Jody Mace

I am a freelance writer in Charlotte, North Carolina who writes for magazines and websites. Find me at Google+

Feb 102016
 February 10, 2016  Posted by  holiday No Responses »

valentine tree
There is no shortage of things to do around Charlotte for Valentine’s Day, but let’s face it. They can be expensive. You can feel pressured to spend a lot of money to prove your love. But a famous person (or maybe four famous people) once said “Money can’t buy me love.” Also, Valentine’s Day can be a bummer for people without a romantic partner. So here’s a list of some outside-the-box things to do in Charlotte on Valentine’s Day Weekend 2016. All are fine to do with a partner, with friends, or on your own. These events all take place Friday, February 12th, through Sunday, February 14th. Follow the links for details, including addresses. Also, check out a huge list of free things to do around Charlotte this week. And if you haven’t subscribed to Charlotte on the Cheap’s email list, sign up now. There’s no better way to say “I love you.” (Unless you speak French.)

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Brewery Tours: Olde Mecklenburg Brewery holds brewery tours on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m. They’re free to attend and you don’t have to make reservations so you can play it by ear. Follow the link for details, as well as for information about tours at other local breweries.

the jazz workshop

Jazz: The second Sunday of every month Petra’s Bar hosts the Jazz Workshop with John Shaughnessy. Some of Charlotte’s best jazz musicians set up and invite guests to sit in. So maybe you should sing a song to your date. Or maybe you shouldn’t. I can’t say because I haven’t heard you sing. If you’ve written a song, bring the charts and the band might play it. Alternately, enjoy a drink and just listen. You know best. This is a free event. Sunday, February 14, 8 p.m.

qdoba smothered burrito

BOGO Burritos: Some people’s love language is gifts. Some people’s love language is “words of affirmation.” But some people’s love language is burritos. If this is you or your loved one, head to Qdoba on Valentine’s Day. Buy one entrée, kiss someone and get another entrée for free. You do not even have to know the person whom you kiss, but you do have to get permission. Valentine’s Day and free burritos are no excuse for being a cad. Also, Qdoba says you can even kiss a picture of someone. Or yourself. No date required. Sunday, February 14.

cfs Malcolm Holcombe print b&w
Malcolm Holcombe: Charlotte Folk Society’s free monthly concert features acclaimed songwriter Malcolm Holcombe. His intense and impassioned musical style will make you want to hold someone’s hand. You’ll know what I mean if you go. Friday, February 12, 7:30 p.m.


Alpacas: Surprise your date with a visit to the Carolina Alpaca Celebration at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center. There you will see over 600 alpacas compete for top honors and you can shop for gifts made from alpaca fiber. If this doesn’t increase your date’s ardor for you, what will? If you don’t have a date, maybe you can meet someone at the Alpaca Celebration. Just plan your pickup line in advance because this is the kind of thing that can go wrong. This is a free event, but there’s a charge for parking. Saturday, February 13, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, February 14, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Great Love Songs, Mostly Jewish: Temple Israel is presenting a free concert of love songs, performed by Cantor Elias Roochvarg, along with guests Elisheva Dienstfrey and Raymond Goldstein. Sunday, February 14, 4 p.m.


Rose Growing Class: Pike Nurseries is holding a free class on growing roses. Take this class together or on your own. It’s an investment in the future. Just think of all the money you’ll save next year by growing your own roses. Saturday, February 13, 9 a.m.

milk bar cake balls

Dairy free cake truffles: Just because dairy does bad thing to you doesn’t mean you should be deprived on Valentine’s Day. While supplies last, order 12 free limited-edition german chocolate cake truffles made with lactaid® milk from Milk Bar. Shipping is free too. Follow the above link to get yours while supplies last.

han solo princess leia
The Force: Charlotte Concert Band is presenting a free concert of movie music, including music from Star Wars. It’s a good bet that this music will create romantic feelings. If it worked for the power couple, Han Solo and Princess Leia, it’ll probably work for you too. Saturday, February 13, 7 p.m.

Free cake and champagne: If you propose to your intended at Mimi’s Café on Valentine’s Day you’ll get a free slice of cake (15 layers of French crêpes, vanilla cake and sweet cream) to share, as well as free champagne. An argument could be made that it’s not a good idea to make a lifetime commitment to someone in order to get a free slice of cake, but who am I to say?

Ballroom Dancing: Metropolitan Ballroom offers a $5 beginning class on Sunday, February 14, at 3 p.m.

