Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fools shooting uptown

Some fools were shooting uptown early Saturday morning. A woman suffered an eye injury from broken glass as result of the incident, which occurred about 3:05 a.m. near Dixie's Tavern.

She was riding in a party bus that was struck by at least one bullet. A close friend of mine was on that bus and said a bullet hit his seat. He's shaken and not sure if he wants to come uptown tonight.

What makes it worse is that neither of us are surprised by the shooting. It seems like no matter how hard black people work to provide upscale events, i.e. no wanna-be gangsters, the little punks won’t stay away.

Now, I have a friend who’s worried about his safety uptown and there’s a woman nursing a wounded eye instead of having a good time.

Don't these idiots know they're the reason why so many white club and restaurant owners are reluctant to open their doors to black promoters? Incidents like this and the shooting at Crush a few weeks ago are the reason why we don't have a black-owned nightclub uptown. White people are scared of ignorant black people.

Guess what. Black people are scared of them too.

When I was working on the tournament party list, I went back and forth with a promoter about the language of his listing. He wanted me to write that it was open to all CIAA alumni. I told him non-CIAA alumni might think they couldn't attend. I suggested saying the party was for people ages 25 and up. He agreed, but then called me back later. He said only wanted people who were college graduates because he didn't want to deal with anyone who hadn't graduated from college coming in and acting like a fool in his party.

I know he's making a broad generalization, but I understand where he's coming from and it makes me sad. There is already a disconnect between the hip-hop generation and the Civil Rights generation. His comment, and the fact part of me agrees, makes me realize that we're facing a class disconnect within the hip-hop generation.

The CIAA tournament is a time to party and watch good basketball, but it also celebrates the legacy of historically black colleges. These schools give motivated black boys and girls hope for a better life. We have got to find a way to reach the black boys who have no hope because they are killing all of us, not just themselves

The Soul Train line outside of Blue

She looked so sexy sashaying through the Soul Train line on the sidewalk in front of Blue Restaurant about 3:45 p.m. on Saturday.

The men and women forming the line cheered as she walked past. She had her lips pursed in that “I know, I’m sexy,” way. Then she slipped and fell.

She sat sprawled on the concrete. The cheers from the men and women standing on the sidewalk and the ones sitting inside Blue’s open air patio area quickly turned into gut-busting laughter.

A guy rushed helped her up. Reginald Hester, Soul Train line instigator, snatched some fresh cut flowers out of a vase on one of the restaurant’s patio tables. He tried to hand them to her. She turned him down, and then walked the line again. Everyone cheered her on.

The Soul Train line was the best part of the Digital Diva’s Uptown Saturdays party at Blue Restaurant. It’s probably a scene the Digital Divas don’t even know about. Nearly as many were outside of Blue on the sidewalk as were inside the bar and restaurant. The speakers were propped in the patio’s windows. People passing by could hear the music. Frank Leggett and Hester created a Soul Train line and dance party with their friends and anyone else who gathered on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.

I’m guessing the sidewalk gathering wasn’t what the Digital Divas organizers planned. Judging from the look on Blue owner Alex Myrick’s face, I don’t think he was too happy, but before the restaurant closed the patio windows and posted a no re-entry sign on the front door, the sidewalk was the place to be.

It wasn’t as crowded as the bar area, and people actually danced out there. Inside Blue there wasn’t enough room to dance plus the crowd seemed too cute to dance.

On the sidewalk, it was anything goes.
Hester hustled anyone through the line including a guy wearing a fur-ish coat and shorts. (Yes, he looked as crazy as it sounds.) An aspiring Lil’ Jon. A white willing to shake her thing with the ’bruhs. And an older white lady who almost made it through the line until one of the guys took her shoe off to reveal her purple furry socks.

A mini freak-nik on College Street

For several hours, College Street felt like a mini Freak-Nik on Saturday afternoon. CIAA partiers filled the sidewalks in front of Blue Restaurant, Buckhead Saloon and Mert’s.

Since it was such a nice day, some people chilled outside of the parties, many of which charged admission.

Inside Buckhead Saloon, Carson Rawls and Keona Williams kept the dance floor jumping at the 7th Annual SaturDAY party. By 3 p.m., the front area of the bar had a strong crowd. There were only two bartenders and people were stacked three deep waiting to order drinks.

Rawls danced with any and every woman he could entice onto the floor. And he got his boys out there too. He did everything from jackhammer style pelvis thrusts to ’80s dances. He wore an Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity shirt halfway on his body and a big grin on his face.

On the other side of the dance floor, Williams danced with her girlfriends. She shook her body so hard, she could give Beyonce some serious competition. She made me want to soak in Epson salt on her behalf.

The Original Hopewell Group Day Party drew an older, but equally enthusiastic crowd to the Breakfast Club. Well, no one shook like Beyonce, but they did dance. Partiers spread out among all three floors and outside on the patio. It was pleasantly full about 4 p.m. Thankfully, the Breakfast Club had four bartenders. That was good planning.

Down the street at Menage, Carlos Allen and Doug Wimble, both of D.C., got their go-go fix thanks to the DJ. The party was still going strong when I arrived about 5 p.m. All three levels were open, but people stayed on the first two levels.

