Friday, August 31, 2012

Keep an eye out for these celebrities at the DNC

As Clint Eastwood might say, here come the hot-doggers.

Whereas Hollywood conservatives (save for Clint and Jon Voight) seemed to shy away from the spotlight during the Republican National Convention in Tampa this past week, Hollywood liberals are lining up to get into Charlotte for next week's DNC.

Top A-listers like George Clooney, Bruce Springsteen and Oprah Winfrey were rumored but are unlikely to show up. Yet the list of recognizable talent scheduled to make speeches or appearances or music here over the next several days is still long and distinguished. Some highlights:

Recording artists Kathy Mattea, Anthony Hamilton and Biz Markie will be among the 20-plus acts serenading 15,000 journalists at the Charlotte host committee’s $2 million media party at the N.C. Music Factory.

Read more here:


Grammy winner James Taylor and Academy Award nominee Jeff Bridges will both perform (yeah, The Dude is a musician, too) at CarolinaFest in uptown. Ty Pennington, former "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" host, will build half a house at the festival.

A party for the California delegation at Fountain Plaza at NC Music Factory will feature rock supergroup Campy Freddy (Dave Navarro is among the members) and guest appearances by rocker Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray and Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis.

R&B man John Legend and neo-soul hip-hoppers The Roots will perform at separate parties, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Elder Gallery, respectively. Rumored guests at the Legend party are "America's Got Talent" host Nick Cannon and singer Edwin McCain.


Actress Amber Riley (Mercedes on Fox's "Glee") will sing the national anthem at Time Warner Cable Arena.

"CSI: New York" star Hill Harper and Golden Globe winner Alfre Woodard will host a political summit for students at Johnson C. Smith University.

Actresses Rosario Dawson and America Ferrara will sit on a panel at Voto Latino's policy forum at Stage Door Theater.

Blogger Perez Hilton and hip-hop group Far East Movement will headline a Turn Up The Vote event at Mez at the EpiCentre.

A cocktail reception for the National Association of Broadcasters at Dressler's Restaurant has a guest list that includes several Hollywood stars: Tim Daly, Patricia Arquette, Alfre Woodard, John Leguizamo, Beau Bridges, Rose Byrne, Tony Shalhoub and Wayne Knight (Newman from "Seinfeld"!).

Rapper Common will perform and hip-hopper Jermaine Dupri will DJ at a Fillmore party.

Former New York Yankee Bernie Williams is scheduled to perform with his band (he’s now a musician) at McGlohon Theatre.

The PFAW Foundation will party with Hollywood stars including Jane Lynch ("Glee"), Seth MacFarlane (director of "Ted"), David Hyde Pierce and Kathleen Turner at Kazba at the EpiCentre.

Comics DL Hughley, Aries Spears and Tommy Davidson perform standup at Belk Theater.


Jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis does the national anthem at the arena.

Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber of the gold-medal-winning U.S. women’s gymnastics team will headline an event at Foundation For the Carolinas.

Jeff Bridges will attend the non-partisan Impact Film Festival at Mez. He narrated “Hunger Hits Home,” a film about childhood hunger that’s part of the festival.

Actor Kal Penn ("House," the "Harold & Kumar" movies) will be on a panel at Discovery Place moderated by Chelsea Clinton.

Tim Daly, Patricia Arquette, Alfre Woodard, John Leguizamo, Beau Bridges, Rose Byrne, Tony Shalhoub and Wayne Knight will lunch on the Patron Tequila Express near the Amtrak Station. They'll also be at the Creative Coalition's benefit gala at Fountain Plaza at NC Music Factory, headlined by the B-52s.

Rock band Foo Fighters perform in support of Rock the Vote at the Fillmore.

Actress Eva Longoria will host a party at Amos' Southend for Got Your Six and Lifetime TV; rapper Flo Rida will perform.

Rosario Dawson re-teams with America Ferrera; they'll join Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas and hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons at Voto Latino's Purple Carpet Bash at All American Pub.


