Friday, April 30, 2010

Plaza Midwood fest unwinds

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Here are a cluster of schedule highlights from Plaza Midwood's Midwood Maynia, a community event happening in Charlotte this weekend:

Friday, April 30

• Home & Garden Tour ~ 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

Saturday, May 1

• Midwood Miles 5K ~ 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

• Pet Parade ~ 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

• Home & Garden Tour ~ 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Live music at Midwood Park ~ 12 p.m.-7 p.m. Music lineup:

Chris Holder ~ 12 p.m.-1 p.m.

Greg Lilley and Company ~ 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Loose Lug Nuts ~ 3 p.m.-4 p.m.

Broken Napoleons ~ 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Truckstop Preachers ~ 6 p.m.-7 p.m.

Sunday, May 2

• ‘Script-in-Hand’ reading of the play Man & Superman at Midwood Park ~ 1 p.m.-3 p.m.

For more information and an in-depth schedule, visit

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Is Burr addicted to Bayer?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 12:52 PM

The folks at BlueNC have discovered some eye-opening info about our favorite U.S. senator, Richard Burr (R-NC). It turns out that the man whom many call Sen. Do-Little has actually been pretty busy, although not, as Burr claims, busy “working for North Carolinians.” Rather, says the BlueNC investigation, Burr has been preoccupied helping the German-owned Bayer Corporation. It seems that 45 of the 72 bills authored by Burr in 2009 — 60 percent of his output, in other words — were duty or tariff reductions on a variety of chemical compounds used in drug manufacturing – reductions sought by Bayer through its favorite lobbying group, Implu. Tariff reductions for foreign-owned chemical companies amount to lending a hand, and higher profits, to companies that compete against America’s and North Carolina’s chemical producers. In other words, Burr isn’t just a regular Congressional corporate stooge, he’s doing most of his legislative legwork for foreign corporations. I guess he’ll next claim to be a great “internationalist.

Bayer: It can be hard to resist
  • Bayer: It can be hard to resist

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The Back-up Plan: Ill-conceived and odious

Rating: *

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 12:32 PM

The Back-up Plan

By Matt Brunson

Alan Poul
STARS Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Loughlin

Jennifer Lopez's first screen outing in four years isn't a motion picture so much as it's a new form of Chinese water torture: Seemingly innocuous at first, it continues to pelt the viewer with one abysmal scene after another until insanity seems like the only logical result.

Lopez stars as Zoe, a single woman who, tired of waiting for Mr. Right while her biological clock continues to tick away, elects to conceive through artificial insemination. But wouldn't you know it, as she walks out of the clinic, she bumps into a charismatic cheesemaker named Stan (Alex O'Loughlin), and they begin dating. Zoe waits until Stan falls in love with — and makes love to — her before she alerts him to the fact that she's pregnant and that he'll have to deal with this issue if he wants to permanently commit to her.

Zoe's actions throughout the picture make her a particularly odious heroine, but that's the least of this film's problems: More detrimental are the slapstick gags scripted by Kate Angelo and directed by Alan Poul, including (but not limited to) the scene in which Zoe wrestles with her dog for possession of a pregnancy test stick and the sequence in which a woman gives birth in a bathtub while members of her single-mom support group chant around her (speaking of the support group, this movie exhibits nothing but contempt and derision toward single women). There's also the usual rom-com character of the outspoken best friend (Michaela Watkins) whose wisecracks are supposed to be funny but are instead merely obnoxious, the expected cutaway shots to the mutt whimpering or barking whenever one of the humans says something stupid (needless to say, this happens frequently), and an unhealthy obsession with scatological humor.

The only bright spot is seeing '70s sitcom vets Linda Lavin (Alice) and Tom Bosley (Happy Days) in minor roles; the rest is unspeakably awful.

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Death at a Funeral: Some lively laughs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Death at a Funeral

By Matt Brunson




STARS Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence

A remake of a film that was released a mere three years ago — wow, that was quick; what's coming out next week, a remake of March's Hot Tub Time Machine? — director Neil LaBute and writer Dean Craig scuttle the British setting of 2007's Death at a Funeral in order to stamp this with a "Made In USA" label. The result is a perfectly pleasant piffle, a comedy that fails to produce many big laughs but knows how to parcel out its small ones at an acceptable clip.

