St. Patrick’s Day is on Sunday and Spring is just around the corner, inspiring this weekend’s entertainment options in Charlotte. Andy Smith, arts and culture editor for Charlotte Magazine, joined WFAE’s Mark Rumsey to talk art galleries, St. Paddy’s Day and where to enjoy a green river.
Mark Rumsey: The Rogues is one of the groups that will be performing at the 7th Annual Celtic festival Saturday and Sunday at historic Latta Plantation in Huntersville. All things Celtic is the description of this event. Tell us more.
Andy Smith: You're looking at from the Iron Age to the 20th century as far as what's represented here. You'll see warriors from all those areas, you'll see encampments, you'll see blacksmiths, you'll see weavers and, of course, there's also the whiskey tent where you can do some tastings. Food trucks and beer and all that great stuff, you know.
Rumsey: So it’s the 7th annual festival — that's kind of a tradition there. Anything else that people should expect if they go out for that?
Smith: Yeah. I mean, I think it's cool because you can kind of enter any era. It's almost like the Renaissance Festival where you see people traveling in these different eras. And so people can look forward to that.
Rumsey: So it sounds like maybe two-thirds entertainment and one-third education?
Smith: Well, yeah. If you're like me, you'll want to go to the whiskey tent and go to the encampment.
Rumsey: Well, also on the St. Patrick's Day theme, we have the Green River Festival at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. Tell us a little bit about that.
Smith: Well, this is probably the most Instagram-able of all the things we're talking about because there literally is a Green River. It's not radioactive — it's actually green dye.
But what you have here for the active crowd — you have yoga and you have the trail run and you have the usual whitewater fare. But then for people like me, you also have music, you have the Charlotte funk band Akita and they're playing with Dumpstaphunk, which is more of a New Orleans band and they kind of fuse all these genres, as New Orleans bands usually do. So it's a really multifaceted event with a lot to do.
Rumsey: So that's a couple of St. Patrick's themed options for the weekend. March is also Women's History Month. And in conjunction with that, the Jazz Arts initiative is partnering with Blumenthal Performing Arts to bring a Women in Jazz program Thursday through Saturday, and to the stage door theater a tribute to some legendary female jazz composers, right?
Smith: That's right. I mean when you look at jazz history, [you see] women like Mary Lou Williams, who was a mentor to people like Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. I mean, there are women that aren't really appreciated enough — Mary Lou Williams and Alice Coltrane, who wasn't just John Coltrane’s wife. She was an amazing composer herself and was an innovator in the jazz harp. And so these are the kind of people they'll be paying tribute to.
Rumsey: And by whom. Who are the performers?
Smith: Well it's an international lineup. You have Carina Collis, who's a percussionist from Latin America. And then you have a Venezuelan trumpeter named Linda Pacino. And then from Durham, you have Ariel Polk Hoxie.
You have sort of this group of international people that show us that jazz history is still being written by women in a sense and is still being led by women. At least partially.
Rumsey: Excellent. Well, we can certainly see a range of musical and cultural experiences that are up for the taking this weekend in Charlotte. Let's take a look at something in the visual arts vein what's going on there?
Smith: Well, I would recommend going out to LaCa Projects this Friday night for Jose Luis Landet's opening exhibition. I saw his work at one of the Miami art fairs this past December and it's really cool to see his work now coming here.
What he does is he takes these discarded pieces of art and other objects from the past and maybe a landscape painting from an amateur painter. He takes it back to what he calls his laboratory, instead of the studio, records it and then completely dissects it. It's almost like a scientific process.
He records it by taking a photo of it making sure the original object is preserved. And then he completely disassembles and creates something beautiful and new out of it, and sort of reinterprets someone's original vision. And it's a really cool thing.
Rumsey: And just briefly LaCa Projects — what is this group's role in the local art scene?
Smith: Well, it's one of those places that’s not just serving a really important role in Charlotte, but the southeast itself. It's this pillar of Latin American art and in Charlotte, you have a large Latino audience too. That's going to connect to the work in a way. I mean this ranges from figures to completely abstract art. So you're going to see just the whole plethora of things.
Rumsey: Andy, it sounds like a fun weekend.
Smith: It does. It does. I'm really excited about it.
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.