Sunday, November 30, 2014

World AIDS Day events this week

On Monday, the world pauses to recognizes the people who've been impacted by HIV and AIDS. Mecklenburg County is severely and disproportionately affected by HIV disease. There are many stories of tragedy and hope to tell here. Below are a few key events to celebrate World AIDS Day. Find more events in Qnotes' special section.



Monday

The Voices Project  The Regional AIDS Interfaith Network brings together community influencers to share the story of people impacted by HIV and AIDS. This year's storytellers include Power 98's No Limit Larry, 107.9 The Link's Matt Harris, Latina 102.3 Judy Barriga and more. 6 p.m. Wells Fargo Auditorium, Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St. Free, but donations will be accepted. Parking available at the Duke Energy Center (Stonewall between Church and Tryon) and The Green (Tryon and Levine Avenue of the Arts). 



Thursday

Stronger Together: A World AIDS Day Luncheon - R.A.I.N  hosts this luncheon to raise awareness about AIDS. RAIN provides programs for HIV-positive youth, adults and senior adults in the community.  Ribbon of Love Leadership Award recipients for this year's luncheon are Lesa Kastanas and Walter Kearns. 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Marriott Charlotte City Center, 100 W. Trade St. $35. Updated: Onsite parking available. $7 flat rate. Other parking options.



Saturday



6th Annual Red Pump/Red Tie Affair - This is the signature event for the Red Pump Project which highlights HIV and AIDS impact on women and girls. The event will feature a fashion show, a silent auction and local boutiques. R.A.I.N. President and CEO Rev. Debbie Warren is this year's honoree.  7 - 10 p.m.,  Hart Witzen Gallery, 136 E 36th St. Tickets: $40. Driving Alert: Access via South Tryon Street instead of North Davidson Street because of road construction.



Don't be shy: sipandplayclt@gmail.com

The hangover edition: brunch at Dogwood

Tired of leftovers, head over to SouthPark for brunch at Dogwood Southern Table and Bar (4905 Ashley Park Lane), by Jon and Kim Dressler. The menu offers a little something for everyone whether it's egg dishes, sandwiches or hearty entrees. We started with the pimento cheese and country bread along with the biscuits. The biscuits were biscuits, but the pimento cheese came with a tomato jam that was delicious.



My main entree was the eggs cooked with tasso ham, green onions and a side of country potatoes. The ham added just enough flavor to the eggs. Shezrotn ordered the steak and eggs. The ribeye steak was surprisingly bland. Considering we often get the ribeye at Dressler, we expected the steak to be more flavorful.

For libations, I tried the Bloody Mary, which was tasty, but still doesn't compare to a Zing Zang Bloody Mary. It came with a pilsner beer back which was a nice touch. We finished the meal with hot tea. It's Rishi, sold in Whole Foods, a loose leaf steeped in a teapot. We had the jasmine and the mint.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Congratulations To 100 Words Film Festival

A hearty congratulations to Scott Galloway, founder of 100 Words Film Festival, and the team who created the inaugural event. The festival featured several dozen films and sold out McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. The films included documentaries, student projects and dramatic films.

Fashion Truck Rodeo, jazz music and uptown tree lighting

The holiday parties start next week so these events will ease you into the season.



Round Up Great Deals - The Fashion Truck Rodeo debuts at Small Business Saturday. Think Food Truck Friday. Parking lot of Shu and Brief, 1426 South Tryon St. Ends at 5 p.m. Read more in ShopTalk.









Funky Music - Not quite ready for Christmas carols? Head over to the Double Door Inn to see the funky jazz band Groove 8. It's the After Thanksgiving G Party and Potluck. The group celebrates its 10-year anniversary with the Moonshine Racers, New Car Caviar: A Jamgrass Tribute to Pink Floyd, Coddle Creek, the Josh Daniel/Mark Schimick Project, the Chemist. Read more about Groove 8 on Sound Bites. 5 p.m. Double Door Inn, 1218 Charlottetowne Ave. $12. Parking available onsite and on Fifth Street.

