The next Bla/Alt Festival is almost upon us, so we brought on Stephen Tekola and TJ Banks of KANG, who will be continuing their reunion-tour-of-sorts at the festival at Camp North End on Sat., Oct. 20. We talked to the pair about Bla/Alt, how every negative in Charlotte comes with a positive and the growing connection between the arts and music scenes in the city.
Be sure to hit up the Queen City Podcast Network to see what's been going on with our partner podcasts there, or catch up with all of our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or simply by typing "Local Vibes" in your Spotify search bar.
It was a busy week in this nightlife writer's career. Why, you ask? Live music overload.
Wednesday night was Goo Goo Dolls, Saturday night was Breakaway Festival and Sunday was Chris Stapleton. Yeah, my musical flavor has diversified, to say the least. But when I sat down to recap the week/weekend and decide what I wanted to write about, I wanted to take a new approach. Recapping the show, eh been there, done that. So here's what I came up with: the do's and don'ts of going to a show.
We all know that person who gets too drunk, has no idea where they are, who they're with and I'd say 75 percent of the time they're not the person you want to have a conversation with at the end of the night. #sloppy
I've run this person into at some point when I've gone to almost any type of show, at any venue, whether that be The Fillmore, the AvidXchange Music Factory concert grounds or PNC Music Pavilion.
And this is the thing, yes, we know that demographics change according to venue, artist, etc., but the reality is, everyone looks the same when they're playing the asshole. That's one of the first things I noticed while I was at the Goo Goo Dolls show. Especially since I haven't been heightened to real live show shenanigans in a how minute.
One thing I noticed at Goo Goo Dolls, was how rude people were. And that will be my first list item for you to imbibe. From social etiquette to bathroom etiquette, there were too many qualms for me to express.
Fast forward to the festival, and my nerves were already on a hundred. The last festival I went to was Made in America Festival in Philly. I was so overwhelmed by how many people were there that I freaked out. #onlychildsyndrome #helicopterchild
So I was certainly worried about my man going with me. My God, the amount of drugs present would've effed your whole life. And you know what that means: No respect for persons and/or personal space.
Jumping ahead to the next night, once again, I felt like the only black person in all of PNC Music Pavilion. Whew. Just imagine what that feels like at a country concert (without the cowboy boots that the boyfriend snagged for me). #outofplace
Nevertheless, based on my many experiences in Charlotte, whether those be at a festival or other live music experience, here's my advice on how to not be an asshole:
Say excuse me. I'm sorry, but not really sorry; no matter how many bodies there are in the crowd, there's no reason why you shouldn't excuse yourself when you're trying to make a space for yourself to walk through a crowded area.
Wipe the seat. There's also no reason why you shouldn't practice bathroom etiquette. No one in those spaces want to sit on your pee, smell your vomit or smell your poop. Flush and wipe the toilet, it's only fair. After all, you wouldn't want to walk into the same stall. And if it's a urinal, you really should be doing your part. Sharing is caring. Especially if you're the lit individual that everyone is judging. I certainly found some lost "candies" on the way in to the festival that someone wasn't concerned about so, share the love. That way, everyone else can be on your ridiculous level.
Stop staring. I don't care what state you're in, staring is never okay. We teach our kids that these days, thankfully. There's no reason why anyone should be "confused" about someone who doesn't fit the "demographic" or drunk moment at a concert. Keep your eyes to yourself.
Don't. get. drunk and/or otherwise engaged. Let's be real. That's why the person who shows their ass does what they do. Outside influences will always make you look like a fool. And the reality is, everyone else is totally right in judging you when you've had too much. Trust me, I've been there.
At the end of the day, live shows can be intoxicating but the reality is you can still be a douchebag. Don't be that person. Commit these things to memory and be the best patron/human ever while you're there. Everyone will thank you for it.
What would you say people should be aware of when they're getting yanked at a show? Share it with me, I'd love to hear what you think about general social etiquette!
It took us a couple months to finally pull him into the studio, but we finally landed Adrian Crutchfield, saxophonist for the stars, and now a renowned solo artist in his own right. We talked to Crutchfield about his relationship with Prince, and how the iconic musician inspired him to jump out on his own and record his first solo album in nearly a decade, Leap. We also talked about CLT's local jazz scene and the Center City Partner's new Music Everywhere Initiative.
Jimmy Turner, frontman of local indie rock band It Looks Sad., knows that his band's name can be a little misleading. In fact, he'd probably change it if he could, but he's a little too far down that road at this point. Turner [pictured, middle] dropped by the Hygge West studio to happily discuss and play songs from he and drummer Alex Ruiz's upcoming album, Sky Lake, among other things.
Make sure to check out the rest of the team at Queen City Podcast Network. You can catch up with all of our past episodes there, on iTunes, Stitcher, or simply by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.
Fresh on the heels of releasing her new single, "Unavailable," Charlotte rapper and singer SideNote [pictured right] gets in the booth with Ryan and Mariah to talk about her upcoming projects, including a new mixtape dropping later this year and a full-length dance album coming in 2019. We also discuss her mom's chops on the mic, festival life and a whole coalition of collectives that she's been involved with in the last six year.
Be sure to check in with our teammates at the Queen City Podcast Network, and if you need to catch up with any of our past episodes, do so on iTunes, Stitcher, or simply by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.
After Hurricane Florence devastated the eastern part of North Carolina, some of the state’s politicians took to social media and politicized the storm. Some comments focused on hurricane relief funding for the state, or the lack of. Others mentioned laws they believe made North Carolina more vulnerable during a large storm.
How valid are their comments? We’ve chosen four statements to explore, and see what evidence there is to support these claims.
Did Walker vote against disaster relief?
Ryan Watts, a Democratic congressional candidate, is running for office in District 6, which is historically conservative. The 27-year-old is trying to unseat Republican Rep. Mark Walker.
As Hurricane Florence was gearing up to hit North Carolina on Sept. 12, Watts slammed his opponent for voting against disaster relief.
"Our current Representative has voted against disaster relief on multiple occasions and has not held this administration accountable for taking $10 million dollars out of FEMA’s fund for hurricane relief to fund the separation of families at the border," Watts said in a Sept. 12 Facebook post, citing an article from Politics North Carolina, a left-leaning political news blog.
The article said Walker voted against disaster relief twice last year following hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma. The article did not specify which bills Walker voted against, but his communications director Jack Minor said Walker has voted for some disaster relief packages and against other larger spending packages.
One such vote, taken on Oct. 12, 2017, approved a $36.5 billion disaster aid package to help victims recover from a series of hurricanes and wildfires. The bill was approved by a 353-69 vote margin, with Walker joining eight other North Carolina representatives in voting no.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Walker explained that he opposed that bill because it raised the debt ceiling and did not include offsetting spending cuts. "Congress should pay for these emergency packages by cutting spending in other areas that are less of a priority," he wrote. "Even during an emergency Washington needs to pay its bills."
On Dec. 21, 2017, Walker voted against another bill providing $81 billion in emergency funds to federal agencies for disaster assistance, which passed by a 251-169 vote.
Walker also voted in favor of another Sept. 25, 2017, bill that made it easier for retirement plan participants to access their retirement funds when recovering from the hurricanes.
"Walker’s priority, as his record demonstrates, remains ensuring the families of North Carolina are safe and prosperous, and that they have all the resources they need through responsible government," Minor said.
As far as Watt’s second claim goes, PolitiFact has confirmed that the Trump administration transferred $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Immigrant parents separated from their children at the border in June were sent to ICE detention centers, while their children entered into the custody of a separate federal agency.
The Trump administration has said the transferred money was not taken out of FEMA’s disaster relief funds, NBC News reported. We searched Google, Nexis and Twitter and could not find any statements from Walker on the transfer of funds. The Watts campaign did not respond to multiple emailed requests for comment.
Republicans defund landslide mapping project
State Rep. Billy Richardson, a Fayetteville Democrat, took to Twitter on Sept. 17 to point out that the Republican-led legislature cut funding for a landslide hazard mapping project.
In his tweet, Richardson cited an article from NC Policy Watch, the news arm of the left-leaning North Carolina Justice Center.
"But in 2011, lawmakers cut off funding to the NC Geological Survey, which was in charge of mapping the hazard zones, and the project stopped," Richardson wrote, quoting directly from the NC Policy Watch article. The project in question — the Hurricane Recovery Act of 2005 — directed the state to identify and map potential problem areas in mountainous counties that could be susceptible to landslides.
This is true. After Republicans took hold of the state legislature in 2011, lawmakers cut funding for the landslide hazard mapping project, as The News & Observer previously reported. The state’s geologists had only mapped four of the 19 counties they planned to survey before the project was defunded.
But the 2018 state budget, which legislators passed in June over a veto from Gov. Roy Cooper, included $3.6 million for the Department of Environmental Quality to restore the landslide mapping program after three people died from mudslides in western North Carolina, according to the Associated Press.
What stinks more: hogs or humans?
After a devastating hog lagoon flood in Onslow County in 1995, North Carolina placed a hold on the construction of new hog farms in 1997. Because of the effects of hog lagoon floods, people are often concerned when a strong hurricane makes its way to North Carolina.
