Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Q&A with playwright Elizabeth Fuller

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Back in 1985, Elizabeth Fuller had the pleasure of welcoming Bette Davis to her Connecticut home for dinner. The following day, Davis called, thanked Fuller for dinner, and asked if she could stay over for a couple of days while the hotel strike in New York sorted itself out. What was proposed as a nice little visit grew into a month-long siege and invasion, chronicled by Fuller in Me and Jezebel.

Hank West as Bette Davis and Sheila Snow Proctor as Elizabeth Fuller in QCDTs Me & Jezebel.
  • Hank West as Bette Davis and Sheila Snow Proctor as Elizabeth Fuller in QCDT's Me & Jezebel.

Queen City Theatre opens the two-person show this week at Duke Energy Theater with Hank West dressing in drag to portray the Hollywood legend and Sheila Snow Proctor taking on the role of the playwright - a chore that Fuller took on in the original 1994 New York production. To find out more details about Davis' famous house occupation, it'd be best to chat with Fuller. Here's the lowdown:

Creative Loafing: Were you accustomed to entertaining celebrities and dignitaries of Bette Davis' stature before she came to dinner?
Elizabeth Fuller: I had some distinguished friends - artists and writers - but none of the Hollywood sort and certainly none of Bette Davis' stature.

What did you served for dinner? What do you think emboldened Davis to later call you and ask to stay?
I made barbeque chicken and baked beans. When she came to stay she commented on that dinner: "Brother, the chicken was so raw it nearly pecked me!"
I don't think there was just one reason why she wanted to stay. She liked and admired my husband who was a well-known writer. She also adored our New England cottage with the barn beams and fireplaces and spacious decks overlooking the river. She was a no-nonsense New England yankee, which she reminded us over and over again, [as a] source of great pride.

Bette Davis was well known for both her temperament and her piercing intelligence, so a lengthy visit could turn into a story akin to Tuesdays With Morrie, filled with insights and sage advice, or The Man Who Came to Dinner, filled with arrogance, withering criticisms, and towering tantrums. Will Jezebel take us in the wicked direction the title implies, or is there a balance between the two types of story?
The month Bette stayed with us was the same month that her daughter's tell-all book came out and Bette was quite broken over that. That said, she had the uncanny ability to kick everything into high gear at a moment's notice. We never knew what to expect.
She was explosive, intimidating, demanding, and at rare times sentimental and kind. She especially adored our son, Christopher, who was four at the time. It was mutual. One memorable incident happened when Chris went to Bette's room with his Mickey Mouse coloring book and crayons and asked if she'd color with him. I heard Chris say, "You stay in the lines real good Bette Davis," and she responded, "Keee-ryst these ears have nothing on Gable!"

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Art raises Multiple Sclerosis awareness

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 2:55 PM

As someone who watched a loved one suffer - to the point of losing the ability to walk and experiencing chronic aches and pains - with multiple sclerosis, the disease registers with me on a personal level. But that's just one of the reasons why "Artists to Beat MS" caught my attention. The other reason is because its silent auction is slated to showcase a variety of artwork, including paintings, drawings, photography and other items.

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Some of the works were created specifically for Multiple Sclerosis Association of America's Art Showcase, which spotlights art by folks who have been diagnosed with MS. Hosted by Michael Dross, a tattoo artist at Uptown Arts, the shindig will also feature hors d'oeuvres, drinks, free manicures and gift certificates from local establishments (5Church, Dandelion Market, Villa Francesca and Prohibition, to name a few).

May 3, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Uptown Arts, 127 N. Tryon St., Suite 232. For more information, call 800-532-7667(ext. 117) or visit support.mymsaa.org/artiststobeatms.

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"Gathr" for new film series

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 12:40 PM

When it comes to specialized films, Charlotte's usually far behind the curve, not receiving limited releases until well after their New York and Los Angeles openings. But with the Gathr Previews program, Queen City residents will have an opportunity to see select titles before their NYC & LA openings.

Aint In It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
  • Kino Lorber
  • Ain't In It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm

The distribution company Gathr Films has chosen 20 national markets, including Charlotte, to host a series of special screenings that begins tonight and runs at least through June. In a statement, Richard Matson, Head of Distribution for Gathr Films, noted, "Think of it as your year-round film festival, movie club, and mid-week date night all rolled into one. Every week, subscribers can ... experience a diverse range of comedies, documentaries, dramas and international movies, curated from the major independent distributors' upcoming releases."

All screenings will be held at Studio Movie Grill at the Epicentre, and admission is handled on a monthly basis. The cost is $19 a month or $49 for three months. With four movies being shown each month, either option proves to be a great deal. If you don't care to subscribe, seats will be available to the public after all reserved-member seats have been claimed.

The series kicks off tonight with an 8 p.m. screening of The Iceman (reviewed here), which is included in the May package. Upcoming films include What Maisie Knew, starring Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard, and the documentary Ain't In It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm.

For more details and a complete schedule of the upcoming films, go here. For theater information, go here.

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2013 Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit lineup announced

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 11:02 AM

When AC Entertainment split from MoogFest last year to form two separate events, questions arose about which direction the festivals would head in the future. While MoogFest is now slated to reappear in 2014, the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit which takes place Oct. 25-27, 2013 in Asheville has announced its initial lineup. The festival remains electronically focused, but it has also broadened its soundscape a bit.