 


Family Fun - Head to The Square for Lights On the Square: The Uptown Tree Lighting. ACC mascots join the festivities to start the ACC Tournament weekend. Families can enjoy Santa Village in Polk Park (free photos!), and a performance by The Wonderettes! Food trucks will be there too. 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The Square, Trade and Tryon streets. Tree lighting starts shortly after 6:30pm. Parking tips.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Comedy, hoops and music on Black Friday

Family Fun - Looking for ways to entertain out-of-town guests? You can't go wrong with a basketball game. It's fun for all ages. Help the Charlotte Hornets snap a seven-game losing streak. The Hornets take on the Golden State Warriors. 7 p.m. Time Warner Cable Arena. Tickets.



 Black Friday Laughs - Take  a break from family, crazy store lines and the start of the holiday frenzy. Join the Queen-City Omegas' Post Thanksgiving (I-Tish) Comedy Gzam! The Ques host a monthly comedy show/party. Features Charlotte's Dave Martin, seen on HBO's Def Jam, and opener Ray Money Jr., seen with the comedy troupe-League of Extraordinary Comedians. 9 p.m. The Omegas of Charlotte's Fraternity House, 3301 Statesville Ave. $15, $20. Limited, pre-show buffet & a post-show DJ.

Musical Tribute - Legendary drummer and lead vocalist for The Band, Levon Helm lost his battle to cancer  in 2012. His memory lives on thanks to his music and a variety of musicians who've started tributes to Helm. The New Familiars are hosting its third annual A Tribute To Levon Helms. The Midwood Horns and other friends will also honor the rock and Americana artist. 9 p.m. The Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave.Family Fun - Join comedian James Gregory for a Thanksgiving Tradition. Have out of town guests? They'll enjoy this clean family-friendly show. See why Gregory has been dubbed the "Funniest Man In America" when he performs tonight and Saturday at the Comedy Zone. Various times.

Don't Forget

Catchy Pop - Kat Dahlia straddles pop and Latin music. She performed “Gangsta” live at a Billboard Tastemakers. Her new track is "Crazy." Craig Strickland opens. 8:30 p.m. Chop Shop, 399 E. 35 St. Parking available at venue and behind venue in gravel lot on the side of the building access by 36th St. $10 and up.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Start the holiday season with the Panthers, Santa and Tommy T

The most wonderful time of the year is coming! This weekend launches us into the holiday season. The fun starts tonight with several pre-Thanksgiving parties.

Tonight



Family Fun - The Carolina Panthers will hold an inaugural tree lighting celebration. 6 p.m. outside Bank of America Stadium, corner of Mint Street and Graham. See Sir Purr, TopCats and PurrCussion. Families can enjoy children’s activities, holiday music and a visit from Santa. More family holiday events on the Observer's mommy blog.





Pre-Turkey Day - The Wednesday party Pop Life gets a holiday moniker and a different location tonight. It's Kitchsgiving Eve 3.0 - The No Playlist Edition music by The Mash Out King DJ King Skillz.  10 p.m. Label, 900 NC Music Factory Blvd. Onsite parking available.










Party In The Alley - One night, two clubs and it's all free. Head over to Republic and Phoenix for the Block Party. 300 Block of North College Street. 10 p.m.



Turkey Swag - Don't feel like being stuck in one bar all night? Join Tommy T's Turkey Spree VIII. The fun starts with food and drinks at Tyber Creek Pub and then rolls uptown to Tommy's other spots. See the schedule. Transportation, drink specials, complimentary drinks at a mystery location and Turkey Swag. $15. 7 p.m. Tyber Creek Pub,  1933 South Blvd. Onsite parking available.









Thursday


Floats And Fun - Don't miss the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade in Uptown. Rising star 12-year-old singer Lexi Walker will perform. Starts at 9:30 a.m. Stonewall and Tryon.





Eating Out? - Don't miss Observer food critic Helen Schwab's extensive list of restaurant offerings for Thanksgiving dinner.


