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Parties with a purpose 

Philanthropy and good times go hand in hand QC after dark

Think of Charlotte nightlife as a bookstore, broken up into genres. You have your basic sections, such as dance, sports, strip, comedy, billiards and biker. But I think we need to add a new section: altruism.

I happily support a venue that supports a cause. I don't mind giving my hard earned beer money to a bar that gives to charity, such as Dixie Tavern's Guys with Ties Party for a cause and the Forum's Awaken to the Need, a makeup artistry show benefiting the MAC AIDS fund. Then there was the Comedy Zone's Laugh for the Cure in support of breast cancer awareness and The Spot held an event where proceeds benefited a family forced out of their Davidson Street home. And coming up Sept. 7 is Mimosa Grill's Oyster Fest benefiting Operation Jump-Start during "Alive After Five."

Kudos to those nightlife venues for being found in the altruism section. Check them out, Charlotte.

My cause is the Multiple Sclerosis Society. My older sister Kim was diagnosed with M.S. in 2003, so in honor of her I attended the 18th annual Great Gatsby benefit at the Wachovia Atrium. It was like a Roaring '20s speakeasy. The philanthropic partiers, who mainly came in pairs, dressed up as flappers and gangsters. One group of men even wore 1920s-style swimming trunks, which actually made them look like a wrestling team.

The costume gala had a silent auction and a loud swing band.

I was a little indulgent at the buffet donated by the culinary sponsors: from Moe's burritos to Cajun Queen Creole to gazpacho soup from Pearl. But it was easy to burn it off on the floor, which was getting a lot of ballroom dancing action. Groups were shucking and jiving in full force. I wish people still danced like that, as opposed to the bumping and grinding that goes down in clubs nowadays. I was so inspired by the dancing at the Great Gatsby gala that I registered for ballroom dancing classes (to be continued on that ...).

Sunday is my designated cultural enrichment day (so far I've been ballroom dancing, seen a play at CPCC and gone on a NODA art gallery crawl). Last Sunday, it was an afternoon in Jamaica -- well, the Carolina Caribbean One Love Festival at the Metrolina Expo. The ninety-degree heat made it feel like Jamaica -- maan. If Bob Marley was still with us and had a concert in Charlotte, it would look (and smell) like the Metrolina Expo where Capleton, Gregory Isaacs and many other reggae artists performed to a very chilled out audience. Meanwhile, the vendors were selling so much Marley memorabilia, it was as though he was headlining the show (not to mention their assortment of "tobacco pipes"). After the show, it's the after party -- which was held at the Factory. If you missed the reggae festival, no woman, no cry -- Beenie Man comes to Tremont Music Hall on Sept. 27.

The cultural enrichment continued that evening on the rooftop of Moosehead Grill with a telescope in hand to get a view of Mars' close rotation to Earth. It was like a planetarium with beer. I never did see Mars, but I did see what I thought was a live play of the sitcom Cheers. It turns out, that was merely the interior of Moosehead. It had its Norm, Woody and Cliff sitting at different spots at the bar shooting the shit over a cold one. It's a pub full of regulars.

Hey, sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.

Psssstttt ... If you have any dirt or inside scoop on nightlife, shoot me an e-mail at brittney.cason@creativeloafing.com.

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