Category Archives: Local Points of Interest and Events

April Happenings

Here’s what’s happening this month, peeps!

Easter egg hunts:

PALS Easter celebration April 13 at 3:00 pm at Freedom Park (at the Princeton Road entrance). You’ll find everyone in the Princeton shelter!

Romare Bearden Park, Independence Park, Queens UniversityLatta Plantation, Historic Rosedale Plantation, Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt, Peter Rabbit’s Garden Adventure. Charlotte on the cheap has even more!

Easter Brunch deals

Earth Day: Earth Day Play Date

Music Miley Cyrus, Miles and Coltrane, Lady Antebellum, Chevelle, Kenny Loggins, Kat Williams, Bruce Springsteen, Chick Corea, Weezer, Local Natives, Jimmy Buffett, Zucherro, Tuck Fest

Performing Arts: Othello, Other Desert Cities, Ghost the Musical, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Dances of India, Debby Boone—Swing This!, Little Red Riding Hood, All Russian, Charlotte Symphony Youth and Junior Youth Orchestras Youth Festival Concert, Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, Post Secret: the show, Blue Man Group, Peter and the Starcatcher, Tao: Phoenix Rising, Ben Sollee, Spring Forward, Star Gazer: A Trek to Outer Space

Sports: BB&T Ballpark Grand Opening, Charity Golf Tournament, Wells Fargo Championship, Queen’s Cup Steeplechase

For laughs: DL Hughley, Nikki Glaser, Doug Benson, The Rich Guzzi Comedy Hypnosis Show

For the kids: The Reluctant Dragon, The Owl who was afraid of the dark,

For the “furry” kids: Pet Palooza, Bark in the Park

Chews&Booze: Amazing Race Bar Crawl, Taste of the New South Savor the Sixties, Taste of the the Nation, $15 all you can eat crawfish boil at e2, Free cone day at Ben&Jerry’s, Alive After 5

Races: Charlotte 5k Color Vibe, TuckFest Half Marathon, Freemorewest 5k on the Greenway

Other fun events: Girls’ Night Out, Passport for Fashion, Purses with a Purpose,Record Store Day, Jillian Michaels, Tiny House Conference, Dixie Charlotte Gun & Knife Show, Charlotte Auto Fair, Hands on Charlotte Day, Kings Drive Art Walk, Better Living  Home & Garden Expo

~Jamie Sunnycalb~

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The Art of Downtown Charlotte – Part V: A Regular Commentary of Art and the Art Scene in Charlotte

panther1 

As dreams of going to Super Bowl fade and another year ends for the Carolina Panthers NFL team, I felt it was time to reflect on another significant bit of public art. And yes, I would call the six, twenty-two foot long heroic style monuments public art. After all, the Panthers stadium was built in large part through huge tax incentives and other municipal perks that allow the owners and the well heeled to enjoy skyboxes. Then there was the recent deal where the city gave the owners of the Panthers $87.5 million for “stadium improvements.” So while the average Joe or Jill that pays taxes in the city has to struggle to cough up the funds for a ticket in the nose bleed seats to see a Panthers game, you can enjoy the dynamic power and beauty of the these monolithic statutes that loom over you. The photo above makes me think the thing is laughing at me in a maniacal sort of way.

All the above factors should not detract from the skill of the artist Todd Andrews, who has been doing dynamic bronze sculptures for over thirty years. The process to make such massive bronze monuments requires not only skill as an artist and sculptor but requires an excellent knowledge of engineering and metallurgy.  I imagine one also has to have good managerial skills, as the process to bring these sculptures to completion requires coordinating a team of artist apprentices, as well as working out the logistics to deliver the final piece to its location.

In many ways the six panthers remind me of similar monuments going far back into antiquity. After all, what was a sphinx before the Temple of Isis or gargoyles on the Cathedral Notre Dame? They were the avatars of power and influence meant to awe the onlooker. I am reminded of the French axiom, “plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.” The more things change the more they stay the same.

Charlotte

Charlotte

Egypt

Egypt

China

China

I think I have made my point.

~Kim Allman~

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February Happenings

The second month of the year is jam packed with lots to do in Charlotte!

Super Bowl XLVIII is Sunday February 2 at 6:30 pm. The CIAA Basketball Tournament is always a crowd pleaser!

