Thursday, May 19, 2005

NV update

In my exhaustion last night I forgot to mention the lineup for NV nightclub this weekend. If you're going, '80s one hit-wonder Shannon ("Let the Music Play") will perform Friday, and DJ Robert Rodriguez will spin high-energy dance music on Saturday. Big hair and thongs requested for Friday, but I say rock 'em Saturday too.

The force is with you

(TONYA JAMESON, Charlotte Observer)
You were supposed to be the chosen one! Star Wars fan ready for the final installment at Birkdale Village on Wednesday.

I had the lamest crowd at Star Wars tonight. Cinema 8 at Birkdale Village was as quiet as a library when the opening line (Long ago, blah, blah) flashed on the screen. At Regal Stonecrest, where my roommate saw the movie, he said people cheered as soon as the blue words appeared on the screen. And fans got even rowdier when R2-D2 was putting the smackdown on a couple of droid bullies. Another friend called from Chicago and said there was a light saber battle in his cinema. Next time, I'll screen hop.

"Revenge of the Sith" is the best of the three prequels. It's as good as "Return of the Jedi," my least favorite of the originals. It takes "Sith" way too long to show what I really wanted to see: Anakin Skywalker embrace the dark side, fight Obi-Wan Kenobi and become the man in black. During Skywalker's journey to evil I noticed plenty of similarities between the power hungry jedi and President Bush, as well as the United States and the Republic. (More on that in a later arts column.) When Anakin and Obi-Wan were spanking the bad guys the movie flowed well. It sputtered with stilted dialogue and Yoda's gibberish. Talking backwards does not wise one make. Oh, and pay attention to Chancellor Palpatine. He gets way too much of a rush being around Anakin when the dark side of the force is working its mojo.

Look me up tomorrow. I'll give you the scoop on the grand opening of Rick's Cabaret, formerly Club 2000.

What's to envy?

trapeze artist
(TONYA JAMESON, Charlotte Observer)
Cirque de Cornelius: The trapeze artist above the bar drew plenty of stares at Club NV on Wednesday.

After sitting in traffic on I-77 N. for about an hour on Wednesday, I finally arrived at NV nightclub about 10:15 p.m. The first thing I saw inside the club at Exit 28 was a guy on stilts and a dude on the dance floor playing with those Chinese stick things. I drifted toward the bar in desperate need of a cure for my traffic irritation. Before I could order a drink, I noticed a woman suspended above the bar on a rope trapeze.

I ordered my drink and soaked in the place. NV is the latest club to launch in the space previously occupied by Funky Buddha and Vertigo. I never went to Funky Buddha, but layout in NV was similar to the one at Vertigo. It felt like the new owners put on a fresh coat of blue paint, hung some abstract art and tossed in several additions to give the club a posher feel. The music on Wednesday was soulful house with splashes of progressive.

When you walk in there's a huge circular bar on the left and the dance floor is in front of the bar. On the other side of the bar is a raised area, about the height of a stage, with sofas, chairs and cocktail tables. That area was my favorite part. It felt like were sitting on a throne looking down on everyone else. To the rear of the club across from the dance floor is a swanky VIP area seperated by curtains. Each section has its own flat screen TV. Nice touch.

There's also an upstairs with a balcony. It has a small bar, several pool table and several larger flat screen TVs. There's also an exclusive VIP area with one-way glass that looks down on the dance floor. I hear a couple of NASCAR guys were in that private VIP the other day.

I didn't see any big-time race car drivers on Wednesday, but I did bump into Eric McCoy of Red Door, DJ Niz and Rich Saner, who helped organize the bartender's ball. I loved the music on Wednesday. It's a nice club, but it's not worth me driving up from Charlotte, and I'm not sure how this club is going to do in the Lake Norman area. On Wednesday, NV felt like a dress shoes striped shirt club in a flip-flops and shorts community. I wasn't the only person making that observation on Wednesday. Several people I spoke to said they like the club, but they didn't know how it would do north of uptown.

