Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays party people. I'm out of here until '07.
The New Year's Eve parties are listed on
If you take any good pictures of you and your friends send them to me next week. Have a fun and safe holiday.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Clubbing in black and white

My post about Onyx catering to African American professionals generated so much discussion about segregation in nightclubs that I wanted to address a couple of issues.

Several readers called me racist (they often do) because I was excited about Onyx coming to Charlotte.

I’m not racist. I’m observant.

I have always advocated that people get outside of their box and party with people of all races and styles. I have complained about the lack of hip-hop clubs uptown and the lack of black faces hanging out in uptown bars and clubs. In the last couple of years that has changed. Uptown clubs have more diverse clientele. We have two hip-hop clubs, V-Lounge and Crush. And Time lounge has a night for nearly every ethnic group. (It was the only way for them to stay open, but that’s another column about “going black.”)

The difference is white partiers are typically made to feel as welcome as black partiers at black clubs. However, I receive countless e-mails and have had conversations with professional black men who have been subject to selective enforcement of dress codes or membership rules at other clubs. I also hear from people who say DJs will stop playing hip-hop if a club draws too many black people.

Most uptown clubs cater to white partiers who are age 21 and up, and have at least a college degree and are typically professional.
The other issue I will address is why blacks prefer to go to predominately black clubs. (Same reason whites aren’t bumrushing the V-Lounge, but that makes too much sense).

We all party differently and have different music.

I’ll use Onyx as an example since it sparked this discussion.
They blasted hardcore hip-hop on Saturday. I had heard some of the songs on the radio and I’d never heard of a few of the tunes.
Neither the Men’s Club nor Uptown Cabaret will play that kind of hip-hop.

The dancers at Onyx performed differently than the ones at Men’s Club. Men’s Club dancers, and the ones at other predominately white strip clubs, are more seductive and do a lot of snaky undulating because that is what appeals to the clientele they want to attract. The ones at Onyx, and other black clubs, tend to be more acrobatic and do more pole work because that is what appeals to their clientele.

If you don’t believe me go to the Men’s Club or even Uptown Cabaret (which is a good compromise between a white and a black strip club) and then hang out at Onyx or Champagne for a night. If strip clubs aren’t your thing, try spending a night hanging out at Tempo nightclub and then spend a night partying at Grand Central.

It’s different.

My desire is that people of all races feel welcome at all clubs and that this city offers partiers a healthy mix of clubs and bars. I also want partiers to be willing to experience different places.

The same way we sample new restaurants and try food we don’t usually eat, we ought to be willing to try new clubs and party with people we wouldn’t usually hang out with.

It’s not as scary as you might think.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Onyx's not the Men's Club

I expected Onyx, formerly Rick’s Cabaret, to be a black version of the Men’s Club.

After interviewing the company spokesman, I envisioned Onyx as a place where I’d see black men wearing collared shirts, slacks or at least fitted jeans and nice shoes.

When I arrived about midnight Saturday, the line stretching down the side of the building told me Onyx was no Men’s Club. Men waiting to get inside wore oversized jeans and shirts, ball caps and track jackets.

I thought the men wearing athletic gear would be turned away because they weren’t wearing the proper clothes for an upscale club, but once inside, I realized these men made up the bulk of clientele.

I don’t know how folks party in Houston (home of Rick’s first Onyx club), but the Charlotte crowd wasn’t upscale on Saturday, the finale of a three-night grand opening party. It was the same crowd I’ve seen at Champagne and Peaches and Cream, but at a nicer venue and with better-looking dancers.

Let me clarify: I don’t have a problem with the oversized-jeans and ball-caps crowd. I don’t have a problem with Champagne or Peaches and Cream. But if I’m supposed to be going to an upscale club for professionals, I don’t expect to see patrons who look like they stepped out of a Lil Jon video. Yeeayah!

This crowd tends to be fun, lively and willing to spend money on
dancers and alcohol, but it will also keep the doctors and lawyers away.

With that said, Saturday’s crowd was 70 percent men and 30 percent women (not including the dancers). The manager said the club had about 65 dancers there that weekend. Sitting in the audience, you couldn’t turn around without seeing somebody getting a private dance, and there was also at least one dancer on stage. They ranged from looking so skinny that a bucket of Bojangles would only get them to a size 2 to looking so overweight that Jenny Craig would run away screaming.

The women hailed from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including white.

Our favorite dancer was Black Ice. She had ebony skin, a fiery red mohawk, a ripped body and a feather getup that was far more creative than the G-strings most women wore. It’s a nice club and a fun crowd, but black professionals will have to be willing to get out of their element if they plan to hang there.

Here’s my question: Am I stereotyping Charlotte’s black professionals? Are most of them willing to party with the white T-shirt crowd whether it’s at a strip club or any other night spot?

Post your replies below.

Also, on Wednesday I will address the uproar I caused when I announced the arrival of Onyx. Several blog readers were upset that Onyx explicitly caters to African-Americans.

This anonymous quote is indicative of several posts: "You are such a hypocrite. If a club that ‘caters to’ white people was opening, you’d be first in line to call that racist. Yet this you celebrate because it is geared towards blacks."

I’ll say this now: Unless a club calls itself a hip-hop club, an urban club, a Latin club or a club for any other ethnic minority, the assumption is that the club caters to white people. But let’s talk about this on Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

TJ on the Ice

We spanked some Checker booty!
Okay, spanked might be strong, but myself Stacey Simms, co-host of Charlotte ’s Morning News, Sharon Thorsland, WBT Sports Reporter, Molly Grantham, WBTV Channel 3 reporter, Tara Servatius, Creative Loafing beat four Checkers.

We cheated a little. Sometimes we held the goalie, other times we moved the goal and at one point Molly actually threw the puck into the net, but hey we won. Plus, none of us got hurt. Wahoo!

We took on the city's professional team in what was billed as Chicks vs. Checks. In interviews the Checkers threatened to take us out. I was scared. Adam Nightingale already had a black eye and busted lip. That didn't bode well for us.

But Daymen Rycroft didn't even respect us enough to take off his sun glasses. I didn't like him.

The first period slow, but by the second period we started body checking the guys. But then they cornered Molly and pinned her against the board. I don't think they were going for the puck.

Keith flew around like a madman and between he and Molly, we got the five goals we needed to win.

See the video online.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bring on A.I.

We're in the midst of a perfect nightlife storm. There's talk that Allen Iverson might be coming to the Charlotte Bobcats, and a new upscale gentleman's club that caters to African Americans is opening this weekend. Can life get any better?

I’ll start with A.I.

In Tuesday's Observer, Tom Sorensen wrote a column saying Iverson would give Charlotteans a reason to care about the woefully boring Bobcats. I hope Iverson comes here because he will spice up our nightlife.

We've got the Bobcats and the Panthers here, but -- as Sorensen wrote -- none of the Bobcats are stars. And the Panthers' biggest star, Steve Smith, doesn’t party. Iverson brings star power. An A.I./Nelly party easily draws a thousand people here. If Iverson played here, we could draw even more celebrity athletes and hip-hop artists to our nightclubs.

That point brings me to my excitement about Rick's Cabaret becoming Club Onyx on Old Pineville Road. The Charlotte location will be the first outside of Texas. It's about time a city this size has an upscale gentleman's club for African Americans. Champagne and Peaches and Cream are fine when I’m in a roughneck mood. However, when I want more posh atmosphere, I have to go to the Men's Club, and their dancers haven't impressed me lately.

Rick's spokesman Allan Priaulx says the original Onyx in Houston draws professional athletes and rappers. I'm hoping the Charlotte location will do the same.

A.I. combined with Onyx could give our nightlife a good adrenaline rush.
What do you think? Will A.I. enhance our nightlife? Post your replies below.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lordy, lordy look who's 40! And partying?

Last weekend, I went on a mission to find the best places for the 40 and up crowd. I discovered Mickey & Mooch in Lake Norman and Claiborne's on Beatties Ford Road. I also revisited favorites such as the Excelsior Club and a couple of my co-workers scouted Blue and Rodi. In Friday's E&T, I've listed about a dozen places for the 40 and up crowd, but I'm sure there are places I've missed.

If you are at least 40, please post your favorite place to hang and what makes that club, bar or restaurant special.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Invasion of the yuppies

An article in the local section of today's Observer details how young, educated professionals between the ages of 25-34 are moving to Charlotte in droves. Apparently, a study released by the Metro Atlanta Chamber revealed that we are second behind Las Vegas for the largest increase of young and educated people from 1999-2000.
We didn't need a study to tell us that. Anyone who lives here knows Charlotte is a Mecca for yuppies. I'm more curious about how all of these young, educated professionals are changing our culture, especially our nightlife. When I was an intern here in the early '90s and a young reporter in the mid-'90s, Charlotte's nightlife had some edge to it. The places to hang out ranged from seedy and dangerous to dark and alternative. Park Elevator was the place to be if you liked dance music. The Pterodactyl was popular with the Goth crowd. When Mythos opened on Sixth Street in uptown, it was edgy, too, because it catered to gays, lesbians, straight, Goth and anyone who wasn't too scared to get outside of their box.
Today, our nightlife is polished, almost wholesome.
Park Elevator and Pterodactyl are gone. Mythos became the Forum, which is as mainstream as Jay-Z.
Most of the dance clubs and pubs are concentrated in uptown. Condos and office buildings are gobbling up property and giving the uptown a pristine sheen. All of the dance clubs are glam, except BAR Charlotte (thank goodness for their sticky floors and that tacky bull). The pubs feel so safe; I could bring my grandmother out to party. All of the sports bars feel the same. Every lounge that opens in either uptown or elsewhere wants to be the next Tutto Mondo, and every neighborhood bar wants to be Thomas Street Tavern. On top of all that, we're on track to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.
Safety is good, but a little edge and a lot of diversity makes partying more interesting. Along with all the young professionals who make our economy grow, I hope the city can figure out a way to get more artists, musicians, authors and straight-up weirdoes such as Lil' Shiva, K.C. and the entire CarnEvil crew to funk this city up.
What do you think? Are all of the yuppies moving here making Charlotte's nightlife boring? Post your replies below.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Turmoil at the Spot

The club at Central and Pecan (formerly the Steeple and now the Spot) has had three owners since the last year or so. Soon, it will be looking for a fourth.

