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Spring Guide 2018

Time to heat things up



It's that time of year again, when we all stumble out of our homes after months of hibernation and make plans with friends again. There's something for everyone on this list, whether you're physically fit or would rather eat, drink and sit.



Creative Photography Workshop

BLKMRKTCLT at Camp North End kicks off a series of monthly photography workshops with this session hosted by local photographer Carey King. The workshop is open to everyone from fledgling shutterbugs to professionals, and participants are encouraged to bring their own cameras.

When: March 25

Where: BLKMRKTCLT, 1824 Statesville Ave.

More: $35; blkmrktclt.com


Presented by Charlotte Film Society's Back Alley Film Series, Mohawk is a western with a twist. For starters, it's set during the War of 1812, a good 50 years before the time period portrayed in most oaters. Also, the trio of Native Americans are the good guys here, with a trio of Mohawks fighting for their lives against a band of ruthless Americans set on revenge. Did we mention that the three heroes are all lovers? That's a little bit different too.

When: March 29

Where: C3 Lab, 2525 Distribution St

More: $5-$10; c3-lab.com

Charlotte Black Film Festival

One of the standout films in this year's edition of the popular four-day Charlotte film fest is the homegrown Purple Dreams, which tells the story of six at-risk black students of Northwest School of the Arts — and their inspiring teacher — as they work together to bring Alice Walker's The Color Purple to the stage. Other highlights include The Possibility of Her, about 12 women of color in non-traditional careers, among many more.

When: April 5-8

Where: Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St.

More: $10-$129; charlotteblackfilmfestival.com

McColl opens its doors to the public for this family-friendly event, inviting Charlotteans to discover what makes the facility such a vibrant arts space. Art-making activities for all ages are featured, and visitors are encouraged to drop in on artists-in-residence at their studios to check out their work and their creative process.

When: April 14

Where: McColl Center for Art + Innovation, 721 North Tryon Street

More: Free; mccollcenter.org

BOOM Charlotte

The Big Bang of Charlotte arts explosions returns to Plaza Midwood for the third year in a row. There will be free dance, music, aerial and spoken-word performances outdoors, but the BOOM festival's core is its fringe shows — a series of hour-long performances at venues spread across the neighborhood. It can be challenging and strange, but there's a message and a method to BOOM's madness. As frequent contributor, XOXO Theater's Matt Cosper, says: "Experimental work is not just being weird for weirdness' sake."

When: April 20-22

Where: Plaza Midwood

More: Free-$10; boomcharlotte.org

Dances of India – 16th Anniversary

Presented by acclaimed choreographer Dr. Maha Gingrich, the performance features traditional classic Indian dances as well as high-energy folk dances. Each dance tells a story about ancient India, bringing epic dramas to life using elaborate masks, costumes and props.

When: April 21

Where: Halton Theater, 1206 Elizabeth Ave.

More: $5-$10; cpcc.edu

'The Sherlock Project'

Paperhouse Theatre puts a new face on the master detective from 221-B Baker Street. This interactive experience at the Frock Shop flips the conventions of those classic English mystery stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, turning the audience into active participants in sleuthing, adventure and discovery. There will be more questions raised and answered than "Whodunnit?"

When: April 26 – May 12

Where: The Frock Shop, 901 Central Ave.

More: Tickets available March 26. paperhousetheatre.com

Spring Works

With this production Charlotte Ballet introduces three new choreographers to the fold — former Charlotte Ballet dancer and emerging talent Bryan Arias; Helen Pickett, reprising her mesmerizing pas de deux Tsukiyo; and up-and-comer Filipe Portugal, who makes his North American debut at Charlotte Ballet.

When: April 26 – 28

Where: Knight Theatre, 430 South Tryon Street

More: $25 and up; charlotteballet.org

Kings Drive Art Walk

Think of this as Festival in the Park's cooler, artsier cousin, an outdoor arts walk and open-air gallery spread along the reclaimed natural waterway between E. Morehead Street and the Pearl St. Bridge along Kings Drive. The walk features fine and emerging artists in a beautiful setting.