As Rob Mason and several of his friends said, when people in the Lake Norman area want to get dressed up they come to Charlotte. NV's a nice spot and with a few tweaks to accommodate a more casual crowd it could be just the right club for the burbs.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ride or die chick

bikers at hooters
(TONYA JAMESON, Charlotte Observer)
We're here. The Wednesday night bike crew parks at Hooters for an evening of wings and things.

Aaaahhhh. The wind whipped through my helmet asI hurtled toward a curve that beckoned me to lean harder and go faster. This is riding, I thought as I zoomed around Iredell County on Wednesday night.

After weeks of my bike being in the shop, I hooked up with my buddies for the weekly Wednesday night dinner ride. About 14 of us started at Interstate Cycle in Cornelius for about an hour of twisties through Mooresville, Davidson and we finished in Statesville at Hooters. I've been riding my Suzuki GSX-R 750 to work ever since I got it out of the shop a few weeks ago, but I haven't had time to ride with the fellas. Thankfully, they were patient with me tonight since I was, and have always been, slower whipping around the country curves than they are. Much love to Troy, the clean up man, who never rides my rear in frustration. (If you're sportbike rider, come on out. The group meets each Wednesday at Interstate Cycle on Exit 28.)

Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for dinner at Hooters. I zipped down to Charlotte for a quick shower, and now I'm off to the grand opening of club NV in Lake Norman, off Exit 28.

Good looking out

Thanks to top notch investigative reporters, I now know that the weekly poker tournaments in local bars such as Angry Ale's and Stool Pigeons may be illegal. Although, participants don't pay to play, some of these tournaments used to -- notice I wrote "used to" -- give out prizes, such as food coupons. Plus those cool poker tables are a no-no. An Alcohol Law Enforcement person told the scandal-uncovering news team that the agency would look into the tournaments.

Lighten up. No one's putting their kid's college fund up to play. The tournaments are a way for strangers to get together, play poker, drink a few brews and form new friendships. I appreciate the interest of hard-working journalists and the ALE in protecting us from the evils of card-playing. But I know somewhere in the region a waitress is serving alcohol to minors, and that deserves more attention than Texas Hold 'Em at Angry Ale's.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Chasing Tiger

Tiger Woods smacked the ball, teeing off at hole #10. A crowd of people huddled near the ropes and they were at least four deep. All I saw were backs and bottoms. I headed down the fairway hoping to get a better spot for Tiger's next shot.

I spotted Observer photographer Patrick Schneider jog-walking down the fairway. Schneider wielded a camera with a giant lens and an even bigger tripod, but he brushed past fans as if he were empty-handed. I dipped in behind Schneider hoping I could angle past fans for a closer glimpse of Tiger. Schneider broke into a jog-sprint. I'm too cool for that. I'll see El Tigre on television.

Well, golf fans. I'm out of here.

Frozen drinks anyone?

(TONYA JAMESON, Charlotte Observer)
Come and get it.

Kevin Corley looked lonely standing behind the frozen lemonade stand behind Green No. 3. Bystander scurried past his stand as if looking at the yellow monstrosity would make them colder. Not a prime assignment for Corley, a first-time volunteer, but he didn't mind.
"I'm not selling ice cream," he said. "I'm selling tropical dreams."
The people who were selling ice-cold Buds and Michelobs selling more. Ooh, I gotta go. A couple of guys said Tiger Woods is here and they're going to find a good spot on the putting green. (Actually, I have to find the putting green.)

No. 1 salad maker baby

salad making(This ain't no bag salad: Tonya Jameson hooking up the buffalo chicken salad in the clubhouse.)

Okay, I wasn't that great but at least Chef Lou Piuggi didn't kick me out of the kitchen in the Quail Hollow clubhouse. If you eat the buffalo chicken salad at the tournament today, chances are I hooked it up for you. I put my foot in it. (Not really health inspector people, that's just a term for saying a I did a good job.)

