Monday, April 16, 2007

Fields Day

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2007 at 3:25 PM

Late last month saw the release of the W.C. Fields Collection, Vol. 2 (see View From the Couch review in the current print edition or on our Web site), and the five films contained in this box set remind us once again that when it came to the gift of comedic gab, few screen comedians could match Fields.

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Yet The Great Man (as he was nicknamed) wasn't only funny on screen; when the cameras weren't rolling, he had the ability to come up with zingers on the spot. Courtesy of the International Movie Database, here are 12 real-life quips uttered by Fields away from the movie screen.• "Children should neither be seen nor heard from ... ever again."

• "I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally."

• "Start every day with a smile, and get it over with."

• “A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.”

• "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then give up. No use being a damned fool about it."

•"'Twas a woman drove me to drink. I never had the courtesy to thank her."

• "Wouldn't it be terrible if I quoted some reliable statistics which prove that more people are driven insane through religious hysteria than by drinking alcohol?"

• "The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep."

• "Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite, and furthermore always carry a small snake."

• (When asked whether he liked children) "Ah yes ... boiled or fried."

• (When caught reading a Bible) "Just looking for loopholes."

• (After discovering the cork missing from his bottle of whiskey) "What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?"

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Toy Train to Nowhere?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2007 at 9:11 AM

Developers were supposed to flock to the South Boulevard light rail line. But this week, Bank of America announced it was backing out of its planned development of the Scaleybark Station, despite millions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies thrown in by Charlotte Area Transit System and the city to sweeten the deal.

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The small stumble for the South Boulevard line has enormous implications for rail in Charlotte.

Though no one wants to cop to this publicly, none of the other planned lines are likely to qualify for the federal funding CATS needs to bring them to life because the areas they run through lack the density needed to support them. Unless the federal government changes its density standards, which doesn't look likely any time soon, the other lines simply won't qualify. (Federal funding covered half the cost of the $463 million South Boulevard light rail line.)

So Huntersville and Davidson residents are touting a hair-brained scheme to fund their line, which would haul only 4,000 commuters according to the most rosy projections. According to the scheme, developers are going to pay the difference through some sort of tax increment financing where future additional tax dollars generated by development along the rail line fund at least half its cost.

So here's a question I bet the light rail booster can't answer. If Bank of America struggled with a station development on more valuable land near uptown, a development that was already being subsidized by taxpayers, how the heck are developers going to be able to afford to subsidize a rail line up north?

If we get no federal money for the rest of these lines, we'll face one of two choices. Either pass another half or quarter cent sales tax for transit, of accept that our rail line will never be more than nine miles long. Without those connections, the transit center CATS is building uptown will be damn near useless, and so will the line if it connects to nowhere. What we will have built, essentially, will be a half-billion dollar shuttle to more affordable parking just outside the center city. But hell, it's just money.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Live Music Review: Nas

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 9:05 AM

By Brooks Newkirk

The Deal: God’s Son of hip-hop takes us on a lyrical journey of his past and present to prove that in order for hip-hop to move forward, we can’t forget where we came from.

The Good: During Nas’ set, he chronicled his musical history from his 1994 debut, Illmatic, to his most current release, 2006’s Hip-Hop Is Dead, showing that newer is not always better. Nas shined on classic joints like “Represent,” “New York State of Mind,” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That),” further solidifying why his name is mentioned in nearly every conversation regarding greats of hip-hop. He was in his purest form during “One Mic” and “Hate Me Now,” as he commanded the audience with his raw emotion that was absence during much of the set, and his lyrical prowess, which has never been stronger.

The Bad: Just about every track performed from his Hip-Hop Is Dead album including “Carry on Tradition,” “Can’t Forget About You,” and “Black Republican” fell flat. Nas even forgot the words to “Not Going Back,” which led me to believe that nobody, including Nas, bothered to listen to that album more than once.