According to building owner Jimmy Margiotis, the current tenants weren't paying their rent -- so after they do the court thing, he'll be looking for new tenants for the location.

All of this shook out rather recently. Saturday's burlesque show was hastily moved to the Visulite Theatre.

Microphone Monday's, a hip-hop open mike, has moved to Fire & Ice, which is across the street from the Spot. Tonight is first night for Microphone Monday in the new home (which might also be temporary, more on that in another blog). Doors open at 9:30 p.m. It's free for ladies until midnight. It's $3 and $5 for men. Wolly Vinyl will host.

Here's the lineup:
Silent Hill
The One Kemist
Charles Herron

Open Mic Follows

Were you a regular at the Spot? If so, why don't you think it succeeded? And what would be a good concept for that location to complement the Penguin, Thomas Street Tavern and Dish. Post your replies below.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Club closings

If you've been out and about lately, I'm sure you've noticed some clubs have closed and others are under renovation.

Here's the haps on two spots:

*710 lounge in Gateway Village is closed. No word on what's going to happen there next. Former 710 manager Will Carper is now a manager at CANS Canteen. He promises the food there is going to improve. I hope so.

*Gilda's in NoDa is closed. It will re-open as Giovanni's Bar & Lounge on Dec. 7. New owner John "Giovanni" Koutsoupias plans to turn the lounge into something similar to Tutto Mondo, Sunset Club and Loft 1523. Yes, I'm scratching my head, too -- since that was the same concept for Gilda's. The previous owners brought uptown glam to NoDa, but it didn't do as well as expected. Giovanni, as most people call him, says he can make it happen.

"I'm taking that concept and putting it on steroids," he said.

He's adding furniture, revamping the drink menu to add signature martinis, and changing the music to appeal to a more upscale crowd. Expect theme nights: Wednesday will be cigar night, Thursday will be poker or alternative night, Friday will be ladies night, and Saturday will be a different theme party each week.

No New Year's fireworks

I've just learned that there won't be any fireworks uptown this New Year's Eve. Apparently, last year's setup in Polk Park wasn't all that good, and all the construction uptown means there are no safe places from which to launch the fireworks.

The fireworks production has been progressively scaled down each year, but this is definitely a blow to New Year's revelers in Charlotte. I guess all the partiers will be watching the ball drop in New York.

What do you think about not having fireworks uptown this year? Post your replies below.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Panthers Skinned!

What's up Panther fans! I know you all thought I was crazy predicting the Redskins would beat the Panthers, but we did it baby. We did it. No, we didn't win 30-0 as my scalp predicted, but we went home with the big W!
Panther fans take solace in this: you party way better than Skins fans. I tailgated at Sunday's game, and I don't know if the Orange E section was a bad spot or what, but Skins tailgates were boring. No, diehard fans with turntables and booming speakers, no live bands and only one crew with a TV set up in the rear of their SUV.
Panther fans, you might have lost the game, but you won the battle of the tailgate.
Don't forget to swing by Madison's uptown tonight. I'll be bartending with V101.9's Chirl Girl. All tips go to the Dignity U Wear charity. You can contribute to a good cause, try my special Redskins' concoction and join me in a round of:
"Hail to the Redskins, hail victory, braves on the warpath, fight for old D.C. ...."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

R we ready for a gay rapper?

On Sunday, Cazwell showed me why it's going to be a long time before an openly gay rapper goes mainstream.

Before his show at the Forum on Sunday, I watched a couple of his videos on YouTube, and I thought he had crossover potential. He looked and acted like a skinnier Eminem, with sarcastic lyrics, a dry delivery and a hip-hop look. In other words, other than the boys in the video and the fact that I knew he was gay, Cazwell didn't act like a queen. Furthermore, he rapped over house beats instead of hip-hop beats, which added freshness to his style.

In person, though, Cazwell discarded his rougher edge and stepped onstage shirtless (he needs to visit the gym) and wearing satin-y black pants. He looked like a queen. If you're going to be a rapper, it's tough to tiptoe between thuggish and tiara, especially if you don't have strong lyrics.

I love the idea of artists taking rap music and creating a sound that reflects their lifestyle, and if Cazwell's goal was to only appeal to a gay crowd, then he would be fine. During an interview, however, Cazwell said he wants to cross over into the mainstream and get radio airplay. He needs to seriously butch up, completely queen out or totally step up his rap game so his appearance won't matter.

Cazwell makes me wonder what will it take to get an openly gay rapper airplay on MTV and BET, and on Power 98 and 96.1 The Beat.

My guess is the person will spew "I'll kill you" lyrics like 50 Cent, or be a super-queen like RuPaul.

But my preference would be to see the emergence of an openly gay who's intellectual -- in the vein of Common, Talib Kweli or Mos Def -- or a pop rapper like Sean Combs. He cranks out hits that make it on the radio and MTV's TRL. In interviews, this gay rapper talks about his male lover, and at the Grammys, he's sitting next to his man.

What do you think? Will we ever see an openly gay rapper? Post your replies below. NO profanity.

Party Cancelled

Elevate's Kats for Kids event tonight at the Sunset Club has been cancelled because of some kind of contractual drama. It's not a weather related cancellation, so don't let that stop you from going out to the Turkey Trot at the Wachovia Atrium or barhopping elsewhere.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Shaken not stirred

In honor of the new James Bond movie Shud “movie” go here? , I went searching for a few places to have a good martini (besides the usual Cosmos, Therapy, Blue and Loft 1523). Although most establishments feature fruity, Kool-Aid-ish martinis, the classic – with TINK vodka (or gin),ENDTINK vermouth and an olive – is still one of the most popular. Here’s what I found:

6902 Phillips Place, 704-556-7730
The deal: Martinis are served in a short glass instead of the typical long-stemmed, wide-mouth version.
Sampled: The Upstream (Blue Curaçao, champagne, vodka and pineapple juice).
Yum factor: 8 out of 10. Not nearly as sweet as I anticipated.
Providence Café
110 Perrin Place, 704-376-2008
The deal: A lot of places use blue cheese-stuffed olives, but Providence uses Gorgonzola.
Sampled: The Classic (vodka, vermouth and an olive).
Yum factor: 8 out of 10. Not too dry, not too dirty, and strong enough to put hair on your chest.
Carpe Diem
1535 Elizabeth Ave., 704-377-7976
The deal: Martinis are served with the olives attached to cute little giraffes that some customers collect.
Sampled: The Classic made with gin (the bartender loves gin) and the French martini made with vodka, pineapple juice and Chambord.

Yum factor: The Classic – 0 out of 10; either you are a gin drinker, or you’re not ¼ I’m not. The French martini – 5 out of 10; it was sweet, but not cavity-inducing.

What your favorite martini bar and your favorite martini? Post your replies below.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What's up with K-Ci?

When I walked up to Tempo nightclub at about 10 Thursday evening, I was surprised to see there wasn't a line for the free K-Ci (K-Ci & JoJo) show. The lack of people inside the club was even more of a surprise. In the past month, I've been to free Bobby Valentino and Ruben Studdard concerts at Tempo, and both were packed. The line for Valentino’s show stretched down the building. I assumed the same would happen for K-Ci.

After all, K-Ci can actually sing, and he, his brother JoJo Hailey and their group Jodeci are from the Charlotte area. They have a catalog of hits; some have been couples' wedding songs, others are directly responsible for countless babies.

After watching K-Ci climb on his bodyguard's shoulder and walk through the sparse crowd while singing the Bobby Womack classic "If You Think You're Lonely Now," I realized the people who didn't spend their Thursday night at Tempo were way smarter than I. Every time I see K-Ci or his brother perform, I hope the next show will be better than the last, but it never is. During the 25-minute set to promote his long-awaited solo debut "My Book," the rail-thin K-Ci took his shirt off as usual and screeched out the Womack tune, "Freakin' U" and other songs. His voice was ragged.

He sounded better a few hours earlier when I interviewed him after sound check. He was slightly more sober. During the interview, K-Ci talked excitedly about the tour, his solo project, and the even longer-awaited upcoming Jodeci album. He was personable and polite. When his cell phone rang, he answered it, turned it off and apologized profusely for being unprofessional.

A ringing cell phone is the least of K-Ci's worries. If he really wants to be professional, he'll dry out and put on a concert worthy of his talent.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Racism or reflection?