Weekend Preview


Friday


Catchy Pop - Kat Dahlia straddles pop and Latin music. She performed “Gangsta” live at a Billboard Tastemakers. Her new track is "Crazy." Craig Strickland opens. 8:30 p.m. Chop Shop, 399 E. 35 St. Parking available at venue and behind venue in gravel lot on the side of the building access by 36th St. $10 and up.  



Saturday


Family Fun - Head Uptown for Lights On the Square: The Uptown Tree Lighting. ACC mascots join the festivities to start the ACC Tournament weekend. Families can enjoy Santa Village in Polk Park (free photos!), and a performance by The Wonderettes! Food trucks will be there too. 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The Square, Trade and Tryon streets. Tree lighting starts shortly after 6:30pm. 


Don't be shy: Tonya Jameson, sipandplayclt@gmail.com

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I went from moonshine and erotica to Christian game night in one weekend

I'll admit, I have diverse taste when it comes to entertainment, but I surprised myself this weekend. In the span of 48 hours, I went from sinner to saint.

Sinner
After Science Rocks: Beers & Gears at Discovery Place on Friday, I headed to the Charlotte Moonshine Festival at the EpiCentre.

Most of the distilleries mixed their moonshine with ginger ale which I thought was odd. The servers said the soda enhanced the flavor, but I think it overpowered the liquor. According to my informal survey, Georgia Moon by Johnson Distilling Company was the crowd favorite.


It wasn't my first choice. Georgia Moon and the Firefly were too sweet. I want my moonshine to have a little bite not give me a cavity. My favorite was by Broadslab. It was smooth fire.


After the moonshine festival, I headed to the Chop Shop for the Sweet Spot: Red Light Special. In its third visit there, the erotica show has grown from the small stage at the Chop Shop to the main stage. The spoken word artists were as racy as expected, and drew cheers from the audience. Sorry, no pictures from the show. 


Saint


On Saturday, I stopped by PlayDate Inspiration. This was a Christian event. They served soda, water and Christian rap. GeneratiOne Church's Pastor Q was the guest pastor.

"We have a lot of people who want something to do," said organizer Coretta Livingston. "They don't want to be in a place that served alcohol."

The event featured board games, and signature PlayDate games with a twist. It was Christian-themed Hula Hoop and musical chairs rather than the freaky-deeky version that I've seen at other PlayDate events. The evening was clean, wholesome fun.

Last chance to see the circus and more

Sip + Play Hangover Edition offers up family friendly fun on a rainy Sunday. 

These events end today: 

UniverSoul Circus - Enjoy a hip-hop version of the circus. There's music, dance contests and incredible acts. Show times 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Old Freedom Mart Shopping Plaza, 3200 Freedom Drive. Tickets.

 


The Emperor's New Clothes  See this retelling of the children's story. This is a one act play so it's perfect for restless little ones.  2 p.m. Wells Fargo Playhouse,  Children's Theatre of Charlotte, 300 E 7th St. $14 and up. Limited tickets available starting at 1 p.m.


Charlotte International Auto Show - Don't just dream about your next  car. Kick some real tires at Charlotte International Auto Show, which features more than 400 vehicles. Today is family day. Children 12 and under are free. They can enjoy clowns, bands, area mascots and more. 10 a.m. Charlotte Convention Center,  501 S. College Street. $8.  Parking tip: NASCAR Hall of Fame parking deck, 500 Brevard Street, adjacent to the Charlotte Convention Center. Typically accepts cash and credit.

Renaissance Festival - Enjoy jousting, belly dancing, soup bowls and beers in giant mugs. Today is the Final Huzzah. Tickets. 10 a.m. rain or shine. 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville.






Other events today



Soul Music - Hear songs off "I Still Believe," singer Lyfe Jennings' latest album. 8 p.m. Neighborhood Theater, 511 E. 36th St. Parking tip: Bring cash or coins in case street parking isn't available.  $35.










