Wednesday, March 29, 2006

To curse or not to curse

I was with friends at the new Quaker Steak & Lube on Park Road last night when we overhead a waiter talking casually with two customers and later a fellow waiter. Several times, both waiters used profanity. I have foul mouth, but hearing staffers curse freely around customers seemed unprofessional.

Then I read an Associated Press article in today's paper about a recent poll regarding profanity. About three-fourths of people polled said they frequently or occasionally encounter people using profanity or swear words in public. Two-thirds said they think people use profanity more now than they did 20 years ago.

What also struck me about the article is that most people surveyed don't like it when people swear for no good reason.

That got me to thinking. When is a good reason to curse?

When I'm working my use of profanities changes. I sometimes curse around colleagues and they curse around me. Talking to club owners and bartenders, depending on my relationship with them, I've cursed when we're shooting the breeze. During straight-up interviews, business talk and interactions with readers (no matter how rude), I don't curse.

Here's my question: Is cursing unprofessional at work or does it depend on your job? Is it okay if you're a bartender, but not a bank teller. Post your replies below.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Are man bags sexy?

Hey fellas, is your game tight? In a recent interview with Details magazine, Sean Combs talked about what makes men sexy.

Here’s part of his list:
1. You’ve got to get your smell right. Walk into an elevator with a beautiful woman in it. If you’ve got your scent going in the right direction, she’s gonna be thinking about you when you leave. That’s the way to seal a woman.

2. The lighting design in a home is the icing on the cake. I’m not talking about anything expensive. I’m talking about dimmers. You’ve got to be able to control the mood.

3. I don’t have a lot of body hair. If I did, I’d get rid of it.

4. It’s better to look like you’re wearing something that fits then like you’re wearing a trend.

5. I have a “man bag.” I’m not gonna lie. Just make sure that if you carry one, it’s very, very big, so it doesn’t get mistaken for a pocketbook. (Here's Keifer Sutherland as super agent Jack Bauer saving the world and carrying a man bag)

Sorry, P. Diddy, I was with you until the man bag thing. I don’t care how rich you are men with purses or clutches are not sexy.
Fellas what do you think? What’s your best technique to scoring with the ladies? And ladies, what does a man have to do to woo you?
Post your replies below.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Goodbye McHale's, Hello Sir Ed's.

There's a line out the door for a table and inside is packed. Lee Van is holding it down with the ladies and Jared Young just wants to be down. I'll be swinging back here later on tonight. I missed the Irish dancers. Ugh.

Jigs and Reels at McHale's

Dishing it up at McHale's

I love corned beef, but usually I don't eat it at Irish bars because its dry. The beef McHale's wasn't. The $10 admission included a free buffet of corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes and shepherd's pie.

The Pervert's Corner

It's not what you think, actually maybe it is. A bunch of trash-talking older gents who refer to women as lasses. Every night, you'll find them in the far right corner of the bar at McHale's. Now, how they got that name, I never got a straight story.

Bob says it's because they used to have a brass pole in the bar and it had a Barbie doll on it. He also says its because they come every day and talk trash during happy hour. John says it's because they all lie about their younger days. Whatever, the reason if you ever go to McHale make sure to stop in the corner and say hello.

Goin' Green at McHale's

I knew I was home the minute I walked into McHale's, Bruce Prospect, who was sitting at the bar eating corned beef and cabbage, told me not to write anything bad. Margaret Green took me under wing and showed me around the place. She introduced me to her partner, Lorraine Bonura Green, and gave me a quick run down of why this is her favorite spot. McHale's is one of those bars that is the neighborhood pub. Packs of friends are sitting around the bar and at tables. They're eating corned beef and cabbage, drinking stuff and chillin'. Several people drank Bud out of green aluminum cans -- cute.

I'm getting ready to meet a group of regulars here called the Perverts. I can't wait.

If you're heading down this way here's what' up at McHale's:
Mchale's in Fort Mill and Rock Hill will have an all you can eat Irish menu, beer specials, live music and dancers. Fun starts at 3 p.m. $10. Fort Mill location: (803) 548-2151, 1820 Gold Hill Road., Rock Hill: (803) 329-8580, 122 E. Main St.

