Monday, December 31, 2012

Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Dec. 31, 2012 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

* King Britt at Dharma Lounge


* The Grand New Year's Eve at 5Church

* First Night Charlotte

* Rich & Bennett's NYE Bash at Phoenix

* Back to the Future Bash at Roxbury Nightclub

For a look at more of CL's top picks of parties, events for New Year's Eve 2012, click here.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Mark Kemp's Weekly Fast 5

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Since the holidays got in the way of my posting last Friday, today's Fast 5 includes stories and topics that have caught my attention in the past two weeks. And what a couple of weeks it's been! Since my previous survey, the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murder has led the national news, along with the fiscal cliff, the non-apocalypse and the holidays. (On a personal note, my family suffered a loss on the eve of Christmas Eve - a cousin whose death at 48 came far too soon.) In short: a whiplash of emotions.

A moment of silence observed in the White House on December 21, 2012
  • Pete Souza
  • A moment of silence observed in the White House on December 21, 2012
In the days since the horrific Dec. 14 school shooting in Connecticut, we've had a little time to process the tragedy. So much has been written and said - demands for gun control from the left, calls for armed guards at schools from the right. Much of it from both sides has been shrill, emotional and ultimately... understandable. When children are shot and killed by a madman with a gun, it quite naturally works our emotions. But if we're to learn from this tragedy and move forward, a little dispassionate contemplation of violence in our society is in order.

Among the best pieces I've read in this regard, one came from the left, another from the right, another from a libertarian's perspective (see next week's cover story in Creative Loafing), and yet another from the perspective of someone trying to understand the shooter. That was the one that moved me the most. It wasn't about the politics of guns; it was about the spirituality of compassion and understanding.

Personally, I'm for reasonable gun control. But if gun-control legislation already in place is not keeping random mass shootings from happening, we can't look to gun control alone to solve this problem. We have to look at how we have created conditions that are conducive to mass killings. Are we in the media partly to blame? Is the constant stream of blame-gaming on social media a factor? Is the problem a lack of god in classrooms or too much god in classrooms? I don't have any answers, but in all the noise I've heard and read, one piece keeps resonating for me, and it's my No. 1 link in today's Fast Five.

1) Tikkun Daily's Miki Kashtan sees Adam Lanza in all of us.
From the story:

The very first thing I wish for is honesty about the role of violence in our lives. At every turn we learn, again and again, that violence is an acceptable solution to conflicts and issues. The media, video games, our foreign policy, and our criminal justice system all demonstrate the same logic. Whatever the personal traits of a single individual, and whatever else we want to say about access to guns, Adam Lanza didn't invent the option of a violent response. Blaming specific individuals and calling them monsters when so much violence is a daily presence will not create any real shift. If we are serious about reducing or eliminating violence, I believe it would take a fundamental and deeper examination of the very premises and foundations of how we live our lives, from the metaphors we use to the role models we look up to.

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Question the Queen City: What inner city Charlotte 'hoods offer history and affordable pricing?

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Editor's note: In this series, local author David Aaron Moore answers reader-submitted questions about unusual, noteworthy or historic people, places and things in Charlotte. Submit inquires to

I'm moving to Charlotte in March. My cousin has suggested a number of different areas that might be good options, but I was curious as to what inner city areas you know that offer the most for the least? - Teresa Spring, Columbia, S.C.

It depends on what you're looking for and what kind of amenities you like to have around. Charlotte has a lot to offer in many varying locations, so it's hard to point to just one. Here's a list of my favorites.

Wesley Heights/West Charlotte
Wesley Heights is only about five minutes west by foot past Uptown's Gateway Village. There's some amazing architecture here and views of the city skyline that can't be beat anywhere else in town. Like the other suburbs of the day that surrounded the center city core, the Heights was an experiment in presentation. Unlike its sister neighborhood Myers Park to the east, all of the original houses and streets were not planned as large and grandiose, though there clearly are some aspects that are quite impressive. The first house (and perhaps most significant) was completed in 1911 and is known as the George Pierce Wadsworth House. Much of the property in the area was owned by the same family and was developed into Wesley Heights over the next two decades, with a mixture of grand, upscale homes and modest, yet tasteful, bungalows on wide main streets and narrow side streets. During its initial heyday, the neighborhood was serviced by a trolley (some of the tracks are still present).

Today the streets are lined with beautiful mature oaks, and you can still find affordable rental and purchase properties, despite the increasing popularity of the area. Extra bonuses for Wesley Heights include close proximity to Uptown restaurants and clubs, and the West Morehead strip, which also boasts a number of other popular eateries. Although Wesley Heights is - in my opinion - the most historically significant on the west side, other neighborhoods are becoming increasingly popular with young pioneers, artists, musicians and the LGBT community: Camp Greene, Ashley Park, Enderly Park and others offer extremely affordable prices and access to the city's premier Bargain Boulevard, Freedom Drive, which includes a bevy of discount grocery, department and thrift stores.

