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Arts & Culture

Weekend In Entertainment: Virtual Jazz, Shrooms, Pop-Up Art And A Hip-Hop Musical

Stephen Gordon
Stephen Gordon
Stephen Gordon of the Stephen Gordon Quarter

Jazz artist Stephen Gordon is one of several entertainers performing in virtual concerts in the Charlotte area this weekend. There's also a pop-up market on tap, and interesting art exhibits — one featuring mushrooms. With WFAE's "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn to talk about these events for the Weekend in Entertainment is Katrina Louis, senior writer for Q City Metro.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi, Katrina.

Katrina Louis: Hi, Gwen. It's been a while.

Glenn: It has. Welcome back.

Louis: Thank you.

Katrina Louis, QCity Metro
Sarafina Wright
Katrina Louis

Glenn: Well, let's get back to Charlotte native and percussionist Stephen Gordon. Tell us about him and his group, and when and where can people see the virtual concert.

Louis: Music has been a part of his life since he was a young age, thanks to his parents exposing him to different genres. He also attended Northwest School of the Arts. He's performed and toured and recorded over the past 20 years with musicians like the late master pianist Ellis Marsalis and Charlotte's Tyrone Jefferson, who played with James Brown.

So Thursday's concert is part of the JazzArts Charlotte's Keep Jazz Alive streaming series. The show is free Thursday, starts at 8 p.m. and it's coming to you from Crown Station in NoDa. But you can tune in on JazzArt Charlotte's YouTube channel.

Glenn: Now, there is also the live virtual concert in nearby Belmont featuring the Eric Brice Group (heard playing in the background). Brice is a self-taught guitarist who's been playing since he was a toddler, as well, and later studied under Motown hitmakers Kim Weston and Earl Van Dyke. Katrina, tell us more about who he's played with over the years and where.

Louis: So Brice has an impressive resume that has taken him around the world. He's traveled to Japan, Australia, Africa. He's also performed for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and shared the stage with artists like Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston and Patti LaBelle and Jamie Foxx.

Glenn: Now, this virtual concert is when,where, what time? And I understand there are a few in-person tickets available?

Louis: Yes, so the Soul of Jazz is happening Friday, and the show starts at 8 p.m. There are a few tickets to be in the studio audience at The Living room in Belmont.

Glenn: OK, so for those looking for a jazz/funk combination, Charlotte's jazz club Middle C is back with the music of Herbie Hancock and Teena Marie, performed by local artists.

Louis: Bass guitarist John Dillard can play any genre, and for this concert, he's bringing on vocalist Gina Chambers. She's a South Carolina native and she's joining him for cuts from the catalog of Herbie Hancock and soul singer Teena Marie.

Glenn: OK, glad they're back. And for those classical music lovers, Debussy and Strauss is also on tap this weekend. This is a virtual concert, tell us about it Katrina.

Louis: Charlotte Symphony principal harpist Andrea Mumm Trammell and conductor Christopher Warren-Green will perform pieces from French composer Claude Debussy and German composer Richard Strauss.

Glenn: And how can folks see it — what day and time?

Louis: The virtual concert is this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and viewing access will be sent to you via email. Your ticket access is for one device, so you can enjoy it solo, or if you want to enjoy with your family and friends, one ticket gives you full access.

Courtesy Charlotte Center City Partners
The Shrooms exhibit is displayed in Sydney, Australia.

Glenn: OK, so there's an intriguing art exhibit in ImaginOn uptown featuring mushrooms. It's actually called Shrooms. Who are the artists? And describe the exhibit for us.

Louis: The artists, Amigo and Amigo, is an artist's studio that's actually based in Sydney, Australia, and the studio has an extensive background in sculpture and industrial design. So the Shrooms pop-up exhibit, it's 10 giant, inflatable mushrooms. One of the artists noticed mushrooms have popped up in the streets where she lives in Australia. And at night, the colorful fabrics on the mushrooms actually light up. So the event has been featured in Baltimore, New Zealand, Canada and many other places.

Glenn: And when you say giant, how giant?

Louis: So I don't know the exact height, but the mushrooms are as tall as the buildings, so they're pretty big.

Glenn: And that exhibit is there until April 18. Also, there's a three-day pop-up exhibition at the Mint Museum. What's happening there?

Louis: Artist Carla Aaron-Lopez, also known as King Carla, is shining a spotlight on artists of color who are often underrepresented by Charlotte's art institutions. So this pop-up exhibit is called Local/Street, and it features the work of more than 40 local artists of color. And it's a three-day pop-up starting on Friday through Sunday, and it'll be on display this weekend at the Mint Museum Randolph. So this was curated in partnership with the Mint Museum and the group Charlotte is Creative.

Glenn: There's another pop-up and it will be one of several these organizers are doing that will kick off on Saturday called Girl Tribe Pop-Up in the Garden.

Louis: So this is an semi-outdoor event. It kicks off this Saturday. It'll showcase more than 50 women-owned businesses and brands so you can shop and visit the different vendors throughout the entire day. Shoppers and vendors are encouraged to wear your mask and they'll also be taking temperature checks when you enter. So vendors will also be socially distanced, they'll be monitoring the capacity to make sure that everyone is safe and can have a great time.

Glenn: Sounds like fun. And as you said, safe. And finally, Katrina, Charlotteans and actors Ron Lee McGill and Rahsheem Shabazz are bringing fairy tales of a different kind to the Queen City virtually this weekend through March 31.

Louis: In this hourlong hip-hop musical concert, Jay and Will Grimmz are the main characters, and they put a modern spin on classic fairy tales featuring original songs and choreography. And the production is called GRIMMZ Fairy Tales and it's presented by Children's Theatre of Charlotte.

So some of the fairy tales are Snow White and the Seven Shawties, Down with Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel: Lost In The Streets. And they also have a Cinderella Remix.

Glenn: OK, and how can people see it?

Louis: People can stream it now on-demand through March 31. You can visit the Children's Theatre website to purchase tickets for access at CTCCharlotte.org.

Glenn: OK, and two other events Sunday from 2to 6 at Northridge Middle School Queens in Charge celebrates Women's History Month with performances, cooking demos, spoken word, a DJ, Vendors market and more.

And also on Sunday at 7 p.m. at The Living Room in Belmont, Dena Palmer-Brice will be in concert. Thanks for being with us. Katrina.

Louis: Thanks Gwen.

Katrina Louis is a senior writer for Q City Metro

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