Hello Irish Cue, Goodbye Irish Cue

After leaving Galway Hooker Pub, I went down the street to the Irish Cue. Their menu sounded tasty so I figured they'd have a decent crowd. Plus, the Cue is a longtime spot here. It was dead with a capital D at 3:45 p.m. Maybe 10 people sat around the bar talking and drinking. A nice lady did offer me a green beer, but I'm alcohol free until 6 p.m. I'm off to the next place --McHale's in Fort Mill.

If you're going to Irish Cue her'es the deal: HIGH-END FOOD: How about braised corned beef, cabbage, garlic mashed potatoes, turnips and glazed carrots for $6. Live music starts at 9 p.m. Doors open 10 a.m. Irish Cue,$5. 19501 W Catawba Ave. Exit 28 off I-77 N. (704) 892-6904. $5

Goodbye Galway Hooker

It's Kiss me I'm Irish, not the shamrock!

If you're coming to Galway Hooker here's the deal: -B-BALL AND BEER: Galway Hooker Pub is celebrating March Madness and St. Patrick's Day. They'll air the games all day, and serve an Irish breakfast and a Guinness starting at 8 a.m. Giveaways and games all day, live bagpipers about 9:30 p.m. There's a VIP shindig for $100 with free food and the games on a projector screen. They're working on a leprechaun show -- scary. Exit 28 off I-77 N

The Zoo at Galway Hooker Pub

That's what they call the cooler. Galway Hooker co-owner Chris says the pub will go through 40 kegs of Guinness today. On a typical Friday, the club runs through eight kegs.

Although things are jumping at the Hooker now, it's going to be crazier tonight. They're having a VIP party. It's $100 a head and includes free food and other goodies. They'll be showing the basketball game on a big projection screen. Ace &TJ and their crew will be here as well. I'll be long gone by then, but if you go let me know how it is.

Holla' at a sista at Galway Hooker

All week, I've been saying: "holla' at a sister if you see me in the streets."

Well, my man Joel in the white T-shirt. Stepped up. He and his boys did it up right at the Galway Hooker Pub.

Going green -- At Galway Hooker Pub

Oh yeah, you could hear the live music when you walked up to the Galway Hooker Pub. At noon, the patio is full and so are the tables inside. Some people are watching the game, others are just drinking and hanging. An acoustic duo is playing cover tunes.

Patrons and staff are decked in beads and green. Two women are walking around selling some kind of flavored shots, and there's a VIP area upstairs. I'm trying to decide between hanging with the shot girls or checking out the VIP.

What to do, what to do? Oh wait, I just talked to the owner. I'm going to the secret place where they're tapping kegs..

Going green -- It's St. Paddy's Day

What up Party people!

I'm started my St. Patrick's Day early at Ri-Ra last night. I joined dozens of people getting an early start to the their St. Patrick's Day celebrations. A live cover band played on the stage and couples and friends sat at tables and around the bar.

I hooked up with an out-of-towner named Garth. He had expense account money to burn and some wild stories to tell. I only intended to grab one beer and leave, but I ended up swapping stories with him for two hours. Good peeps, good times. I'm doing the day-long Irish bar pub crawl from Charlotte to Cornelius to Fort Mill and then back to Charlotte.

Am I the only one out there partying now? We'll see.

If you know the best spots post your replies below and if you're looking for St. Patrick's day events. I've got you. Let's get this party started. Holla' at a sista' if you see me in the streets.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

N---- Jeans? No way

When my phone rings before 10 a.m. and I see WBT on the caller ID, I know it can only be Keith Larson. This morning he wanted to talk about comedian/actor Damon Wayans desire to trademark the term "Nigga" for a new line of clothing. I figured Wayans was just joking until I began reading Internet articles about his effort. He's been in a 14-month battle to trademark the term and he's been turned down by the Trademark Office twice.

For an hour, this morning, Larson and I argued about why some young blacks use the n-word. Larson, I'm happy say, believes the term is bad, bad, bad. I don't use the word and don't let my friends call me the N-word. In fact, those of you who have followed my blog know someone used to post messages signed N-hater. I no longer allow those posts because I find the name offensive.

