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Weekend In Entertainment: Common, Queen City Summer Fest & More!


Actor, activist, author and rapper Common is in town Friday night at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center's Belk Theater performing fan favorites from his long catalog of recordings. Joining "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn to talk more about this and other arts and entertainment events is Ryan Pitkin, editor of Queen City Nerve. 

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi there Ryan. 

Ryan Pitkin: Hey Gwen. Good to see you. 

Glenn: So tell us a little more about Common and the tour that's coming here.

Pitkin: RightCommon has changed definitely a lot over the years since his days in the late 80s early 90s being one of Chicago's dopest rappers to a movie star, you’ve seen him in Selma. Now you can catch him in Microsoft commercials, you can say what you want about that, but I think his talent is always still been there. He's just released his second memoir, which I believe is a part of that tour and I'd be willing to bet that there's going to be a little bit of you know book talk and motivational speaking mixed in with the music at Friday night's event for sure.

Glenn: And in addition to a great performance that I'm sure everybody is looking forward to there's something special with every ticket right?

Pitkin: Right. He's bringing that technology into play. With every ticket comes a music download code for seven songs. That's something I'm expecting we'll probably see a lot more of lately or coming up in the future. And he’s the first rapper to ever win an Emmy, Grammy or an Oscar and he's just one away from that EGOT that people talk about so Common is really doing it lately. 

Glenn: And I'm sure it'll be a good show. So another performance on Friday is Steady Flow with ReeCee Raps. Who are they and what kind of music do they play?

Pitkin: Right. So Steady Flow is a touring funk band and you know funk music is funk music. But the real reason that you really want to check this one out is ReeCee Raps, one of my favorite rappers in Charlotte. She performs with a live band. She won the best female hip hop artist of the Queen City Awards last year. She's nominated for a Carolina Music Award this year. She's got some really great stories that are really touch on some personal experiences whether those be fun or dark and she really has a wide range.

ReeCee has an amazing comeback story after spending time in an abusive relationship. Since moving to Charlotte she has dove headfirst into the music scene and really just been performing at least three times a week, most nights you can catch her in university pretty often. So she’s backed up on Friday night by Royal City Lif he’s a kickback rapper sort of gets you in a zone and he's coming off the release of his more major E.P. so that'll be a nice little mixture of funk and hip hop at Heist Brewery on Friday night.

Glenn: Okay and on Saturday there is a party for a cause at the Charlotte Art League with a Hawaiian theme I'm told right?

Pitkin: Yeah the Tahiti All Day Luau Party which is a little misleading in the name. That's going to be at Charlotte Art League. The Guerrilla Poets are hosting this Luau. It's from 6 to 10 p.m. so don't go expecting it’s going to be all day, but that's plenty of time to pack into events that include hula hoop contests, limbo, fire dancers, they even have a pin the ‘stache on the Selleck. The Tom Selleck contest. But there's also gonna be some local performances from Wiggy, Sue McHugh, Casey, Greg Reagan and then the Guerrilla Poets themselves who are hosting this party.

These guys are a collective of guys and girls, a collective of spoken word poets, but they hold all sorts of different arts-based events for underserved communities throughout the state, throughout the year. They reached more than 300 kids last year and all the funds raised at this party are going to go to those sorts of programs.

Glenn: Wow what a lineup and for good cause. Anything else for the weekend?

Pitkin: So this one is for the parents looking for a more family-friendly event. This one's kids centered it's the Queen City Summer Fest at the Carol Hoefner Center and there's going to be all sorts of events both for kids and adults. For the kids, you get the bounce house, the face painting, other activities like that. For the older kids and the adults, you got laser tag, mini-golf. You get a peach pie-eating contest to go along with the bake sale that’s going to be there, this is also for a good cause.

There's going to be a school supply drive going on so bring what you can and drop it off at the front. There'll be dance performances from local dance troupes in the city, so this is the last weekend before school starts back up for CMS students. So you know you want to let them run around and have a good time on their last Saturday before it's back to work.

Glenn: I'm sure they will and what days and times for this?

Pitkin: That's going to be Saturday, August 24, 1 to 5 p.m. at the Carol Hoefner Center. 

Glenn: Sounds like a lot going on for this weekend. Thanks, Ryan.

Pitkin: Absolutely, I appreciate you having me Gwen. 

Glenn: That's Ryan Pitkin editor of Queen City Nerve.