The Secret Gardens tour in Fourth Ward in Charlotte, N.C. gives participants a look inside not normally available. Photo Credit: Austin Caine

Garden tour showcases ‘secret’ finds

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friends of Fourth Ward will host their Secret Gardens tour on May 20-21 from 12-4 p.m. each day.

A garden and lifestyle tour in the heart of Center City Charlotte showcases a mix of private gardens, courtyards, rooftop terraces and outdoor living spaces that are rarely, if ever, open to the public.

“Tour-goers will enjoy two days of discovering these hidden gems, while strolling the brick-paved sidewalks of this charming neighborhood in full bloom, and experiencing all that our vibrant Center City offers,” tour coordinator Beth Walker shared. “In addition to the featured gardens, the tour will highlight public art, historic homes and special points of interest along the tour route, effectively making all of Historic Fourth Ward — and the extraordinary quality of life it offers — part of the tour.”

The self-guided, walkable urban tour includes admission to a variety of private gardens. Additionally, docent-led tours of Fourth Ward Park and the historic Elmwood and Pinewood cemeteries will take place at 3 p.m. each day.

Heath Knott, who serves as the tour chair, and his partner Adam Schooler shared, “When moving to Charlotte 17 years ago, we were looking for a walkable neighborhood close into the city with mature landscapes to enjoy, and we found it and more in the Fourth Ward. We were also in search of a neighborhood where we would be welcomed as a gay couple, and we have been welcomed with open arms from day one. The Fourth Ward’s eclectic mix of housing, gardens, and people, is a true community that celebrates the diversity of Charlotte in every way.”

Several homes along the tour are owned by gay couples.

Additional tour attractions include: complimentary food and beverage tastings (while they last) in gardens and restaurants along the tour route, courtesy of Poplar Tapas, The Asbury, The Wooden Vine, Zia Pia, Doc Porter’s Distillery, Rock Bottom Brewery, Copper Barrel Distillery, Potts Chocolates; $1 oysters from Sea Level NC; and free B-Cycle and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Proceeds from Secret Gardens will benefit projects of the non-profit Friends of Fourth Ward.

Tickets are $20 and are good either day and are available online or at Alexander Michael’s Restaurant & Tavern, 401 W. 9th St., and Park Road Books, 4139 Park Rd. in the Park Road Shopping Center. During tour hours, ticket holders must redeem their tickets for tour guidebooks at the tour ticket booth at the corner of 9th & Poplar Sts. The ticket booth also will be the only location for same-day ticket purchases.


Scholarship app deadline approaches

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Time Out Youth Center has announced that its Tonda Taylor Scholarship application deadline has been set for May 19.

Two LGBTQ students will be granted $1,500 to be used toward their college education.

Center staff will select the students through an application process that includes essays, teacher or employer recommendations, personal interviews and financial aid information. Awards will be announced in June.

Applicants must be residents of Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, Lincoln and Gaston Counties in North Carolina and York County in South Carolina, as well as attend a college or university located in North or South Carolina.

Applications are available online.


Internship awaits UNCC staffer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Joshua Burford, assistant director for sexual and gender diversity at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has been selected for an internship at the Stonewall National LGBTQ Archives in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Set to start in mid-June, the one-week post will engage Burford in work on new pop-up queer history projects, which he hopes to bring back to Charlotte.

Burford said, “I am very excited to be able to work with them!” He has been working with the archives on another project this year and he reached out to them about the possibility of assisting them while gaining experience with the collections.

“‘Pop-up’ projects are ones that do not require a lot of prescribed space and can be put up to educate the community at any time or at multiple events,” Burford added.


Youth org hosts volunteer event

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Campus Pride will hold a volunteer night on May 17, 6-8 p.m., at its offices at 1433 Emerywood Dr., Suite F.

Participants will engage in general office work and plan upcoming events.

Also on May 17, a free Impact of Hate exclusive training opportunity will take place at the Campus Pride office from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Learn how to prevent bias incidents and hate crimes and how to build more inclusive, safer communities. Leading the training will be Campus Pride’s Executive Director Shane Windmeyer. He developed the Stop The Hate Train the Trainer in 2001 and has trained over 2500 individuals across the U.S.

Free pizza and soft drinks will be provided. Email with questions.

Additionally, the organization is seeking volunteers to staff a table at AIDS Walk Charlotte on May 6.

Email to sign up for either or both of the events.


Tribute band hits Queen City

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New York’s Amor Prohibido will perform on May 19, 11 p.m., at La Revolucion, 900 N. Carolina Music Factory Blvd., bringing their Selena’s Punk Tribute to southern music listeners. Doors open at 10 p.m.

Amor Prohibido (which means forbidden love) is a Selena Quintanilla Punk music cover band based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Also appearing on stage are co-host Charlotte Latin band CHÓCALA and Spray Paint by Efrain, along with DJ Shomi Noise. Calibre Rock, a Latin music promotional group lead by Francisco Ibarra, is the other co-host.

Davey Blackburn, a member of CHÓCALA said that this event was the first of its kind and was “very important to the music, cultural and LGBT community.”

The Village Voice reported that Selena was a counterculture icon and “beloved figure” in the LGBTQ community, “inspiring drag shows and tribute concerts across the country.” The Voice also added that “the band was largely formed around Riot Chica, a monthly party founded by [Shomara “Shomi Noise”] Terceros [the band’s lead singer] in the hopes of creating a safe space for queer voices and women of color in the punk scene. And while Terceros has long performed in New York City as a DJ and tastemaker — also hosting Telenovela, a dance party featuring Latin oldies from the Forties and Fifties — the response to Amor Prohibido in particular has so far been overwhelming.”

Tickers are $15 in advance and are available online at Seating is first-come, first-serve.


Film project kicks off

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Collaborative Films will kick off the 2017 Charlotte 48 Hour Film Project on May 23, 7 p.m., at Spirit Square’s Knight Gallery at 345 N. College St.

The project is an international filmmaking competition which offers 12 independent filmmakers the opportunity to screen their work at Festival de Cannes.

During the event, organizers will host the screening of the 2017 Cannes Collection, showcasing the top 12 films from around the world on the same night they screen at Festival de Cannes 2017. An expert panel will provide critiques of elements of each film, encouraging audience participation.

This Charlotte Creative Class initiative includes filmmakers, directors, writers, actors, musicians, creative directors, ad agencies, marketing executives, etc. Its purpose is to generate a creative economy through building relationships among filmmakers and marketing professionals and help keep Charlotte’s film production dollars in Charlotte, N.C. Over the last four years, Collaboration Films has created a mass of social capital for local film, organizers said. “Thousands of people have participated in efforts which have propelled several local filmmakers to the worldwide stage,” they added. They felt it was more important than ever “given the disparaging policy changes toward State Film Incentives and the National Arts Endowment.”

In kicking off the local “creative economy,” Collaboration Films has partnered with Uptown restaurants to create an experience for people who buy film production services as a part of their profession. “Dinner and the Movies” is a promotion targeting creative directors, marketing executives and other media buyers who are invited to dine in Uptown with their friends and co-workers followed by a short walk to the theater to meet local filmmakers and watch the collection of films from around the world which were chosen to screen at Cannes this year. An after party will follow the screenings.

In its fourth year, Collaboration Films has raised the bar in local film with thousands participating in an event which has attracted people from across the Carolinas and as far away as Wisconsin.

More information is available online.


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.