Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Walker, Charlotte Ranger aims to end Charlotte's NBA All Star drought

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Kemba Walker (right) and his deputy Frank Kaminsky in Walker, Texas Ranger.
  • Kemba Walker (right) and his deputy Frank Kaminsky in Walker, Texas Ranger.

Who said the local film industry is dead?

A new web series that debuted at the Spectrum Center over the holiday weekend is filmed wholly in Charlotte and aims to raise awareness for a problem that has plagued our local NBA franchise for years: no players in the All Star Game.

Let's just sidestep the fact that Charlotte was in line to host the upcoming All Star Game until House Bill 2 inspired commissioner Adam Silver to move it — lost to New Orleans just as the franchise itself was in 2002.

The more immediate problem faced now by the Hornets — one that can potentially be fixed without having to deal with slithery members of the NCGOP — is a six-year drought in sending a Charlotte player to the NBA All Star Game. The last player to make it was Gerald Wallace, who appeared in the 2010 game as a representative of the Charlotte Bobcats. It's been 14 years since a player went as a Charlotte Hornet, when point guard Baron Davis repped the Hornets in 2002, their last year before moving to New Orleans.

Now in steps a brave new point guard — one who has arguably proved to be the best at his position in franchise history in five-and-a-half seasons — with a cowboy hat, a duster and a seemingly magical basketball.

Over the weekend, the Hornets debuted the first two episodes of Walker, Charlotte Ranger, a web series that parodies the awful '90s Chuck Norris vehicle Walker, Texas Ranger. In it, Walker stars as the namesake of the show alongside his deputy, played by the goofy Hornets big man Frank Kaminsky.

SPOILER ALERT: In the first two episodes, Walker assists a young Hornets fan in distress with a simple bounce pass of his basketball, then saves Hugo from three bad guys — conveniently wearing shirts that read Bad Guy 1, Bad Guy 2 and Main Bad Guy — with juke moves. The main bad guy then makes off to New Orleans, where Kaminsky promises Walker will eventually follow. The acting is laughably bad throughout and can be hard to watch, but that's what makes it fun. There won't be any Webby awards handed out for these performances, but the Hornets are hoping the awkwardness of it all will lead to a trip to New Orleans for Walker.

The series is meant to inspire fans to vote Walker into the All Star Game. Corny but fun campaigns like this have become the norm for the Charlotte marketing team. In 2014, they launched a "Big Al's Paint" website in an attempt to make the case for Bobcats center Al Jefferson to be named to the All-NBA team. He was named third team All-NBA that year.

Near the end of the 2014-15 season, the Hornets launched a "MKG Security" campaign complete with commercials and a press kit seen below. That campaign to get Michael Kidd-Gilchrist named to the NBA All-Defensive team was not successful, although it appears MKG will reprise his role as "chief security officer" in an upcoming episode of Walker, Charlotte Ranger.

The Hornets are expected to release new episodes at upcoming home games on Thursday night against the Miami Heat, New Year's Eve against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Jan. 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. All-Star voting ends on Jan. 16.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Dec. 22, 2016 as selected by us folks at Creative Loafing.

Holy Ghost Tent Revival at Visulite Theatre

Christmas Karaoke at Milestone

Uptown Crawl

Leanna Eden and the Garden Of, Blu House and Monty Mak at Petra's

America Is A Mistake at Lunchbox Records

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Mark Kemp returns to Creative Loafing as editor-in-chief

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 4:06 PM

Mark Kemp
  • Mark Kemp
For the third time in the past decade, we here at Creative Loafing Charlotte have welcomed North Carolina-native Mark Kemp as editor-in-chief at our award-winning alternative newsweekly and website.

Kemp returns to Charlotte after three years in the San Francisco Bay area, where he served stints as editor of the music-instruction magazine Acoustic Guitar and editor-in-chief of SF Weekly. A former senior music editor at Rolling Stone, VP of music editorial at MTV Networks, and entertainment editor at The Charlotte Observer, Kemp began his journalism career as a reporter for the Times-News of Burlington. In the early ‘90s, he served as longtime executive editor of Option, the groundbreaking alternative music and culture magazine.

Kemp edited Creative Loafing in the mid-2000s as well as the early 2010s, spearheading CL’s joint coverage of the 2012 Democratic National Convention with Huffington Post. His book Dixie Lullaby: A Story of Music, Race, and New Beginnings in a New South, was published by Simon & Shuster in 2004.

“The addition of Mark Kemp as editor-in-chief at Creative Loafing in Charlotte is something that the staff and readers of CL should be very excited about ,” says Womack, publisher at CL's parent company, Womack Newspapers, Inc. “Kemp brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the position and knows the Charlotte market extremely well. Personally, I am a huge fan and am anxiously looking forward to his taking the CL brand of print, social media and more to the next level.”