Continue reading »

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Catching up with the Dragon in training

Rating: ***

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 12:31 PM

By Matt Brunson

Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders
STARS Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler


I know, I know; this came out weeks ago (the dog — err, dragon — ate my review?). But as it continues to perch near the top of the box office standings, it seemed like a fair candidate for a "better late than never" review. Not that it needs any extra boost, as adults have already realized this is one of those smart animated flicks that needn't be reserved solely for the merriment of the young'uns.

Based on the children's book by Cressida Cowell, this centers on a village wherein the Viking population is constantly at war with the neighboring dragons. Bumbling young Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), the son of the fearless Viking leader Stoick (Gerard Butler), wants to join the ranks of the dragon slayers, and he gets his chance when he wounds a feared Night Fury. But rather than go for the kill, Hiccup ends up releasing the creature, and before long, the two become inseparable — a real dilemma, considering the lad is expected to soon complete his schooling and start slaughtering dragons.

Writer-directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (scripting with William Davies) gently advance the themes of acceptance and understanding without any pushy shoving, and the animators do a bang-up job in their designs of the various breeds of dragons on view throughout the picture. As expected, they save their best work for the Night Fury (named Toothless by Hiccup), endearing him to audiences by providing him with quasi-feline features (he looks like a silky black cat in close-ups). Craig Ferguson contributes some good moments as Hiccup's trainer Gobber, and how odd is it to see Butler involved in a film that doesn't suck?

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Va. gun lobby: Guns and alcohol do mix

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Picking this week’s Stupid Thing of the Week was easy. It’s not too often — as in, “never, before now” — that someone other than a drunken gun freak promotes the concept of drinking while carrying a firearm. Be forewarned, though, that people in our neighbor state, Virginia, are considering the possibility. The leader of the Virginia Citizens Defense League gun lobby, Philip Van Cleve (personal motto: “Abstract principles trump common sense”) wants the state’s legislature to defend the “right” to drink alcohol while carrying a gun in public.

The VCDL is dissatisfied with a new state law that allows “concealed carry permit holders to bring loaded handguns” into establishments that serve alcohol, "as long as the holders do not consume alcohol."  The group says the law — which allows law enforcement officers and state attorneys to carry concealed weapons and slam down liquor — turns regular, good ol' bar-hopping gun carriers into second-class citizens. VCDL leader Van Cleve says his group thinks the law should read that gun carriers can drink, "as long they are not drunk."  Two obvious questions remain, however: Who the hell wants the job of refusing to serve a semi-drunk with a loaded gun? Or, for that matter, taking away a drunk's gun? As one would expect, the state’s police chiefs are strongly opposed to Van Cleve’s brainstorm. In normal times, one could automatically assume such potentially catastrophic B.S. wouldn’t stand a chance of passing, but considering the weird, overwrought state of Conservative Nation these days, we thought readers would appreciate being warned ahead of time, just in case Virginia decides to go all Arizona Crazy on us.


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Today's Top 5: Friday

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, April 30, 2010 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

The Official Twilight Convention at Marriott Executive Park


Charlotte Symphony Pops: Cirque De La Symphonie at Belk Theater

Benji Hughes at Snug Harbor

Midwood Maynia in Plaza Midwood

Compilation Entertainment Event at The Art House

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Thursday, April 29, 2010


Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Check out these events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area this weekend— as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Friday, April 30

Mysticism, Apparitions, Dreams..MAD?

DOMA Gallery

DOMA Gallery's latest exhibition, Mysticism, Apparitions, Dreams..MAD? – which, opens tonight – is traveling deep into the hidden realm of the psyche. Featuring photography by Andrea Brown, Igor Malijevsky and Raymond Grubb, this exhibition of photos is sharp and sleek with multiple viewing possibilities.

