The Rundown: Things to do April 7-10

Shawn Allison shares all the places you'll wanna be in the Queen City.
Shawn Allison shares all the places you’ll wanna be in the Queen City.

What’s going on Queen City?  I’m back again with a rundown full of activities guaranteed to make your head spin!  Our city is scheduled to have some rather cool weather, so before you head out make sure you bundle up.  And without further adieu, here we go!


Kick off your Thursday evening in an island-themed cool down known as “Red, Red Win.” Join S. Kehinde & DJ Corporate at Vin Master Wine Lounge in an upscale Reggae environment designed to help you wind down after a long day.  Bring your friends out, enjoy great drink specials and let the sounds of Caribbean, Reggae, African, Soca and Lover’s Rock tunes soothe you.  Admission is FREE but please RSVP here:  Event begins at 6 p.m.  Vin Master Wine Lounge is located at 2000 South Blvd. in Historic South End.

Street percussion comes to rhythm and life in Charlotte.  The critically acclaimed “STOMP” stops through featuring an explosive, inventive, provocative experience of all ages.  The eight-member ensemble breaks new rhythm with anything they can get their hands on.  From brooms, trash cans, hubcaps, poles, wooden beams and even the ground we walk upon.  STOMP will be here until Sunday, April 10th. I strongly suggest you bring your family out and witness greatness.  Tonight’s performance is at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased at:  All performances will be held at the Knight Theatre at Levine Center for the Arts.  The address is 430 S. Tryon St. in Uptown.

Hey there, do you see all those wild colors?  Do you hear all that funky noise?  It’s no illusion, get ready for “BOOM”—a revolutionary, multi-sensory, weekend-long art showcase in the heart of Plaza-Midwood.  This first installment of BOOM will bring together local and national acts through a collaborative weekend of performance in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood utilizing local business spaces and performance venues.  BOOM aspires to expand the reach of art and culture outside of the Center City. This carefully curated compilation of visual and performing arts will integrate the local community and expose Charlotte to the wealth of innovative original work created in our region and across the country.  From visual art, performing arts, hip hop, live instrumentation, spoken word, dance, vocalism and more, this is sure to be an unforgettable weekend.  All events/artist information, times, venues and ticket purchases can be found at:  And for the opener, come out to The Rabbit Hole for the launch party with Pecha Kucha.  All events will be at various locations in the Plaza-Midwood District.  Hashtag: #BOOM

Head out to 360 Lounge as the Soultron DJs rock your soul into the night with another dope edition of Weirdo Lounge. DJ’s FoundACEtion, Tony Cutlass, Bes Kep&Taz Infinite will bring you the best of Underground Hip Hop , Soul, The Funk, Neo-Soul, R&B and Rare Grooves straight to your earholes.  Admission is $5 and the party begins at 8 p.m.  360 Lounge is located at 7030 Smith Corners Blvd. located in the Northlake area. Hashtag: #SoultronDJs   #WeirdoLounge

FRIDAY, April 8

Everyone shift your noses and stomachs into 5th gear and head down to either Plaza-Midwood or South End because it’s time once again for “Food Truck Friday.”  Let your olfactory senses steer you to one or many of Charlotte’s colorful culinary chariots ready to fill you up with delicious eats.  Admission is FREE.  FTF will be behind Sycamore Brewing in South End (2161 Hawkins St.) and The Light Factory in Plaza-Midwood (1817 Central Ave.)  Both locations begin at 5 p.m.  Hashtag: #FoodTruckFriday  #SupportFoodTrucks

Take a short drive to the town of Concord and head over to Clearwater Artist Studios for the opening reception and exhibit premier of “Son, Brother, Father.” Charlotte painter Bryan Wilson, Greensboro photographer Johannes Barfield and Chapel Hill painter William P. Thomas come together in a joint show, celebrating their emergence as professional artists.  The artists will address with visuals, complex issues of race, cultural identity, an artist’s responsibility to society.  Admission is $5 and the event will begin at 6 p.m.  Clearwater Artist Studios is located at 223 Crowell Dr. in Concord.

