Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Partying on the rooftop

So my girl Olivia Fortson caught a little heat for her partying on the rooftop package last week.

The folks at the Forum were a little chafed that she didn't include their rooftop. The Forum does have a phat rooftop. It's spacious with a bar and it's perfect for people-watching along College and Sixth Street.

Other readers complained that the rooftop at Presto Bar and Grill wasn't included. I'm not really feeling that complaint because there's no good people-watching happening in that area.

By the way the rooftop patio at Cans will be doing a test run this weekend. They're still getting furniture and other essentials, but weather permitting it will be open.

Olivia will be running a follow-up rooftop story in Friday's E&T, but until then I wanted your feedback on your favorite rooftops and balconies.

Who has the best spot and what's the best night to go? Post your replies below.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's a party blog part II but...

Last night wasn't one of the more exciting episodes of "24," but what a cliffhanger.

So, does anyone think Sec. Heller is dead? I think he made it out of the car. I also don't think that was one of Curtis' men who snagged Henderson during that shootout. I think it was actually one of Henderson's guy and Henderson is going to get away.

Okay, the ladies are kicking butt. First, Chloe and now the Homeland Security lady. You know the First Lady still has a role to play in all this. So, do you think Aaron was really transferred to D.C. or is he dead? And who is the crew controlling the President? At least I was right, he is a puppet.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Gotta go the booty show

I knew from the name, that Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band was going to be fun, but I didn't realize how fun until I saw them at the 3 Rivers today. They're a bunch of young guys who are having a great time being in a band, and you can tell in their stage persona that they're having fun and want the audience to do the same thing. They easily dip into New Orleans style brass and funk instrumental jam. Their lyrics are catch and easy to sing along too. When the Asheville-based band comes to the Neighborhood Theater on June 23, they're a must-see.

Alright party peeps, I can't stick around for Styx tonight. There's a hip-hop show at Fire & Ice and a Greek party at the Forum in Charlotte, so I'm headed back.

Party's almost over

It's Sunday The sun is blazing, the streets are dry and today is the last day of the 3 Rivers Music Festival. Despite the rain, it's been a great weekend. I missed Friday night but I hear the Hinder, Shinedown and Theory of a Deadman performances were crazy with people moshing and rocking out on the main stage. Earl Klugh was just as good on the jazz stage.

Last night was phenomenal. Franklin took fans back to soul music's heyday and George Clinton and Parliament gave us the funk and nothing but the funk. Pat Green kept fans yeehawing with his rendition of "Glory Days" as well as his own country tunes.

Music doesn't start until 3 p.m. today and it's an Americana and classic rock finale. Sam Bush and Nickel Creek headline one stage and Styxx and Edwin McCain headline another. And just because it's a music festival doesn't mean organizing lost their religion. It's Sunday, so know there's some gospel music with Christ N U Youth Mass Choir, Blest by Four and the Gospel Four.

The festival is on the Congaree River, for more info: I'm heading to brunch and then back to the festival to catch Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty. Holla' if you see me.

Aretha loved it, and they loved her

The hour dipped well past midnight and Aretha Franklin should have been off stage more than a 45 minutes ago. About 12:30 a.m. she was finishing her last song and graciously thanking Columbia and festival organizers for their hospitality. Then she did something that surprised me.

Aretha asked fans to come out and support her when she comes back again. That tells you a lot about how much she enjoyed the show and Columbia.

City officials were equally appreciative. They gave her a key to the city, key to the banks, plaques and flowers. Usually those ceremonies are cheesy, but last night it felt right. It had been a long day of rain delays and gloomy weather. Aretha's performance and the crowd's love for her wiped all of that away.

If you've been to concerts and especially ones at festivals, you know, typically the acts finish and get the heck out of there. Organizers want you off stage, so they can clean up and go home. There was none of that impatience early Sunday morning when it came to Aretha. There was only respect.

Respect Yo Self

If you love Aretha Franklin's music, then seeing her live is a whole other experience. She is well past her prime, but Aretha is truly the Queen of Soul. She filled the stage with her presence and her music.

