Sure, the first "W" in "WWW" stands for "World," but don't sleep — there's a gaggle of content on the World Wide Web designed to hit audiences very close to home. And yes — believe it or not — even here in good old Charlotte. Denizens of the Q.C. are busy posting tons of blogs, podcasts, photos, MySpace pages and more on the Internet seemingly every second of the day. Curious to see how your neighbors have influenced cyberspace? Well, check out the following piece and decide whether our local online superstars are reppin' the city properly ... or not.
Get Yo' PARTY On(line)
Charlotte Webmasters love to party ... and then get online and tell the world about it. Here's a taste of some the city's most popular party-centric sites:
Lazyday.com is the place to see and be seen. The site is home to a group of intrepid photographers who seem to slide into every bar in the city to snap pics of drunken partiers and buxom blondes. A recent "Bud Light Photo of the Week," however, featured a lot more color: two Asian gals and their two-fisting friend (no not that kind of fisting). Looking for your personal mug? Hit the Photos tab at the top of the screen to find your picture from the night before.
An events calendar with a Latin slant is the best way to describe Charlotte.dnoche.com. The first thing you see after logging on and bypassing the list of photo galleries is a press release for Wisin y Yandel, a reggaeton duo that garnered "Artist of the Month" honors from MTV's Tr3s. That is, if you can tear your eyes away from the neon images of a woman, a butt and a group of friends pulsating on the Charlotte skyline. The coolest part of the site is the videos: artist interviews, comedy, live concerts and a candid camera category called "Gotcha!"
If you want to be informed on a little of everything that going's on in Charlotte -- with an urban twist -- visit Charlottevibe.com. This site seems to have it all: a calendar of social events, freebies (like tickets to an advance screening of This Christmas -- the movie destined to take over where Soul Food left off), reviews and even editorials.
The subhead for Mingleberry.com is "The Queen City Scene." And they ain't lying. This site is all about what's going down in the streets ... of Charlotte, that is. From parties to "The Eyes Wide Shut 'Freak Fest,'" everything is covered. BTW: A link marked "Freak" pulls up some flyer for a Sugar Shane Mosley fight viewing party and a pair bikini-clad chicks boxing. Oh, and the highlight? "Q.C. Cutie of the Month" -- complete with measurements (36-25-30, ya know?).
Lake Norman Fun
This site seems geared to the grown and sexy in Charlotte's favorite suburb, Lake Norman. LKNfun.com offers the obligatory pictures, an event calendar, reviews ... but the most interesting thing by far is the coupons. Lake Norman is one of the wealthiest areas in Mecklenburg County, so it seems funny to see a $2 off coup for Quizno's. Or maybe that's just me. Weather is provided to aid in that all-encompassing decision of "What to do?" Sunny? Hang out on the deck at the Midtown Sundries on the Lake. Raining? Head indoors for karaoke at Shooters Bar & Grill.
To hell with Perez Hilton and Arianna Huffington. Charlotte's got its own brand of all-star bloggers:
Observing the Observer
The Charlotte Observer has fallen to ruins -- or so says the Observing the Observer blog, which harps on the once heralded paper's many shortcomings. You'll definitely want to see the clock that counts down to the paper's selling out. The intended outcome of this little-blog-that-could is "to get [the Observer] back to its roots as a public servant and watchdog for the community." Godspeed. You'll need it.
Charlotte's Young, Black and Fly
The tagline for charlotteybf.com is "Keeping Charlotte's Young, Black, and Fly connected to news and entertainment that affects our world." That's probably why the first thing you see is a post about Johnson C. Smith's homecoming. There is no bigger party in Charlotte ... except maybe CIAA. Visitors are encouraged to add their two cents or promote their involvement in something newsworthy. Fight the power, pop your collar and reach out all at the same time.
