Ladies, Rejoice: The End of the Blumenthal Intermission Dash

The intermission dash. Women who attend shows at Blumenthal’s Belk Theater in Charlotte know it all too well.

Blumenthal Bathroom

The upgraded, roomier ladies’ restroom at Blumenthal’s Belk Theater in Charlotte

It’s a sight to behold. Rarely does one see a line form as quickly as the one at the orchestra-level ladies’ room at intermission. This line is both the cause and the effect of the intermission dash: women sprint from the theatre as quickly as high heels will carry them and propriety will allow. The dashers are the regulars who know the drill: If we’d like to make a stop at the ladies’ room and have time for conversation and concessions before the lights dim, we need the speed of Road Runner and the strategy of MacGyver to get ahead of that line.

Ladies, rejoice: the intermission dash is no more.


Photos courtesy of Blumenthal Performing Arts

This past year, the Blumenthal began renovating the ladies’ restroom, and the upgrade is now complete. They’ve doubled the size of the restroom on the orchestra level — last year, it had 24 stalls; this year, it has 48. In addition to increasing the size of the restroom, they’ve installed new fixtures that meet ADA standards as well. And although it may sound silly to say this about a bathroom, I have to admit: it’s quite pretty, too.

“This particular restroom was inadequate for the size of our audiences, and the line was the top complaint in our customer surveys,” said Elise Esasky, the Communications Manager for the Blumenthal Performing Arts. “People love the Belk Theater, but many women were spending the entire intermission standing in line to use the restroom.”

Linda Franzese, a season subscriber since the Blumenthal’s first season in 1992, agreed: “Although the old space was quite large, it just didn’t accommodate the number of women who needed to use the facilities during a 15-minute intermission. Now that the area has been expanded and renovated, we can enjoy not only an aesthetically beautiful stop, but a very efficient one.”

Fellas, take heart. The theater upgrades aren’t just for the women. All patrons will enjoy other upgrades, including a facelift to the lobby and new theater seats.

So ladies, if you’ll be at the symphony this weekend, I’ll see you there. But instead of bonding in line while we wait to powder our noses, let’s propose a better idea for intermission: wine and conversation, no dashing necessary.

7 Ways to Make Your CSO Summer Pops Experience Even More Enjoyable

It just wouldn’t be summer in Charlotte without CSO Summer Pops. But before you go, keep these tips in mind.

1. The basics: Have a question about tickets, parking, seating, the music program, or anything else Summer Pops related, there’s a good chance the CSO has covered it here.

2. Connect: Follow the symphony orchestra on Facebook and Twitter.  The good people behind the CSO’s social media are constantly providing weather updates and sharing behind-the-scenes pics. The CSO tweets @CLTsymphony.

3. Stake your claim.  Gates to the park open at 5pm.  The best plots go fast, so get there early, put down your blanket, and then head out for a nice air-conditioned dinner in the SouthPark area. The CSO will issue you a wristband for re-entry when you pick up your tickets, so there’s no need to brave the elements – baking sun or pouring rain – before the music begins.

Charlotte Symphony Pops SouthPark4. Bike in:  The happiest people I’ve seen attending Summer Pops are those who depart on a human-powered vehicle. Casually weave through the inevitable post-concert crush of traffic. Plus, there’s no better way to work off the calories from the half-dozen cupcakes you bought from the “mobile cupcakerey” food truck.

5. Prelude to an evening on the lawn.  Most Summer Pops concerts have an opening act that goes on at 7pm.  The “prelude” acts are wide-ranging in style (beach, folk, classical, etc.) and provide the perfect bridge between your wine-induced nap on the picnic blanket and the main act.

6. Bring the wine and cheese, but leave the main course at home. Remember in 3rd grade when you learned that sharks can smell a drop of blood in the water from miles away? Well, food truck operators are like sharks equipped with a V-8 engine. That’s good news for Summer Pops-goers who now have a number of mobile dining options, including a decked-out Whole Foods truck. My personal favorite, Maki Taco’s lo-carb hibachi basket. Now if only there was a beer truck. 😉

7. Wine is great, but don’t forget to bring water and sunscreen.  Seriously, you’ll regret it if you do.


Your turn: What are your favorite tips for attending the Charlotte Symphony Pops?

Charlotte’s Brodt Music Company to Close After 78 Years

Brodt Music Company has been serving the Charlotte community since 1934. Recently, WDAV Digital Producer George Marshall visited Brodt to interview owner Lee Northcutt about the store’s 78 year life and imminent closure.

Over the years, Brodt has not only supplied print music, but also supplemented the community by organizing band and choral workshops for the Charlotte Mecklenburg school system, creating displays for church music conferences, and hosting nationally recognized composers to offer workshops for local musicians. Brodt Music has also existed as a locale for regional and guest musicians alike to meet and chat. Artists of such international rapport as Kathleen Battle and Itzhak Perlman have found themselves in Brodt Music, while more frequent patrons have included local jazz legends Loonis McGlohon and Jim Stack.


Due to financial constraints resulting from the 2008 recession and continuing web-based movement of print music sales, Brodt Music will be closing at the end of October 2012. With tighter budgets, too many schools and churches have had to cancel their purchase orders with Brodt Music – as many as 50 cancellations were received in one afternoon, recalled the owner, who hopes to sell as much of their vast inventory as possible before they close.

You can hear Northcutt’s interview on WDAV October 25 at 9:30am and October 27 at 11:30am. Can’t wait that long? Click the play button below to listen now!

Our Own Warren-Green to Conduct at Royal Wedding

Christopher Warren-Green 2.jpgThe Charlotte Symphony’s Music Director, Christopher Warren-Green, has been tapped to conduct the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Today, St. James’s Palace announced that he will lead the London Chamber Orchestra at the ceremony which takes place April 29, 2011. This is great news for Christopher Warren-Green and for Charlotte as well – a great connection (or is that connexion?) between Queen City and Queen.
Warren-Green is in London at the moment, no doubt hammering out some of the details of the Big Day, but he’s scheduled to return to Charlotte soon, and when he does, I hope to get a few minutes in the studio to talk to him about this exciting news. So stay tuned.
A copy of the official press follows.