Charlotte: ‘Christians,’ Polls, New Venues, Crowdfunding, RAIN Initiative

Carolinas News Notes

‘Christians’ comes to Queen City

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — “The Christians” will hold its North Carolina premiere during Sept. 13-Oct. 1 at the Booth Playhouse, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 130 N. Tryon St.

Provocative questions drive the play: What do you believe? Why do you believe it? And what would you sacrifice for those beliefs?

Set in a megachurch in today’s America, this story revolves around a pastor whose mission to create a church began in a modest storefront some 20 years ago. Two decades later, the founder, Pastor Paul, presides over a congregation of thousands. Today should be a day of celebration. But what begins as a mortgage burning celebration becomes a firestorm that threatens to engulf everything that Paul has built as he preaches a sermon that will challenge his church, his congregation and even his own family, with a new definition of faith that no one could have predicted. “The Christians” explores what happens when a community is challenged to see the world and their faith from a radical new perspective.

The production features a live onstage choir and singers will come from multiple churches of all denominations and all faiths in the Charlotte region.

TalkBacks will follow most performances, allowing audience members to ask questions and voice their reactions to the play with the cast and guest moderators from religious and spiritual fields.

Tickets are $15-$45 and are available online or at the theatre box office.

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info: blumenthalarts.org. thechristiansonstage.com.

Polls and Pride

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — OUT to the Polls will offer free early vote shuttle service on Aug. 26, 12-5 p.m., from Charlotte Pride’s festival to Uptown’s early voting site.

Free giveaways, refreshments, fun shuttle hosts and more will be available during the day.

The event is being hosted by MeckPAC and Charlotte Pride. More information is available online.

info: meckpac.org. charlottepride.org.

Queen City welcomes new venues

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The entertainment industry has new options for LGBTQ patrons in the Queen City.

On Aug. 22, Boulevard 1820 opened and became the first drag restaurant to hit the Charlotte, N.C. area. The establishment is located at 1820 South Blvd.

The venue comes complete with drag queens and food, as well as a lounge. The restaurant features drag performances, and nightly events, showcases and festivities.

Owners are Jeff Edwards and Kolby Brinkley and managing partners are Tommy Feldman and Shane Windmeyer.

Another addition to the scene in recent months is Bar Argon, a video lounge and dance bar located at 4544-H South Blvd.

A VJ/DJ spins on Friday and Saturday nights and for special events, as well as weekly standards.

info: boulevard1820.net. barargon.com.

Crowdfunding effort goals met

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lara Americo created an Indiegogo crowdfunding page to gather funds for her Comic Girl Coffee & Books, an inclusive space for LGBTQ women, people of color and immigrants in Charlotte, N.C.

As of press time she had raised $5,482, 106 percent of her projected goal.

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“Building a space that is in service to the community has to be built by the community. I am really happy that Charlotte supported this space. Inclusive spaces are needed, not just in Charlotte, but in all the cities that are being gentrified, where businesses are being built by the wealthy that cater to the most privileged. This space is for marginalized people and by marginalized people. It is exactly what this city needs.”

Her full vision is available online at Indiegogo.

info: bit.ly/2uDJg97.

RAIN aids youth

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As a way to combat youth who are HIV positive and now seeking care, RAIN established its Empowering Positive Youth (EPY) program 11 years ago, a specialized, holistic and effective approach to support them. It is the first of its kind in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.

The organization said that the peer-based program helps ensure that no one who is 24 or younger begins treatment for HIV without feeling like someone understands. It offers not only referrals to healthcare providers, but also help with housing and mental health services.

Led by RAIN’s EPY peer navigators Laurenzo Surrell-Page and Adrian Ross, EPY assists youth in getting medical care, transitioning from pediatric to adult care and providing psychosocial support.

“HIV is still a scary diagnosis,” said President and CEO Debbie Warren. “And there’s still a stigma attached to it. A lot of the teens and young adults we work with have no support from their families. That’s a lonely place to be. Our EPY program creates a safety net and help navigate the healthcare system for some of the most vulnerable people.”

EPY peer navigators, who are all under 30, use a medical model, providing referrals for care, housing, food, substance abuse and other necessities. In addition, RAIN offers onsite mental health counseling and social support opportunities through youth-only support groups.

Since its inception it has seen over 1,000 youth and RAIN considers EPY as one of its key services.

“It is vital for young people with HIV to feel empowered,” Warren said. Youth continue to deal with stigma and discrimination. EPY gives them “crucial coping skills,” Warren added.

info: carolinarain.org.

Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@goqnotes.com.

Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@goqnotes.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.