Still, I also recognize the difference between Damon Wayans using the n-word and a reader using the term to make people angry. As I explained to Keith this morning, there's also generational difference between the hip-hop generation and Baby Boomers when it comes to how openly we use the term. As I told Larson, although the hip-hop generation understands how the term was used to oppress blacks, we gave the term our own meaning.

But that's an old debate. I'm more curious to talk about the idea of trademarking the term. First, I don't think Wayans should be able to trademark "Nigga," but I do think he should he able to trademark "Nigga Jeans" or "Nigga Clothing." The word "nigga" is too much a part of our common vernacular to let one man own it.

The Trademark Office should allow Wayans to trademark the term as it applies to his specific company. And yes, if David Duke wants to trademark "KKK Hoodies," I'll support that too. Let consumers decide if selling clothes with a brand name so closely associated with hate is a bad idea.

Here's my question, regardless of your race, would you buy Nigga jeans and clothes? Would you date someone who wore the brand? Post your replies below. (As always ridiculously racist post will be deleted, so don't bother.)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Are man bag's sexy?

Hey fellas, is your game is tight? In a recent interview with Details magazine, Sean Combs talked about what makes men sexy.
Here’s part of his list:
1. You’ve got to get your smell right. Walk into an elevator with a beautiful woman in it. If you’ve got your scent going in the right direction, she’s gonna be thinking about you when you leave. That’s the way to seal a woman.

2. The lighting design in a home is the icing on the cake. I’m not talking about anything expensive. I’m talking about dimmers. You’ve got to be able to control the mood.

3. I don’t have a lot of body hair. If I did, I’d get rid of it. For a woman, a wax is absolutely necessary. It makes everything smoother and more attainable. It makes room for all the advances I make when I’m going to please a woman.

4. It’s better to look like you’re wearing something that fits then like you’re wearing a trend.

5. I have a “man bag.” I’m not gonna lie. Just make sure that if you carry one, it’s very, very big, so it doesn’t get mistaken for a pocketbook.

Sorry, P. Diddy, I was with you until the man bag thing. I don’t care how rich you are men with purses or clutches are not sexy.
Fellas what do you think? What’s your best technique to scoring with the ladies? And ladies, what does a man have to do to woo you?
Post your replies below.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

She wouldn't stop screaming

All Saturday night, DJ Chuck Love is ripping it at Liquid Lounge. He played a trumpet, guitar and sings as he spins the sickest house music. Yeah, Love is a DJ and a one-man band. I've never seen anything like it.

A small but animated crowd is dancing, sweating and applauding Love.
But applauding or cheering wasn't enough for one woman. She screamed her appreciation.

She didn't scream, "Yeah Chuck" or "Chuck, you're the man" or "Chuck, I love you."

She screamed like Jason was chasing her. She screamed in that kind of way where you want to slap a person to make them stop. It was the most blood-curling, obnoxious scream and she wouldn't stop.

People looked at her and each other wondering the same thing, "What's up with the screaming?"

Finally, I asked.

"I love his music," she gushed. "He's a f------ genius. Have you heard his music?"

Yes, I thought and I could hear it even better if you'd stop screaming.

Party people, I've got to know have you ever experienced anything like this in a club? And what is the most annoying thing that you've dealt with at a nightclub? Post your replies below.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Do black people tip?

I was talking to a bartender last night and I asked him about how the CIAA went for his business. He said business was normal, but that he'd talked to several friends at Uptown restaurants. His friends told him that a lot of the CIAA fans didn't tip.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that. I've often heard that black people don't tip, but I don’t understand how that can be true. I tip bartenders and waitresses. My friends tip as well. I have one buddy who is so worried about being perceived as a non-tipper that he over-tips even if he gets bad service. I won’t do all that, but I will call the manager over and request another server or report any poor service I’ve received.

In 1999, a Miami restaurant owner faced a discrimination lawsuit because he automatically charged black patrons 15 percent gratuity because he said sometimes blacks don't tip well.

A 2003 study by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration found that many servers felt African Americans often tip 20 percent less than white diners. Plus, of all races disliked waiting on black people because they assume the tips will be less no matter how good the service.