EPMD at Amos' Southend

Keith Murray stage diving, Erick Sermon whining, Doug E. Fresh beat-boxing and DJ Scratch putting on a show that made DJ Kid Capri hug him.
The EPMD concert at Amos’ Southend was a classic hip-hop fans’ dream. For two hours, EPMD and friends had the crowd jumping, singing and rapping along to songs they grew up with.
Like many other places, there was a tiny crowd at the beginning of the show when the duo began about 11:45 p.m. Friday. By 1 a.m., the room was full from the stage back to the soundboard.
Kid Capri, who performed at the Ford Fan Experience Friday afternoon, made a surprise appearance and hung out with EPMD on stage. Fans got exactly what they wanted to hear and more during the show.
EPMD’s Sermon and Parrish Smith, who now lives in Charlotte, performed hits “You Gots to Chill,” “Unfinished Business,” “Crossover” and others. During the song “Crossover,” the duo gives a shout-out to Kid Capri. When EPMD got to that part of the sung, Capri stepped into the spotlight. Without a mike in his hand, he mouthed the words: ”Im strictly hip-hop, I'll stick to Kid Capri,
Funk mode, yea, kid, that's how the Squad rolls….”
Then Capri shook hands with fans from the stage and signed an autograph before returning to the back near the DJ booth.
As good as it was to see EPMD back on stage, the best parts of the show didn’t involve them. The duo gave DJ Scratch the spotlight and he killed it. He worked the turntables with his back turned them, he manipulated the mixing board with his nose, spun around while mixing and never missed a beat.
Rapper Keith Murray also made a surprise performance. He was crazy, bouncing around the stage and diving into the audience. He raised the energy level tenfold and fans loved it. All you could see was a sea of hands waving while he was onstage. Of course, he performed hit signature cut “The Most Beautifullest Thing.”
My only issue with EPMD performance was Sermon’s attitude. He spent too much time talking on the mike and complaining about bougie rappers and fans, today’s rappers and the small crowd. I have nothing but love for Parrish, who was humble and gracious with fans, but Sermon seems to have forgotten that the duo hasn’t had a hit in forever.
After EPMD, a dapper Doug E. Fresh took over the mike. He performed his hit, “The Show,” but he mostly acted as a hype man. He told the DJ what songs to play and kept the crowd pumped.

Be careful tonight

Do not ride dirty tonight. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police were pulling people over left and right on Friday and searching cars and trunks. Please do not drink and drive or ride with drugs. The police aren’t playing. Also, be careful where you park. Tow truck drivers were cruising around town looking for a reason to haul cars.

Party round up - Where did you go?

After EPMD performed, I swung by the Digital Divas’ Stogies & Stilettos at the Sunset Club about 1:30 a.m. It was crowded, but not overwhelming. Men and women danced, pockets of women danced and others stood and watched.

The parties I missed:

Chris Jenkins of Charlotte Vibe went to 1st Fridays at Southend Brewery. He said it was a nice size crowd, but not as packed as it has been in the past.

A Gem Am I’s Rhonda Mayo went to Dynasty 5’s Raheem DeVaughn show at the Charlotte Hilton uptown. She said the crowd started light, but by the time he performed at 12:30 a.m. it was packed. As usual, he put on a good show. She also stopped by the Big Chill for the Biz Markie party sponsored by Executive Entertainment. She didn’t arrive until about 1:45 a.m. and the party was winding down, but there were still a lot of people there.

Paid to Party’s Lady Love spent Friday night at Wine Up for the In the Lyfe party. It drew a smaller crowd than usual. Two poets and a singer performed.

Paid to Party’s Searchin’ was all VIP up in the invitation-only Wachovia party at The Westin. She said the party drew young and old folks. Men wore suits and women wore dresses. Anthony Hamilton was there and mingled with the crowd.

What party did you attend? And how was it? Post your replies below.

Allure wasn't ready

Allure’s concept was great, but its execution was frustratingly bad early Saturday morning.

Three friends and I arrived at the restaurant and lounge about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday for their late-night breakfast and after-party. It was one of the events I was most excited about this weekend. I loved the idea of continuing the party at a place where I could also eat and still get my dance on.

When we arrived there was a short line at the door, but the security guard quickly checked IDs and got people inside. That’s where the efficiency ended.

Since the breakfast started at 2 a.m., I figured people we would be able to order our food relatively quickly. I was wrong. After flagging down a waitress, I was told the restaurant needed an additional 20 minutes to finish getting the food ready.

I should have left then. That was my first mistake.

About 3 a.m. waitresses began handing out express menus. The choices were chicken and waffles or a southern breakfast with eggs, grits, bacon, turkey bacon and toast. The turkey bacon option was a nice touch and I assumed the simple menu would mean a quick turnaround. Wrong again.

At 3:15, no one had returned to collect our menus and when I tried to give them to a waitress she was already too overwhelmed.

After getting the run-around about a refund, I finally gave our orders to the bartender. He was cool. He served Red Bull, juice and water, took food orders and stayed calm.

Promoter Kenny J finally offered me a refund, but by then I had placed an order and figured I should wait for the food. That was my second mistake. We didn’t get our food until 4 a.m.

By then, I was cussing, fussing mad and vowing never to return to Allure. I’ve calmed down and I will probably try it again because I’ve heard they have a good jazz crowd. I won’t be back this weekend except to tip the bartender. (I was too irritated and forgot to do it when I left.)

During CIAA weekend, I expect to wait to eat, especially at a downtown establishment. I don’t expect restaurants to not be prepared. Since Allure is a new restaurant, it would have been smart to do a buffet. If they were worried about food portions, they could have had waitresses fixing the plates in the buffet line. With a buffet your kitchen can concentrate on cooking, not filling orders.

I hope Allure is better organized by tonight because Friday was only a taste of what’s about to hit them in 15 hours.

Tonight, I’m going to try my luck at the Omega Psi Phi breakfast after-party.