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Aug
08

Over 50 Concerts Remain For the Summer

IMG_2006It’s early August and Summer is winding down. You’d never know it by looking at the concert listing, though. As of this posting, there are still 54 remaining from a summer concert calendar that has included at least 163 relevant artists. It is, by far, the most active live entertainment summer in the city’s history.

    1. 8/7 – Frankie Valli (KB)
    2. 8/9 – Joe Walsh (RHA)
    3. 8/12 – Dixie Chicks (WCA)
    4. 8/12 – Nick Offerman w/ Megan Mullally (DPAC)
    5. 8/12 – Piebald (HRB)
    6. 8/13 – Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tesla (WCA)
    7. 8/13 – Kidz Bop Live (RHA)
    8. 8/13 – Lyle Lovett (DPAC)
    9. 8/13 – Iron and Wine (NCMA)
    10. 8/13 – Jim Gaffigan (WOA-gboro)
    11. 8/16 – Newsies opening night (DPAC)
    12. 8/17 – Needtobreathe, Mat Kearney (RHA)
    13. 8/19 – Brian Wilson (DPAC)
    14. 8/19 – Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, Maren Morris (WCA)
    15. 8/19 – Fifth Harmony (RHA)
    16. 8/19 – D.L. Hughley opens (GC)
    17. 8/20 – Jonathan Byrd (HRB)
    18. 8/20 – Gillian Welch (NCMA)
    19. 8/21 – O.A.R. (RHA)
    20. 8/23 – Butch Walker (LT)
    21. 8/24 – Glass Animals (RT)
    22. 8/24 – Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ (506)
    23. 8/25 – Rick Springfield, Night Ranger, The Romantics (RHA)
    24. 8/25 – Local H (CC)
    25. 8/27 – Goo Goo Dolls, Collective Soul, Tribe Society (RHA)
    26. 9/2, 9/3 – Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch (WCA)
    27. 9/1 – The Melvins (CC)
    28. 9/4 – Of Montreal (CC)
    29. 9/6 – Crystal Castles (CC)
    30. 9/8 – Wolf Parade, Wye Oak (CP)
    31. 9/9 – Beach House (RHA)
    32. 9/9 – Erykah Badu (RHA)
    33. 9/9 – Gary Clark, Jr. (RT)
    34. 9/9 – Weird Al Yankovic (DPAC)
    35. 9/10 – Darius Rucker, Dan + Shay, Michael Ray (WCA)
    36. 9/10 – Chatham County Line (KB)
    37. 9/11 – Bull Durham Blues Festival begins
    38. 9/13 – Kinky Boots begins (DPAC)
    39. 9/13 – Ben Folds (RMA)
    40. 9/13 – Titus Andronicus (PIN)
    41. 9/14 – Heart, Joan Jett, Cheap Trick (WCA)
    42. 9/14 – ZZ Top, Gov’t Mule KB
    43. 9/15 – The Lumineers, Borns, Rayland Baxter (KB)
    44. 9/16 – Damien Escobar (RHA)
    45. 9/17 – The Connells (RLT)
    46. 9/18 – Brad Paisley, Tyler Farr, Maddie & Tae (WCA)
    47. 9/20 – The Cult (RT)
    48. 9/20 – Sevendust (LT)
    49. 9/21 – Amos Lee (DPAC)
    50. 9/23 – Grace Potter (LT)
    51. 9/23 – Hannibal Buress (RMA)
    52. 9/23 – Squirrel Nut Zippers (CTD)
    53. 9/25 – Il Divo (DPAC)
    54. 9/26 – The Sword (LT)
    55. 9/28 – Violent Femmes (NCMA)
    56. 9/30 – IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass
    57. 9/30 – Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett & A Thousand Horses (WCA)

    Venue Key:

    506 – Local 506 (Chapel Hill)
    CC – Cat’s Cradle (Carrboro)
    CD-gboro – Cone Denim Entertainment Center (Greensboro, NC)
    CFS – Carter-Finley Stadium
    CP – City Plaza (Fayetteville, St)
    CTD – Carolina Theater (Durham)
    DPAC – Durham Performing Arts Center (Durham)
    GC – Goodnights Comedy Club
    GC-gboro – Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)
    HRB – Haw River Ballroom (Haw River, NC)
    KB – Koka Booth Amphitheater (Cary)
    LT – Lincoln Theatre
    MMH – Motorco Music Hall (Durham)
    NCMA – NC Museum of Art)
    NH – North Hills East Amphitheater
    PIN – Pinhook (Durham)
    PNC – PNC Arena
    RHA – Red Hat Amphitheater
    RLT – Raleigh Little Theatre
    RMA – Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
    RPG – RallyPoint Sports Grill (Cary)
    RT – Ritz Theater
    WCA – Walnut Creek Amphitheater
    WOA-gboro – White Oak Amphitheater (Greensboro, NC)

Aug
05

Where to Watch the Olympics on TV

olympics_logoToday marks the beginning of the 2016 Summer Olympic games. Of course many events will be available streaming from the internet, however if you want to watch the Olympics on TV, here is a guide for Raleigh viewers with TWC Channels in Red, UVerse Channels in Blue, DirecTV in Purple