That's messed up.

Black patrons what's up? Do you at least tip 15 percent and if not why? If you have bad service, do you report it to managment?

To restaurant workers, do you notice a difference in the tipping patterns of whites and blacks? And servers, do you treat black patrons differently because you don't believe you'll get a good tip?

Post your comments below. Please no racial slurs, they won't be posted.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The party's over, but what a party

All week, we've been wondering where are the people. On Friday, CIAA fans and revelers slammed Charlotte like a hurricane. It's Sunday morning and uptown is nothing but idling cars and partiers crowding sidewalks.

After the Chuck Brown show, I stroll over to the Westin, which is the unofficial after-party. At least 1,000 people fill the lobby and lounge. It's the place to meet up with your friends and recap the night. Folks are chillin' so hard that a couple of men and women play spades -- at 3 a.m. Bobcats Emeka Okafor is there too.

The party didn't last as long as I expected though. The fire alarm goes off about 3 a.m. An automated voice tells people to find the nearest exit. No one does. Finally, a police officer walks around and politely asks everyone to leave. We drift out slowly, still not ready for the weekend to end.

I stop by a 24-hour diner off Central Avenue near Eastland Mall. I figure San Remo will be empty. Once I get there, I don't bother going inside. It's full. Heading home I spot a taco vendor at Central and Kilborne. Can I tell you, I ate the best burrito I've ever had. It was huge and only $5. It had onions, some kind of yellow sauce, chicken and rice. If this trailer was uptown it would give the chicken-on-a-stick stand, at Sixth and Church, serious competition.

Where did you go last night? My Paid to Party scouts tell me the LIEU Cool J event at the Convention Center was nuts. I hear Bob Johnson and Charles Oakley were at the No Grease party at Founder's Hall. What else happened last night? Post your replies below.

Wind Me Up Chuck!

The floor inside the Hilton Center City is actually bouncing.

It's 12:15 a.m. and we're in a third floor ballroom with at least 1,000 people for the Chuck Brown show. When the Godfather of Go-Go starts playing, fans dance so hard that the floor bounces. I briefly worry the floor is going to cave-in. Then I throw my hand in the air and shout "Wind Me Up Chuck" along with everyone else. It's almost like I'm home in Maryland.

If you have never been to a go-go, you've missed an experience. Go-go is percussion-based music with a distinct beat that is the base of every song. Bands often cover contemporary hits, such as the Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me" or Jill Scott's "It's Love." Bands also write their own material that becomes huge as well. For example, Jay-Z's "Do It Again" was basically a cover of the go-go band Rare Essence's song "Overnight Scenario." Go-go is also all about call and response. All night, Chuck would ask "Are ya'll tired yet?," and the crowd shouted "Hell no!." The last component is shout-outs. Fans handed Chuck slips of paper with the name of their crew and their neighborhood. He would read the information as part of his songs.

Chuck, who is at least 70, is to go-go what James Brown is to soul. I hadn't seen him live since I was in college and attended a huge festival in Wilmer's Park back home. That's why I couldn't miss Saturday's show. And the hundreds of people packing the ballroom with me didn't want to miss it either. The good thing about seeing him here is that the audience was a mix of young and old and I didn't have to worry about neighborhood beefs like you do in the D.C. area.

Instead of keeping one eye out for a potential fight, we could focus on sweating and dancing for two hours as Chuck and his full band pumped out hits such as "Run Joe," "Moody's Mood" and more. Most young go-go bands focus on original songs and remaking hip-hop tunes, but Chuck is a jazz artist at heart. So, he'll do jazz standards as well as hip-hop. His original songs though are narratives of street life, such as "Cat In the Hat," about a junkie.

One fan stood in the back of the ballroom shaking a tambourine as he danced. Couples dance together, men grooved in pockets of friends and women did the same. To the side of a stage, this older white guy did this sort of ballroom style dancing with an older black woman (something I've never seen at a go-go). Fans crowded the stage and Chuck blasted one guy for pushing women to get to the front. Chuck shook hands with people as he performed and after his set he hung out onstage and continued greeting fans.