State Senator Brent Jackson, an Autryville Republican, shared an NC Pork Council blog post on Twitter on Sept. 12: "Great article by the NC Pork Council dispelling myths about hog farms during hurricanes. I am proud of the hard work and preparations of our family farmers to make sure their farms are ready to weather the storm," tweeted Jackson.
The article aims to divert attention away from hogs and on to water treatment plants, which the pork council says spill more sewage and affect a larger number of North Carolinians than overflowing hog lagoons do. It also points out that water treatment plants have spills during regular storms.
The North Carolina Pork Council reports there are more than 3,300 active hog lagoons in the state. Hog lagoons, also known as anaerobic lagoons, have a natural system in place to deal with hog waste. The animals release their waste into a hole where a bacteria interacts with the waste so it can then be used as fertilizer.
Five hog lagoons have been damaged in the hurricane, according to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. The N.C. DEQ also reports 21 hog lagoons either are or were overflowing as a result of the rain Hurricane Florence brought. In addition, 17 lagoons are experiencing inundation, which means "surface water is surrounding and flowing into the lagoon."
Spilled waste from these lagoons can be toxic. Hog manure contains pathogens including salmonella and E. coli that have a potential to spread.
As for the municipal water treatment plants in the state, they are causing a problem as well.
About 5.2 million gallons of partly treated wastewater has spilled into the Cape Fear River. The News and Observer reports the spill was due to a loss of electricity during the hurricane. The back-up generators at the Southside Wastewater Treatment failed as well.
As of Sept. 19, 300,000 gallons of raw sewage had spilled in Johnston County, according to a News and Observer article. The city of Benson released a statement that the sewage spills were a result of the excessive rain from Hurricane Florence. In addition, 109,200 gallons of sewage spilling into rivers in Johnston County, as reported by the News and Observer. It’s spilling into Holt Lake and Neuse River.
Nearly half of the state’s residents have a private septic tank. Floodwaters not only move solid waste across the area, but it can also pick up animal carcasses — like the 5,500 pigs and 3.4 million chickens and turkeys that have died so far in this storm.
At the end of the day, any feces, human or animal, in flooded areas is not a good thing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a long list of diseases that can spread after a natural disaster.
The rainy day fund
Where does hurricane relief money come from? Some of it comes from the federal government and donations. But states also have "rainy day funds" to help during disasters.
North Carolina Representative Chuck McGrady, a Hendersonville Republican, pointed out on Twitter that North Carolina’s rainy day fund is quite "enviable."
"This is true. As a percentage of the budget, the $2 billion Rainy Day Fund is relatively small. However, if one compares the reserves that NC has to the reserves that most other states have, NC is in an enviable position," tweeted McGrady, the budget chair, on Sept. 11.
Money from this $2 billion fund could potentially be used during Hurricane Florence recovery.
The Insider’s Colin Campbell reports North Carolina’s rainy day fund is larger than it has been during past storms. The state’s savings is proportionally larger when compared to Virginia and South Carolina, as well.
The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonpartisan organization, researches states’ rainy day funds annually. In 2018, they found that North Carolina could run for 30.4 days if the government shut down — making North Carolina in much better shape than some other states. Kentucky’s rainy day fund would last about nine days, while Connecticut only has enough for four days.
But some states do have much larger rainy day funds. The state of Alaska can run for over a year if the government shuts down, and so can Wyoming’s.
This story was produced by the North Carolina Fact-Checking Project, a partnership of McClatchy Carolinas, the Duke University Reporters’ Lab and PolitiFact. The NC Local News Lab Fund and the International Center for Journalists provide support for the project, which shares fact-checks with newsrooms statewide.
[In the photo, from left: Seph Dot, Mariah Scott, Dammit Wesley and Ryan Pitkin]
The CLT hip-hop and black music scene has benefited from the launch of multiple new festivals over the past two years, including New Era Music Fest, Bla-Alt Festival, The Black Mecca and Bush Fest. For this week's special episode, we brought in organizers behind two of those festivals that are yet to come — artist Dammit Wesley with The Black Mecca and rapper Seph Dot with Bush Fest.
We talk to the two about what it takes to put on a successful festival, what fans can expect at their respective events and the question on everyone's mind: Who are the Bushes?
In the lead up to this weekend's opening of the new Revealed: Where Art Meets Activism series of exhibitions, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture this afternoon announced the new Initiative for Equity + Innovation (IEI). In partnership with Bank of America and former BofA chairman and CEO Hugh McColl, the Gantt Center hopes to address unconscious bias, discrimination and social injustice through the initiative, according to a press release announcing its launch.