  • NBC – Swimming, Volleyball, Gymnastics 3, 1005, 5
  • Bravo – Tennis72, 167, 1181, 237
  • USA Network – Fencing, Equestrian, Field Hockey25, 101, 1124, 240
  • NBC Universo – Soccer, Basketball, Beach Volleyball898, 3009, 410
  • MSNBC – Volleyball, Basketball, Archery45, 203, 1215, 356
  • CNBC – Rugby, Wrestling, Field Hockey37, 205, 1216, 355
  • NBC Sports Network – Soccer, Basketball, Judo314, 1640, 220
  • Golf Channel – Soccer, Basketball, Judo51, 405, 1641, 218
  • Telemundo – Soccer, Basketball, Swimming803, 3007, 406
  • Olympic Soccer – Soccer426, 1638, 205-1
  • Olympic Basketball – Basketball425, 1639, 205-2

UVerse customers can create an Olympics-only channel guide by hitting the “Menu” button on the remote control, then navigating to Options tab | Channel Options | Edit/Add Favorite Channels | “Add a new Favorites List…”. Type in a blue numbers from above and hit OK to add it to the list. Once you are done, you can rename the favorites list by hitting the “Enter” button (next to “0”).

Once the channels are set up, Hit the “A” button from Live TV or from the Guide to show your setup of Olympic channels.

Thanks for the DirecTV info, @DougInNC!

Jun
07

Hurricanes Tracking To Another City?

caniacsOutside of the Stanley Cup Finals, the big topic in the world of Hockey in the last 24 hours is the future of the Carolina Hurricanes. Recent reports show some very strange business activity with owner Peter Karmanos coinciding with the league’s potential expansion to Las Vegas and Quebec City, Canada.

What we know is that the Carolina Hurricanes are a troubled franchise. The Canes are only worth $225 million, third-lowest in the NHL and less than half of the league-average $505 million. Forbes reports that the team is losing $12 million per year. We also know that Karmanos has been trying to find a buyer for the team for a few years. He would take $400 million for the team, and feels the team is worth $420 million.

We also know that Karmanos fired one of his three sons, Jason, from his job as Assistant General Manager just before the 2013-2014 season. “This is a family matter”, was the company line. At the end of that season General Manager Jim Rutherford was fired, and headed to take the same job with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Soon after he hired Jason Karmanos as Pittsburgh’s V.P. of Hockey Operations. The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently one game away from winning the 2016 Stanley Cup.

The team has missed the playoffs for seven straight seasons. As a result, average attendance this season was a league-worst 12,203; the worst by over 1,000 per game. I conveyed my concern for the talent level on this team on Twitter during the season, but was assured by die-hards that a great foundation is in place. The Hurricanes have 4 draft picks in the first two rounds of the June 24 draft. While the team may get some great seed talent, it is still likely a few seasons away from being a solid playoff team that can rebuild attendance.

It was certainly concerning, with the franchise in poor health, to see last week that Karmanos is being sued by his three sons for failing to meet repayment terms on a loan from their trust accounts. Apparently the elder Karmanos created the fund in 1996 and borrowed $353 million “to support the Hurricanes”. He now owes the sons’ trust accounts $105.7 million.

To further complicate matters, The Sporting News’ Gary Lawless claimed yesterday that Karmanos borrowed $300 million from the NHL’s emergency fund, and it will result in the sale of the team and relocation because “the NHL wants its money back”.

What we also know is that the team is in an extremely tight long term agreement with the Centennial Authority. According to one of the guests on the Hockeybuzz podcast today, the purchase of the Carolina Hurricanes would have to come at a price of about twice its market value to release the team from the building contract. So, the local powers-that-be did their homework when they committed to building the PNC Arena in the 1990s.

Finally, the big matter at the NHL’s table is league expansion. Currently there are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 teams in the Western Conference. Prevailing thought is that the league will expand by 2 for balance. The top two markets with financing and ownership organizations in place are Las Vegas and Quebec City.

Following the report of the $300 million emergency loan rumors swirled that the Canes would move to Las Vegas and end expansion talks. However late last night one reporter posted on Twitter that his source said this may not happen; it may be more appropriate to move the Hurricanes to Quebec City and offer Las Vegas, the stronger financial package and owner, the expansion team.

Update 6/7: Hockeybuzz’s Ecklund reports that sources say the team will not move for now. Says “a very solid local person who owns a prominent local business who would buy the team and keep them in Raleigh.”

* * *

What’s going on here? Where there is smoke, there is fire…and there is a lot of smoke. I don’t trust what anyone close to the organization is saying on this matter because they don’t want to lose fans should the deal fall through, and/or they simply have no idea what Peter Karmanos’ actual plans are. The best way to destroy the sale price of a business is have employees jumping ship.

(note: unlike Star Jones, I am not a lawyer). While the law suit by the Karmanos brothers could be based on family-centered acrimony, there is too much going on here to believe it is just a simple squabble. Assuming everything I posted in the first section is, indeed, true, I can imagine a couple of scenarios:

  • The Karmanos lawsuit was created to entangle the NHL’s proceedings in forcing an ownership change. The NHL will meet in 3 weeks to decide about expansion, and such complications might destroy the NHL’s timing and the red tape could push the league to find a new plan for including the two previously mentioned cities, or
  • The Karmanos lawsuit was created to place a lien on the the team sale so that distribution of the proceeds would repay the Karmanos trust funds before satisfying the terms of the Centennial Authority’s lease or paying any debt to the NHL’s fund.

