Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Theater review: Race

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 5:12 PM


I’ll say it again: with lawyers like these, who needs criminals? Throughout his distinguished career, playwright David Mamet has demonstrated that he is an equal opportunity cynic. Long before they collaborated with bankers and financiers in the latest Great American Economic Meltdown, ethically-challenged real estate brokers were skewered by Mamet in Glengarry Glen Ross. He trained a gimlet eye on academe in Oleanna after eviscerating Hollywood in Speed-the-Plow. Just before Race, now running at Carolina Actors Studio Theatre through March 24, Mamet targeted the White House with November — and Nathan Lane — before Bush 43 could get his foot out the door.

By stripping off the veneer that has ennobled the profession of Perry Mason and Clarence Darrow, those great seekers of truth and justice, Mamet shows us that the people who uphold our legal system — and by extension, the people who write our laws and lead us — are calculating, dishonest, amoral, and above all else, watching out for themselves. Part of the fun is that while Mamet is subjecting law partners Jack Lawson and Henry Brown, plus the firm’s new minority recruit, to the merciless glare of his searchlight, the playwright also turns the mirror on himself. Winning a case in court, as Lawson describes it, is unmistakably akin to telling a story and deftly manipulating an audience’s attention and sympathy onstage.

Some of that fun goes missing in the CAST production directed by Charles LaBorde when he casts the shark-like Lamar Wilson as Lawson. On Broadway, James Spader stepped out of Boston Legal to play the white partner of the firm, so the lawyer’s bon mots in Act 1 sounded like the corrosive epigrams of an Oscar Wilde comedy. With LaBorde quickening the pace and Wilson heightening his blood pressure, Lawson comes off far more predatory, volatile, and mean. More like the hustlers we expect in Mamet. More subversive.

As Charles Strickland, the celebrity white defendant accused of raping a black woman, Christian Casper also takes us in a different direction. Richard Thomas came before us on Broadway expensively dressed and immaculately groomed, as if escaping a crush of snoopy reporters when he arrived at the offices of Lawson & Brown. Who could possibly believe this clean-cut all-American was secretly so savage? Not our John-Boy Walton! Dressed simply in jeans and sweater (a la Steve Jobs?), Casper makes the supposition far easier to entertain. Where Thomas seemed pompous and conceited, fretting that every hair of his image remained in place, Casper seems confused, humiliated, shaken, and contrite.

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Democratic National Convention 2012 Notebook: Kathleen Sebelius redefines 'American Values' at a very political gala

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Kathleen Sebelius
  • Kathleen Sebelius
In a swing state important to President Barack Obama’s reelection, and in the city where Democrats are planning their 2012 convention, Kathleen Sebelius staked the administration’s claim to “American values.”

At a time when GOP candidates continue their party’s appeal to values voters, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary offered her own definition — a sign that President Obama welcomes the debate. “This administration strongly believes that every American should play by the same rules and have the same shot to achieve their dreams. If you work hard, you do a good job, that’s how you should be judged,” Sebelius told the 1,400 people gathered in the Charlotte Convention Center for the North Carolina gala of the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest gay and lesbian civil rights group.

"You shouldn’t be judged for what you look like, where you live, how you worship," Sebelius said. "And, for God’s sake, you shouldn’t be judged by who you love."

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Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Feb. 29, 2012 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Miles and Coltrane: Blue (.) at Duke Energy Theatre


Blackfoot Gypsies at Double Door Inn

The Secret Hospital at Snug Harbor

Pop Life: Tournament Edition 2012 aka Kitchapalooza at Phoenix and Re:Public

Converge exhibit at McColl Center for Visual Arts

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Win tickets to Tales of Edgar Allan Poe

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Just because morbid tales by Edgar Allan Poe don't seem suitable for children, doesn't mean Children's Theatre of Charlotte isn't going to take a stab at performing them. Its upcoming Tales of Edgar Allan Poe play features dramatic interpretations of the popularly paired "Telltale Heart" and "Cask of Amontillado" and aims to please (not scare ... well, maybe just a little) adventure craving children and adults — who more than likely are craving a devious twist to the usual family-friendly fare.

Children's Theatre of Charlotte is offering folks a chance to win free tickets to performances by identifying 45 movies — in Poe influenced genres like horror and suspense — featured in the trailer posted below. Movies must be listed in the order they appear (hint: they are chronological) and lists must be sent via email to Correctly drawn entries have the chance at winning free tickets to the production, horror DVDs, books and more.

$14-$18. March 9, 7:30 p.m.; March 10, 2 p.m.; March 11, 2 p.m.; March 16, 7 p.m.; March 17, 2 p.m.; March 23-24, 7:30 p.m. ImaginOn's Wells Fargo Playhouse, 300 E. 7th St. 704-973-2828.

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LOL: Comedy in the Q.C.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Listed below is a roundup of CL’s top picks for comedy shows in Charlotte this week. Hopefully, they keep you entertained and, more importantly, laughing out loud.


Flavor Flav (pictured above) — the founding member of the '80s political rap group Public Enemy — hosts this "Freaky Comedy Tour" with special guest Jay Phillips. $20-$25. March 1, 8 p.m.; March 2-3, 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. The Comedy Zone Charlotte, 900 NC Music Factory Blvd., Charlotte. 980-321-4702.