Music The Charlotte Symphony soars during its Belk Theater performance tonight. The show, Charlotte Symphony Pops: Cirque De La Symphonie, will feature the symphony orchestra - playing classical masterpieces of contemporary music - and acrobats performing a set of skilled moves. more...

Special Event Starting today and continuing through the weekend, the Official Twilight Convention makes a stop in the Q.C. Die-hard fans of the saga – whether their for Team Edward or Jacob – unite for panels, themed parties, autographs and photo opportunities with select stars from the film, live music performances and more. more...

Saturday, May 1

Welcome To The Monkey House

Carolina Actors Studio Theatre

Carolina Actors Studio Theatre goes bananas for its latest theatrical adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's satirical classic, Welcome To The Monkey House. The book –published in 1968 – features drastic and intertwining short stories about human nature and society. You can expect CAST's stage to become a zoo of exciting extremes during this performance.

Festival Midwood Maynia continues today with its community gathering of neighborhood home and garden tours, live music – provided by a stream of local bands, including Chris Holder, Greg Lilley and Company, Loose Lug Nuts, Broken Napoleons and Truckstop Preachers – and more.


Sports Prepare for wheel spinning roller derby action, as the Q.C.’s Charlotte Roller Girls All-Stars take on the Baltimore-based Charm City Roller Girls Night Terrors this evening at Grady Cole Center. more...

Sunday, May 2


Uptown Charlotte

Held in "The White Big Top" tent (next to Bank of America Stadium), the enchanting show Cavalia captures the relationship between horse and man, while featuring acrobats, aerialists, dancers and actors, musicians and, of course, bountiful breeds of horses.

Food The Blue Taj offers a whimsical dining atmosphere and features a menu with a finely honed roundup of Asian-inspired dishes. The food is well prepared and innovatively pleasing. more...

Festival Head to McAlpine Creek Park for a Cinco de Mayo celebration, featuring music, traditional foods, folkloric dances, a Latino marketplace, exhibitors, interactive games and more. more...

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Another day, another killer cop let loose

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 3:32 PM

It would be great to be able to say that the suspended sentence given to former police officer Martray Proctor is “unbelievable,” but it’s sadly all too believable. Police who kill are never given jail time in this city – whether you slam into somebody while driving way too fast, get trigger-happy and kill a cellphone tower worker for no reason, shoot the passenger in a car that rolled through a license check, it’s all good, according to the DA’s office. And the family of whomever was killed? Historically, they’ve been lucky to get an apology, much less any monetary compensation.

In March 2009, Proctor responded recklessly to a routine call for backup at a traffic stop, roaring at 111 mph through a 45 mph zone, without turning on his lights or siren. He crashed into and killed 20-year-old Shatona Robinson, who was pulling onto Old Statesville Road in her Ford Escort. Proctor had previously been charged three times for speeding, including driving 86 mph in a 60 mph zone, and once, after he was hired by CMPD, for driving 63 mph in a 35 mph zone. Many observers assumed Proctor’s record of speeding would be held against him.

At first, it looked as if this particular “killer cop” case would be different. Proctor was actually charged with involuntary manslaughter, and the city settled a lawsuit brought by Robinson’s mother for $700,000. It seemed as if justice might be served after all. But yesterday, after Proctor pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and told Judge Timothy Patti that he wanted to study to become a minister, the judge gave the former officer a suspended sentence, 75 hours of community service, a whopping $250 fine, and three years of probation. Oh, and he wished Proctor success with his studies. The word is that Proctor was devastated by Robinson’s death and is trying to turn things around and be an asset to blahblahblah. Which will do Shatona Robinson exactly zero good. Who knew that all you had to do to get away with recklessly causing someone else’s death is to say you’re sorry?

Shatona Robinson
  • Shatona Robinson

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Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, April 29, 2010 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Welcome to the Monkey House at Carolina Actors Studio Theatre


David Isay at Joseph-Beth Booksellers

Twin Tigers at Neighborhood Theatre

Matrimony at Tremont Music Hall

• Crown Town Handmade's Make Out Session at Patchwerk Playhouse

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