Actress Fran Drescher ("The Nanny") will make the keynote address at a business program at the Hearst Tower.

Actress Jessica Alba will co-host the week’s most important fundraising event, “Super-O-Rama,” at the Fillmore. Rapper Pitbull and pop-rockers the Scissor Sisters will perform.


Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington will pop in and out of Flex and Fit Gym, where her "Oasis" (a "rejuvenating retreat" will be set up Monday-Thursday.

"The Daily Show" and host Jon Stewart will be at ImaginOn Tuesday-Friday for tapings.


Ashley Judd: The actress is coming to Charlotte as a delegate (from Tennessee).

Actress Thora Birch ("American Beauty") will be here as a California delegate.

Elizabeth Banks: She tweeted earlier this month that she'll be here for the DNC; no other details.

Follow Théoden Janes on Twitter for updates about celebrities in town for the DNC: @theodenjanes; IF YOU SEE A CELEBRITY, e-mail

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gabby Douglas headlining DNC-related event

Olympic champion Gabby Douglas will be joined by three other members of the gold-medal-winning U.S. women's gymnastics team at a public (but fairly exclusive) event in uptown Charlotte next Wednesday.

The "Kids' Health Goes Gold" event, part of a new national initiative promoting children's health and wellness, will also feature McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber; U.S. Olympic swimmers Rebecca Soni and Dana Vollmer (both gold medalists); and Lauren Cheney and Abby Wambach, who helped lead the U.S. women's soccer team to its third straight Olympic gold medal.

Medical experts from Levine Children's Hospital, part of Carolinas HealthCare System, also will participate.

The session is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Foundation For The Carolinas, 220 N. Tryon St. Following a presentation, guests can dine with the Olympic champions, and there will be autograph and photo sessions; each guest also will receive a souvenir T-shirt.

Tickets are $150 a pop at

Oh, and if you miss Douglas, Maroney, Raisman and Wieber next week, they'll be back in October for the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Follow Théoden Janes on Twitter for updates about celebrities in town for the DNC: @theodenjanes;

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bill Clinton, team up for DNC bash

We already knew Bill Clinton was going to be in town for the Democratic National Convention, since he's set to deliver the official nominating address on Sept. 6 at Bank of America Stadium.

But there's now another slot filled on his calendar for next week: According to Politico, the former president will team up with of Black Eyed Peas to headline a Democratic Party of Arkansas fundraising event on Sept. 4 at the Westin Charlotte in uptown.

The event, titled "A Party Two Decades in the Making," will celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Clinton's nomination as the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.

Tickets are $150 and available here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ty Pennington confirmed for DNC visit

While he may not be screaming “Move that bus!” this time around, former "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" host Ty Pennington is once again working with a team of volunteers to build a home for a deserving military veteran.

The DIY expert and TV personality has teamed up with Sears' Craftsman brand of tools to lead state delegates and elected officials for a “House United,” a project that will see one half of a home built in Tampa during the Republican National Convention, and the other half built in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention.

Pennington will be on hand to swing hammers, nail two-by-fours and paint walls during the events.

Craftsman brand is encouraging people to get involved by visiting the House United tab at to sign a petition and encourage their state delegates to participate and stop by each event to lend a hand.In Charlotte, the project will be built during CarolinaFest, at 510 S. College St. (across from the convention center, between Tryon and College Streets), from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3.

After the two halves of the home are built during the conventions, they will be "united" in Charlotte's Belmont neighborhood in October.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another plot twist in 'Bachelorette' cheating story

OK, what in the world is going on here?

First, a report started circulating Wednesday that Charlotte single mom Emily Maynard had been caught cheating and was kicked to the curb by fiance/Utah entrepreneur Jef Holm (see story here). A few hours later, broke a completely contradictory story after interviewing Maynard and Holm, who denied the breakup rumors. "It's one hundred percent not true," Maynard said.

Sounded pretty good to us. After all, why would the couple have any reason at all to lie about this? And yet, US Weekly seems pretty determined to not let this go.

The magazine is reporting today that Holm's brother, Mike Holm, witnessed the whole fight between Maynard and Jef Holm, which allegedly involved explicit text messages Maynard received from another man. According to reports, this happened during a family vacation at a beach house in Pawleys Island, S.C.; many members of Holm's extended family were present, as was Maynard's 7-year-old daughter, Ricki.

Mike Holm told US Weekly: "I can tell you that it's all 100 percent true. I was there and I heard the fight and watched the whole thing go down, Emily leaving and everything. I love my brother very much and, like the rest of our family, I just want him to be happy."

Obviously, someone's not being 100 percent truthful. But who is it?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Emily, Jef: Reports of cheating totally false

The tabloids -- gasp! -- were wrong. today published a story (citing US Weekly, which cited "a source") that Utah entrepreneur Jef Holm had dumped Emily Maynard because he caught her trading naughty texts. A few hours later, rebutted the story, citing much more reliable sources: Maynard and Holm themselves.

Maynard, the 26-year-old single mom and recent star of ABC's "The Bachelorette," told People that reports of an epic fight during a family vacation in Myrtle Beach last weekend are "one hundred percent not true."

"It's funny to me," Holm is quoted in the People story as saying. "We were in a gated community in a private home with just my brothers and sisters. It's just bogus a 'source' would [say] we were fighting. None of that is true."

People reports that the couple dropped off Maynard's 7-year-old daughter Ricki at school together on Wednesday.

"I have never been more in love or felt more confident about our relationship," Maynard told Wednesday. "We're so excited about the future and to be back in Charlotte and things are actually happening – looking at places to live and going to school. I'm happier than I've ever been."

Tabloid report: Emily Maynard caught cheating

Are "Bachelorette" star Emily Maynard and Jef Holm splitsville?

Just weeks after the couple went public with their engagement following the summer edition of ABC's hit reality-dating series, US Weekly is reporting that Holm caught Charlotte's most famous single mom cheating on him (this according to a story).

According to the report, Holm discovered naughty texts and pictures from another guy on Maynard's mobile phone. US Weekly's source claims: "Jef and Emily went into a bedroom and were yelling" during a vacation with Holm's family. "He said, 'You've been (expletive) cheating on me for months!'" He then allegedly told Maynard to "Pack your (expletive) and get the (expletive) out."

Now, remember: This comes from US Weekly. Take it with a shaker of salt. Especially considering the fact that Emily's Twitter feed is overflowing with tweets that suggest everything is just hunky-dory. Just Monday, she tweeted, "The happiest I've ever been in my life with my two favorite people in the world. I love you to the moon" -- along with a photo of herself with Jef and daughter Ricki, 7.

Six hours ago, she posted a photo of Jef with a cat and added "Love him even more now."

In 2001, Maynard got engaged to Brad Womack on "The Bachelor," but the couple didn't last long. Ricki's father is the late NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick.

New Gap ad features Concord's Avett Brothers

OK, not exactly "Just In," but...

Concord-based The Avett Brothers have hooked up with The Gap for an ad that's part of the retailer's "Fit for Originals" fall 2012 campaign. Scott's on the banjo, Seth's on the guitar, the snippet is from the song "Live and Die." The commercial went on YouTube Aug. 8, but has just started getting noticed.

The Avetts have taken a little heat from fans about the spot, which has some crying "sellout" -- though others are saying hats off to The Gap for showcasing "real" music.

What do you think of the ad?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Foo Fighters sell out Charlotte gig in seconds

There are a whole lot of disappointed and disgruntled Foo Fighters fans in and around Charlotte today. And a couple thousand elated ones.

Foo Fighters announced Monday a rare club show would take place during the week of the Democratic National Convention next month, and at 10 a.m. Tuesday, tickets went on sale for $63 apiece. By 10:01, they were gone. All of them.

The concert, a benefit for Rock The Vote, is set for 9 p.m. on Sept. 5 at The Fillmore Charlotte.