Actually, the real cooks did all the work, I simply dumped the salad onto the platters and tried to make it look pretty. It wasn't easy. I had to pile the salad just right so it didn't fall on the tomatoes grimacing the outside of the platter, but I couldn't mold the salad because it needed to look natural. Plus, I had to be careful not to touch my salad plastered fingers on the edge of the platter because it would take more time to wipe the edges off. All this to the soundtrack of clanging pots and loud-talking staffers. (Note: Chef Lou doesn't yell, he talks loudly.) Chef Lou was like the Phil Jackson of the kitchen, imploring me to relax. Apparently, I was gritting my teeth and holding lettuce in a death grip. At home I empty the lettuce mixture from the bag into a bowl and in the words of Chef Emeril "Bam!"

After my salad-making adventure I chopped pineapples with a knife that my Wal-Mart steak knife look like that little blade in a grooming kit. Chef Lou schooled me on the art of cutting. I thought I knew how to work a knife since I'd recently watched "Kill Bill." Chef Lou showed me how to relax my wrist and coax the knife through the pineapple instead of forcing it. "There is no knife," I mumbled to myself.

Get out the way

(TONYA JAMESON, Charlotte Observer)
Corey Hayes blocks off the walkway as a golfer crosses. Wish I could get that kind of service on Tryon Street.

A stickup at Quail Hollow?

Get this. I'm walking along trying to figure this golf thing out when a bunch of volunteers throw their hands up in the air near hole #10. I freeze. Is someone behind me with a gun? Where's Mr. Incredible when you need him? Then I realize the volunteers want us to shut the heck up because a golfer was getting ready to hit the ball. I slowly reach into my pocket and pull out my pen.

Back up off me

salad days
Chef Lou (right) sneaks a peek at Tonya Jameson's salad-making skills inside the clubhouse kitchen.

Breathe and stop

Compass Chef Lou Piuggi (center) teaches Tonya Jameson to become one with the knife in the clubhouse kitchen.

Rebel planet

The area in front of the clubhouse at Quail Hollow looks like the rebel base on the planet Hoth in the "Empire Strikes Back." Golf carts, media trucks, shuttles and other vehicles zoom in and out of the parking lot like X-wings zipping into a hanger. Play has started and volunteers in bright yellow jackets are making last minute preparations, grabbing water, jackets and anything else they'll need for the day.

Stickup: Photographic evidence

caddie and woods
Quiet! Someone's hitting the ball. (Tara Dellinger)

(TONYA JAMESON, Charlotte Observer)

Rain rain go away

It's cold and drizzling. Boo. Still, fans are already sitting in the stands watching golfers practice and waiting for the 7:15 a.m. start.

Unleash the lasers

(TONYA JAMESON, Charlotte Observer)
Jim and Betsy Malcolm and Russ Settles (right), volunteers for three years, man the laser at Hole No 2. Shot Link uses those lasers to record ball statistics. The information is then transferred to the media and television announcers.

I can do that

Ugh! I just missed seeing Tiger and Vijay Singh at the putting green, but now that I'm here I really don't understand the big deal. This dude was telling me that Tiger only stayed out there for a few minutes, but Singh was out there for a half-hour hitting the same putt over and over again. He even used some kind of contraption to keep his putter straight. I don't get it. The putting green is a small green field and it's flat. Miniature golf has hills and obstacles, now that's challenging.

Go Wizards!

I know, I know this blog is supposed to be all about golf, but I just got home from the Wachovia Championship media party and saw my hometown team the Washington Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls with a buzzer beater. Yaaayyyy.
Okay, back to golf. If you haven't been to the Belle Acres Golf and Country Club on South Boulevard, I suggest you find a friend who has a membership. The 14-year-old pub is deceiving. It doesn't look like much from the outside and the inside looks like a junky sports bar, but that's what makes it cool. There's all kinds of sports memorabilia and photos on the walls and ceiling. (No, the Mellow Mushroom in Noda wasn't the first place to hang cool stuff on the ceiling.) The place feels like a neighborhood diner -- for the ballas only.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Let's get it started

I don't know much about golf other than Tiger Woods is the man, but I do know how to have a good time. I'm heading out to the Wachovia Championship Media Party to suck down a few brews and hang with my fellow media peeps. Thursday morning, I'll be at the championship looking for the best food, rowdiest people, weirdest voluneers, most stressed chef and coldest beer. If you've got any suggestion on where to hang holla' at your girl.