Valentine’s Day is February 14th, lovebirds! Be seranded by a $12 jazz concert at the Bechlter before or after a special 3 courses for $30 dinner at e2 Emeril’s. For those who haven’t been struck by Cupid’s arrow, check out these alternatives: Love Sux Party , Guys&Dolls Bachelor+Bachelorette Auction, I Would Cuddle You So Hard Bar Crawl.

With or without a “plus one”, continue the revelry at Queen City Brewer’s Festival , Bartender’s Ball, 2nd Annual Banana Crawl, Party with a Purpose. Laissez les bon temps rouler at Charlotte’s version of Mardi Gras.

Music: Demi Levato, Iron and Wine, Artic Monkeys, Angelique Kidjo, Vanessa Carlton, Joe Pug, Lauryn Hill, Jon Batiste&Stay Human, Pat Metheny Unity Group, Tinsley Ellis, Housingfest: A Concert to End Homelessness with The Blind Boys of Alabama & Jim Lauderdale, Mayer Hawthorne, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic,  Jagged Edge

Performing Arts: C.S. Lewis The Great Divorce, The Mountaintop, Jake Shimabukuro, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, UNC Clef Hangers, Tosco Music Party, Rock of Ages, Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour Tyler Perry’s Hell Hath no Fury like a Woman Scorned,Boeing Boeing, The Other Place, By the way meet Vera Stark, The Miss Firecracker Contest, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, An Evening with Mika and Joe

For laughs: Wayne Brady, Ron White, Frank Caliendo, Steve Rannazzisi

For the kids: Don’t Tell Me I Can’t Fly, Petite Rouge: a Cajun Little Red Riding Hood, Ringling Bros. & Barnam & Bailey Circus, 101 Inventions that Changed the World at Discovery Place, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Day at the Gantt Center, Puppet Show, SeaLife Aquarium opens at Concord Mills, Family Day at the Bechlter

Keep those New Year’s Resolutions up and running! Races: Cupid’s Cup 5k and Fitness Walk, Frigid 5k Run and Plunge, Charlotte 10 Miler. Scope out local gyms during Fitness Crawl.

Other fun eventsBroadway Rocks!, NC Dance Theatre’s Innovative Works, Art with Heart, Hoops&Heels Ladies Night, Taste of the Mint, Pink in the Rink, Al Gore

~Jamie Sunnycalb~

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The Art of Downtown Charlotte – Part IV: A Regular Commentary of Art and the Art Scene in Charlotte

This time around, I am responding to a request made by a reader about the six gigantic discs on display near the Scaleybark Station at the Lynx Light Rail. While these sculptures are not downtown per se, they are part of the often contentious dialog concerning the Queen City’s purchasing of public art. Also, many commuters that ride the Lynx and those driving to work toward downtown on South Boulevard are familiar with these sculptures.

furrows

The Lynx light rail zooms past two of the discs that make up the sculpture Furrows. Photograph from Thomas Sayer’s website. All rights reserved. http://www.thomassayre.com/work/earthcast/05_furrow/index.php

 The sculptures have been called everything from the chocolate chip cookies to moonscapes, as well as other less complementary names. Furrows, by North Carolina sculptor Thomas Sayer have garnered a fair amount of attention ever since they were first installed.  I will confess I was among those that upon first seeing these monoliths shook my head in bewilderment and wondered about how our tax dollars were being spent, but more on that later.

According to the Lynx website and Thomas Sayer’s own words Furrows is…

…six large concrete and steel sculptures cast from Carolina earth, pays tribute to Scaleybark’s agricultural past. The 18′ sculptures were inspired by harrow disks, the agricultural tool used behind a plow to cultivate farmland. The title Furrow refers to the cultivation trench, or “Vee,” left in farmland behind a plow.[1]

And that folks is a darn big plow! Each of the six discs weighs 11 tons and is created using a method known as earth casting. Literally, a giant mold is dug into the ground and the sculptures are created using a steel framework along with concrete mixed with earth. Iron oxide is added to the mixture to create the rust orange coloration.[2] The earth for Furrows came from 72 cubic feet of material excavated from the I-85/485 station. The installation is supposed to be able to withstand hurricane force winds. However, the discs for Furrows only measure about nine inches in thickness, which creates an interesting contrast as while each disc is massive it also appears somewhat fragile.