Chuck Brown in Charlotte. I can't believe it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Magic, over here!

After I got my money maker shot of Al B. Sure, I focused on getting a picture of Magic Johnson. There was no way, I could go back to work without seeing Magic and getting his picture.

He's sitting in a dark corner in the VIP section at the Big Chill. I'm trying to be cool and snap off a couple of shots of him talking, but it's too dark and my camera isn't high-tech.

A lady walks up to him and taps and holds her cellphone in his face. He turns around and gives her a big grin. She snaps the shot and walks away.

At this point, I'm ready to do the same thing because he doesn't look like he's going to leave that dark corner. I get his attention and he gives me a big smile.

I'm nervous now. I'm still getting used to a new camera and it's so dark I can't see him in my viewfinder. My hands are trembling. I snap the shot. He shakes my hand. I check the camera to see the photo.

I got a great picture -- of the ceiling.

I get his attention again and try another one. I hit the record button, and my camera switches to video mode. I ask him for one more chance.

He flashes me a big smile. I'm so nervous now, I worry the shot will be blurry. I press the button. I check the photo.


Battle of the Bands

Okay, crunk music – the get you hype to fight in the club and sweat on the dance floor music – is my guilty pleasure.

I just can’t help bouncing when I hear it. I’m at the battle of the bands competition inside the Bobcats Arena for Super Saturday. North Carolina Central is battling one of the colleges in Virginia.

Virginia is graceful and artistic. They play Teddy Pendergrass’ “Love T.K.O,” and their dancers gracefully do choreographed steps.

N.C. Central starts. They play that club music. Band members wave their horns as the drum line plays. Dancers do those music video style moves, and two girls in the audience are doing the same. I know how two girls feel. (Okay, I don't drop it likes it hot, but I tap my toe real fast.)

Virginia’s tribute to R&B was good and they got the loudest applause, but sometimes I just want to bounce, bounce, bounce….

Oh wait, Virginia just stepped up. They’re playing “I’m In Love With A Dancer” and their dance team is killing it. The guys drop to the floor and do this push-up centipede move. The audience on on their feet clapping and chanting. I get it, Virginia was saving for their tricks for the end.

Now, I can't get that song out of my head. "I'm in love with a ...."

In da' clubs

My night started at the Big Chill at midnight and didn't end until 4 a.m. at the Coffee Cup.

Where to begin?

The Magic Johnson and Al B. Sure party at the Big Chill was packed like I expected Friday. Every inch of that club had people.

A photo guy set up in the corner snapping Polaroids. Magic and Sure chilled in the VIP area. Couples danced, but nearly as many people sat on sofas, chairs and anything else they could find.

After leaving Magic's party, I stopped next door at Dilworth Neighborhood Bar and Grill. This was a smaller party and a nice breather from the Big Chill. Next, I swung by the Best Western because actor Morris Chestnut was supposed to host a party. It was 1:30 a.m. and that party was already over. (Not good.)

My last party stop was Kon Funk Shon Friday at Eden. DJs D.R. and Buttafingaz spun. That party had a good mix of Eden late night regulars and CIAA folks. I chilled in Lava talking to Mike Kitchens, the women from A Gem Am I, the guy from Liquid Lounge and Elevate's Larkin. I met some cool new people too.

By 3 a.m., Larkin and I were starved so we met up at the Coffee Cup. Crowded doesn't even describe the scene, but I expected that. After all it was 3 a.m. We waited for an hour for our food and of course the eggs were cold, the waffles were lukewarm, but the chicken was piping hot. You know at that point it doesn't even matter. I just wanted to eat and go to bed. And I'll probably be back there again tonight.

I talked to several people at the restaurant to see what happened at the parties I missed. Here's what I heard was off the hook: Big Tigger at Jillian’s, Whoudini along with Monie Love and Big Daddy Kane at The Hilton Center City (they actually performed), DJ Clue at the Forum (and no Jay-Z didn't show up)and Fantasia along with Trina at the Hyatt in SouthPark.

What's up for tonight? I'm going to the go-go to see Chuck Brown. I know L.L. Cool J at the Convention Center is going to be nuts.

