Lawrence Toppman

BOOM goes off for the second time – and in new directions

We might say you’d see things like XOXO Theatre at BOOM Charlotte, except every show is unique.
We might say you’d see things like XOXO Theatre at BOOM Charlotte, except every show is unique. Courtesy of XOXO Theatre

A small explosion rocked Petra’s Bar, the popular Plaza-Midwood joint on Commonwealth Avenue, Wednesday between 6 and 7 p.m. Shortly afterward, as Charlotteans will, people at the club dipped into their wallets and started to contribute.

“BOOM Charlotte” will actually make more noise this year, as the second annual multidisciplinary festival lands in this neighborhood April 28-30. The announcement/celebration/request for financial support at Petra’s hinted at its growth.

The parameters are the same as last spring. It’s walkable: Petra’s, Snug Harbor and Rabbit Hole host shows, while the outdoor stage “epicenter” – called The Intersection – is across the street from the venues and offers free performances and activities each day. Visual art at Twenty Two Gallery sits around the corner. On Saturday, International House and The Light Factory will offer free shows a few blocks from the main venues.

It’s cheap: sometimes $10, often free. Tickets can be had as of March 28 at the website or on the weekend of the event at The Intersection or venues. (It can stay this accessible only if it gets other backing, so organizer Manoj Kesavan has started an Indiegogo account.)

And it’s still avant-garde, in a city where culture is closely garde-d. As Matt Cosper of XOXO Theatre promised at Petra’s, “There’ll be stuff for kids to do. Stuff for adults to do. And all that freaky-deaky weird stuff you’d expect.”

A look at the list of performers shows its range. Music by Drumstrong and Jazz Arts Initiative. Dance by Naimah Kisoki and Moving Poets. And uncategorizable, WTF (whatever they fancy) behavior from XOXO and Sinergismo. The 100 Words Film Festival and Tosco Music Party will even take a hand.

Poet Kia Moore, whose Hip Hop Orchestrated Project will also present a show, expressed it this way at Petra’s: “The artists left of center take center stage/ As they rage into the edge of right-brain thinking/ Tinkering with the idea of ‘What is art, anyway?’ 

That’s BOOM, for sure. And there’s food.

Toppman: 704-358-5232