When: May 5-6

Where: Little Sugar Creek Greenway, Dillworth

More: Free; festivalinthepark.org/kings-drive-art-walk/

Open Studio Saturday —Modernism + Film: 'Raw Beauty'

In 1906, a psychiatrist at Bern Psychiatric Hospital started collecting artwork by his patients. This work fascinated artists such as Paul Klee and gave rise to the "Art Brut" or "Outsider Art" movement. This film investigates the history of and ongoing fascination with these groundbreaking works.

When: May 17

Where: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 South Tryon Street

More: $10; bechtler.org

Spring Awakening

This classic 19th century German coming-of-age play gets a rock 'n roll makeover with music by Duncan Sheik. At the musical's core is the notion that the discovery of sex turns the world on its head and makes all creation seem dangerous and alive. Directory Billy Ensley, whose edgy Bonnie & Clyde engrossed audiences at Matthews Playhouse, works his disquieting magic here.

When: May 25 – June 10

Where: Theatre Charlotte, 501 Queens Road

More: $28; theatrecharlotte.org

'The Sign of the Times'

Author Christopher Lawing shares slides and tells stories from his new photo book, which spotlights the city's folksy and funky roadside signs. Will "Gus's Sir Beef" be featured? Retired Levine Museum historian Dr. Tom Hanchett hosts the program. Which includes a Southern chicken dinner from Mert's Heart and Soul.

When: May 29

Where: Levine Museum of the New South, 200 East 7th Street

More: $20; museumofthenewsouth.org

God's Trombones

This gospel-infused theatrical production puts folk preachers on the same footing as epic bards and storytellers. OnQ Productions presents a tribute to the African-American church tradition with a collection of sermons interspersed with music interludes. The show traces the spiritual roots of jazz, blues, funk and rock n' roll.

When: June 19-21

Where: McGlohon Theater, 130 North Tryon Street

More: $20; youarenowonq.com

Music & Festivals


Charlotte Goes Green Festival

It's all things Irish when Charlotte goes green. The St. Paddy's Day Parade is the kickoff spring event that everybody loves, because — well, how could you not love it? You get Irish jigs, music from pipe and drum bands, the Federal Clan Kings (featuring Lenny Federal and his family), lots of marching bands, and beer that doesn't necessarily have to be of the "craft" variety. Come out to the parade route on Tryon Street at around 10 a.m. and get the party started. The parade begins at 11 a.m.; entertainment goes on all day.

When: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., March 17

Where: S. Tryon St. at E. 3rd St., Charlotte

More: Free; charlottestpatsday.com

Tuck Fest

You know the drill: lots of Americana music plus water and trail tricks packed into four days of outdoor fun. The Tuck music lineup skews fairly predictable — solid, beloved sounds from solid, beloved acts like Shakey Graves, Deer Tick, the Wood Brothers and Elonzo Wesley. But the real fun of this event is the climbing, biking, trail running, kayaking, rafting and swimming you'll get to participate in yourself, if you so choose. If not, you can live vicariously thorugh those who are participating.

When: April 19 - 22

Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkway

More: Free (with $6 parking) - up (to participate); tuckfest.org

New Era Hip-Hop Fest

One of the more exciting first-year Charlotte music festivals this year is the New Era Hip-Hop Festival, which will feature a veritable who's who of Charlotte-area rappers including Th3 Higher, Nige Hood, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon, Black Linen, Ron Styles, La La Specific, Railz the Principle, Indigo Jo, SideNote, Mori Bea, Ricky Rogers, and many, many more. If you've been loving Charlotte's exploding hip-hop scenes over the past few years, then come out and support its artists and show the organizers that this festival should become an annual event.

When: April 21

Where: New Era Music House, 5814 Old Concord Rd.

More: $20; tinyurl.com/NewEraFest


North Carolina's most beloved Americana music fest — launched by N.C.'s most-beleved guitar picker, the late, great Doc Watson — features another stellar lineup topped by the Silver-Tongued Devil himself, legendary singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson ("Me and Bobby McGee," "Why Me?," "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and so many others). Also appearing will be the phenomenal N.C. singer and banjo player Rhiannon Giddens (of Merlefest regulars the Carolina Chocolate Drops), The Mavericks, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, and a wide range of equally deserving but less-famous pickers and grinners.

