Boon Vang


The UniverSoul circus is playing this month at Charlotte's Metrolina Expo Fairgrounds, and the first thing that strikes you after entering the big top is the music. You won’t hear any “March of the Gladiators” playing here. No, this circus plays hip hop, Motown, Caribbean rhythms, African beats, Beyonce, Drake, and many other top ten artists.

"Peer Pressure" screen shot


Consider just how brief a 100-word story is. And consider how tough it is to have something important to say and be limited to a mere 100 words. Ninety nine is too few, and 101 puts you over the limit. There’s nothing extraneous about 100 words. It takes real discipline to be succinct. A scalpel, in fact. Remember the famous quote, “If I’d had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”? There’s truth to it. Paradoxically, shorter is much harder and takes more effort. It’s almost effortless to be long and lazy. Brevity? Now, that’s a remarkable feat.

Daniel Coston

The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center broke convention last weekend with an “international festival of hip-hop dance theater” that represents the center’s efforts to extend its cultural reach—and Charlotte’s. 

Breakin' Convention Flips The Modern Dance Script

Oct 9, 2015
Paul Hampartsoumain / Charlotteviewpoint

 Charlotte Viewpoint 

No one could possibly have imagined the reverberations when, in 1973 in the rec room of the 1520 Sedgewick Avenue apartment tower in the South Bronx, Clive Campbell—known hereafter as DJ Kool Herc—happened to notice that club-goers preferred the instrumental breaks in the funk, soul and reggae records he was spinning. Eager to tap into that enthusiasm, he soon found a way to keep two records looping to keep the break-beat going and, copping from the tradition of Jamaican dancehall DJ’s toasting over the music they played, began chanting over the beats to the delight of the audience.

Gabbi Santander

You’ve probably seen the image before. A Mexican dressed in a traditional white shirt and sarape, a huge sombrero covering his face. He sleeps against a wall, or sometimes a cactus.

Some people have named him Pancho, or Ramón. But often he’s referred to simply as the sleeping Mexican.

Courtesy: Levine Center for the Arts

Kicking off a Levine Center for the Arts media event Monday morning, the president/CEOs of the center’s four member institutions indulged in their own act of self-referential performance art by mimicking the famous star-packed Ellen DeGeneres “selfie” from last year’s Academy Awards. Out came the selfie stick; up went the “say cheese” smiles.

Glenn H. Burkins for

On a recent Thursday in uptown Charlotte, 1,100 Freedom School students unloaded from buses and trooped into the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center to see a matinee performance of “Annie,” the Tony Award-winning musical.

For some, it was their first time attending a Broadway-style show. Reggie Miller of Charlotte was typical.

“I’m excited to see all the action,” said the young African American student. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the dancing. I never saw the movie or the play.”

Elizabeth Catlett, one of the most celebrated African-American artists of the last century, never lived a day in Charlotte. But the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture tapped local collectors for enough Catlett works to fill a gallery. Contributor Greg Lacour has the story.

The Charlotte Film Festival is back this year after a two-year hiatus. Festival organizers have formed a group they hope will serve as a hub for year-round film programs in Charlotte. But they’re battling their own uneven past and a changed movie-going climate.

Fighting Disabilities Through Dance

Jun 5, 2015
Greg Lacour / WFAE

A group of 22 dancers staged a year-ending public performance last week at the Charlotte Ballet. They weren’t ballet dancers, though. They were people using dance to fight the effects of their disabilities and make friends along the way.