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Arts & Culture
Each Thursday, WFAE checks in with a local arts and entertainment reporter about things to do in Charlotte during the upcoming weekend.

Weekend In Entertainment: St. Patrick's Day Festivities -- Live And Virtual

whitewater center green river
Courtesy of U.S. National Whitewater Center

We took a break from our weekly weekend and entertainment segment because actually there were fewer events going on due to the pandemic. But with St. Patrick's Day coming up, we thought we'd check back in to talk about a couple of them and other virtual and live events happening around the Queen City.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Joining me is Ryan Pitkin, editor-in-chief of Queen City Nerve. Hey, Ryan.

Ryan Pitkin: Hey, it's finally it's good to finally be back and chat with you.

Glenn: Glad to talk with you. Yeah, it's been a minute or so. Before we get to the St. Paddy's Day events. Let's start with a bit of classical music.

Pitkin: So the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra is holding a virtual event will run from Friday night through Saturday featuring the CSO playing Mozart's "Divertimento,"
contemporary composer Jessica Meyer's "Slow Burn" and
Wirén's — sorry if I butchered that — "Serenade for Strings" composition
. All of those will be conducted by CSO's Christopher Warren-Green. Ticket sales end Friday night at 7:30 p.m., and you'll be able to listen any time between then and Saturday night at 7:30. You only need one ticket for the whole family party, what have you. So just head over to CharlotteSymphony.org and you can check out more details on that.

Glenn: OK, and Ryan, another virtual event will focus on the violent strike at the Loray Mill in Gastonia — a story that in 1929 went viral internationally. It's going to be an online program with music about one of the heroes of that strike, union organizer Ella May Wiggins, who wrote this song recorded by Pete Seeger.

Pete Seeger, singing: We leave our homes in the morning and we kiss our children goodbye. While we slave for the bosses, our children scream and cry. And when we draw our money, our grocery bills to pay. Not a cent to spend for clothing, not a cent to lay away.

Pitkin: Ella May is sort of a personal hero of mine, and I love to see events centered around her on Women's History Month. She was murdered on her way home after going to Gastonia from Bessemer City to help lead the Loray Mill strike. Now this virtual program is called "Singing to Be Heard," and it be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. Jason Luker of the Gaston County Museum of Art and History, where they've been holding an exhibit about her for quite some time. We'll examine her role in a strike and how her words and deeds still resonate and challenge us today. If you want to check it out. It's tinyurl.com/ellamaygastonia

Glenn: Ryan, also this weekend, Ken West will host a photography workshop for teens 14 to 18 years of age. Tell us about that.

Pitkin: It's called NextGen Art Party with Ken West and it's presented by the Mint Museum. He'll focus on using the camera lens to show empathy and photo and storytelling; human perception, human experience revolving around common people is sort of the theme around this event. And he's even put together a video for it.

Ken West's "The Beauty of Everyday Thangs"

Ken West: Young artists should just be paying attention. And should really absorb as much knowledge as you can, as many experiences as you can.

Glenn: That's Friday at 7 p.m. That should be a good one. Also, as we speak, the McColl Center is having a "reopen house" that started at noon and goes through Thursday evening. Tell us about the center and Thursday's reopening.

Pitkin: Right. So McColl Center is sort of an artist-in-residence program more than it's a public gallery. So they haven't been quite as affected by the pandemic. But now they'll be able to reopen to allow folks to see what they've been working on all this time. This open house will be an opening for the "Spaces Between," which has been the works from these artists and residents, which include Anna G. Dean, Rehab El Sadek, Lorena Mal and Sharon Norwood. And you'll also hear music from DJ Fannie Mae, one of my favorite local musicians. So you're going to have to register for that one in advance. You want to go to McCollCenter.org to do so.

Glenn: OK, and yet another virtual event is at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture Thursday night, and is a paint-and-sip event.

Pitkin: Right, Yep. And this is a special painting workshop for Women's History Month. This one is going to be a special one led by artist and business owner Cathay Dawkins. And this is going to be honoring Black women as muses. Designed for all levels — beginners, experienced painters. They've created a playlist for participants at home. They've created recipes for two cocktails, alcoholic and nonalcoholic. So that'll be a cool part of it. Sort of get interactive with that.

Glenn: So I am back to where we started: St. Patrick's Day is in the middle of next week, so of course folks are getting started early with events all over the place. And, of course, organizers are getting the message out and letting people know that safety is a priority during these events. And tell us about one of them, the Maker's Market event on Eastway in Charlotte. That's happening this weekend. What's on tap there?

Pitkin: It's a partnership between Maker's Market CLT and Tommy's Pub, who will be cohosting back-to-back weekends. They'll be featuring a bunch of live bands throughout these two weekends, traditional drinks, hot food and vendors, local pop-ups. And another cool part of this, the host of the event are donating part of their vendor fee to the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.

Glenn: OK, and another event, Luck of the Village, Birkdale Village in Huntersville. They are having a St. Paddy's Day celebration and they also are saying masks and social distancing will be required.

Pitkin: So this is sort of a family-friendly event. They're offering a limited amount of private tables. So you're not going to be doing a lot of mixing. And that's going from 5 to 8 p.m. Special performance from the Loch Norman Bagpipe Band. The Connick School will have some festive dance performances, and then it will go into from 6-8, some other live music. And you can learn more about that at BirkdaleVillage.com.

Glenn: OK, now the annual Green River Revival at the U.S. National Whitewater Center has been canceled, but they will have other events associated with St. Paddy's Day on Saturday. And I take it the water will once again turn green.

Pitkin: Yes, they will still be turning the river green because the Color Me Green 5K trail race is going to proceed as planned. You're going to have three divisions: competitive, recreational and kid's run. You can also join afterwards for a traditional Irish breakfast from 10 to 12.

Glenn: OK, and Ryan, we even have a virtual St. Paddy's event, the Carolina Irish Fest, Shenanigans and Shamrocks, online this year.

Pitkin: That'll be on YouTube Live. There'll be some dance performances, live music, Irish history, fireside chats, giveaways, all sorts of things.

Glenn: OK, a lot to do — and safely during the pandemic in the Queen City. Ryan, thanks for joining us.

Pitkin: I appreciate you having me Gwen.

Ryan Pitkin is editor-in-chief for Queen City Nerve.

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