What to do this weekend (and on into next week)? Welcome to our new insider’s guide:
Each week, Observer reporters and correspondents – each an expert in their fields – aim you at what looks best, brightest, coolest, oddest, rarest or just plain worth it in the week ahead (and sometimes beyond). Theoden Janes digs up ideas for entertainment, fitness and more. Kathleen Purvis points out good things to eat and drink. Lawrence Toppman offers performing arts options, and maybe a movie or two. Cristina Bolling presents style and shopping possibilities, and family choices. Dannye Powell lets you know if there’s a terrific author in town, or a new release. One of the trio of women who write our Artful column in Sunday’s Carolina Living – today, it’s Kati Stegall – steers you toward a visual arts best bet. We’ll have others pitch in (me too) when appropriate, as well.
Take a look and let us know what you think.
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Nov. 11: Oscar buzz has begun for the moody “Moonlight,” the coming-of-age story that follows a young black man in 1980s Miami who believes he may be gay. It gets to Charlotte Nov. 11, a bit later than scheduled, and it’s on my short list of the most memorable films of 2016. – LT
Nov. 12: If you’re a fan of the types of dry-land fun offered at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, but prefer your adventures to be more, um, climate-controlled, you’re in luck: the indoor, obstacle-based challenge and fitness center Kinetic Heights celebrates its grand opening from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Providence Square Shopping Center (5664 International Drive). There are tandem zip lines, high and low ropes courses, bouldering walls and more – including a zero percent chance of rain. – TJ
Starting this week: Want to feel like a player at Block & Grinder’s new Langtree location? They’re debuting a chef’s table, near the kitchen. It seats up to 10 people, and if you book for dinner, you can pick a custom menu. Prices vary, but expect about $60 per person, plus beverages and tip. Chefs Ben Philpott and Ethan Moyer come out to interact with you through the meal. If you don’t want to go full-table treatment, new lunch and dinner menus launch at Langtree this week and at Cotswold next week. – KP
Just out: “The Secret Life of Souls,” a Stephen-King-approved heart-tugger of a psychological suspense novel by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee, about an 11-year-old actress whose love for her ginger Queensland Heeler jeopardizes her career and puts her entire family in crisis. – DP
Through Nov. 19: Three Bone Theatre consistently does provocative plays with heart. Next up: “Grand Concourse,” Heidi Schreck’s drama about a nun who runs a soup kitchen in the Bronx and has her faith tested by a volunteer. The show runs in Duke Energy Theater through Nov. 19. $22 in advance, $28 at the door. – LT
Nov. 11-13: Choose between two concerts with visual imagery. The Charlotte Symphony’s “Patriotic Pops” runs at 8 p.m. Nov. 11-12 at Knight Theater ($29-$108) and includes scenes from World Wars I and II and national parks. Firebird Arts Alliance’s “Honor: A Salute to Our Armed Forces” runs at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Sharon Presbyterian Church ($10-$15, veterans free) and uses 3-D projections of Civil War photography; the program includes Vaughan Williams’ “Dona Nobis Pacem.” – LT
Master(s) at work
Nov. 12: There aren’t many comedians out there who can make you laugh for 90 minutes all by themselves. But The Comedy Get Down at uptown’s Spectrum Center (333 E. Trade St.) unites five funnymen -- Cedric “The Entertainer,” D.L. Hughley, George Lopez, Eddie Griffin and Charlie Murphy -- and makes them pack tighter sets full of their best material. Trust us; you’ll laugh, a lot. Tickets are $25 and up. – TJ
Nov. 14: At 42, Savion Glover remains America’s pre-eminent tap dancer-choreographer. He has set pieces to blues, jazz, pop and classical music and the ensemble in his show “STePz” will show the range of tap possibilities at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in Knight Theater. $20-$59.50, but sit as close as you can to watch the intricate footwork. – LT
The home team
Nov. 12: The city’s only 26.2-mile footrace has a new name for 2016: It’s now called The Charlotte Marathon, after a long run as The Thunder Road Marathon (no relation to Bruce Springsteen). Yes, Nov. 12’s event forces lots of road closures, but if you’ve got no place to be, why not find a spot to hang out along the course and strap in for a fun morning of people-watching? The runners could sure use the encouragement – just don’t stand at Mile 3 and yell, “You’re almost there!” The full and half marathons start at 7:30 a.m. near Romare Bearden Park in uptown; there’s a 5K that goes off at 7:45. – TJ
Nov. 13: They call it “an urban barn-raising,” but don’t expect Amish women in bonnets and sweaty guys in plaid at Farm Hands Charlotte. It’s an annual event to get money to help local farms do things better. You get dinner (all local and sustainable, of course), then listen to funding pitches, then vote for which one gets the money. It doesn’t get more crowd-sourcey than that. It starts at 6 p.m. at Free Range Brewing. The “Breakfast for Dinner” Sunday supper is cooked by Matthew Krentz of The Asbury, Greg Collier of The Yolk and @Dawn, and Michael Rayfield of River’s Edge at the Whitewater Center. Tickets are $30 (you can also donate at the website). – KP
Just open: Part of what makes LaCa Projects worth checking out is its international flavor, and “Mar de Mares” (“Sea of Seas”), opening Nov. 10, is a perfect example: Argentine artist Leandro Manzo shows work inspired by sailing recently from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal. His paintings aren’t just about travel: He’s also trying to capture, with unity and order, the perfection he says exists in everything. (He – and Argentine snacks – will be at an opening reception Nov. 18; RSVP suggested to email@example.com.) – KS
Through Nov. 21: Call it a Christmas market on steroids – the Southern Christmas Show is a tradition for shoppers who enjoy trolling for every conceivable type of Christmas decoration, gift and menu item. You’ll find décor, clothing, food and dozens of live performances. Nov. 10-21 at the Park Expo and Conference Center. – CB
Nov. 10: You can’t beat this, even if you have to drive a couple of hours. The beloved poet and former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will give a free reading and sign copies of his new collection, “The Rain in Portugal,” at 5 p.m. Nov. 10 at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville. – DP
Nov. 14: Buy a world-shaking wine ... at Walmart ... for $6.96. La Moneda Reserva Malbec from Chile raised an international furor last summer when it won platinum for best of show at the Decanter World Wine Awards after a blind tasting by 240 judges who assessed 16,000 wines. The trouble was, it was made only for ASDA, Walmart’s British chain. That changes Nov. 14, when about 600 U.S. Walmarts (out of 4,500 or so) will get it, including Charlotte stores. Judges called it “the ultimate crowd-pleaser,” and ASDA’s website deems it “dark and brooding.” Oooh, sounds like the Mr. Darcy of wines is doing a U.S. pop-by. – KP
Nov. 16: The Mint Museum offers the chance to hear and meet renowned Virginia-based potter Michelle Erickson, whose expertise in 17th and 18th century reproductions has led her to create ceramics for Colonial Williamsburg, the National Park Service, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other organizations. She also creates contemporary pottery. Free; 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Mint on Randolph. – CB