Local Arts

Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | May 12-18

Dolores Huerta, organizing marchers in 1969; she’ll be in Charlotte tonight for the Define American Film Festival.
Dolores Huerta, organizing marchers in 1969; she’ll be in Charlotte tonight for the Define American Film Festival. George Ballis/Take Stock/The Image Works

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...


▪ Civil rights/labor/immigration activist Dolores Huerta appears, and hip hop troupe “We’re Muslim Don’t Panic” performs as the Define American Film Festival kicks off (it goes through Saturday night) at the Gantt Center. The idea: Showing films and launching conversations about immigration and identity – with key panelists ranging from founder Jose Antonio Vargas to two of the recent Essence cover’s “100 Woke Women” – April Reign (coiner of #OscarsSoWhite) and Brittany Packnett (Teach For America’s VP of national community alliances) – to Charlotte’s Bishop Tonyia Rawls. – HS


▪ The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, led by Christopher Warren-Green, does two performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 over two nights (also 8 p.m. Saturday). The heaven-storming “Resurrection” symphony – which opened Belk Theater in 1992 and was last played by the CSO in 1999 – will feature more than 200 musicians, choristers and soloists. – LT

▪ You’re officially out of excuses for not having a Mother’s Day gift. Uptown’s Seventh Street Public Market is hosting its Mother’s Day Sip & Shop pop-up shopping event 4-9 p.m., just in time to find something cool and local for Mom. From candles to artwork to chocolate, this is your one-stop-shop for the holiday – or for a little something fun for yourself. And speaking of fun, the market will offer a glass of free sparkling wine to the first 100 customers. – SC


▪ Fresh off his hilarious appearance with Kevin Bacon and Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” Chris Stapleton headlines the first big country-music show of the season at PNC Music Pavilion at 7 p.m., with openers Brothers Osbourne and Lucie Silvas. The man with the massive beard – who has written for Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and Adele – put out his sophomore album just last week: “From a Room: Volume 1.” – TJ

▪ “Pooches & Puccini” brings Opera Carolina to LangTree 3-10 p.m. to perform for kids and adults – and dogs. Opera company members will sing Puccini arias, but also Disney songs and show tunes, and dog activities are planned: agility demos, a microchipping clinic; hangouts with adoptable dogs; and (wait for it): “Duets with Your Dog,” an exactly-what-it-sounds-like karaoke competition. Latin jazz follows. (Register for that one beforehand at operacarolina.org.) Admission is free; food and drinks will be offered by LangTree businesses. – HS

▪ With more than 40 breweries in attendance – many from the Carolinas – the fourth annual South End Hops Festival returns to the corner of Mint Street and Carson Boulevard. In addition to unlimited samples of craft beer, there’ll be live cooking demonstrations and a new Blue Blaze Brewing Bier Garten. General admission tickets are $35 plus fees (VIP tickets are sold out). As in previous years, the festival benefits RescuedMe, a local organization which rescues dogs before rehabilitating them and placing them in loving homes. And yes, you can even bring your dog. Festival runs 2-6 p.m. – DH

▪ Meanwhile, the annual Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival in Symphony Park (also 2-6 p.m.) offers a flavorful taste of the South. In addition to the chance to sample 60 beers and 40 bourbons, you’ll find lots of local barbecue vendors on site. Live rock and bluegrass music, bacon tastings and even something called the “Shrine of Swine” round out this ultimate cultural culinary experience. – SC

▪ New Gallery is showing a new artist this spring: Stephanie Hirsch. Hirsch’s beaded canvases tiptoe across the borders of craft, fashion, fine art and maybe even kitsch by incorporating mantras into highly decorative surfaces. If you didn’t buy your mother something for her special day this weekend, think about one of these: Then she can say that she owns art by an artist who created work for the Queen of England on her Diamond Jubilee. Work is on display through June 24. – KS


▪ Rarely is there a concert so befitting a holiday as the Mother’s Day double bill at Bojangles’ Coliseum, featuring R&B royalty Charlie Wilson and Johnny Gill, who have been known to honor the women in their lives with their music. Wilson fronted the legendary Gap Band and enjoyed a successful solo comeback; Gill is the sixth member of New Edition who helped the teen group transition to a more mature sound in the late ’80s, and scored infectious hits on his own. Show starts at 7 p.m. – CD

▪ Meanwhile, Future will headline a big hip-hop show at 7 p.m. at PNC Music Pavilion, along with Migos, Tory Lanez, Zoey Dollaz and A$AP Ferg. The 33-year-old Atlantan released two albums – first “FUTURE,” then “HNDRXX” – over the course of just eight days in February, making him the most prolific rapper of the year so far. – TJ


▪ The Weeknd – one of few acts in his age bracket headlining arenas (outside of country music, or pop stars who made it as teens) – stops at Spectrum Center at 7:30 p.m. as part of his Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour. The 27-year-old Grammy-winning Canadian artist proved an arena act can maintain artistry while enjoying commercial success with his third album, “Starboy,” which sits at No. 10 on the Billboard charts 14 weeks after it debuted at No. 1. – CD

▪ Missing all that “Top Chef” excitement? 5Church Charlotte will bring some back to celebrate its fifth anniversary this week when Dallas chef John Tesar joins executive chef Jamie Lynch for a five-course tasting menu. Tickets are $125 (not including tax and tip), and some of the proceeds go to the Levine Children’s Hospital. – KP