One twist that the Hurricanes’ building lease introduces is the enormously high cost to buy the team and move it. I don’t know the details of the contracts involved, but one scenario being pushed around is for the NHL to buy the team and dissolve it or for the team to declare bankruptcy in order to get out of the Centennial Authority’s lease. To break the lease it appears the team would have to be totally dissolved, and this could end up being cheaper than paying 2X for the team. It also may be the more attractive route for buyers because a team contrived through lottery is likely to not be worse than what the Canes have put on the ice the last 5 years. The role of the Karmanos lawsuit in this scenario isn’t so clear, unless it would put the trust accounts ahead of the NHL in a liquidation setting.

* * *

If any of these scenarios that remove the team from Raleigh occur, the important thing to understand is that it is just business and doesn’t reflect on the quality of life for families and normal businesses in Raleigh and North Carolina. We were warned in the ‘90s that Felix Sabates and Peter Karmanos were fairly ruthless businessmen. We went with Karmanos and while I’m sure he would like to be regarded highly in this market, he is likely not emotionally connected.

The move of the team to the Triangle has absolutely been a fun addition to the area, and I hope to see them stay. However it is important to remember that the success of major sports franchises has much more to do with the expense accounts of corporations than it has to do with the regular community. Raleigh residents be fine in the long run either way.

Apr
22

Take an Amtrak Getaway to…Durham

20150925-448Looking for an adventurous weekend getaway? One option many haven’t considered is right under our noses: taking Amtrak to Durham. My wife and I did this urban excursion back in the Fall and had a fantastic experience. Not only were we able to take an unfamiliar mode of transportation and avoid heavy traffic, but we were able to explore a culinary playground for what felt like the first time. Our one-night excursion included a night at the incredible 21c Hotel, drinks in the 21c’s bar, dinner at Mateo, and late-night drinks on the roof of The Durham Hotel.

So packing your rolling suitcase! Here’s how to do make it fun and easy:

Amtrak

Taking the train to Durham made the trip really feel like we were getting away from it all. Had we driven, it would have felt like just another trip to Durham. Amtrak is scheduled to leave Raleigh each day at 4:50pm and the fare is $9 per person.

Parking is less than ideal at the Raleigh train depot. Though it is free, the lot is very small, and overflow means parking on the street. The alternative is departing from Cary where the terminal is spotless, parking is outstanding. The train leaves at 5:03pm each day from Cary, and fare is $6.50 per person.

The problem with departing from Cary, though, is that you skip the great experience of leaving from downtown Raleigh. You definitely want to sit on the right side of the train, because the views as you depart downtown Raleigh, passing by the new train depot construction site, through NCSU, by the backs of Hillsborough street businesses, and by the NC State Fairgrounds, is superior to that on the left side of the train.

It should be noted that Amtrak runs late the majority of the time. Thankfully they have an outstanding phone app which accurately reports the train’s status. It is a must when traveling on Amtrak.

Usually this train doesn’t sell out, so you can buy a ticket at the depot upon arriving. Seating on the train is general admission, though, so it does help to be first in line at the designated steps when the train is loading. All seat rows have a standard pair of electrical outlets under the window, and the seating dimensions are similar to those in First Class on a large airplane. Baggage is loosely stored overhead, not checked.

if the train is running late, you can walk across the tracks to visit Videri Chocolate Factory or Boxcar Bar + Arcade. CAM is also an option on some days, as they are open until 6:30pm on Wed-Fri. If you are in Cary and the train is late, consider visiting the shops in the Ashworth Drugs block.

Hotels

20150925-464Durham has three outstanding hotels: The Aloft, The Durham, and the incredible 21c Hotel. The latter two hotels are just two blocks from the Amtrak station, while the aloft is adjacent to the DPAC, essentially 4 blocks away. The scheduled arrival is 5:24pm, so you should have plenty of time to check in and prepare for dinner.

The Aloft– As with most Aloft hotels, the rooms are modern, certainly adequate, but not high end. This location just opened 6 months ago, and I’ve heard a good first hand report about the couple’s stay. Rooms are usually $160 per night.

The Durham Hotel – Set in an old office building that looks like it came out of 1960s Miami, The Durham delivers a high end experience in incredibly minimalist rooms. Nightly rates begin at $290.

20150925-454The 21C Museum Hotel – Named as one of the best new hotels in the nation in 2015, the 21c is set in the 1930s era Hill Building, Durham’s tallest. The public areas of the building have been converted to a restaurant, a bar, and several rooms of museum space. The front desk area is tucked away on the second floor, but that only ads to the intrigue of the place. The rooms are large, and terrazzo floors and rugs, modern furniture, and neat lighting. The bathrooms look like something from a Stanley Kubrick movie, glowing fuchsia backlighting around the edges of the mirror. Very sexy. Rooms at the 21C begin at $240. Note: the hotel has a construction site across the street, so request a room on the west side of the building if you can.

Make no mistake, these are three high fashion hotels. The 21C has a spa and workout room. The Aloft is the only one with a pool, but it is very small. The Durham has no similar amenities. This is the area where these three hotels are sorely lacking, honestly.

Dining

20150925-470There are some outstanding dining options within a four block walk of these hotels. We walked 2 blocks to Mateo, the creation of James Beard award-nominated chef Matt Kelly. The dinner was impressive, which comes as no surprise given the reputation of the restaurant. Last week Alton Brown gave high praise on Facebook, calling Mateo America’s best tapas restaurant. As of now, you can still have a decent choice of times on Open Table one week in advance.

20150925-467Over at The Durham, James Beard award-winning chef Andrea Reusing’s new lobby-filling The Restaurant has received high praise from the highest of area food snobs.

The 21c’s Counting House restaurant, Pizzeria Toro, Rue Cler, Piedmont, Dashi, Bull City Burger and Brewery, and Dos Perros are all excellent dining choices as well.

