Friday, May 31, 2013

Question the Queen City: The oldest buildings in Uptown

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 4:42 PM

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 love Charlotte, but it hasn't done such a good job preserving much of its architectural history. In fact, most of Uptown looks like a set from some futuristic sci-fi flic. Are there any skyscrapers left that were built during or before the early 20th century? Kelly McMillan, Charlotte

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Theater reviews: Le Villi, Matsukaze and more

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 3:46 PM

If you get a ticket to see the Le Villi/Mese Mariano opera twinbill at Sottile Theatre, you won't need to sit close to hear the singing star. Jennifer Rowley is the most powerful soprano voice to hit Spoleto Festival USA since Sondra Radvanovsky sang the title role of Verdi's Luisa Miller in 2000. Radvanovsky had the vocal artillery to overpower cavernous Gaillard Auditorium, and Rowley makes equally quick work of the Sottile with her potent larynx.

Dinyar Vania as Roberto in Le Villi (Photo by Julia Lynn)
  • Dinyar Vania as Roberto in Le Villi (Photo by Julia Lynn)

It jumps out at you somewhat inconveniently in Umberto Giordano's Mese Mariano (Mary's Month) because the singing until then, entrusted by conductor Maurizio Barbacini largely to children and members of the Westminster Choir, is mercilessly exposed for its lack of force as soon as Rowley arrives. Carmela's arrival is also a relief dramatically, because the opening minutes of the drama are taken up by an irrelevant visit from a condescending Contessa at the orphanage where Carmela had left her child years earlier due to the demands of a cruel husband.

Surely there are more graceful ways to introduce the nuns and the children of the orphanage, but librettist Salvatore di Giacomo, adapting his own short play, is hard-pressed to stretch out the action, which clocked in at just over 36 minutes on Memorial Day. Of course, we want to hear Rowley singing the poignant story of how she gave up her dear son, pouring out her heart and her guilt to childhood friend Suor Pazienza. But then we must submit to an exit by Carmela to pray in the chapel while the nuns bring out her son.

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Discussion highlights your losing battle against government surveillance

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 2:57 PM

On Thursday the American Civil Liberties Union hosted a panel on the state of surveillance in North Carolina and focused on how technology like drones, automatic license-plate readers, and mass-surveillance cameras are being regulated to protect Fourth Amendment rights and citizen privacy. The overarching message was alarming: regulations aren't in place.


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Today's Top 5: Friday

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, May 31, 2013 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

* Drew Carey at The Comedy Zone


* Altered exhibit at Cornelius Arts Center

* Randall Bramblett at Double Door Inn

* Secret Hospital at Snug Harbor

* The Divine Sister at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

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Secret Hospital at Snug Harbor tonight (5/31/13)

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 8:27 AM

In a time of hyper-specific genre tags, Secret Hospital may have hit upon the most apt descriptor available for their music - "indie art rant." Michael Earle, the singer and guitarist of the local three-piece, heads up Secret Hospital like a cerebral Fred Schneider with a post-punk bent, hollering about backwater Napoleons and dirty pictures of Jesus. There's something grimy and cool about Earle's delivery that calls to mind Nick Cave circa "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!" and the rest of the band falls into place with just enough loose disaffection. It makes you want to dance, if only there was a dance comprised mostly of sloppy shrugs. But behind Earle's almost careless sounding yammering are some searing and irreverent sentiments. That Earle and the rest of Secret Hospital make them a good time to listen to is a testament to their skill. Art rants are rarely this fun. With Elves. $5. May 31, 10 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St.

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Randall Bramblett at Double Door Inn tonight (5/31/13)

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 8:21 AM

RANDALL BRAMBLETT A treasure of the South, Bramblett has spent nearly four decades journeying through the American musical highways of soul, gospel, R&B, Southern rock and folk. Since early in his career, he's been highly regarded among denizens of the music world. His stint in the jazz-rock combo Sea Level, as well as records and tours with Steve Winwood, Gregg Allman and Robbie Robertson, have marked him a sought-after songwriter and sideman of top caliber. Bonnie Raitt gave him props and recorded one of his songs for her latest album. Bramblett's music can entice moods, much like films scores, as well as evoke rollicking back-porch jams. His writing is a mesh of poetry and prose, a balladry versed in human foibles and yearnings. The multi-instrumentalist is on the road supporting his new album, The Bright Spots. $15. May 31, 10 p.m. Double Door Inn, 1218 Charlottetowne Ave. 704-376-1446.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Theater review: War Horse

Posted By on Thu, May 30, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Even as I watched the fabulous Tony Award-winning production of War Horse in New York more than a year ago, the question arose in my mind, partly because the thrust stage at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre seemed so perfect: How well would a show like this fare on the road - at conventional proscenium theaters like the Belk with twice the seating capacity? Well, less than five months after that valiant steed concluded its Broadway run, I had my answer.


With Belk Theater packed to the rafters on opening night, the crowd adored this traveling War Horse. I was a little surprised, I must admit. At the Beaumont, there was a wonderful parity between the space occupied by the action and the crowd surrounding it. Here the grand action appeared relatively diminished.

After all, there are rarely more than two of the magnificent horses onstage at any one time. The Handspring Puppet Company creations continue to deserve all their accolades, but they are hardly a visual stampede. Without that thrust configuration, those two magnificent stallions, Joey and Topthorn, aren't challenged to leap a terrifying mound of barbed wire at the blackout that signals intermission. So that moment is noticeably less heart-stopping.

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Opening Friday

Posted By on Thu, May 30, 2013 at 3:51 PM

After Earth - Jaden Smith, Will Smith

Frances Ha - Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner

Now You See Me - Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo

Stories We Tell - Documentary

  • Millennium

What Maisie Knew - Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgard

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N.C. GOP keen to execute more black men

Posted By on Thu, May 30, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Our legislative overlords in Raleigh have only one more step to go before they get their wish of making it easier to execute black men. On Wednesday, the House judiciary subcommittee approved, along party lines, the complete repeal of the Racial Justice Act, originally passed in 2009. The Senate has already passed the repeal, thus the bill's last hurdle is a vote by the full House, which could happen any day now.

Justice NOT served
  • Justice NOT served

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Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, May 30, 2013 at 9:00 AM

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

* Hors Satan at Crownpoint Stadium 12


* Jonathan Scales Fourchestra at The Evening Muse

* Chesney Goodson's That's a Dope Show at Petra's Piano Bar & Cabaret

* Whitewater River Jam w/ The Honeycutters at U.S. National Whitewater Center

* Crown Town Handmade's Craft Session at Beadlush

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