Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shooting in the clubs

By now, I’m sure you heard about the shooting inside Crush nightclub on Sunday night.

Apparently, two people suffered leg wounds.
When I first heard about it, I wasn’t surprised. Sundays at Crush draw what I call the white-T-shirt-gold-teeth crowd. It tends to be a young and rowdy crowd, sort of like the black equivalent to slam dancers.

I figured someone would eventually get shot at the popular Sunday night gathering.

Since the incident, I’ve learned that my assumption was incorrect. Yes, two people were injured. Yes, someone smuggled a gun into the club. But the shooting wasn’t the result of an altercation. Word on the street is that someone had a gun in his pants and he was jumping around while dancing. The gun went off.

I’m glad the shooting wasn’t intentional, but there are still some serious issues to address here.

First, I’m angry that a partier brought a gun into the club in the first place.

If Charlotte’s little wannabe-thugs would stop associating their manhood with violence, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But time and time again, too many of the young men who wear oversized T-shirts and prefer rappers whose names start with “Lil’” act as if they go to the club to fight, not party. Guys, grow up.

Second, the club must improve security. They know who they draw on Sundays. I understand how shootings occur in club parking lots, but there’s no excuse for a gun to get inside a club.

I’m glad to know that since Sunday’s incident, the security guard in charge of pat-downs that night will no longer be used at Crush, and the club plans to start using metal detectors on Sundays as well (unfortunately, a measure that's overdue).

(BTW: I realize black clubgoers aren’t the only ones dealing with this. The same night the Crush incident happened, someone was killed at the Hispanic club El Vaquero in East Charlotte.)

What else can clubs do to improve security? What else can we do to get young knuckleheads to stop tripping in clubs?

Bobcats arena blackout over

The hip-hop and R&B blackout at Bobcats Arena is finally over. Jamie Foxx will bring his Unpredictable Tour there on March 23. Tickets go on sale Feb. 9. $59.75.; 1-800-495-2295.)

A couple of television news stations and some friends of mine have talked about the lack of hip-hop and R&B acts at the Arena since it opened. Some saw the lack of bookings among those types of artists as racist; I argue that there currently aren’t any good hip-hop and R&B tours to book at the arena.

I have absolutely, positively no desire to see Foxx, but I am glad he’s coming. He’s a good fit for the arena. His fans can afford the ticket price, and he’s popular enough to draw a decent crowd.

Right now, he’s all that hip-hop and R&B fans are going to get over there. Justin Timberlake is currently on tour. (He’s not black, but Michael Jackson isn’t either.) He and Christina Aguilera are the only acts currently touring in the U.S. who would draw hip-hop fans and do well in the Arena.

What do you think? Is the arena doing enough to get hip-hop and R&B acts? Who would you like to see perform there? Post your replies below.

Paella and salsa, life is good

I swung by the French restaurant Patou Bistro in Dilworth for a Latin party. I know that sounds weird, but it was the best stop I made Friday night.

When I walked in the door, men and women dipped and twirled to tango music. A DJ, set up in a corner, spun salsa, tango and Middle Eastern music. That’s what a call a mix. Do you know how refreshing it was to not hear one song that’s playing on the radio?

That wasn’t it, though. Before I could start snapping pictures of dancers who make me look like I have two right feet, I spied a gigantic wok thing.

My stomach pulled me to the left side of the restaurant in front of the bar, where a guy gently stirred the biggest skillet of paella (well, the only skillet of paella) that I’ve ever seen. He pushed around the layers of Spanish rice, peas, prawns and mussels. I wanted to stick my face in the skillet and bob for prawns, but I have home-training, so I didn’t.

I couldn’t wait for him to finish cooking. I migrated from the paella to the dance floor as couples and groups of women switched from salsa to tango to belly dancing and back to salsa. Other folks sat in booths talking.

The party drew was the coolest mix of Latin, Hispanic, black and white people (and those were Observer co-workers!) that I’ve seen in Charlotte in a few months. The Charlotte Tango Society and Charlotte Salsa hosted the debut event, which they called the World Mix Party. I can’t wait to attend the next one.

You know I’ll let you know when it happens, but if you want to get down with the group: