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It's Weekend Savings Time 

Thursday through Sunday is the new weekend

When did Thursday become the weekend kickoff? With so much to do downtown and around town on Thursday night, it certainly feels like an early start for hedonism.

Last Thursday, I rang in my weekend at Morehead Street Tavern. The Tavern was hosting a happy hour for my apartment complex (which is like college with bank accounts). I was even happier post-hour, dining at Cans with Efren Ramirez -- aka Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite -- and Elevate's Larken Egleston, who gets my vote for unofficial mayor of downtown. Pedro's got skills -- acting, DJing, etc. -- and he was in town to DJ for Cans' Grand Opening party (two weeks after they began serving). Dinner was preceded by an excursion to Sam Ash so he could get a harmonica for his spinning spectacular.

While dining on tater tots, we discussed Ramirez' production company and joked about releasing an urban spinoff of Brokeback Mountain. He also told us about his raves in LA, confided about his lack of dating time and confirmed that Jessica Simpson isn't just acting stupid. (Ramirez just wrapped Employee of the Month in which Simpson co-stars.) And he pondered what the Charlotte audience wanted to hear him spin.

"Charlotte has good people, a good vibe -- I wish I could stay and hang out after my set," Ramirez told me. The combination of a departing flight and aggressive groupies impeded his will to hang out.

By 9pm, Cans was full to the brim. The venue is so big that you have to text message your friends to locate them. It felt like the entire Charlotte population was present that night. When Ramirez came on, the crowd bum-rushed the DJ booth with hopes of a handshake and autograph. His hands were full, as were those of bar-hoppers, who were sipping on canned beers and channeling a tailgate atmosphere -- that good vibe Ramirez described. But I wonder if the bar will continue to be fun once the new car smell has worn off. The owners, Three Headed Productions, are milking the novelty by opening up a rooftop patio, as well as their own brewery and cannery.

Later that night, I had to stop by Jillian's for Bombshell Thursdays. Every Thursday night, Jillian's has a dance contest where girls display their skills in a bid for the weekly $500 prize. Practice your sweet moves for next week and you just might dance your way into next month's rent money.

With so much going on already and Live at Five starting soon, why don't we just make it official? Let's take a vote: All in favor of adding an additional day to the weekend, scream "Aye!" and all of your wildest dreams will come true ...

Hey, it worked for Pedro.

When the weekend actually began, I headed to the arena for the Charlotte Jumper Classic. With six-foot high obstacles, the Jumper Classic was like equestrian gymnastics. It's an international event where only the top-ranked riders in the world compete for $150K. These include Hickory's Eliza Shuford. Shuford came home to show the equestrian sporting world how it's done here in the South. She and her stallion, Larentino, have the home court advantage.

"Larentino feels the energy from the crowd," Shuford told me, "I am excited to come home and compete in my backyard."

Another successful Charlottean returned to his old stomping ground -- to sing. Yes, I am referring to Anthony Hamilton's homecoming at Ovens last Sunday evening. LA pop-rocker Van Hunt opened to a scanty house but wowed with older buzz single "Dust" and selections from his new CD. Trinidadian chanteuse Heather Headley was up next, offering tastefully accompanied "sista done wrong" tunes. Hamilton himself stopped the show with "Pass Me Over," although some of the hometown crowd gave him a jaded reception. The soul star's new bride, Tarsha' McMillan, tore it up on "Preacher's Daughter" signaling another great career to come. Lingering fans swarmed the stage for autographs and Hamilton kindly obliged, even as we were streaming toward the exits. Although most people had to work the next day, it seems Sundays are also becoming a hot night out.

At any rate, now's the time to notify your cohorts and managers that Thursday is the official start of the weekend. Enjoy!

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