The pockmarked surfaces of the discs have chunks and small bits of rocks imbedded in them. The contrast of the concave and convex shape and irregular surface catch the light of the sun as the day passes. This creates an interesting interaction of the sculptures with the environment.

furrows2

Thomas Sayer has another sculpture in Charlotte that has raised eyebrows. This one, titled Grandiflora, sits at the corner of Randolph Road and Wendover Road and has been derisively called the Onion Rings.

Regardless of how you might feel about these two works, Sayer is a master technician and engineer. The sheer mass and size of these works is amazing, just in terms of the trial and error and physical effort required to create them.

furrows3

Grandiflora from the blog site, Hmmm…I don’t know what to tell ya! http://moelauher.blogspot.com/2012_07_01_archive.html

Alright, I said I would get back to my opinion about Furrows. After doing the research on this article, I have a higher appreciation for Furrows and Mr. Sayer in particular. However, looking at Mr. Sayer’s website, he has many earthcast sculptures that work better and are far more interesting.  Of course, that is the problem with any work of art.  Not everything a master artist does is a master piece. Regardless, Thomas Sayer is a master artist and has created something unique and interesting. His work also challenges the viewer and creates dialog. The last is perhaps the most important aspect of these works.

~Kim Allman~

Sources for this article:


[2] Remember nothing rhymes with orange

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The Art of Downtown Charlotte: A Regular Commentary on Art and the Art Scene in Downtown Charlotte-Part III

cascade

Cascade

In my last article I talked about the Firebird in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.  If you recall, the work is by American-French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. However, I also mentioned Saint Phalle’s long time romance and marriage to another icon of modern art, Swiss painter and sculptor Jean Tinguely. Charlotte is fortunate to have works of these two significant contributors of the art world. A number of Tinguely’s works are part of the permanent exhibit of the Bechtler Museum. The focus of this article is on a monumental piece that is on display in the Carrillon Building on 227 West Tryon Street titled Cascade.  This was Tinguely’s last sculpture he created before he died.

tinguely

Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle in 1963

Cascade is over 40 feet tall, suspended over a fountain, and is an amalgam of a wide range of found objects or junk art. The sculpture contains antlers, animal skulls, bits of wood, metal, a car hood, balustrades, machine parts, chains, light bulbs, and parts from the demolished building where the Carrillon Building now stands. 15 motors slowly turn this massive mobile of objects. Tinguely was influenced by the Dada moment of art and is best known for his kinetic sculptures or metamechanics.  Tinguey’s metamechanic sculptures are satirical commentaries on materialism and mass production in an industrialized world.  Given that these often massive creations are made of the cast off detritus of the modern world, who is to say he did not have a point to make?

Very few museums or public venues in the United States have/own any of Tinguely’s kinetic sculptures. The Bechtler has three smaller pieces and, of course, Cascade in the Carrillon Building, putting Charlotte on a par with the Museum of Modern Art in Washington D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Not bad for a place some would declare as culturally conservative or even deficient.

If you decide to visit the Carrillon Building, take a moment to look toward the back of the lobby past Cascade. You will see Sol Lewitt’s Wall Drawing #683; which makes the office lobby of the Carrillon building a pretty interesting place artistically. But that is another article.

Below is a link to an amateur YouTube video of Cascade in motion. The commentary is most entertaining.

Till next time,

~Kim Allman~

Sources:

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Progress in Pictures — Charlotte Plaza Library Construction Update

What’s a library without shelves?

View our earlier construction updates to truly appreciate how far we’ve come:

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

June 2013

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November Happenings

A cornucopia of fun awaits you in November. From overindulging on all things turkey to feasting on the second installment of the Hunger Games movie, this month is stuffed with fun things to do!

