Archives for November 2013

The changing of the guard in Charlotte


CHARLOTTE, NC: Mayor-Elect Patrick Cannon takes over city leadership next Monday. What issues are awaiting him in office? Mary C. Curtis gives a preview.

In N.C. Senate race, it’s the tea party vs. Karl Rove vs. Kay Hagan, etc.

CHARLOTTE — U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan this week congratulated former UNC-Chapel Hill head basketball coach Dean Smith on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a move she had urged President Obama to make. Besides establishing her Tar Heel bona fides, it was one thing the North Carolina Democrat could do without anyone objecting.

A year before her re-election bid, Hagan’s face is all over TV, in ads made to attack and — from the other side — bolster her record. But the effort to doom her chances by defining her as an Obama clone is complicated by her own record, by a state that isn’t quite as deep red as its Southern cousins and by a GOP opposition that disagrees on the candidate that would have the best chance against her.

Checking in on U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s 2014 re-election race in N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — N.C .Sen. Kay Hagan is one of a dozen senators being targeted by Republicans in this upcoming election.

Each voted for the new health care law. Mary C. Curtis is taking a look at the challenges ahead for Hagan, how much of an Achilles heal the Affordable Care Act might be and if the GOP has to offer not just opposition but an alternative.

The Citizens Review Board Undergoes Changes

With the case of the shooting of Jonathan Ferrell continuing in Charlotte, with no resolution as yet, the city is looking for solutions in many places – in new rules for a revamped Citizens Review Board and an art exhibit that questions how we judge our neighbors.

Could a movie cure politicians of their slavery-metaphor addiction?

The film “12 Years a Slave” is one of great beauty about a great horror. Director Steve McQueen’s account of the American slave business – and it was an American economic institution that trafficked in flesh, blood and human suffering – is not particularly easy viewing, though you can’t look away. I saw it a few days ago, and once was plenty. But I would gladly see it again if politicians who can’t quit their slavery metaphors agreed to a movie date.

Broadway comes to Charlotte, courtesy of an almost native son

If you had any doubts about the durability of the Motown songbook, stop worrying. Hours of auditions for the Broadway hit Motown the Musical and its upcoming national tour meant “Dancing in the Street” got a workout. And even after dozens of renditions – in various keys and at different tempos by singers not named Martha and the Vandellas – it still sounded pretty good.

It helped that each note was sung with passion – and the occasional dance move – by the 150 or so hopefuls who started lining up outside Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte on Saturday morning, hours before the 11 a.m. start time for the chance to hit it big at an open call.

Charlotte isn’t Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, the go-to places for Broadway auditions. Enter “Motown” director Charles Randolph-Wright, raised in York, S.C., where one of his instructors was actress and director Polly Adkins, familiar and honored on the regional theater scene. Randolph-Wright has often returned to his roots, and particularly to Actor’s Theatre, which has staged his plays Blue and Cuttin’ Up. He was there on Saturday to hear each a cappella note in the first round and, if a singer impressed, a second round try with piano accompaniment.

Billy Graham’s legacy and the thin line between church and state

CHARLOTTE — Visitors to Charlotte often travel from the airport to the city center via the Billy Graham Parkway. It can startle the first time, seeing a public roadway named for a major religious figure. But you get used to it once you’ve lived here awhile. You realize how much the region takes pride in its native son, though the life and history of the man called “America’s Pastor” illustrates — in even his own judgment – how tough it can be to maintain a separation of church and state. Should America have a pastor at all?

Why We Love Michelle

Michelle Obama is certainly a different kind of First Lady – in style and substance. The moment she appears before a crowd, people reach out to touch her. She shakes hands, leaning in to share a laugh. She is the first African American to occupy the unelected but strategically and symbolically important position, but her special talents have made her influential across the world.

On Charlotte mayor’s election, and the future of N.C. Democrats and Republicans


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Washington Post columnist Mary C. Curtis is examining the election results. She was there when Mayor Patrick Cannon declared victory.

Democrats now hold a 9-2 majority in the City Council. Is Charlotte becoming a Democratic city?

And did dissatisfaction with GOP Governor Pat McCrory hurt Edwin Peacock’s campaign?

It’s Election Day!


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The polls are open and 23,000 people voted early for the Charlotte mayoral race.

Terrance is breaking down what’s at stake on Election Day,

Mary C. Curtis is putting it all in context – including how one candidate mixed things up by crashing his opponent’s press conference!