Bars

Our “pregame” events included cocktails at the excellent bar in the 21c. We were able to peruse the art gallery; a wonderful experience. After the meal at Mateo we made our way two blocks to The Durham’s rooftop bar. Views here are very good, and it gave us a chance to experience the neat, quirky aspects of this hotel project. The atmosphere at the top was certainly the most Glenwood South-like experience of the evening, however.

20150925-478Some other good bar options inside the Durham Loop are Alley Twenty Six, Bar Virgile, and Arcana Bar and Lounge.

Entertainment

Admittedly, our trip was a food-based one, however there are some great entertainment options in downtown Durham including a DPAC or Carolina Theater event, a Durham Bulls game, or even a public event at the American Tobacco complex. While these are great options, the Amtrak factor must not be forgotten. Many of these events begin before 8pm and given Amtrak’s history, it could put a squeeze on dinner plans or even jeopardize seeing a ticketed event. If you anticipate dinner and one of these events, prepare to compromise by abandoning the Amtrak option in the afternoon and just drive it.

Safety

One of the reasons this getaway is an adventure is that Durham is not the safest place on the planet. In fact Durham County is one of North Carolina’s three counties with a higher violent crime rate than any county in New Jersey. Its rate is 2.5X higher than Wake County’s.

I have had no problems, however my sister and her date did have a scary incident. On a warm night this winter, between the 21c and Mateo, they approached an oncoming group of about 20 young black males who, from across the street, yelled at them, mocking them as racists and making lewd suggestions. There were no other people around to help had the group decided to cross the street and be violent.

The streets are dark in downtown Durham, and sometimes are quiet. In 4 nights of going out inside the Durham Loop, I have never seen a police officer. While the crime rate inside the Loop is probably not nearly as high as the county’s rate, the people creating that rate are not far away. This needs to change, now. Downtown Durham is poised to be the next Big Thing in the nation, as long as people feel safe. The population on the street is changing this spring, however, as the general population walking around patronizing businesses on a given weekend night is steadily increasing during warm weather nights.

Return Trip

There are two options for your return trip on Amtrak; 9:42am and 2:42pm. The early train is good for those who need to get on back to Raleigh, but the afternoon train is the way to go. Regardless, check the Amtrak app upon waking and see how the trains are running. (we made the mistake of hurrying to the station only to learn that the early train was delayed 2 hours).

Lunch

There are some great lunch spots in downtown Durham. The most popular is Dame’s Chicken & Waffles, reported to be “the real deal”. Another great option, however, is Parker & Otis, which is 2 blocks west of the Amtrak station. P&O is a great café and gift shop like none in Raleigh.

Some other excellent lunch options include Toast, Old Havana Sandwich Shop, Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas, Pizzeria Toro, Dashi, Bull City Burger and Brewery, and Dos Perros .

* * *

Sometimes we all need a getaway. Unfortunately we find ourselves turning to the same old options, many of which involve multiple-night stays and a considerable amount of difficult driving. However random adventures can be just as exhilarating. Consider a great option that is right in our backyard; the Amtrak Getaway to Durham.

20150925-481

Apr
19

Summer ‘16 Promises Huge Concert Season

Despite what some might portray, this summer’s concert calendar for the Raleigh area is jam packed with a plethora of incredible concerts, comedy shows, and stage productions. Over 120 concerts by original artists await, with more announcements to come!

