Thursday, August 17, 2017

Listen Up: Tony Arreaza and Davey Blackburn Talk CLT Latin Music on 'Local Vibes'

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 10:41 AM

Tony Arreaza has been working to cultivate Charlotte's Latin music scene for more than two decades, and he's recently teamed up with local experimental musician Davey Blackburn to spread the music more widely. We chatted it up with the duo about their regular Latin Night in Plaza Midwood event at Snug Harbor, and the recent growth they've witnessed in the local Latin music scene as well as how music and arts can play a big role in today's political climate.

Listen below or check out our iTunes page to catch up with all our past episodes.

'Local Vibes' Aug. 17 crew: CL editor Mark Kemp (from left) with Tony Arreaza, Davey Blackburn, Oscar Huerta of UltimaNota, and CL's Ryan Pitkin
  • 'Local Vibes' Aug. 17 crew: CL editor Mark Kemp (from left) with Tony Arreaza, Davey Blackburn, Oscar Huerta of UltimaNota, and CL's Ryan Pitkin

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Listen Up: LeAnna Eden Strums, Sings and Chats Us Up on 'Local Vibes'

LeAnna plays a few for us in the studio

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 10:38 AM


For Episode 4 of Local Vibes, LeAnna Eden of LeAnna Eden and the Garden Of brought her guitar with her and blessed us with a couple of in-studio performances. Also, Mark and Ryan finally get to the bottom of how to say and spell her name, which has been bothering them for some time.

Listen below, or check out our iTunes page for any of the previous episodes.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Advocacy Groups Challenge 'Fake' Repeal of HB2

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 12:32 PM

Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (Photo by James Willamor)
  • Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (Photo by James Willamor)

Two civil rights organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and Lambda Legal, announced today that they are expanding their lawsuit that once challenged the infamous House Bill 2 to include House Bill 142, the law that replaced HB2.

In a press release, the ACLU called the repeal of HB2 "fake" and pointed out that HB142 is equally discriminatory in its restrictions to cities and towns that would like to pass anti-discrimination laws allowing transgender people to use the restrooms of the gender they identify with.

Charlotte City Council repealed the transgender-inclusive amendments to its nondiscrimination ordinance in order to have HB2 repealed, and HB142 restricts the city or any other municipality in North Carolina from passing similar ordinances until 2020, at the earliest.

“After publicly vilifying transgender people for more than a year, legislators can’t just abandon transgender people to fend for themselves in the toxic environment of fear and animosity that the legislature itself created," Tara Borelli, counsel with Lambda Legal, said in the release. "HB142 doubles down on many of the worst harms of HB2 and leaves transgender people in a legal limbo where they remain uniquely vulnerable to discrimination. Transgender people face an impossible situation where no door leads to safety. Anyone would find that intolerable.”

The advocacy groups also added two new plaintiffs to its suit: Madeline "Maddy" Goss, a transgender woman from Raleigh who teaches Tae Kwon Do and lobbies the state legislature in her free time; and Quinton Harper, a community organizer from Carrboro who has been a longtime advocate for people living with HIV.

“I don’t have the option to use the men’s restroom, and I don’t have the luxury to not think about my safety every time I use the women’s restroom,” said Goss. “I know all too well what can happen to a transgender person in the restroom because a stranger won’t just let you be. It’s even scarier now that there is so much confusion about which restrooms I can use and I worry that I am not safe to use any restroom in North Carolina because of this discrimination.”

Goss and Harper join four other plaintiffs in Carcaño v. McCrory, now known as Carcaño v. Cooper, which is now more than a year old.

“LGBT North Carolinians deserve to feel secure in knowing that when they go about their daily lives and interact with businesses open to the public, any discrimination they encounter is illegal, but HB142 robs of them of that security,” said Chris Brook, legal director with ACLU of North Carolina, in the release. “This law continues to invite discrimination against LGBT people, particularly transgender people, and sends a daily message that LGBT people across the state are not worthy of equal dignity and respect.”

