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The Heat Is On 

Summer means festival in Charlotte QC After Dark

And so it begins, summer that is. OK summer doesn't really begin until the 21st, but we all know that the beginning of June is the unofficial start.

Charlotte kicked off June by closing down a bunch of streets and throwing parties in the form of festivals. Case and point: Taste of Charlotte, First Ward Block Party, Dub Magazine's car show featuring Mike Jonnnnnnnnes and the Y'allternative Rockfest. Then there are the summer parties that don't stop: ELEVATE's Summer Sounds in the City at Hearst Tower on Wednesdays, Center City Live After Five at Wachovia Atrium on Thursdays, the Pops in the Park (SouthPark that is) featuring the Charlotte Sympathy on Sundays, and The Shops at University Summer Concert Series also on Sundays.

No one can say Charlotte will be boring this summer.

Meanwhile, I kicked off my summer by rocking out at Y'allternative Rockfest. I was expecting punk rock with a twang, but what I got was the best showcase of unsigned talent in the south. Performers included: Blanco Diablo, Drat, Two Step and the 2005 Charlotte Zippo Hot Tour winner ShadowFlag.

Later that night I went to the SouthPark Hyatt for the California Dreamin' Best of Charlotte party. Since it was coined "The Best of" party, it obviously had to include the best Charlotte band (at least in my opinion), III. Best party? That is still up for investigation, but it was definitely the biggest. The party took up seven ballrooms, each with its own bar and band. One room, referred to as Venice Beach, even had an inflatable ocean equipped with a surfboard. I enjoyed the free Cabo fish tacos and Starbucks, and the Austin Powers-costumed crew was a nice touch. But to me, the best thing at the "Best of" party was the multi-generational crowd. Finally, a party booming with baby boomers -- which leads me to an e-mail I received from a slightly older gentleman:

"HELP! Where can a straight single guy in his forties and fifties go on the weekends? I am a physically fit, college educated, business owning good-looking guy, really! I would like to meet a non-Prozac, non-smoking woman of my own age. Is this possible in Charlotte? I am beginning to believe that it's not. Any suggestions?" --Dennis

This little writer turned detective in hopes of finding a nightlife suitable for a reader. But all I found were kids within my age box (25-34) and younger. Every Thursday at Live After Five a cesspool of young professionals monopolizes the uptown scene. For some help, I asked my trainer Antoinette, an extremely still-hot-like-Demi-Moore, 40-year-old woman, what her nightlife consists of. Antoinette capitalizes on the plethora of sporting and jazz events in the QC and opts for nights out at places with a more mature nightlife on the menu: McCormick and Schmicks, McIntosh's, Capital Grille, Village Tavern, Blue and Ruth's Chris. And may I suggest The Palm, Will Ferrell's favorite off-set Charlotte scene.

What classifies a restaurant as nice, you ask? If the wine list is longer than the food selection and you can't pronounce anything on the food selection side, then you can be 96 percent certain it's an upscale eatery.

These options are also promising:

Loft 1523, Therapy, Dean and Deluca in Phillips Place and Boppers, a shag joint that offers senior shag night. Speaking of dancing, why not register for ballroom dancing classes? You can even use one of the coupons for Arthur Murray Dance Studios from the front of this newspaper you're reading. Check out the Belk Theatre and Booth Playhouse where the worldly and wise mingle, join Charlotte City Club or Caramel Country Club, or lay down a blanket at the massive picnic that is Pops in the Park.

And Dennis, if all else fails, there's always mail-order brides.

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