Monday, May 31, 2010

Best bets in Charlotte comedy this week

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 9:00 AM

As the headline suggests, here are a few of the best places to find comedy events in Charlotte — from stand-up to improv to sketch comedy and more. For a complete listing of all comedy visit

Tuesday, June 1

Stand-Up Comedy at Lake Norman Comedy Zone at 8 p.m. (Seating at 7 p.m.)

Nationally touring headliner Darren “DS” Sanders.

Galway Hooker ~ 7044 Kenton Drive, Cornelius ~ $10 ~ Rated PG-13

Wednesday, June 2

Improv Comedy by mitOsis Productions at 10 p.m.

Colby Davis and James Walker bring you fast, wild, hysterical improvisational comedy in a 2 man show.

Courtyard Hooligans ~ 140 Brevard Court, Charlotte ~ $10

Friday, June 4

Improv Comedy by Sharazad Improv  at 7 p.m.

Absolutely nothing is scripted or rehearsed. Characters, plots, environments are all made up on the spot, and inspired from your suggestions.

Wine-Up ~ 3306 N. Davidson St., Charlotte ~ $5

Saturday, June 5

Improv Comedy by Charlotte Comedy Theater at 8 p.m.

Competitive short form improv where Charlotte's top improvisers compete against one another for your affection.  Lots of audience participation.

Prevue ~ 2909 N. Davidson St., Charlotte ~ $10 cash at door ~ Rated R

Sunday, June 6

Funny First Sunday at 8 p.m.


House of Jazz ~ 8630 University Exec Park Dr. Charlotte ~ $10

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Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, May 31, 2010 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

From the Storeroom: A Selection of Works by Gallery Artists at Jerald Melberg Gallery


Cult Movie Mondays: Film screening of Serial Mom at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

MixTape Monday at Tutto Mondo

Charlotte Comedy Theater's Student Show at Courtyard Hooligans

Come Sit A Spell: Views of the Southern Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Wild arguments and U.S.' first gay military hero

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Today there’s good news and more good news and some bad-but-so-stupid-it’s-funny news.

Good News 1:  The House of Representatives voted yesterday to let the Defense Department repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the ban on gay and bisexual people serving openly in the armed forces. Also yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a similar measure allowing the repeal of the ban. The repeal’s ultimate fate in the Senate is uncertain, but momentum has been building lately in favor of repealing the discriminatory ban, and yesterday’s votes were major steps toward that goal. By the way, recent polls from the Washington Post/ABC and the New York Times show between 70 and 75 percent of Americans think gays should be able to serve openly in the military.

Good News 2: We also have a Stupid Thing of the Week, which leads us to . . .

Bad-but-so-stupid-it’s-funny News: The religious right has stepped up pressure on its sheep in Congress to fight the repeal, including an incredible rant from the Family Research Council saying that repealing the ban “will turn the U.S. military into a terrifying free-rape zone” where straight service members “will be fellated in their sleep against their will.” That's still not as goofy as the rightwing group America’s Survival, which claimed repeal would mean that “disease-tainted gay blood  threatens our troops,” and would lead to “transgendered individuals who want to dress up as members of the opposite sex and would cry ‘discrimination’ if they are not allowed to do so.” The evidence given for this? Corporal Klinger of the TV show MASH. No, I’m not kidding. Read it and laugh (or weep) here.

Republican members of Congress responded to the religious right’s pressure with unintended hilarity. Most of the Republicans who spoke on the floor of the House yesterday tried to portray the repeal as a danger, an unwanted “social experiment,” or an “insult to the troops.” Read about their arguments here.

Our favorite comments came from Rep. Todd Akin (R-MI), who asked, “So are we going to protect and condone homosexuality in the military?…Is this the sort of thing that George Washington or our founders would be proud of, that we are doing today in this quick flash before Memorial Day?” Well, here’s a “quick flash” for Rep. Akin and all likeminded bigots: Baron Friedrich von Steuben. Who was that? He was a Prussian aristocrat, a well-known gay man, and oh by the way, was also Inspector General and Major General of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Von Steuben taught George Washington’s army the basics of military service, wrote the Revolutionary War Drill Manual, and eventually served as Gen. Washington’s chief of staff. Yessiree, those gays are a real threat to America. Now, Rep. Akin, and all the other backward lemmings of the right who love to refer to the Founding Fathers, put that in your pipe and smoke it. Maybe it'll keep you quiet for at least a few minutes.

Baron von Steuben, America's first gay military hero
  • Baron von Steuben, America's first gay military hero

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Sex and the City 2: Desert storm

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Sex and the City 2

By Matt Brunson



DIRECTED BY Michael Patrick King

STARS Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall

Parents, lock up your fanboys! Yes, the ladies of the Sex and the City franchise are back to once again strike terror in the heart of any male moviegoer who steadfastly believes that cinema was only created to serve those folks sporting a Y chromosome. Admittedly, annoying these computer trolls sounds like reason enough to give Sex and the City 2 a hearty recommendation, but the truth of the matter is that this follow-up to the 2008 smash (itself based on the hit HBO series) doesn't quite measure up.