When: April 26 - 29

Where: North Wilkesboro

More: $50 - $275; merlefest.org

Moo and Brew

Not only will you scarf down some of the best burgers in Charlotte and guzzle some of the finest craft beer and kombucha, but you also get to experience some of the most awe-inspiring live Americana music in the nation when Charleston's Shovels & Rope hits the stage. Also performing this year: history royalty will appear in the person of Texas bluesman Charley Crockett, a direct descendent of American folk legend Davy Crockett. So check it: You get living history, beer, burgers — and the proceeds go to Second Harvest Food Bank. Everybody wins.

When: April 28

Where: AvidXchange Music Factory, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.

More: $35 - $55; mooandbrewfest.com

Carolina Rebellion

This one reads like a blast from the '90s past (minus the guys who are now dead): Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, even '80s MTV icon Billy Idol. Other, more alive acts on the bill: Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, the Used, Godsmack, Andrew W.K., etc. Carolina Rebellion is the place to be if rebellion, to you, means flashing the devil horns, banging your head to loud rock and camping with fellow lovers of black leather, spikes and tattoos.

When: May 4 - 6

Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord

More: $199 - $299; carolinarebellion.com

LEAF Festival

For those who choose to pass on Carolina rebelling — in other words, you prefer hemp to leather, and would rather camp with fellow granola-crunchers who shake their (predominantly) white booties to a swirl of folk and world music sounds — Leaf is where you want to be. This year, reliable protest folk singer Ani DiFranco headlines, but you'll also hear some terrific artists from around the region, country and world, including Haiti's Boukman Eksperyans, New York's band of female mariachis Flor de Toloache and a full-on Southern Fried Poetry Slam.

When: May 10 - 13

Where: Black Mountain

More: $46 - $220; theleaf.org

NC Brewers and Music Festival

Looking for two days of NC-brewed craft beer and (mostly) Southeastern-brewed Americana music? Look no further. You'll drink beer from Charlotte breweries Lenny Boy and Bird Song, NoDa and Nomad, and see QC guitarist and singer-songwriter Josh Daniel's project with Asheville mandolin player Mark Schimick, as well as other fiery acts including flatpicker Larry Keel, the Raleigh country-bluegrass quartet Chatham County Line and Asheville jammers Acoustic Syndicate.

When: May 11 - 12

Where: Rurual Hill, 4431 Neck Road, Huntersville

More: $8 - $78; ncbrewsmusic.com


At the cutting edge of experimental music and tech since its 2004 launch in New York, Moogfest (which moved to Asheville in 2010 and Durham in 2016) has featured such pioneering electronic artists as Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Terry Riley, Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson and Nile Rodgers, along with more contemporary acts ranging from Flying Lotus to Sleigh Bells. Named for the late Bob Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer, the festival continues to push musical boundaries, offering interactive workshops or just the concert experiences. This year's lineup features LCD Soundsystem's Gavin Rayna Russom, Senegal-born synthesist Fatima Al Qadiri, Japanese ambient musician Midori Takada, singer Jamila Woods and privacy rights activist Chelsea Manning, who will speak on the future of creativity. Moogfest is a must-attend event for anyone who cares about music innovation.

When: May 17 - 20

Where: Durham

More: $99 - $1,500; moogfest.com

Sports & Fitness


Charlotte Knights

The Knights return to Uptown for the fifth straight season in their actual hometown — in their actual state — and it all begins with an opening exhibition against their big brothers, the Chicago White Sox. The clever marketing staff over at BB&T has decided to make every evening game start at 7:04 p.m. (get it?), so that's the plan unless otherwise listed.

March 21: Chicago White Sox (Exhibition)

April 12-15: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

April 16-18: Rochester Red Wings

April 27-29: Norfolk Tides

April 30-May 1: Gwinnett Braves

May 2: Gwinnett Braves (Day game, 11:05 a.m.)

May 11-12: Durham Bulls

May 13: Durham Bulls (Day game, 2:05 p.m.)

May 21-24: Norfolk Tides

May 25-27: Indianapolis Indians

May 28: Indianapolis Indians (Day game, 2:05 p.m.)

June 5-7: Syracuse Chiefs

June 8-9: Lehigh Valley IronPigs

June 10: Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Day game, 2:05 p.m.)

June 19-21: Columbus Clippers

Where: BB&T Ballpark, 324 S. Mint St.

Cost: Single tickets, $12 and up.

More: bbtballparkcharlotte.com

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets have let us down greatly this season, and we won't be seeing any playoff games here in Buzz City, so go catch them while you can. If you're showing up to these season-wrapping games, take comfort in knowing that nobody can ever call you a bandwagon fan.

