Art, Beats + Lyrics returns to Centerstage@NoDa

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Hip-hop gets the star treatment as Art, Beats + Lyrics pumps back into Charlotte Friday night.

This is the third year that the traveling celebration of beat-and-rhyme-flavored visual art and culture has stopped through the Queen City. So, if you attended the event last year, expect to partake in the same type of engrossing paintings, graffiti, photography, dance performances, DJs and live music (and more) as before. And yes, once again, creations by artists like Dwayne "Dubelyoo" Wright (AB+L's co-producer), Goldi, Charlotte's own God City and many, many more will be adorning walls.

"We've just got a cool template that we're working with," says AB+L founder Jabari Graham. "As they say: If ain't broke, don't try to fix it. We still get the cool vibe from the people and the atmosphere. We just keep it moving."

But as things stay the same, they also change. AB+L is rotating in a new crop of visual art makers and rolling out a number of brand-new, never-before-seen pieces for your ass. The event (which is again sponsored by Gentleman Jack) will also be rocked by music spun by the Q.C.'s lauded DJ Fraser and some surprise live performances that Graham doesn't want to divulge. ("I don't want to put it out there yet," he says evasively.) Oh, and the venue is changed for 2010; instead of the Blake Hotel (the 2009 location), the fun is moving back to Centerstage @ NoDa, which is where AB+L set up shop for its first year. Explaining why they chose to return to NoDa, Graham says: "The venue is tight, parking was great, the people over there were accommodating for us, and it was in a good artsy area. It was cool."

For more info about and to register for Art, Beats + Lyrics, visit www.gentlemanjackabl.com.

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