Saturday, October 27, 2018

You're the Best... of Charlotte

A shout out to the staff

Posted By on Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 3:32 PM


It was the Best of Charlotte, it was the worst of Charlotte.

But mainly just the former.

I couldn't be happier to be sending off Creative Loafing's 2018 Best of Charlotte issue, my first as editor-in-chief of the paper. That being said, we got through the process without anyone jumping from the roof of our Music Factory office, so I'd say it was a success.

This year, we took you into bat country with a Fear and Loafing theme — get it? — complete with a photo shoot starring yours truly as Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke, and my coworker Justin LaFrancois as Benicio Del Toro as Dr. Gonzo. It seems like such an obvious parody now that I'm surprised we hadn't done it in 31 years of existence. But here we are.

Best of Charlotte is all about shouting out the people doing amazing things in this city, so I'd like to take the opportunity in this column to shout out the folks behind the scenes who made this issue possible.

First and foremost, I have to show some love to my art director Dana Vindigni-Guedes. Not only did Dana put together this entire issue — from designing ads to laying out every winner, photo, caption and credit — but she got married right in the midst of the mess that is our Best of Charlotte issue.

Putting together the Best of Charlotte issue is already stressful enough, but to throw perhaps one of the most stressful days of your life right into the middle of that was nothing short of heroic. Dana handled it all like a pro and — among all the stuff that was happening at work — still hosted a beautiful wedding in downtown Gastonia on Oct. 7.

Perhaps my favorite part of this issue are Dana's drawings, in which she beautifully channeled Ralph Steadman, the old friend and cohort of Hunter S. Thompson. Dana's art has always been striking to me, but to watch her process as she pulled inspiration from her humongous book of Steadman art and made it her own was a beautiful thing.

I also have to give it up for my associate editor, Courtney Mihocik, who arrived in the CL offices in August and was quickly thrown into the Best of Charlotte mix. That can be tough for someone who hadn't lived in Charlotte since she interned for the paper in 2016, but Courtney dug right into the project from the jump.

Even beyond Best of Charlotte, Courtney has exceeded my expectations after moving here from Columbus, Ohio, on short notice and immediately knocking out story after story without blinking an eye.

I also feel that we would be lost without the hard work of full-time reporter and contributor Pat Moran. While doubling as CL's advertising coordinator, Pat doesn't actually sell any ads to clients, which leaves him open to write stories without any conflict of interest.

Pat's love for the arts shines through in his beautiful writing, and his recollections of many different exhibits and shows that he covered over the year were extremely helpful while compiling the list of this year's winners.

Sometimes the fact that Creative Loafing has been a presence in the local cultural scene for more than 30 years can make people think that we are some sort of huge gatekeeper of an organization with endless resources, but in the end, we're just four full-time employees trying to put together the best paper possible each week. It's when we're tasked with an issue like this — well over double the size of our normal paper — that our hunger as underdogs comes out and we work together the best.

And of course, we get a little help from our friends.

One huge helper this issue was our intern Veronica Cox, whose main focus over the last month has been to help choose winners and then dig into that list and write blurbs about each winner. She was brand new to the team when we told her that she'd be working on Best of Charlotte almost exclusively, and she had stepped up to the challenge in a way that I'm very thankful for.

Also, we wouldn't be anywhere without our contributing writers. From the time I sat down with contributor Erin Tracy-Blackwood more than two months ago and began working out winners to our critic's picks, I've been constantly reworking the list with help from Courtney, Pat and other contributing writers like Perry Tannenbaum, Shameika Rhymes, Aerin Spruill, Jeff Hahne, Erin Breeden and Grey Revell. Each one of the contributors has been a most valuable asset.

And of course, we wouldn't have a paper at all if it weren't for the hard-working sales stuff busting their asses behind the scenes. Account executives Christos Kakouras and my fellow cover model Justin LaFrancois, along with the sales manager who holds it all together, Aaron Stamey, worked tirelessly on this issue as they do on every one to make sure we can keep putting out content and you can keep picking it up for free.

So in an issue filled with some of Charlotte's brightest people doing their very best work, I felt it necessary to shine at least a small light on everyone that helped us send this thing to print and not let me look like a failure.

I can do that all on my own.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Listen Up: Cuzo Key and FLLS Go 'Universal' on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 62

Posted By and on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 12:15 PM

Local rapper Cuzo Key (second from right) and producer FLLS (second from left) have been kicking it for a while, but once they started making music together, they knew there was something special there. Fast forward to the October release of their new album, Universal Player, on which both of them share the mic, and Cuzo even sings a bit. They stopped by to chat with Ryan and Mariah about the new record and recent changes in the Charlotte hip-hop scene.

Be sure to check out the Queen City Podcast Network to keep up with all the other scenes we've got covered around the city. You can also catch up with all our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or simply by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Listen Up: KANG is Back and Bla/Alt on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 61

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 11:51 AM

The next Bla/Alt Festival is almost upon us, so we brought on Stephen Tekola and TJ Banks of KANG, who will be continuing their reunion-tour-of-sorts at the festival at Camp North End on Sat., Oct. 20. We talked to the pair about Bla/Alt, how every negative in Charlotte comes with a positive and the growing connection between the arts and music scenes in the city.

