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Cool ARTS things to do this fall 

2015 Fall Guide

Cooler weather is finally here. So, what are you going to do — sit in the house and couch surf the season away? Hell no! You're gonna get out there and check out all of the amazing stuff your city has to offer. From the season's first games by the Panthers, Hornets and Checkers to concerts by Chvrches and Stevie Wonder, from art exhibit openings to ridiculous races, from cooking classes to the primary election, we're sure there's something for everyone regardless of attitude or interest. Who says there's nothing to do in Charlotte?

For more, see the links at the bottom of this page.


SEPT. 18-Jan. 2 — Be sure to hit up McColl Center for Art + Innovation for these two new exhibits. Sightlines, Incidents, and Echoes is comprised of mixed-media prints and installations by artist Erik Waterkotte, while Simulacra features works of Anne Lemanski, who is heavily influenced by animals and uses humans' complex relationship to nature as a muse. Reception on Sept. 18, 6-9 p.m. Free.

SEPT. 18-March 7 — Bechtler Museum of Modern Art's upcoming exhibit, Sam Francis: Rapid Fluid Indivisible Vision is splashing with colors. Sam Francis is an American artist known for his contributions to abstract expressionism in the 20th century. He's defined by his extreme use of colors, mostly placed by drips and splatters to canvas. This exhibit will feature some of his abstract works in oil, acrylic, watercolor and lithograph.

SEPT. 24–25 — Los Angeles actor Miles Allen offers his one-man take on one of the most popular American television series in the 21st century with One Man Breaking Bad. Coming to McGlohon Theatre, Allen plays each character, from Walter White and Jesse Pinkman to Hank Schrader and Gus Fring. Allen's impersonations have garnered him more than 1 million YouTube hits and sell-out runs at comedy festivals in Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia. In this show, he breaks all six seasons down into one tour-de-force parody performance. $20–$35.

SEPT. 25-27 — The 51st Annual Festival in the Park merges an art festival with live music and family fun. While bands including the Spongetones, Gigi Dover, The Mannish Boys and Chuck Johnson perform on stage, more than 150 artisans will sell their work while side stages present dancers, magicians and more. Free.

SEPT. 26 — Michael Knox, founder of the Kannapolis Cultural Arts Festival, said he started the event to help revitalize a downtown that only houses businesses in about 80 percent of its downtown buildings. Knox emphasizes that the event is not only free for attendees, but free for vendors. Free.

SEPT. 26 ­— The U.S. National Whitewater Center is kicking off fall with a day chock-full of activities for the runner, the rafter and the relaxer. The Sup Stream Catawba River Race is a 4-mile or 8-mile race that takes place on flat water, making it perfect for new paddlers and elite racers alike. The Wild Vine Trail Race lets runners choose between a 5K and a half-marathon and serves as the perfect lead-up to the Uncorked Wine Festival, which begins at 1 p.m. and features wine tasting and live music from the main stage on Belmont Abbey Island throughout the evening. Varied.

SEPT. 26 — As part of the Smithsonian family, the Carolinas Aviation Museum in west Charlotte will celebrate Museum Day Live! Attendees will be allowed to enter the museum for free if they pre-register at the website below. Offerings on this day include classes in rocketry, paper airplane building and aerial dancing. Attendees will also be able to meet and talk to a passenger from the famed "Miracle on the Hudson" flight and see that actual aircraft along with all the other aircraft and artifacts at the museum. A total of eight local museums and parks will be participating in the event. Free.

SEPT. 26 — The 2015 Gospel Image Awards will be held in Halton Theater in Uptown Charlotte. The awards honor those who achieve spiritual excellence through Christian ministry. Cissy Houston, who sang backup for Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin before winning two Grammy Awards as a solo artist, will be a Lifetime Achievement Honoree this year. $30.

