01 October 2005

A great day with a friend

A few weeks ago, I was a bit jealous of Cari at Dogs Steal Yarn. I'm a big enough woman to admit it. On 11 Sep she posted about a wonderful weekend she had with friends. It was the kind of weekend that only childless people who live in urban centers have, and I wanted to have one, too. Since I do have kids, there is little chance of me having a whole weekend but I decided to at least snatch a day. I live near the largest city in NC, so surely I could find some urban-style fun of my own. Here's what my best friend Rabbit and I did on a recent outing.

Before going to Charlotte, we stopped at a discount store in search of the perfect panties. My local Wal-Mart no longer carries Lovepats, which are the only underwear that don't ride up on me. Their official website doesn't even carry my size anymore. Luckily, the discount store had some so I picked up six pairs. Don't underestimate the power of comfy undies to please a woman!

After a yummy lo mein lunch, we headed to the McColl Center for Visual Art. Not only is this an art museum, but it is also an artists' community. It is housed in an old church that was gutted by a fire in 1985, leaving the stone facade. ABM passed that burnt-out shell many times, hoping that someone would do something with it rather than tearing it down. Rabbit and I toured the Afro Cuba Works on Paper exhibit and then we went upstairs to view the work of the artists-in-residence. My two favorites were Michael Harris and Tom Thoune.

Mr. Harris' exhibit included photos of women's hair along with snippets of verse about them. I think I identified with that one because it conveyed the fact that hair and how it is styled is not just a fashion choice for black women. How we style our hair is a political choice even when we don't mean it to be.

Mr. Thoune is a local artist who has been commissioned by the transit authority to create a mosaic wall in the new light rail station. In prepartion for this, he has created several paper mosiacs of the cogs that is he going to recreate in ceramic on the actual wall. More than anything, his work made me want to go home and cut up some paper for my own mosaic. Perhaps it is the result of being a knitter for the past several years, but whenever I see work that I enjoy it makes me want to go home and try my hand at the technique. If I hadn't promised ABM that I would stick to fiber, I would probably have projects spread out all over the house.

Next we moved on from art to history at the Levine Museum of the New South. The permanent exhibit on the bottom floor is called Cotton Seeds to Skyscrapers. Unlike the more generic history exhibits that I remember from my childhood, this exhibit relates specifically to what was going in NC during different periods of American history. It shows how Charlotte in particular went from farmland to one of America's banking capitals.

I can't imagine anything stranger than seeing part of your past in a museum. Purses, Platforms, and Power had a little 1970s bedroom set up and there on the bookshelf were the electric hot rollers and the 8-track radio that I owned as a kid.

The radio was even in a Plexiglas case! I hadn't seen that radio in ages and it caught me by surprise. That little black box was my faithful companion for many years. The one they had in the case was so pristine that I wanted to take it home. On the table they had a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves which is where I learned everything I knew about my body in high school. Talk about feeling old! For you knitters out there: they also had a corner dedicated to the "do it yourself" ethos of the 1970s which included vintage yarn (some of which is in my stashette) and a can full of knitting needles. Since this is a hands-on museum, I was so tempted to knit them a little swatch and put it back in the basket.

Dinner was a casual, open-air affair at The Mellow Mushroom. I was about to regale you with an account of the unique neo-hippie atmosphere of this pizza restaurant, but then I did a search and found that it is part of a chain. Still, it fits in well with the other establishments in the NoDa neighborhood which all have that free-spirited feeling. The house special calzone (cheese, mushroom, tomatoes, and spinach) was excellent.

Across the street was the venue for the climax of our evening: a performance by the Lascivious Biddies. I first heard this quartet on Coverville, and fell in love. According to their bio, their style is cocktail pop. That sounds accurate because when I listen them I feel like I should have a martini glass in my hand. I have been listening to their podcast since the first episode. When they went on tour, I thought that they would never come down here so I didn't even check the schedule. Imagine how upset I was when I found out that not only did they come to my area, but that they played a venue practically in my backyard in little dinky Gastonia! I was so surprised that I posted a comment on their site and was delighted to receive a speedy reply letting me know that they would be in Charlotte two months later.

The performance was great! Lee Ann, the lead singer, has great energy. She almost shimmers off the stage. All four of the girls have great patter between them that doesn't sound forced or rehearsed. This group has a way with a cover song. They did a cover of Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me" that made it sound creepy and stalkerish. Their version of the Jimi Hendrix song "Fire" was awesome. As for their original songs, this is where their wittiness rises to the top. How many bands do you know that have songs about Mr. Rogers and Laura Ingalls Wilder? The band has a tune that makes salt sexy! I can't wait until they come back in February so I can take NotMissy to see them. Do yourself a favor and go buy their CDs NOW.

So that was my day. It may not be impressive by NYC standards, but I definitely felt like City Girl on the Go. Whenever I have a day like this, I vow that I am going to do it more often but it never works out that way. I think I have used up my entertainment allowance for the year!
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