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Film: Hope Train 

Monday, December 24

It's December. Time to crank out every movie that even implies it's holiday-related. However, Robert Zemeckis' The Polar Express is a different kind of Christmas movie. For one, Tom Hanks plays three characters and one looks just like him, thanks to a pioneering performance capture technology. The main character called "Hero Boy" is at a crossroads: grow up and put childish notions like Santa Claus behind him or hang on for one more year. All this leads up to his mysterious train ride on Christmas Eve where he learns valuable lessons, meets the most inspired little girl ever (voiced by Nona Gaye), and meets the Man in Red face-to-face. $9-$11. Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St. 1-800-935-0553. www.discoveryplace.org.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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