Once again the ghetto culture that black entertainers have glorified and so many young blacks have adopted is causing national controversy.
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is grappling with the aftermath of a Halloween party called "Halloween in the Hood."
Sigma Chi fraternity threw the party on Oct. 28. According to a Baltimore Sun article, the party invitation, posted on Facebook, encouraged attendees to wear “regional clothing from our locale’ such as “bling bling ice ice, grills” and “hoochie hoops.” The party included a skeleton pirate dangling from a rope noose.
Predictably, black students at the school were upset, and administrators quickly launched an investigation. Administrators suspended Sigma Chi. Black students are demanding more faculty of color and an African American studies department, among other things.
I’m glad the black students are demanding change, but suspending the fraternity was too harsh. They were reflecting a culture glamorized in entertainment and adopted by so many blacks.
The outcry over the party reminds me of one three years ago when an Asian American hip-hop fan created Ghettopoly. The objective was to go around the game board (or the ghetto), buying stolen property and making money. In the middle of the game board is a black man with exaggerated features holding a gun and a bottle of malt liquor. Game pieces include a marijuana leaf, a crack rock, a pimp and a ho’.
"Halloween in the Hood," like Ghettopoloy, reflect the ghetto culture that entertainers have romanticized through music, TV and movies for decades. Blacks who buy that music or dress ghetto fab reinforce those negative images.
Halloween in the Hood is no different than the Pimp & Ho’ parties I’ve attended at Charlotte nightclubs. (Yes, there are white pimps, but pimps depicted on television are typically black.)
Heck, the black-owned Faces nightclub off Freedom Drive had a grillz party and people were encouraged to wear their gold teeth. Plenty of black promoters have held Timbs and Stillettos parties. Yet, I don’t hear anyone protesting those events. We support the negative images of ourselves and then get angry when whites make it their own.
(BTW: Listen to the re-mix of “Walk It Out” featuring Andre 3000. He’s got a great line telling men their oversized white tees look like dresses, and they should do their mothers proud and get the shirts two sizes smaller.)
Think I’m tripping?
Let me remind you that one in three African Americans who watched television on Oct. 15 watched the season finale of “Flavor of Love.” That show is insulting, yet I know so many blacks how flocked to their televisions to watch it each week.
If BAR Charlotte had a grillz party or a Timbs and Stillettos party and white people showed up wearing gold teeth and long chains, would the NAACP demand blacks boycott the club? Would the city investigate?

What do you think? Post your replies below.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pouring drinks again

Don't rush home after work tonight. Stop by Madison's on Fifth Street for Skirt Monday's. It's a charity event featuring guest bartenders whose tips, from 6-8 p.m., will be donated to charity. Tonight FOX Charlotte anchors Beth Troutman and Morgan Fogarty will be guest bartenders. Their tips will be donated to Girls on the Run.

I'm bartending with V101.9's Chirl Girl on Nov. 27. Tips from our night behind the bar will go to Dignity U Wear. Other featured charities are Room at the Inn (Nov. 13) and Second Harvest
Food Bank (Nov. 20). Along with being served by celeb bartenders, you can eat food from Coco Osteria and have a shot at getting a rub down. Zen Massage Center in
Dilworth will be raffling off two massages each week.

Hail to the Redskins!

Photo by: Non-Redskins fan Peter Weinberger.

Yeah baby, we beat Dallas so I dyed the hawk and I'm celebrating all week long. And if you think I'm being obnoxious now, wait until we play the Panthers. I'll be at that game at Fed Ex field. If you're going to the game let me know., I'll be tailgating with my brother and looking for some Charlotte folks to party with.

For those of you stuck in Charlotte that weekend, I'm looking for recommendations for good Redskins bars. I'm already familiar with Picasso's. Anymore out there that I can include in a box that will run in E&T on Friday Nov. 24? Post your suggestions below.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Black, white and fun all over

The Black and White Gala is my new favorite annual party.

It's a Make-A-Wish Foundation benefit organized by Young Affiliates of the Mint Museums. Last night's event was the first at CenterStage on North Davidson, and except for a slick floor, it was a good and spacious location.

I attended a Young Affiliates beer tasting a few years ago, and found the group to be a little stuffy. Last night, women kicked off their heels and par-tayed. Men and women dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns grooved -- and I mean grooved -- to the Maxx, an Atlanta-based cover band. Women in the audience jumped on stage and took over the microphone to sing Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" and Nelly's "Hot in Herre." They also freaked the band members, who rolled with it by inviting them to do the "Lean Back" dance. Less-crazy dancers stayed on the dance floor, twirling themselves and each other about. Women outnumbered guys 2 to 1. So fellas, next year, grab a tux or a fly suit, and make your way to the gala.

Along with current hits such as Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and older hip-hop hits, the Maxx performed a disco set that included Donna Summers' "Bad Girls," and they took it way back to Martha & the Vandellas' "Heatwave." If you ever get a chance to see the Maxx, it's a band not to be missed.

The gala has to be the best deal in town. For $35 (advance tickets), you can get your eat and drink on with an open bar of beer, wine and malt beverages. Fresh oysters, pasta, mini-sandwiches, cupcakes and all kinds of dips were available to soak up all the alcohol partiers consumed.

I woke up this morning and sent text messages to friends telling them to put the Black and White Gala on their calendars for next year -- assuming the Maxx performs again. It's a dress-up event, with get-down flava.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween II

The minute Ricky Bobby, wearing a Dickies style jump suit, started singing "Hound Dog" at Cans restaurant and bar on Halloween night, I knew Elvis would come. As if summoned by an ancient ritual, Elvis, wearing a white outfit, dark glasses and a red scarf, sprinted to the stage. He looked at Ricky Bobby as if he were confused. What was a racecar driver doing singing his song -- his song? Elvis tried to take the mike from Bobby.

Bobby, who towered over Elvis, bent down good-naturedly and shared the mike with Elvis. The racecar driver and singer were two of the dozens of different costumes parading around Cans on Tuesday for a special of edition of Live (I mean Dead) Band Karaoke.

The main floor was crowded but not overwhelming and most people wore costume. Neel Jadeja of Sunny Ledford dressed as guitarist Dave Navarro and Whiskey (former 710 owner) wore boxers, wifebeater and a suit jacket. I, looking innocent in my Girl Scouts outfit, saw several female police officers who could arrest me any day. I also saw Superman, Spiderman, catwoman, and two guys dressed in '70s gear who I thought were supposed to be Flava Flav.

After hanging at Cans for an hour or so, me, L-Boogie and Kitch headed to the Men's Club for Fetish Fest, a party coordinated by Joffe and Single Cell Productions. Downstairs was more like a dance party with live stage fetish performances. During the performance we saw, a dominatrix bound two guys and poured hot wax on herself. I'm not sure why she tied the guys up to pour wax on herself, but I'm obviously not schooled in the world of fetish.

I walked upstairs to visit The House of Intrigue. On my way up the steps, a guy stopped me and asked who was I supposed to be? I held out my arms incredulous. I wore a green jumper, a matching white shirt and I had pins on my dress. (By the way, I haven't worn a dress since I was in college. I really don't understand how or why women wear them. They don't have pockets and it's hard to ride my motorcycle wearing one.) Obviously, I was a Girl Scout.

“The Mohawk threw me off,” he said.

I shook my head. Like Girl Scouts can’t have Mohawks. Upstairs, were two shackle racks in which people stood with their arms locked above their heads. On the right near the entrance, a man wearing leather pants and no shirt lay strapped to a table. A woman whipped him. My favorite attraction in the House of Intrigue was this electric shock gadget. Joffe touched some kind of electric prong. Anyone else he touched got an unpleasant, but not overly painful shock. Once he shocked you, however, you could shock him by touching him. Neat.

So, party people, who had the best Halloween party and what costumes did you see over the last few days that stood out the most to you? Post your replies below.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Duke lacrosse players, scary people from "Lord of the Rings," the Alternative Champs dressed as flowers and playing "Ghostbusters" and those are only the few of the happenings at Halloween parties on Saturday. I spent most of the night at the Carnevil party and despite the outdoor-only location, I had a great time.

Organizers put up a huge tent with loungy furniture and a cage. That area served as the main dancefloor where electronic music blasted. Behind that was an area called Morture, where I watched a ballerina get spanked. Outside that tent, a woman twirled sticks of fire. Inside a smaller tent, a woman read tarot cards and people danced to house music inside giant teepee. Around the corner, live bands performed on stage (the loading area of the warehouse where Carnevil is located.)

The Halloween festivities end tonight. There's a party at Boardwalk Billy's in the University area, Phil and Tony's at the Arboretum and Buckhead Saloon. For a complete list of tonight's parties

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Shrooms anyone?

Every now and then I need a break from beer and chicken wings so I tried the much heralded Matsutake mushrooms. I only know about them because I recently read a gushy review of the Matsutake mushroom menu at Restaurant i. I figured any restaurant that devoted an entire menu to shrooms means I needed to try the mushrooms. Afterall, I've eat shitake mushrooms and portabella. I like a mushroom and swiss burger every now and then. On Saturday, my girl and I stopped by Restaurant i to see what all the fuss was about.

I'm still wondering.

Restaurant i's menu included grilled Matsutake, Matsutake mushrooms over Kobe steak and Matsutake soup. I wanted the full Matsutake effect, so we ordered grilled Matsutake. The waiter presented our shroom with flair. He removing the top covering our bowl with chop sticks.

I was more impressed by the presentation than the actual mushrooms. They tasted like mushrooms. They weren't any more tasty than portabella or the cheapo sliced ones I get at Food Lion. Considering that one Matsutake mushroom cost me $27 because they're so rare to say I was disappointed is only the tip of the iceberg. Plus, I was still hungry. The two sushi rolls we ordered were good, but not filling.