Council holds new vote on nondiscrimination ordinance, awaits action from state

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 11:44 AM

City attorney Bob Hagemann addresses council members at an emergency meeting this morning. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • City attorney Bob Hagemann addresses council members at an emergency meeting this morning.

The Charlotte City Council held an emergency meeting this morning following reports that state lawmakers did not feel their Monday vote to repeal a nondiscrimination ordinance went far enough to justify a full repeal of House Bill 2.

An hour before a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly was to begin in Raleigh, the council repealed Monday’s ordinance and voted again to fully repeal all changes made to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance in February, when sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and marital status were added to the list of characteristics protected against discrimination in the city’s places of public accommodation.

Today’s change was based on the fact that the city’s protections against LGBT discrimination by city vendors were left in place on Monday, which led some Republican lawmakers in the state to believe the city was trying to cheat on the agreement to repeal its non-discrimination ordinance with the understanding it would lead to the repeal of HB2.

City officials said those protections were left in place because they were not preempted by HB2, and it was their understanding that only parts of the ordinance affected by HB2 were to be rescinded. Today’s vote fully repealed all changes made to the nondiscrimination ordinance in February.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts and council members listen as Hagemann explains today's changes. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • Mayor Jennifer Roberts and council members listen as Hagemann explains today's changes.
The miscommunication between city and state officials added to the already growing rift between them, as two council members backed out of supporting today’s vote after voting in support on Monday.

Council members LaWana Mayfield and Al Austin, both open members of the LGBT community, voted against today’s repeal.

“This language was created based on a weekend of conversations that I really was not a part of,” Mayfield said after the vote. “The reps in the General Assembly said this is what you wanted, so to say that we were not being forthright and honest, I have a clear concern about.”

Mayfield and Austin had voted in favor of Monday’s ordinance, which passed unanimously. Council member Patsy Kinsey was absent from both votes, while council member John Autry was only absent from this morning's vote. In Monday's ordinance, a provision stated that if House Bill 2 were not repealed by Dec. 31, the nondiscrimination ordinance would go back into effect. No such provision appears to be attached to the ordinance passed today.

Mayfield said she has little confidence the legislature will follow through on its promises today.

“I would hope, but I have little faith in them representing our entire state and recognizing that this was spurred by legislation that they created, that caused a negative impact for all people regardless of your ethnicity and/or identity or expression,” she said.

Even some council members who voted in favor of full repeal of the nondiscrimination ordinance this morning came out of the meeting feeling uneasy about the implications of allegations from state lawmakers.

Julie Eiselt said she was unsure whether the legislature would repeal HB2 as promised.

“I have no idea now. I have no idea,” she said. “There is nothing that was uncovered that Raleigh didn’t know about and that we didn’t know about before, and this was a good faith effort. I’m discouraged that somebody would make it anything except that.”

The NCGA did convene this morning at 10 a.m., but has since recessed. They are expected to reconvene at 11:45 a.m. Creative Loafing will continue reporting on the story as it develops.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2016 at 3:27 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Dec. 19, 2016 as selected by us folks at Creative Loafing.

Carolina Shout w/ Ethan Uslan at Petra's

Knocturnal at Snug Harbor

WBT Holiday on Ice at NASCAR Hall of Fame

Monday Night Allstars at Double Door Inn

Find Your Muse Open Mic at The Evening Muse

Lunch Break (12/19/16): Non-discrimination ordinance rescinded in surprise vote, expected to lead to HB2 repeal

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2016 at 11:30 AM

The Charlotte City Council held a surprise vote this morning in which they rescinded a non-discrimination ordinance passed in February with the understanding that it would lead to the full repeal of the infamous House Bill 2 by the North Carolina General Assembly as soon as tomorrow.

Governor-elect Roy Cooper released a statement following the city council's vote stating that he was told by NCGA leaders that a special session would be called for tomorrow with the goal of fully repealing House Bill 2, which is credited with losing the state millions of dollars in revenue due to boycotts and lost opportunities for economic development.

"Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte's vote, a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal HB2 in full. I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full," Cooper wrote in the statement.  "Full repeal will help to bring jobs, sports and entertainment events back and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state."

A section of the ordinance passed today states that it will no longer be valid if HB2 is not repealed by December 31.

Governor Pat McCrory's office released a statement confirming that he would call for a special session, claiming that the timing of the surprise vote proved that the entire issue was political in nature, aimed at unseating McCrory.