And to stand among thousands of people of all ages and ethnicities straining and standing on chairs to see her, I understood why her music has carried individuals through so many hard times. She gave fans what they wanted on Saturday night -- "Respect," "Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools" and "Jump to It."

Aretha talked to the audience and sang what she knew people wanted to hear. Before the night was over, she took us back to her church roots.

Man, oh man. Aretha Franklin live. What a night.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Still chasin' the cat

George Clinton.
He doesn't sing much anymore when he perform. He mumbles into the mike, throws his hands up and walks around the stage, but that's all fans need. They come to catch a glimpse of George, but mostly to dance and sing to funk favorites.

On Saturday, hands waved in the air as everyone celebrated the funk. Parliament gave them the expected cast of characters -- the guy in the diaper, the freaky guy for "Atomic Dog" and Clinton. The crowd stretched for at least a block. The band didn't disappoint and people abandoned their bag chairs to stand and dance to the classics.

Next up -- Aretha Franklin.

I'm pumped. I've never seen her live.

A pleasant country surprise

After leaving The Red Tub, we headed back to the festival. We were actually going to leave for a little break, but were drawn to the Miller Lite Stage where country singer and Columbia native Lauren Lucas was performing. We hung around there for a minute digging her music. It was pop-country and fun.

Red Tub

After watching Fa Sho, we walked around the rest of the festival. It spans across the Congaree River and into West Columbia. There are two stages on the other side of the bridge and one in the middle of the bridge. The stage on the bridge is weird because people constantly walking front of the performers.

The merchandise vendors are also on the bridge, which makes sense. The festival doesn't have nearly as many merchandise or food vendors this year as it's had in years past, but we stumbled upon this great South African jewelry vendor. I charged up my credit card buying chokers and bracelets from them.

While we were taking a little hiatus, we stumbled upon State Street in West Columbia. We wandered into the New Brookland Tavern, but it was too dark and grungy for my mood. We continued up the block and found the Red Tub. You've got to walk up a set of steps like the ones at the Wine Up to get to the lounge. Once upstairs you're glad you made the trip. The place is cute and tiny. It's two small rooms, even smaller than Wine Up. Dali style abstract art by local artists adorn the walls. The bartender was nice. It's dark inside with hardwood floors and an extensive import bottle beer list. They specialize in live performances by singer-songwriter style artists. The air conditioner wasn't working, so it was stifling inside.

In the bathroom, I found guess what -- a red tub.

Next B2K?

Atlanta's Fa Sho' stepped onto the mainstage with B2K and New Edition style moves. Four distinct personalities for the ladies, limited singing ability and pearl-clutching dance moves. Cute guys. With a litte coaching they might blow up for the kiddies.

Dirty old men in the club

My favorite moment at Rio Nightlife was watching a wanna be sugar daddy get shot down by a young honey. I spotted him as soon as he walked onto the dancefloor.

Most of the people inside Rio were under age 30 and wore jeans for the fellas and black stretchy dresses for the women. The old man wore a pin-striped brown suit. He looked to be older than my own daddy. He walked onto around the dancefloor looking the women up and down. He spotted a young cutie with long black hair and black dress standing in the corner talking with friends.

Target locked.

He kept walking if he didn't see her, but I knew he'd back. He finally made his way back near her and her friends. He hovered. A few seconds later, the old man was in the young woman's ear. Her body language told him to bounce, but he kept yapping. After a few futile moments, he walked away and then left the club.

Young lady - 1, Dirty old man - 0.

Eats, drinks and chillin' in Columbia

Okay, I didn't make it in time to check out any bands on Friday night. By the time, I got to Columbia, S.C. and hooked up with my buddy it was felt too late to do the media check in thing at the festival.

Instead sampled, Columbia's nightlife. The last time I was here, I hung in the Vista area. Last night, some friends and I went to Hunter Gatherer on Main Street. From the name of it, I thought it was going ot be a true meat-market, but it was more a folksy more rustic version of the vibe at the Evening Muse. Apparently, Hunter Gathere is one of the first brewpubs in the state. It looks like an old hardware or farm supply store, but African masks adorn the walls and beams. The doors to the bathroom are antique wood doors with stained glass. They look like something you'd find after much searching in a junkyard.