March 22: Memphis Grizzlies, 7 p.m.

March 26: New York Knicks, 7 p.m.

March 28: Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m.

April 1: Philadelphia 76ers, 1 p.m.

April 8: Indiana Pacers, 1 p.m.

Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St.

Cost: Single tickets, $14 and up.

More: nba.com/hornets

Charlotte Roller Girls

The Roller Girls have already kicked their season off with a matchup against Panhandle United, and they'll be back in May for the first of a couple spring bouts.

First listed opponent will skate against the CLTRG All-Stars, while the second will face the B-Dazzlers.

May 19: Little Steele Derby Girls; Spartanburg Deadly Dolls

June 16: Dominion Derby Girls A; Dominion Derby Girls B

Where: Grady Cole Center, 310 N. King Drive.

Cost: $6.50-12

More: charlotterollergirls.com

Charlotte Independence

The Independence has made themselves nice and cozy in Matthews since feeling unappreciated in the Queen City and heading southeast on their namesake boulevard, but they're still in the county.

March 24: Toronto FC II

March 31: Atlanta United FC II

April 14: North Carolina FC

April 28: Indy Eleven

May 12: FC Cincinatti

June 16: Charleston Battery

Where: Sportsplex at Matthews, 1505 Tank Town Rd., Matthews.

Cost: $15 and up.

More: charlotteindependence.com

Charlotte Hounds

We know our readership can often be sports-illiterate, so this is your yearly reminder that Charlotte does have a Major League Lacrosse team, and the games are damn fun.

April 21: Boston Cannons

April 27: Dallas Rattlers

May 3: Chesapeake Bayhawks

June 2: Denver Outlaws

Where: Memorial Stadium, 310 N. Kings Drive.

Cost: $10 and up.

More: charlottehounds.com

Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race

The NBA All-Star Game is coming to Charlotte in 2019, but you're liable to see a whole different crowd at this one, as NASCAR's best drivers face-off after qualifying through points, winning one of the three stages before the big race or coming out on top of the fan vote.

When: May 19, 6 p.m.

Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy S., Concord

More: $10 and up. charlottemotorspeedway.com

NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

For those who like racing but don't have the attention span for NASCAR, right next door to the Charlotte Motor Speedway is "the Bellagio of drag strips," where Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle races will be held throughout the weekend.

When: April 27-29, All day

Where: zMAX Dragway, 6570 Bruton Smith Blvd., Concord.

More: Prices vary. charlottemotorspeedway.com

Color Vibe Charlotte

If nothing else, you'll get some sick pictures out of this social media-friendly 5K. Do it for the 'Gram.

When: April 7, 8 a.m.

Where: Concord Mills, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord

More: $30-65. thecolorvibe.com/charlotte.php

Yoga Retreat for Women of Color

In recent years, many yoga spaces have gone from inclusive to gentrified, but this event will create comfort for women of color through hatha yoga, meditation and speaking truths.

When: May 5, 8 a.m.

Where: Grier Heights Community Center, 3100 Leroy St.

More: $95. tinyurl.com/yogaforWOC

Mixed Up in the Queen City

This co-ed disc golf tournament is not going to allow teams to put the guys on the tee pad and let the women through the putts and more technical shots. Each team member — one man and one woman — must throw nine drives of the pad each.

When: May 20

Where: Kilborne TPC, 2600 Kilborne Drive

More: $25 per team. tinyurl.com/MixedUpDoubles

Sol Fest

There's craft beer sampling and live music for those interested in relaxing on the last day of spring, but that's no fun. Get proactive and sign up for one of the multiple races held throughout the day on the river and the trails.

When: June 16, All day beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.

More: Free to attend, prices vary for participation. usnwc.org/relax/festivals/sol-fest/



Feast Food Tours

Spring is the perfect time to hook up with one of six walking tours that teach you about the culinary gems to be found in Dilworth, NoDa, South End, Plaza Midwood and Uptown. There's no better way to eat and learn about Charlotte's rich culinary scene.

When: Weekly tours held throughout the spring.

