Friday night, when I went to the big car show at the Convention Center. I had thought I'd probably bump into the people I grew up with in car-crazy Union County, but this was a "new car" show, showcasing the latest models instead of the custom hot rods of a George Barris or Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. There were new model offerings from most every car maker there is, as well as plenty of folks to tell you why this year's version was bigger and better than last year's hopelessly out-of-date model. Of course, the biggest draw of the whole thing was the specter of what a friend of mine called "car pornography." Most of the thousands in attendance will never drive that $100,000+ Beemer, but damn if they can't sit in it (try that with pornography!). One of the most popular bits of car pornography was, predictably, The Hummer, also a staple of real pornography (rim shot here). Also cool: the rotating stages with prototype cars, which beckoned one to pretend they were Jamiroquai's Jay Ray, and a guy talking about the new Ford Thunderbird while riding one of those neato Segway scooter-thing-contraptions (after the man exited the gravity-defying cycle in the middle of his presentation, everyone walked away). Speaking of segueways, how about those Panthers?
I'm starting to think that the only guy that's escaping the black cloud that is the Carolina Panthers is George Seifert, the man vilified for the team's dreadful performance of the past couple of years and currently the happiest damn retired football coach-cum-fisherman on the planet. Against my better judgement, I accepted a free ticket to go check out the Cats play the Atlanta Falcons, now a big drawing card around the league thanks to wunderkind QB Michael Vick. In the time it took to drink a beer, the Panthers were down 28 to nothing, with portly QB Rodney Peete -- a.k.a. Michael Thick -- throwing two interceptions for good measure. As the minutes dwindled down -- to halftime -- countless folks started leaving early. "Why are you leaving? There's plenty of game left," one man said as folks filed past him. To... um, beat the traffic! You say there isn't much traffic in Charlotte on a Sunday? Shoot. Err, to hit some art galleries? No? Dang. Hey, isn't Discovery Place open on Sundays?
-- Timothy Davis
Ohhh... it always makes me warm and fuzzy to see Charlotte musicians lend a hand to help one of their own. Despite the fact that most of them (particularly the original artists) don't make a whole lot of jack at what they do, they're frequently donating their time and energy to a friend or cause that's in need of some financial assistance. Friday night at Tremont Music Hall was a fine example of such aid, as two local acts, the Alternative Champs and Les Dirt Clods, performed sets with Charlotte's one and only Renelvis, to help the tiny framed fella with a heart of gold raise money for his daughter's medical expenses (she's autistic and has down syndrome and requires much attention and therapy). The bands had a blast; Renelvis, as always, gave 110 percent; and the crowd danced and sang the night away to numbers like "Viva Las Vegas" and "Good Luck Charm." Believe it or not, a sweet little Filipino version of the King still lives on right here in the Queen City, folks! How cool is that?
-- Lynn Farris