An old-timey band played on stage. I figured Hunter Gather would be all charm with average food, but I was pleasantly surprised. The grouper on a bed of stoneground yellow grits was huge and delicious. The hot black bean dip and duck over warm salad greens were also good. For desert we had a moist rum cake. The menu was small, but varied with several dishes that I wanted to return and try.

After dinner, we stopped by Delaney's Speakeasy on Saluda Avenue in Little Five Points. The area is a strip of bars where college-age students and yuppies mill spill onto the sidewalks in front of bars. It's my kind of area, not as polished as uptown, but still lively. I dug Speakeasy. If I lived here, it would be teh first place I took visitors. When you first walk in, it's long and narrow bar kind of like Liquid Lounge. The back opens to a spacious area with sofas and a gas fireplace. We huddled on a couple of oversized sofas, and ordered drinks from a reluctant server. Note: if you go, order drinks at the bar and then find a seat. Speakeasy has a huge imported bottled beer selection that rivals Hotel Charlotte. Music sets the tone, but it's not so loud that you can't have a conversation.

We finished the night at Rio Nightlife on Main. That was a mistake. It's strictly for young hip-hop fan, but what made the place whack is that It felt like a high school dance. Boys danced together and the girls danced together. It's like each group was scared to talk to each other.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Chill usher lady, I don't want any trouble

When I got to work this afternoon, Urban Vixen told me she thought about sending me a text from her seat at the Toni Morrison lecture last night. We were both there and she could see me.

I told her it was a good thing she didn't because the ushers would have jumped down her throat. What did I say that for? I didn't realize so many people have had bad experiences with the ushers at the Belk.

Mine occurred when I was trying to type notes on a Treo during the Soweto gospel choir. The usher made me put it away after I tried to explain what I was doing. I tried to keep my voice lowered, but the woman talked to me as if I were an insolent child. I respect my elders, but she tested my patience.

Last night, I watched two ushers descend upon a woman who pulled her telephone out. The woman put her phone away, but the ushers hovered as if to say, "We're watching you."

After Morrison's lecture, I was talking to a friend in the bathroom. She told me she was trying to finish e-mailing on her Blackberry before the lecture and the ushers made her put it away. People talking on cellphones in the movies or at performances is annoying, but some of the ushers who work the Belk Theater are overbearing about cellphones and are sometimes downright rude.

I don't know if they're acting this way because been told to prohibit any kind of cellphone use or if its by their own initiative. If it is policy, the women can be nicer about how they deal with patrons. And if it's policy, it's one I don't agree with. If I want to pay my hard earned money for tickets to a show, and then I sit in my seat sending text messages or checking the score of the basketball game, that's my business. I'm not bothering anyone if my phone is on silent mode.

My co-workers stories didn't involve cellphones. Urban Vixen (who requested her real name be withheld for fear of retaliation)said she watched the ushers fuss at a few women who weren't headed to their ticketed seats. (Mind you, the Belk was far from full for Morrison's lecture.) While I was talking to Crystal, the reading life editor stood up at her desk and talked about her experience. Before the lecture started she left her seat to visit her husband, and an usher aggressively asked if she needed help. You know how sale people say, "Can I help You," as if you're up to no good.

I wonder if it's a generational disconnect. Some of the ushers at the Belk look as if they're well into retirement age and these are the ones who act as if patrons are children about to climb all over the good furniture.

The treatment by the ushers at Belk is in stark contrast to my experiences at the Bobcats Arena, Ovens Auditorium and even Spirit Square. I'm going back tonight to see the opera "Margaret Garner." I sincerely hope the ushers drink some tea before the show and remember that they're working at a performing arts venue not nightclub. No one is going to be moshing in the orchestra level. Although, I would love to see how they'd handle that.

What do you think? Have you dealt with aggressive ushers at Belk or any other performance venue? And do you have an issue with people text messaging during a performance? Post your replies below.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sippin' champagne with A.I.

If Allen Iverson looks sluggish tonight, the Bobcats can thank partiers at Crush for slowing down the basketball star.
Iverson sipped champagne from the bottle and hung with rapper Nelly and other celebs last night at Crush.