  1. 4/19 – Puscifer (RMA)
  2. 4/20 – Caberet begins (DPAC)
  3. 4/21 – Jimmy Buffett, Huey Lewis and The News (WCA)
  4. 4/21 – Ciara (RT)
  5. 4/21 – Robyn Hitchcock (CC)
  6. 4/21 – Jim Breuer opening night (GC)
  7. 4/22 – Martin Lawrence (PNC)
  8. 4/25 – Joy Formidable, Helio Sequence (CC)
  9. 4/26 – Lauryn Hill, Gary Clark Jr. (WOA-gboro)
  10. 4/27 – Dave Ramsey (DPAC)
  11. 4/28 – Polica (CC)
  12. 4/29 – M. Ward (HRB)
  13. 4/30 – Cravin’ Melon, Jack the Radio, Noah Guthrie, Katelyn Read (NH)
  14. 4/30 – Widespread Panic (WCA)
  15. 5/2 – Citizen Cope (CC)
  16. 5/3 – Beyonce, DJ Khaled (CFS)
  17. 5/3 – Chris Isaak (CTD)
  18. 5/3 – Wild Belle (MMH)
  19. 5/3 – 42nd Street opening night (DPAC)
  20. 5/5 – Parachute (CC)
  21. 5/5 – Jamie Kennedy (GC)
  22. 5/6 – Kiefer Sutherland (LT)
  23. 5/6 – Frankie Beverly, Charlie Wilson, Lalah Hathaway (PNC)
  24. 5/7 – Old Crow Medicine Show, Brandi Carlile (WOA-gboro)
  25. 5/8 – Cowboy Mouth (MMH)
  26. 5/8 – Old 97’s, Heartless Bastards, J Barham (of American Aquarium) (CC)
  27. 5/11 – Martin Short (CTD)
  28. 5/11 – Pentatonix, Us The Duo (RHA)
  29. 5/12 – Craig Robinson (GC)
  30. 5/13 – Parquet Courts (CC)
  31. 5/14 – The Front Bottoms (CC)
  32. 5/14 – Trampled By Turtles, The Devil Makes Three (RHA)
  33. 5/14 – WWE Live (PNC)
  34. 5/15 – Bloc Party, The Vaccines (CC)
  35. 5/17 – Silversun Pickups, Foals, Joywave (CD-gboro)
  36. 5/18 – Styx, Kansas, Don Felder (KB)
  37. 5/18 – Rogue Wave, Hey Marseilles (CC)
  38. 5/19 – Aretha Franklin (DPAC)
  39. 5/19 – Moogfest (Durham) – Miike Snow, Blood Orange, Gary Numan, et al
  40. 5/20 – Chris Stapleton, Sam Lewis (KB)
  41. 5/21 – Kenny Chesney, Old Dominion (WCA)
  42. 5/21 – Tab Benoit (LT)
  43. 5/21 – Nantucket, Band of Brothers, Kyle Scobie and Kaylin Roberson (RPG)
  44. 5/22 – Willie Nelson (KB)
  45. 5/22 – RuPaul’s Drag Race (DPAC)
  46. 5/26 – Bill Bellamy (GC)
  47. 5/27 – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (NCMA)
  48. 5/29 – Minus The Bear, Restorations (CD-gboro)
  49. 6/3 – Dave Coulier (GC)
  50. 6/3 – Dolly Parton (GC-gboro)
  51. 6/4 – Cyndi Lauper (DPAC)
  52. 6/4 – Scotty McCreery (TFS)
  53. 6/5 – Journey, Doobie Bros, Dave Mason (WCA)
  54. 6/7 – Riverdance (DPAC)
  55. 6/8 – Dirty Dozen Brass Band (MMH)
  56. 6/9 – Chris Botti (CTD)
  57. 6/9 – Lord Huron, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (RHA)
  58. 6/9 – Two Door Cinema Club (CC)
  59. 6/10 – Ellie Goulding, Matt and Kim (RHA)
  60. 6/10 – Kris Allen (CC)
  61. 6/10 – Lake Street Dive (NCMA)
  62. 6/10 – Miranda Lambert, Kip Moore, Brothers Osborne (WCA)
  63. 6/11 – M83 (RHA)
  64. 6/14 – Pete Davidson (GC)
  65. 6/15 – Of Monsters and Men (RHA)
  66. 6/15 – Fitz & The Tantrums (CD-Gboro)
  67. 6/16 – Rebelution (The Green, J Boog, Stick Figure, Through the Roots, DJ Mackle – RHA)
  68. 6/16 – Bobby Lee opens (GC)
  69. 6/17 – The 1975 (RHA)
  70. 6/18 – Greg Humphreys (PH)
  71. 6/18 – Rascal Flatts, Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Lane (WCA)
  72. 6/19 – Josh Groban (WOA-gboro)
  73. 6/21 – Weezer, Panic! At The Disco, Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness (WCA)
  74. 6/21 – The Jayhawks (CC)
  75. 6/23 – Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore, Colt Ford (WCA)
  76. 6/23 – Pere Ubu (CC)
  77. 6/23 – Rich Vos (GC)
  78. 6/24 – Silversun Pickups (RT)
  79. 6/24 – Jay Farrar (HRB)
  80. 6/24 – Rob Schneider opens (GC)
  81. 6/29 – Twenty One Pilots (RHA)
  82. 7/3 – Barenaked Ladies, OMD, Howard Jones – (RHA)
  83. 7/4 – Yarn (RHA)
  84. 7/6 – Modest Mouse, Brand New (KB)
  85. 7/10 – Toby Keith, Eric Paslay (WCA)
  86. 7/14 – Florida Georgia Line, Cole Swindell, Cadillac Three, Kane Brown (WCA)
  87. 7/15 – Ray LaMontagne (RHA)
  88. 7/16 – Steve Miller Band (RHA)
  89. 7/17 – Maks & Val (DPAC)
  90. 7/18 – Flight of the Conchords (KB)
  91. 7/18 – Lindsey Stirling (DPAC)
  92. 7/20 – Pat Benatar, Melissa Etheridge (RHA)
  93. 7/22 – Dierks Bentley (WCA)
  94. 7/22 – Peter Frampton, Gregg Allman (RHA)
  95. 7/22 – Tedeschi Trucks Band, Los Lobos, North Mississippi Allstars (KB)
  96. 7/24 – Digable Planets (CC)
  97. 7/23 – Kool & The Gang (WCA)
  98. 7/24 – Gwen Stefani, Eve (WCA)
  99. 7/24 – 311 w/ Matisyahu (RHA)
  100. 7/24 – Digable Planets (CC)
  101. 7/26 – Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa (WCA)
  102. 7/26 – Swans (CC)
  103. 7/28 – Counting Crows, Rob Thomas (RHA)
  104. 7/29 – Maxwell (RHA)
  105. 7/30 – Slightly Stoopid (RHA)
  106. 7/30 – K. Michelle (RT)
  107. 7/31 – Phillip Phillips, Matt Nathanson, A Great Big World (RHA)
  108. 8/5 – The Smithereens (KB)
  109. 8/7 – Frankie Valli (KB)
  110. 8/9 – Joe Walsh (RHA)
  111. 8/12 – Dixie Chicks (WCA)
  112. 8/12 – Nick Offerman w/ Megan Mullally (DPAC)
  113. 8/12 – Piebald (HRB)
  114. 8/13 – Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tesla (WCA)
  115. 8/13 – Kidz Bop Live (RHA)
  116. 8/13 – Lyle Lovett (DPAC)
  117. 8/13 – Iron and Wine (NCMA)
  118. 8/13 – Jim Gaffigan (WOA-gboro)
  119. 8/16 – Newsies opening night (DPAC)
  120. 8/17 – Needtobreathe, Mat Kearney (RHA)
  121. 8/19 – Brian Wilson (DPAC)
  122. 8/19 – Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, Maren Morris (WCA)
  123. 8/19 – Fifth Harmony (RHA)
  124. 8/19 – D.L. Hughley opens (GC)
  125. 8/20 – Jonathan Byrd (HRB)
  126. 8/20 – Gillian Welch (NCMA)
  127. 8/21 – O.A.R. (RHA)
  128. 8/23 – Butch Walker (LT)
  129. 8/24 – Glass Animals (RT)
  130. 8/24 – Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ (506)
  131. 8/25 – Rick Springfield, Night Ranger, The Romantics (RHA)
  132. 8/25 – Local H (CC)
  133. 8/27 – Goo Goo Dolls, Collective Soul, Tribe Society (RHA)
  134. 9/2, 9/3 – Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch (WCA)
  135. 9/1 – The Melvins (CC)
  136. 9/4 – Of Montreal (CC)
  137. 9/6 – Crystal Castles (CC)
  138. 9/8 – Wolf Parade, Wye Oak (CP)
  139. 9/9 – Beach House (RHA)
  140. 9/9 – Erykah Badu (RHA)
  141. 9/9 – Gary Clark, Jr. (RT)
  142. 9/9 – Weird Al Yankovic (DPAC)
  143. 9/10 – Darius Rucker, Dan + Shay, Michael Ray (WCA)
  144. 9/10 – Chatham County Line (KB)
  145. 9/11 – Bull Durham Blues Festival begins
  146. 9/13 – Kinky Boots begins (DPAC)
  147. 9/13 – Ben Folds (RMA)
  148. 9/13 – Titus Andronicus (PIN)
  149. 9/14 – Heart, Joan Jett, Cheap Trick (WCA)
  150. 9/14 – ZZ Top, Gov’t Mule KB
  151. 9/15 – The Lumineers, Borns, Rayland Baxter (KB)
  152. 9/16 – Damien Escobar (RHA)
  153. 9/17 – The Connells (RLT)
  154. 9/18 – Brad Paisley, Tyler Farr, Maddie & Tae (WCA)
  155. 9/20 – The Cult (RT)
  156. 9/20 – Sevendust (LT)
  157. 9/21 – Amos Lee (DPAC)
  158. 9/23 – Grace Potter (LT)
  159. 9/23 – Hannibal Buress (RMA)
  160. 9/23 – Squirrel Nut Zippers (CTD)
  161. 9/25 – Il Divo (DPAC)
  162. 9/26 – The Sword (LT)
  163. 9/28 – Violent Femmes (NCMA)
  164. 9/30 – IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass
  165. 9/30 – Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett & A Thousand Horses (WCA)

