Queen City Nerve

Charlotte's Cultural Pulse

Ten Ways to Wrap Up Charlotte SHOUT!
There's still time to celebrate CLT250

By Ryan Pitkin

May 8, 2019

Something weird happened on The Green in Uptown at the end of April. As if from nowhere, a gang of gigantic inflatable bunnies appeared on The Green at South Tryon Street. As big as those bunnies are, they signaled the arrival of something much bigger: Charlotte SHOUT!, a 13-day festival of arts, music, food and just all-around cool shit. This year’s festival is meant to be the ending of a year-long celebration of Charlotte’s 250th birthday called CLT250, though we’re right there with you if you’re currently thinking, “Uhhhh, what celebration?”

(Photo by Jayme Johnson)

Nevermind the underwhelming extent of CLT250 thus far, because there’s no denying the extended birthday party is going out with a bang — or a shout, rather.

Charlotte SHOUT! kicked off on April 29, and there’s already been plenty of cool stuff going on beyond big rabbits, but worry not if you haven’t been able to check any of it out. Blumenthal Arts, who organized the festival, saved the best for last. There’s hometown hero Anthony Hamilton performing in Romare Bearden Park on May 9 (turn to page 19 for our interview with him), a Soul Food Sessions planned for May 11, all sorts of local talent stopping by the Queen City Podcast Network stage throughout the weekend and a ton of other creative stuff going on during the last three days of SHOUT!

Seriously, there’s too much going on for us to tell you about it all, and since we’re in the Arts section (in case you hadn’t noticed), we’re going to highlight 10 of the coolest arts installations, performances and events you still have time to check out. Unless, of course, you’re reading this after SHOUT! is over, in which case, better luck next year?

Constellation
When: May 9-11; 9-11 p.m.
Where: Trade & Tryon streets
Cost: Free

Enjoy an evening under the stars — or better yet, just one big-ass star.

It can be tough to see the stars from Center City, but it will not be difficult to see this star-shaped canopy made up of more than 5,400 LED modules that will hang above the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets.

(Photo courtesy of Charlotte SHOUT!)

Sculptor, musician, computer programmer and LED artist Christopher Schardt began making sculptures in 2000, inspired by a 1998 trip to Burning Man. It wasn’t until 2013 that he got lit and began focusing on LEDs. He has since developed an app called LED Lab, from which he controls his installations.

Schardt’s work isn’t meant to just be passed under. Constellation creates a vibe, inviting those underneath to stay a while, maybe find a place to sit. Our best suggestion would be to head to Trade & Tryon for Constellation’s first night on May 9. Opera Carolina will be performing a special paired performance under the star at 8 p.m. that night.

Entre Les Rangs
When: May 9-11, all day
Where: First Ward Park
Cost: Free

Created by the Canadian arts collective KANVA for the Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal, Entre Les Rangs was originally meant to revisit the agricultural history of Quebec, but it’s doubtful that the row settlements along the St. Lawrence River will be the first thing that comes to mind for Charlotteans.

(Photo courtesy of Charlotte SHOUT!)

No matter, the beauty of the white reflectors bending in the wind on their flexible stems won’t be lost on anyone as the projector hits them and sends passersby into a trippy, light-up wheat field to frolic through. Yeah, that’s right, frolic.

This award-winning installation is partnered with a musical score to complete your trip down the rabbit hole. Just don’t daydream so hard that you think you’re in a real field in the middle of nowhere and end up walking out onto 7th Street.

Prismatica
When: May 9-11; 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. / All Day
Where: 5th and 6th block
Cost: Free

Prismatica is a futuristic public art installation that has turned the 5th and 6th street blocks into a scene reminiscent of the vivid cityscape in Blade Runner.

(Photo courtesy of Charlotte SHOUT!)

The psychedelic exhibit comes from the minds at RAW Design, an architectural company based in Canada known for their colorful and often mind-bending creations. Twenty-five pivoting prisms provide a kaleidoscopic view of the surroundings, thanks to the dichromatic film that covers each panel.

Visitors are encouraged to manipulate the prisms to see the endless color shifts that are refracted by sunlight during the day, and the rainbow color projections that light each prism at night.

While you may not need the prisms to appreciate the beauty of the city, the temporary installation is the easiest way to see Charlotte through rose-colored glasses.

The Future Is Now
When: May 9-11; all day
Where: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library
Cost: Free

(Photo by Jayme Johnson)

Charlotte has seen a lot of change in its first 250 years. Hell, a lot of it has come in the last 25. So what will the next 250 years look like? About Face Charlotte, an organization that puts human faces on complex social issues through storytelling and community engagement, will try to begin answering that by putting human faces on a literal building.

AFC founder Scott Gardner will create a multimedia, multicultural, interactive installation that will feature hundreds of portraits of local youths pasted on the wall of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library in Uptown. It’s not just about the faces, though, as the project will also include an audible aspect, allowing viewers to hear these faces voice their concerns, hopes and plans for the future. The local AFC organization has partnered with the international InsideOut Project, which has implemented similar projects around the world.

