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.