What about you? Holla' at a sista if you see me in the streets.

Al B. Sure's still a cutie

I'm aiming my camera to take a picture of Al B. Sure. He is in the VIP area talking to Magic Johnson at the Big Chill on Friday. I'm standing below the VIP area, which overlooks the main floor of the club on Morehead Street.

All I need is for Sure to turn around so I can get a good shot of his face. A woman brushes past me to get to her seat. She's hot from dancing in the crowded club. Her friend grabs her arm and points to the VIP area. They scream. Al. B. Sure turns around and smiles.

Women rush toward the glassless window where he stands. They pull out phones and click pictures. One woman jumps onto a chair and grabs Sure in a headlock -- I mean a tight hug. I snap my picture.

The Perfect Traffic Storm

I was trying to get to Congressman Mel Watt's reception at Blue on Friday night when I ran into traffic like I've never ever seen in Charlotte before. If you think driving is bad uptown during a Bobcats or a Panthers game, think again.

On Friday somewhere around midnight, the last game ended at the arena and the Step Show ended at the Charlotte Convention Center. At the same time, cars streamed into uptown for parties and clubs. The perfect traffic storm.

When I pulled onto Fourth Street, all I saw was a sea of red -- brake lights. The roads from Caldwell to Church streets and from Ninth to Fourth streets were a parking lot. Since I live here, I figured I could zip down Eighth Street, cut across Tryon and roll down Church Street. I ended up in another parking lot.

Finally, I gave up and cut down Sixth Street and shot across to Graham Street. I went to Morehead Street for the Magic Johnson and Al B. Sure party at the Big Chill.

My Paid to Party scouts tell me that uptown sidewalks were just as crowded. Also, the Bad Boys of Comedy concert at Ovens Auditorium had cars backed up along Independence Boulevard. All week, we've been asking where are the all the people for the CIAA?

They were out last night.

Tonight, I'm getting uptown early for the game and leaving my car parked. Forget starting my night at midnight like I usually do.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Charlotte vs. Raleigh

I took an informal survey while party-hopping today to see which city CIAA fans liked better.

The reaction was mixed. Some people said Raleigh was better and was way more hype than Charlotte. And several said the crowd seemed smaller. Others said they liked Charlotte better because everything was centralized.

Most people said parking was horrible. Everyone said the city of Charlotte has been extremely hospitable. One guy said even the cops were nice. (What! Just kidding Mr. Policeman.)

"Charlotte seemed like they laid out the red carpet for us," said Fred Jones, 39, of Maryland. "It looks like Charlotte, they're trying to get this here for many more years."

Andre Willingham of New York said he liked Raleigh better. Then he reeled off a list of bars and parties that he said were jumping by Friday afternoon during the tournament in Raleigh.

The problem with Charlotte, several people said, is that it's a new city and there are so many events going on.

"Once people find their way, Charlotte is going to be off the hook," said Derek Morris of Richmond. "It's going to be better than Raleigh."

What do you think? How does Charlotte compare to Raleigh so far? Post your replies below.

Shaking that thang before sun down

Men and women grooved on the dance floor inside Liquid Lounge. Others stood alongside the bar talking. Across the street at the Gold Pepper Grill, about 25 people talked and cut up. Strangers became fast friends.

It was 4 p.m. on Friday, and while most Charlotteans were at work, CIAA fans were hanging out at the storied "day party."

These partiesoften start typically by noon and last a couple of hours. They're a warm up before the bigger gigs later in the evening. Some are free, others have open bars or free food.

The Q92 party at Liquid was more of a club gathering with people dancing to DJ Live. The crowd was a mix of young and old partiers, something you only see here at the Excelsior Club and Savoy. Derek Morris sat with Mike Gray and Joe Taylor. The men, who hail from Baltimore and Virginia, hadn't seen each other in years and finally connected at the club.

"It's all about a reunion," Morris said. "We're going to find each other."