Disco Chicken - We love to mock it, take pictures with it and brag about it. Now, there's a musical event. Tribute to the Firebird is part of the Bechtler's Music and Museum program. The Bechtler Ensemble will perform. 6 p.m., Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 South Tryon St. $12.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Discovery Place killed it with Steampunk-Inspired Gears and Beers

I had a blast at Discovery Place's Science Rocks: Gears and Beers event last night. It was like the Renaissance Festival meets ConCarolinas. Adults wearing Victorian era outfits, pirate costumes and even the comic character Dead Pool, shot ping pongs out of leaf blowers, manipulated giant dinosaur structures and made music out of pots and pans. I met Steampunk performers. I didn't even know there was a such a thing.



The evening turned Discovery Place into a wonderland for adults. Instead of standing around watching kids have all the fun, the science museum turned into an adult playground on Friday. There was a sword fight, a bartending competition and demonstrations by Carolina Brewmasters. Birdsong and Olde Mecklenburg were among the local breweries that offered samples.


Cirque du Charlotte, a film festival and plenty of fun and games

Get an early start today with activities for the kids and then rest up for an evening of fun and games. 

Musical Wonderland - Escape to a magical place with the Charlotte Symphony Pops: Cirque Musica. The performance features aerialists and circus performers. Music compositions include classical and popular repertoire. The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra performs with Albert-George Schram conducting. 8 p.m. $30-$79.  Tickets here. Parking: Bank of America Center Parking Garage entrances at: 150 N. College St. and  290 E. 5th St.







Light It Up, Up, Up! - The holiday activities began yesterday. Speedway Christmas holiday light show features more than three million lights in 800 displays and a Christmas Village located in the infield. Tonight's movie is "Elf." $20. More infoMore family holiday events on the Observer's mommy blog.


...And don't forget

For the Family Bring the kids out for the annual the StJude Give thanks. Walk. Proceeds provide treatment and care for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The walk includes live music, face painting and a kids fun zone. Park Road Park, 6220 Park Rd. 8 a.m. registration. Various prices.




Uno out! - It's okay to be a kid again at PlayDate The Inspirational Edition. Games range from poker to Uno. Don't miss the signature PlayDate takes on Hula Hoops and musical chairs. 8 p.m. Venue 1801, 1801 South Tryon St. $10/$15. Parking onsite.












Keep It Real Short -  I'm really excited about the 100 Words Film Festival. I can't wait to see what these filmmakers do with such a strict word count. Categories are documentary and dramatic. 8 p.m. McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. $10More details.  Limited parking onsite. 7th Street parking deck at 7th off College St. (behind Levine Museum of the New South) accepts multiple forms of payment. Nearby surface lots accept cash and coins only.

Don't be shy: Tonya Jameson, sipandplayclt@gmail.com

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sipping brew with JP 'The Beer Goddess' and discovering new talent in NoDa


I started Thursday at Birdsong Brewing tasting the brewery's just released seasonal beer, The Pride. JP "The Beer Goddess," aka taproom manger, described the Abbey Dubbel's cherry notes and something about figs. I called it simply delicious, and worth a trip back. It's ABV is 8.4% so it's not for rookies.


Charlotte's Got Talent

I finished my evening at Dupp & Swat in NoDa for the Jambalaya performance showcase. Last night's first inaugural event drew a small, but enthusiastic crowd to the boutique/gallery/performance space. The seven performers ranged from singers doing their renditions of contemporary songs to hip-hop dancers to rappers spitting original music.

The winner was spoken-word poet Bluz, who performed "Turned Down For What."  It was a strong piece reflecting on the beauty of blackness and the senseless killing of young black men. I was also impressed by Immortal. She commanded the stage with her energy and flow, and she has style. She's one to watch.



Jet propulsion beer pong, moonshine and train rides for the kiddies

For the last two weeks, I've been excitedly telling my friends about the Moonshine Festival. I can't wait to see what the different distilleries have to offer, but now Discovery Place caught my eye. I get to wear a costume! Read why below.

Follow me live tonight when I start my evening at Discovery Place. I've already picked out my outfit.

