Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mint Museum on next episode of 'Bachelorette'

Charlotte was all over last Monday's episode of "The Bachelorette," which this year moved here to accommodate Emily Maynard and her 6-year-old daughter, Ricki.

She and one of her dates were featured dining at Osso Restaurant & Lounge at the NC Music Factory, then dancing on the venue's outdoor plaza (as country band Gloriana played). Later in the episode, she and several of her suitors attended a fundraiser starring the Muppets at Booth Playhouse in uptown Charlotte.

Next week, the Mint Museum Uptown gets a big moment in the spotlight.
Maynard and one of the bachelors vying for her heart will scale the exterior of the five-story building using harnesses, rigging and climbing ropes, then dine on the rooftop -- an area normally off-limits to the public. After dinner, they strolled down the middle of Tryon Street and were serenaded by country artist Luke Bryan and his band at the closed-down intersection of Trade and Tryon.

According to a Mint Museum press release, filming for "The Bachelorette" "involved a lengthy cooperative process between the Mint, the city of Charlotte, Wells Fargo, and 'The Bachelorette's' producers. The museum has been a favorite target of location scouts in recent months, with other television series and independent films also shooting scenes at the Mint."

The Mint's moment on "The Bachelorette" will air at 8 p.m. Monday on ABC.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'Hunger Games' fans: District 12 is for sale

If you're going through "Hunger Games" withdrawal now that you've read the trilogy multiple times and seen the movie version over and over, there's a unique way to tide you over till the second movie comes out in November 2013. All you need is about a million bucks (give or take).

The Henry River Mill Village property in Hildebran, which stood in for "District 12" in LionsGate's post-apocalyptic film this spring, will be sold via sealed bids this summer through the auction house Profiles in History. Estimated value? More than $1.2 million.

The 72-acre abandoned mill town, home of fictional spots like the Hob and the area known as the Seam, will be featured on the Syfy channel's "Hollywood Treasure" series at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5. According to a press release, "Viewers will be able to watch (Profiles in History owner) Joe (Maddalena) and his team visiting 'District 12' ... as Joe is able to get the owner to entrust him to sell this 'collectors dream.'"

“The Hunger Games,” which was filmed entirely in North Carolina, is based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling book series about a girl who volunteers to take her sister’s place in a televised death match against other children. The film, which starred Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, was a box-office smash, earning more than $635 million worldwide to date. The property exists exactly as it is seen in the film, from the bakery owned by Peeta Mellark's family to the house where Katniss Everdeen and her sister Prim lived.

If you're interested, just make sure to raise the cash fast: The bidding deadline is July 31, 2012. May the odds be ever in your favor ... since we're assuming most of you would have to win the Powerball to afford this piece of movie memorabilia.

The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tony Lucca to perform in Concord

Singer-songwriter Tony Lucca will perform a live acoustic set at the Event Center of Concord (10099 Weddington Road, Suite 138) at 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 25 .

Tickets for his Concord show are on sale exclusively through the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau Information Center located at 10099 Weddington Road, Suite 102, in Concord. Tickets are $15. Must be 21 or older to purchase, Call 1-800-848-3740 to order or for more details, check

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A peek inside 'The Bachelorette' mansion

Want to sneak a look at the "Bachelorette" mansion, where Emily Maynard's suitors stayed while they were in Charlotte for the series' taping? The address -- 16424 Marvin Road -- is easy to pinpoint on a map, and a ridiculously short (4-minute) drive from Ballantyne Village in South Charlotte.

But most people will never see it.

Not surprisingly, a black iron gate will greet anyone trying to get into the private community in which the 12,000-square-foot house is nestled, although if you could get through ... it's the second house on the left.

I got a chance to tour the $5.9 million Mediterranean-style residence on Tuesday thanks to Peters & Associates, Inc., the brokerage firm that is listing the property for owner Sajjan Dhaliwal of Jas-Am Group. The house, built in 2006 at a cost of $8 million, has been on the market for more than three years.

It's easy to see why ABC selected this home from the moment you walk through the front door and into the massive foyer (featured prominently in Monday night's premiere, as Emily greeted each of the 25 men). To the immediate left is the "grand ballroom" where the rose ceremonies took place, with its 20-foot-tall marble fireplace, mahogany trim, and gold flaking ("It's actually melted-down gold, and hand painted," broker Nick Peters told us).

Among many, many jaw-dropping features: a media room upstairs that had to have been 1,000 square feet -- so big that the billiards table in the middle of it looked remarkably tiny; the backyard pool fed by a 15-foot-wide waterfall and flanked by stone elephants; an elevator large enough for six people; and silk window treatments throughout the house that cost, all together, more than $400,000.

In addition to the rose ceremony room, I got to see the backyard swing sofa where Emily took multiple guys for private conversations and the dark-mahogany-toned room off the master suite where she gave Doug the First Impression Rose.

Nothing about this place is typical. Solid wool carpeting that cost $50 a square. ("Normal carpeting in a house is gonna range from $2 to $3 a square foot," Peters said.) A completely soundproof room behind the media room, with its own half bath. ("Their son plays guitars and drums. Close that door, you can't hear it anywhere in the house.") Restored bathroom tiles that came from an old building in India, at a cost of $180 a tile. A urinal in the men's room off the dining room.

On Monday night's premiere episode of "The Bachelorette," one of the men showed up late, arriving in his own private helicopter. The other guys groaned that it was overkill, excessive, over-the-top. Ironic, considering that -- at least on camera -- they didn't make a similar remark about the house itself.

Check out Observer photographer Todd Sumlin's photos of the "Bachelorette" mansion here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Win VIP passes to Kellie Pickler's free concert

Albemarle sweetheart and former "American Idol" finalist Kellie Pickler is coming home to North Carolina during NASCAR’s All-Star weekend for a free concert on Thursday at Whisky River at EpiCentre (210 E. Trade St. in uptown Charlotte).

Sponsored by WSOC’s Redneck Yacht Club, the free concert is first-come, first-entry until venue capacity is met. Doors open at 5 p.m. for the Whisky River Race Week Pit Crew Challenge After Party; Pickler will take the stage at 10 p.m. Show is 21 and older.

Want to win VIP access, which will put you and a guest in a special area roped off in front of the stage ... plus a pair of Alive After 5 VIP tickets so you can enjoy some free beer/wine before heading into the concert? E-mail with your name, age and phone number and tell us in 50 words or less why you deserve this great prize. Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Monday night. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Carrie Underwood sets Charlotte concert date

Carrie Underwood announced this morning during her appearance on Good Morning America that she will headline a North American arena tour this fall that will include a stop at Time Warner Cable Arena on Nov. 3.

Hunter Hayes will open. Additional information:

Underwood is donating $1 from each ticket sold on the North American leg of “The Blown Away Tour” to support Red Cross disaster relief.

Her two previous headline tours -- 2008’s “Carnival Ride Tour” and 2010’s “Play On Tour" -- performed for a combined total of nearly 250 shows with 2.2 million fans in attendance, and she wrapped both years as the top-ranked female country touring artist.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, May 11, through,, the box office at Time Warner Cable Arena, all Ticketmaster outlets, including select Wal-Mart stores, or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.