Local music education enthusiast, Jazz Arts Initiative is proud to present another evening with fine, organic and pure jazz music in “The Jazz Room.”   For tonight’s entertainment, JAI welcomes renowned New Orleans trumpeter and vocalist Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown paying tribute to the great Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong!  Two shows:  6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.  Tickets:  Both performances will be held at The Stage Door Theatre @ Blumenthal Performing Arts Center which is located at the corner of E. 5th St. & N. College St. in Uptown.  Hashtag: #JAI  #TheJazzRoom

If you want to set your soul on fire with sound and color this evening, I have just the thing for you.  Come out to The Dirty Hippie for their “Drum Circle & Paint Party.”  Let your limbs flow to the rhythm of drums and other percussive instruments.  And then transfer that energy as your mind guides your hands to create whatever is in your spirit.  Admission is only $10 and this includes a canvas, art supplies and unlimited paint colors.  The party starts at 7 p.m.  The Dirty Hippie is located at 5028 South Blvd.

Everyone put on your pajamas, grab a big mixing bowl of cereal and plop down in front of the stage because the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte proudly presents “School House Rock Live!”  Relive all of those fun, favorite tunes of yesteryear that made education fun such as “Conjunction Junction and “I’m Just A Bill” and many more. The show will run from April 8 – April 24.  Show starts at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets:  All performances will be held at ImaginOn located at 300 E. 7th St. in Uptown.

Break out your binoculars and telescopes and head down to Discovery Place with your family for a “Star Party.” Discovery Place is participating in the 4th annual North Carolina Statewide Star Party–a signature event of the North Carolina Science Festival. Astronomy clubs and planetariums are hosting free family-friendly public skywatching sessions at dozens of sites across the state.  Jeff Bassett, science reach educator at Discovery Place, is looking for amateur astronomers with telescopes or binoculars to help out. If interested, all you need to do is show up at 6:30 p.m. on Discovery Place’s parking deck (parking is free) and set up your scope or just bring those binoculars. The event starts at 7:30 pm and guests can expect to observer a variety of celestial objects inside and outside our solar system.  Discovery Place is located at 301 N. Tryon St. in Uptown.

One of Charlotte’s most talented and underrated musicians, Sai The Violinist, will be performing an intimate selection of music at Freshwater’s Restaurant tonight entitled “Soul Sessions.”  If you’ve never eaten at Freshwater’s before, go enjoy a savory Louisiana/Cajun-flavored dish.  Sai will begin her set promptly at 7 p.m.  Freshwater’s is located at 516 N. Graham St. in Uptown.

If you remember watching “The Wiz, Live!” on television last December, get ready for the sequel adapted for the stage in “Be A Lion”!  This production poses the questions, “What happens in Oz after Dorothy clicked her heels? What’s Emerald city like without a Wiz? Who will rule Oz now?”  In this show you’ll be introduced to new characters as well as the ones you’ve grown to love. It’s filled with comedy, mystery and even romance. There will be three shows:  April 8th at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 9th at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Tickets:  All performances will be at The Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square which is located at 345 N. College St. in Uptown.

The good people of Jazz N’ Soul Music have been on a serious roll this year providing folks with premiere entertainment from local and regional musical acts.  Under the leadership of local jazz connoisseur Mayhue Bostic, gear your ears to the stage and get ready to experience the all-new band, SPECTRUM.  They will be playing their own brand of Funk, Soul & Jazz and will cover tunes from Mandrill, The Gap Band, James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, Kool &The Gang, Stevie Wonder, Sly & The Family Stone and more!  Tickets: The show begins at 9 p.m., sharp.  The Tavern is located at 300 E. Morehead St. in Uptown.  Hashtag: #JazzNSoul

If you’re in the mood for House music, come wind down at Soul Gastrolounge as the Sound Cartel strolls in from Raleigh giving you the best of Deep House and Down tempo tunes.  Relax as DJ Nugz and DJ Marshall Jones moves your body into the night, and be sure to grab a cool refreshment from the bar.  Admission is FREE. Music starts thumping at 9 p.m.  Soul Gastrolounge is located at 1500 Central Ave. in the Plaza-Midwood area.