Venue Key:

506 – Local 506 (Chapel Hill)
CC – Cat’s Cradle (Carrboro)
CD-gboro – Cone Denim Entertainment Center (Greensboro, NC)
CFS – Carter-Finley Stadium
CP – City Plaza (Fayetteville, St)
CTD – Carolina Theater (Durham)
DPAC – Durham Performing Arts Center (Durham)
GC – Goodnights Comedy Club
GC-gboro – Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)
HRB – Haw River Ballroom (Haw River, NC)
KB – Koka Booth Amphitheater (Cary)
LT – Lincoln Theatre
MMH – Motorco Music Hall (Durham)
NCMA – NC Museum of Art)
NH – North Hills East Amphitheater
PIN – Pinhook (Durham)
PNC – PNC Arena
RHA – Red Hat Amphitheater
RLT – Raleigh Little Theatre
RMA – Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
RPG – RallyPoint Sports Grill (Cary)
RT – Ritz Theater
WCA – Walnut Creek Amphitheater
WOA-gboro – White Oak Amphitheater (Greensboro, NC)

Oct
23

16 Podcasts To Save You from Sports Radio

If you’ve turned on the radio to listen to local sports talk, you know how frustrating it can be to hear hosts’ inability to stay focused, rude behavior toward callers, poor working knowledge of basic grammar, and scant analysis of the actual play on the field or court. At times it is as if they care more about the feelings of the players and the clothes their coaches wear than what transpires in the game.

Suffer no more! With the growing popularity of podcasts, a few minutes of setup can free you from the shackles of local sports talk. iPhone users can use the great Overcast app (with its sound leveling and gap removing features) or just stick with the stock Apple Podcast app. Android users should download the BeyondPod app; all free of charge.

Simply add the feeds for the below podcasts and you are finally off to an informative, entertaining, and efficient sports talk experience!

UNC

N.C. State

Duke

ACC

National

Carolina Hurricanes

Oct
01

Oktoberfest Coming to Booth Amphitheatre This Weekend

oktoberfestOne of Cameron Village and North Hills’ great traditions from yesterday was Oktoberfest. Hark! the event lives on now at Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre. The event begins Saturday and will feature entertainment, a variety of German foods, biergarten, football-viewing tent with TVs, sanctioned beer-judging competition and more. The schedule for the two-day event is as follows:

Saturday, October 4

  • Noon – Gates open with Chuck Piercy as emcee; Kinder Platz Kid Zone open
  • 1 p.m. – Opening Ceremony, including keg tapping with Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and other dignitaries
  • Live Music and dancing from the Little German Band throughout the day
  • 1:30 p.m. – Stein Hoist I Contest
  • 2 p.m. – Ladies’ Hammerschlagen (nail-driving competition) I Contest, followed by Men’s Hammerschlagen I Contest
  • 3 p.m. – Stein Hoist II Contest
  • 4 p.m. – Wiener Dog Races, Best Dressed Dog Contest
  • 5 p.m. – Best Dressed of the Day Contest (Ladies, Men and Children); Egg Race; Fräulein Beer Challenge Contest
  • 6 p.m. – Stein Hoist III Contest
  • 7 p.m. – Kinder Platz Kid Zone closes; Alpine Horn, Tuba Challenge or Yodeling Contest
  • 8 p.m. – Stein Hoist IV Contest
  • 9 p.m. – Fräulein Beer Challenge; Beer Obstacle Course
  • 10 p.m. – Festivities end for the day

Sunday, October 5

  • Noon – Gates Open with Chuck Piercy and Ernie McAllister as emcees; Kinder Platz Kid Zone Open; Egg Race and Chicken Dance Contests; Fräulein Beer Challenge
  • 1 p.m. – Live music and dancing throughout the day; Beer Obstacle Course; Ladies’ Hammerschlagen II Contest; Men’s Hammerschlagen II Contest
  • 2 p.m. – Stein Hoist V Contest
  • 3 p.m. – Beer Awards Announced; Best Dressed of the Day (Ladies, Men and Children)
  • 4 p.m. – Wiener Dog Races; Best Dressed Dog Contest
  • 5 p.m. – Stein Hoist VI Contest
  • 6 p.m. – Closing Remarks; Oktoberfest ends

Tickets for Saturday are $20 for 16 and up, $5 for ages 6 to 15, free for 5 and under.Sunday tickets are $15 for 16 and up, $5 for ages 6 to 15, free for 5 and under. Two-day tickets for 16 and up are also available for $30.  Beer Judge Tickets (including commemorative glass and unlimited beer sampling for the day) available for $45. Discounts available for seniors, as well as active and retired military. To purchase tickets, visit the Booth Amphitheatre Box Office, call 1-800-514-3849 or visit http://triangleoktoberfest.org/buy-tickets/

Apr
03

125 Concerts to Rock Your Summer

2014-08-22 21.06.44Summer always brings great concerts to the Triangle, and 2015 may be the best yet. From April to September there are 125 big acts coming to the area’s venues, with more announcements coming! From 1st-tier comedians to one of only 15 North American dates for the Rolling Stones, there is always something to do here this summer. See venue key at the bottom for info links.

Click the “Summer ‘15” tab (at the top) for the updated list.

Mar
17

Let The Madness Begin!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; tourney time. Time to fill out those brackets, because after all, this is one of the necessary forms for living in Raleigh. The best brackets are CBS’, because they show the times of the games. (pdf).

Another format for the games is chronological. While it is too early to post relevant lines, it is time to post the times and networks of the games. The region is denoted with the letter “E”, “W”, etc.

Thursday
12:15 – Notre Dame(3) / Northeastern(14) (Pittsburgh, M, CBS)
12:40 – Iowa St.(3) / UAB(14) (Louisville, S, TruTV)
1:40 – Baylor(3) / Georgia St.(14) (Jacksonville, W, TBS)
2:10 – Arizona(2) / Texas Southern(15) (Portland, W, TNT)
2:45 – Butler(6) / Texas(11) (Pittsburgh, M, CBS)
3:10 – SMU(6) / UCLA(11) (Louisville, S, TruTV)
4:10 – Xavier(6) / BYU/Ole Miss(11) (Jacksonville, W, TBS)
4:40 – VCU(7) / Ohio St. (10) (Portland, W, TNT)
6:50 – Villanova(1) / Lafayette(16) (Pittsburgh,E, TBS)
7:10 – Cincinnati() / Purdue() (Louisville, M, CBS)
7:20 – UNC(4) / Harvard(13) (Jacksonville, W, TNT)
7:27 – Utah(5) / Stephen F. Austin(12) (Portland, S, TruTV)
9:20 – NCSU(8) / LSU(9) (Pittsburgh, E, TBS)
9:40 – Kentucky(1) / Hampton/Manhattan(16) (Louisville, M, CBS)
9:50 – Arkansas(5) / Wofford(12) (Jacksonville, W, TNT)
9:57 – Georgetown(4) / Eastern Washington(13) (Portland, S, TruTV)

Friday
12:15 – Kansas(2) / New Mexico St.(15) (Omaha, M, CBS)
12:40 – Michigan St.(7) / Georgia(10) (Charlotte, E, TruTV)
1:40 – Northern Iowa(5) / Wyoming(12) (Seattle, E, TBS)
2:10 – West Virginia(5) / Buffalo(12) (Columbus, M, TNT)
2:45 – Wichita St.(7) / Indiana(10) (Omaha, M, CBS)
3:10 – Virginia(2) / Belmont(15) (Charlotte, E, TruTV)
4:10 – Louisville(4) / UC Irvine(13) (Seattle, E, TBS)
4:40 – Maryland(4) / Valparaiso(13) (Columbus, M, TNT)
6:50 – Oregon(8) / Oklahoma St.(9) (Omaha, W, TBS)
7:10 – Duke(1) / N. Florida/Robert Morris(16) (Charlotte, S, CBS)
7:20 – Iowa(7) / Davidson(10) (Seattle, S, TNT)

7:27 – Oklahoma(3) / Albany(14) (Columbus, E, TruTV)
9:20 – Wisconsin(1) / Coastal Carolina(16) (Omaha, W, TBS)
9:40 – San Diego St.(8) / St. John’s(9) (Charlotte, S, CBS)
9:50 – Gonzaga(2) / North Dakota St.(15) (Seattle, S, TNT)
9:57 – Providence(6) / Boise St./Dayton winner(11) (Columbus, E, TruTV)

Of local note: Former NCSU guard Archie Miller coaches Dayton. Former NCSU assistant coaches Arizona. Former Duke guard and assistant Tommy Amaker coaches Harvard. Former Duke guard Bobby Hurley coaches Buffalo. Former Duke Assistant Mike Brey coaches Notre Dame. Former UNC assistant Jarod Haase coaches UAB. Raleigh native Dez Wells stars for Maryland.