We thanked the staff, who tried to help us figure out something more hearty and headed to Fuel pizza. Guess what I got.
A slice of pizza and chicken wings! The wings were soo good. I ate them with my fingers out of paperbowl resting on a cheap plastic tray. They were cooked too perfecrtion, seasoned like my mom's and so saucy I thought I was going to make a mess on my shirt. The next time I'm in the mood for wings, you can best believe, I'll call the Fuel on South to make sure Helen is hooking up the wings and then I'll order a dozen. If I want good presentation and sushi, I'll head to Restaurant i.

I know I'm not the only one who bombed picking an exotic dish. What exotic food experience sent you searching for the nearest McDonalds? Post your replies below.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Arena's impact

In today's print edition of the Charlotte Observer, I wrote a story about the arena's impact on uptown nightlife. For the most part, bar and restaurant owners I interviewed said the arena hasn't been like fruit of the Gods for them, but it's been good for business.

Several people mentioned that the arena doesn't draw many customers to their establishments after events, and I'm wondering what's up with that? I remember after the Rolling Stones concert last year, everybody bounced and uptown felt like a ghost town.

I have a couple of questions. If you party uptown regularly, do you stay away from uptown when there are events at the arena? If so, why?

If you go to events at the arena do you typically hang out uptown? Why or why not? Post your replies below.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Roots concert - whoa Part II

The vibe, the show, the people -- all off the chizain for the Roots.
I know I'm a little late getting this up. I had a crazy weekend, but here it is:

I haven't seen a bad Roots concert yet. When Black Thought started singing "Don't Say Nuthin" at 11:15 p.m. the 500 or so people at Grand Central surged toward the stage Thursday night. The band played a set similar to the one at the Forum earlier this year. I figured they would play more tunes off their new album "Game Theory." The hip-hop band did perform "Here I Come" and "Can't Stop This."

That was enough for the crowd which was much more excited about staples such a "You Got Me," "The Next Movement," and "The Seed." I've got pause for "The Seed" because instead of playing the song like the album, they started with "Black Betty" and then morphed into "The Seed" - blazing.

One of the highlights of a Roots show is their set-ending medley. In past years they've rocked out with heavy metal jamming, but more recently they've stuck with R&B and hip-hop. After giving us a smidgen of "Shake, Rattle & Roll," they went into "Gold Digger," "Get By," "It's Goin' Down" and several other songs. ?uestlove banged out "Smooth Criminal" on the drums and singing the high-pitched "woo! yeah!" a la Michael Jackson. It was hysterical.

Fans cheered and sang with all of it. The free hour-long show was part of Tanqueray gin's effort to expand its brand. They had their pitchman Tony Styles making the rounds posing for pictures with fans and being seen. Other notables in the house included Panther Kris Jenkins (he's such a teddy bear) and Drew Carter; along with singer Calvin Richardson, Power 98's Terri Avery, V101.9 Chirl Girl and most of the Power 98/V101.9 crew and the Dixie's Tavern crew. Before I forget, big thanks to Jean Herreria. He let me use his camera and e-mailed me the photos after my camera died on Thursday. I left my spare battery in the car and there was no way I was leaving the show to go get it. Thanks again Jean!

Did you go on Thursday night? What did you think? Post your replies below?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Stealing our civil liberties

If you haven’t heard, Mecklenburg County Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to ask the state legislature for permission to consider a ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces.

I enjoy an occasional cigar, but I don’t smoke cigarettes. Going to the smoke-free Tempo nightclub is so refreshing. Peeling off smoky clothes -- like after the night at Dixie’s on Monday -- is just disgusting.

Still, I’m against an outright legislative ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.

Currently, 38 percent of the county’s restaurants voluntarily ban smoking. Restaurant and bar owners not politicians should decide if they want to be smoke-free.

If a customer doesn’t like going to a smoky establishment, then find someplace else to eat or party.

What do you think? Post your replies below. While I appreciate your passion for this topic please remember that this is family newspaper. Chill out with all the cursing on the reply posts.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What can I get you?

Oh yeah, I did it! I bartended at Dixie's Tavern on Monday, and didn't get kicked out for breaking all the bottles, spilling a drink on a customer or ringing that lovely bell a few too many times. Wahoo!

I've always said I want to be a bartender when I retire. The three hours behind the bar at Dixie's convinced me that it's a decision I won't regret. Customers, on the other hand, might have a different opinion!

After all, I did nearly poison some friends of mine. I made the absolute worst Blue Waterfall. It's a Red Bull and vodka bomb that I bombed. If I had a picture of my friends' faces when they drank my concoction, oh my goodness. They looked at me like I was crazy. Sorry guys, really. The whole time I was making their drinks this guy was sitting at the bar sipping a Miller Lite and watching me with a disgusted look. When I offered to get him something, he stuck with Miller Lite. He didn't trust my mixology skills. Neither did my friends. After my failed attempt, they stuck with Miller, too.

The funniest story of the night had to be when my friends Hot Asian Mama, Monie Love and T-Diddy did karaoke. They were on stage singing Donna Summer's "Last Dance" when Carolina Panther Vinny Ciurciu joined them -- uninvited. My friends, being the good sports that they are, let him sing along at first, but then Ciurciu tried to take the mike from Hot Asian Mama. She stiff armed him and kept singing. DeShaun Foster would have been proud of that stiff arm.

Ciurciu and Panther Drew Carter had been invited to Dixie's by fellow guest bartender Elevate's Larken Egleston, who had the bright idea to get me behind the bar. Mad thanks to the Dixie's crew who put up with me: Jules, Jason, and Seth. Although, I do think they were hazing me by putting the tip bucket so high up above the cash register that I had to get on my tippy toes. And thanks to Stefan and Russ, who gave me a little good-natured hazing as well when they stopped through Monday night.

Also, thanks to my boo, the brunch crew, my Observer posse and all of my other friends who came out to support me on Monday. You helped me raise $100 for the Latin American Coalition. I can't wait to do it again, and next time I'll have my own fancy-schmancy bottle-opener thingy like everyone else.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tonya @ Dixie's / Roots update

Don't forget, tonight, tonight tonight, I'm doing it up at Dixie's Tavern. I'll be behind the bar mixing drinks and making a mess. Fall through and holla' @ yo' girl.

Also, from Mike Kitchen, The Roots is at capacity and no more RSVP e-mails are being accepted. It's 21 and private. If you didn't get your RSVP confirmation or don't make it into the show, be sure to check my blog on Friday, you know I'll give you the 411. Heck, if you do get in the show, check my blog anyway and tell me what you think.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Roots info

Alright Roots fans, you've been blowing up my e-mail so here's the dealy. They will perform a free show at Grand Central (1000 Central Ave.) at 9 p.m. Thursday. Oct. 19.

If you want to go, you must RSVP by Wednesday Oct. 18 to
The RSVP doesn’t guarantee admittance, so arrive early. For more info:

Roots fans - I got you

I'll be posting the show info at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Come drink with me

On Oct. 16, I’ll be a guest bartender at Dixie’s Tavern. This will be my first time behind a bar other than the one at my own house, but I'm up for the challenge. Come out and enjoy, but be warned I make my drinks strong and I like the crowd rowdy. Party starts at 10 p.m. It's free. (All tips - if I get any - will be donated to the Latin American Coalition.)

If it's free they will come

The line to get inside Tempo nightclub wrapped around the building on Tuesday night. Yeah, a Tuesday night. People came out to see a free performance by R&B singer Bobby Valentino.
What my friends and I all wondered was whether it would be a capacity crowd if the show wasn’t free. I mean really, Valentino is adorable. He’s energetic on stage and some of his songs are catchy -- but he can’t sing. He’s one of those artists whom I’d rather hear lip synch. Valentino was in town promoting his new CD "Special Occasion," which is due out on Nov. 14.
He played to his female fans. He handed out roses to women in the audience. He sang to a woman sitting in a chair on stage. Probably because he only has two CDs, he had his DJ play a medley of Top 40 songs during his 45-minute set to get the crowd dancing. He closed with his popular song "Slow Down."
Speaking of free shows, American Idol Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard will perform at Tempo on Oct. 18. Doors open at 8 p.m., but to get in you must win tickets from Power 98 or V101.9, or be a member of the Tempo.
And lastly, the Roots are coming back for a free show as well. They will perform at 9 p.m. Oct. 19. I can’t give you anymore details yet, but be sure to check my blog. I’ll post how to get tickets for the show as soon as I get the greenlight.

College homecoming

I felt like a little kid walking from the car to Bowman-Gray Stadium. With each step, I soaked in the smells of fried fish and barbecue ribs, and the sound of rap.
It was homecoming weekend at Winston-Salem State University, and it was my first time really attending a homecoming. In college, I’d partied in towns for homecomings, but I didn’t start my day before the sun went down. Going to the game wasn’t even an option.
Walking toward Bowman-Gray on Saturday to watch Winston-Salem take on Howard University made me realized what I missed. Vendors sold T-shirts, groups of friends huddled around grills or cars. A DJ blasted music. Once we got inside the stadium, the party continued with more vendors and -- best of all -- the halftime show. The drum majors came out in an ambulance and led the band. The crowd was on its feet.
After the game, we danced at a homecoming-related party. We finished the night at the gay club Odyssey. The hip-hop side was packed tighter than sardines, and the smoke and heat were oppressive. On the house-music side, a group of gay men took over the dance floor, vogueing.
That’s when things got a little crazy.
A heavyset guy strutted with everyone else, but he wasn’t graceful at all. Actually, he looked a hot mess. His shirt was two sizes too small, and he couldn’t dance. The other guys picked on him. The big guy ignored them. Then some jerk pushed the big guy in the face. A brief scuffle broke out. The whole thing was comical. A bunch of guys fighting over vogueing.
To his credit, the big guy straightened up his clothes and kept strutting across the dance floor with everyone else.
Next weekend is North Carolina A&T’s homecoming, which is even bigger than Winston-Salem State's.
After attending Winston-Salem State's homecoming, I’m planning to go to Alabama’s homecoming next year. My boy is sending me a link to the black alumni group for our college, so I'm hype.

