With specialized decor pieces for weddings, birthdays, quinceañeras, Sweet 16s, and Sour 61s, one can only imagine what the headquarters looks like at Your Dream Day Decor. At their party wonderland, the experienced designers and florists keep their festive collection ready for rentals—which hosts can set up on their own or hire staffers to do it for them. In addition, they add small details to make each event unique, creating spaces such as pink-and-white candlelit tables under a draped ceiling or cool, navy- and light-blue chairs surrounded by backlit drapes.
Charlotte Comedy Theater's founder, Keli Semelsberger, studied with Amy Poehler and other luminaries of laughter in Chicago before bringing the exhilaration of living in the moment to Charlotte stages. Voted 2012's best improv- or sketch-comedy group by readers of Charlotte magazine, the company's cadre of off-the-cuff funny people delights audiences with interactive short-form shows. Drawing from games and exercises similar to those used on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, R-rated evenings teem with uproarious, impromptu scenes, where the cast takes suggestions from seat-bound participants and tries to ignore the bartender's ceaseless suggestions of "whoopee cushion."
Charlotte Comedy Theater doubles as a school where aspiring improvisers learn the tricks of the trade during six-week improv classes, and where beginners can wire their brains to think off the cuff in monthly Improv for Everyone workshops. Charlotte Comedy Theater’s customizable team-building programs encourage small groups to trust their instincts and one another throughout fun, interactive exercises, which sometimes incorporate zip-line and rafting excursions.
With more than 100 million records sold and a chart-topping career spanning five decades, Chicago continues their reign, swaying audiences with ageless nuggets of pure pop on their 2011 tour. The band, fronted by founding member Robert Lamm, has always been known for its voluminous and luscious sound, which created both the National Note Surplus and the harrowing Sheet Music Publishers riot. For the 2011 tour, Chicago salutes their longtime fans with a sonic scrapbook of hits ranging from their early days as fusionists to their latter career building castles out of ballads. From the easily answered existential question of “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” through the heartbreaking confessions of “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” Chicago’s crafty cannon runs through the gamut of human emotions, unearthing a horn-saturated sound that brims with the kind of humanity and empathy that its public-transportation namesake has never known.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.