Start your morning off by doing some Spring Cleaning—not at home, but in the community.  Bring your family and friends out to Fred Alexander Park as The Chris Canty Foundation hosts its annual “Cleanup For Change” community service project. The Cleanup for Change program is one of the Foundation’s largest service projects. Its mission is to provide youth with a platform to serve communities in need of beautification initiatives and to educate youth on the importance of recycling and green communities. In addition, the program reminds participants it is everyone’s responsibility to preserve and protect the environment, and to keep our communities clean. Community pride plays a huge role in community development and the preservation of history.  If you plan on volunteering, please register at:  A complimentary breakfast, garden and cleaning tools/utensils and PPE (personal protective equipment) will all be provided.  Be at Fred Alexander Park at 7 a.m. dressed warm and comfortably.  The park is located at 1832 Griers Grove Rd. in Northwest Charlotte just off Beatties Ford Rd. Hashtag: #CCF  #CleanupForChange

Join local abolitionist organization Love146 as they host the “Hope Is Brewing” brunch and social. This is an event where activists can come together for a good cause to support Love146’s work ending child trafficking and exploitation.  Bring your family and friends, your favorite board game and enjoy delicious food and fun.  Tickets:  The brunch begins at 10 a.m. and will be held at C3 Lab.  The address is 2525 Distribution St. in Historic South End.

At the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture bring the family out for two special programs.  The first event, “Hymn For Alvin Ailey,” is the brainchild of dance legend Judith Jamison in which she constructed a tribute for Alvin Ailey and his body of work.  Then stick around for “Modern Fusion w/ Kyle Garrison.”  Garrison is multi-talented performer, choreographer and educator who will teach participants through a fusion of African, jazz and contemporary dance with an emphasis on modern dance technique to create a new dance aesthetic.  These events are FREE with museum admission. The first event begins at 10 a.m.  The Gantt Center is located at 551 S. Tryon St. in Uptown.

If you are in the travelling mood, take I-77 S to Downtown Columbia and get ready for the “Annual Hip Hop Family Day Festival.”  Love, Peace & Hip Hop, along with The City of Columbia and WellCare Healthy Connections brings the creative culture to the masses through hands-on art exhibits, educational activities, live music, dance performances and more.  In addition to food, fun and music, Love Peace & Hip Hop annual donates all soft drink and water proceeds to two non-profit organizations that offer direct services to the community.  And headlining the festival today is none other than one of hip hop’s greatest ambassadors—Tha Blastmaster, Tha Teacha….KRS-One!  Admission is FREE and families are encouraged to come out to witness the culture in full.  The festivities begin at 11 a.m. and will be held at the corner of Main St. and Laurel St. in Downtown Columbia, SC.  Hashtag: #LovePeaceAndHipHop

Come to Uptown Charlotte’s newest eatery, 7th District for the “Pop Up Brunch” hosted by Prosocialites.  Enjoy a tasty brunch, fellowship and FREE giveaways.  The brunch begins at Noon. Be sure to call (843)-360-1724 to make reservations.  7th District is located at 321 N. Caldwell St. in Uptown.  Hashtag: #Prosocialites  #PopUpBrunchCLT

The new and beautifully-penned book “Mind Travelling” has been garnering alot of critical acclaim and praise since it’s recent release.  Meet Karma Banks, and have her place her John Hancock in your purchased copy of her book.  “Mind Travelling” is already a bestseller on Get your copy and be inspired for change.  The book signing will be at 2 p.m. and will be held at Park Road Books located in the South Park Area.

Attention writers, bloggers, social media mavens and the like…Head out to Packard Place and get ready for “#GirlsWriteIn:  BeYourOwnYonce.”  Ladies take heed as creator, Tyler MyCale along an esteemed panel of local movers and shakers host a three-part workshop designed to help build your brand, expand your network and monetize your craft.  The workshop was inspired by the recent release of Beyonce’s song “Formation”, and today, Tyler and company want to help you get your ideas in formation.  The workshop also is centered around the question, “What does it take to be a powerhouse in a creative industry?”   Tickets:  The workshop begins at 5 p.m.  Packard Place is located at 222 S. Church St. in Uptown.  Hashtag: #GirlsWriteIn

Jazz Arts Initiative is back with another phenomenal performance honoring jazz legends of yesteryear.  Tonight’s feature is the lovely and renowned vocalist Eileina Dennis singing in tribute and honoring one of jazz’s most prolific and poignant voices, the divine Sarah Vaughan.  There will be two shows for the evening:  7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.  Tickets:  Both performances will be held at the Stage Door Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, located at the corner of E. 5th St. & N. College St. in Uptown.  Hashtag: #JAI  #TheJazzRoom

This evening, slide out to Free Range Brewing for “Free Form Artistas:  A Bilingual Experience of Intercultural Music, Poetry & Story.” Relax and get involved in a fusion of talent and culture that you do not want to miss.  There will be local, national and international creatives on hand giving you a dose of their artistic prowess.  This is eclectic expression and all ages are welcome to attend.  Admission is $12 and can be purchased at the door or here:  Starts at 7 p.m. The event will be held at Free Range Brewing located at 2310 N. Davidson St. in the NoDa area.

