Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Comedian Byrdman dies

Reggie “Byrd” Byrdman, one of the city’s best local comedians, passed away Sunday. He was only 38, and reportedly suffered a heart attack. He is survived by a son, a daughter, two sisters and a brother.

All week, he’s been getting love on Power 98. Tonight and tomorrow, two clubs will host memorials to raise money for his family. The first is tonight at Club Eclipse, home of Q.C. Comedy. The second is Thursday at Tempo. Singers Adina Howard, rapper Mr. Woods and local DJs Tab D'Bia$$i, Boney B., and ’O6 will perform. Both events begin at 9 p.m.

Byrdman was always on the grind, and consistently played in comedy clubs. He never reached the status of a Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle, but few do. He began his career in 1995. I first saw him perform at Eight Tracks nightclub, now Tempo. He beat several other local comedians to win the Def Comedy Jam competition in 1999. I also saw him perform at a hole-in-the-wall off South Boulevard. Those were in his early years.

Since then, he appeared on BET’s “Comic View” and toured on the Def Comedy Jam Tour. I last saw him a couple of years ago at the Q.C. Comedy showcase at its former home, the Big Chill. He was supporting young comedians and wanting to launch a comedy tour to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

If you’ve never heard of him, come out tonight and hear why he was so loved by the urban nightlife community. If you have heard of him, then come out and pay your respects with people who know how you feel.

Info on club formerly known as Menage

The tacky slide is gone, and Menage’s fall from premier-nightclub status is complete.

Tonic lounge co-founder James Funderburk and several partners (including Tonic’s Andre Araiz and Funderburk’s real estate partner Alvaro Kraizel) ) who purchased Menage and Belle’s BBQ from Stefan Latorre are rapidly renovating the three-level space. It will hold three different concepts.

They’re calling the overall vibe HOM (pronounced “home”) because Funderburk and his partners want it to be a community hub. The bottom floor will be a down-tempo lounge open seven days a week at 4 p.m. The street level, formerly Belle’s BBQ, will be a European style restaurant/bakery featuring local, organic meats and vegetables with additional selections for vegetarians and even raw foodies with menu items created by artist-actor John Love.

Funderburk’s partner Andre Araiz refers to the top level as the Penthouse. They plan to create a club that will house a state-of-the-art sound.

“Our aim is to make this place feel like your own personal place in uptown Charlotte, that you can identify with in terms of design, ambience and sound,” Araiz said.