• The Night Full of Laughter Afterparty is hosted by Jonathan Martin with headliner Joe “Cheezy” Clair. Other comedians include Mz. Janet Dollar and Nick Lewis. Music by Biz Markie and DJ Phat Boi. For tickets, visit $35-$50. March 1, 8 p.m. Extravaganza, 1610 N. Tryon St.

• The Showkase Comedy show is hosted by comedian Montee Rogers with performances by comedians Skinnyman, Burpie, Jawan Charley and Keedar Whittle. Music by DJ Ez Ed. March 2, 8:45pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 704-930-6972 visit Comfort Suites (University location), 7735 University City Blvd.

• Now going into its third year, the Royal Comedy Tour — coming to the "Bo-Round" — must be doing something right. We think leading comedian Sommore might have a hand in this show's successful run. The tour also features acts by Bruce Bruce, Earthquake, Mark Curry and Tony Rock. $47-$77. March 3, 8 p.m. Bojangles Coliseum, 2700 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte. 704-335-3100.

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What is Mecklenburg County Commission Chairman Harold Cogdell up to?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 12:09 PM

  • Cogdell
If Harold Codgell has a plan, he's going about it in some strange ways. Late last year, the Democratic Mecklenburg County Commissioner colluded with Republican board members to remove his fellow Democrat Jennifer Roberts from the chair position and install himself. Now, according to this morning's Charlotte Observer, Cogdell is saying he's decided not to run for re-election this year. What's more, he won't be running for any political office. What's more, he's leaving the Democratic Party altogether.

Say what?

It's all part of what appears to be a natural housecleaning on the Commission. And it certainly opens things up for the possibility of big changes for Mecklenburg County. Here's what the Observer published:

Now, with all three at-large commissioners off the board at the current term's end in December, the race for at-large members is wide open. Several candidates, Democrats and Republicans, are expected to step up before filing ends Wednesday.

At-large commissioners Jennifer Roberts, a Democrat, and Jim Pendergraph, a Republican, have already announced they are running for the 9th Congressional seat that Republican Sue Myrick is vacating after nine terms. A fourth incumbent, Republican district commissioner Neil Cooksey, also is not running - guaranteeing a new look on the board come November.

Cogdell, 42, a Charlotte attorney and at-large commissioner since 2008, said he'd considered running for Myrick's seat as an independent.

In the end, he'd have to collect nearly 25,000 signatures to get on the November ballot. Without a substantial campaign organization in place in the 9th - the state's largest congressional district - that would be almost impossible, he said.

"The timing for such an undertaking is not right," Cogdell said.

He said he struggled with his decision to leave politics. Part of it was based on the loss of Roberts, Pendergraph and Cooksey, he said.

"All of them had their own important perspectives," he said.

Read the full story here.

One big happy dysfunctional family: The Mecklenburg County Commission. Roberts is front and center; Cogdell is to her left, mimicking her pose. Watch that figurative knife, Jen!
  • One big happy dysfunctional family: The Mecklenburg County Commission. Roberts is front and center; Cogdell is to her left, mimicking her pose. Watch that figurative knife, Jen!

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Today's Top 5: Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Feb. 28, 2012 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Rescue Men: The Story of the Pea Island Life Savers at Harvey B. Gantt Center


Spirit of Uganda at Davidson College's Duke Family Performance Hall

Broken Lizards at The Comedy Zone

David: The Movie at Levine Jewish Community Center

Jersey Boys at Belk Theater

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Monday, February 27, 2012

CL goes to the Oscars

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Jim Rash (middle) as Angelina Jolie

By Matt Brunson

The Academy of Harvey Weinstein Arts & Sciences — for those who didn’t hear, the organization’s name was officially changed this morning — handed out their Oscars last night. Here are our thoughts on the evening.


* Chris Rock. He was hilarious in his introduction to Best Animated Feature, and he gets my vote to serve as next year’s host.

Ben Stiller and Emma Stone

* Emma Stone. She was a comic delight as she and Ben Stiller introduced the Visual Effects category, with Stiller and Jonah Hill serving as wonderful foils.

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Relish rhythm in Spirit of Uganda

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 12:12 PM


Passionate drumming, dancing, music, story and costume are only five of the components that make up the heart of Spirit of Uganda, a traveling performance stopping into Davidson College’s Duke Family Performance Hall tomorrow (Feb. 28). Comprised of a 22 person cast — ages 8-18 years old — who hails from Uganda, the show is backed by the non-profit organization Empower African Children, which provides empowering and educational programs to orphan children struggling in a war torn environment. Money raised from the event helps support performers and others in Africa.

$8-$20. Feb. 28, 8 p.m. Davidson College's Duke Family Performance Hall, 207 Faculty Drive. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 704-894-2135 or click here.

Watch a trailer for Spirit of Africa below.

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Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Feb. 27, 2012 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Tyga at The Fillmore


Monday Funday at Dixie's Tavern

Gwen Bigham: Becoming exhibit at CPCC

Find Your Muse Open Mic at The Evening Muse

Monday Night Allstars at Double Door Inn

Mic Night at Flying Saucer

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