The invitation-only party was the place to be Tuesday night. When my friends and I arrived about 11:30 p.m. the line wrapped around the building. Since I don’t have clout like that, a few of my friends got in and a couple of us stopped by Cans to wait for the line to disappear.

By 12:20 a.m. Larken, who was inside Crush, sent me text telling me to head over. When we arrived it wasn’t as crowded as I expected. Nelly was in the VIP area with two big beefy body guards who kept men and woman at bay. Bobcat Sean May walked around with his honeys and Panther Kris Jenkins was his usual jovial self and extremely happy to be walking without a limp.

I didn’t see Emeka Okafor, but I heard he was there. Iverson finally arrived sometime after 1 a.m. He and the other celebs posted up next to the DJ booth.

Did you go to Crush last night? If so, what did you think of the party? If not, what else was poppin’ Tuesday night? Post your replies below.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It's a party blog but...

On Monday nights I'm typically glued to the couch watching "24." Did you catch it last night? I'm still reeling from the idea that the president is the one engineering this whole thing. He just doesn't seem that bright to me.

I'm still undecided about whether Jack should have given up the tape to save his boo. And just how dumb is the Sec. of Defense? What I really want to know is what happened to Aaron and do you really think the president is going to have his own wife whacked? I love Chloe, with her pouty self.

Post your replies below.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Colorblinded in the clubs?

A co-worker sent me an Associated Press story about the rape investigation at Duke. In the story black women talk about how they're treated by some white men in nightclubs.

According to the women interviewed, a white man asks her to dance erotically while he watches. Or he grabs her rear end. Or asks for sex, in graphic detail, without bothering to ask her name. (Tonya's note: Asking my name wouldn't make me less offended, but I digress.)

“We can sort of count on it happening. My friends from California and New York and Boston all tell the same stories,” Danielle Terrazas Williams, 22, a graduate student at Duke University told the reporter. “They’re watching you as if you’re performing for them, and it’s disgusting. You just sort of feel like, ‘Is this all we’re good for?’"

Reducing black women to sexual objects isn't new, and we all know the legacy of white men raping black women during slavery. The accusations at Duke reignites this conversation, and opens the door to talk about all races have some kind of sexual stereotype.

My black female friends have never complained to me about being disrepected by white men in clubs. My Asian female friends, however, complain men of all ethnicities treat them like exotic creatures. A man told one of my friends he wanted to pour duck sauce on her.

It's no secret that many of the black men hanging in uptown bars prefer white women, and some black women prefer white men. My buddy went to Miami recently and said Latino and Hispanic women were "in." His friends asked why he bothered talking to black women down there when he could get that home. Many of my friends can recite the women of different ethnicities who they've had sex with and can list the ones they want to try.

Whether we like to admit it, subconsciously, many of us believe the stereotypes of blacks being sexually aggressive, Latinos being passionate lovers, Asians being exotic and whites women being the forbidden fruit and easier to deal with. And we want to see if the stereotypes are true.

What do you think? What are your experiences with people of other ethnicities when you're in the club? Post your replies below.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Back up off me

Seriously, what is the deal with guys who think they can grab and grind on a woman just because she’s in the club?
Erin Taylor e-mailed me complaining about how men harassed her at the KRS-One show last week. Erin said the problem was "guys putting their hands all over women, who were trying to enjoy the show. It wasn’t just the graze of a hand either, it was forceful grabbing and grinding - really disgusting. I witnessed it happening to several other girls, as well as myself... I got into a yelling match with one of the offenders last Monday and & I had to struggle to keep a crowd of my friends from rushing him.”
Erin complained to folks at the Goblin and was told the guy would be banned from the club. Erin and her friends who regularly attend underground shows are devising a plan to watch each other’s backs and get the vultures (as I call them) blacklisted from hip-hop events.
I would like more women to ban together and create the same strategy at other clubs and parties. When I wrote about this topic a couple of years ago after an experience I had at Crystal on the Plaza, I received e-mails from women and heard from co-workers about the same problem they’ve had at BAR Charlotte and other clubs.
Ladies, clubs want our business. That’s why it’s typically free for ladies to get in because club managers know women draw men. If we start working together and boycotting clubs that don’t protect us, managers will get the message. Let’s join Erin and her friends in banning vultures.
If a guy can’t keep his hands off you, report him to management or security. If they don’t do anything about it, leave, don’t go back and post the name of that club on this blog and on Erin’s ( Let’s start a list of clubs that don’t value women.
What do you think? Is this a real problem here? Share your stories by post your reply below.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Popping the can

I squeezed past body after body weaving my way through the crowd talking, laughing and dancing inside Cans Canteen and Bar on Thursday. The building, at the corner of Graham and Fifth Street, is huge and it seemed as if every inch of it was filled with people.