Where: Locations vary

More: $60-80; feastfoodtours.com

Taste of the Mint

This annual series features small plate and wine pairings followed by curator-led tours of select art exhibitions. This year includes topics like A Different Kind of Modern and Last Look at Devolar y Detonar. This one not only teaches you about Charlotte's culinary scene, but also its connection to the arts.

When: March 17, April 21, June 16

Where: Mint Museum Uptown, 500 South Tryon St.

More: $30-$40; mintmuseum.org

2nd Annual Charlotte Wingfest

Creative Loafing is a proud and hungry sponsor of this rooftop competition where you can put back a cold one while serving as a judge of Charlotte's best wings, hottest wings, most unique wings and best booth.

When: March 24

Where: Rooftop 210; 210 East Trade St. #B320

More: $20-$35; rooftop210.com

Foods That Cool

Warmer weather often brings inflammation and puffiness, so let Chef Julie and Sous Chef Caroline of Nourish teach you how to cook anti-inflammatory and low-sodium dishes to keep you going into summer. Who says you can't eat well and still look and feel awesome?

When: March 27

Where: Nourish, 1421 Orchard Lake Drive, Unit F

More: $60; nourishcharlotte.com

9th Annual Charlotte Craft Beer Week

From South End to Plaza Midwood to NoDa, check out the website for a list of events from local breweries, bars and beer shops looking to spread the message about craft beer in Charlotte for the two people left in the city who haven't gotten it yet.

When: March 30-April 8

Where: Locations vary

More: charlottecraftbeerweek.org

Beer Me Brewfest 2018

What other way would you spend National Beer Day than at a beer festival? Unless you're a teetotaler, you'll be here with the beers. Even if you are a teetotaler, there's plenty of music and games to keep you occupied with your drunk friends until it's time to be the designated driver.

When: April 7, 1:30-5:30 p.m.

Where: 200 E. Bland St.

More: $40 and up; beermebrewfest.com

Charlotte Brunch Festival

An overwhelming response led organizers to switch locations for this event, so you know it's going to be packed. A ticket gets you free parking, swag, live entertainment and access to countless samples ranging from $2-6, including from Fahrenheit's new spring brunch menu.

When: April 7, Noon-4 p.m.

Where: The Fillmore, 820 Hamilton St.

More: $20-40; tinyurl.com/CLTBrunchFest

University Wine Fest

The light rail is opening, so now you oenophiles have no excuse not to head north for this festival featuring unlimited samples of more than 100 wines from 25 participating wineries. It all takes place along the boardwalk, so you can have your wine and pretend like that water hole is an actual lake.

When: April 14, 2-6 p.m.

Where: The Shoppes at University Place; 8708 JW Clay Blvd.

More: $35 and up; universitycitywinefest.org

Wine and Food Weekend

This one's pretty self-explanatory, as the region's leading wine makers come together with their counterparts in the culinary world to advance public knowledge about which wines go best with whatever meal you're having. And it's all for a great cause — raising money for children's charities.

When: April 18-21

Where: Uptown Charlotte

More: Prices vary; charlottewineandfood.org

Taste of Ayrsley

Sure, you've heard of Taste of Charlotte, but Steele Creek will no longer be ignored. This event spotlights the southwest gems of Charlotte's culinary community. There will also be music, vendors and all kinds of stuff to occupy the kids.

When: April 21, 1-6 p.m.

Where: Piedmont Social House, 2135 Ayrsley Town Blvd., Suite C

More: Free; tasteofayrsley.com

Whales for Wishes

Partnering with The Beer Exchange, Resident Culture will host this year's bottle share, with all proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Last year, WFW raised more than $15,000; this year, they're shooting for $18,000. Help 'em out.

When: April 22

Where: Resident Culture Brewing Company; 2101 Central Ave.

More: $20; thebeerexchange.io/whales-for-wishes-2018/

South End Hops Fest

Another beer, music and food festival ­— because you can never have too much beer, music and food in this city — including 23 breweries, from Ass Clown to Wooden Robot. Also, the proceeds go to the animal adoption organization Rescued Me.

When: May 19

Where: 308 W. Carson Blvd.

More: $35 and up; southendhopsfest.org

Taste of Charlotte

Over 100 samples from area restaurants, cooking demos and children's activities spread over six of Uptown Charlotte's city blocks. The definitive Charlotte food festival.

When: June 8-10

Where: Uptown Charlotte

More: Free; tasteofcharlotte.com

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