham's death was announced, reporters and journalists joined in the social media swirl — tweeting, posting and sharing overly generous words about the man and his work in the world. One early report said Graham eschewed fundamentalism for a more welcoming Gospel message — quite a stretch for those who were the targets of Graham's prejudice.

We should take a more complete and nuanced look at this famous preacher's legacy, taking the good with the bad, and wrestling with the reality of a complex man, not just the myth created by media hype.

Matt Comer
  • Matt Comer

As a gay man and, like Graham, a Baptist, the famous evangelist's religious views on homosexuality have often hit me the hardest. In 2012, as the anti-gay marriage amendment debate roiled in North Carolina, Graham and his association came out swinging in favor of the new constitutional provision. At the time, many were saddened that Graham would seek to tarnish his otherwise welcoming legacy by taking a position on such a divisive topic. But it wasn't the first time Graham had weighed in on LGBT issues, and his rhetoric in the past had been far more hateful.

Graham believed homosexuality to be a "a sinister form of perversion," a view he reiterated in 1973 to a young lesbian who wrote into his popular question-and-answer column.

Calling homosexuality an "ungodly spirit of self-gratification" and an "insidious temptation," Graham told the girl, "We traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare."

I wonder how many LGBT teenagers suffered more because of Graham's words, read by their parents, teachers, pastors and other adults in their lives?

Billy's own son, Franklin, was certainly listening to his father's lessons on human sexuality. Today, Franklin Graham — heir to his father's global non-profit and president of his own, Samaritan's Purse — routinely attacks LGBT people as perverts, child molesters and criminals. In 2014, Franklin even praised Russia's Vladimir Putin and his violent crackdown on LGBT people. Putin, Franklin said, had "taken a stand to protect his nation's children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda."

Much like his son's fixation on a dark and nefarious "gay agenda," Graham had conspiratorial fears of his own regarding the Jewish people. Graham's anti-Semitic beliefs had been revealed more than two decades ago, when Richard Nixon's chief of staff H.R. Haldeman said Graham had blamed "satanic Jews" for the nation's problems.

Graham denied those remarks in 1994.

"Those are not my words," Graham said at the time. "I have never talked publicly or privately about the Jewish people, including conversations with President Nixon, except in the most positive terms."

Billy Graham
  • Billy Graham

Graham's anti-Semitism was fully uncovered in 2002, when a secretly recorded conversation with Nixon was released. Meeting with Nixon, Graham agreed with the disgraced president that the nation's media was "totally dominated by the Jews."

Graham accused Jewish media owners of being responsible for the nation's pornography "problem."

"This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain," Graham said. "I can't ever say that but I believe it," Graham continued, encouraging Nixon to win re-election so that "then we might be able to do something."

Graham never sincerely apologized for those remarks, repeatedly claiming he never recalled making them to begin with.

But nothing in Graham's legacy, perhaps, compares to his support in 1969 of a military action that could have killed upwards of one million North Vietnamese.

After meeting with missionaries in Vietnam, Graham wrote to Nixon, encouraging the president to step up the war if peace talks were to fail. Graham suggested bombing dikes across North Vietnam, an act Graham said that "could overnight destroy" their economy.

That any man of God could suggest such a violent war crime boggles the mind.

Some in the media will highlight these parts of Graham's legacy, but many won't. We'll hear about his uplifting, encouraging words of faith, and not much about his words of condemnation, rejection and hate. We'll hear about his progressive works of peace and grace — his friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., and his tempered approach to Islamic relations — and rightfully so, but we'll hear little about his suggestions that would have made for a more violent world and sent millions to their graves.

For a better, more complete understanding of Graham, and of ourselves, we should be more honest in our reflections of a man whose decades-long work will, no doubt, be remembered for many lifetimes to come. As this history is written, let's leave the rose-colored myth out of it.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

The 'American Pickers' Crew Wants to See Your Crap

Shake off the rust, make a few bucks

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 9:49 AM

All that shit your grandma’s been storing in her attic has to have some value, right? So why not cash in and get on TV at the same time?

History Channel’s American Pickers is coming to North Carolina this spring and they’re searching for “large accumulations of junkie treasures.”

What that means is that Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz want to sift through your stuff: a hoarder's warehouse, your grandpa’s garage, the family attic that hasn’t been sorted through in decades, etc. If you have antiques hiding, these guys will find them.

Frank Fritz (left) and Mike Wolfe want to sift through your junk.
  • Frank Fritz (left) and Mike Wolfe want to sift through your junk.

The documentary series, which is in its 18th season, has followed Wolfe and Fritz as they’ve sniffed out everything from the first ever Spider-Man comic in a jam-packed home to a vintage reel of Beatles’ footage at an old-school drive-in.