According to the release, the initiative will serve as a "bold and direct response" to the findings of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force's 2015-16 study on intergenerational poverty and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Breaking the Link report, released in February.
The initiative will consist of six pillars, which are listed in the release: leverage the arts to explore social issues, diffuse tensions and introduce creative responses; heighten public awareness on issues of opportunity, fairness and justice; engage the public in regular discourse on timely topics and community concerns; deepen capacity for understanding and navigating difference throughout the community; equip the next generation with knowledge and tools that can serve as a blueprint for future torchbearers; and empower a broad range of partners across disciplines to function effectively as allies in promoting equity.
IEI programs will begin as early as next week, when the Gantt Center hosts a community town hall on September 10 titled "Nurturing Diverse Schools & Creating Opportunity." The center will host a digital sign-making workshop on September 15, in which participants will explore the evolution of protest signs among indigenous cultures and make their own to take home. On October 9, historian Tom Hanchett and Ashley Clark of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute will host a community conversation on the history of redlining and the impact of current data trends. Check the Gantt Center website for more details on each event.
In a recent interview with Creative Loafing, Gantt Center President and CEO David Taylor said that the recent social and political climate has inspired staff there to "double-down" on social justice issues and addressing discrimination through art. The new Revealed exhibits, which include Welcome to Brookhill, featured in this week's CL cover story, will be the first step in that process. The initiative will take that effort further, Taylor said in the press release.
"Through this initiative, we have the ability to embrace the full power of arts and culture to provide opportunities for experiential learning that accelerate progress toward an equitable society, and significantly strengthen and enhance our community," he stated.
Although he didn't speak directly about the initiative during our meeting last week, Taylor did discuss why it's important for the Gantt Center to get behind long-term efforts like what was announced this afternoon.
"I tell folks, in my lifetime, the problem probably and unfortunately won’t be solved, but hopefully we can make progress so my children or my grandchildren can have some impact and are benefitting from the work," he said. "But we have to be in it for the long haul, and that’s what we’re doing."
A key supporter of the initiative is Hugh McColl, who stated in the release that he has envisioned programming like this from the Gantt Center for years.
"This institution should be at the heart of Charlotte's multicultural evolution, and the programs and art that emerge from this focus on equity and inclusion will help us learn to live more harmoniously with each other," McColl stated.
The new initiative will also serve as a resource for the business sector in the halls of the city's biggest corporations, including McColl's old stomping grounds, Bank of America. The bank has joined on as a legacy sponsor of IEI.
"There was a natural inclination to be a part of this initiative because of our own commitment to diversity and inclusion and our belief that the arts play an integral role in expanding our humanity," Charles Bowman, BofA president, stated in the release.
It's a family affair on this week's episode of Local Vibes, as co-host Mariah Scott's brother Tim Scott Jr. comes through to talk about his role as artist-in-residence at Charlotte Center City Partners, for which he's serving as music curator for the upcoming Soul Junction Charlotte festival.
Of course, we also discuss the local music scene and bump some tunes from Harvey Cummings, Arsena Schroeder and The Hamiltones.
Make sure to check out the rest of our team at Queen City Podcast Network, especially now that we've added two new shows to round out the squad. Also, catch up on all our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or just by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.
It's been a week of birthdays for Josh Higgins, founder of Refresh Records. Fresh off celebrating his own 34th birthday, he's now heading into a weekend of shows to celebrate Refresh's third anniversary at Snug Harbor on Friday and Visulite Theatre on Saturday.
Ryan and Josh (left and right, respectively, in the above picture) had a one-on-one convo about Josh's 20 years in the music business, what it takes to run a locally based record label, vinyl and much more. They touch on a slew of Refresh acts, from former signings like Holy Ghost Tent Revival and Scowl Brow to current artists on the roster like Junior Astronomers and Cuzco.
New co-host Mariah Scott couldn't make it to this week's recording, but worry not, she will be back for a great episode we have planned next week. Also, be sure to check out the Queen City Podcast Network to see what's happening in the local beer, news, comedy and food scenes. The team has recently added two new podcasts, so you've got plenty to catch up on. Speaking of catching up, find all our old episodes on iTunes, Stitcher, or by simply typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.
ASALAM "O" ALAIKUM "DEAR" I Am student of the Midrissa_tul_Islm in USA. I am now…
ASALAM "O" ALAIKUM "DEAR" I Am student of the Midrissa_tul_Islm in USA. I am now…
[ Work At Home For USA ] Great article, Mike. I appreciate your work, I…
[ WORK AT HOME FOR USA ] I m making over $16k a month working…
I am now making over $15k every month just by doing an easy j0b 0nline!…
★Makes $130 to $160 per day online work and i received $16894 in one month…