Mark Kemp's Weekly Fast 5



Beginning today, I'll be checking in each Friday with the five stories - local and national, from the arts to hard news - that got my blood boiling in some distinctive way, shape or form. Some of these stories will come straight from the pages of Creative Loafing (both print and website); others will be stories you've heard about from other news outlets. They won't necessarily be the most important or earth-shattering stories of the week - they'll be stories that in some way captured my attention and yours, and ones I want to re-share with you.

So let's get started (in chronological order):

  • Lincoln
1) Charlotte Talks about Holiday Films (Monday)
As they do every year around this time, the folks at WFAE's Charlotte Talks brought CL's illustrious film critic Matt Brunson on for a chat with other area critics - Sean O'Connell at and Ann Marie Oliva of Arts a la Mode - about the season's new movies. They talked about the new Bond film, the Twilight movie, the upcoming Hobbit and Les Miserables. And Charlotte Talks host Mike Collins gave Matt and O'Connell a ribbing about their mixed (or in O'Connell's case, downright negative) reviews of Lincoln. It was an enlightening hour. Take a listen here.
But no matter what you thought of Lincoln (the movie), some of the best writing on Lincoln (both the man and the movie) that I've seen recently came from The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates, who continues to be one of the most intelligent and perceptive writers and (in this case) roundtable hosts out there. Coates' month-long roundtable discussion of Lincoln included assessments from New York Times film critic A.O. Scott, historian Kate Masur and others. A must-read!

2) Why the Charlotte Hornets shouldn't return (Wednesday)
The one thing sure to create a stir in Charlotte is dissing its beloved first pro sports team, the Hornets. Not even dissing them, but suggesting (gasp!) that the Hornets name shouldn't return to the Queen City. Steve Jones' commentary this week raised the ire of many Hornets diehards by questioning the sense in getting nostalgic about a team that truly did become a source of pride for Charlotte - but whose legacy was tainted by its shyster owner George Shinn. Incidentally, Shinn himself recently told the Charlotte Observer that he, too, thinks Bobcats owner Michael Jordan should bring the Hornets name back to the Q.C. Not one commenter agreed with Jones' thoughts - one even asked, "you get paid to write articles like this for a living?" - which made me realize how valuable Jones' voice is here at Creative Loafing.

3) Indian classical music master and Beatles collaborator Ravi Shankar dies (Wednesday)
When I was 12, I went to the Sunset Theater in downtown Asheboro with some friends to see my very first rock movie, The Concert for Bangladesh, an event staged to raise awareness and money for refugees from East Pakistan after the Bhola cyclone in 1970, as well as victims of Bangladesh civil war crimes. But we'd just come to catch performances by some of our heroes: George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Billy Preston and most of all - for me, anyway - Leon Russell. We were a bit miffed that the first entire part of the concert featured extended performances from an Indian guy sitting onstage playing the sitar. But then something special happened for me: I got sucked into Ravi Shankar's mesmerizing music; his performance began my journey into so-called world music - the folk and classical musics of cultures far removed from the western pop I was obsessed with. Shankar died this past week at 92, and I got the opportunity to thank him for the education he gave me so many years ago by posting a little notice of his death on CL's Vibes blog.

4) Live Review: PSY, Fillmore Charlotte, 12/12/12 (Thursday)
Believe it or not, music editor Jeff Hahne and I had to coax managing editor Kim Lawson into going to check out worldwide one-hit wonder PSY this week at the Fillmore and report back to us on "Gangnam Style," this decade's "Macarena." She protested, "But Kenny will be so upset that he can't go," referring to her significant other. I pretty much told her she had to go - not that it took too much nudging. We were at a party. She was lubricated. What Kim came back with, though, was surprising: a touching reminiscence on her childhood experiences of trying to juggle both her Korean and American sides, attempting to get into K-pop as a child while also digging American acts like TLC, Destiny's Child, Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill. She also touched on the sadness at knowing that PSY's current superstardom will be fleeting. Heck, and we just thought she'd talk about the horse dance!

5) Paul McCartney fronts Nirvana (Thursday)
The Internet was abuzz with shock - shock! - that the surviving members of Nirvana were going to reunite for a performance with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney at the Wednesday 12/12/12 Concert to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. Never mind (so to speak) that the late Kurt Cobain had cited the Beatles as a major influence numerous times during his brief life. And guess what? The performance was explosive. I was thus inspired to write about it on Thursday.

As for the ongoing Obama/Boehner economic clusterfuck? Yeah, yeah, yeah... that's been ongoing news, too. And it looks like we're going to be facing a fiscal cliffhanger come Dec. 31. Stay tuned for more next year. Oh, and next week, too. I'll be returning then with five more stories to share.

Have a great weekend!

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