2nd Annual 24-Hour Blog-o-thon

Monday, October 12, 2009

24-Hour Blog-o-thon: The Best of ...

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 8:50 AM

In case you happened to miss our 2nd Annual 24-Hour Blog-o-thon — which endeavored to take site visitors on an all-day/all-night trek through Charlotte — last Friday, here's a quick rundown on some of the best post we published during the event:

• A look inside Uptown's new Knight Theater

• An interview with Matt Comer, the editor of Q-Notes, about coming out of the closet

• Video tours of the local retail shops Pura Vida Worldy Art and Fire My Desire Boutique

• A sneak peek at the new music/entertainment venue The Blvd.

• A virtual tour of some of Charlotte's newest sushi spots, including Room 112, Fiji and Enso

• A live review of a performance by the band Needtobreathe

• A chat with burlesque queen Big Mamma D about her latest production

• Artist Dijemi Onafuwa talked with us about his new exhibition

• A trip to a themed wine tasting at South End's Common Market

• We checked out author Christopher Buckley at Novello

• A special local-music-only episode of CL's Audiofloss podcast

• Photos from events like Pints For Prostates and Takeover Friday at Loft 1523

• A video spotlight on some of Uptown's street musicians

• Pics from the grand opening of the new nightclub Kashmir

• An interview with pundit/activist Tavis Smiley

• And more ...

So, click through some links and see what the self-generated hoopla was all about. Enjoy!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

2nd Annual 24-Hour Blog-o-thon: That's all folks!

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 8:58 AM

The headline says it all.

Damn I'm tired.

If you missed any of our 24-hour trip through Charlotte via the blogoshphere — and I'm sure you did cause there's lots of stuff — just click through this here blog, the CLog, and check it out.

Big thanks to the entire editorial staff, all our great freelance writers, photographers and more who helped us cover the city all day and all night.

For anyone who actually stayed up with us ... you're insane.

But thanks.

OK, off to sleep.

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Boris & Natasha celebrates 10th anniversary

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 8:00 AM

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Boris & & Natasha, a men's and women's boutique in Plaza Midwood (1214 Thomas Ave.), is celebrating its 10th year in the neighborhood. Head out their way today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to check out a trunk show by local designer Elizabeth Cannon.

From a press release:

Hope Nicholls is also known for her support of home-grown designers. During Saturdays in October, Boris & Natasha will feature a trunk show by a local designer.

"I wanted to feature local artists to celebrate my first 10 years, because I think supporting and investing in local talent is what will get us all through the next 10 years," says Nicholls.

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Q&A: Tavis Smiley's 'On Your Side' Tour hits Charlotte

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 7:30 AM

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If you called Tavis Smiley articulate, you’d be condescending — but you’d be right. If you labeled him angry, you’d be stereotyping — but you’d be right. The popular syndicated radio and TV host isn’t afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to issues affecting African-Americans. Today, Oct. 10, you can see Smiley as he brings his Nationwide “On Your Side Tour to the Charlotte Convention Center. It’s an all-day, free event that will feature speakers and seminars, focusing on empowering the community through financial literacy.

Days before his Charlotte event, and minutes before he had to hop to his radio gig, Smiley took some time to talk about the importance of the event, bash big banks, and speak some choice words about your favorite American president.

Creative Loafing: How did this tour come together and what are you seeking to accomplish with it?

Tavis Smiley: We’ve been at this for two or three years now and it’s basically a tour about financial literacy. I believe that information is power, that knowledge is power, and we try to empower people to live better lives by making better decisions. I hate to see black people living beneath their privilege. And so much of us living beneath our privilege has to do with us not getting our money right, not being financially literate. Over the course of my career, I’ve done a number of tours on a variety of subjects. Now we’re on this tour about financial literacy, and I had no idea when we started this tour that the economy would become the shape that it’s in, and that black people would be suffering so badly. But the timing of it turns out to be pretty good in terms of giving people the message of hope and giving them information that can help them live better lives and make better choices.

Since you’re talking about the bad shape the economy is in, what’s it going to take for us to climb out of it?

Here’s where I think we have to properly contextualize our celebration of Barack Obama as president. And by that I mean he can be a great partner, and I’m glad that he’s there — we all celebrate the fact that he’s there. But at the end of the day, we’re going to have to save ourselves. Even with a black president, pardon my English, but the cavalry ain’t coming to save us. We have to do our part, No. 1. No. 2, I’m concerned about how his policies have been rolled out so far. Right now they’re celebrating on Wall Street. Wall Street is back! They’re back with our taxpayer money. We bailed all these folks out, but the recovery hasn’t hit Main Street. And it sure hasn’t hit the side street. On Wall Street they’re celebrating already, passing out bonuses at the end of the year.