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Trudy Wade Aims to Take Two Scoops From Newspapers

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 3:00 PM

N.C. Sen. Trudy Wade
  • N.C. Sen. Trudy Wade
N.C. Sen. Trudy Wade is known for her efforts to cut environmental regulations, but over the past month she has been pushing an even more Trump-esque agenda: punishing papers because of her distaste for the media.

Wade is pushing a bill that would hurt newspapers in two ways, by allowing municipalities to publish legal notices on their own websites — meaning they wouldn't have to pay newspapers to do so, as has been the case for much of modern history — and forcing newspapers to classify their part-time carriers as employees instead of independent contractors.

As stated by the News & Observer editorial board in an op-ed that ran today,
  We agree, and though it's something we've been used to for some time now, it's tough for us journalists to report on politicians' efforts to burn down the planet we're living on when they're also trying to burn up the checks we make a living off of.

But that's the point, isn't it, Senator?

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Five Names For Your Irish Pub That Aren't Milestone

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 12:46 PM

Earlier this week, a Charlotte Agenda article caused some debate around town when it announced the upcoming opening of a new bar in Dilworth. What’s the fuss? Its owner Jackie McHugh, who recently moved here from New York, plans to name it Milestone.

Though the Agenda article failed to mention it, Charlotte already has a bar called The Milestone. Perhaps you’ve heard of it: world famous, been here since 1969, Nirvana played there, historic local icon…?

You may be wondering why this dude would want to brand his new bar with the same name as one of the city’s most beloved establishments, simultaneously confusing and pissing off potential patrons before the doors even open. The answer: it’s a tribute to his 11-month old son, Miles, who gives zero fux about your precious punk rock mecca.

The one true Milestone. Photo by Daniel Coston.
  • The one true Milestone. Photo by Daniel Coston.

Here at Creative Loafing, we can appreciate Mr. McHugh’s dedication to his son, but we can’t get behind the name. We’ve come up with other suggestions -- all of which are a better idea:

This name is hitting on several levels. Here’s a word that incorporates Miles’ name, conveys the happy feeling customers can expect to have when they visit, and potentially lends itself to a cool Irish tagline (Something about “When Irish eyes are smiling…”).

Daddy’s Pub
Like the fictional “Paddy’s Pub” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – only this one is a tribute to being a dad. Bonus: It’s likely to become the go-to meeting place for old rich guys and the hot young gold-diggers who “love” them.

The Dilhole
A watering hole in Dilworth? It begs for this name.

Because if you’re going to steal the name of an iconic punk club, make it one from the city you just left, not the one you’re setting up shop in.

It’s a name that says “Around here we’re Irish. Also, we have no idea how to Google a name before claiming it as our own.”

Mr. McHugh, you are free to use any of these. We don’t expect a consultant fee, public acknowledgement or even a free beer (although that would be nice). We consider it a public service.

Oh and by the way, welcome to Charlotte!

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

8 Social Entrepreneur Hacks That Can Help Get Your Community Project Funded

Posted By on Sat, Apr 22, 2017 at 6:49 PM

In 2016, Creative Loafing contributor Kia O. Moore was one of two winners of the Knight Foundation's Emerging City Champions program in Charlotte. With the $5,000 grant she received, Moore started Hip Hop Orchestrated to blend hip-hop culture with orchestral-music culture in ways that will engage young people in the arts in Charlotte. In this blog post, Moore shares some tips she got from the Knight Foundation's program director, Charles Thomas, on how others can work with grants programs to make their good ideas about community engagement come to fruition. Editor

  • Moore
Have you ever flirted with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur? How about starting a nonprofit? If yes, then there may be an Emerging City Champion in you.

The Emerging City Champions is a fellowship program for young civic innovators who have transformative ideas. You provide the vision, drive and determination, and the ECC provides the guidance and funding to get you started. It's open to anyone between the ages of 19 and 35 with an innovative idea focused on at least one of the following elements associated with a livable community: enhancing civic engagement, improving mobility or activating public life in public spaces.

The ECC is looking for diverse voices with enough passion, talent and commitment to improve their neighborhoods or communities in one of the 26 cities in which the Knight Foundation invests. Charlotte is one of those cities. If you are interested in applying, the deadline to submit your idea is Wednesday, April 26. Head to the ECC website where you can learn more and gain access to the application.