Heather Headley was blazing

I’ve been rocking Heather Headley’s new disc, “In My Mind,” but I didn’t have any desire to see her live. I figured she sounded good on the disc, but would be average live.
After seeing her perform during the Steve Harvey Show’s live radio broadcast, I’ll be the first person in line to buy tickets to see her live.
The woman can sing and she’s gorgeous to watch on stage. She sang “In My Mind” and “What Would You” off her latest album, but it was the impromptu version of “He Is” that won me over.
She sang with such conviction and passion. Harvey was on his feet playing air bass, and fans gave her a standing ovation. She only had a couple of background singers with her today, but I hear she’s even better with a live band. I can’t wait.

Steve Harvey's staying

I'm not sure what was the funniest part of Steve Harvey's live broadcast this morning, but I know it happened during Harvey's version of "American Idol."

A contestant from Shelby sang "Misty Blue," which Harvey called brown liquor music and too depressing for early morning. Harvey gave her a chance to sing something uplifting. She suggested "Lean On Me." He took her mike and ripped on how "Lean On Me" wasn't a cheery song. Then he started singing "Sometimes, in our life..." in the most monotone voice ever.

My other favorite part involved Harvey's co-host Nephew Tommy. He and one of the contestants started reciting lines from the "Color Purple" and within minutes the audience had joined.

"Sat in that jail 'til I damn near rot too death," said Tommy reciting Sophie's line. The contestant started singing "Miss Celie's Blues." Then Tommy jumped in with "God Is Trying to Tell You Something."

Moments like that are what made the live broadcast fun. Sitting in the audience, you felt as if you could have been in your living room with friends and family. There was cussing, fussing, cracking and singing. Harvey also dispensed his bits of wisdom.
"You need a man," Harvey told one woman. "Get some stress in your life."

Fans turned out to see Harvey. By 4:30 a.m. people were lined up outside the Convention Center, according to a V101.9 staffer. Inside, several thousand fans sat in chairs that went all the way back to the basketball court. Others stood along side near the vending area. Harvey said he was having so much fun that he planned to extend his stay until Sunday. He wants to go to Magic Johnson's party on Saturday and attend a few of the basketball games.

"This is hands down the biggest turnout we've ever seen," Harvey said in an interview after the show. "I was stunned."

The Jump-off

Partying on Thursday night is what I've been waiting for all week. People packing clubs and having a good time.

I started at the AKA party at the Forum. What!

The main dance floor was ridiculous. The mezzanine was just as crowded and the rooftop had a small crowd as well. Big shouts to DJ Stacey Blackman. He kept people on the dance floor, and pulled out some track that I didn't even know he had. The Alphas, the AKA's brother fraternity, shouted their chants and drowned out the music. I peeped Panther Julius Peppers chillin' in Pravda, where bar manager Savis poured me up a shot that had pineapple and some kind of caramel vodka. It burned so good. The Forum on Thursday was the vibe I'd been waiting for.

Well done AKAs, but the ladies of pink and green weren't the only ones packing them in on Thursday. The party at V-Lounge was nuts. They were at capacity by 1 a.m. Heat smacked you in the face like a bitter ex as soon as you walked into the club. The bartenders looked overwhelmed, but they handled it. I have to pause to applaud two strong women I saw tonight.

The first was a shortie at the Forum. She was fine in her fitted top and jeans and she walked through a throng of guys like she was wearing sweats and a T-shirt. The guys tried to touch her and dance on her in a disrespectful way. She pushed them off and stood her ground. Too few women do that. The second hand-clap goes to the female bartender at the V-Lounge. She's pouring drinks and some dude grabs her hand to get her attention. She snatches her hand away and tells him to wait, and then she continued taking orders from people who were there first. Good look.

V-Lounge was so crowded and hot that the idea of dancing seemed masochistic. Of course people danced anyway. T-Gangsta and his crew took over the floor upstairs. He was so hype, he jumped onto his friend's shoulders during one song, but the security guard made him get down. Another guy in T-Gangsta's crew danced so hard that his oversized jeans fell to his ankles. He didn't stop. The security guard shook his head and then made him pull his pants up. Crazy baby, crazy.

Surprisingly, I was home by 2:30 a.m. I was glad to get in early because I want to catch Steve Harvey's live broadcast in a couple of hours.

