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Weekend In Entertainment: Thelonious Monk Tribute, Junior Astronomers & More!

Junior Astronomers
Kevin Condon
Junior Astronomers

Poetry, art, indie rock and a conversation about race, inequality and affordable housing are on this weekend's agenda as temperatures cool off. Joining Gwendolyn Glenn to talk about these events for this edition of Weekend In Entertainment is Ryan Pitkin, editor of Queen City Nerve. 

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi, Ryan. 

Ryan Pitkin: Hey, Gwen. Thanks for having me. 

Glenn: Let's start with “A Night of Grief and Mystery” Friday night. Sounds spooky.

Pitkin: So, "A Night of Grief and Mystery" has been described as part poetry, part lamentation, part book reading, part ribaldry, part concert. That is a lot. So the event links Stephen Jenkinson, founder of the Orphan Wisdom School of Thought  -- an actual, literal school -- with singer-songwriter Gregory Hoskins and his band. If cults were cool and fun, this is going to be the kind of night you'll see.

Glenn: So when and where will all this take place? 

Pitkin: It will be a 7 p.m. at McGlohon Theater in uptown.

Glenn: Also on Friday, there is a midday treat honoring the life and music of jazz legend Thelonious Monk a North Carolina native, right?

Pitkin: Yes. Thelonious was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, as a young child. He taught himself to read music; later on, he took on formal lessons. He's being recognized in the North Carolina Hall of Fame as a creator of modern jazz and bebop. He is the second-most recorded jazz artist right after Duke Ellington. He's got this famous song, as you might know, “Well, You Needn't,” “Blue Monk,” “Round Midnight.”

Glenn: And back to the free concert, midday show, and the actual concert. 

Thelonious Monk
Credit William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress via flickr.com
Thelonious Monk

Pitkin: Right, a musician, Ernest Turner, will host a pre-concert session about the life and music of jazz great Monk. Turner will share what this world-renowned musician means to the jazz community as we recognize Monk’s 102nd birthday. And then a full concert will be held later that night.

Glenn: 102nd. Wow. So where and when can folks enjoy both of those tributes to Monk?

Pitkin: So the pre-concert will be from 12 to 1 p.m. uptown at the Jazz Room at the Stage Door Theater. And the full show will be there as well on Friday at 6 and 8:15 p.m. again, Saturday at 7 and 9:15 p.m. So a lot of different options. I know you're a big Thelonious Monk fan.

Glenn: Yes

Pitkin: So, you've got plenty of options there. You can feel free to bring a brown-bag lunch to the pre-concert show and then you can just enjoy this discussion over your lunch.

Glenn: OK. Sounds great. So let's talk art. There's an exhibit on Saturday featuring all kinds of cool artwork, right? Tell us about it.

Pitkin: Right. So this is sort of the result of an open call from Hart Witzen Gallery and it's now called the Fall Free for All at Hart Witzen. This is in NoDa at 2422 North Tryon St. This exhibit will feature a diverse range of local and regional artists. They've got painters, sculptors, photographers, performance artists, installation artists, and new media. Just a whole big collection of art. The exhibit will feature recent works from Hart Witzen studio artists, as well as regional artists selected by curators there at the gallery. Zero cost to attend. Totally free. The Fall Free For All is a free for all. So it's going to go from 7 - 11 p.m. at the Hart Witzen Gallery in NoDa.

Glenn: OK, let's move on to the Junior Astronomers. The Junior Astronomers are in town this Saturday for their 11th annual birthday show. Tell us about that.

Pitkin: So the Junior Astronomers have been darlings of the local indie-rock scene now for more than a decade, and they are back at it with an annual birthday show. These are always a good time. This year, they're going to be joined on Saturday night by local Latinx rockers Chócala and experimental duo Aiming for Enrike from Oslo, Norway.

Glenn: Time and place?

Pitkin: That's going to be at Petras at 2 p.m. and the best part is that it is free, as well.

Glenn: And on Sunday, on a more serious note, there is a talk about a book and a discussion titled Race, Inequality and Affordable Housing. Tell us a bit more about that.

Pitkin: Pam Kelly, former Charlotte Observer reporter, we'll be discussing her recent book, Money Rock: A Family's Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South. It’s the story of a former Charlotte cocaine dealer and his family. But Pam, the author of that book, will also be taking questions that day about local inequality issues, Charlotte's affordable housing crisis, and a historic black neighborhood in Cornelius fighting to survive. 

Glenn: Where will it be held? 

Pitkin: This will be at the University City Regional Public Library from 2 - 3 p.m.

Glenn: And Ryan, going back to Friday, there is the Cafe Mocha Radio Show Awards event. Some top-notch players are receiving awards at the event, including the mayor.

Pitkin: Right, so it's called the Cafe Mocha Salute Her Step Into Your Power awards and it'll be honoring black and Latino women in Charlotte. So Mayor Vi Lyles, as you mentioned, is one of the recipients, along with City Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera, activist Bree Newsome. That will be held at the Mint Museum uptown on Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Glenn: Ryan, thanks for joining me for this week's Weekend in Entertainment. 

Pitkin: Absolutely. Thanks for having me. 

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