SEPT. 30 — You can call Maz Jobrani a "Persian Pink Panther" but damned well better not call him a terrorist. Jobrani, an Iranian-American, has made it his standup purpose to dispel negative stereotypes about Persians and other folks from the Middle East. He jokes about all races a lot, but at the end of the day he wants folks to know: "I'm Not a Terrorist, but I've Played One on TV," also the title of his new book. $25-$27.50.

SEPT. 30-OCT. 10 — Spunk, the latest from On Q Productions pays tribute to African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston. The show follows three of her short stories, which have been adapted by George C. Wolfe with added music by Chic Street Man. Jermaine Nakia Lee directs this show that's being dubbed as one that celebrates humans' resilient abilities to endure and overcome the hardships of life.


OCT. 1 – 18 — The Davidson Community Players will host this play from Charlotte playwrights Duke Ernsberger and Virginia Cate. Don't Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell follows a group of sleep-deprived Hollywood insiders as they try to rewrite an American classic, Gone with the Wind, in seven days. The play will run for nearly three weeks at the Armour Street Theatre in Davidson. $12–$23.

OCT. 3 - NOV. 22 — Jousting, comedy, characters, crafts, games, fairies and those giant turkey legs. The Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace is one of those favorite fall traditions for many people in the Charlotte area. It's held each Saturday and Sunday and there are themed weekends, as well, including BrewFest (Oct. 17-18). $9-$24.

OCT. 3 — Judging by last year's Art Poetry Music show, we're going to go out on a limb and recommend this event even though we don't know the exact details about it yet. Brought to you by Opera Carolina and the Confucius Institute at Pfeiffer University, the show combines the three art forms listed above. But it does a great job at interweaving Asian forms of expression with a touch of the West. Last year's show featured onstage calligraphy set to hypnotic scores. $25 and up.

OCT. 3 — The Hola Charlotte Festival, happening along Trade Street in Uptown, kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month. Learn more about Latino culture and customs and enjoy the sights and sounds of live music, dance and art from a variety of folks representing Latin American countries. Free.

OCT. 6-7 — $100 might seem like a lot of money to blow on this Casting Workshop w/ Stephen Hayes, but it sure as hell sounds fun. Hayes leads the two-day workshop that teaches participants about the art of casting. Using his Cash Crop installation as a reference, Hayes will be demonstrating the proper ways to mold and plaster, in addition to giving lessons about how to mount the finished products onto wood panels and paint them. $100.

OCT. 9 — If you're into comedy, Steven Wright needs no introduction. He has been a comedy legend since breaking out of the Boston area in the mid-'80s. More casual comedy fans may recognize his easily identifiable speaking style as the radio DJ from Reservoir Dogs, or his laid-back demeanor as The Guy on the Couch from Half Baked. Wright will perform at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. $20–$49.

OCT. 9-10 — If you've been hearing a lot of hype about The Breakin' Convention, it's for good reason. This two-day event is all about hip-hop. The festival is going to be packed full of performances (from local and regional acts) and will include DJs, graffiti artists and more. Look for sets from The Ruggeds (Netherlands), BirdGang Dance Company (UK), Antoinette Gomis (France), Compagnie Phorm (France/Argentina), Street Kingdom (USA) and more. Want to learn the art of hip-hop style dancing? There's a workshop in the mix for that. Look for after-parties, too. Free.

OCT. 14 — It's time for the 14th volume of Pecha Kucha. The rules are simple: In six minutes and 40 seconds folks present their ideas, stories or performance with 20 images (20 seconds per image). It's a fun, inspiring event that's always full of surprises.

click to enlarge fallguide_nov.jpg

OCT. 14-DEC. 21 — For this CPCC exhibit, Based on a True Story, local artist and critic Barbara Schreiber has created a series of colorful landscape paintings that revolve around natural and man-made zones. Her observations of natural landscapes, gated communities, and open roads are all influences for this body of works. Free.

click to enlarge Fall Works
  • Fall Works

OCT. 15 — Charlotte Ballet's annual Fall Works show features a new ballet choreographed by Sasha Janes, as well as a reprise of Jiri Kylian's soulful "Forgotten Land" and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux's "Shindig." The latter is ballet set to live bluegrass music from Greasy Beans. Now, that's something to tap your feet to. $25 and up.

