Youth receives surprise scholarship

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Aug. 5 Frankie Israel came to work as usual, but the day was far from that as when he entered West Elm, located at 1100 Metropolitan Ave., #160, he was welcomed with a celebration and surprise announcement that he had received a Dream Big full tuition scholarship to the University of Phoenix.

Israel was one of 20 recipients nationwide who obtained one of the scholarships. The Dream Big program awards retail industry professionals who want to advance their retail careers through higher education. It is a collaborative effort between the National Retail Federation and the University of Phoenix School of Business. The collaborators’ mission is to highlight the diverse career paths that are available within the industry. More than 60 scholarships have been awarded to retail professionals over the past four years.

A former participant at the Time Out Youth Center, Israel was kicked out of his home in Stanley County by his homophobic mother and step-father when he was 19. He wound up in Charlotte at the center and was placed in the Home Host Program.

Through hard work he was able to get a job at West Elm, purchased a car and obtained independent living status. After more than two years, he was promoted to management.

Even though Israel has finished some college courses, he now will be able to secure a full college education without worry. Annual tuition costs net out at $12,000.

West Elm is a subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, Inc.


Church fights bias

CONCORD, N.C. — Trinity United Church of Christ, 38 Church St. N., has stepped into the arena of combatting bias and prejudice by welcoming its Racists Anonymous 12-Step group.

Held on Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, the group works to end racism in America. It is facilitated by Dr. Carol Stanley.

“It does cover all types of racism. It doesn’t address specific issues of the LGBT community, but certainly when sharing our LGBT people attending can share parallels. We … hope that by looking at ourselves and our internal racist qualities and working on them, we can change ourselves in order to change the world, one person at a time. It is based on the belief that God hasn’t finished with us and will support our growth in this area,” Stanley shared.


‘Cat’ play open

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Queen City Theatre Company has begun its run of “P.S. Your Cat Is Dead” which is being held at the Duke Energy Theatre, 345 N. College St., through Sept. 3.

This production is the regional premiere of the play by Pulitzer Prize winning author James Kirkwood. It tells the story of life in New York City’s West Village during New Year’s Eve where the protagonist has been robbed twice, is undergoing his girlfriend leaving him and has lost his job. To add insult to injury, he’s left to talk to a gay burglar whom he has tied up in the kitchen and who tried to seduce him. The pièce de résistance for the chap is that his cat is dead.

The comedy stars Joe Rux, Iesha Nyree, Berry Newkirk and Dan Grogan. It is directed by Glenn T. Griffin.

“P.S. Your Cat Is Dead” is part of the company’s 10th season. Queen City Theatre Company was founded by Griffin and Kristian Wedolowski and is a resident company at the Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square.

Show times are Aug. 26-27 and Sept. 2-3 at 8 p.m., Aug. 28, 7 p.m., and Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $23-$25 and are available online.

Other productions in the 10th season are “An Act of God” (Feb. 2-11, 2017), “The Pride” (April 27-May 6, 2017)  and “The Nance” (Aug. 3-12, 2017). Season sponsor passes for all four plays are $110 (opening night) and $135 (anytime) are available on a limited basis.


Musicians stand up against HB2

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Sept. 24, 12 p.m., North Carolina musicians will stand against HB2, as well as unite for Equality North Carolina at the Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St.

Organizers said, “We need you. To attend. To speak. To cheer. To protest. And to spread the word. The time is now, while this issue is front and center!”

Opening remarks will be followed by musical acts.

The proceeds from this event will go toward Equality North Carolina in its fight against the harmful and hateful law, organizers shared.

The event is presented by MaxxMusic. Artists who will perform will be announced shortly.

Tickets are $15/advance and $20/day of sale.


Local actor cast for ‘Fun Home’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The first national tour of “Fun Home” will kick off with its premiere at Knight Theatre at Levine Center for the Arts, 430 S. Tryon St., on June 27, 2017 and will continue through July 2.

The play will feature Charlotte’s Abby Corrigan as Medium Alison. Corrigan attended the Northwest School of the Arts and was named Best Actress at the 2014 High School Musical Theatre Awards at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Corrigan will be joined by Alessandra Baldacchino (Small Alison – veteran of “Fun Home” Broadway production), Karen Eilbacher (Joan), Robert Hager (Roy), Lennon Nate Hammond (John), Pierson Salavdor (Christian), Anthony Fortino, Amanda Naughton, Sofia Trimarchi and Michael Winther. Carly Gold will play Small Alison at selected performances.

“Fun Home” won five 2015 Tony Awards and was hailed as a huge success. It was the first show written exclusively by women to win theatre’s highest achievement. Its author, Allison Bechdel, was a previous qnotes cartoon contributor.

Tickets are now on sale beginning at $25 for those with a 2016-17 PNC Broadway Lights Series ticket and are available online.


Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes:

Share your news with us
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.