Whether or not you win an ECC fellowship, or if you are over the age of 35 and don't qualify, your idea to help improve Charlotte still needs to be heard. Lots of Charlotte-area businesses have strong community engagement departments looking to provide funds to social entrepreneurs. Also, many nonprofits are looking for partnerships with people who have innovative ideas for social improvement. Through strong community partnerships and a little cash, you can find ways to make your idea happen. But once you take the leap into the social entrepreneurial life, you will need a few business hacks to help you along the way.

  • Thomas
Charles Thomas, the Knight Foundation's program director in Charlotte, recently helped me come up with eight social entrepreneurial business hacks that I would like to pass along to you as you work to scale your positive impact in the Queen City.

1) Own your vision. Hone your talent. Delegate the rest.
You don’t have to know how to do everything to run your own social venture. If you have the vision and you can master several aspects of making it work, you then pull in other people who have the skills you lack.

2) Trust in your light.
When you find your light ⏤ your life’s purpose ⏤ you can no longer question it. You cannot let others redirect, dim or steal your light from you. You must trust yourself and the process of learning and growing as a social entrepreneur.

3) Introverted networking works just as well as extroverted networking.
Going to a networking event does not always mean you have to attempt to meet everyone in the room. Sometimes those funders, partners, mentors and clients just need to see your face in places all around town. Just seeing your face over and over works to your advantage. It even becomes a conversation starter. “Hey! I see you everywhere! What’s your name?”

4) Categorize your meetings.
As a founder and/or executive director, there are going to be a lot of people who want your attention and time. To use your meeting time most effectively you have to become very astute at categorizing your meeting interactions. Some meeting requests are emails, other are phone calls, and some meeting requests do not align with your immediate goals at all. Sometimes you are going to need to push those meetings to a later time in the year when you can actually meet with new people.

Continue reading »

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Police Investigate Hate Crime in East Charlotte

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 1:52 PM

The storefront at Central Market on Friday afternoon. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • The storefront at Central Market on Friday afternoon.

Police are investigating a hate crime apparently committed by a confused young man in east Charlotte last night.

According to CMPD, officers responded to Central Market on Albemarle Road just before 10 p.m. last night in response to a fire. By the time they arrived, the fire had already burned itself out, only damaging the front door of the business.

Police quickly found that the business had been intentionally damaged, as someone had thrown a large rock through a pane of glass on the front door. The suspect left behind a note explaining why he had broken the glass and set the fire, stating that President Donald Trump "is our nation builder for whites" and that refugees and immigrants "are not allowed to do business anymore." He signed the letter, "White America."

Confusing matters a bit is that the entire incident was caught on surveillance camera, and police say the suspect was actually a black man, approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall, 200 pounds with a short afro and a goatee.
Kamal Dhimal speaks from inside his store (above), where a stone that was thrown through the window last night still lies (below). - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • Kamal Dhimal speaks from inside his store (above), where a stone that was thrown through the window last night still lies (below).

Kamal Dhimal, owner of Central Market, said he didn't want to speculate on the note or blame any group of people.

"If I focus on somebody else, if I say, 'Oh, you did this,' I don’t know, who is that?" Dhimal said. "I don’t want to blame anybody. That might be my fault to have come to this country as a refugee, but this country welcomed me. They welcomed me and they gave me citizenship. I don't know why at this time, this situation has come up. I have no idea how we can solve this issue, but this is a serious one."

A part of the note reads, "We know you are one and many of other immigrant [sic] doing business here. This is our warning. Leave the business and go back where you came from. If you don't follow this warning then we are not responsible for the torture starting now."

Dhimal, a Bhutanese refugee who has been in Charlotte for 20 years, said he is most concerned with police finding the one person responsible for damaging his business.

"Someone threatened me, they threatened my family. Somebody hit the door of my business, they hit me, I’m understanding it that way," he said.