Foo Fighters were in Charlotte last November. At the time, they played uptown's Time Warner Cable Arena; close to 15,000 fans showed up to see the rock band's hotly anticipated Wasting Light World Tour. So it's no surprise Dave Grohl & Co. sold out the Fillmore -- which holds 2,000 folks -- in record time.

So it's now officially the hottest ticket in town ... but if you scored tickets, scalping them won't be easy: Tickets are non-transferrable and can only be picked up at will call on the night of the show. To get your tickets, you'll have to present a valid ID plus the credit card you used to buy them.

Among those who weren't fast enough Tuesday morning: The Observer's pop culture writer and the Observer's music writer (both of whom typically have access to review tickets). Even the director of marketing and promotions for the Fillmore had to "get in line" with everyone else -- and he ultimately came away empty-handed, too.

Friday, August 17, 2012

See an advance screening of 'Premium Rush'!

The Charlotte Observer is partnering with Columbia Pictures on the promotional screening of the upcoming action film "Premium Rush," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as one of New York City’s best bicycle messengers whose routine "premium rush" run turns into a life or death chase through the streets of Manhattan.

Here's the synopsis of the film from Columbia Pictures: "Dodging speeding cars, crazed cabbies and eight million cranky pedestrians is all in a day’s work for Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the best of New York's agile and aggressive bicycle messengers. It takes a special breed to ride the fixie – super lightweight, single-gear bikes with no brakes and riders who are equal part skilled cyclists and nutcases who risk becoming a smear on the pavement every time they head into traffic. But a guy who’s used to putting his life on the line is about to get more than even he is used to when his last envelope of the day – a routine “premium rush” run – turns into a life or death chase through the streets of Manhattan."

"Premium Rush" also stars Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez and Jamie Chung and will open in theaters nationwide on Friday, August 24, 2012. The trailer can be viewed on the film's official site:

The Charlotte Observer has 80 pairs of passes for the promotional screening, which is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. E-mail to claim a pair (first-come, first-served).

Monday, August 6, 2012

Target unveils $999 gold 'Hunger Games' pin

"The Hunger Games" lands on DVD and Blu-ray on Saturday, Aug. 18, but Target is banking on superfans being interested in far shinier objects than just the movie itself.

A special collection of keepsakes and an exclusive three-disc version of the film with never-before-seen video from the movie set will be introduced to coincide with the home-video release.

The keepsakes, available in very limited quantities exclusively on, include: 14-carat gold replicas of heroine Katniss Everdeen’s famed Mockingjay pin (the story’s symbol of rebellion), with 100 available at $999 each; leather replicas of Katniss’ hunting jacket, with 100 available at $349 each; and “The Hunger Games” lithographs autographed by 10 top cast members including Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, with 100 available for $699 each. The premium items will be introduced one per day beginning on Aug. 18.

Meanwhile, Target’s deluxe edition of “The Hunger Games” on DVD and Blu-ray features a collectible case and 45 minutes of exclusive content, including personal video diaries filmed by seven of the movie’s key Tributes and interviews with the cast about the experience. The special DVD ($20.99) and Blu-ray ($25.99) are available for preorder now at

Target is also offering an extensive assortment of additional merchandise inspired by “The Hunger Games” -- from backpacks and lunch boxes for the back-to-school season to jewelry, pillow cases and life-size cardboard cut-outs of movie characters Katniss, Peeta and Gale. The merchandise is available at Target stores and, ranging price from $6.99 to $37.99.

"The Hunger Games" was filmed in North Carolina in 2011, and grossed $683 million worldwide at the box office.

Friday, August 3, 2012

U.S. Olympic dream teamers are Charlotte-bound

This isn't new news, but it's news worth repeating given the fact that interest in gymnastics and U.S. stars like Gabby Douglas is at its zenith this week: Members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team will headline an all-star cast during the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions, set to swing into Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday, Oct. 26.