The partners are skilled in the business of sorting through junk to find the gems. Personal collections, multi-generational family junkyards, basements, barns and warehouses, and closed-down shops and museums all fit the gist. And who knows, you might just become a spin-off reality star in the process.

If you think you have what they’re looking for, leave a voicemail at 1-855-OLD-RUST (653-7878) or email

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Listen Up: Lofidels Does It All on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 30

Posted By on Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Like a Barbara Walters interviews, only way cooler. Ryan goes one-on-one with Lenny Muckle, the mastermind behind Lofidels, in the lead-up to the release of the new album, Demonstration. Muckle talks about why he struck out on his own to create a one-man band and how he constantly keeps things fresh.

Don't forget that we're now on Spotify, so just search for "Local Vibes" and you'll find us. Or catch up with past episodes on iTunes and Stitcher.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Listen Up: Hope Nicholls Retraces Her Steps on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 29

Posted By and on Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 9:19 AM

Ryan wanted to be in her family, Mark just wanted to be in her band. Only one of them succeeded. The guys spoke with CLT legend Hope Nicholls about her journey from Fetchin' Bones to Sugarsmack to Snagglepuss to It's Snakes and all the craziness — good and bad — that came in between.

We also discuss another issue that Hope is passionate about: gentrification in Charlotte. And of course, the Charlotte music scene.

Don't forget that we are now on Spotify! All you've got to do is search "Local Vibes" and you're in. You can also catch all our past episodes on iTunes and Stitcher.

Hope Nicholls (left) with Fetchin' Bones sometime in the late '80s. (Photo by Allison Durham) Pictured in the podcast window: Hope hangs with one of her pups in her Plaza Midwood boutique, Boris & Natasha, during a 'CL' interview in 2017. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)
  • Hope Nicholls (left) with Fetchin' Bones sometime in the late '80s. (Photo by Allison Durham) Pictured in the podcast window: Hope hangs with one of her pups in her Plaza Midwood boutique, Boris & Natasha, during a 'CL' interview in 2017. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Listen Up: John Tosco and Louis Beeler Put On a Show on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 28

Posted By and on Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM

In the lead-up to the year's first Tosco Music Party, Ryan and mark brought in the event's creator, John Tosco, as well as Louis Beeler, founder of the popular Tiny Stage Concerts.

[CONTEST] We're giving away two tickets to Saturday's Tosco Music Party at Knight Theater. Just answer the following question: Vadim Kolpakov will be performing his brand of Russian Gypsy music on a seven-string guitar on Saturday. What American music icon has Kolpakov toured with in the past?

John Tosco answers the question in the podcast, so give it a listen and when you have the answer, email it to us at

We talked to the duo about how each have grown their respective concerts from humble beginnings to renowned musical events. We also discuss what it was like for John to see his kids hit it big with Justincase, and talk beer with Beeler, who brews on the side.

Don't forget that we recently arrived on Spotify, making it easier than ever to go local; just search "Local Vibes." You can also always catch up on all our past episodes at iTunes or Stitcher.

[From left] Louis Beeler, Ryan Pitkin, John Tosco and Mark Kemp.
  • [From left] Louis Beeler, Ryan Pitkin, John Tosco and Mark Kemp.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Crime Down in Charlotte in 2017, Despite Jump in Homicides, Rapes

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney holds end-of-year briefing

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 4:23 PM

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney speaks at Friday's press briefing.
  • CMPD Chief Kerr Putney speaks at Friday's press briefing.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney held the department’s annual end-of-year press briefing at Faith Memorial Baptist church in the Lakewood neighborhood in west Charlotte this morning. Putney discussed the newly released crime stats for 2017, as well as different programs that were launched throughout the year that he hopes to continue implementing throughout the community in 2018.

In 2017, overall crime in Charlotte decreased by approximately five percent, meaning roughly 3,000 fewer people were victims of crime compared to the year prior. However, homicide and rape were two of the only three index offenses that increased, crimes that Putney says are of the most concern to the department.

What increased:

- 85 homicides were reported compared to 68, a 25-percent increase
       - 60 homicides (71 percent) cleared by arrest or other means
       - 24 homicides (28 percent) related to domestic violence
- 306 rapes were reported compared to 273, a 12.1-percent increase
- 2,190 commercial burglaries were reported compared to 1,985, a 10.3-percent increase

What decreased:

- 2,017 robberies compared to 2,120, a 4.9-percent decrease
- 3,965 aggravated assaults compared to 4150, a 4.5-percent decrease
- 4,227 residential burglary compared to 4,755, a 11.1-percent decrease
- 2,623 vehicle thefts compared to 2,739, a 4.2-percent decrease
- 25,610 larcenies compared to 27,106, a 5.5-percent decrease
- 11,747 larcenies from auto compared to 12,179, a 3.5-percent decrease
- 199 arson cases compared to 229, a 13.1-percent decrease

The 25 percent jump in homicides was a topic of conversation throughout the year, which Putney felt the need to address at today’s briefing.