Head out to BluNotes this evening for their “Blues & Grooves Saturdays” live performance.  And hitting the stage is the Delta Fire Blues Revue!  Boasting one of the huskiest and down-home blues voices is Ms. Kelly Thurston who is backed by Delta Fire—a tight band that loves to perform.  Two shows this evening:  7 p.m. and 9 p.m.  Admission is only $4 per show.  BluNotes is located at 3425 David Cox Rd. in the University area.

Brothers & Sisters…  Put on that fly suit and slip into that dress that hugs your curves and head over to UpStage for an evening of musical delight with your featured act, The Martini Swing!  If you’ve never heard them perform before, they have a sound vibe that is smoother than a cold glass of cognac. Rich, soulful vocals from frontman Kyle Jason and crisp, fluid instrumentation from the ensemble, Martini Swing.  Admission is $10. Show begins at 9 p.m. UpStage is located at 3306 N. Davidson St. Suite “C” in the NoDa District.  Hashtag: #MartiniSwing

You’re invited to The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center as Breakin’ Convention performs “Open Art Surgery” for the audience.  Jonzi D will host a week-long choreographic residency that will culminate in a public showing and discussion on Saturday.  This will give artists an unique opportunity to test the water in a theater environment and gives the audience a chance to speak directly to the artists about their work.  This is a totally interactive workshop and everybody is encouraged to participate.  Tickets:  Begins at 8 p.m. at the Booth Playhouse @ Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.  The address is 130 N. Tryon St. in Uptown.

Rounding out your Saturday, come out to FireWater for a delightful evening of music, drinks and conversation in another installment of “Pleasantries.” Tonight’s entertainment features soothing vocals and instrumentation from Leslie & Friends.  And be sure to stick around as The Almighty DJ Freedom rocks the 1s and 2s into the night with an arsenal of great music.  Admission is $10 and ages 21+ (25+ preferred) are allowed to enter.  The fun all begins at 9 p.m. FireWater is located at 8708 J.W. Clay Blvd. in the University Area.

SUNDAY, April 4

Start your Sunday afternoon at The Harvey B. Gantt Center as Mr. Felix Curtis, owner and operator of Classic Black Cinema Series, features the 1927 silent film classic “Scar Of Shame” directed by Oscar Micheaux.  It’s the story of a young, erudite Black musician who marries a woman from a lower socioeconomic class who is striving to escape the clutches of her abusive stepfather.  However, once he “saves” her, he refuses to let his new wife meet his mother, as he knows that his mother will be disappointed in him for marrying someone who is below his station.  Film admittance is FREE along with museum admission.  The screening begins at 2 p.m. and there will be complimentary refreshments provided.  551 S. Tryon St. in Uptown. Hashtag: #CBCS

For some intense, athletic action this Sunday, everyone come out to Park Road Park as the 6 teams of M.A.R.S. (Main Attraction Recreational Sports) battle it out with three Co-Ed Kickball games!  Cheer teams on and watch as me and other kick, throw, catch and score our way to glory.  It is a lot of fun and it has proven to be a great stress reliever for me.  The first game begins at 5 p.m. and they will all be played on Field #1.  Park Road Park is located at 6215 Park Rd. in the South Park Area.  Hashtag: #MARS  #Funletics

Come out for the Second Sunday Jazz Workshop & Improv hosted by John Shaughnessy.  Whatever your instrument—be it flute, guitar, bass, 88 keys, trumpet, drums, percussion, or your voice, bring it down and share your talents with other gifted musicians as you all will participate in a live jam session.  Admission is FREE. Starts at 8 p.m.  Petra’s is located at 1919 Commonwealth Ave. in the Plaza-Midwood area.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend and be sure to spread love to a stranger!

Live.  Laugh.  Love.  Learn.  Listen.  Give.