The Verdict: Hands down, Nas is a lyrical genius. He effortlessly flowed through his catalogue of songs with assistance from DJ L.E.S., leaving the crowd filled to the rim with stories from his past, thought-provoking metaphors and verbal assaults. However, his stage performance leaves something to be desired. I’ve seen more energy exuded during bingo hour at the Tyvola Senior Citizen Center.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Buckcherry at Amos'

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 2:37 PM

Buckcherry hit Amos' Southend on Tuesday night for a show with Saliva and Black Stone Cherry.

The 14-song set was short, but sweet and full of energy.

Of course, singer Josh Todd's suggestion that people can sober up through the use of cocaine was a little over the top, but what else should you expect from the band singing "Lit Up" with the chorus "I love the cocaine."

For more thoughts on the Charlotte show, pick up the April 18-24 edition of Creative Loafing.

Meanwhile, here's the setlist:

So far

Broken Glass

Porno Star

Dirty Mind

Sunshine

Sorry

Crazy Bitch

Next 2 You

Ridin’

Dead Again

Everything

Borderline

Slammin’

Lit Up

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Politicking in NoDa

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 9:20 AM

As you all should know, last Thursday was Creative Loafing's first official Political Party. And, boy, did we get the ball rolling with people discussing how they feel about the way Charlotte does what it do. WBT's Keith Larson (seen on right in photo) made a comment about the direct relation between the performance of children in school and society and two-parent households. Basically, if you're a product of a single-parent household, which I am, then there's a greater chance you'll end up in the wrong part of the system. Now the real kicker was when he also stated that he has a young son AND is divorced. Way to drive that theory home there, Keith! Our own Tara Servatius did a great job at moderating. She ordered herself a drink from the stage and kept everyone within two minutes, well, everyone except fellow columnist John Grooms. Most impressive was Tone-X, who interjected on how most children in our school system are trained instead of educated. He used the story of a seal with a fish to illustrate his point: the seal who takes the fish is trained; the seal who is taught how to get his own fish is educated. A valid and powerful point. I don't think the forum was meant to just touch on the problems impacting Charlotte's African-American community, but every issue from poor test scores, which, as Nsenga Burton (in middle in photo) said, don't really reflect the intelligence level of the taker, but their test-taking skills (rote memorization, mainly), gun control, and the parental concerns touched home. Overall, though, I think the bar has been set for further discussions amongst the whole Charlotte community. Maybe it'll begin by neighborhood, then who knows? Maybe we could get Pat McCrory to attend and include the government in the dialogue.

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Photo by Catalina Kulczar

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Dog who wouldn't Die

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2007 at 2:36 PM

Here's a heartwarming (albeit heartrending) addition to the Union County Animal Shelter debate: Quentin, aka "Miracle Dog," is in North Carolina this week in support of eliminating the cruel practice of using gas to euthanize animals.

Quentin was dropped off at a Missouri shelter in August 2003 by an owner who no longer wanted him. Days later, he was put in a gas chamber to be euthanized with seven other dogs. But when the door was opened, he was still standing.

He was adopted shortly thereafter and now travels the country lobbying against euthanasia by gas -- and promoting "his" book, Miracle Dog: How Quentin Survived the Gas Chamber to Speak for Animals on Death Row.

Quentin and his guardian will be at the Concord Mills Books-a-Million this Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. to "sign" books and raise awareness.

In January 2005, the St. Louis City pound shut down its gas chamber due to fund-raising and lobbying efforts. Now the same efforts are being made in North Carolina by the North Carolina Coalition for Humane Euthanasia.

According to a press release, Quentin now travels the globe in first-class accommodations and parties with people such as Pierce Brosnan, Linda Blair, Fred Schneider of the B-52s, Dr. Jane Goodall (who wrote the forward to the book), Elaine Boosler, Mary Tyler Moore and Shirley Jones.

Here's a petition from folks who don't want a new gas chamber built in Union.

If you want to help animals in Union County, these folks would love to hear from you.

Learn more about Quentin here.