Friday, October 06, 2006

How we entertain ourselves

According to Ticketmaster, these were the top requested events of the third quarter:











What's hot in da' clubs

According to, this is what's playing in area clubs:
2. "DÉJÀ VU" BEYONCE featuring JAY-Z

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ghosts and spooks

A stolen corpse used at a medical college. A fireman pushed down a shaft. A bitter husband who killed his ex-wife.
These are a few of the characters we met on the Queen City Ghost & Graveyard Tour, which started last weekend and runs each weekend until Nov. 11.

On the bus, we met Emily, our ghost tour guide. She gave us all kinds of interesting facts about spooky stuff, such as the origins of Jack-o'-lantern and the graveyard shift. For an hour, we drove to graveyards, parking lots and other areas listening to ghosts tell us their stories. Most were based on real ghost tales from the region.

Tours start at 7 p.m., 8:45 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Last week’s sold out. $15 adults, $8 for kids. 704-248-0922.

Seafood bliss

I have a new favorite seafood restaurant. I’ll never be able to afford to eat there regularly, or even semi-regularly, but I wish I could. Last week, I went to the preview event at the Oceanaire Seafood Room, near SouthPark mall at 4620 Piedmont Row Drive (704-554-8811).

The high-end chain restaurant is themed after a 1930s-style luxury liner. When I walked in, I expected to see Jack and Rose hugged up in a corner.

I was as impressed with the drink menu as I was with the food selection. They had Sidecars (brandy, Cointreau, lemon juice, lime juice and sugar) which my buddy John raves about all the time. They also had Harvey Wallbangers (a fancy name for a Screwdriver). The Sidecar was tasty, but the Tequila Sunrise was way too sweet.

Our waiter, David, wasn’t as knowledgeable about the bar as he was the menu. The menu changes daily depending on the seafood shipment. It’s a la carte. I didn’t know there were so many kinds of oysters. David deftly guided us through the selections. I told him to order for us. My favorites were the Kumamotos, Netarts and Blue Points. I don’t think I can eat oysters at Vinnie’s again.

We also had sashimi-style yellowfin tuna and lump crabcakes with little breading. Don’t make this mistake: Macaroni and cheese and sashimi tuna are not a good combination. We ordered the asparagus, but it was on steroids and flavorless.

For dessert we had the Baked Alaska, which was good and huge. I realized I don’t like creme brulee.

Like I said, I like Oceanaire, but can’t afford it. What are some of your favorite affordable seafood restaurants in Charlotte?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Feast to Famine

Daddy Jameson wasn't as happy with the Culinary Arts Experience this
year. It was a scaled-down event. We noticed the difference when we
approached Gateway Village's promenade for the sold-out preview gala on
Friday. I didn't realize how much smaller the festival would be without
the Blues, Brews & BBQ component. The
festival was contained in the promenade area. Last year, it stretched
down Trade Street, with cooking stations in the streets and a mini
farmer's market, along with a huge wine area near the Doubletree hotel.

The promenade area was pleasantly full. We zipped through short lines
for food samples from restaurants and wine samples from wineries. We
wanted to get a martini, but the line was way too long. The martini area
was the most fun, with people chanting and getting rowdy like they would
at a bar.

My dad lingered around a small cooking demonstration station near Fifth
Street. He tried sashimi tuna for the first time, while my mom and I
sampled more food. Both of them tried Ethiopian food for the first time
and loved it.

My folks, especially my mom, were happy with Friday's event, but Dad was
disappointed Saturday. Last year, he bought tokens to sample food from
local restaurants, but he also ate lots of free food cooked on the main stage. Apparently, last year students cooked
the dishes that the celebrity chefs prepared on the main stage.
Volunteers walked the samples around to the crowd, and handed out recipe
cards. That didn't happen this year.

The VIP after-party was smaller as well. Last year, it was on top of a
parking deck and included a live band. This year, it was indoors and
featured a DJ. I liked the DJ, who spun funky house music. My parents
preferred the live band. We finished the night at Cedar Street Tavern
with chicken wings and burgers.

Daddy Jameson said he's not sure if he's coming back for the Culinary
Arts Experience next year. I told him organizers would probably tweak
the event some more, and I would keep him posted. Mom said she wants to
come back.

What did you think of this year's Culinary Arts Experience? Post your reply below.

Hurray beer

When we hopped off the bus at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, my heart
sank. The line to get inside Charlotte Oktoberfest snaked down the
Seventh Street side of the stadium and around to the Kings Drive side. My
friend Key, who drove down from Maryland, reminded us that the line was
long last year, but moved quickly. We trudged to the back, and about 45
minutes later we were inside.
Me, Big Sexy, Key, Bubbles, Ant and Q grabbed our glasses and
headed to the middle of the field. Last year, we darted through lines and
tasted as many beers as we could as fast as we could, then finished
with a tour of the brew tents. This year, we started with a tour led by
Carolina Brewmasters club president Todd Bowman. Under his tutelage, we
sampled stouts, ales and pilsners. Our favorites were Duck Rabbit's Milk
Stout, Ommegang's Three Philosophers and Pauwel’s Kwak. Bowman explained
how beer is made and the differences in styles, and he reminded us that good
beer should not be drank ice-cold. It freezes your taste buds. He said to
let beer warm to fully experience all of the flavors.
After the tour, we made a dash for the bathroom and then
grabbed some food. Our only choices were sausages, hotdogs, funnel cakes
and pizza. They need more food vendors. After eating, Big Sexy and Key
were done for the day. Me, Bubbles, Ant and Q hit up some more beer
Memorial Stadium is a new location for the beer festival that
quickly outgrew its home in NoDa when it moved there two years ago.
This is the first year the festival has sold out in advance. People walked
through the line on Saturday looking to buy tickets. Along with the
breweries, there was a game area with table tennis, Cornhole, foosball
and more.
We headed to the stage to watch BabyBlack, who performed Outkast’s
"Ms. Jackson," Ohio Player’s "Love Rollercoaster" and Alien Ant Farm's
version of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." They had people up and
dancing. I’d like to see them again. By the time we decided to make our
last rounds of the tents, the crowd started getting rowdy. One group was
yelling “Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!” a soccer chant. (Don’t ask me why.)
Another guy had gotten too playful and threw his beer on his friend.
Another couple of guys shotgunned beers.
I liked that organizers moved to the larger, grassier
Memorial Stadium, and capped attendance at 5,000. It wasn’t too crowded
and there were plenty of areas to sit and rest. But the festival needs
more food vendors and a second entrance.
Did you go to Charlotte Oktoberfest? What did you think about
the new location? About the festival? Post your replies below.

Rakim changed the game

Rakim finally stepped onto the stage at Amos' Southend early Saturday morning wearing a white towel underneath a white doo rag and a baseball cap. He looked small standing on stage, but when he put the microphone to his lips, he looked like a hip-hop giant. The 800 or so fans waved their arms and screamed.

Fans packed the club's stage area and upstairs balcony. Fans were hungry to see the hip-hop legend. He gave them an unforgettable show. Rakim unleashed his signature flows, such as "Don't Sweat the Technique," "Ain't No Joke," "Microphone Fiend" and "Paid in Full." Some eager fans surged forward trying to get closer to the stage. Others chilled in the back. Most everyone sang along to his most popular cuts. The only drawback was that he had too much filler -- throw-your-hands-in-the-air-type stuff -- between cuts. It felt like he didn't have enough material to carry the show. Fans didn't mind. Some had been waiting since 10:30 p.m., so by the time he took the stage at 1 a.m., they were just glad to see him do his thing.

Other highlights from Friday night's show were DJ Kid Capri and Raleigh's DJ Brorabb cutting up the wax, and Minneapolis rapper Brother Ali. His flow is catchy, rugged but still smooth, and his beats are blazing. If you ever get a chance to see him, he's worth checking out. He recently performed on the Atmosphere Tour.

Be sure to get on the email list for They've got a big show coming up that they can't announce yet. Also, hit up the Paid to Party: For Yo' Ear podcast on Wednesdsay to hear my interview with Rakim.

Did you go to the show? What did you think? Post your replies below.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Goodbye Athens

The two young women sat in their booth, quietly talking. Behind them, a table full of drunk guys talked about them loudly. The girls, obviously a couple, ignored the guys, which made the drunks even more obnoxious.
One of the women couldn’t take it anymore. She grabbed her cup, walked over to the table and threw it at one of the guys. Good for you, I thought.
Stories like that are why I often went to Athens after a night of club-hopping. The food was average and so was the service, but the people were anything but average. You never knew what or who you would see at the diner, and that’s what made it so fun.
The only guarantees were a long wait for food, and that you’d go home smelling like smoke if you didn’t already.
If you missed Jeff Elder's story in Saturday’s Observer, the venerable diner closes on Sunday at 3 p.m. CPCC has plans for it. The owners hope to find a new location. I hope they do it.
The closing of Athens hasn’t received nearly the same amount of outcry as the Coffee Cup, which is unfortunate. Athens has as much character, devotion and history as the Coffee Cup. Maybe Athens isn't getting the same love because it caters to the scary people who don’t go out until midnight. I don’t know, but I do know the city is losing yet another place that adds grungy character to our shiny city.
What’s your favorite story about Athens? Post your replies below.

