Thursday, March 01, 2007

Anthony Hamilton at the Ford Fan Experience

Unfortunately, he didn't perform. He was just hanging out with his wife and his crew checking out opening day of the Ford Fan Experience.
While Hamilton walkled around pairs of people sat on sofas inside the Charlotte Convention Center, their eyes glued to TV screens. They mashed buttons furiously and let out groans when shots went awry.
Today was the first day of the Ford Fan Experience, and dozens of people spent their time playing video games in lounges set up throughout the exhibit hall.
Along with gaming, visitors lugged around heavy plastic bags full of freebies - I took home a backpack, T-shirt, duffel bag and sunglasses.
Once again recruiters for the armed services were there. Bank of America and Ford had booths as well. The Ford Fan Experience is a showcase for the CIAA tournament sponsors, so there aren’t many vendors there, but there are a ton of great free performances, such as DJ Kid Capri and Doug E. Fresh.
I caught the tail end of the Little Brother performance and watched rapper-DJ Biz Markie spin for a small but appreciative crowd. If you’re a Biz Markie, fan he’ll be at the Big Chill on Friday and Amos’ Southend on Saturday.

Where my ladies at?

This year’s Wednesday night was way better than last year for the CIAA tournament. Last year, my friends and I started at Fire & Ice, which had a light crowd, and finished at the Forum because all of the CIAA parties were dead.

Last night, the four parties we attended had decent crowds. The ones that drew the ghetto-fab partiers had the biggest turnout and the most energy. It’s something about that hardcore rap that makes people want to sweat and dance. You can’t be cute when songs with lines like “knuck if you buck” come on.

My other observation from last night is that men outnumbered women at nearly all of the parties. That’s unheard of unless you’re at a strip club.

Ladies, where were you?

Where did you party last night? Where are you going tonight? Post your replies below. Email your party photos:

A toast to good living

My only complaint about the party at Verona was that when we arrived at 1:30 a.m. there was only one guy behind the bar. He was excrutiatingly slow. A woman bartender was somewhere else and joined him later, but that’s not acceptable. Considering that alcohol sales stop at 2 a.m., the bar has to be staffed for the last-minute onslaught.

I noticed a guy standing in the corner of the bar who looked like he worked there. He turned out to be a manager or someone with enough clout to get me my drinks faster. To thank him, I bought a round of SoCo lime shots.

This was his toast:
To lyin, stealin’, cheatin’ and drinkin’.
Sounds bad right? There’s more.
It means: lying in arms of the one you love, stealing away from bad company, cheating death and drinking in the moments that take your breath away.

At 1:45 a.m. that sounded so deep.

What’s your favorite toast? Post your replies below.

Wednesday’s surprise

After leaving Menage, Kitch and I were headed to the Sunset Club on South Boulevard because he heard the 2nd Annual Kickoff Party had a nice crowd. I parked in front of Verona on Fifth Street so we stopped in the First Impressions Party, which was hosted by Ambience Entourage.

Side note: My boy Young Tank is part of Ambience. He used to be on Power 98’s street team, but now he works for rapper Ludacris. I first met him years ago when worked at Wing Zone near my crib. And I’ve followed his career since. When I saw him outside of Verona on Wednesday, I had to stop by and support his event.

Back to the party: Verona was my surprise of the night because judging from Ambience’s Web site, I expected an upscale clientele. The crowd was ghetto fab.

And baby, they danced, oh did they dance. The windows were foggy, the people were sweaty and the DJ did an excellent job of keeping the crowd from getting too crunk. My favorite dancers were a group of girls who jumped around harder than the boys. They were cute and petite so guys tried to push up on them, but they were content doing on their own thing.

To top it off, the DJ ended the night with slow music. For real, slow music. I can’t remember the last time I heard slow music at a hip-hop party. But you know what, people danced to Pretty Ricky too.

Where did you party last night? Where are you going tonight? Post your replies below. Email your party photos:

Menage will be crazy

Judging from the crowd at Menage on Wednesday night, the club is going to be crazy this weekend. We arrived about 1 a.m. and upstairs was packed. Downstairs wasn’t open. A few women danced on the stage area. A group of people was all the way upstairs partying on the balcony thingy that overlooks the dance floor.
In a phone conversation earlier Wednesday, I told promoter Frank Ratchford, who hosted the party with Adolph Shiver, that Menage would do well on Wednesday.
My theory was that the young hardcore rap crowd that wants to get sweaty, grimy and dance to songs that make you jump around has no place to go on Wednesdays in Charlotte.
The reason I say Menage will be crazy all weekend is that Wednesday’s party was crowded and the only celebrities promoted were Panther’s Thomas Davis and the Jaguars Deon Grant. We have NFL celebrity parties here nearly every week so that doesn’t impress me. But can you imagine how the club is going to be this weekend with Mims tonight, Tigger on Friday and Fat Joe on Saturday – whoa!
Where did you party last night? Where are you going tonight? Post your replies below. Email your party photos:

Celebrity sighting at Levine party

Kitch and I tipped out of The Lux party about 12:30 a.m. to stop by the 2007 CI Wednesday Night Explosion at the Levine Museum of the New South. DJ D.R. spun old school hip-hop. This party felt less crowded than the one at LaVecchia’s, but the people at the Levine came out to dance, not talk.
About a half dozen couples danced, pockets of women grooved together and a couple of guys danced alone. The Charlotte Chapter of the National Black MBA Association hosted this event, which drew the oldest crowd I saw on Wednesday night. My celebrity sighting of the evening occurred there. Actor Corey Parker Robinson, who plays detective Leander Sydnor on HBO’s “The Wire,” was chilling in a corner drinking a beer. He’s not a CIAA alum, but he was in town to support N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Company's efforts to educate the African- American community on building wealth through life insurance.
Where did you party last night? Where are you going tonight? Post your replies below. Email your party photos:

Lux at LaVecchia's

The Luxe party at LaVecchia’s on Sixth Street was the first place that Kitch and I stopped in our Wednesday night party hopping. The ladies of A Gem Am I and Vicious Entertainment, along with Raleigh-based Dynasty 5 hosted this event, which provided a low-key start to what turned out to be a ghetto-fab night.
Nearly a hundred people milled about the bar area of the seafood restaurant, talking and sipping martinis about midnight. DJ Chase spun top 40 hip-hop and R&B, but only a couple of people danced at any given time. At this party exchanging hugs, flirting and talking was more the norm than dancing. Most of the people there seemed to be from Charlotte so it was a chance to catch up with folks I hadn’t seen in a minute, such as Brian Springs who used to own Groove Merchants. I also met Allen Mason from Dynasty 5.
Where did you party last night? Where are you going tonight? Post your replies below. Email your party photos: