From the Editor: This Is Charlotte

Notes from the editor, Richard Thurmond

A Super Bowl. A Republican National Convention. Maybe even an Olympics.

Since this whole DNC thing started, local leaders have not been shy about proclaiming “this is not the end but the beginning.” Members of the DNC host committee—the group led by Dan Murrey and co-chaired by Duke Energy’s Jim Rogers and Mayor Anthony Foxx—tell anyone who will listen that more big events will come to Charlotte.

An RNC? Sure. A Super Bowl? That’d be fun. An Olympics? Especially after seeing NBC’s aerial shots of a glittering London during this summer’s games, that seems far-fetched.

But whether you think it folly or worthy, you can bet that a future mayor or CEO or retired business titan will lead the charge to land an Olympics. That’s what Charlotte does—goes for it. Think of all the things that once seemed ridiculous that Charlotte now has. An NFL team. An NBA team. The DNC. It’s not these things that define Charlotte, though—it’s the pursuit of them. More specifically, it’s the inferiority complex combined with an outsize ambition layered with the short-term civic memory that all New South cities have.

That probably sounds hopelessly boosterish. I don’t mean it that way. Heck, I wish the city’s top brass would focus more on less-sexy items—like improving our public school system and cleaning up our air—and less on stuff that means more to the rest of the country than it does to us. But that’s not Charlotte.

In this issue, we cover the Democratic National Convention from a number of angles, and in so doing, I think we do a pretty fair job of defining the city. We have a survival guide—it’s a mostly politics-free package of stories that covers everything you need to know to make the most of the first week of September. Our writers spoke with Wolf Blitzer and the guys organizing what should be the largest-ever protest in Charlotte. There’s a map. There’s a timeline. There are lists. You might want to hold onto this one for a while.

Elsewhere, in honor of Michelle Obama (who famously noted our barbecue when she announced that the DNC was coming here), we have a five-minute guide to the Charlotte barbecue scene. Back-page columnist Sarah Crosland offers some suggestions for visiting celebrities. We outline how Mayor Foxx can use the convention to propel his own career. Writer Jeremy Markovich offers a few thoughts on where we go from here.

There’s more. We profile twelve local artists who, galvanized partly by the DNC’s spotlight, are shaking up the city’s cultural scene. Our fall fashion preview was inspired by the classic looks of our most fashionable first ladies, from Jackie O to Mrs. Obama. And I’d like to give special recognition to Baxton Baylor, who designed our cover image. A Richmond resident, he entered a poster contest sponsored by the Charlotte in 2012 Host Committee. He didn’t win, but we liked what he did, and he adapted it for our cover.

Stay in touch, Baxton. And start working on a design that involves five interlocking rings. Just in case.

Categories: Editor’s Note