Photos by Chris Crews.
Friday, November 13, 49ers lip sync their way to prizes.
Photos by Maria Saenz and Makeedah Baker .
*November tour dates have been cancelled
Comedian Matt Braunger comes to Charlotte Nov. 4 at The Comedy Zone. You may know Braunger from his recurring role as a cast member on the popular TruTV series “How to Be a Grown Up” or as a cast member on MADtv.
You have a lot going on right now. Your podcast on Nerdist, “The Ding-Donger” and Netflix recently released your comedy special, “Big, Dumb Animal.” Tell me a bit about those.
Well the podcast, I do once a week. It’s basically like I hitchhike into your life for a half an hour then I jump out. So I just talk about whatever I want to talk about and that’s it. I think my podcast kind of takes your mind off of things and makes you feel less alone. The special came out Sept. 18 on Netflix and it’s doing great. I taped it last year and I’ve just been real happy with it. If people come to the show in Charlotte, they should know I’m not doing anything from the special. So if you want to watch the special first and get to know me, feel free.
What kinds of things do you discuss on your podcast, “The Ding-Donger,” and how does that material differ from your specials?
Oh, it’s a lot looser! It’s not as tight as a comedy routine, but I try to keep it entertaining. My whole M.O. is to not waste anyone’s time who wants to give that attention to me. That’s really all it comes down to. I’ll basically talk about something that has happened to me that day or that week. Like most comics I keep as notepad in my pocket, so if someone says something really crazy I’ll just write it and tell the story.
How do you gather material? Is anything off limits for you?
No, not really. It’s really how you paint it. I don’t go out of my way to make anything funny, but if it strikes me as funny I’m going to talk about it. It’s basically life experience and whatever I take in or observe that strikes me as funny. Generally speaking when people say, “Where’s the line in comedy?” I don’t really think there is a line because you’ll have a comedian come along and talk about something you could never think was funny and will talk about it in a certain way that doesn’t exclude people and will make it funny. I’m not too into people trying to be the comedy police. But I understand it’s okay to be offended, absolutely. I certainly am by a lot of the things I see … eye of the beholder is what it comes down to.
So, are people who attend your show in Charlotte, Nov. 4 at The Comedy Zone going to hear some fresh jokes?
Oh, yeah! Absolutely! All new hour. Sometimes when people really know your stuff they’ll want to hear some of your old stuff, sometimes at the end of the set I’ll ask, if I haven’t covered something you wanted to see. If it’s been on a special or on an album, I try not to do it much longer after that. Just for the fans and people to see new stuff.
As a comedian, which is harder: a podcast or a live show?
When you have an audience it’s going to be a little more difficult because you’re going to have to bring it and have stuff people are going to enjoy. I know Bill Murray said that on Saturday Night Live about going to movies, it’s not as fun because you don’t have an audience that responds to it right then and there, you don’t have that validation. There are times when I’ll say stuff on the podcast and I’ll wonder “Was that funny?” It’s just weird talking to literally no one in the moment … and then this audience of a couple thousand that responds to you a week later. It’s hard to say which is harder, but they both definitely have their challenges.
You have a pretty big social media presence. If we see something on one of your pages it’s usually on all of your social media accounts across the board, Vine, Twitter and Facebook included. What would you say is the importance of social media as an entertainer?
I think it’s up to the individual. I think people 10-20 years younger than me, they deal with it a lot more effectively than I have for their careers. Literally what it comes down to is I do it for two reasons: to get information for shows out, which is boring and to have fun, to do things I think are funny. It’s just a way to get your voice out to people. Sometimes I wish I had that aptitude that other people have used to get millions and millions of followers. But at the same time, I feel like once you build up that audience you’re almost of hold to it … I try not to get bogged down to that stuff. I’m in it for the long haul … For me, the minute it stops being fun is the minute I don’t want to do it anymore.
Do you ever test jokes online?
I used to think if you tweet a joke it’s just like getting it copyrighted, but then I forgot how people could just copy and paste. I do try not to tweet too much, because that just gets annoying … I just try to be economic with it and not smother everybody.
Who are some of your favorite people to follow?
There’s so many. One of my oldest friends in the comedy world is Kyle Kinane and he’s so fun to follow because he’s such an old man curmudgeon. Obviously Rob Delany, he’s still the best on twitter. I really like Julieanne Smolinski (@BoobsRadley).
What would you say is the highlight of your career?
For where I was at the time, I really have to say doing comedy on the David Letterman Show, the last episode of the year in 2008. That was the last guest of 2008. He called me over to the couch and talked to me and I told him a story. We stood up after the lights went out, he shook my hand and told me I was funny. Then he went upstairs, I took some pictures with the crew and then I went out a side door. They’re like, “Great Job!” and the door slams behind me and I was alone on an empty cold New York street. That’s how fast it goes. At the time you just can’t beat it. You grow up watching this person, such a strong individual. I feel like that’s kind of what’s missing from late night television. Other than a woman or person of color obviously, but someone who has this strong opinion. I’ve still yet to have done something that felt more magical than that.
UNC Charlotte’s Theater Department enters its final year of “Shakespeare in Action,” with “The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.”
“We wanted to save one of Shakespeare’s most iconic works for our final year of the ‘36 in 6’ project…” says Andrew Hartley Robinson Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare in the Department of Theatre
“Hamlet” tells the story of the young prince, whose father recently died and mother has married his uncle. Hamlet is then encountered by the ghost of his father who reveals the circumstances surrounding his death. Throughout the play, Hamlet wrestles with moral and ethical issues resulting in a few casualties and the distraught prince losing sight of himself.
Without disclosing his true intentions, Corambis, Lord Chamberlin, advises Hamlet, “To thine ownself be true.”
The sense of alienation from society Hamlet feels is something every student can relate to at some point if they are socially conscious.
“It’s very much in some ways a young person’s play. It’s a play about trying to figure out who you are and dealing with discovering the world around you is corrupt. Their brains are working, they start to realize the world is not what they thought it was when they were children and that their happiness was looked after by other people,” Hartley explains.
Adolescent at its core, “Hamlet” has long had a place in Western education and culture as a flag of high culture.
“Until relatively recently, high school students have read ‘Hamlet’ at some point. Before the twentieth century, everybody was expected to read Shakespeare. It was a very visible part of culture,” Hartley says.
The tragedy is also one of the most quoted pieces of text included in literature.
“It’s probably the best known, most written about piece of literature in the Western literary canon other than religious texts. It’s been around; it’s been central not just to culture but to education and to theatre for a very long time. There are multiple, high profile movies of “Hamlet,” Hartley says.
Actors Laurence Oliver (1948), Richard Burton (1964) Kenneth Branagh (1996), Mel Gibson (1990), Arnold Schwartneiger (1993) and Ethan Hawke (2000) have all started in “Hamlet” remakes.
UNC Charlotte’s Theatre Department’s production references what is believed to be the closest text to the way the play was originally performed.
Hartley explains, most Shakespearean plays have multiple early versions published around the same time. The first quarto of “Hamlet” –used in the UNC Charlotte production, is regarded as the first published version and performance text. While other versions, like the second quarto or folio text is thought to have been expanded for print. This means the play is a lot shorter, moves faster, is less digressive and more action driven; which lends itself to an undergrad cast.
“Part of what makes ‘Hamlet’ attractive and scary is it’s one of the few Shakespeare plays where you can probably cast undergraduates because Hamlet is supposed to be a student,” Hartley says.
As a professor of Shakespeare, Hartley also acts as a literary and public intellect and a dramaturge for the Theater Department’s Shakespearean productions.
A dramaturge or dramatist acts as a literary editor for theatre staff. Hartley consults with director, James Vesce and edits texts to ensure intellectual coherence.
“I’m sort of the scholar attached to the production to help with matters if textual interpretation or textual editing,” Hartley explains.
The “36 in 6” project uses lectures and theater productions to address all of Shakespeare’s plays before the 400th anniversary of his death.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4-7 and 11-14 and at 2:00 pm on Nov. 8 and 15. The Department of Theatre will host talk-backs after the performances on Nov. 5 and 12 and a pre-show discussion at 6 pm on Nov. 13.
The UNC Charlotte Department of Art & Art History and Rowe Arts Gallery presents, Priest of the Temple, an exhibition by multi-media artists, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. The installation art explores corporate culture in the West and its role in shaping society.
By incorporating landscapes, a traditional art subject, with the contemporary forms of collage and processed videos, the McCoys reimagine the world fifty to one hundred years from now.
“We are known for our kind of live camera and miniature diorama set up. This sort of interesting practice between video and sculpture,” Jennifer explains.
Kevin agrees adding, “we think landscapes are about the physical place, but also the electronic.”
The reworks come from two previous compositions based on a year the couple spent in the Emirates and a residency in San Francisco.
“We were in Abu Dhabi thinking, ‘oh, this (Money, resources and towns) is very new’ …You think they’re going to make a city be like a city in the United States and then you get back to the U.S. and realize our country is becoming more like theirs in terms of ideas on how people are managed and what they consume, “ Jennifer continues.
Priest of the Temple depicts the changing landscapes of San Francisco’s Bay Area, Silicon Valley and liberal corporate leaders of Western culture through the use of accessible materials.
“We find things from different places and put them together… have the materials sort of still be what they are, but then put them into service as other things,” Jennifer explains.
Renowned companies like Adobe, Intel and Google made their mark through the use of innovation, an intriguing concept for the McCoys.
“We’re interested in that (spirit of newness). As artists, our job is to see how that plays out in culture. When you think of something like Facebook, you think of the interface on your screen and all the friends you have connected. You don’t so much think about the physical corporate headquarters,” Jennifer says.
These companies are often associated with the abstract process of algorithms; the McCoys link the brands to locations, not just software. This approach addresses the issues surrounding companies building office space in San Francisco suburban areas.
“The analogous thing would be looking at Charlotte’s banking industry and how those places fit into the landscape,” Kevin explains.
It’s the responsibility of an artist to reflect the times. Renaissance is to religion as early American history is to George Washington and politics.
“I think we’ve all seen that government plays its role, but it’s really corporations and corporate brands that seem to be defining how we spend our time,”” Jennifer says.
Corporations highlighted in Priest of the Temple are known advocators of a free market society in an effort to expand its reach and diminish the role of government.
The McCoys elaborate on this notion in “The New Headquarters,” a sculpture featured in the exhibit. The piece envisions the skyline of a freemarket, off shore property development on Belle Isle, an island located in the Detroit River between the United States and Canada.
“The actual landscape which looks like a quilted patchwork is made of a bathmat and the water around the island is made from air conditioner insulation,” Jennifer says.
Failed examples like Facebook Co-Founder, Mark Zuckerberg donating to the Newark’s public school system, prove successful businessmen aren’t always the best educators.
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy have long offered artistic statements exploring corporate culture. Their work from the late 90s and early 2000s, using web based banner adds of corporate jargon and aesthetics provided insight to global capitalism.
“We don’t really see our work as an escape from, but more of an investigation of the world around us,” Jennifer says.
Their combined use of filmmaking, memory and language has earned the McCoys exhibitions in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, P.S.1, The Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum.
The duo’s work has been reviewed in major news and art publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, Artforum, and New York and Wired magazines.
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy have exhibited in Charlotte only once before, at The Light Factory in 1997.
Kevin McCoy also taught UNC Charlotte as a digital arts professor.The McCoys both received MFA degrees in electronic arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Jennifer McCoy is a professor at Brooklyn College; Kevin McCoy is a professor at New York University.
For artist information, visit www.McCoySpace.com
Priest of the Temple will be on display in Rowe Arts Gallery through Oct. 30.
As a child, we all had that one cousin whose house we loved to visit. They had all the latest games and movies, and the best snacks. That was my cousin Ebony.
She had every VHS Disney ever released, vault editions included, all lined on a book shelf in the living room. On days spent at her house, we would take turns picking which movie we were going to watch next.
So, you can imagine my moment of nostalgia Tuesday, September 29, when I saw the tale as old as time, “Beauty and the Beast.”
Actors performed for a combined crowd of early and established at Belk Theatre in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.
Their use of theatrical elements including, storybook stage settings, cottages and contraptual geniuses; vocal clarity; and stencil like drapery brought the Disney classic to life.
The execution of the gargoyles in rearranging the set between scenes before returning to their stone stiff positions was done with such precision.
Sam Hartley made the Beast his own, adding a temperamental yet sensitive nature to the creature.
Gaston, played by Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek was presented in a rather primitive manner. His grandiose display, along with his sidekick, Lefou (Matt Dasilva), and groupies added a great deal of humor.
Costume designer, Ann Hould-Ward, put a spin on the cast’s timely wardrobe. I really enjoyed her take on Mrs. Potts. Rather than a plain teapot costume, actress Stephanie Gray appeared in a glittery bubble dress and lid like beret.
Ensembles of full bloomers, corset dresses and lads in velvet leggings danced across the stage.
In, “Be Our Guest,” one of the largest scenes of the night, a dining room of dancing cutlery resulted in a roaring crowd.
