Since 1936, the historic Gem Theatre has moved movie lovers to laughter and tears with films in an elegant, comfortable single-screen vintage theater. Peruse current showtimes and choose a first-run film, which may include a romantic romp, a superhero adventure, an independent feature, or Casablanca II: Electric Boogaloo. Guests pick up their sodas and popcorn at the concessions stand in the carpeted lobby, whose ornate table lamps cast soft light on potted plants and flowers. In the red and gold 916-seat amphitheater, upholstered floor seats beckon audience members and balcony perches provide a sky-high view behind marbled wood rails. Before the film, guests watch wrought-iron vines curl around colorful birds in sculptures flanking the screen. Sumptuous gold curtains hide the big screen until showtime, allowing staff members to finish reenacting each film’s climactic scene in private.
The themes of the seven fields sprawled across Boss Paintball’s 35 acres of woods are nothing if not eclectic. Teams may imagine that they are a posse of sheriff’s deputies fighting bandits in the saloon and bank of Dodge City, or a group of unfortunate soldiers caught in a battle in a spooky haunted house. They may even find themselves set head-to-head inside the Ark, a 40-foot boat that holds a maze, a flagpole mast, and two of every action hero. An astroturfed speedball field caters to fast-paced matches and forces players to duck behind inflatable cover on an open course.
Concord Speedway hosts roaring engines and screaming fans on 70 acres of tracks and racing activities. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series gives horseless carriages of all shapes and sizes the opportunity for high-speed cruising, with five races per night on the Speedway's half-mile track. Let cheeks flap in pulse-pounding sympathy during fast-and-furious fours, followed by a stock race as pure as the driven snow, except with tire marks. Voracious vintage sportsman roadsters eat up the track with Kimmel cars hot on their tails. The concluding late-model stock-car race parades the most cutting-edge innovations in speed, handling, and parade-float sling-shotting. Saturday, April 16 is SpringFest, featuring longer races and cash prizes for winners.
Many dance companies approach ballet from a modern angle. Caroline Calouche prefers a more perpendicular one. When the stage is not enough space for her visions of macabre masquerade balls or surreal dreamscapes, she takes to the air above it, outfitted with a cirque's worth of aerial harnesses and accouterments. Her dancers are just as likely to pirouette down a 20-foot skein of golden silk as across a hardwood floor. Pairs of lovers might hang precariously from the frame of a hollow cube or perform a gravity-defying pas de deux on the double lyra—their suspension above the earth either an expression of freedom or a prison of their own making. Like identifying an elderly smoker's gender over the phone, the airborne element leaves plenty of room for interpretation.
By marrying the storytelling ability of floor-bound choreography with the gravity-defying tricks of circus arts, Caroline Calouche & Co. unleashes the full potential of aerial dance. The company's productions are free to venture to strange new places. For example, in past shows, women have risen from their graves to haunt their murderous husbands. Likewise, the sounds of Moby and Blue Man Group are more likely to be heard than Debussy.
Audience members who want to plqy the ropes and silks for themselves can learn to do so during the dance company's aerial-dance classes, along with a tight curriculum of ballet, contemporary, and stretching and strengthening courses. For all its global influences and aerial showmanship, Caroline Calouche & Co. keeps its feet rooted in the local community with outreach programs for all ages, ethnicities, and social groups.
Queen City Segway Tours offers two-hour tours of downtown Charlotte aboard easy-to-maneuver Segways. Each Segway is equipped with high-speed microprocessors, solid-state gyroscopes, and powerful electric motors that keep riders of all ages balanced as they discover their Seg-legs. Cruise past sights such as the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus, Bank of America Stadium, Frazier Park, the Irwin Creek Greenway, and the historic Fourth Ward District, or customize your own route through the city's lesser-known lava pits and leopard-infested labyrinths. Tours are led by a knowledgeable and entertaining tour guide, and with group sizes limited to a maximum of six, you'll never have to worry about lagging behind. Whether you're visiting the Queen City for a day, or you've lived in its trees all your life, an expedition from Queen City Segway Tours is an exciting way to see Charlotte.
Play It! Game Center strives to facilitate an interactive atmosphere for bedroom-bound gamers, curating communal button mashing between friends and foes in the glow of 18 high-speed Alienware PCs and 15 Xbox 360s. The center's widescreen HDTVs broadcast players' digital derring-dos in renowned series such as Call of Duty and Halo, with linked consoles that enable multiplayer action without requiring access to competitors' implanted brain ports. In the midst of the flickering screens, wizard-capped card sharks assemble around 18 card tables for high-stakes Magic the Gathering and Heroscape tourneys. In addition to in-store gaming, Play It!'s for-sale selection of cards, accessories, and board games stands ready to help players nullify their n00b status.