Step into the 21st Century

When I lived in Rock Hill in the mid-'90s, I drove to Charlotte on Sundays to watch football at Bw-3s, on Woodlawn Road. During football season, beer and chicken wings are mandatory on Sunday afternoons. I would've liked to enjoy my beer and wings at a Rock Hill sportsbar, but restaurants can't serve beer and wine on Sundays.

On Nov. 7, people who live in Rock Hill can help their city step into the 21st century and approve a referendum that would allow Sunday alcohol sales. Imagine, waking up on Sunday, and meeting a few friends for brunch at a restaurant in Rock Hill. Imagine being able to watch the Panthers at a sports bar in Rock Hill instead of driving to Charlotte. Imagine being able to feel like you're not 30 years behind the rest of the world.

Rock Hill businesses support the move because they say it will mean increased revenue. Mayor Doug Echols supports the referendum as well. Predictably, some pastors are against the idea because Sunday is the Sabbath.

I'm all for honoring people's religious beliefs as long as it doesn't affect me. Allowing Sunday alcohol sales in Rock Hill means the people will have a choice: drink or not to drink.

I hope the referendum passes. I also hope we can move both states forward several light years and eventually get Sunday liquor sales at the ABC stores. That would be progress.

Post your thoughts below.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Wire -- I'm my own brand

Omar’s coming! Omar’s coming!

Did you see how folks scattered when Omar walked down the street wearing
his bathrobe to get a box of cereal? I’m not sure if I like Omar because
he’s a bad muthashutyomouth or if it’s because he always drops street

My favorite Omar wisdom was when he told his young apprentice that he wanted people to know he was the one
robbing them because he was his own brand. Bold.

I also like watching Michael wrestle with wanting a better life than the one
streets and schools of Baltimore have to offer, but also succumbing to
the corner that puts money in his pockets. Doesn’t he remind you of a
young Michael Corleone?

I’m going tell you though, last night’s ending still haunts me. My mom
is a middle school principal, my girl is a middle school teacher. I know
“The Wire” is a TV show, but watching a girl slit another girl's face
with a razor shook me. It bothered me so much because I know there are many kids walking around
angry enough to do that to a fellow student, teacher or to themselves.

If you haven't been watching, you can catch it on Friday when HBO will air the first three episodes starting at 8 p.m.

What did you think about last night’s episode? Also, is having Russell Simmons' "Def Comedy Jam" follow "The Wire" the worst pairing ever? Post your replies below.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Who's Bad is Bad

When Larken Egleston invited me to Elevate's "End of Summer Social," featuring a Michael Jackson tribute band, I was skeptical. He hyped the group. I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan, but I figured Who's Bad? ( was going to be cheesy like Elvis impersonators. They weren't.

Not nearly enough people got to see that for themselves. On Thursday night, promoters Mike Kitchen and Thomas Washington, Sony records rep Tone Capone and I joined about 50 other people who showed up at Amos' Southend.

Those of us who were there had a great time. Men and women danced and sang along as the six-piece band, with Brandon Lee as Michael Jackson, cranked out "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough," "Human Nature," “Rock With You" and more. Lee wore high-water black pants, white tube socks, black loafers and a white T-shirt. He wasted no time doing signature Jackson steps -- the Moonwalk, the spins, the crotch-grab and the toe-stand. He also sounded like Jackson.

The band was bad, too. It had a horn section. A horn section! The group jammed and had fun on stage, doing dances as well. During one song the saxophone and the trumpet player joined Lee in the center to do a choreographed Jackson 5-style dance. (Remember the one where they stand in a line facing the side of the stage and they put their hands on each other shoulders and that camel-like motion with their neck?) During another, the trumpet player and Lee did the Kid 'N Play kick-hop one-leg dance.

If the group comes back again, you've got to see them. Next time, I hope the promoters do it up big with a Michael Jackson lookalike contest, a costume contest and a dance contest.

Amos' brings a lot of tribute bands, and I'll admit I rarely see any of them. What are some of your favorite tribute bands that have performed here? Post your replies below.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Slam dancing with the Rev.

Standing in the middle of the dancefloor at the Visulite Theater, the soles of black boots headed toward my face. I stepped back. Two drunk guys tried to lift another drunk guy in the air so he could body-surf over the dozens of people dancing in the Visulite’s pit during the Reverend Horton Heat’s performance on Thursday. They couldn’t get their friend into the air, so they put him on the floor. He stood up and resumed slamming into other dancers.
I’ve never been to a Reverend Horton Heat performance, and was surprised to see the several slam dancers I’ve encountered at the Milestone. I never thought of psychobilly (alternative rockabilly) music as a setting for a mosh pit.
Less exuberant, but enthusiastic fans, danced without hitting someone else. They thrust beers into the air or waved their empty hands and sang to all of the Rev.’s songs about drugs, cars and booze.

Hip-hop fans have more sex

Hip-hop haters, you'll love this:

Fans of hip-hop music are likely to have had more sexual partners in the last five years, while many of those who prefer classical strains will have tried cannabis, according to a new study.

Psychologist Adrian North from the University of Leicester surveyed 2,500 Britons to find out how their musical tastes related to their lifestyles and interests.

Almost 38 percent of hip-hop devotees and 29 percent of dance music fans were more likely to have had more than one sexual partner in the last five years, compared to just 1.5 percent of country music fans. However, they were also more likely to have broken the law, with more than 50 percent of both hip-hop and dance music lovers admitting committing a criminal act.

Meanwhile, a quarter of classical music fans have tried cannabis, while 12 percent of those who liked opera had experimented with magic mushrooms.

North wants to recruit 10,000 people for a wider study (details:

So, hip-hop haters, I'm sure this confirms all of your assumptions about the vileness of hip-hop music. But what’s up with the classical and opera fans smoking weed and eating 'shrooms?

What's up in Charlotte? Hip-hop fans -- have you really been that sexually active? Country fans -- are you really that conservative? Actually, is having more than one sexual partner in the last five years a bad thing?

The Wire - Week 2

Aw shucks! Omar is coming back to "The Wire." He is my favorite homothug ever!

Wasn't that so cute when Bubbles tried to register his young apprentice for high school? I loved the idea of Bubbles, an addict, trying to mentor a teenager and also trying to expand his pushcart business. He sells everything from white T-shirts to paint cans.

I'm curious to see what's going to become of Michael, the teenager who wouldn't take Marlo's money. Michael is fighting to be his own man in a neighborhood where fists, guns and money define manhood.

I really like this season's emphasis on the young kids. Although the show is fiction, it's loosely based on real events. It's an eye-opening reminder that the lock-'em-up mentality won't solve the drug or crime problems in Baltimore, Charlotte or elsewhere. And for some kids, No Child Left Behind is simply a slogan -- not their reality.

If you haven't seen "The Wire: Connected" and "The Wire: The Game," you should. They both give a behind-the-scenes look at the veracity of some of this season's storylines. They also feature interviews with various cast members, many of whom were as criminal in real life as they are on the show.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Charlie Murphy is funnier

Photo by: Danny Greene

If Charlie Murphy revamped the first half of his set,
he'd be great. At a nearly sold-out Comedy Zone on
Thursday, the "Chappelle's Show" star was much
improved over his last performance here, but he
started painfully slow.

He wasted the first 30 minutes telling airplane
security jokes with punchlines that fell flat and
stories that dragged on and on. He seemed to plow through
the material, and he never looked relaxed on stage or
willing to engage the audience. He acted as if he were
reading from a script.

The second half was better. He gave fans what they
wanted to hear, and something they can't get from other
comedians: his takes on life as Charlie Murphy, a
star of "Chappelle's Show." He relaxed as he talked
about being approached by fans of all ages who called
him "Darkness" or asked if they could jump on his couch
(references from the show).

His tales of hanging out with Rick James were
absolutely hysterical, and his impersonations of the
singer were dead-on.

Trying to recapture that in the blog wouldn't do it
justice, but here are a few of my favorites lines of
the night:

n"It's a shame how much I love my own name -- CHARLIE
n"I'm not tired of the s---. Let's not forget my name
was 'Eddie Murphy's brother' for the last (few) years."
n"The chicken flu -- I hope y'all don't think I don't
know who that's for. What's next, the Newport virus?"

For now, he should work on stretching the Charlie Murphy
and "Chappelle's Show" material out longer. If Murphy
insists on tackling current events, he needs to
freshen up the material. In recent weeks, we've had
"Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin's death, gas prices have
dropped, "Survivor" divided its tribes based on race,
and Whitney Houston filed for divorce from Bobby Brown.
Murphy didn't talk about any of that.

Murphy performs at the Comedy Zone through the weekend -- 8 p.m. and
tonight and
Saturday; 8 p.m. Sunday.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Random thoughts - The Wire

Today's posts aren't nightlife related. So, if you want to stop reading now, it's okay. That will save you the trouble of posting that this is supposed to be a nightlife blog. It is. But today I have some other things on my mind.