Friday

Adult Fun At A Science Museum - Jet propulsion beer pong! I'm trying to imagine what this is going to be like. I hope I get to wear a jet propulsion pack while drinking a beer and playing beer pong. If not, I'll just enjoy craft brews, Steampunk performers, more science games and a bartending competition at Science on The Rocks: Gears & Beers.  Costumes are encouraged. 5 p.m. Discovery Place, 301 North Tryon St. $8-$10.

 According to Discovery Place, "Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that combines art and fashion from the Victorian era, the American Wild West and a post-apocalyptic future. Corsets and bustles are popular for women. Men often wear top hats, vests and jackets. Pocket watches, gears and goggles are popular for everyone." 




For The Family - The weather outside is frightful. So, bundle up for Piedmont Town Center Tree Lighting Celebration. Train rides for children, hot chocolate and lots of family fun.  6 p.m. Piedmont Town Center.  More family holiday events on the Observer's mommy blog.












Red Light District - Don't let the name fool you. Sweet Spot isn't a dessert event. At least not that kind of dessert. The Sweet Spot Charlotte: Red Light Special  is a pop erotica show featuring burlesque and live body painting. 9 p.m. The Chop Shop NoDa, 399 E 35th St. $20.





....And don't forget



 Not Your Uncle's Moonshine - I've tried a few legal moonshines, and I haven't been impressed yet. Hopefully, that will change at the first Moonshine Festival. The event will feature samplings from several distilleries, including Broadslab, Piedmont and Sazerac. 6 p.m. Rooftop 210 Pavilion At EpiCentre.






Love Songs - R&B singer Kem brings his Promise To Love Tour to Ovens Auditorium. He performs songs off his newest album, "Promise To Love." 8 pm. Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E Independence Blvd. $37.50 - $85.81.






Don't be shy: Tonya Jameson, sipandplayclt@gmail.com





Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Brew, jambalaya and a really short film festival

The weekend starts now! Okay, it starts at 4:30 p.m. in NoDa and winds all over town. Tonight's nightlife offerings range from a raucous party to a talent show. It continues over the weekend with a Moonshine Festival, musical performances, a film festival and more. These are my picks for tonight and a glance at the weekend parties, concerts and other entertainment and nightlife.



Thursday


A New Brew - Saturday, I tried sour beers. Today, I'll enjoy one of my favorite styles at Birdsong's Winter Release Party. Birdsong will tap The Pride Belgian Abbey, which according to the company has warming cherry, caramel and bready notes. Yum. 4:30 p.m. Birdsong Brewing Co., 4:30 p.m.  2315 N Davidson St, Cristian Skilone of Dimestore Saints performs at 6 p.





Charlotte's Got Talent - See some of the area's funkiest performers at Jambalaya Joint, a talent showcase, at Dupp & Swat, an art space/performance venue in NoDa.  The cover charge includes beverages and jambalaya by Chef Barry Francois. 7 p.m. Dupp & Swat,  2424 N Davidson St. Suite 112B Charlotte. $10.










Turkey Day Is Coming - Before you head out of town or brave crowded grocery stores, come out for the holiday jump-off, the 20th Annual Red Hot Turkey BashThis is one of Charlotte's longest running holiday events. 7 p.m. Oak Room at All American Pub, 200 E Bland St. $10.













A Peek At This Weekend 


Friday


 Not Your Uncle's Moonshine - I've tried a few legal moonshines, and I haven't been impressed yet. Hopefully, that will change at the first Moonshine Festival. The event will feature samplings from several distilleries, including Broadslab, Piedmont and Sazerac. 6 p.m. Rooftop 210 Pavilion At EpiCentre.











Love Songs - R&B singer Kem brings his Promise To Love Tour to Ovens Auditorium. He performs songs off his newest album, "Promise To Love." 8 pm. Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E Independence Blvd. $37.50 - $85.81.




Saturday



For the Family - Bring the kids out for the annual the StJude Give thanks. Walk. Proceeds provide treatment and care for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The walk includes live music, face painting and a kids fun zone. Park Road Park, 6220 Park Rd. 8 a.m. registration. Various prices.