Be sure to hit up the Queen City Podcast Network to see what's been going on with our partner podcasts there, or catch up with all of our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or simply by typing "Local Vibes" in your Spotify search bar.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Simple Rules How Not to Be That Person at a Show

Don't be a douche

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2018 at 7:00 AM


It was a busy week in this nightlife writer's career. Why, you ask? Live music overload.

Wednesday night was Goo Goo Dolls, Saturday night was Breakaway Festival and Sunday was Chris Stapleton. Yeah, my musical flavor has diversified, to say the least. But when I sat down to recap the week/weekend and decide what I wanted to write about, I wanted to take a new approach. Recapping the show, eh been there, done that. So here's what I came up with: the do's and don'ts of going to a show.

We all know that person who gets too drunk, has no idea where they are, who they're with and I'd say 75 percent of the time they're not the person you want to have a conversation with at the end of the night. #sloppy

I've run this person into at some point when I've gone to almost any type of show, at any venue, whether that be The Fillmore, the AvidXchange Music Factory concert grounds or PNC Music Pavilion.

And this is the thing, yes, we know that demographics change according to venue, artist, etc., but the reality is, everyone looks the same when they're playing the asshole. That's one of the first things I noticed while I was at the Goo Goo Dolls show. Especially since I haven't been heightened to real live show shenanigans in a how minute.

One thing I noticed at Goo Goo Dolls, was how rude people were. And that will be my first list item for you to imbibe. From social etiquette to bathroom etiquette, there were too many qualms for me to express.

Fast forward to the festival, and my nerves were already on a hundred. The last festival I went to was Made in America Festival in Philly. I was so overwhelmed by how many people were there that I freaked out. #onlychildsyndrome #helicopterchild

So I was certainly worried about my man going with me. My God, the amount of drugs present would've effed your whole life. And you know what that means: No respect for persons and/or personal space.

Jumping ahead to the next night, once again, I felt like the only black person in all of PNC Music Pavilion. Whew. Just imagine what that feels like at a country concert (without the cowboy boots that the boyfriend snagged for me). #outofplace

Nevertheless, based on my many experiences in Charlotte, whether those be at a festival or other live music experience, here's my advice on how to not be an asshole:

Say excuse me. I'm sorry, but not really sorry; no matter how many bodies there are in the crowd, there's no reason why you shouldn't excuse yourself when you're trying to make a space for yourself to walk through a crowded area.

Wipe the seat. There's also no reason why you shouldn't practice bathroom etiquette. No one in those spaces want to sit on your pee, smell your vomit or smell your poop. Flush and wipe the toilet, it's only fair. After all, you wouldn't want to walk into the same stall. And if it's a urinal, you really should be doing your part. Sharing is caring. Especially if you're the lit individual that everyone is judging. I certainly found some lost "candies" on the way in to the festival that someone wasn't concerned about so, share the love. That way, everyone else can be on your ridiculous level.

Stop staring. I don't care what state you're in, staring is never okay. We teach our kids that these days, thankfully. There's no reason why anyone should be "confused" about someone who doesn't fit the "demographic" or drunk moment at a concert. Keep your eyes to yourself.

Don't. get. drunk and/or otherwise engaged. Let's be real. That's why the person who shows their ass does what they do. Outside influences will always make you look like a fool. And the reality is, everyone else is totally right in judging you when you've had too much. Trust me, I've been there.

At the end of the day, live shows can be intoxicating but the reality is you can still be a douchebag. Don't be that person. Commit these things to memory and be the best patron/human ever while you're there. Everyone will thank you for it.

What would you say people should be aware of when they're getting yanked at a show? Share it with me, I'd love to hear what you think about general social etiquette!

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Listen Up: Adrian Crutchfield Blows It Down on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 60

Posted By and on Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 12:13 PM

It took us a couple months to finally pull him into the studio, but we finally landed Adrian Crutchfield, saxophonist for the stars, and now a renowned solo artist in his own right. We talked to Crutchfield about his relationship with Prince, and how the iconic musician inspired him to jump out on his own and record his first solo album in nearly a decade, Leap. We also talked about CLT's local jazz scene and the Center City Partner's new Music Everywhere Initiative.

Be sure to check out the rest of our team at the Queen City Podcast Network, or catch up with all our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or simply by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Listen Up: It Looks Sad. Turns That Frown Upside Down on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 59

Posted By and on Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 9:09 AM

Jimmy Turner, frontman of local indie rock band It Looks Sad., knows that his band's name can be a little misleading. In fact, he'd probably change it if he could, but he's a little too far down that road at this point. Turner [pictured, middle] dropped by the Hygge West studio to happily discuss and play songs from he and drummer Alex Ruiz's upcoming album, Sky Lake, among other things.

Make sure to check out the rest of the team at Queen City Podcast Network. You can catch up with all of our past episodes there, on iTunes, Stitcher, or simply by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

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