The Soul Movement
Where does the man behind every major hip-hop concert in the city go to talk about his happenings and more? TheSoulMovement.com. Michael "Kitch" Kitchen is the concert promoter responsible for bringing The Roots, Rakim, Kid Capri, Common, Nas, John Legend, Jill Scott and De La Soul to the Queen City. Online, he basically gives a run-down of every thing he's got poppin' and a list of do's and don'ts. For example, for the Jill Scott concert, DON'T be a "+1" at the door without the person whose name is actually on the list. You won't get in.
The Gay Patriot
Instead of focusing on the ridiculousness of being a gay member of the Republican Party, the creator of Gaypatriot.org, who has ties to Charlotte, misplaces his sights on Obama's "dishonor" of the American flag and the "terror connection" behind the California brushfires. This blog is listed as "the internet home for the American gay conservative." Oxymoron, anyone?
Oh My Charlotte
At Oh My Charlotte, concerned citizens take the news into their own hands, reporting on any and everything they find interesting. One post cites the amount of available free parking (where?!) as "encourag[ing] our dependence on the automobile (and therefore foreign oil)." Blogger Purple Stars talks lovingly of his Mac after being dismissed on Halloween by that "ghoulish" PC: "My PC pulled a nasty trick on Halloween, that turned out to be fatal for the PC. The video card was working great then died. It was a perfect time to fully switch to my Mac. I had been wanting to switch for sometime now. So I'm now fully switched to the Mac full time now and using my Mac for work." Ah, amore.
Who the hell gave folks from the Q.C. video cameras and told them to post dumb shit on Youtube? Well, be glad they did. This is some funny stuff:
In this clip, David Thompson enters the Charlotte Citizens Forum with the plan to discuss "Homeland Security." At first, he seems soft-spoken, quietly asking for an additional one minute to 30 seconds. Quickly, this ruse is aborted and Thompson begins to rant incoherently, jumping from issues with George Shinn ["that chameleon, lemon-headed coward terrorist pussy"], the arena's lack of ice, and "a rogue helicopter pilot" that shook up his Myers Park home. Very entertaining.
Housing Boom in Charlotte
Martin Bashir (you know, that British guy who really made Michael Jackson look like a nut) of ABC Nightline introduces this video on the booming real estate down South in Charlotte, Austin, Houston and up the West Coast in Seattle. This is in light of the 176,000 homes that were foreclosed on this year. The series called "Realty Check" interviews a group of people caught in the boom, including a broker/developer and a new transplant from Minnesota. Carl Fochler, the broker, brags that he's "made more farmers millionaires than the man with the balloons [Ed McMahon]."
International Day of Non-Violence
So ... this is such a cheerful clip, what with all the images of graves and flags and the most depressing song ever! Seriously, it's good to know there are people who care enough to string together pictures from the Arlington South Memorial located in Charlotte. Who knew? This was an important day in the lives of the people affected with the most constant result of the War on Terror, death. The women at CODEPINK have been a forefront of this debate since the beginning. A very unsettling clip, indeed, but maybe that's what is needed most right now.
Charlotte Gypsy Church
The first image that comes to mind when speaking of gypsies is of a free-loving group of outcasts doing their own thing without a care in the world. Imagine the shock when you watch this clip and find the only gypsy thing in it are the flowered laurel pieces onstage. Archie Costello and company are just a bunch of regular Christians dressed in their Sunday best singing a song of praise. Somebody exaggerated.
WBTV News 1997
"When You Need News." That was the slogan for WBTV News back in 1997. The first story of the day was the pursuit of an escaped convict. Steve Crump delivers the goods in his usual film announcer flair. Not bad for an independent filmmaker. Watch out when sunbathing alone near UNC-Charlotte. A college woman is given "the scare of her life" after being attacked in broad daylight during a lunchtime session. Charlotte in the '90s was no joke. Take a trip down memory lane and see if you remember most of the headlines.
