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Weekend In Entertainment: Art Exhibits Featuring The Brookhill Neighborhood; Tosco Music Party


This Easter weekend there’s plenty to do in the Charlotte area. From local exhibitions to live music and EDM, it’s something for everyone. Queen City Nerve Editor Ryan Pitkin joined WFAE’s Mark Rumsey for another edition of Weekend In Entertainment.

Ryan Pitkin
Credit Ryan Pitkin
Ryan Pitkin, editor of Queen City Nerve.

Mark Rumsey: On Saturday there is an event in Charlotte’s Brookhill community, which is just south of uptown. It sounds like a combination of art and local history, is that right?

Ryan Pitkin: Right. Absolutely. It shows the power of how art can play a role in social justice and learning about certain issues within the community.

It touches on some exhibits from two of Charlotte's best artists and social advocates - Bree Stallings and Alvin C. Jacobs. It's starts at C3 lab with Bree’s “Where I'm From Exhibit,” and that's sort of a personal reflection of hers with an installation. And then she'll be leading a tour walking across the street over to Brookhill, which is a neighborhood. [It's] a historically African-American community in Charlotte that's faced a lot of displacement lately and evictions and people wanting to develop in that area because it's a sort of a hot growing South End area. It's sort of become a definition or a symbol for some of the gentrification that's happening there.

And that trip will be continued with a with a light rail trip up to Harvey Gantt Center where Alvin Jacobs “Welcome to Brookhill” exhibit is. He spent about a year documenting the lives of people within that community and really trying to showcase, instead of turning them into a statistic or a pity party. [The exhibit] really tries to showcase the vibrant life and networks that are within that community, and the people who are living there and are still thriving.

Rumsey: Okay, a really full event there and tapping into some really current themes. So that sounds interesting. Also on Saturday is the latest Tosco Music Party in Charlotte. Believe it or not, these things have been going on for some 30 years now, I believe. But in case anybody is not familiar , tell us about it.

Pitkin: John started these in his living room in the 1990s and they've just really taken off over the decades as far as just being a great incubator and a showcase for local artists. Some of the people who will be performing there now include Bakalao Stars, who have been around for a long time. Greg Cox is more of a new up-and-coming artist and everyone in between. It's multiple times a year - spring, summer and fall - that he holds these big parties. You can always find him at Tosco open mic, but these are the big ones that that just showcase a ton of different artists and they're definitely worth going to if you want to sort of get a taste test for the local music scene.

Rumsey: Very cool and very Charlotte. That's [Tosco Music Party] this Saturday.

Both Friday and Saturday, there's some more music on the agenda. Part of something called "Digital Gardens" - not such a familiar name to me, but please explain.

Pitkin: I think the name is sort of a play on the very popular EDM festival called the Electric Daisy Festival and that's somewhere else. I'm not very familiar with the electric music scene, but this is a pretty big festival for those who are and those who are into that. It's going to be featuring live painting, fire design, which I was not very familiar with what that even meant. Obviously, a lot of electric music silent discos and things like that. It'll be quite an experience over there at the Shed, which is in the northern part of NODA over by Sugar Creek.

Rumsey: And hey, did you find out what fire design is all about?

Pitkin: To a certain extent. I looked up a little bit about it and there's a local group named Incendia that sort of uses fire within tubes. It's sort of what it sounds like. They designed different atmospheres using active fire and flames and it looks pretty awesome. Maybe you just have to see it, right? It's hard to do on radio.

Rumsey: We're running out of time here for this Thursday. A couple of quick final mentions on Saturday. There's going to be a celebration down at Infinity’s End, the longtime Charlotte smoke shop. They're celebrating their 50th, as I understand. So that's happening. And also not this weekend, but the following weekend [there's an event with] Queen City Nerve. You guys are having an event?

Pitkin: Right. We're having our inaugural the Vodka Masters event at Epicenter Rooftop 210 on April 27. There will be craft cocktails. Harvey Cummings Project, Courtney Lynn & Quinn [are performing], and just a great afternoon. So check us out at the Vodka Masters on Facebook.

Rumsey: So we'll put it in the shameless plug category?

Pitkin: Absolutely.

Every Thursday tune in to All Things Considered on WFAE 90.7 for our latest Weekend in Entertainment segment featuring voices from Charlotte's media scene bringing you the latest music, cultural and social events.

Mark Rumsey grew up in Kansas and got his first radio job at age 17 in the town of Abilene, where he announced easy-listening music played from vinyl record albums.