Seasonal Fun: Thanksgiving Day Parade , Gobblefest at the Harris YMCA, Turkey Trot, Turkey Dash, Turkey Talk, Thanksgiving Crafts

Music/Performing Arts: Live and Let Die:Paul McCartney Tribute, Drake, Miguel, The Eagles, MattyB, Cyndi Lauper, Jim Brickman, Charlotte Symphony Pops: The Midtown Men-4 Stars from the Original Jersey Boys, The Sphinx Virtuosi,Venus in Fur, Sleeping Beauty, Celtic Thunder Mythology, Forbidden Broadway, The Newport Effect, Irish Tenors, Joe Bonamassa, Adventure in Space, Rusted Root, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Steep Canyon Rangers, Jim Avett (father of the Avett Brothers), Huey Mack, Taking Back Sunday, Ben Bridwell, Tim Kasher, David Ramirez, Hanson

NoDa Fall Musicfest

Chews&Booze: Dining with Friends, Totally 80′s Murder Mystery Dinner, 2nd Annual SausageFest, Halfway to Cinco de Mayo at Vida Cantina, Zipline&Dine

For the film buffs: Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Book Thief, Thor: The Dark World

For laughs: Chris Tucker, Carlos Mencina, Almost Homeless Comedy Tour, Pam Ann Cockpit Tour, John Oliver, Bobby Lee

For the kids: Reedy Creek Eco Race, Billy Jonas, Miracle on 34th Street, Hansel&Gretel, Willy Wonka, Zootastic Park, Narnia, Family Day at the Bechtler Museum, Adventures in Outer Space, Kids can try hockey for free

For the four-legged kids: FidoFest

Races: Tough Mudder, Thunder Road, Cure Search Walk, Light the Night Walk, 2nd Annual Charlotte Checkers 5k, St.Jude Give thanks Walk

Other fun events:

Charlotte International Auto Show, Fall Ball,Southern Christmas Show, Brides Against Breast Cancer Charity Gown Sale and Expo,Henry Frye, NC’s first African American Chief Justice , Renaissance Festival , ScanFest, Holiday Books and Coffee presented by the Friends of the Library at Queens

Of particular interest this month is the Levine Museum’s New South for the New Southerner series highlighting public art around town. Your $12 admission includes a buffet dinner from Mert’s.

  Gobble gobble, ya’ll!

~Jamie Sunnycalb~

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The Art of Downtown Charlotte – Part II: A Regular Commentary of Art and the Art Scene in Charlotte

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

The Firebird, or ’Oiseau de Feu Sur l’Arch  (literally, “Bird of Fire on an Arch”) by French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) is the center piece to the entrance of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, located on 420 South Tryon Street. The Firebird is perhaps the most photographed piece of art in Charlotte. At one time the Firebird had a Twitter account. The sculpture was created in 1991 and was purchased by Andres Bechtler specifically to be placed in front of the Bechtler Museaum of Modern Art. Bechtler wanted the sculpture to serve as a counter piece to the geometric lines of the museum that was designed by the noted Swiss architect Mario Botta.

The Firebird is over 17 feet tall and is covered in small bits of mirror and colored glass. It is dazzling when sunlight strikes the surface and glows at night reflecting the sculpture’s spot lights while also reflecting ambient light from the nearby shops, offices, and street lights. It is not uncommon at almost any time of day to see people gathered around the Firebird to have pictures taken or just to admire the artwork. Niki de Saint Phalle was a dynamic figure of the modern art world and her works challenged conventional ideals about the role of women in society. Many of her works were controversial while also being whimsical. Her sculptures are wild biomorphic shapes painted with bold primary and secondary colors or painted all white. She was friends with of many other luminaries of the Modern, Dada, and Pop Art moments such as Jean Tinguely. Tinguely and de Saint Phalle would later marry in 1971.

~Kim Allman~

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Progress in Pictures — Charlotte Plaza Library Construction Update

View our earlier construction updates to truly appreciate how far we’ve come:

September 2013

August 2013

June 2013

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A Guide to Romare Bearden Park

A few months ago Charlotte premiered its newest park, the Romare Bearden Park. The 5.4 acre park is located only a few blocks from our Charlotte Plaza building at 300 S. Church St. In addition to the beautiful landscaping the park offers gorgeous waterfalls, and a children’s play area which is equipped with a splash ground during the summer months.

Whether you’re interested in music, the arts, family fun, or fitness it is likely that the park has something you are interested in. Coming up this weekend the park will host a pumpkin patch party, where there will be music, face-painting, pumpkin carving and lots of other fun activities. If you want to know more about the park or you want to see a schedule of events check out the parks website.

~Minerva Mims~

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