Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Coming attraction: Urban League Leadership Awards

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 4:28 PM


Coming Jan. 23, 2009 — Soul vocalist Noel Gourdin, best known for last year’s popular single “The River,” will serve as the headlining act for the Urban League of Central Carolinas 2009 Leadership Awards ceremony. This year the event — which is presented by the group's Young Professionals Auxiliary — takes place at The Big Chill and, along with providing entertainment from Gourdin, is designed to honor local African-Americans who are doing good works in the community. $35 (advance). The Big Chill, 911 E Morehead Street. 704-373-2256, ext. 203.

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Hangover helpers

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 3:53 PM

Happy new year!! Party it up without looking back. No need to fear that nasty champagne/mixed drinks/red wine hangover you'll have tomorrow, because we've got you covered. Here are a few hangover cures, courtesy of All Recipes.

Popular remedies when you party too hardy.

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Bring a pillow, or something to read: It's First Night Charlotte!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:58 PM

What better way to end the year than to numb yourself out at the newly revived First Night Charlotte, aka White Middle-aged Nerds Venturing Uptown After Dark? It's a "family-friendly" event, particularly if your family is like Beaver's parents, the Cleavers. I remember the very first couple of First Night Charlotte events in the mid-80s all too well: the fakey cheer, the mind-numbing dullness, the bankers and their spouses walking around, bundled up against the cold, their faces stretched by frozen grins that silently shouted, "We're pretending this is really cool even though we're bored out of our skulls." Those early First Nights came as close to making a public space feel stale and hermetically sealed from the rest of the city as was possible. By its last couple of years, First Night had livened up considerably which, of course, meant it would be canceled soon. And it was. Perhaps this year's renewal of First Night, organized by those wild partygoers at Center City Partners (ahem), will be great. Just in case, though, you might want to check out CL's massive list of other New Year's happenings. There's LOTS going on tonight in Charlotte, so take your pick.

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Food news: Wednesday, Dec. 31

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:30 PM

ARPA, 129 Trade Street, has New Year's Eve specials: a "Tapas" flight of Chicken and Manchego croquettes, Wild Mushroom and Pork Empinadilla, and Crispy Goat cheese ($12); a "Pinxto" flight with Grilled Octopus, Grilled Chicken Souvlaki, and Lamb Kebabs ($16); and a "Sweet" flight with Olive Oil Cake with Macerated Fruit, Citrus Crème caramel with Oranges and Red Wine, and Churros with Chocolate Sauce ($12). For reservations: 704-372-7792.

For more NYE info, check out the CL Guide to New Year's Eve.

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Another reason to hate Time Warner Cable

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 11:33 AM

If you have cable and live in Charlotte, chances are your Time Warner experience has not been problem-free. (If it has, I'd love to hear it.) Here comes one more reason to dislike that hideous oligopoly:

"Spongebob Squarepants," "Dora the Explorer" and Jon Stewart soon might be pulled off Time Warner Cable systems in Los Angeles and around the country if the cable operator and Viacom Inc. cannot reach a new contract before midnight tomorrow. The move could knock Viacom's cable channels, which include Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central off nearly 2 million households in Los Angeles.

Time Warner claims it's looking out for its customers, which, I gotta say, is an interesting change of heart. Somehow I doubt that's the primary motive. I have friends who work there, and I've dealt with some great technicians and customer service folks, but on the whole ... well, it's no wonder the City of Los Angeles is suing them.

A la carte cable, people. It's coming.

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I want my MTV ... and VH1 ... and ...

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 11:19 AM

OK, so I'm up late watching Rock of Love: Charm School on VH1 and up pops a message on the TV screen  notifying me that the network — along with MTV, Comedy Central and around 15 others owned by Viacom — will be yanked off Time Warner Cable, like, tonight.

As far as I'm concerned, this is a wack move. Say what you want about MTV and its sister stations, but they play big roles in American pop culture. I mean, if I can't see Comedy Central, how will I watch The Colbert Report or Reno 911?

Here's a statement released by Viacom outlining its take on the move off Time Warner:

NEW YORK, Dec. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The move by Time Warner Cable to force such channels as Nickelodeon, COMEDY CENTRAL and MTV off the air is another example of a cable company overreaching for profit at the expense of its viewers.