Even in the big acts there were never too many people on stage, just enough for your eyes to keep up with.
Banter and side jokes made the musical portions of the play a lot less unbearable.
Hats off to the choreographer. In one arrangement, performers kept the beat by chiming mugs together in a partner dance -one of my favorite moments from the show.
Overall, I enjoyed the entire cast, especially the flirty wordplay between promiscuous Babette (Melissa Jones) and Lumiere (Ryan N. Phillips).
But, it was the crisp voice of Belle, played by Brooke Quintana that had me in awe of her ability to fill theatre while avoiding ear-piercing shrieks.
Although my VHS collection never filled a book case, I now have one up on cousin Ebony. I bet she’s never seen a show like this!
NETworks Presentation LLC’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” will be at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center until Sunday, October 4. For ticket information visit www.Blumenthal.org.
Photos by Kedar Kulkarni.
Photos by Makeedah Baker.
Paint University brought non stop fun to campus with GlowRage’s Ultimate Paint Party!
UNC Charlotte’s Department of Arts and Architecture hosts Verve, a 2015 Alumni Biennial Exhibit. Verve is on display until Sept. 25.
Ashley York, Configuration
York’s 3D compositions, “Configuration” and “Sequence,” incorporate porcelain and bungee cords. In “Sequence,” found in the center of the exhibit, York displays the ceramic in a vertebra like format, reminiscent to a line of falling dominoes. Her “Configuration B” protrudes from the wall only held by its orange cables making viewers adhere to the ‘No Touching’ policy.
Bradlee Hicks, Josh
Verve features three works by the Charlotte native.Two photos and a video, all of which speak to nature. In “Josh,” Hicks captures the almost overwhelming background of a forest. The green hues account for much of the space, but your eyes can’t refuse to follow the leaves of the canopy that are all but pointing at the photo’s center piece –a fully clothed man in an above ground pool. Although there’s a contrast between the forest green and aquatic center, there’s a common ground as they both share blue origins.
Zipporah Thomas, The Oracle & The Moon
Art allows for interpretation. What one viewer sees can be totally different from another’s experience. “The Oracle & The Moon,” two things that bring light along with an aura of mystery. While the oracle represents knowledge of the unknown and a connection to things unseen, the moon reveals what would otherwise be unseen in the mask if the night. Just as these two illuminants overlap in theory, Thomas’ construction depicts their uncanny similarities. Between the wool, fur, light bulb and hard dried foam, it’s hard to tell where the moon ends and the oracle begins. Yet, there’s balance . Things that appear hard or heavy in weight, are actually soft and light in texture and color. Thomas continues her mixed media artistry in “Shorn and Shed” and “Harbinger,” a three part series of cultural pieces.
Antoine Williams, The Knife and The Wound
Acrylic, transfer, ink collage and graphite. Sounds like a lot, but it works here. You can see where he used the ink prints for the torso and legs torn by a beautiful madness of lime greens, yellow and blue grays. Distraught, hurt and confused. Sometimes the aftermath is worse than the actual act.
Brandon Boan, The Material Pinch
Thank you for expanding my pallet. Boan uses red earthen ware clay on thermal paper. In lament terms , this man created a work of art from mud and carbon paper. Respect his craft. Thermal paper, a fine lightweight paper that changes color when exposed to heat is used as a canvas in “The Material Pinch.” Red clay, as seen outside, is messy. Boan mastered these two elements with such precision in accounting for the clay bleeding, he firms a recognizable figure with eyes.
Alexandra Gianell, (Dead Body Series)
In Gianell’s Dead Body Series, (Growth of a Ghost, Fluxuation and Essence of being) she uses graphite and ash on paper to create a whirlwind of souls. She allows your inner artist to find the image in the hints of white left between the whimsically intertwined black and grey pigments; the pure areas the darkness of death has yet to consume.
Photos by Kedar Kulkarni.
CAB wraps up their Fall 2015 Week of Welcome with laughs. Cast members from MTV’s hit comedy show, “Wild N Out” come to campus.
Someone once told me, you should write things while you’re still high from the experience. That’s exactly how Imagine Dragons left me: high.
From start to finish, the band went hard. Bless my heart for misjudging their occasionally folk-like guitar picking for Southern music. I can see the Vegas in the well coordinated and lively lighting, tech work, percussion ensemble and lead singer Dan Reynolds’ stage presence.
