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Weekend In Entertainment: A Valentine's Weekend, Kamasi Washington, Oddities Festival & More!

Kamasi Washington
Kamasi Washington
Kamasi Washington

It's time to take a look at what's happening this weekend in the QC. There's lots of music on stage for this Valentine's Day weekend with, of course, lovers in mind. Jazz singer Stephanie Jordan is in town this weekend, along with saxophonist Kamasi Washington, EARTHGANG and a Taste of History. Joining All Things Considered host 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. It's good to see you again. 

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

Glenn: Same here, Ryan. Valentine's Day is Friday. And Stephanie Jordan will be at the Stage Door Friday and also Saturday night. Tell us about her.

Pitkin: Yes. Stephanie Jordan's a jazz singer out of New Orleans. She's a daughter of saxophonist Edward “Kidd” Jordan. Her musical roots run deep and people will put her up there with Diana Krall, Shirley Horn, Carmen McRae. It will be a nice performance and definitely perfect date night plans for Valentine's weekend.

Glenn: Great, staying with jazz, saxophonist Kamasi Washington is performing this weekend

Pitkin: Kamasi Washington sort of broke through in 2015. He's sort of at the forefront of popularizing jazz again in the Millennial generation. He’s a Big Band leader, but he's known for his tenor saxophone. And I actually saw him play in Charlotte at the Chop Shop in 2015 and it just completely blew me away. So you're gonna definitely want to catch this at The Underground Friday night. 

Glenn: What time? And where is The Underground? 

Pitkin: That's at 8 p.m. and it's actually right next to the Fillmore, 820 Hamilton St. 

Glenn: OK. Well, switching to a different musical genre, there is EARTHGANG, a rap duo making a name for themselves on the underground scene.

Pitkin: Now EARTHGANG is a duo. In 2017 they signed with J. Cole’s Dreamville Records. They had a heavy presence on the label's Grammy-nominated “Revenge of the Dreamers” album in 2019 -- actually, Grammy-winning. So they're definitely on their way up in a major way. 

Glenn: When and where are they performing? 

Pitkin: They'll be at the Fillmore, right next door to The Underground at 8 p.m. on Sunday night. 

Glenn: OK. Moving on to a bit of history and the Taste of History: Scotch from Outlander to the Backcountry.

Pitkin: Right. So this is a new Taste of History event series. It's gonna be monthly at Charlotte Museum of History in east Charlotte. This first one will be themed on The Outlander, which is a popular book series from Diana Gabaldon. And it will be a scotch tasting that ties with the Outlander series. So it'll be a flight of Scotch samples, ideas for food pairings, things like that, along with a nice discussion about Outlander.

Glenn: Sounds like a lot of fun. 

Pitkin: Yeah, that's gonna be Thursday night actually, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Glenn: OK. The nationally touring showcase of all things weird is back in Charlotte for a second time, featuring vendors, taxidermy preserves, specimens, horror-inspired pieces. It's called the Oddities and Curiosities Festival.

Pitkin: Right. So this is sort of a nice, gothic spin on irregular sort of conventions. Comic-con, Heroes-con. Things like this. This is the "Oddity-con," I guess you can call it. This year you have Dark and Deviant Oddities and Girl and Goblin, both from Asheville. And then you have Charlotte-based The Pickety Witch, which was also there last year. And this is someone who sort of inspired by her own witchcraft practicing and things like that, began making jewelry that is super gothic, but super fashionable as well. And that's going to happen on Saturday at the Charlotte Convention Center from 11:00 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Glenn: And also this weekend, The View the Right Thing movie series ends this weekend. Tell us about it. 

Pitkin: So The View the Right Thing series has been featuring different black directors and black-focused movies. And this is gonna be the last one. That's going to be held at the Harvey B. Gantt Center. And it will feature Spike Lee's "Malcolm X." It's based on Alex Haley's autobiography of Malcolm X, and almost 30 years later, it's still a huge inspiration. I just recently wrote a story about Radeena Stuckey, who's a local Lindy Hop and swing dance instructor who sort of got her passion for the Lindy Hop dance style from the Malcolm X movie. So it's still making an impact.

Glenn: What time and when? 

Pitkin: That'll be at the dance center on Saturday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. And it's free admission. So walk on in. And it's a great way to celebrate Black History Month. 

Glenn: Well, last week, the legendary Andrea Bocelli was scheduled to perform at the Spectrum Center, but the show has been rescheduled for Sunday, February 16th. Bocelli will go head-to-head with Tony Bennett, who's also performing on Sunday evening at the Belk Theater. Tell us briefly about these two legendary acts. 

Pitkin: So this rescheduling comes after Andrea Bocelli had laryngitis and now it puts the crooner against the classical. Tony Bennett being 93 years old right now, still touring, he has sold 50 million records in his life with Big Band, show tunes, jazz. And then you have Andrea Bocelli, Italian opera singer.  He's sold 90 million records in his life. Two things to pick from, some sort of the big favorites of older generations. 

Glenn: Wow. Two great shows. And Ryan, you choose who you want us to go out with. 

Pitkin: Let's roll out with Kamasi Washington. That's my personal favorite of the week. 

Glenn: Well, thanks, Ryan.

Pitkin: Thank you. 

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