Hey, "The Wire" watchers, did you watch this week's season premiere? I miss Stringer already. And thanks to the deadly duo of Chris and Snoop, I'll never look at a nail gun the same again. Really, was Lex really that dumb to think his ex wanted to meet him in a playground after she watched him kill her man? No guy is that gullible, especially if he's supposed to be drug dealer.

So, "The Wire" fans, are you excited about this season? Why or why not? Post your replies below.

Random thoughts - Baby names

Did you read the article about bizarre baby names for celebrity kids? It struck me that when black parents give their kids ridiculous names its called “ethnic.” When celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, give their children ridiculous names it's called "creative."

Both sets of children will face challenges in life. The black kids will have a hard time getting jobs, and the celebrity kids will have a hard time in general. Life is so hard, when you're the child of spoiled, rich superstars.

What are your thoughts about parents naming their kids “creative” or “ethnic” names? Post your replies below.

Random thoughts - Just say no

Last random thought.

The other article that caught my attention was the increase in drug use among Baby Boomers ages 50 to 59. Apparently, this is the third consecutive year that this age groups has seen an increase in drug use.

It’s ironic. The same age group that lived it up in the ’60s with acid and weed, then jumped on the "Just Say No" campaign in the ’80s is now saying yes. Hmm. Could it be too much disposable income? Or maybe in the never-ending quest to be young some Baby Boomers are trying to relive their youth.

What are anti-drug crusaders going to do? Afterall, it’s no secret that drug use can lead to promiscuous sex. Will we one-day see an increase in HIV infection among Baby Boomers?

The anti-drug folks ought to act quickly before this gets of out hand. They should revamp their TV commercials. Maybe show adult children talking to their Baby Boomer parents about drugs? How about dusting off the "this is your brain on drugs" campaign? It could feature a suburban housewife in her McMansion.

What do you think? Why are more Baby Boomers are getting high and what can we do to save them? Post your replies below.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A bad combination

When I first heard that Ne-Yo and Chris Brown were coming to Charlotte, I encouraged my girl and another buddy of mine to let their teenage daughters attend the show.

Brown and Ne-Yo are the new young heartthrobs whose posters are plastered on the walls of thousands of teenage girls' bedrooms. They're the kind of artists who should be on the Scream Tour.

I was about to order tickets for my friend's kids when I started thinking about the supporting acts: Lil' Wayne, Dem Franchise Boyz and Juelz Santana.

I didn't order the tickets.

I like the rap acts on the tour, but they shouldn't be packaged with Brown and Ne-Yo. These rappers draw the gold-tooth, white T-shirt crowd. Too often they think women should be treated like the women in music videos - disrespectfully.

Let me see, teenage girls whose bodies are beginning to bud and whose hormones are on overdrive combined with amped grown men, some of whom will be drinking. And way too many of whom will be making inappropriate comments to women and girls.

It's a bad combination.

What do you think? Am I overreacting? Should I have let the girls go? Post your replies below.

Dave Attell ain't right

Listening to comedian Dave Attell is like spending an hour with your most obnoxious, insensitive friend. At his opening show at the Comedy Zone on Thursday, he insulted blacks, Jews, lesbians, women and Mexicans, among others.

Some of his jokes were incisive and others were downright mean, especially the ones about people with disabilities. He dipped into pop culture, current events and frat-boy humor.

A few of my favorites:

*"Smoking is evil now," he said, lighting a cigarette. "That's why you should do it on evil days like Scott Peterson's birthday."

*"There's a lot of hot women here tonight. If I were Flava Flav, I would give you all a clock and call you a derogatory name."

*About crocodile hunter Steve Irwin's death: "The crocs put a hit on him."

The funniest part of Attell's act is how he insulted the audience with compliments:

*"You're a great crowd. Nobody f------ laughs at the joke."

*"It's great when a girl laughs at a rape joke."

If your feelings get hurt easily, Attell's show isn't for you. But if you want a night of chuckles interspersed with some knee slaps, then head to the Comedy Zone. He's there at 8 and 10:15 tonight and Saturday, and 8 p.m. Sunday.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

They all look the same

I was heading inside Amos’ Southend on Friday when a guy wearing an oversized polo shirt and jeans stopped me. He wanted to know if the 1st Fridays party was the only thing happening that night.

The line to get inside the club stretched down the sidewalk just after midnight.

I suggested Studio 74.

He looked at me as if I were stupid, and said he didn’t know what 74 was.

"We’re not from here," he said, pointing to five other guys standing against the building. "Can’t you tell? We’re from Philly."

I looked at his friends. Each wore oversized white T-shirts and jeans.

This time, I looked at him as if he were stupid. I laughed, and said, "You look like every other black man in Charlotte."

Why do grown men feel like it’s okay to dress exactly alike?

Wait, I know. Commercial hip-hop has turned many young blacks into followers, and made geographic regions indistinguishable.

For example, the finger-snap dance popularized in Atlanta’s Bankhead community is now done here, too. If Yung Joc’s "It’s Goin’ Down," plays in the club, watch how many people do the dance from the video. Gold teeth, which have been popular in the deep South forever, are now fashionable nationwide thanks to Nelly’s "Grillz."

Cmmercial hip-hop has turned countless young blacks into ghetto cloones, and there’s a guy from Philadelphia running around thinking he’s an individual.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ignorance at the Big Chill

Up and coming comedian Kenneth McLaughlin was talking about AIDS at the Big Chill when I heard the most ignorant comment of the day on Wednesday. It outranked all the Bush hate mail I've received.

McLaughlin, who was competing to open for Steve Harvey at Ovens on Oct. 7, said his wife was in the audience. So, was his girlfriend. So, was his girlfriend's girlfriend. The audience laughed. Then he said something like AIDS was in their bed. The room fell silent.

McLaughlin talked about how black women make up more than 20 percent of new AIDS cases and black people make up 50 percent of all new cases.

Then I heard it.

"Whatever," said a woman behind me.

I whipped around to see who made the asinine statement.

McLaughlin used the stats to set up his punchline. He dates white women -- its safer.

The room erupted. I laughed too. The best comedians -- Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, to name a few -- educate while making us laugh. McLaughlin’s joke did that too.

But the "whatever" nagged me.

What is there to "whatever" about?

In case the woman who dismissed the comic reads this blog or has friends who do, I want to reinforce McLaughlin's message.

AIDS is killing black people.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blacks account for half of all new cases of HIV. AIDS is the leading cause of death for black women between the ages of 25 to 34. It’s gotten so bad that in August, Jesse Jackson and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called on blacks leaders to step up. I won’t even get into the failure of leaders such as Jackson and Bond to confront AIDS sooner.

So, if you are the one who said "whatever" on Wednesday, please get tested. Obviously, you don't have a clue that AIDS is killing black women just like you.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Reggae Sunsplash in Charlotte

On Sunday, I caught reggae artists Buju Banton at the Metrolina Expo for Carolina Caribbean One Love Festival. For a first time event, I was impressed by the diverse crowd getting irie together. Parents brought children and set up tents near the back of the stage area. Vendors sold the typical goods, hats, flags, bracelets and CDs.

New owners at 7-Ten

Will Carper never rests. At 7-Ten, he was behind the bar filling up glasses, then he was outside cleaning tables. If you think owning a bar or lounge is glamorous, it can be after you’ve made it big.
Carper hasn’t made it big yet, but he’s working on it. You might remember him from City Tavern and Liquid Lounge. Now, he co-owns 7-Ten with partner Michael Mark. The former face of 7-Ten, Whiskey, isn't there anymore. That's al I know on the record, so I'm leaving it at that.
Carper and Mark took over the small lounge in Gateway Village about a week ago, and they’re hoping to pick things up there.
"I’m pretty much sleeping here," he said Saturday, during a brief break.
He wants to draw an upscale crowd (who doesn’t?) at night and make it a neighborhood gathering spot during the day. He plans to have more speciality, invite-only parties and ramp up the kitchen.
Carper works hard and finally has a majority ownership in a place where he’s busting his bosom. Making 7-Ten prosper won’t be easy. The place is tiny so to make any kind of money is going to be tough. It’s a great spot for a chill evening with friends. You can sit outside on the patio or grab a sofa inside. On Saturday, a mix of people in flip-flops and shorts; and designer jeans and leather shoes hung out there.
DJ Levi spun chill house. Carper zipped around refilling glasses, cleaning tables and welcoming customers to his latest venture.
So, party people. What would it take to make 7-Ten work? What kind of theme nights would you like to see there? What kind of music? Post your replies below.

Roaring '20s

No, this blog isn't about reliving my reckless years. I swung by Great Gatsby 2006 in the Wachovia Atrium on Saturday. It was my first time. I decided to attend at the last minute so I wasn’t as GQ as I should’ve been. Don’t get me wrong, I looked good and wore a tight Dobb hat, but next year I’ll be ready.
As the song goes, "I've got to stay flyyyy, till I diee!"
A full band played on stage and couples of all ages twirled, whirled and whipped around the floor. I saw women tossed into the air or slide around partners' legs. Some couples looked like professional dancers, but I was equally impressed by the ones who couldn't swing dance, and got out there anyway.
The Multiple Sclerosis fundraiser drew a diverse crowd, and at least 80 percent of the partiers wore ’20s style outfits. It was good to see Charlotte's button-down professionals let loose.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Jungle love in the Attic

When we walked into the Attic on Tuesday, “Jungle Love” blared from the speakers. A young couple danced sloppily to the ’80s hit.
It was the second week of Old School Tuesdays and about 25 people milled about the bar. After Morris Day’s “Jungle Love,” DJ Wojo spun Abba’s “Dancing Queen.” I realized this wasn’t a typical oldies night.