Continue reading »

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Prince of Persia: More like a pauper

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 12:53 PM


By Matt Brunson



STARS Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton

To say that Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time isn't as bad as other films adapted from video games is a bit like saying that day-old roadkill doesn't smell as bad as week-old roadkill. It isn't praise so much as it's looking for the silver lining in an otherwise unfortunate situation.

Continue reading »

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Casino Jack and the United States of Money: Politics as usual

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 12:53 PM


By Matt Brunson



STARS Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay

Michael who? Certainly, Michael Moore is the most famous — and most controversial — documentarian out there, but his methods manage to turn off even many of those on the left side of the political divide. By comparison, only the most hardened of American fascists would find fault with the works of the relatively unknown Alex Gibney, whose comprehensive nonfiction pieces are more straightforward — and therefore less open to debate — than Moore's muckrakers.

Continue reading »

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Last day to request public hearing on high-hazard coal ash ponds

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Yesterday, I had the privilege of listening to Rusty Rozzelle, manager of the county's Water Quality Program and Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, detail the history of the Catawba River at the Catawba River Women's Group's monthly luncheon. And, he should know — his family has relied on, benefited from and cared for the river since the 1700s.

"This river has always been important to us," he said. "It always will be important to us."

Without the Catawba River there would be no Charlotte. Further, should the Catawba River become unusable, Charlotte will vanish from the map.

"Without the Catawba River," Rozzelle said, "we would all have to leave. We couldn't stay here ... it's that important."

"Our surface water resources have shaped our past, sustain us in the present and will dictate our future," he added later.

That's why I'd like to remind you that today is the last day to request a public hearing on the four coal ash ponds in the Charlotte area, all found on the banks of the Catawba River's lakes.

Two of them, categorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as "high-hazard," sit on the edge of Mountain Island Lake, just a dozen miles from the center of Uptown. That lake provides most of Charlotte's drinking water. It is critical that we preserve it for our health, and the health of future generations.

Here's a copy of the letter I sent on behalf of our river and Mountain Island Lake today. Feel free to copy it — changing my name to yours —and e-mail it to

Surface Water Protection Section

Point Source Branch

Sergei Chernikov

1617 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-1617


Dear Division of Water Quality,

My name is Rhiannon Bowman and I live in the Catawba River basin.

I am very concerned about Mountain Island Lake, Charlotte’s main drinking water source. In fact, not only does it provide drinking water for Charlotte, but several other nearby communities. We must do everything within our power to protect this valuable resource.

With that ideal in mind, I have reviewed draft permit NC0004961 and believe this permit should include a requirement for Duke Energy of the Carolinas to submit a plan to NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources that outlines a clean-up, lining and closure timeline for the two coal ash ponds currently discharging under this permit at Outfall 02.

Additionally, this permit should contain a reopener provision to allow the Department to modify the permit to incorporate any new court decision, guidance document, regulation, or statute on the designation, management, storage and use of coal combustion residuals, also known as coal ash wastes.

Moreover, metals currently monitored in this permit (arsenic and selenium) should have concentrations limits that reflect the fresh surface water quality standards for Mtn. Island Lake (WS-IV; CA). An Arsenic concentration limit of 10 ?g/L (ppb) and a Selenium concentration limit of 5 ?g/L should be added to this permit. As importantly, these substances should be more frequently monitored – at least monthly – and other chemicals and elements found in coal ash should be added to the monitoring list. These metals include but are not limited to boron, barium, cadmium, chlorides, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc.

Iron, Manganese and Boron in the ash ponds should be monitored monthly because initial groundwater monitoring samples taken in December 2008 and again in December 2009 showed groundwater levels that exceed current state groundwater standards found under 15A NCAC 2L .0200.

Conversely, total suspended solids (TSS) monitoring should NOT be decreased from 2/month to monthly. Instead, total dissolved solids (TDS) 2/month monitoring should be added to this permit and limited to the NC fresh surface water quality standards (500mg/L) within this permit. TDS is recognized by EPA Steam Electric Power Study as a typical frequently observed coal combustion wastewater pollutant.

I would also like to request a public hearing to help our community better understand, and ask questions about, draft permit NC0004961 for Riverbend Steam Station.

Respectfully submitted,

Rhiannon Bowman

(Change my name to yours and be sure to include your mailing address.)

I mailed similar letters on behalf of Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, both of which also have coal ash ponds on their shores.

You'll notice that, after reading through the draft permits for the coal plants that own the ponds, I used our Catawba Riverkeeper's suggestions when drafting my letter.

