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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.

First Friday Movie Series, Brooklyn's 120th Anniversary Headline A Packed Weekend In The Queen City

The Black Panther takes a water break in this illustration from his comic book.
The Black Panther takes a water break in this illustration from his comic book.

The weekend is upon us and there is a lot to do, entertainment-wise. Art After Dark is back at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. The fifth annual jazz tribute to Prince will be at Victoria Yards in uptown Charlotte. And organizers there will also be hosting their first Fridays at the movies — "Black Panther," featuring the late Anderson, South Carolina-native Chadwick Boseman.

Joining WFAE's "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn to talk about this and other events for weekend and entertainment is Katrina Louis, senior writer for QCity Metro.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi, Katrina.

Katrina Louis: Hi, Gwen. I cannot believe it is June already.

Glenn: Yeah, yeah. Time is flying. So tell us more about Victoria Yards' First Friday movie series.

Louis: The series is part of the outdoor programming happening at the corner of 7th and Tryon. So starting at 6o'clock, they'll have live music. There'll be food trucks and cold brews. The "Black Panther" movie starts at 8:15, but seating is extremely limited. Bring your own chair or blankets.

Glenn: OK, and Katrina, even though mask policies in the state are lifted for the most part, will they be required there? And will any other safety measures be called for?

Louis: All attendees must wear their masks unless they're eating or drinking and still following the 3W's — wear a mask, wash and sanitize your hands and, wait 6 feet apart for social distancing.

Glenn: OK, Katrina, this isn't the only event this weekend at Victoria Yards. The Sol Kitchen is sponsoring a jazz tribute to Prince. This is the fifth annual tribute to the iconic artist that wasn't held last year because of the pandemic. Tell us more about the concert. Who are the musicians and have you attended it in the past?

prince.jpg

Louis: I have not attended in the past. I'm very jealous that I have not been able to attend in the past. But The Sol Kitchen has hosted this event for the past couple of years to celebrate Prince's birthday, which is June 7th. This year, it's hosted by Quentin Talley, who most people will know from OnQ Productions. And you can expect to see Charlotte native Adrian Crutchfield, who was also a saxophonist in Prince's band.

Glenn: OK, and what time will the concert start?

Louis: There'll be two shows on Sunday. The first show will be at 6 p.m. and doors open at 5. And then the second show starts at 8, and doors open at 7:30. And seating is first-come, first serve.

Glenn: OK, now an event that I have attended a lot that took an almost two-year hiatus because of the pandemic is back: "Art After Dark" at the Gantt Center. They have a long list of events for folks to enjoy. Tell us about some of them.

Louis: I, too, have attended this event a lot and have missed it. So I'm glad that it's back. The theme this month celebrates Black Music Month, which is held every year in June. They'll have a workshop where you can make your own album cover art. There'll be a rap cyphers. So for all of you, you know, hip-hop heads out there, that might be something you're into. They'll have a discussion that talks about the intersection of hip-hop and fashion.

And if the weather's nice, you can go up to the fourth floor where they'll have the rooftop terrace open. They'll have a live musical performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Rudy Currence. So, looking forward to that. So, there's a little something for everybody to celebrate Black Music Month.

Glenn: Those attending will be able to view all of the exhibits, as usual. And there's a new one, E. Mackey's "Choose Your Weapon: Views From The Front Lines Of The War For Black Lives." What do you know about this exhibit?

Louis: E. Mackey is from my hometown, Miami, Florida. So with the protests last summer, as a photographer, this is documenting a visual representation of the things that he saw as he traveled to 11 different cities across the country. So it should be a really powerful piece. It opens this weekend and it runs through October 3.

(Music from "Godspell" plays.)

Glenn: That's music from the musical production "Godspell" that focuses on the teachings of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. It's coming to Matthews. Tell us where and more about how it will be staged.

Louis: It's happening at the Matthews Playhouse and this will be their return to in-person theater. And this will be their first outdoor production. The performances, they all take place at 7:30 p.m.. This was a huge musical. It opened off-Broadway in 1971 and has been produced by companies ever since then. And now we'll have it here in Matthews.

Glenn: Okay, Katrina, the GRACEFest Arts Festival is another event. It's going to be Friday and Saturday in Charlotte's historic African American Brooklyn community. There's a big anniversary associated with this event, right?

Louis: You are correct. So they are celebrating the 120th anniversary of the historic Grace AME Zion Church, which is one of the few buildings from the original Brooklyn neighborhood in Charlotte. And on tap this weekend, on Friday is opening night. They'll have an art exhibition that's focused around equity. So you'll see a lot of local talented artists. And they'll also have a speaker series where some of the speakers include Willie Griffin, who is the historian at the Levine Museum of the New South.

And then on Saturday, it is an indoor and outdoor festival, a chance to bring the whole family. They'll have art on display and the art will be for purchase. And you'll also hear performances from musicians like Kenya Templeton, who is also known in Charlotte's creative community.

Glenn: Sounds great. And especially a great tribute to the 120th anniversary for one of the very few buildings still left there. Playing in the background is the 13-year-old jazz violinist and child prodigy Conor McMillen, he will be playing with his father, acclaimed pianist Blair McMillen. Katrina, tell us more about them and when and where for their concert.

Louis: So this event is happening this Sunday at 3 o'clock. It will be a virtual event. And for the links, you can visit https://www.musicatstalbansdavidson.org/ and they'll likely perform a spring sonata movement from Beethoven. There'll be a performer Q&A following the concert.

Glenn: And this is, again, as you said, an event of St. Alban's in Davidson.

Louis: Yes. You'll be able to go on to the website, musicatstalbansdavidson.org to get the link.

Glenn: OK, and also this weekend, the Omegas of Charlotte are hosting their annual Charles Drew blood drive with food trucks on site to entice people to come out. The Seltzer World Festival is uptown on Saturday, starting at noon with 75 seltzers on tap for tasting. And violinist Simone Porter, heard in the background, joins the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra for a 5 p.m. virtual concert of Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 on Saturday. You can sign up for the performance on the Charlotte Symphony's website.

Katrina, thanks for being with us for Weekend in Entertainment.

Louis: Thanks. Have a good weekend.

Glenn: Thanks. Katrina Louis is a senior writer for Q City Metro.

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