"Governor McCrory has always publicly advocated a repeal of the overreaching Charlotte ordinance. But those efforts were always blocked by Jennifer Roberts, Roy Cooper and other Democratic activists," wrote Graham Wilson, McCrory's press secretary. "This sudden reversal with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves the entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor's race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state."

A statement released following the council's surprise vote reads in part, "The City of Charlotte continues its commitment to be a welcoming community that honors and respects its people. The Charlotte City Council recognizes the ongoing negative economic impact resulting from the passage of the City's Non-Discrimination Ordinance and the State's House Bill 2. The Council acknowledges that North Carolina House Bill 2 'supersede(s) and preempt(s)' the City's Ordinance. In order to continue thriving as an inclusive community and compete for high paying jobs and world-class events, the City and State must take action together to restore our collective reputation."

The surprise vote has been criticized by Charlotteans on social media who see it as a capitulation in a struggle the city has undergone against the state for nearly the entire year. Three months ago today, Jennifer Roberts stated clearly in a press conference that the city would not consider repealing the non-discrimination ordinance.


Five people have been charged following shootings in the NoDa and Plaza Midwood areas on Saturday night that happened within 30 minutes of each other.

The first shooting happened just before 10:30 p.m. in front of the Spice Lounge on North Tryon Street, just outside of the NoDa neighborhood. At least two people fired shots in the club's parking lot during what was apparently a teenaged party. Four victims were transported to the hospital, all between the ages of 14 and 16 years old. One of the victim's injuries were considered life-threatening, although as of Monday morning, nobody has died as a result of the shooting.

Carnis Poindexter, Jr.
  • Carnis Poindexter, Jr.
Two teenagers were arrested and charged following the incident, although police believe the suspect who actually shot into the crowd is still on the loose. Police arrested Carnis Poindexter, Jr., 16, and charged him with possession of a firearm by a minor after finding a gun in his car following the shooting. Another 15-year-old juvenile was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by a minor and shooting in the city limits. Police say the juvenile was riding with Poindexter and admitted to shooting a gun into the air after the original shooting occurred.


About 30 minutes later, in a completely unrelated incident, a couple was shot following an armed robbery in Plaza Midwood. According to police, the couple was shot right under the Family Dollar sign in the middle of the neighborhood, where many people park to go to the surrounding bars and restaurants.

Antonio Worthy
  • Antonio Worthy
According to Lt. Durant with CMPD's Eastway division, a bike patrol that had been assigned for the area following the shooting death of Ketie Jones in October had been pulled out to help with the North Tryon shooting when the robbery happened in Plaza Midwood. However, two CMPD officers were working security nearby and heard the shots. One rendered aid to the victims while the other pursued the suspects. The suspects eventually crashed their car in front of the Presbyterian Hospital. A foot chase ensued and one person was arrested. Further investigation led to the arrest of two more suspects.

Recent reports state that 25-year-old Antonio Worthy has been charged with
Ebonee Ward
  • Ebonee Ward
 two counts of armed robbery, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Jamall Glenn, 33, was charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and two counts of hit and run. Ebonee Ward, 29, was charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.   
Jamall Glenn
  • Jamall Glenn

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Lunch Break (12/16/16): Three killed in Charlotte on Thursday

Posted By on Fri, Dec 16, 2016 at 11:20 AM

Two men were killed in what appears to have been a shootout that occurred in the Hidden Valley neighborhood in northeast Charlotte last night. Police responded to Spring Garden Lane at about 7:17 p.m. last night and found three people suffering from gunshot wounds. One man, 35-year-old Raheem Hammond, was pronounced dead on the scene. Two more were transported to Carolinas Medical Center, where 21-year-old Gary Stevenson Jr. was later pronounced dead.

Shortly after the incident on Spring Garden Lane, a fourth victim turned up on nearby Sugar Creek Road at the I-85 interchange. The two remaining victims — Jacques Stevenson, 26, and Tammy Hammond, 53 — are still being treated at Carolinas Medical Center. It's unclear whether Stevenson and Hammond are solely victims or will be charged in connection with the shootings, but CMPD stated last night that they were not looking for any additional suspects.


Two men have been arrested for a murder that happened off Freedom Drive early Thursday morning. In that case, police responded to an assault call at about 2:45 a.m. yesterday on Eddleman Road and found a man suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead on the scene. His name has not yet been released, as police have not been able to contact any family members to notify them of his passing.