Uno out! - It's okay to be a kid again at PlayDate The Inspirational Edition. Games range from poker to Uno. Don't miss the signature PlayDate takes on Hula Hoops and musical chairs. 8 p.m. Venue @ 1801 South Tryon St. $10/$15.












Keep It Real Short -  I'm really excited about the 100 Words Film Festival. I can't wait to see what these filmmakers do with such a strict word count. Categories are documentary and dramatic. 8 p.m. McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. $10More details.

Sunday



Disco Chicken - We love to mock it, take pictures with it and brag about it. Now, there's a musical event. Tribute to the Firebird is part of the Bechtler's Music and Museum program. The Bechtler Ensemble will perform. 6 p.m., Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 South Tryon St. $12.


Don't be shy: Tonya Jameson, sipandplayclt@gmail.com




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dancing and sweating at the Mint Museum and Petra's





Friday was probably one of my favorite nights of dancing in Charlotte in long time. Mint to Move Latin dance night reminded me of Latin dance nights at the now closed Latorre's restaurant. The Classic House party at Petra's was reminiscent of the early days of Pop Life at Prevue, and late nights at the now closed Hom.

There are moments when the energy of the crowd and music flows. Partiers are high off the vibe. Inihibition about dancing ability or unfamiliarity with the music give way to freedom. It was like that at the Mint. The crowd was such of mix of ages, from 60s to 20s, and ethnicities. Experienced salsa dancers twirled newbies around the dancefloor. Partners called out steps, dipped, spun and had fun. People danced in pairs, groups and alone.





The music was different at Petra's, but the scene was the same. It was darker, sweatier and grittier, but the vibe didn't change. People came to dance, and they did.

 

Using the 3 sip rule at a sold out Sourfest


Take three sips. The first one shocks your mouth, the second one gets your mouth used to the beer and the third is how the beer should taste. At Sourfest Release the Funk 2: Electric Funkaloo, I sipped and I sipped and I sipped. Turns out, I'm not a sour beer person, but I met some great people and ran into old friends yesterday. I'd go back just for that. Out of my several sips, I liked Natty Greene's Brett Lime Shandy the best. It took more than three sips to get used to it. 



The sold out two-year-old beer festival drew nearly 350 people to the Neighborhood Theatre on Saturday. It included sour beers from more than two dozen breweries. Asheville's Wicked Weed was by far the most poplar brewery. It consistently had a line. Their Divergence Sour Porter seemed to be the unofficial favorite.









The Hangover Edition: Panthers, brunch and a collard green museum

If you're looking to wind down your weekend after dancing, celebrating Alabama's victory over Mississippi State and shopping for vintage collectibles then I have a few suggestions for you.

Brunch


For starters, try the Lobster & Brie Omelette at Another Broken Egg Cafe at Sharon and Colony. It's a chain restaurant, but this omelette is yumalicious. Cream cheese, lobster, brie, champagne butter and scallions. The chunks of lobster are huge. I asked for a smidgen of cream cheese, and they were happy to accommodate. Their grits are good, but not as good as the Flying Biscuit Cafe. I was also gushing that Another Broken Egg sells the Mighty Leaf brand of teas for their hot tea selection. I wish more breakfast and brunch spots offered Mighty Leaf or Two Leaves And a Bud.

Ready For Some Football?

The Carolina Panthers play the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium today. Even if you aren't going to the game, it's fun to hang out with tailgaters uptown. I'm partial to The Tavern and Dilworth Neighborhood Grille on Morehead Street. Both are easy to drive to and have onsite parking.





For the Family 

After the game, don’t miss Art & Soul at Latibah Collard Green Museum, 720 Tuckaseegee Rd. Enjoy music by A Sign of The Times Band, live music and art auction and of course soul food. 980-206-1768. Starts at 3 p.m.











Don't be shy: Tonya Jameson, sipandplayclt@gmail.com