The president said he believes rising tide will lift all boats — that’s what he said when I asked him about black unemployment at his press conference at the White House some weeks back. Well, a rising tide does lift all boats, but when the tide comes, it’s a difference when you’re in a yacht and I’m in a dingy. So it’s more than just a rising tide lifting all boats. It’s about putting a laser-like focus on black unemployment, it’s putting a laser-like focus on the issues that travail black people. But you can’t do that if you’re scared to talk about race and racial disparities.

So the message from me is the same as it’s always been. When I tried to talk about accountability last year during the presidential campaign, black folks wanted to cut my head off. Nobody wanted to hear this talk about accountability and that’s where we are now. With or without a black president, we are stuck. We are double and triple the unemployment numbers. We have to start with giving people information that will guide them out of the economic disparity that they’re in. So it’s just me doing my small part, traveling around the country giving these free seminars.

The banking industry is big in Charlotte — Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis just announced he’s retiring — and all of the uncertainty with the financial sector has people here especially worried. Is there something you think the public should be doing?

The people on Wall Street got their money and are celebrating while the rest of us are still catching hell. That money has still not trickled down to the weak working class. The question is: when are everyday people going to feel a recovery? So I was opposed to how it went down in the first place, but that’s water under the bridge at this point. Now is the time we have to demand a couple of things. Demand more regulation. I hope that one of the lessons we’ve learned in this whole mess is that deregulation doesn’t work. The problem is that President Obama has some of the same people around him, advising him — Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Robert Rubin — the same people who were part of this deregulation that got us into this mess are now back in charge. I hope they’ve learned their lesson that deregulation causes people to run amuck. They gave them too much deregulation and nobody was watching our money. I just saw Michael Moore’s new movie about capitalism and he tells the story quite well. Nobody was watching our money. As a public, we need to insist from our legislative leaders that they do their job to regulate the money, our money, that they’ve now given away.

You seem very passionate about these issues.

The older I get, the more sickening this gets for me to look at. And it’s that sickness in my stomach that keeps me on the road talking about these issues. I hate seeing us get played. I hate seeing us get used. I hate seeing us getting kicked to the curb and taken advantage of. That’s what has happened to black people — and to Americans period. And some of us have to wise up and say, “You know what, I’m going to do better by myself. If they don’t ever come and help me or do right by me, I’m going to manage my stuff and make better decisions.”

For more information on Smiley’s event, visit www.nationwide.com/tavistickets.

Written by Jarvis Holliday. Photo courtesy: The Smiley Group, Inc./Kevin Foley

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Grand opening of Kashmir

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 6:00 AM

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Well, we're still up blogging. Last night was the grand opening of Kashmir and Fiji, the two new nightspots that have taken over 5th Street. If you missed the festivities (and the chance to rub the golden Buddha's belly), head out that way tonight as the party continues.

For more photos from last night's party, check out our nightlife blog QC After Dark.

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DVD review: Year One

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 5:01 AM

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YEAR ONE (2009). Biblical times were milked for raunchy but riotous laughs in Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I and Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but the well seems to have run dry when it comes to this disastrous comedy that’s the cinematic equivalent of an old-fashioned flogging. Jack Black and Michael Cera, never straying more than a centimeter from their established screen personas (misguided blowhard and sarcastic wimp, respectively), star as Zed and Oh, tribal misfits banished from their village and left to wander the land. Like ancient Forrest Gumps, they run into a few historical figures — Cain (David Cross) and Abel (Paul Rudd), Abraham (Hank Azaria) and Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) — although they spend most of their time in the city of Sodom, with Zed laboring under the impression that he’s God’s Chosen One while Oh tries to keep his distance from a fey priest (Oliver Platt, in a guilty pleasure of a performance) with a penchant for having his hairy chest rubbed with oil. Even with gags involving the eating of feces and the drinking of urine (to say nothing about jokes related to vomit, incest, bestiality, and more), this is far too witless to even be considered distasteful or disturbing — it’s more like watching with pity as a dorky fifth-grader tries to shock adults with a string of profanity. As if the material wasn’t rancid enough, the picture appears to have been edited with a battle-ax, as continuity is frequently nonexistent (what happened to the snake choking the life out of Oh?). I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t admit that a couple of moments made me smile. A couple. As in two. If that’s enough merriment to fill your belly, then by all means, knock yourself out.

