This weekend, tune into the sounds of Leon Bridges, check out a film, or eat your way through a burger and beer festival. Andy Smith, arts and culture editor of Charlotte Magazine, joined WFAE’s Mark Rumsey to discuss all the Queen City has to offer this weekend.
Mark Rumsey: Now for those who are ready to kick off the weekend immediately, one option Thursday night is a concert by 29-year-old Grammy award winning R&B soul singer Leon Bridges, from Fort Worth Texas. He's been likened at times to Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. So Andy, tell us a little bit more about Leon.
Andy Smith: Well, I think it's difficult to do this kind of genre that's a throwback and not seem affected — and I think that's what makes Leon Bridges great. He's able to sort of hearken back to this, while creating something fresh and young at the same time.
You know, he first broke through with the "Coming Home" song, which is a huge hit. And then from there, he has sort of continued to evolve while maintaining sort of the roots in that vintage sound.
Rumsey: And Bridges has performed at the White House for former President Obama. He also opened for The Rolling Stones on tour in Europe — quite diverse and not bad for a guy still in his 20s.
Smith: Absolutely. And the cool thing, I think, is that the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Theater is an outdoor venue. It is the season where these outdoor concerts start and I think he's a really great way to start that off.
Rumsey: All right, great. So that's Thursday. Let's talk about an annual event that's back on the calendar this weekend — the Charlotte Black Film Festival at the Charlotte Convention Center. Tell us a bit about the background and some highlights for this year.
Smith: This is a great festival. We've done a few stories about it in the past and it's not only the films that are being premiered (like you would any film festival), but there's also workshops, industry meetups and that kind of thing. And it shows that there's still a thriving film community here, even if the film tax credit has gone in and out. And especially when you look at what African-American cinema is doing right now... it’s this swell of activity.
There's this night premiere, which is the opening ceremony. We get to meet the filmmakers and do the whole red carpet thing and then throughout the weekend, there are all these screenings at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Rumsey: And there's more of a philosophy behind this than just providing entertainment, right?
Smith: Well, you can see that there's a strengthening of community here. You have workshops that are about maintaining your health as a filmmaker, and knowing the ins and outs of the financial side of the industry. And there's a real local investment there as well when you see a professor like Rodney Stringwell from USC, who has a film premiering there. So it's this sort of holistic look at the filmmaking industry, both on a local and international level.
Rumsey: Excellent. Also on Saturday, there's an artist talk at Hodges Taylor Gallery. Who are the featured artists?
Smith: There is Amy Herman, who is also co-director of Good Arts over at camp north end. And then you have Micah Cash, who's also a photographer and painter.
What they did here is sort of a photographic conversation for several weeks. They sent each other a photo that was a response to a previous photo. So what emerges is a conversation and these sort of separate narratives. In a really interesting way, we can kind of see those conversations take place in these different doses.
Rumsey: And so the artist talk I believe is Saturday morning?
Smith: You're seeing a lot of galleries in the area do things like this. It's another layer of seeing what goes behind the art. And to learn a bit about their process, which can be a mysterious thing at times.
Rumsey: So exactly when and where is that event?
Smith: It'll be 10:30 a.m. at Hodges Taylor Art Consultancy, which is in Southend.
Rumsey: And Andy, one more Saturday option it's the Moo & Brew Craft Beer and Burger Festival — an afternoon event at the AvidYchange music factory. Not sure this one requires a lot of explanation.
Smith: No, no, burgers and beer and lots of music. You have the band Everclear, but you also have the local act Junior Astronomers.
So yeah, it's one of those ways to kick off the good weather happening in the area hopefully for good. It's just a great time and it all goes to the Second Harvest Food bank. So you know you're also having a good time for a good cause.
Every Thursday tune into 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.