With Daniel Platzman on drums, Ben McKee on bass and Daniel Sermon playing a gold guitar hand crafted by Zeus himself, the four easily filled the arena with their sound. Reynolds’ engaging nature led him through the crowd long enough for me to snap a decent selfie.
The fellas didn’t waste a second of their sovereignty over the crowd Tuesday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Reynolds spoke on recent race crimes leading to the possible decline of our nation. The stage isn’t a soap box, but Imagine Dragons is in a perfect position to incite change.
This was my first rock concert. I can still feel the drums in my chest. Imagine Dragons had it all: epic guitar and drum solos, rocker dance moves, “Radioactive” and a positive message.
The guys say they’ll be back next year, maybe with a new album.
On the road with his full band, No Civilians, Luke Wade sets out on his West Coast tour, 19 cities in 21 days.
Wade was the first contestant televised on Season 7 of NBC’s “The Voice,” where his soulful vocals took him to the Top 8. Although he didn’t win a trophy, his talent won the hearts of fans. The Emmy Nominated competition launched Wade into joining performs like, Patti LaBelle, Train, Daughtry and Andy Grammer in July.
His newest album, “The River” -released in March, captures Wade’s varied journey through time.
How have your Texas roots influenced your music?
There’s nothing more important than your roots, I think your family… Musical taste and cultural experiences are the most important thing, but your home town or home state plays a really big part in that… I’m definitely a product of my environment. My parents were a little on the quirky side. My father is a painter and my mother is a dancer. So I kind of grew up outside the country box.
Do you like soul food? What’s your favorite dish?
Yeah, I guess I’m a chicken and waffles kind of guy. I like to double up on my carbs. I love a good collard green. Not much of a cook, I cook for sustenance more than I cook for nutricion and flavor…
You sing a lot of love songs, are you the romantic type?
Oh, absolutely! I can’t help it.
Do you remember your first crush?
My girlfriend is going to get real jealous of this story. I was five, her name was Christine… We kissed under the slide.
You mentioned you admired your voice coach and mentor, Pharrell Williams because of his positivity and inspirational nature. How do you spread positivity?
As many ways as I can. I think that’s what music is about, showing people we’re not alone.
Wade hits Double Door Inn Wednesday, June 17 at 8 p.m. For information call (704)376-1446. Tickets are $12-$40 and are available at https://www.ticketfly.com/
Also visit www.LukeWadeMusic.com for more music.
“Hot” is how French born guitarist, Stephane Wremble describes his band. The New York City based musician says the bands energy is what sets them apart.
“Once you hear this band you know it’s different from anything else. It’s hard to describe,” Wremble says.
Wremble, being formally trained in impressionism and having spent six years as a gypsy learning Indian and African rhythms warrants an indescribable sound.
Wremble is currently touring in NYC and will later venture to Virginia and the Carolinas. Things should be very interesting as the band covers new ground. Although Wremble’s sound and the cultural music of the south differs in technical backgrounds, the crowd still has a certain sensitivity to his music.
“Every time the crowd has been like really great because of the presence of all the blue grass and the Americana and the country. It’s great experience to play in front of a crowd that really gets what we are doing,” Wremble says regarding his first visit to North Carolina.
The connection Wremble makes with audiences comes from the eclectic influences in his music. Bach, Pink Floyd and 80s pop. Some of which you may hear in Wremble’s new album, “Dreamers of Dreams,” a reference to “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy.
“I think we live pretty much in a world of dreams, you know?…What we do in life is very much conditioned by our subconscious. It’s an infinite ocean of dreams and symbols,” Wremble explains.
The guitarist paints the picture of a reality based on dreams that open the door to an incredible city of images.
“I just really love the world of dreams, the subconscious, the universe…” Wremble says.
Imaginer, French for image, is an anagram for magic. There is magic in the images and symbolism of dreams.
“I believe we can tap into that in a very creative way.”
Focusing on the creative imagery of music, before playing live, Wremble tells the stories behind his music so listeners can live along and paint their own pictures.
“You can let your imagination journey,” Wremble says.
Saturday, April 18 at The Evening Muse, Wremble will take you on a musical journey featuring material from “Dreamers of Dreams.”
Stephane Wremble is best known for his theme to Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and performing at the Academy Awards.
For moreinformation on Wremble’s band and music,visit www.StephaneWremble.com.
Favorite T.V Show – “Twin Peaks”
Favorite Food – French cheese, “It’s a powerful one”
Dream Collab – “Roger Waters for me would be like the one thing I really want to do I’m life.”