Cans is the newest offering to Charlotte's bar scene. It's a restaurant, dance club, lounge, bar and all around hang out spot and it provides a strong anchor to the Gateway Village area. If successful, Cans would stretch the boundaries of uptown's entertainment district. Right now that district stretches from Caldwell down to Church Street, from Fifth to Eighth streets. Cans gives partiers a reason to walk a few blocks more down to the Gateway Village area, which also boasts Town restaurant, the Corner Pub and Cedar Street Station. Ideally, people could park in the core Tryon and Fifth street area and bar-hop up, down and around Fifth Street. Or they could park for free in the Gateway Village area and walk up to the Tryon Street area.

While standing inside Cans listen to Efren Ramirez, aka Pedro, I talked to some friends if they think Cans will succeed in Charlotte. A couple of people said they thought it was too far away from the main hub. What do you think? Is Cans too far away from the main party areas uptown? Post your replies below.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Tasting the World in East Charlotte

It's 1:40 p.m. and I'm just now starting to feel hungry again. Last night, I did my second Taste of the World tour. This event keeps getting better. I attended the first one last April, which was good, but this one was even better.

If you've never been, it's organized by the Charlotte East group, the Charlotte Chamber and area businesses. It costs $35 and typically sells out. Participants meet at the Charlotte Museum of History where they board buses and head to three ethnic restaurants along the Central Avenue and Independence Boulevard corridor. About 15 restaurants participate and each bus is assigned three restaurants to sample. After the third stop everyone meets at the Vanlandingham Estates for dessert and coffee.

For me, the key to having fun with this is finding the right bus. Participants ranged from elderly couples out for an evening to rowdy Budweiser drinkers looking for good food and fun. I of course gravitated to the fun and rowdy people. I chose Bus 4 with gourmet guide (bus captain) B.G. Metzler, a spunky about-town woman who's probably served on every community board there is. I knew I was on the right bus when one guy jokingly introduced himself as if he were at an AA meeting. Our bus was a mix of Taste veterans and newbies.

We visited Saigon Bistro, La Canasta Dominicana and Brazas. The key to taking full advantage of the tour is to pace yourself at each restaurant. If you fill your plate up at the first two, you won't have room left for the third restaurant.

The food was great at all three - the pork at Brazas reminded me once again of why I love eating pig. Saigon and La Canasta were my favorites. I had a noodle dish and delicious spring rolls at Saigon. I ate the most succulent chicken and beef at La Canasta, and of course the plaintains. At Saigon and La Canasta, staff went out of their way to welcome and explain the dishes. We also got a little dance demonstration at La Canasta.

It was a night of good eats, good people and good fun. Were you there last night? If so, which places did you try? Post your replies below.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A better way to get a date?

We all know you can't really find the love of your life in a club, and some of the people you meet there aren't really worth dating.
But do you think eyeballing someone in traffic and tracking them down could lead to dinner and a movie?
A new Web site is hoping people will seek a love connection among car fumes. It's called
Here's how it works: Say you're driving down Independence Boulevard and traffic is completely stopped. (I know that rarely happens). You see a cutie, I mean a cutie, driving a red convertible Mustang and you want to holla'. She has a numbered sticker on her bumper.
You whip out your Blackberry or your Treo and log on to, type in the number on the sticker and see a stunning profile of the honey in the Stang.
What do you think? Would you prefer to do this over trying to pick up dates in bars and nightclubs? Have you tried it Post your replies below.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Who Am I?

Mik A Magic as me!
Can't you tell?

I met this funny man at the Evie Awards on Saturday. Everytime I ran into him, he flashed his mohawk sign.