Later on Thursday, officers with the Mount Holly Police Department and North Carolina State Highway Patrol pursued a car into Mecklenburg County, where it crashed at the intersection of S. Tryon Street and Sandy Porter Road. The driver, later identified as Dequillar Moore, jumped from the vehicle and was chased by a K9 unit into the nearby woods. Moore was apparently already a suspect in the murder that took place that morning, because homicide detectives responded to the scene and later charged Moore, 27, with murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Detectives then identified Justin Hood, 29, as a second suspect in the case. That night, Hood was apprehended and charged with murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and assault with a deadly weapon.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Lunch Break (12/14/16): Teenager dead after SWAT raid in northwest Charlotte, family disputes CMPD version of events

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 11:48 AM

CMPD investigators say a young man who died during a raid by SWAT in northwest Charlotte yesterday committed suicide, but his mother and her neighbors are raising questions about the incident.

According to a police statement, the CMPD's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team had set up surveillance on 18-year-old Timothy Davis outside of his home in Sparrow Valley Drive yesterday morning. He was wanted on warrants for two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Police knocked on the door at around 7:20 a.m. and saw Davis peak out of a window. They then tried to reach Davis through social media, text messages and a loudspeaker, unsuccessfully.

The VCAT team then requested a SWAT team, which parked its armored vehicle in front of the
Still from footage shot in Timothy Davis's room last night. - ASHLEY WILLIAMS
  • Ashley Williams
  • Still from footage shot in Timothy Davis's room last night.
 home at about 10 a.m. The team continued unsuccessfully to try to communicate with Davis before deploying a robot, followed by a canine, into the home.

A SWAT entry team eventually entered the home and found Davis dead of what they say appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a room upstairs. The CMPD's Homicide Unit investigated the scene, as is standard protocol, and it appears the investigation was over as of last night, as the family was allowed back into the home.

Family members, neighbors and anti-police-violence activists held a vigil for Davis outside of his home last night. Davis's mother said she doesn't believe the CMPD's version of events, and said that her son would never have taken his own life. Neighbors have said they didn't hear a gunshot and agree with his mother.

Some community members reportedly cleared up an original theory that Davis may have been shot through a window, where an apparent bullet hole could be seen, by saying that the hole was caused by a BB gun previous to yesterday's incident.

In Facebook Live video taken after last night's vigil, Charlotte activist Ashley Williams toured Davis's home and took footage of the spot where police say they found Davis dead. Activists have demanded that CMPD release any body camera footage related to yesterday's SWAT raid.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Lunch Break (12/12/16): Vi Lyles announces consideration of mayoral campaign; stabbing death in south Charlotte

Posted By on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Charlotte City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles is looking to take that "pro tem" out of her title, as she announced this morning via social media that she is forming an exploratory committee to consider a run for mayor in 2017. Lyles announced her intentions in two tweets this morning, one of which was attached to a Facebook link that looked as if it would go into further detail, although the link is no longer working.

Following her work in the city's budget department, including a stint as budget director, Lyles served as Charlotte's assistant city manager from 1996 - 2004. She was elected to city council in 2013 and is serving her second term. She was selected by the council to serve as mayor pro tem in 2015.

Organizations Lyles has been involved with include the Charlotte Housing Authority Moving Forward initiative, the Committee of 21 transportation initiative and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg African American Agenda and Achieve Together community-based advocacy education initiative. She also she served as the project manager for the Foundation for the Carolinas' initiative to conduct research supporting the creation of a local rental subsidy endowment for families and veterans.

Lyles was one of seven council members to vote in favor of the controversial I-77 toll lanes in January, and her role as the council's representative in the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization have led to the perception by some that she is more heavily involved in the decision than others on the council. It's unclear whether this will be an issue for her in her campaign.

As of now, it appears Lyles will be running against incumbent Jennifer Roberts, who announced her intentions to run for reelection last week, and N.C. Sen. Joel Ford, who formed an exploratory committee to look into running for mayor last week as well.


Police are investigating a homicide that happened in south Charlotte this morning. Officers responded to an assault call on Archdale Drive at around 4:38 a.m. this morning and found a man suffering from apparent stab wounds. He was transported to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Police have not released the name of the victim, but do believe he is known to the suspect.


A man was killed after being struck by a car in southeast Charlotte just before midnight last night. Police say Robert Melton, 48, was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk and wearing dark clothing when he was struck by 38-year-old Daniel Wayne, who was driving a Nissan Altima. The accident happened on E. Independence Boulevard at the intersection of Village Lake Drive. It does not appear any charges will be filed against Wayne, who remained on the scene of the accident and was not impaired by drugs or alcohol.

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Today's Top 5: Sunday

Posted By on Sun, Dec 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Dec. 11, 2016 as selected by us folks at Creative Loafing.

Starving Artist Market at Charlotte Art League

Copeland Now/Then Tour w/ Rae Cassidy at Neighborhood Theatre

Jazz Workshop and Improv feat. John Shaughnessy at Petra's

Kane Brown at The Fillmore

Omari & The Hellraisers at Comet Grill

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