The renewal we are seeking is reasonable and modest relative to the profits TWC enjoys from our networks. We have asked for an increase of less than 25 cents per month, per subscriber, which adds up to less than a penny per day for all 19 of MTV Networks' channels.

We make this request because TWC has so greatly undervalued our channels for so long. Americans spend more than 20% of their TV viewing time watching our networks, yet our fees amount to less than 2.5% of what Time Warner generates from their average customer.

Throughout the country, we have negotiated equitable license agreement renewals, or are in the final stages of renewals, with virtually every cable and satellite carrier. Nevertheless, Time Warner Cable has dismissed our efforts at a fair compromise and has effectively chosen to deny its customers some of the most popular TV shows on the air.

As a result, we are sorry to say that for Time Warner Cable customers our networks will go dark as of 12:01 on January 1st, denying Time Warner customers shows like Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, and The Hills.

Ultimately, however, if Nickelodeon, COMEDY CENTRAL, MTV and the rest of our programming is discontinued -- over less than a penny per day -- we believe viewers will see this behavior by their cable company as outrageous. Time Warner Cable subscribers who are being handed a January 1st $3 monthly increase in Raleigh, Orange County, Los Angeles, and New York City are simultaneously facing the removal of beloved shows across 19 channels.

We find it a shame that Time Warner Cable remains unreasonable at this time. We hope its leadership will have a change of heart and will seek to negotiate a fair renewal agreement.

More to come, but for now here's another story about the subject.

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Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 8:00 AM

It's New Year's Eve and there's SO MUCH to do tonight. Here are five randomly picked events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Dec. 31, 2008 — as selected by me! For a complete list of what there is to do tonight, click here.

A New Year's Evil: Purgatory at Amos' Southend


• Live New Orleans soul rock from Jamie McClean Band at Double Door Inn

• New Year's Eve aerobic workout

A Night of Sin and Debauchery by The Sol Kitchen and Apostrophe Lounge

• The Comedy Zone's New Year's Eve shows at Embassy Suites in Concord

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Untied Way

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 1:05 PM

The Observer's story on Mecklenburg County charitable giving (Jennifer Roberts and Bill James in agreement? And making sense?) reminded me of a site I stumbled upon awhile back. United Way detractors will find a happy home here — the site offers a lot of insight on charitable giving, United Way practices (unsavory and savory) and a message board for people to vent and swap information. Here's a little bit of what the United Works for the Untied Way say they're about:

We are a group of volunteers working nationwide to protect your right to give at work to the charities of your own choice and not those dictated to you by United Way. We are organized as an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to which tax-deductible contributions may be made. We have no paid staff. Our office space and administration is provided pro bono. Contributions go 100 percent to our programs.

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Giving 'Bags of Love'

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 1:00 PM


Letha Taylor is a woman with a lot of baggage.

No, I’m not talking about emotional baggage — I’m talking about bags. You know … handbags, purses and the like.

In the last few weeks, Taylor — a Charlotte resident who’s made a name for herself by serving as an event coordinator and a concierge for celebrities who visit the city — has accumulated hundreds of bags for a charity initiative she created called Bags of Love.

Taylor’s goal with Bags of Love is to collect new or gently new handbags from people in the community and then donate the bags (filled with toiletries) to residents at the Women’s Homeless Shelter (The Center of Hope). She explained the impetus for the effort in a recent release she prepared for the media:

“I was a few steps away from being homeless this year,” she says. “I lost two jobs and moved three times. I always had a passion to help the homeless. [I wondered] Was this a test of my faith? With God’s grace and mercy — and the love, support and generosity of friends and family — I didn't have to turn to the streets or a shelter. I am giving back! Paying it forward! You don't have to be rich to give, just go out and have faith!”

Taylor plans to distribute the bags Jan. 2, 2009, but it’s not too late to donate a few bags of your own. Here are two Bags of Love drop-off points where you can leave handbags:

Reggae Central

1506 Central Ave (in Plaza Midwood)


“25 % off any purchase”

Salon & Spa

8535 Hankings Road, Suite A (North Lake Mall Area)


For more info, e-mail Taylor at

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Even Santa needs a little help

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Everyone's looking for bailout money, including Santa. Sure, the video has been out a while, but considering the times, I think it's appropriate.

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