It Came From MySpace
We logged onto MySpace and went searching for Charlotte-based artists with actual musical talent. Here's what we found:
This seven-member band plays a blend of Latin, reggae, pop, island and rock music, fusing it together into something they call "Tropic Pop/Rock." To give you an idea of how good Tropic Culture is, check this out: The band placed first at the Charlotte finals for the Emergenza Music Festival June 9 and then went on to win in final rounds at Columbia, S.C., and Nashville.
Nelace is, apparently, a jack of all trades. He lists himself as a lyricist, producer, graphic designer, and co-owner of From Skratch Media, "a movement that includes everything from creating music to writing film scripts." This hip-hop artist pimps his page out -- you can buy songs from his latest album Ingredients from iTunes, listen to a radio interview, read reviews and even watch a video of him doing 256 flips in under three minutes. With over 20,000 profile views and 1,993 MySpace friends, Nelace follows the advice in one of his songs, where he says to "Turn It Up a Notch."
DPS is "Dirty Pretty Shit" -- two local MCs who are dedicated to creating real, honest, raw hip-hop. Their first EP, Love Letters, chronicles the "arc of everyday male/female relationships in eight tracks." And from the ass-load of photos and slide shows (and not the fact that they've got 2,081 MySpace friends), we can tell that DPS likes to have fun.
According to "Eskimo Cream Pie," the first song that plays on Lamb Handler's MySpace page, "ice cream blows your mind out." Despite the dis against such a sweet dessert, Lamb Handler is a local rock band that's going places. Literally. Their calendar was jumping for the month of October: from The Milestone to Asheville, Chattanooga, Tenn. and Greenville, S.C. We should also mention that their latest album, Shepherds of Rock, was deemed by one critic (found in their convenient blogs) as a CD that might help save rock 'n' roll. 'Nuff said.
Shameless Self Promotion
We at Creative Loafing are responsible for creating a ton of crap for the Internet every damn day. Check out our digital offerings:
What began as a way to offer readers daily bits of news and culture has quickly become a monster. Just look at Music Editor Jeff Hahne's blog on "the new acid reflux medication" -- Aciphex. He goes into a whole skit based on the drug's name sounding like "ass effects." Funny stuff. We've also got news by staff writers Karen Shugart and Cheris Hodges and film content from A&E Editor Matt Brunson.
On Audiofloss, you get to hear CL Editor Carlton Hargro talk and talk and talk and talk some more. Luckily, he's talking up music and a lot of other cool happenings in urban culture. Hargro has sat down with actor Leon, David Atchison, who co-writes the O.C.T. comic with actress Rosario Dawson, Chocolate Soul record label head William Griggs and Charlotte's own Latin funk band Soulganic. Throughout his "misadventures," Hargro's goal is to bring your attention to progressive urban artists who have yet to get mainstream attention. The podcasts are free to download at audiofloss.com. Listen to them on your computer or iPod.
The "Aciphex" guy, Jeff Hahne (aka the music editor) has been braving the wilds of Charlotte to bring you music news, reviews, interviews and more. Just one problem: not enough room in the paper. Simple solution -- create a blog just for music. Enter, the Vibes blog. Find info on your favorite local band here, or news about stolen band equipment. You know it's a shame when a band can't grab a bite to eat in a "nice" place like NoDa after a gig without their stuff going missing. Visit the Vibes blog and stay up-to-date with the Charlotte music scene.
In addition to writing her weekly column and hosting a radio show, Tara Servatius now adds blogger to her to-do list. Recall her story on CATS, Indianapolis Airport and the University of Oregon's Living-Learning Center's mutual friend? Remember Thomas Sayre, the artist selling the same ol' disks for hundreds of thousands of tax dollars? Always hitting with the hard facts.
Creative Loafing welcomes new staff writer Cheris Hodges into the fold. Hodges, a former features editor with The Charlotte Post, is also a published author. Her sixth novel Just Can't Get Enough is in stores now. Keep track of our writing powerhouse and her signings around the region. Support local talent by stopping by cherishodges.com and by checking out the next copy of the Loaf for more from this exciting writer.