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Weekend In Entertainment: Ali Wong, Rockstar Energy Festival & Big 3 League

Ali Wong
Ali Wong

Whether you want to visit an art gallery, jam out at a mega concert, enjoy some stand-up comedy, or see some basketball of a different sort there is plenty to do this weekend in Charlotte. 

Andy Smith, arts and culture editor of Charlotte Magazine joined WFAE’s Mark Rumsey for a preview.

Andy Smith
Credit Sarafina Wright
Andy Smith, arts and culture editor of Charlotte magazine.

Mark Rumsey: Hey Andy.

Andy Smith: Hey, how you doing Mark?

Rumsey: Great. Thanks for coming in. There's an exhibition titled Faces in the Crowd that's just opening at SOCO Gallery on Providence Road in Charlotte. What will viewers see there?

Smith: Well, this is an enormous show. There's going to be a lot of art in this relatively small space in Myers Park. And Jen Edwards, who just took over the top curator job at the Mint Museum, curated this show which has anybody from Charlotte's own Holly Keogh, who is a painter, or Juan Logan, who's been around for a long time, to someone like Summer Wheat, who's this sort of internationally recognized visual artist who pushes acrylic paint through framed pieces of wire like aluminum wire. So, I mean, it is an incredibly novel approach and I think it's a very vibrant, very collective like you said a far-reaching show and I think it's gonna be a cool thing. It runs through September 2, so you can revisit it or mull over if you're going to buy a piece or not during that time.

Rumsey: So Faces in the Crowd. What's the implication there?

Smith: Well, I haven't read the curators statement yet, but I mean you'd have to think that it speaks to the diversity that you're going to see in this show. I mean it's an enormous amount of diversity and not just geography but also aging. You have someone like Ken Van Sickle, who's a master photographer that's been around for decades and decades, and someone like Holly Keogh, who's a relatively young artist doing these painted scenes. So I think, you know, from what my first impression is you're just going to see many different types of work and from many different types of people.

Rumsey: Tomorrow evening, if folks are looking for some laughs Oven's Auditorium might be the place to be.

Smith: Yes. Ali Wong who is an enormous force in comedy right now. She just had her Netflix rom-com “Always Be My Maybe” debut. But she's also had specials and it's cool to see Charlotte reflect the latest and greatest of standup. People like, you know, Amy Schumer coming through. Ali Wong will be an example of that and Kevin Hart has come through several times. So it's fun to see enormous standup acts coming through to sort of coincide with the Comedy Zone which is regularly pushing out local comics.

Rumsey: All right, Andy. On Saturday something called the Big 3 league is going to bring its brand of basketball to Charlotte's Spectrum Center. And I really had to look this one up. I wasn't familiar with it but I learned that it's been around for just a couple of years. It's a form of three-on-three basketball but who's playing?

Smith: Well, these are sort of the big athletes of yesterday. Sort of the 90s players. You have Gary Payton, Rashard Lewis people like that that have been around for a while. And so it's fun to see them kind of get back on the court in this incredibly intimate version of this game with the three-on-three. It’s almost like something you'd see in a public park or something like that, but in the Spectrum Center so it'll be a very cool thing.

Rumsey: And one of the founders of the Big 3 league is hip hop musician and actor Ice Cube. So I'm wondering does the entertainment theme take on a new dimension for basketball here?

Smith: I think yeah. Hip hop and basketball have been intertwined since the form of hip hop began. It seems like a very natural fit that someone like Ice Cube, who is such a huge fan of the game, wants to see this different version represented on the court.

Rumsey: All right. Well, the Carolinas are all about basketball so now we have another option in the Big 3 league. 

Smith: Yeah, this is just a continuation of a big basketball year for us. All-Star Weekend we had our own Kemba Walker and, you know, I think we’re going to continue seeing Charlotte emerge as a bigger and bigger sports town and they're going to garner these kinds of games as well. So it's really exciting.

Rumsey: Andy Saturday afternoon there is the Rockstar Energy Disrupt Festival at PNC Music Pavilion.

Smith: I was talking about Gary Payton, so this is also nostalgic for people like me that were an emo kid in the early 2000s. This is very nostalgic. The Used, Circa Survive, Sum 41 these were bands that sort of forged the identity of emo and pop-punk and hardcore in the early to mid-2000s. It kind of reminds me...you ever see that Paul McCartney infomercial in the 90s with the baby boomer wiping his tears during "Hey Jude"? It's going to be like that, but with a mosh pit beside you.

Rumsey: All right, sounds like a fun time for somebody, anyway. And that's Saturday afternoon?

Smith: Yes, that is. That's Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at PNC Music Pavilion.

Rumsey: That’s Andy Smith, arts and culture editor of Charlotte magazine. Thanks for the look ahead.

Smith: Thanks for having me, Mark.

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.