Were you out Thursday night? What good party did I miss? Post your replies below, and holla' at a sista' if you see me in the streets. (Party hard, party safe.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

JCSU makes an entrance

JCSU's marching band sure knows how to make an entrance. They lined up in the lobby of the Charlotte Convention Center and then someone banged a drum. The band shouted J-C-S-U!

Everyone within hearing distance, gathered to watch -- the band go down the escalator.

The troupe lined up on the basketball court and their horns, drums and whistles filled the area. I felt bad for the Food Lion guest chef who was trying to make a chicken recipe because the band stole his shine. They did the theme song from the movie "Coming to America" and they performed "In Love With a Dancer."


Did you see JCSU perform? How did they do? What's the best band you've seen so far? Post your comments below and holla' at a sista if you see me in the streets.

Fantasia takes over Convention Center

One minute Fantasia's testifying about love, the next minute she's crunk like she's in the club. At the Convention Center, fans loved it all. They sang, danced and clapped along to the "American Idol" winner's half-hour set.

Fantasia loves the stage. Wearing knee-high black boots -- that prevented her from doing a split -- she strutted, stalked and stomped across the stage in that Holy Spirit way that makes her one of R&B's most dynamic performers.

Viticus Thomas, 25, stood in the back with the JCSU band shouting and singing along with her.

"She's so beautiful," he said. "It's about time we got some good talent that came out of the Carolinas."

Before Fantasia could get fully pumped, she beckoned fans inside the Charlotte Convention Center to move closer to the stage. She needed to feel their love and fans wanted to be closer to her too. During the show, she told all her crunk fans to move toward the stage, but security said no because it was too crowded.

"It's the CIAA," one woman yelled. "Do the d--- thing."

Fantasia sang "Free Yourself" and "It's All Good," off her debut album. She also did a jazzy version of "Killing Me Softly." My favorite was the rap tune at the end. She said it was a tribute to North Carolina. One of her singers rapped and Fantasia and another woman she called G. led the crowd in this body-jerk dance that was accompanied by a handclap. The rap was so-so, but the beat was something you'd expect from Missy Elliott, and teaming it with the dance made it even better.

Twilight Zone uptown

After all the hype about CIAA taking over Charlotte, the Forum's College night was the best party I went to on Wednesday. The dance floor was a mass of bodies, the bar area was full and girls danced on platforms. Bobcats Sean May stood against a wall soaking it all in. I even saw Tony da Tiger doing his usual breakdance thing. Although, it was a tad bit warm for that leather bomber he was rockin', but that's just Tony. The Pravda lounge was less chaotic. I ran into Forum
co-owner Gus Georgoulias and Morehead Street Tavern owner Alan Presley.

I started my night at the Omega party off Cedar Street in a place called Room With a View about 11 p.m. Apparently, I was too early because there were only a handful of people. They Omegas found a nice location and they'll be throwing parties there all week. The space has a wrap-around patio and glass windows instead of walls. You can see the Bank of America stadium and tower from the building. I'm sure more people will be throwing parties there.

Since the Omega party was just getting started, I stopped by Fire and Ice and met up with Mike Kitchen and Letha Taylor, who was hanging out with one of Steve Harvey's event coordinators. Poet Blue was there and J.C. and a few of the Dead Poets stopped in. Power 98 manager Terri Avery walked in a little later as well. Fire and Ice was like the launching place for everyone to disperse after a few cocktails and hugs.

After Fire and Ice, we rolled over to the Breakfast Club to catch Big Daddy Kane, and there was no one there. Me, promoter GiGi and club owner Jody Sullivan were surprised by the light crowd, and we wondered where are the CIAA fans. Kitch's theory is that early in the week, it's mostly CIAA alumni who hang out, but tonight the younger folks should be out. We'll see.

We finished about 3 a.m. at Athens, which had a handful of people and still the slowest service ever. Worse, the waitress said they probably will only have two waitresses working late nights this week. I hope she's wrong because they're going to be slammed. (Or maybe the folks at Athens are betting that the light crowds will continue.)

Were you out last night? What party did I miss? What's up for tonight? Post your replies below, and holla' at a sista if you see me in the streets.