The incident comes two weeks after 33-year-old Summayah Khan reported that a white man pointed a rifle at her in the parking lot of an Indian grocery store in the University area. Khan was wearing Muslim garb at the time.

CMPD is planning a press conference regarding this incident that will begin at 2 p.m.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Homer Thief Returns

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 5:17 PM

Joe Gillespie after a night of Homerin' it up in 2015. - MCSO
  • MCSO
  • Joe Gillespie after a night of Homerin' it up in 2015.

Next week kicks off another season for the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark, and to help us celebrate we've brought in a guy whose hijinks at the park have already become urban Uptown legend.

Joe Gillespie, aka the Homer Thief, subject of the most-read story Creative Loafing has ever published, has hooked up with JD Harris, founder of Charlotte-based Glory Days Apparel, to bring the city something they didn't know they needed for the upcoming baseball season.

Yes, Gillespie is bringing back the mullet-and-mustache combo seen 'round the world, but that ain't all. You'll have to wait until Creative Loafing brings you the full story on Monday, but until then, catch up on the legend as it was originally told, and check our guy in the teaser below...

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HB2 Deal Draws Criticism From Rights Leaders

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 12:45 PM

Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. - JAMES WILLAMOR
  • James Willamor
  • Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016.

Reacting to a deadline from the NCAA demanding that the North Carolina General Assembly repeal HB2 if the state wanted to host any championship games through 2022, leaders of both parties have gotten behind a compromise deal being pitched by Republican leaders of the NCGA and Gov. Roy Cooper. The new bill has already been passed through the state Senate and will go to the House floor this afternoon.

Politicians of both parties were already in celebration mode this morning, with North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin releasing a statement saying, "this dark chapter in North Carolina history appears to be finally coming to a close."

But as the American Civil Liberties Union said this morning in a tweet calling for a full repeal of HB2 without compromise, “This is more than economic issue. It's a civil rights issue. We must stand 4 [sic] LGBT people, especially #trans N. Carolinians. #RepealHB2 #NCGA.”

One of Gov. Roy Cooper’s campaign promises was to fully repeal HB2. Last night, in a backroom deal between the NCGA and Gov. Roy Cooper, a “compromise” was reached. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” Cooper said last night.

The new bill, HB142, stops local governments from passing non-discrimination ordinances like the one that Charlotte passed last year. It stops state agencies, offices, schools, and any political subdivisions of the state from regulating single-sex multiple occupancy facilities like bathrooms and changing rooms, “except in accordance with an act of the General Assembly.” The bill places a moratorium on these actions until Dec. 1, 2020.

“Setting a moratorium on local government's ability to pass anti-discrimination ordinances and to regulate private employment practices is another sweeping act of hubris by the legislature and takes power from officials elected by the people to serve the rights of the people,” said the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President in a statement released by the organization.

“This is no compromise. This is no repeal. This is HB2.0 and is perhaps more insidious in its targeting of LGBTQ,” said Chase Strangio, ACLU staff attorney, in an article earlier this morning. “Our bodies do not make others unsafe. We do not infringe on the privacy rights of others by existing in the world.”

Just after 11:30 a.m., the senate passed the bill 32-16. HB142 is now headed to the House and is expected to be voted on this afternoon.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

TIMELINE: Wishing a Not-So-Happy Birthday To That Hellish House Bill #2

Posted By and on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 7:39 PM

Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21. (Photo by James Willamoor)
  • Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21. (Photo by James Willamoor)

So today, we decided to give our intern Jasmine a crash course education on that plague that is House Bill 2 by asking her to construct a quick timeline of all the reactions and effects of the law on our state — its people and its economy — since its passing one year ago today.

Hours later, she sent the following list, with only one exasperated comment to go alongside it: "Holy shit, that was a lot."

Even for us folks who were closely covering it all along, this list brings back some bad memories we had buried elsewhere. But we also know some stuff is missing. We plan to go more in depth with this shell of a timeline, and continue to add to it as the year progresses. So take to the comments section below and tell us what we missed.


22: Charlotte's City Council adds protections to the city's nondiscrimination ordinance that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Gov. Pat McCrory, Charlotte's former mayor, had warned city councilmen that if they did this, the state would intervene.


