Tuesday, September 25, 2012

See Jay & Silent Bob ... live

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes -- best known as Jay and Silent Bob from Smith's "Clerks" and other films -- are coming to The Fillmore Charlotte on Nov. 11.

The "Jay & Silent Bob Get Old" tour features the duo recording their comedy podcast titled.

Ranked No. 1 among iTunes Comedy podcasts, this is "a sometimes touching, always hilarious, look at what happens when two people grow up in Hollywood's gaze." These limited engagements will be recorded as the stories evolve live in front of the audience, and released for free on www.smodcast.com.

Tickets go on sale Friday, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m. at LiveNation.com, The Fillmore Charlotte box office (opens at noon), all Ticketmaster outlets including select Wal-Mart stores, or charge by phone 800-745-3000. Unlike other Fillmore shows, this one is reserved seating.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

James Taylor, in concert... for $5,000?

During the Democratic National Convention, James Taylor performed two free shows -- one during CarolinaFest and another (less-accessible one) before President Obama's acceptance speech.

If you missed both of those concerts, the singer-songwriter/guitarist will give another one on Friday, Oct. 12, in Blowing Rock. He will be performing as part of a fundraising dinner and concert to support Obama's re-election campaign.

And this one won't be free. Tickets for the concert at the Westglow Resort and Spa are $1,000 apiece, or $2,500 each if you want to add "dinner and conversation with James Taylor." Anyone under 30 can get in for just $500.

Westglow is situated around an elegant mansion with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and was ranked the No. 2 destination spa in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2011.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call 828-295-5146.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For guitar rocker, DNC is about loosening up

Camp Freddy -- a rock super group that features Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction -- played a party during the RNC in Tampa last week. Monday night, the band performed a late-night show at the NC Music Factory as the headline act for Spirits of Charlotte, a party hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council.

Lead guitarist Billy Morrison, an Englishman who also is a member of Billy Idol's band, says the guys agreed to play at both conventions in a show of bipartisanship. We interviewed him via e-mail Monday about politics, Camp Freddy, and whether the U.S. or the U.K. rocks harder.

Q. Any musician who shows up at a political convention is -- whether they intend to or not -- is making a statement of sorts. What kind of statement are you and Camp Freddy trying to make by being here this week?

If we are being forced to make any statement, it's that rock and roll transcends any political barriers and no matter what side of the fence you sit, you understand what we do. Every person at these conventions was 14 once. Every one of them sat listening to The Crue, or Billy Idol, or Bowie, or whoever, and Republican or Democrat, they all loosen their ties, take their jackets off, and rock out.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how political are you, and what are your political views, particularly in terms of this year's presidential election/race?

I am personally around a 3 or 4 - I think that we are not fully informed to start with, that no one can turn a country around in four years, and that each side makes good and bad arguments. If I'd wanted to pay more attention in politics I would have graduated. But I found a loud guitar much more stimulating and found that I could say what I wanted to say far more effectively with music. I do, however, pay attention to certain topics and issues that are close to my heart, no matter what side is speaking. Homelessness, Healthcare, a few others.... these issues stir me as a human being at a social level, more than a political one.

Q. Do you have any concerns about how fans might view your politics, or do you not care about that kind of thing?

No matter what you do in this business, people have opinions. And if I had worried too much about what people thought, I wouldn't have dyed my hair blue when I was 15 and covered my body in tattoos and forged a career in the entertainment business. And we have been VERY clear that we have played BOTH conventions, that we are bi-partisan....that really the only thing we came here to do is rock out for these people that, quite frankly, need a night or two of unwinding and loosening up.

Q. What's it been like being a part of Camp Freddy these past several years, and how does it compare to your other experiences with other bands?

Camp Freddy is the antithesis of the real, career oriented bands that we are all in. We play purely for fun, a few times a year, and make sure that our guests, our audiences and ourselves go home smiling. We're not concerned with "shifting units" (because we haven't released anything) or "what markets" we should play..... this is simply reminding ourselves and the guest artists that play with us, what it felt like to be a kid, with a guitar, in your bedroom, and learning some of the greatest rock songs ever written.

Q. Lot of cool, exclusive concerts going on in Charlotte this week as part of the DNC. Are you planning to check out any of them?

I spent the week in Tampa after the last gig just hanging out, scuba diving, and working on this show. People don't realize quite how much hard work and logistics go into making a Camp Freddy show happen. So as much as I'm sure Charlotte is kicking all week, I'm looking forward to getting on a plane home to Los Angeles tomorrow.

Q. What's cooler, UK rock or American rock?

If the rock comes from the heart and soul, if it's real and believable, then I don't give a f@#k where the rock comes from.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Was that George Clooney jogging down Tryon Street?

If you happen to hear someone say they saw George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey jogging down Tryon Street, it might have been George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey.

It might also have been two fit, good-looking delegates. Or two fit, good-looking bankers.

Or maybe it was no one. It might have been that the person you heard it from heard it from a co-worker, who heard it from the person who cuts their hair, who heard it from another customer. And the other customer, for all anybody knows, might have made the whole thing up.

This is how it’ll go all week during the DNC, among people who care about such things. Dozens of household-name celebrities are in town or arriving soon for official convention activities, private parties, public forums and other events. Some even bigger names have been rumored, from Clooney (still unconfirmed) to Brad Pitt (he seems likely) to Oprah Winfrey (not so much).

And so, for a week, Tryon Street becomes like a mini-Sunset Boulevard. The EpiCentre and the N.C. Music Factory become quasi-microcosms of Chelsea and Greenwich Village. Stars will be everywhere. And people like me will hope to spot them.

There are some dead giveaways. If you suddenly see a horde of people swarm into one small area and pull out their cellphone cameras, you are probably witnessing a celebrity encounter. But it’s almost impossible to plan for something like this. As with so many other things in life, the keys to success are connections, timing and dumb-stupid luck.

Here’s an example of the fun we’ll have:

Sunday afternoon, the Observer got a call from an anonymous tipster who claimed – you guessed it – they had just seen George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey jogging down Tryon Street.

So naturally, I tweeted this out, grabbed a notebook, and headed for the escalators. (The Observer building is on Tryon Street.) On the way down, I ran into staff photographer Todd Sumlin toting a very long lens.

“Where are you headed?” I asked.

“Well, I heard George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey were seen jogging down Tryon Street,” he replied.

A block away, on the corner in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, one of our editors, Jennifer Rothacker, was on her cellphone and craning her neck to look down the street.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Wanted to see if George Clooney was still out running. No sign of him yet.”

Another block down, I saw not Clooney, but Observer clerk Sherri Bain, who took the call.

“Have you seen him??” she asked.

I said no but assured her I’d poke around for a bit longer, and dedicated my cause to Danny Ocean and “Magic Mike” fans everywhere. But in the end, I saw no George. I saw no Matt. All I had really seen was about half the Observer’s newsroom staff. Oh well, maybe there’s –

Oops, hang on, phone’s ringing. Sorry guys, gotta run. I hear Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were just spotted buying diapers at Wal-Mart. I’ll keep you posted …

Follow Théoden Janes on Twitter for updates about celebrities in town for the DNC: @theodenjanes; https://twitter.com/theodenjanes. If you see a celebrity, email tjanes@charlotteobserver.com.