What is there to do in Charlotte this weekend? Here’s our experts’ picks on everything from entertainment – movies to music to theater – to food and wine, beer and restaurants. And shopping, of course...
▪ BOOM, Charlotte’s second annual festival of experimental and multidisciplinary arts in Plaza Midwood – or, as its website puts it “three days of art, performance and the unexpected” – begins with a preview party 7:30-10 p.m. at the Rabbit Hole. It gears up Friday with nearly 20 performances/exhibitions/events and takes off Saturday with everything from Kayla Hamilton’s “Nearly Sighted” project (voices, choreography and ideas of race, gender and visibility) to Mall Goth’s musical theater to art happenings (“we don’t allow spectators!” warns Jim McGuire’s event listing). Sunday’s another full slate. Some are free, some ticketed ($10). – HS
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▪ Emily Bronte’s iconic 19th-century love story “Wuthering Heights” headlines Charlotte Ballet’s next show, in an adaptation by Sasha Janes. The opener: Alonzo King’s “MAP.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Knight Theater. – TJ
▪ “Listen Up, Charlotte!” will put music, history and storytelling to work toward community-building: Expect stories of the local African-American experience from Levine Museum historian Dr. Brenda Tindal, spoken word performed by Quentin Talley, music from Bach to Bill Withers from the Charlotte Symphony and music from the African diaspora from A Sign of The Times of the Carolinas ensembles. Free (but register at charlottesymphony.org): 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church West and at 6:30 p.m. April 30 at Providence Day School. – HS
▪ Seventy-six-year-old crooner Neil Diamond marks five decades in the business with a 50th-anniversary tour, which stops at uptown’s Spectrum Center at 8 p.m. The set list covers highlights from his entire career – including favorites “Sweet Caroline,” “Love on the Rocks” and “America.” – CD
▪ The deafening roar of 10,000-horsepower, nitro-burning machines will once again be heard roaring down the strip at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s zMAX Dragway during this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Notable drivers scheduled to appear include returning champs Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle), and NHRA Pro Mods have been added this year. Qualifying begins with two rounds at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Friday and continues at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday. Final eliminations are scheduled for noon Sunday. – TJ
▪ Catawba Lands Conservancy is hosting its inaugural community picnic at 6 p.m. in Freedom Park. Focused on eating local, the family-friendly Pop-Up Picnic features live music by The Greenliners and family activities. The gourmet picnic baskets pre-prepared by top Charlotte restaurants are sold out, but you can bring your own basket or purchase a meal from the Mayobird food truck. Beer and wine will also be for sale (cash only) from Lenny Boy Brewing Co. and Arthur’s. – TJ
▪ Thirty years have passed since Poison – the glammest of Hollywood-spawned pop-metal acts – strutted to No. 1 on MTV’s Top 20 Countdown with “Talk Dirty To Me.” The band had its ups and downs in the ensuing years, but since reality shows brought three out of the four members back into the national spotlight, it’s continued to play nostalgia shows like the one coming to PNC Music Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. – CD
▪ Pull out the sundresses, dramatic hats, khakis and bowties. The annual Queen’s Cup Steeplechase horse race is set on rolling green farmland just south of town (6103 Waxhaw Highway, Mineral Springs) and is technically a sporting event. But anyone who has spent an afternoon at this picturesque racecourse knows that half the fun of this day in the sun comes from its elaborate tailgates and colorful fashions. – SC
▪ Hops for Hospice at Foxcroft Wine Co. in SouthPark is a chance to raise money for Hospice & Palliative Care with food and beers from 17 breweries. It’s 1-4 p.m.; tickets are $25 in advance and $30 that day. Call 704-365-6550. – KP
▪ Combine fitness and fundraising at The Sarcoma Stomp, which features a 5K run or a 3K walk through the neighborhoods of Mammoth Oaks and Lansdowne in SouthPark (start and finish is at Christ Lutheran Church, 4519 Providence Road). Kids can enjoy face painting, balloon twisting, team mascots, photo booths and more. Proceeds will help to fund sarcoma clinical trials and other sarcoma research projects at Levine Cancer Institute. runsignup.com/Race/NC/Charlotte/TheSarcomaStomp – TJ
▪ Or, if you’re looking for a more unique physical challenge, check out the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb, a race up 54 flights of stairs to the top of uptown’s Duke Energy Center. The annual event is held in honor of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter who lost his life on 9/11 after strapping on his gear and running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers. Proceeds will help build smart homes for injured service members. tunnel2towers.org. – TJ
▪ How can you resist a festival called Jiggy with the Piggy? Kannapolis’ annual barbecue festival kicks off this day with a 5K run (in pig costumes), then continues Friday and Saturday with a barbecue competition, rides, a zucchini-car race for kids (they make cars from zucchinis), pancake breakfast and barbecue and wings tastings. Full schedule at www.kannapolisnc.gov. – KP
▪ The producers of the bestselling magic show The Illusionists have teamed up with award-winning puppeteers to create Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus, featuring dangerous and unique family-friendly acts from around the globe, accompanied by an African elephant. Its six-night run at Knight Theater opens with a performance at 7:30 p.m. – TJ