The arts scene is quickly growing, one museum, artist, and gallery at a time. Here are the best
The fifteen or so poets who make up SlamCharlotte are consistently among Charlotte's most dynamic, talented per- formers. Their work is always thought provoking and compelling, and some- times hilarious. Led by Boris “Bluz” Rogers, the team won the national slam poetry championship in 2007. They perform monthly from September through April at Spirit Square as well as other venues around town. slamcharlotte.com
Sketch Comedy Group
Captained by writer and comedian Sean Keenan, various permutations of Robot Johnson have been performing original, hilarious, and often raunchy sketch com- edy around town for years. With song parodies, talk-show sendups, and wicked skits, Robot Johnson will make you laugh, albeit sometimes uncomfortably. Check out their YouTube channel for a sample, but know that comedy is best experienced live. Next show is May 22 at CAST Theater in Plaza Midwood. robotjohnson.com
Online Culture Journal
Seven years ago Mark Peres founded the nonprofit Charlotte ViewPoint as a low-fidelity PDF with the goal of elevating the local discourse on urban issues, especially as they relate to arts and culture. Today, CV sports a multimedia Web site, popular events like last fall's A Smarter Charlotte, and A-list local contributors. With original video, on-point reviews, and thought-provoking essays, the site is worth a bookmark for any culture lover. charlotteviewpoint.org
A spinoff of the arts-and-design-oriented discussion group Point8, the semiregular Pecha Kucha (pronounced puh-CHOK- cha, it's Japanese for “the sound of conversation”) has become Charlotte's most popular and electric gathering of creatives. The concept is simple: presenters are selected from a pool of applicants, and then each one gets twenty slides, twenty seconds per slide, on any topic. Watch, listen, discuss. All in a casual atmosphere with beer and wine. Look for the next one this fall. pecha-kucha.org/night/charlotte
Esquire magazine calls thirty-seven-year-old Aaron Gwyn “one of America's great new writers,” and we're inclined to agree, even if he isn't all that new. In Dog on the Cross, his 2004 short story collection, he unflinchingly, viscerally depicts the Southern Pentecostal experience. Last year, Gwyn published his first novel, the taut and provocative The World Beneath. And his students at UNC-Charlotte rave about him.
The trendy and obvious pick here would be the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. But in fact, the entire Cultural Campus is our selection. The Mario Botta-designed Bechtler is the star, yes, but we love the way all three museums (including the Mint and the Gantt Center) and the Knight Theater have distinct looks and identities yet complement and play off each other. Together, it's like a beautiful piece of jazz, and Charlotte's architectural identity will never be the same.
Tucked away in a restored former Cadillac/Packard dealership in South End, Gabrielle Larew's DOMA Gallery is Charlotte's only gallery dedicated exclusively to fine contemporary photography. She regularly shows lauded regional and national photographers, including a recent show of Daniel Stein's abstract details of classic cars and Bryce Lankard's nudes. The unifying theme was lines and curves, and the combination was stunning. 1310 S. Tryon St., No. 106, 704-333-3420