Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Goodbye, Goodyear; Hello, North End

Friday nights are for more than food trucks

Posted By on Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 11:29 AM

Each weekend my friends and I attempt to find something new to do in the Queen City — or at least participate in something familiar without the same hangover. This past Friday our options were limited to the final art event at Goodyear Arts or the newly popular Fridays at Camp North End. Not too shabby for a low key Friday night.

While waiting for the clock to strike 5:30 p.m., I watched as my co-worker — who was already looking like a snack — put on makeup and made me feel even less dressed to impress than I already was. Ever noticed how many times your friends will say, "I'm not getting dressed up. I'm not even going to put makeup on, only to show up looking like it took them an hour to get ready instead of an hour and a half? Yep, happens to me all the time. No, I'm not bitter.

After a couple quick pregame drinks at Connolly's on Fifth, we rounded the corner and walked the couple blocks to Goodyear Arts for their "Goodbye, Goodyear" event. Coincidentally, my first visit to this gallery space was with these same ladies — minus a few. It felt good to be back, but it was bittersweet. From the first time I'd visited Goodyear Arts, I felt like I was home. The people, the eccentric art, the free beer. I mean, if this wasn't the poster child for my dream living room, I don't know what was.

I've never been into attending galleries or museums. Not because I can't appreciate the beauty of art — even when I'm pretty sure I could lay down butt naked after a night of drinking in gold paint and make millions — but because my anxiety takes over in busy spaces. "I'm trying to take a picture of that painting, can you not stand there and just take it all in?" "Ugh, how am I supposed to admire this piece with all of you in my space?"

That's why I usually end up taking pictures of everything that catches my eye and review it all later in the comfort of my own home ... alone.

On top of the fact that I was anxious about crawling through the gallery, it was hot as hell. That's why it wasn't long before I was outside, taking in the evening air at the community table. I thought about how much it sucked that Goodyear was leaving that space and that I hadn't gone to more events. There's just something special about community, innovation, creativity and local vibes rejuvenating an unused space in our backyard.

Luckily, Goodyear Arts is eventually movnig right down the street to a new spot that's been popping off on Fridays and throghout the week, lately: Camp North End.

Something intriguing is happening at the old warehouse district on Statesville Avenue. I started seeing posts pop up after I followed a few IG accounts related to tech talks, co-working spaces and the like. I'd like the way the background of the pics or videos looked and I'd see the elusive location tag "Camp North End" underneath the account name and wonder, what the hell is that? I started asking around, and no one knew what the deal was.

Even after hopping in an 8-minute Uber over to the space for Fridays at Camp North End, I can't say I'm any less confused. However, the possibilities for the project are endless. We arrived by way of minivan to check out the patio in the center of what felt like a massive compound — complete with barbed wire. All we knew was that there was going to be live music, food trucks, corn hole, tables and beer. My co-worker in need of a Snickers decided to get in a massive line for a food truck while the rest of the group went to sniff out the beer. We noticed the long line that stretched between us and the nearest Lenny Boy sign and decided our Camp North End exploration would have to wait.

Apparently I missed all the coverage that's surrounded the Camp North End launch (read Kia Moore's informative piece on the Camp's community manager, Varian Shrum, at clclt.com). Since that night, though, I've learned that the project is being designed to house local businesses/startups and events. Not to mention, there's currently 1.2 million square feet of existing building space. When we're talking about a project that already has that much space potential, there's no wonder why it's been difficult to pin down its purpose — it will be the epitome of a multi-purpose facility in Charlotte. Friday night entertainment and community gathering for events like Creative Mornings CLT are the most popular facets for the Camp now, but the future is limitless there.

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