Ever feel like you take things for granted in this city?
We're all guilty of not seeing the beauty in our own back yards. When I lived in New York City I never made it to enough of the cool events out in Queens or up in the Bronx. And now that I'm gone, I miss all the museums I kept putting off.
This past weekend, I realized I also take Charlotte for granted. On Saturday, I was among a bunch of Charlotteans who gathered for an event at the Neighborhood Theatre. No huge numbers, no big fanfare--just a little benefit concert for breast cancer awareness that's been a bright spot in the NoDa arts district for the past five years.
By 6pm, the building was abuzz with people chatting with each other and browsing the literature on tables set up in the lobby. On stage, a string of musicians, from Mt. Holly singer David Childers to Americana legend Alejandro Escovedo, played until around midnight.
The Spread Your Wings benefit is the brainchild of two local music fans, Bob Graham and Missi Ivie. The couple kicked off the annual event in 2001, after Missi was diagnosed with breast cancer. A Spread Your Wings compilation followed, featuring Childers, Escovedo and others.
What was special about this year's show was the appearance of Escovedo. The singer and songwriter--a veteran of first-wave punk and alternative country--was near death two years ago, suffering complications from hepatitis C. He's not only bounced back from his own ordeal, but he's already out doing benefits for others.
Spread Your Wings isn't the only musical fund-raiser in Charlotte. The folks at the Evening Muse and Visulite recently organized a benefit for Katrina survivors featuring a slew of area bands including Bruce Hazel, Poprocket and the Near Misses. In the past, Charlotte-area musicians have gathered for other causes, including the workers who lost their jobs when Pillowtex closed.
This Sunday, a trio of acts will play a Bands for the Bayou benefit at the Double Door Inn, and next Thursday, September 29, another bunch of bands will perform two more Katrina benefits.
But benefit shows and other events peculiar to Charlotte are like trees falling in the woods if no one shows up to support them. So put down the channel changer and go out and smell the magnolia. Maybe take in a benefit show or two.