3: In a press conference, Republican legislators balk at the Charlotte ordinance, turning their ire on provisions that allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their gender identity; the Republicans vow to hold a special session to overturn the ordinance, and one senator comments, “the city council of Charlotte has lost its mind.”

23: In one day, the NC General Assembly passes HB2, which goes well beyond the "bathroom" aspect of the Charlotte ordinance, nullifying all nondiscrimination ordinances statewide, effectively allowing overt discrimination against transgender people, and even prohibiting local governments from setting fair employment standards; hours later, McCrory signs the bill into law.

More than 100 people gathered in front of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on March 24 to protest the passing of HB2. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)
  • More than 100 people gathered in front of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on March 24 to protest the passing of HB2. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

24: Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. moves production of a new show, a Hulu original series named Crushed,​ out of Charlotte weeks before it was set to begin.

28: The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority publishes statement voicing concern about customers “negative feedback and potential event cancellations” in response to legislation. Later, announces that it has lost 13 conventions following the passage of HB2.

29: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo bans non-essential state travel to North Carolina. The American Civil Liberties Union files a lawsuit asking courts to overturn HB2.

29: CEOs of more than 80 companies write open letter to Gov. McCrory urging repeal. Companies include Apple, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Time Warner Cable, Yahoo, United Airlines, IBM and Visa.

31: ​Stephen Schwartz, composer of ​Wicked, prohibits any of his musicals from being performed in North Carolina.


1: Google Ventures pledges not to invest in North Carolina companies until law is repealed.

2: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton bans all non-essential business travel to North Carolina.

5: PayPal Holdings cancels company expansion plans for Charlotte.

8: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed bans non-essential city travel to North Carolina; Bruce Springsteen cancels April 10 Greensboro show, the first of many artists to follow.

12: Deutsche Bank financial services announces it is freezing planned expansion in Cary until bill is amended.

13: Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr cancels June 18 concert in Cary.

14: Mumford and Sons donates all profits from show to local LGBTQ organization

18: Pearl Jam cancels April 20 show in Raleigh.

25: Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas cancel dates for dual tour.


9: Attorney General Loretta Lynch announces U.S. Department of Justice and the Obama administration is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina on grounds that HB2 is “impermissibly discriminatory.”

20:​ ​Maroon 5 cancels September shows scheduled for Charlotte and Raleigh.


4: Cyndi Lauper performs in Raleigh, donates all proceeds to Equality North Carolina’s efforts to repeal HB2.


13: Men’s basketball game between Duke and Albany is cancelled due to NY Gov. Cuomo’s travel decision.

21: NBA pulls 2016-2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.


1: Federal Judge Thomas Schroeder blocks HB2 in the case of a faculty member and two students at University of North Carolina, allowing them to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify while on campus.


12: NCAA announces it is pulling seven national championship games from North Carolina

14: ACC moves all neutral site championship games out of North Carolina.


25: CoStar Group Inc. real estate company chooses Richmond, Va., over Charlotte for firm expansion because of HB2.


20: Charlotte City Council repeals major protections of nondiscrimination ordinance in an attempted negotiation with state legislature to repeal the bill.

Students with Campus Pride protest the recent action of city leaders and inaction of state leaders on Dec. 22 in Charlotte. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)
  • Students with Campus Pride protest the recent action of city leaders and inaction of state leaders on Dec. 22 in Charlotte. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

21: The state legislature fails to follow through on promises to repeal HB2 in return for Charlotte’s repeal of its ordinance.


26: NC Senate leader Phil Berger says a "clean repeal" of HB2 is unlikely in 2017 legislative session.


1: NC Sen. Jeff Jackson files a bill for full repeal of HB2.

9: House Democrats file a bill for clean repeal, adding a “protected status,” defined as “a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veteran status, or genetic information.”


21: NC Sen. (and Charlotte mayoral hopeful) Joel Ford files bill for an HB2 repeal that would include one of those infamous "cooling-off periods," which mandates that cities cannot pass any ordinances regarding restroom access until 30 days after the current legislative session.

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