Monthly Archives: June 2007

See if Y’all Like this Shakespeare

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Let me recommend to you an event that runs through June 17th. It takes you outside in the evening, provides you and the kids with some culture. And it costs you nothing–except a well-deserved free will donation.

It’s Collaborative Arts’ production of “As You Like It”, the Shakespeare chesnut that is presented with an updated southern twang. 

The shows start just as the summer temperatures relent–7:30 PM. They are at the Green next to the Ratcliffe building, next to Wachovia. There is also a 3 PM show on June 17th.

Shameless disclosure:  WFAE is a media partner of the series, we had a station display tent on site last Saturday night, and the Collaborative people said nice things about us (which influences our mindset immensely). Find out all the show details here.

 What captured me is the “gentleness” of the event. The crowd was part Date Night, part families with toddlers. The kids were engrossed in the dialogue, even though it was written about 500 years ago.

In my not-so-humble opinion, this play–under the lights and under the stars–is an example of what we’re trying to do as we “build community” in Charlotte. I hope you and your loved ones give it a try in its remaining days. 

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Tracking Light Rail that Works

There’s a lot of debate over Charlotte’s  partly-completed light rail system. The politics are a matter for WFAE’s news department to cover, not this intrepid blogger.

 

But let me take a moment to recount a personal experience last week. I was whisked around a bustling mega-city  by  light rail—cleanly, quickly and very economically.

 

It was in Athens, Greece. I got there because my wife—the scholar in the family—was giving an academic paper on a new communications book she has co-written. I tagged along for a week of sight-seeing.

 

The Athens light rail system consists of four lines, plus an extra-charge spur that takes you directly to the airport.

 

A 24-hour pass costs 3 Euros. A week pass is 10 Euros. The stations and light rail cars were modern and spotless. Electronic signs at each station gave you expected departure times in minutes and seconds. Most daytime departures came within 5 minutes.

 

We were two couples traveling together and we never got lost all week. The signage—in Greek and western alphabets—allowed you to zip around town with reasonable clarity.

 

Meanwhile, at ground level, auto and truck traffic was snarled both day and night. Parking was either anarchic or non-existent. (Caveat: Athens is a city of 3.4 million metro population with 3.8 million in its region; Charlotte is closer to 700,000 in Mecklenburg county and 2.8 million in its region).

 

Turning back to Charlotte, I have heard planners say that our new light rail system won’t eliminate auto congestion. However, they say it will provide an alternative to those travelers who don’t want to fight the automotive battle.

 

After my quick visit to Athens, I think I finally understand what the rail planners are driving at (pun intended). 

 

Have you lived in a community with vibrant rail transit? Do you think it will be transformative for Charlotte, if we look at the long “haul”—say 10 to 20 years? I’d like to read your experiences.

  

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