2012 Olympians currently scheduled to participate in the Kellogg’s Tour are: all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va.; all-around finalist Aly Raisman of Needham, Mass.; McKayla Maroney of Long Beach, Calif.; Jordyn Wieber of DeWitt, Mich.; and Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Tickets are on sale through,, the arena box office, all Ticketmaster outlets (including select Wal-Mart stores) or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Gym clubs and groups of 10 or more should call 704-688-9047 to reserve their seats.

Below is the complete list of athletes scheduled to perform during the Kellogg’s Tour of Champions. Due to athletes’ schedules and personal commitments, the cast will vary from stop to stop. The cast of gymnastics champions will be joined by local gymnasts at each tour stop.

Women’s Artistic Gymnasts

• Rebecca Bross – Plano, TX/WOGA. 2010 World Championships Team silver medalist; six-time World medalist

• Gabby Douglas – Virginia Beach, VA/Chow’s Gymnastics. 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials champion and 2011 World Championships Team gold medalist

• Brenna Dowell – Odessa, MO/ Great American Gymnastics Express. 2010 Pan Am Championships team gold medalist

• Sarah Finnegan – St. Louis, MO/ Great American Gymnastics Express. 2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2010 Pan Am Championships team gold medalist

• Anna Li – Aurora, IL/Legacy Elite Gymnastics. 2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2012 U.S. uneven bars bronze medalist

• Nastia Liukin – Parker, TX/WOGA Gymnastics. 2008 Olympic all-around champion; five-time Olympic medalist

• McKayla Maroney – Long Beach, CA/All Olympia. 2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2011 World vault and team gold medalist

• Chellsie Memmel – West Allis, WI/M&M Gymnastics. 2008 Olympic Team silver medalist; World gold medalist in all-around, team (twice), uneven bars

• Elizabeth Price – Coopersburg, PA/ Parkettes National Gymnastics Center. 2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2011 City of Jesolo Trophy team gold medalist

• Aly Raisman – Needham, MA/Brestyan’s Gymnastics. 2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2011 World floor floor bronze medalist and team gold medalist

• Kyla Ross – Aliso Viejo, CA/ Gym-Max. 2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2012 Kellogg’s Pacific Rim team gold medalist

• Alicia Sacramone – Winchester, MA/Brestyan’s American Gymnastics. 2011 World team gold medalist; 2008 Olympic team silver medalist; 10 career World medals

• Sabrina Vega – Carmel, NY/Dynamic Gymnastics. 2011 World Championships team gold medalist

• Jordyn Wieber – DeWitt, MI/Twistars USA. 2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2011 World all-around and team gold medalist, balance beam bronze medalist

Men's Artistic Gymnasts

• Chris Brooks – Houston, TX/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Academy of Gymnastics). 2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2012 Kellogg’s Pacific Rim Championships all-around and team gold medalist

• Alex Buscaglia – Stanford, CA/Stanford University. 2010 Pan Am Championships Team gold medalist

• Jake Dalton – Reno, NV/University of Oklahoma. 2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2011 World Championships team bronze medalist

• Jonathan Horton – Houston, TX/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Academy of Gymnastics). 2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2010 World all-around bronze medalist; 2008 Olympic team bronze medalist and horizontal bar silver medalist

• Glen Ishino - Santa Ana, CA/University of California-Berkeley. 2010 Pan Am Games team gold medalist

• Steven Legendre – Port Jefferson, NY/Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma). 2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2011 World Championships team bronze

• Alex Naddour – Gilbert, AZ/Team Hilton HHonors (USA Youth Fitness Center). 2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2011 World Championships Team bronze medalist

• John Orozco – Bronx, NY/Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center). 2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2012 U.S. all-around champion; 2011 World Championships team bronze

• Paul Ruggeri - Manlius, NY/University of Illinois. 2011 Pan Am Games team bronze medalist and high bar champion

• Brandon Wynn - Voorhees, NJ/Team Hilton HHonors (Ohio State University). 2011 Pan Am Games team bronze medalist and still rings gold medalist