The Faces of Charlotte
When: May 9-11; sunset-11 p.m.
Where: Polk Park
Cost: Free

(Photo courtesy of Charlotte SHOUT!)

Did you already visit the Future Is Now installation but still want to look more people right in the face? Fret no more.

As soon as the sun goes down, faces come to life in Polk Park for The Faces of Charlotte, an installation that projects moving faces onto a cascading wall of water (also known as a waterfall). In celebration of CLT250, international food service group Compass Group interviewed 250 Charlotteans at the Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art in South End and will share those folks’ stories over the nights of the weekend.

Fun fact: The water and the falls in this installation were designed to represent the early days of the Catawba River, which was not always as flat as it is today, but rocky and chaotic. Useless fact: the Urban Dictionary defines a “Face Waterfall” as the act of dragging your fingers vertically down another person’s face as seen in the movie Face/Off.

People’s History of Charlotte
When: May 9-11; sunset-11 p.m.
Where: McColl Center
Cost: Free

(Photo courtesy of Charlotte SHOUT!)

As the city wraps its 250th birthday, the McColl Center is still in the first half of its year-long celebration of 20 years. It’s only right that the Uptown museum will play a role in presenting a history lesson about the city of Charlotte, and do it in a futuristic way.

The multimedia installation will use 3D-projection mapping software to project videos, still images and music onto the facade of the McColl Center, telling Charlotte’s history from the time Spanish explorers began attacking and enslaving indigenous people through the arrival of Scots-Irish settlers and the Revolutionary and Civil Wars to the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras, and finally Charlotte’s emergence as a vibrant modern city known as the New South — still with more than its fair share of problems.

Shout Your Story with Talking Walls
When: May 9-11; Thursday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Where: Discovery Place
Cost: Free

(Photo courtesy of Charlotte SHOUT!)

Last October, a group of local artists held the Talking Walls mural festival, the first of its kind in the city, leaving 20 murals behind for Charlotteans to enjoy from local, regional, national and international muralists. During Charlotte SHOUT!, this group will let the community take part.

In the days leading up to the festival’s final weekend, artists will adorn North Tryon Street with cartoon speech bubble graphics in artful conversational clusters. Beginning on May 9, festival goers will be asked to make each bubble their own by simply writing the name of their hometown or getting creative with it and designing the bubble around that location.

By the end of the three days, the design will create a large fabric pattern that will show how the entire world is represented in Charlotte.

Nick Napoletano’s Interactive Augmented Mural
When: May 9-11; Thursday, 5-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Where: Trade and Tryon streets
Cost: Free

(Artwork by Nick Napoletano)

You’ve seen Nick Napoletano’s hyperrealist murals around town — Aerial CLT, the Hal Marshall Building, Providence Auto Repair — but you’ve never seen anything quite like what he’s been cooking up. Napoletano has begun implementing virtual and augmented reality in his art, and the result is a two-dimensional mural that comes alive for the viewers, responding to their movements using projection mapping. Viewers need not use any external devices to interact with Napoletano’s mural, so turn your phone off and enjoy technology in a more natural environment.

According to Napoletano’s website, “his installations are meant to function as a mirror, identifying a truth about the community, while paving the way for positive change.” That is especially true in his new work, since the images in a mirror move when we do, too. Napoletano is one of the most talented, not to mention innovative, artists in the city. You’ll want to see this before your friends do.

L’homme Cirque
When: May 9, 7 p.m.; May 10, 5 p.m., 7 p.m.; May 11, 1 p.m., 7 p.m.
Where: First Ward Park
Cost: $20

(Photo by Doug Combe)

Kids aren’t always interested in art installations, but SHOUT! has come up with some great ways to keep their attention and make the festival a family-friendly event. Besides the seesaws and giant bunnies, there’s also L’homme Cirque, David Dimitri’s one-man circus, in which the performer combines dramatic feats like a human cannon and high-wire flips with humor and accordion music.

A veteran of the Big Apple Circus and Cirque du Soleil, Dimitri has been dubbed the “Lord of the Wire” by The New York Times, and you’ll get a glimpse of why when he ends his show with a grand finale, on a small wire 150 feet up in the air.

MACFLY Opening: The Makerspace
When: May 9-11; Thursday, 5-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Where: Intersection of Trade and Tryon streets
Cost: Free

(Photo courtesy of Charlotte SHOUT!)

You don’t exit through the gift shop when you leave Charlotte SHOUT! You are the gift shop. The creatives at MACFLY are rolling out screen-printing equipment, vinyl cutters, embroidery machines, heat-presses and everything else you need to create custom designed SHOUT! swag. You won’t just be left on your own. A team of experts will help teach you techniques used in the apparel design world.

MACFLY is a Charlotte-based collective of screen printers and streetwear enthusiasts who not only offer apparel services to local businesses and individuals but also travel throughout the region bringing their form of live art to museums, festivals and schools. The team has a space at Camp North End, from which they run their FACTS program, encouraging underserved youths to pursue careers in the creative field.

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