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

Martin Lawrence, Art And Music Kick Off Charlotte’s First Fall Weekend Of 2021

It’s the first weekend of fall! In the Charlotte area, we’re getting blessed with some nice, cool, sunny weather to usher in autumn. Whether you plan to spend the weekend inside or out, we’ve got a few ideas for some things you can do to stay entertained around the Queen City.

One of the biggest events on the radar will happen Sunday when comedian Martin Lawrence takes the stage at the Spectrum Center. Fans may remember Lawrence from the 1990s sitcom “Lawrence” and Hollywood blockbusters like “Big Momma’s House” and for starring in the “Bad Boys” franchise alongside Will Smith.

“Many people might not know that he was an amateur boxer,” Ashley Mahoney with The Charlotte Post tells WFAE “All Things Considered” host Gwendolyn Glenn in the latest installment of Weekend in Entertainment. “He was a golden gloves boxer as a teen”

Lawrence will be joined on stage by DeRay Davis, Bruce Bruce, Adele Givens and Benji Brown. It’s a full-capacity show rescheduled from March of 2020 — right when the pandemic took root in the U.S. — and masks are required.

But before all that, the 57th Festival in the Park at Charlotte’s Freedom Park kicks off on Friday. Festival director Mark Boone told WFAE’s Jodie Valade, a writer and editor of our arts and entertainment newsletter Tapestry, that the event is back after taking a rare year off in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“Since 1964, my understanding is that the festival has only been canceled once, and that’s only due to renovations at Freedom Park,” Boone said. “We were even open during Hurricane Hugo.”

Fewer vendors will be on site during the three-day festival as a safety precaution, along with hand sanitizer stations and no shuttle buses.

 A scene from "Intergalactic Soul" by Charlotte artists Marcus Kiser and Jason Woodberry is seen at Mint Museum Uptown.
Mint Museum
A scene from "Intergalactic Soul" by Charlotte artists Marcus Kiser and Jason Woodberry is seen at Mint Museum Uptown.

There’s plenty to do in the art world, too, if you prefer peace and quiet. For example, Mint Museum Uptown just opened up an exhibit called “Constellation CLT: Intergalactic Soul.” Charlotte artists Marcus Kiser and Jason Woodberry tell the story of two young Black astronauts who travel the universe confronting social issues.

“The show itself really explores social justice through the lens of Afrofuturism,” Mahoney said.

You can listen to the full conversation above. But here’s a quick look at a few other things we cover on this installment of Weekend in Entertainment.

  • Two new exhibits are at the Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art in Charlotte. “Who Are Your People” features the works of Makayla Binter, and “Joy” features the works of Erin Comerford Miller, Carla Aaron-Lopez, Windy O’Connor and Lo’Vonia Parks. Both exhibits have opening celebrations Saturday. 
  • Children’s Theatre of Charlotte starts its season with “My Wonderful Birthday Suit,” a play that focuses on three children celebrating their differences. The first show is Saturday.  
  • Your Neighborhood Orchestra and The Noveau Sud Circus Project are collaborating for a celebration of Charlotte’s diverse music scene called Love Revolution at the Knight Theater on Saturday night.  

WFAE's weekly arts and entertainment email newsletter, Tapestry, will keep you in the loop on arts and culture in the Charlotte region.

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Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.