OCT. 16-31 — Children's Theatre of Charlotte is partnering up with UNC Charlotte's Department of Theatre for this musical adaptation of Coraline — Neil Gaiman's eerie and whimsical children's story, made into a motion picture back in 2009. The show follows young Coraline, who ventures into a parallel world where she sees an alternative version of her life. This one can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. $12-$26.

OCT. 16 – 18 — If you own a 3-D printer just skip over this entry. Charlotte Contemporary is a brand new addition to Charlotte's art scene, with 100 artists from across the country presenting sculptural and functional art in glass, porcelain, wood, metal and mixed media. But art isn't all that you'll find at Park Expo Center, other hand-crafted goods will include everything from furniture to fashion. $7-$20.

click to enlarge Eric Idle
  • Eric Idle

OCT. 23 — You might not find out the air speed velocity of an African swallow, but you'll likely get plenty of laughs from John Cleese & Eric Idle, two of the brilliant minds behind Monty Python. Expect a blend of written and improvised bits, plus songs and storytelling. $59.50-$99.50.

OCT. 25 — Last year, Evil Dead The Musical, a Canadian musical based off of the Evil Dead film series premiered in Charlotte and it's returning for a one-night-only cheesy, gore fest. The storyline revolves around five college friends who spend the weekend at a cabin in the woods. While there, they encounter demons, the dismembering of limbs and other spewing surprises. $20 and up.

OCT. 31 — Mint Museum Uptown's upcoming Viva Moschino! exhibit highlights Italian designer Franco Moschino's contribution to fashion. You'll see work he created between 1983 and 1994. Moschino is known for his rather provocative threads that poke fun at the fashion industry, mostly with "couture" wording.

OCT. 31 — Stand-Up Get Down, a comedy show with rotating local and regional comedians, is manned by host Matt Barrentine. You never know who exactly will be there, but you'd better bet they've polished their acts before hitting the stage of the Evening Muse. Keyboardist Marques Nash (of Electric Cartel) supplies the fitting and sometimes awkward sound effects along with drummer John Peer (of Queen City Dub) to each comedian. For the show on Halloween night, comedians including Blayr Nias and Chesney Goodson, will be dressed up in costumes. Costumes welcome for those in attendance, as well. $6 - $8.


NOV. 5-14 — There's a lot humans can learn from nature and in playwright Marc Acito's Birds of a Feather we get a glimpse. But these birds of a feather don't necessarily flock together. Queen City Theatre Company presents the show, which takes a comedic approach to relationships, family and cultural clashes. LGBTQ and P ("p" as in penguin, that is) friendly. $15-$25.

NOV. 8 — Not only do folks who come to Knight Theater for Flamencura with Paco Pena get to see a performance by the renowned Spanish flamenco compƒoser and guitarist, but they also get to be schooled in the art of flamenco by professional dancers. $20 and up.

NOV. 10-DEC. 22 — This new SOCO Gallery exhibit features work from photographer Xavier Guardans. Free.

NOV. 17 — After a romp through XOXO's last big show, Bohemian Grove, there's plenty of anticipation for the experimental theatre company's #Cake. Artistic director Matt Cosper has a lot up his sleeve. The show also features work from the Detroit-based theatre group, Hinterlands Ensemble.

NOV. 24 — Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is alive with The Sound of Music. The musical found fandom with a new generation in 2013 when Sound of Music LIVE was aired on NBC starring Carrie Underwood. Now a new production from three-time Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien is coming to Belk Theater. $30-$95.


DEC. 2-27 — Actor's Theatre of Charlotte does The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical — an alternative to the usual holiday fare — right. The storyline revolves around a trailer park community and a Christmas-themed yard decorating contest that's ruined after someone vandalizes the otherwise merry (and maybe a bit tacky) scene. $31-$35.

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