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50 to 60 artists are scheduled to perform, including:
Nine Inch Nails
Neutral Milk Hotel (pictured above)
Bassnectar
Pretty Lights
How to Destroy Angels
Gary Numan
Animal Collective
Daniel Johnston
Half Japanese
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Tricky
Zola Jesus
JG Thirwell
Jessie Ware
The Bug
Silver Apples
Disclosure
Rustie
Chromatics
Robert DeLong
Jacques Greene
Bondax

Weekend passes for Mountain Oasis 2013 will go on sale Thursday, May 2, at 12 Noon Eastern Time exclusively at www.mountainoasisfestival.com.

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Today's Top 5: Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, April 30, 2013 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

* Nairobi Half Life at Studio Movie Grill

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* Jeff Bradshaw at Label

* Beer Cocktails with Mike Waters and Stacey Leazer at Heist Brewery

* Open Mic of Charlotte at The Comedy Zone

* Ballroom Dance Night at Wine Up

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, April 29, 2013 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

* Nell Dickerson at Park Road Books

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* Knocturnal at Snug Harbor

* Find Your Muse Open Night at Evening Muse

* Monday Jazz Jam at Poor Richard's Book Shoppe

* Monday Night Allstars at Double Door Inn

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Live review: English Beat, Chop Shop (4/26/2013)

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 10:52 AM

English Beat
Chop Shop
April 26, 2013

EnglishBeat.jpg

I can't say this for most bands, but I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the English Beat. Driving through the frozen plains of Nebraska to California in the winter of 1980, I popped a friend's mixtape into the cassette player. Among the melange of '70s paleo-hipster shit like Gong and Amon Duul, and the monochromatic punk rock roar of the Sex Pistols and the Saints, the English Beat's "Mirror in the Bathroom" immediately stood out - sharp, shiny and soul-stirring. The song's infectious rhythms and snarky put-down of nihilism was refreshing amid the first flush of punk, and it was unlike anything I had ever heard before. I realized later that the Beat's two-tone revivalism was so new to me because I was unfamiliar with their roots, but the band became the perfect gateway to ska, blue-beat and rock steady.

Clutching this nugget of nostalgia, I expected the Beat's Chop Shop gig on Friday, April 26, to be a well-oiled oldies revue for aging 80s punters. Someone forgot to run this agenda past the band - and the audience. The crowd only slightly favored graying stalwarts who were around during the heyday of US Festivals. Almost half of the capacity crowd were a mix of tweens tagging along with parents and 20-somethings who immediately formed the ranking- skanking dance circles I recalled from those days of yore.

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Foxx to serve as Obama's secretary of transportation

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 9:07 AM

The rumors were true - President Barack Obama will nominate Mayor Anthony Foxx to be secretary of transportation.

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The announcement should come some time today, according to the Charlotte Observer. His appointment would make him the only African-American to serve on the president's second-term Cabinet. The Observer writes:

The White House praised Foxx's ability to integrate local, state and federal resources to meet transportation challenges.

Federal officials cited his efforts to bring a streetcar line through the center of the city, expand Charlotte Douglas International Airport and extend the city's light-rail system north to UNC Charlotte.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fonseca playing The Fillmore tonight (4/28/13)

Posted By on Sun, Apr 28, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Fonseca

Judging Colombian singer-songwriter Fonseca by the company he keeps, he is a certified superstar. The Bogota-born wunderkind began composing at age 12, drawing on Colombian national treasure Carlos Vives' ground-breaking hybrid of pop and vallenato - the accordion-accented folk music of the country's Caribbean coastline. Adding merengue and cumbia to Vives' rich legacy, Fonseca perfected his brand of "tropipop," a catchy mix of pop and tropical genres. Fonseca soon attracted the notice of international idols and fellow Colombians Juanes and Shakira, who both shared stages with the up-and-coming crooner, giving him crucial exposure. When Fonseca broke stateside in 2008, it was with "Estar Cerca De Ti," a collaboration with yet another legend, the sublime American salsero Willie Colón. Drawing on his mentors, Fonseca connected to a worldwide audience with exotica-tinged pop that is both jaunty and sensual. Yet, Fonseca's pursuit of smooth romance has taken him far from the vibrancy of Vives, toward the slickness of George Michael. As a result, the compositions are more interesting for their grace notes and settings than the singer or the songs. $25. April 28, 8 p.m. The Fillmore, 1000 N.C. Music Factory Blvd. 704-916-8970.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weekend Film Reviews: Pain & Gain; To the Wonder; The Company You Keep; Mud; and more

Posted By on Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Click on the title to be taken directly to the review.

Pain & Gain

The Company You Keep

Mud

Pain & Gain

To the Wonder

Also, be sure to check out our coverage of Winston-Salem's 15th Annual RiverRun International Film Festival:

The Iceman
  • Millennium
  • The Iceman

RiverRun Report: Part 1

RiverRun Report: Part 2

RiverRun Report: Part 3

RiverRun Wrap: Reviews and Winners

Finally, be sure to catch the 5th Annual GayCharlotte Film Festival, continuing through Sunday. CL's coverage here.

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