“Eighty-five senseless losses of life is bigger than the statistic would lead you to believe,” he said. “We’re talking about families that have been hurt, families that have been traumatized, so we don’t take that number lightly.”

He said the department will be working hard to reduce the number of homicides in 2018.

Putney believes the rape reports increased partly because of what’s happening nationally.

“It is becoming a part of who we are as a society to report this kind of thing, to hold people accountable and we applaud these sexual assault victims for their courage,” he said.

Putney pointed out that in 2017, approximately 90 percent of victims knew their perpetrator.

“It is an intimate relationship that we’re talking about here, which is difficult for us to do the work that we need to do to address some of these issues,” he said.

Putney said CMPD wants to provide resources that will hopefully stop violence before it happens. Within the next few years, the department hopes to play a pivotal role in opening a Family Justice Center, where multiple services for domestic violence victims can operate under one roof. Creative Loafing covered the details about the FJC in our recent series about domestic violence in Charlotte.

The briefing also gave some insight on other happenings within the department.

Last year, officer Rick Zoerb created the Emergency Needs Fund, which provides officers the resources to immediately help in emergency situations they come across in residents’ homes, such as turning someone’s power back on or buying a family groceries.

“I would go into homes and see situations that I wasn’t equipped to handle … Those emergencies were things like no running water, no electricity, no food in the fridge, no beds for kids to sleep on,” said Zoerb, explaining why he wanted to create the fund.

Zoerb reached out to businesses in the area and raised over $25,000 to put into the fund. He’s hoping to double the money this year.

Putney followed Zoerb’s success story by comparing it to the negative stereotypes about police and the effects it has had on the department, specifically mentioning trouble with recruiting. In response to those difficulties, CMPD has put in place an incentive program that attracts experienced officers to the city. Putney said their goal is to recruit 60 officers through the fiscal year, although at the moment, well past the halfway point, the department has only hired 25.

Other statistics released at the briefing:

- 198,000 people attended community engagement functions with CMPD, including community forums and Coffee with a Cop
- 1.3 million calls handled by 911 center
- 622,000 interactions between officers and community during their patrol
- 19,000 arrests made
- 1,800 stolen or otherwise illegal guns removed from the streets

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Listen Up: Slade Baird of Amigo Talks About Making 'Friends' on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 27

Posted By and on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 10:17 AM

In the lead-up to the release of Amigo's new album, And Friends, frontman Slade Baird came by the studio to discuss producing with Mitch Easter, the momentum of the Charlotte music scene and making a new addition to the band on keys.

Make sure to catch up with our past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher. We're also on Spotify now, so just type "Local Vibes" into the search bar and you're in.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Women's March Returns to the Streets

Dump Trump, Take Two

Posted By on Sat, Jan 20, 2018 at 3:19 PM

Rev. Amantha Barbee speaks to the crowd at the Women's March in First Ward Park. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)
  • Rev. Amantha Barbee speaks to the crowd at the Women's March in First Ward Park. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

On January 20, the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, thousands of people took to the streets of Charlotte — joined by countless others across the country — to protest the president's policies and stand up for women's rights and other intersectional issues during the second annual Women's March.

In the two hours leading up the march, which wound its way from First Ward Park to Romare Bearden Park, a diverse group of women took the stage to address the ever-growing crowd. Speakers included Charlotte City Council representatives LaWana Mayfield and Dimple Ajmera; N.C. Rep. Carla Cunningham; Rev. Amantha Barbee of Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church and MaryBe McMillan of the NC State AFL-CIO, among others.

In the crowd, marchers displayed their own frustration with creative signs. Creative Loafing was on hand to snap pictures of the speakers and some of our favorite signs [below]. Let us know if you saw any good ones that we missed.

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Listen Up: Rob Lind of The Sonics Tells 'Local Vibes' How His Band Invented Punk

Episode 26

Posted By and on Sat, Jan 20, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Before heading to eastern Europe for a five-week tour, proto-punk and garage-rock pioneer Rob Lind of The Sonics came by the studio to talk about making music with his friends as a naive teen in the mid-'60s, with no idea of how iconic his band would become.

Don't forget to catch up on our past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher. We're on Spotify now, too, so it's never been so easy to go local. That sounded very ad-like. Sorry. Just listen to the podcast.

[From left] Mark Kemp, Rob Lind and Ryan Pitkin.
  • [From left] Mark Kemp, Rob Lind and Ryan Pitkin.

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