You, too, can review the draft permits — aka permission slips to pollute — as well as the Riverkeeper's suggestions here.

Be sure to request a public hearing so we can all learn more about what's being done about these waste dumps and ask questions about what's being done to protect our drinking water. Also be sure to copy David Merryman, our Catawba Riverkeeper, on your e-mail so he can keep up with how many people have requested public hearings. His e-mail address is

And, let me repeat: This is our water. It is critical that we protect it for our health and for future generations. Without it, Charlotte vanishes.

On June 10 I will present additional information about the coal ash ponds on Mountain Island Lake at Type/Face. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

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Raise my taxes, please

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Dear Mecklenburg County Commissioners,

If you give me the opportunity to opt-in to pay higher property taxes, I will gladly do so. More, I will encourage my neighbors to do the same.

Why am I willing to may more taxes? Because I believe that our schools, libraries, veteran's services, mental health services, parks and more are not only worthwhile but are critical services for a healthy, growing community. Instead of buying something frivolous for myself — like an iPad or a year's worth of fast food — I'm happy to help fund those types services because I love the people in this community and want them to have every opportunity to live a productive life.

See, plenty of people have helped me out. In turn, I became a more productive citizen, my income tax bracket jumped and I'm now able to contribute more than ever before. I figure if we help others, they, too, may soon be able to contribute more to our community as well. In the end, it's a win-win. Everyone will benefit from better schools, parks, libraries and services.

While I've donated privately to several county-run organizations, I'm simply not aware of all of the organizations that are in need. So, I'd like to contribute to a general fund that shares the wealth. I'm positive that many of my friends and neighbors would also like to contribute to such a fund.

And, if the word "tax" is too scary let's think of a different label that isn't too scary.

Let me know where to send my check.


Rhiannon Bowman

P.S. Please fire Harry Jones.

Dozens of people made a plea to Mecklenburg leaders Thursday night to spare county agencies from deep spending cuts.

"We're affecting people's lives," said Angie Traylor-Coleman, one of several county employees who spoke in a public hearing before Mecklenburg County Commissioners. "These are not numbers, these are people, they have heartbeats, they have feelings they have livelihoods and they care about what they do."

Read more from

What if more taxes equal more happiness?

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Blacks more likely to have a white spouse

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 11:02 AM

I think about race a lot. That may or may not sound strange coming from a white woman, but it is what it is.

While I grew up in rural Alabama, the family I was most often surrounded by was either raised in the Midwest or in Europe. To them, race was not an issue. At all. Ever.

But, when the annual event of the year at your high school — a massive fight — is sparked by some redneck driving into the school's parking lot with a rebel flag attached to their monster truck, when George C. Wallace is the first governor you recognize, when it's hammered into your head in history class that Alabama was the original home of the Confederacy — it's kinda hard not to think about race relations. And, that's why it's hard for me to ignore race issues to this day. I recognize them, I wonder about them and I wish we'd all grow up.

When I was a youth, any type of "other" relationship was suspect: Interracial or homosexual. WASP-y friends of mine who were involved in relationships that were way more normal — whatever the hell that is — than any society-sanctioned relationships I knew were forced to hide their love out of fear because they dared to love an Asian, an African-American, an Indian, someone of the same sex or someone from a different religion. That means, among other things, it was always a surprise to see a white person and a black person showing any type of romantic affection in public.

But that was then, deep in the heart of Dixie.

Do we really care who marries whom today?

Yeah. I suppose we do. Though, in my estimation, it seems the hatred has refocused its disfavor onto homosexual relationships.

Whoever the current target is, it's a sad shame that we can't simply be happy for anyone lucky enough to find love and just leave it at that. Who people love, or what they're doing in their bedroom, is none of our business. And, Lord knows, anyone crazy enough to get married and endure all that commitment brings deserves our support, not our condemnation.

With that in mind, is reporting that interracial marriages are on the rise:

Blacks are three times more likely to have a white spouse today versus 30 years ago, according to an Associated Press analysis of Census Bureau data.

About 14.4 percent of black men and 6.5 percent of black women are currently married to whites, the report showed. Sociologists attributed this trend to higher educational attainment by blacks, a more racially integrated military and a rising black middle class that provides more interaction with other races.

In contrast, the growth of interracial marriages is slowing among U.S.-born Hispanics and Asians.

About 8 percent of U.S. marriages are mixed-race, up from 7 percent in 2000.


Three cheers for innocence:

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Today's Top 5: Friday

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, May 28, 2010 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Tribe at Duke Energy Theatre


Charlotte Comedy Theater at Prevue

A Kenya Mission at Lark & Key Gallery, Southend

Fridays at the Factory at NC Music Factory

Elements of Jazz at Amos' Southend

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