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20 From 20

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2007 at 9:13 AM

In case anyone out there hasn’t noticed (and how could anyone miss it?), this month marks the 20th anniversary of the Charlotte edition of Creative Loafing. Since its inception, I’ve screened well over 3,000 movies during that period. Winnowing that substantial number down to my 20 favorite films from the past 20 years was a daunting task (a 50 Best would have been easier), but nevertheless, here’s what I managed, cheating a bit at the end to slip in three extra titles.

Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven

The Untouchables (1987; Brian De Palma)

Full Metal Jacket (1987; Stanley Kubrick)

Broadcast News (1987; James Brooks)

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988; Martin Scorsese)

The Accidental Tourist (1988; Lawrence Kasdan)

Do the Right Thing (1989; Spike Lee)

GoodFellas (1990; Martin Scorsese)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991; Jonathan Demme)

The Player (1992; Robert Altman)

Unforgiven (1992; Clint Eastwood)

The Piano (1993; Jane Campion)

Quiz Show (1994; Robert Redford)

Pulp Fiction (1994; Quentin Tarantino)

Fargo (1996; Joel Coen)

The English Patient (1996; Anthony Minghella)

L.A. Confidential (1997; Curtis Hanson)

Boogie Nights (1997; Paul Thomas Anderson)

Saving Private Ryan (1998; Steven Spielberg)

Far From Heaven (2002; Todd Haynes)

Lost In Translation (2003; Sofia Coppola)

Best Foreign-Language Film: Raise the Red Lantern (1992; Zhang Yimou)

Best Documentary: Hoop Dreams (1994; Steve James)

Best Animated Film: Beauty and the Beast (1991; Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise)

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Bizarre Story Shift from Police on Officers' Shooting

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2007 at 9:11 AM

I'm wondering if anyone finds story line from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police surrounding the shootings of the two police officers as bizarre as I do.

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Thanks to a Thursday Charlotte Observer article, we now know that accused killer Demetrius Antonio Montgomery was taken into custody less than 45 minutes after the two officers were shot and killed at the Timber Ridge Apartments Saturday night (March 31) around 11:15 p.m.

The problem with that is that at 11 a.m. Sunday (April 1), when I went on the air to do my radio show on WBT radio, the police were still telling the media and the public that they were looking for two black males and were asking for the public's help in finding them.

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Now we learn that Montgomery was in custody all along, though he wasn't officially charged with the crime until Sunday evening. Huh? I understand that the police can't release all the details of criminal investigations as they unfold, and I'm not asking them to.

But to me, giving the media false information -- that they were still looking for two black males -- when they clearly already had the only suspect in custody that they intended to charge is spreading false information to the public via the media.

This terrible tragedy tears me apart, too, and I feel for the department. But it's stuff like this that is making me question everything we've been told about the shooting so far. Where do the lies of omission, and commission, end in this case?

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Friday, April 6, 2007

MUSIC: Fall Out Boy show rescheduled

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2007 at 11:03 AM

The first few weeks of the Honda Civic Tour - Fall Out Boy is headlining - have been rescheduled to the end of the tour.

The April 18 show in Charlotte will now be on June 13.

The dates were rescheduled due to "personal issues beyond the band's control." Let's hope it's not another pantless Pete Wentz scandal.

"Just wanted to give everyone a heads up, we are planning on this being the biggest and best Fall Out Boy show that we could possibly have. Unfortunately, because of some personal issues we had to delay the tour a few weeks. We want to put on the best possible show we can and know that this extra couple of weeks will give us the time to put ourselves in the right place to put on the best show we can. The shows from the earlier part of the tour will be rescheduled to the end but all tickets will be honored for all moved shows. Again we apologize. Our fans really mean the world to us and I promise the wait will be well worth it." — Fall Out Boy bass player WentZ.

All tickets for the April 18 show will be honored for the rescheduled show. Refunds for rescheduled shows will be given at the point of purchase.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

NEWS: Introducing the iRack

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2007 at 10:36 AM

I haven't followed much sketch comedy in years, except for Chappelle's Show, but this MadTV skit restores my faith in the medium. Check this YouTube video out:

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