These ceramic and stone kiosks on the far west edge of Wesley Heights (designed by artist Cheryl Foster) welcome residents and visitors to the citys west side
  • David Aaron Moore
  • These ceramic and stone kiosks on the far west edge of Wesley Heights (designed by artist Cheryl Foster) welcome residents and visitors to the city's west side

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Today's Top 5: Friday

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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

* Jodi White at The Comedy Zone


* The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art exhibit at Mint Museum Uptown

* Modern Primitives and Aqualads at Milestone

* Broken Series with DJ Phat Rabbit at Crown Station Pub

* Winter Wonderettes at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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

* Against the Grain exhibit at Mint Museum Uptown


* Improv Charlotte Reunion Show at Wine Up

* AudioSyrup at Crown Station Pub

* Winter Wonderettes at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

* The Everymen, Late Bloomer, People Person, Secret Hospital at Milestone

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Dec. 26, 2012 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

* Rebirth Brass Band at Neighborhood Theatre


* Jodi White at The Comedy Zone

* Plaza Midwood Community Radio Festivus Fund Drive featuring Temperance League, Scowl Brow, Little Bull Lee at Snug Harbor

* Kwanzaa Celebration 2012 at West Charlotte Recreation Center

* Le Bang at Dharma Lounge

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Opening Tuesday

Posted By on Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Les Miserables

Django Unchained - Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz

Les Miserables - Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe

Parental Guidance - Billy Crystal, Bette Midler

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LOL: Comedy in the Q.C.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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.

There might be a reason Jodi White doesn't have a ring on her finger. The comedian - who started doing stand-up after one, two... uh, three divorces - is known for rattling on about her failed relationships. But White's not bitter. If anything, she seems to be over her failed attempts at matrimony. Now, she's able to laugh at the misfortunes, which have led her to a whole new realm of disappointment: middle-age dating. Watch out, Charlotte bachelors! Any guy wooing Ms. White could easily find himself a bit in her act, which also targets her close friends and family, including an out-of-the-closet son. $10-$12. Dec. 26-27, 8 p.m., Dec. 28, 8 p.m. & 10:15 p.m. and Dec. 29, 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. The Comedy Zone Charlotte, 900 N.C. Music Factory Blvd., Suite B3. 980-321-4702.

Steve Burr isn't German, but that hasn't stopped him from testing his language skills onstage. Making fun of pretty much anything and anyone, the folks in Deutschland aren't exempt - even if they are all the way across the pond. Burr, who often does imitations of the random folks he crosses paths with, finds the humor in everyday occurrences and possible disaster scenarios. $10. Dec. 28-29, 8 p.m. & 10:15 p.m. The Comedy Zone Fort Mill at Madisons on the Corner, 900 Crossroads Plaza. 803-802-3990.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Blu-ray Pick: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Posted By on Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 2:09 PM

(for bad-movie buffs)
* (for the rest of humanity)
DIRECTED BY Nicholas Webster
STARS John Call, Bill McCutcheon


By the time Santa Claus Conquers the Martians benefited from national exposure thanks to a 1991 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, aficionados of turkey cinema had already been familiar with this mind-numbing movie for years. A staple at those "worst film festivals" that were in vogue during the late 1970s and early 1980s, this inept achievement nearly rivals Plan 9 from Outer Space and Robot Monster in its overwhelming incompetence at every level.

Long a prisoner of the public-domain realm, the film has finally been accorded a decent release from Kino Lorber, the specialty outfit known more for releasing landmark motion pictures from the likes of Fritz Lang and Buster Keaton than for putting its muscle behind grade-Z efforts. But bless them for taking the time: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians should be, uh, enjoyed by everyone at least one in their lifetimes.

The film concerns itself with the well-meaning but ill-advised scheme by the Martian rulers to kidnap our Santa Claus and make him cheer up the sad little children on the Red Planet (one moppet is played by a 9-year-old Pia Zadora, long before she became a multiple Golden Raspberry Award winner during the 1980s). John Call essays the role of Santa, and his slightly maniacal leer and constant groping of the kids make one long for the days of Miracle on 34th Street's Edmund Gwenn. At any rate, it's not long before our hero is cheering up everyone on Mars with his rancid jokes. One sample offering: "What's soft and round and you put it on a stick and you toast it on a fire and it's green? A Martianmallow!"

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