Valentease Burlesque Show: Big Mama’s House of Burlesque presents its annual homage to love, lust and hedonism at Visulite Theatre on Saturday, February 13, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door.

Love Stinks, Let’s Drink: BlackFinn AmeriPub’s Anti-Valentine Party invites you to show up with your friends and raise a glass to the single life. It’s free to attend, but there are VIP options. Friday, February 12, 9 p.m.

Target practice: Pay just $1 for an hour of range time as Blackstone Shooting celebrates its one year anniversary. There will also be live music and giveaways. Saturday, February 13.

Feb 092016

mint museum sunday fun day
Sunday, February 14th, 2016, from 1pm to 4pm, enjoy Sunday Fun Day at Mint Museum Uptown, 500 South Tryon Street. Admission is free for kids under age 18 and museum members, and just $6 for everyone else.

Join us on Valentine’s Day and show your love for the art of diverse artists in the collection, and celebrate culture and community through colorful art projects!

-meet demonstrating artist Michele Tejuola Turner, and learn about her storytelling gourds

-create a colorful collage in the style of Romare Bearden & make artsy Valentines

-stamp symbolic designs inspired by West African Adinkra cloth

-go on a gallery scavenger hunt in search of art by awesome African American artists

-open your heart and mind with Family Yoga with Mags Maurice!

Feb 092016
 February 9, 2016  Posted by  contest, The City, Theater 37 Responses »

CasaValentina1000x445 (1)
Congratulations to the four winners: Ruth Paul, Koreen Johnson, Karri Lynn Dove and Margo Lauro! But remember, everyone gets a discount! (Read below.) Queen City Theatre Company will be presenting the Tony nominated new comedy, “Casa Valentina,” from the creator of Kinky Boots and La Cage Aux Follies, from February 18th to February 27th, at Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square. The New York Times has called this play “funny and provocative” and “genuinely arresting.”

Read on to learn a little bit about the play, and also how to win tickets, and how to get a 20% discount. Before the discount, tickets range from $16 to $25.

From four-time Tony Award® winner Harvey Fierstein comes CASA VALENTINA. A hilarious and groundbreaking new play based on a true story that will delight Charlotte in its regional premiere.

Back in 1962, nestled in the land of dirty dancing and borscht belt comedy sat an inconspicuous bungalow colony that catered to a very special clientele: heterosexual men whose favorite pastime was dressing and acting as women.

Infused with Fierstein’s trademark wit, this moving, insightful and delightfully entertaining new work offers a glimpse into the lives of a group of unforgettable characters as they search for acceptance and happiness in their very own Garden of Eden.

Welcome to the world of self-made women. Welcome to Casa Valentina.

Directed by Glenn T. Griffin

Starring Barbi Van Schaick, Berry Newkirk, Matt Kenyon, Kristian Wedolowski, Joe Rux, Steven Martin, Christopher Jones, Matthew Corbett and Amanda Liles.

Queen City Theatre Company is offering four Charlotte on the Cheap readers two tickets each, for Friday, February 19th. To enter the contest, leave a comment to this post with one piece of information:

  1. Your real name. The contest will end Tuesday, February 10th, and you’ll be notified by email. If you don’t leave your full name, you can’t win, because we need to know what name to leave at the box office.

Contest ends Tuesday, February 9th!

Even if you’re not one of the four winners, you are still a winner. All Charlotte on the Cheap readers get 20% off tickets to opening weekend, February 18th through 20th. Use this link, or use the promo code QCTC22CP at CarolinaTix.


Feb 092016
 February 9, 2016  Posted by  contest, North Charlotte, Shopping 14 Responses »

lady with bags 600x400
Charlotte Warehouse Sale is one of the most popular events we talk about on Charlotte on the Cheap. At these sales you can buy new, designer clothing and accessories (with tags) at great discounts, sometimes up to 90% off retail prices. Charlotte Warehouse Sale is having a new event, Girls Night out and Shop the Day Away on Wednesday, February 17th, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday, February 18th, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

It will be held at the same location as usual, Shoppes at Davis Lake, 8505 Davis Lake Parkway, but there will be several exciting differences.

  • The sale will feature over 20 vendors and small businesses.
  • Each business is contributing an item to be raffled off, resulting in many free giveaways during the event.
  • Charlotte Warehouse Sale will be marking down over 1,500 items at 75% off the Charlotte Warehouse Sale price. Not retail price. Charlotte Warehouse Price.
  • There will be snacks and light refreshments.

So mark your calendars for February 17th and 18th!

Want to win a $25 gift certificate to spend at the sale? Just leave a comment to this post. Make sure to leave your name so that you can pick up the gift certificate at the sale!

This post was produced in collaboration with our valued advertiser, Charlotte Warehouse Sale.

Feb 092016
 February 9, 2016  Posted by  Free Events 12 Responses »

The free events list is brought to you this week by Queen City Theatre Company, whose production of the Tony Award nominated comedy “Casa Valentina” (by the producers of Kinky Boots and La Cage Aux Follies) starts February 18. Learn how to win free tickets or get a discount!
fairy house festival
Plan your week on the cheap with this list of free events around Charlotte, from Monday, February 8th, 2016, to Sunday, February 14th, 2016. Some highlights at the Fairy House Festival, the Alpaca Celebration and Family Day at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Make sure to follow the links to get all the information. If you’re not doing this already, you can subscribe to Charlotte on the Cheap’s daily emails (just one a day), and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


9:00am: Chinese New Year activities at Spangler Library at ImaginOn
11:00am: Free Grandma’s Cookies and coffee at The Square in Uptown
5:00pm: Screening of 42: The Jackie Robinson Story at Sugar Creek Library
6:30pm: Boot Camp fitness class with Randy Moss
6:30pm: Yoga at Hattie’s Tap and Tavern
7:00pm: Trivia at The Peculiar Rabbit
7:30pm: Charlotte Storytellers meeting
8:30pm: Open Mic at Puckett’s Farm Equipment
9:00pm: Open Mic at Crown Station Pub


3:00pm: Bon Temps: Food time in loft (Imaginon) in Mardi Gras celebration for teens 
4:00pm: Free admission to Schiele Museum
4:30pm: Steele Creek Library: Kids age 5-11 design and test simple vehicle. STEM activity
6:00pm: Brewery tour at NoDa Brewing Company
7:00pm: Comparative Religion Class at Temple Beth El: The Vision of the Black Church: Civil Rights to Moral Monday
7:30pm: Tech Tuesday at Hackerspace Charlotte
8:00pm: Trivia night at Petra’s
9:00pm: Bingo at Hattie’s Tap and Tavern
9:30pm: Sayword Tuesdays Poetry Open Mic at The Tavern


8:30am: Free child car seat safety checks in Matthews
5:00pm: Free admission at both Mint Museum locations
6:30pm: Boot Camp fitness class with Randy Moss
6:30pm: Brewery tour at Triple C Brewing Company
7:00pm: Live music at EagleSpeak Coffee: Diana Wade
7:00pm: Open Mic at Sam Ash Music. Performers get $10 gift card.
10:00pm: Acoustic music at Hattie’s Tap and Tavern
10:00pm: Residency at Snug Harbor: Your Fuzzy Friends


4:30pm: Steele Creek Library: Teens and pre-teens create bath and beauty products
6:00pm: History program at Levine Museum: The Movement Makers
6:00pm: Used book swap at Hattie’s Tap and Tavern
7:00 pm: Open Mic and Songwriter Showcaser at EagleSpeak Coffee
8:00pm: Live music at Summit Coffee in Davidson: Time Sawyer
10:00pm: Karaoke at Hattie’s Tap and Tavern



6:00pm: Live music at Birdsong Brewing: Greg Lilley
7:00pm: Concert at Gaston County Museum: The Menders
7:00pm: Live music at The Wine Vault
7:30pm: Charlotte Folk Society concert: Malcolm Holcombe
8:00pm: Live music at EagleSpeak Coffee: Ole Towne Criers Duo
10:00pm: Live music at Hattie’s Tap and Tavern: Natty Boh



8:00am: Alpaca Celebration at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
9:00am: Rose growing class at Pike Nurseries
10:00am: Free dental screenings for kids
10:00am: Fairy House Festival at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
10:00am: Super Saturday at ImaginOn: Journey to Oz
11:00am: Beatties Ford Library: McCrorey YMCA Senior African Drummers
12:00pm: Kids get into Bechtler Museum for free for Family Day. Adults are $8.
1:30pm: Free dental screenings for kids
2:00pm: Black History Month program at Charlotte Museum of History
3:00pm: Salamander program at Reedy Creek Nature Center-register in advance
5:00pm: Brewery tour at NoDa Brewing Company
6:00pm: Live music at Birdsong Brewing: Sandy Herrault
6:30pm: Open Mic at Cultural Arts Center in Indian Trail
7:00pm: Charlotte Concert Band plays Stars Wars music and other movie music
7:00pm: Live music at The Wine Vault
7:30pm: Comedy Open-Mic at Smelly Cat Coffeehouse
8:00pm: Live music at EagleSpeak Coffee: Toni Naples Band
9:00pm: Live music at Common Market Commonwealth
10:00pm: Live music at Hattie’s Tap and Tavern: Arilyn Rose feat. Kevin


8:00am: Alpaca Celebration at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
1:00pm: Kids get into Mint Museum free. Adults are $6.
2:00pm: Brewery tour at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (also at 3pm, 4pm)
3:00pm: Brewery tour at NoDa Brewing Company
4:00pm: Concert at Temple Israel: Cantor & Friends–Great Love Songs, Mostly Jewish
6:00pm: Karaoke at Snug Harbor
8:00pm: Jazz Workshop with John Shaughnessy at Petra’s
Feb 092016
 February 9, 2016  Posted by  health and beauty No Responses »

Saturday, February 13th, 2016, kids age 3-12 can get free dental screening, and more, thanks to a partnership between Colgate-Palmolive and Family Dollar:

For the fourth straight year, Colgate-Palmolive and Family Dollar have partnered in honor of Black History Month to empower African-American families across the Charlotte area to honor their past with healthy, proud smiles.

On February 13, the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® mobile dental van will visit the following Charlotte, NC Family Dollar locations and offer complimentary dental screenings and any needed treatment referrals to children ages 3-12, wellness packs, as well as oral care tips for the entire family:

Family Dollar Locations
· 4005 Sunset Road (10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
· 2100 Beatties Ford Road (1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Feb 082016
 February 8, 2016  Posted by  Theater No Responses »

Pirates logos_Page_1
Charlotte’s highly acclaimed public arts magnet school, Northwest School of the Arts, presents the comic opera, The Pirates of Penzance, at Halton Theater of CPCC, 1206 Elizabeth Avenue, on Friday, March 11th, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, March 12th, at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $20 and can be purchased in advance now.

Northwest School of the Arts has been recognized internationally and is the only public arts magnet school serving Mecklenburg County students in grades 6 through 12. Students who study musical theatre, band, orchestra, technical theatre, costume design and more, all contribute to the school’s musicals.

If you haven’t seen one of NWSA’s musicals you owe it to yourself to go. You won’t believe that these are high school students. Read this review of their 2013 production of The Color Purple.

Charlotte’s highly acclaimed Northwest School of the Arts students embark upon their Winter/Fall Season this March with an uproarious production of that swashbuckling perennial favorite — THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE. In one of the most popular comic operas of all time, meet Frederic, an orphan lad who finds himself the victim of his nursemaid’s hearing impediment after she mistakenly apprentices him to a pirate instead of to a pilot. Under the terms of his apprenticeship, Frederic is bound to serve his pirate captain until his 21st birthday. Unfortunately for Frederic, he was born on February 29 in a Leap Year; and, thus, despite his moral scruples and attraction to the Major-General’s daughter Mabel, he feels himself bound as a “slave of duty” to remain a pirate until well into middle age!

Feb 082016
 February 8, 2016  Posted by  Food and Drink, holiday No Responses »

Guests who propose at Mimi’s on Valentine’s Day will receive a free slice of Birthday Crêpe Cake, more than 15 layers of French crêpes, vanilla cake and sweet cream, to share, and a split of Korbel® California Champagne, where legal, for the couple. Ring is required. If you don’t want to quite take that step, express your love on Mimi’s Facebook page leading up to the holiday and you’ll receive an offer for a free entrée with purchase of a second lunch or dinner entrée of equal value and two beverages. Guests will receive an invitation to sign up for Mimi’s e-club, then receive a buy-one-get-one free coupon upon sign-up. You’ll find Mimi’s at 10224 Perimeter Parkway.

Feb 082016
 February 8, 2016  Posted by  Cabarrus County, Kids 2 Responses »

Great Wolf Lodge discount
If you’d like to make your kids very, very happy, and also save some money, check out the Groupon for Great Wolf Lodge. Prices depend on check-in date and the kind of room you reserve but in most cases they’ll save you some bucks over the regular price (up to 50% off) and include passes to the 80,000 square foot indoor waterpark for the day you check in and the day you check out (and any days in between.) Check-in dates are through April, 2016.