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The "King" Visits Charlotte 

Save the drama for ... the theatre

Just when I thought it was safe to take the ragtop down and put my bubble coat into storage, a cold front's come in to delay the feel of spring. But don't fret -- in Charlotte everything gets hotter when the sun goes down.

Speaking of hot, T.I. was recently in Charlotte to promote the release of King (March 28). I jumped on the welcome wagon in 96.1 The Beat's studio for an interview with the self-proclaimed "King of the South." He has a movie coming out, he has beef with Flip, he went to jail ... blah, blah, blah. I was more interested in knowing how T.I., a product of ATL, felt about Charlotte's nightlife. He said he used to get down in H20; must've been before my time. When he's in the Queen City now, T.I.'s either at a hotel or radio station. Good thing there's a bar at the Westin. But next month "The King" will return and venture out to Crush for some sort of model recruiting party with Nelly, who Charlotte should view more as a Bobcats investor than a rapper.

Since Hump Day is my favorite day of the week, I celebrated it at the VIP grand opening of Table, a new restaurant in Ballantyne. If their regular crowd resembles the VIP assembly, well, good luck finding a table at Table. We also had trouble finding anything to eat other than cheese, but they served every variety imaginable.

Speaking of grand openings, new bars are sprouting up in Charlotte like flowers in spring. Key among these are: Cans, a new bar for old school fun; the new Quaker Steak and Lube; and yet another prelude to the NASCAR Hall of Fame -- a Dale Jr. venue.

I've found a new favorite nightlife venue downtown: the Booth Playhouse. I saw Sex and the Second City there, a production about men's and women's inability to communicate. The battle of the sexes became a laughing matter, as four actors created 10 different characters (one being an online dater with the screen name "Well Hung Jury"), and the audience contributed to the script (mad-libbing Enfamil into a character's cocktail). I haven't laughed that hard since Dave Chappelle was in town. May I suggest adding some drama to your nightlife by checking out future shows at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center? I've already scored tickets for Shear Madness and Willy Wonka.

Later that night, I went to check out the purportedly famous DJ Icey at the Forum. Upon arrival, I made a beeline for the DJ booth. But as I was maneuvering myself through the maze of people, three different strangers (emphasize the strange in stranger) attempted to get my attention by yanking my arm. Those guys must've missed the memo that arm-napping is not kosher with women.

Because of my dance-floor mania, I couldn't help but wonder how DJ Icey is able to resist the dance parties he going on underneath him, so I asked him. "I don't really," he replied. "When I DJ, I like to be one with the crowd. I dance around behind the decks, shake my ass, play air drums, etc. ... I am with the party on the floor." And the party he created that night at Forum was like spring break in Cancun: drunken perverts, half-naked booty dancers and all. I personally had more fun dancing in the club's back room to old-school beats brought by DJ Wiz Kid.

Lastly, for St. Patrick's Day weekend, I paid tribute to the Irish who were all paying tribute to Guinness. I missed Rich and Bennet's 800-person plus St. Paddy's bar crawl because I was in a different zip code celebrating a friend's nuptials. Yet I still got to celebrate the real holiday in Charlotte. Well, if you count transporting my drunken friends home from Dixie's Shamrock and Roll party. Yes, I stayed sober on St. Patrick's Day. I'm a Latina; my holiday is Cinco de Mayo.

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