Before we left the Attic, Wojo would play Tupac’s “Dear Mama,” A Tribe Called Quest’s “Award Tour” and Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

I loved the mix. Typically, old school nights are stuck in one genre, but Wojo delved into pop, hip-hop, disco and rock catalogues.

The Attic is the right vibe for such a mix. You don’t mind looking silly dancing or singing. But you can also feel comfortable sitting and talking with friends.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Buggin' out in Sullivan's

I was about to spear a fried shrimp when J-boogie leapt across me and said, “Stop!” (Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic.)

It was Thursday night and we were hanging out Sullivan’s for their popular happy hour. It’s one of the city’s best, with live jazz and two bar menu items for $10. I went before at the request of the restaurant's general manager. They treated my friend and I like queens.

This time, I went incognito with a larger group of rowdy friends to see if we’d get the same good treatment. I arrived about 5:30 p.m. to reserve a table, which go quickly there. I joined other people sitting with large empty tables, reading books or magazines as we killed time waiting for our friends to arrive.

Once my friends arrive we ordered fried shrimp, the blue cheese chips, burgers, salad and salmon.

I’m sitting there with fork poised to grab a shrimp when J-boogie points to a itty-bitty white thing wiggling out of one shrimp. We froze. Let out a collective eeewww and passed the plate around. It was a live worm.

I’ve had a dead bug in a salad at Mama Ricottas years ago and hair in my food at numerous place. A live worm was new.

We called the manager. He ordered us a fresh plate and came back to explain how a live worm could’ve possibly ended up in our food. It was something about the jalapenos coming out of a jar. We stared at the freshly fried plate of shrimp. We acted like little kids saying, “No, you try it,” “No, you try it.”

I took the plunge. It was good and without the unwanted protein. The manager and staff were apologetic. They reduced our bill and gave us a platter of desserts to sample. (The bananas foster bread pudding was the bizomb! It's now my favorite bread pudding in Charlotte.)

We left still wondering how a live worm survived the frying process.
Everyone I’ve told this story too has a different way they would have handled. One friend said she would’ve left immediately and she would’ve wanted the entire meal comped. Another said she’d never go there again.

I’ll definitely go back. Bugs or hair in food isn’t that uncommon. What have you discovered in your food while eating out? And how did the situation get resolved?

What's playing in the clubs

Here’s what Starfleet Music Pool DJs are playing in this area's clubs and parties.
1. “Promiscuous”
2. “Get together (remix)/I love new york (remx)”
3 “ U & Dat”
4. “Get up”
5. “Shoulder Lean”
6. “Me & U (remx)”
7. “Crazy”
8. “Ain’t No Other Man (remixes)”
9. “Turn It Up”
10. “Déjà Vu”
For a complete list of what’s being played in area clubs:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nothing against Ray

Ever since a photographer asked me if I was attending a benefit for Ray Ducharme, I’ve been debating about whether to blog about benefits for the injured banker.

I don’t have anything against Ducharme, but neither the line-up of entertainment nor the cause are enough to get me to the Hearst Tower Plaza on Thursday or the Neighborhood Theatre on Saturday.

I can’t see donating money to a fund for a guy who was injured when he was thrown from a cow in a vaquilla, an event where people chase cows around a bull ring, pulling these animals ears and tails. Ducharme was in Spain for the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona.

I’m glad to hear that, according to, Ducharme is getting better. Unfortunately, he continues to have a hard time swallowing and with one lung. His friends are amazing. They’ve set up a Web site to update his condition and organized benefits for Thursday (Hearst Tower) and Saturday (Neighborhood Theatre).

If something ever happens to me, I hope my friends will be that vigilant. I don’t, however, want any benefits if I get injured doing something crazy. I'm a thrill seeker: motorcycles, sky-diving, tree-hopping on zip lines. One day I want to run with the bulls.

I live my life this quote: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, hair in a mess, and screaming: "WOO HOO - What a Ride!"

With that said, benefits are for people who aren’t that wild and who have no control over what happened to them, such as DJ Scott Beaty who was seriously injured in a car accident last year. The accident wasn’t his fault and he didn’t have health insurance. They’re for Renelvis who has to care for disabled daughter alone now that his wife has passed away. Of course, I’m down with anything benefiting cancer foundations and children.

Speaking of which, there’s a breast cancer benefit tonight at the Comedy Zone and a leukemia benefit on August 26 at the rooftop terrace at South Tryon.

I wish Ducharme luck for a speedy recovery. I hope he will be able to run with the bulls again one day if he chooses. I also hope that we remember there are a whole bunch of other people who are less fortunate and who don’t put themselves in harms way who need our donations too.

For details on the benefit and Ducharme’s recovery
So, how do you choose what charities or benefits to support? Or are there so many that you’ve given up? Post your reply below.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Think you're as good as Taylor Hicks?

On August 27, you can prove at the "American Idol" auditions at Fox Charlotte studios.

You have to be between the ages of 16 and 28. Please, if you're older or younger stay home. When I judged a few years ago a lady obviously well past 28 stormed into the audition area and started singing. Security removed her. I was embarrassed for her.

Please do the judges a favor and sing something you think no one else is going to sing. If it's your favorite song, it's probably some 15 other people's favorite song to. I heard "His Eye is On the Sparrow" so many times, I wanted him to close his eye. Be yourself. Don't try to sing like Whitney Houston (before Bobby) or Mariah Carey. You can't. I was kidding about the Taylor Hicks thing. Don't do the blue-eyed soul thing. It worked for Michael McDonald and Hicks. It's not going to work again for "Idol" -- trust me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

CIAA time already?

Standing in the back of a Charlotte Convention Center conference room this morning, I had flashbacks. The last week of February into the first few days of March were a blur of day parties, night parties, early morning breakfast stops, celebrities, traffic jams and basketball.

Yep, it's time to start talking about the CIAA's return to Charlotte Feb. 25-March 3. Last year, was a good debut for the city. Next year should be even better.

This morning organizers unveiled the new logo and had a ra-ra session to get the city excited about the tournament's return. Starting Sept. 1 you can log on to to buy tickets.

Daniel Entertainment turns 5

I don't get to see many cover bands, but I met a slew of folks on Monday at Doug Daniel's five-year anniversary party for Daniel Entertainment Group. I've heard a lot about the variety band Too Much Sylvia, so it was nice to meet them. It's always good running into Scott McCloud of Hip Shack. Daniel Entertainment books bands and events for Panther parties, Food Lion Speed Street and other big time events. Doug is my go-kart tormenter and soon-to-be paintball victim. Congrats on making it five years!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Taylor Hicks at Coyote Joe's

Apparently, I missed a heck-of-a show at Coyote Joe’s on Wednesday morning.
I arrived about 10:15 p.m. and stayed until after midnight. I went to see if the latest “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks was going to make a “surprise” appearance to support his former band LiMBO.
He did.
After the concert at Bobcats Arena, Taylor stopped by Coyote Joe’s about midnight Wednesday. (By the way, Taylor ate at Morton's uptown on Tuesday before the "Idol" concert.)
He walked to the side of the stage, snapped a few pictures of the band, shook hands with the sax player, waved to fans and left.
The band started playing again. Fans chanted “Taylor! Taylor!”
Finalist Ace Young showed up and was the perfect distraction. He posed for pictures with women and hugged whoever could reach him.
The crowd was a mix of Old Navy-moms, Aeropostle-twenty-somethings and Stetson-men. Everyone jockeyed for pictures with their digital cameras.
By the time Ace came out, I figured Taylor wasn’t coming back so I left. My bad.
Taylor, Ace, Elliott Yamin and others took the stage about 1:30 a.m. and performed for about 30 minutes, according to club owner Alan Presley. He called it “American Idol” at Coyote Joe’s.
I can only imagine.
By the way, Taylor's presence pulled the crowd out for LiMBO, but that band can stand on its own. They’re energetic and play boogie-woogie blues that makes you want to dance. If they play the Visulite Theatre or Double Door Inn, they’d be worth seeing.

Did you go to Coyote Joe's last night? What did you think?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

MTV is getting old

Today we celebrate MTV's 25th anniversary. Like it or not, the network changed the landscape of pop culture when it debuted in 1981. It did some good stuff, such as challenging young people to care about news, politics, and starving children in other countries. Some MTV moments affected pop culture, but most fell in the line of "did you see (fill-in-the-blank) last night?"

In today's paper we looked at some of the incidents that made MTV a cultural button-pusher, from Madonna loving all over her body during the inaugural VMAs as she performed "Like A Virgin" to watching Mariah Carey self-destruct on "TRL."

My favorites were the 1983 debut of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and the VMAs in 1999.

I was a huge Michael Jackson fan. When "Thriller" aired, I sat in the family room with my parents and my brother to watch. It was a family event, and after that, we'd often catch Jackson's video premieres together. My parents would critique them afterward, and I would coo about how Jackson was so great and they just didn't understand.

My other most memorable moment was when Lil' Kim wore a pasty over one breast as she presented a video music award with Diana Ross. It wasn't the pasty I remember the most. It was Diana Ross jiggling the Queen B's breast on national TV. That still cracks me up. Ross seemed so fascinated with the outfit.

So, what's your favorite MTV moment. I don't care if it's the VMAs, a program, a video, whatever. Post your replies below.