DVD extras include audio commentary by Black, Cera and director Harold Ramis; an 18-minute making-of piece; two deleted scenes (one simply titled “Splooge”); 10 extended or alternate scenes; and a gag reel.

Movie: *

Extras: **

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Video: Hanging with Uptown's street musicians

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 4:52 AM

CL music contributor Mike McCray checks in with a couple of street performers in Uptown Charlotte.

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DVD review: X-men Origins: Wolverine

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 4:25 AM

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X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009). Hardly a lazy sequel, X-Men Origins: Wolverine contains a couple of nifty narrative surprises as well as some memorable tensions between its mutant players. Overall, though, it’s hard to view this as an integral entry in the X-Men franchise. That’s not to say it’s as irrelevant as, say, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, but part of Wolverine’s appeal has always been his aura of mystery, and an origin piece only works to strip him of that secrecy. Besides, the movie’s occasional clumsiness in laying out the expository groundwork ends up batting against its own intentions, which makes the picture seem even more trifling. Having said that, it’s apparent that this isn’t the disaster many speculated it would be, especially on the heels of bad Internet buzz and that infamous download that left FOX executives outfoxed. As expected, the picture’s chief selling point is Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine, even if the story line largely harnesses his considerable talents: He’s an excellent brooder, but brooding’s about all that the film requires him to do. As Victor Creed (later Sabretooth), Liev Schreiber is believable as both Logan’s brother and his tormentor, while Danny Huston, as Stryker, proves to be as fascistic a villain as Brian Cox when he tackled the role in X2. Ryan Reynolds adds some necessary sparkle as the wisecracking Deadpool, and I just wish he had been handed the more sizable role of Gambit instead (as the latter, mediocre Taylor Kitsch lives up to his surname). Other actors express what’s required of them — it’s often rage or regret, although mostly it’s just frozen stares at the blue-screen areas where the special effects were inserted at a later time.

DVD extras include audio commentary by director Gavin Hood; separate audio commentary by producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter; an interesting 16-minute conversation between X-Men co-creator Len Wein and the legendary Stan Lee; a 12-minute behind-the-scenes featurette; and 10 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes.

Movie: **1/2

Extras: ***

Read the full-length review of the film here.

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DVD review: The Wizard of Oz

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 3:31 AM

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THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). This family classic long ago left the realm of being mere entertainment to emerge as a cultural touchstone for generations of Americans. The peerless Judy Garland as farm girl Dorothy, proclaiming “there’s no place like home”; the Oscar-winning “Over the Rainbow,” which topped the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movie Songs; the irresistible tag team of The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), The Tin Man (Jack Haley) and The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr); the flying monkeys that have scared the bejesus out of countless kids over the decades; the Munchkins pointing the way down the Yellow Brick Road — it’s all here, repackaged by Warner Bros. in a spectacular 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition. Back in 2005, I awarded a perfect eight stars (four for the movie, four for the extras) to the three-disc Collector’s Edition, wrongly assuming there wasn’t any room for improvement. Yet here the studio has upped the ante, bringing back everything from that edition (except, sadly, some of the physical reproductions, such as color stills and the ticket to the 1939 premiere screening) and digging up even more material.

Among the holdovers from the previous set are audio commentary by film historian John Fricke; making-of documentaries; outtakes and deleted scenes; a documentary on Oz creator L. Frank Baum; and earlier screen versions of The Wizard of Oz, including a 1910 production and a 1925 adaptation featuring Oliver Hardy. The new features include the 1990 TV-movie The Dreamer of Oz, starring John Ritter as Baum; a documentary on Victor Fleming, who directed both Oz and Gone with the Wind in the same calendar year; and a featurette on some of the actors who portrayed the Munchkins. Included with this incredible set are a 52-page book featuring photos, studio memos, and more; a campaign book featuring original promo material; and a collectible Wizard of Oz watch created exclusively for this DVD edition.

Movie: ****

Extras: ****

To purchase this Collector's Item, check out its listing on Amazon.com.

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Takeover Friday takes over Loft 1523

Posted By on Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 3:11 AM

Tonight, Takeover Friday descended upon Loft 1523 on Elizabeth Avenue. The patio was packed, the music was booming, and yet, very few folks wanted their pictures taken. Hmm. I wonder why.

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To see more photos, click here.

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