Former Clemson coach Cliff Ellis coaches Coastal Carolina. Former Clemson coach Larry Shyatt coaches Wyoming.

Feb
09

North Carolina Loses The Great Teacher

2015-02-08 12.59.14On the evening of Saturday, February 7, UNC lost perhaps its most important family member of the school’s storied history. Coach Dean Smith had suffered from dementia for many years, and his life ended quietly. The irony that such a sharp mind that steered so many storied comebacks would not be able to mount one in his own life is a bitter pill to swallow. That we are not in control of our fates is just one of the lessons Smith taught us.

There are hundreds of great stories being passed around these days about great Smith moments. Mine came after reading his book Multiple Offense and Defense. It is a fantastic, concise X’s and O’s manual for running several of the offensive and defensive sets Smith used in the first half of his coaching career. There are also great lessons about team play, running structured practices, acknowledgment of the groundbreakers that came before us, and the beauty of math in the game we love. That final point led me to corral my own stats for the team, which eventually blossomed into my Tar Heel HOOPla website 20 years ago.

In the book Coach Smith explained his system for evaluating offensive and defensive efficiency, and stated that his team’s goals are to exceed 0.85 points per possession and to keep the opponent below 0.75 points per possession. The book was written before the advent of the 3-point shot, leaving me to wonder about how much that rule changed the stated goals. Woody Durham hosted a weekly call-in show with the coach and I was able to ask him my question on the air. He first stated,”Very good! You’ve done your homework,” then stated his updated goals of 0.95 and 0.85, respectively.

Apparently I’m not alone in being fascinated by the statistics basketball brings us, as evidenced by the popularity of Ken Pomeroy’s work. Pomeroy’s stats differ from Smith’s because Smith considered a possession to end when a field goal is attempted while Pomeroy considers it ending when the other team gets possession of the ball. Pomeroy reaches this figure by subtracting offensive rebounds from field goal attempts, making Total Possessions an irrelevant statistic. Smith’s method, on the other hand, leaves a Total Possessions differential which reflects the true rebounding, making his method much more useful.

When I was in Chapel Hill for college and dental school, I only had a couple of brushes with Dean Smith. One morning my dental class sat in a hallway waiting to take an exam. A hush fell on the group as Dean Smith walked down the hall by us after completing an appointment with one of our professors. It was as if we all wanted to be put into the game. We all got a chuckle at how we responded, but also were impressed that someone like Dean Smith thought that highly of our teacher.

I was lucky enough to get to sit behind the bench in ‘93 to watch the eventual National Champions play Duke on Senior Day. Committed recruits Jerry Stackhouse and Jeff McInnis sat in front of me while uncommitted Rasheed Wallace sat two seats toward midcourt. Wallace, of course, chose UNC over his hometown Temple, and Smith would later proclaim Wallace to be the best player Smith coached. The photo above is from the book Return to the Top, and shows me right behind Stackhouse and McInnis. Jim Valvano sat across the court doing his final full broadcast. Phil Ford, one of the greatest college basketball players of all-time, and Bill Guthridge, one of the best big-man coaches in the history of the game, were 10 feet in front of me. It was an incredible experience to be a spectator around these great masters of their craft. Of course from that angle one gets an appreciation of the vertical elements of basketball, but I was also able to appreciate the level of focus players from each team carried.

We essentially lost Coach Smith several years ago with the onset of dementia. Unlike other coaches, Smith retired and made few public appearances. In one of the many pieces of irony surrounding Smith, he was always proud of his ability to teach, yet could have taught us all so much about the game and life after retiring from coaching. Smith could be ruthless in team practices, slicing giants to pieces with his words. However those were  players (and families) into which he had emotionally invested. He would never have felt comfortable criticizing the play of players he didn’t know, so he never pursued the chance to teach us more.

Smith learned basketball from Phog Allen who learned basketball from the game’s inventor, James Naismith. While Smith may be gone and the building bearing his name may not stand for the remainder of our lives, Smith leaves an indelible mark on both the game and the culture of the State of North Carolina through not only his bountiful coaching tree, but also through the many of us whose lives were enriched by his work.

Jan
14

History Making Heels and Wolfpack Prepare for Battle

With both NCSU and UNC coming off of thrilling home wins over Top 10 opponents, tonight’s showdown looks to be another great chapter in the rivalry’s rich history. Last year’s epic overtime battle was a modern era classic, and while many of the players return for tonight’s game, the primary factors are completely different.

The NCSU team has only recently found its identity. We knew they had a talented backcourt, but the the inconsistent play in the first dozen games really hampered the team. They keys to NCSU tonight are two-fold:

  • While point guard Cat Barber continues to bring outstanding athleticism but sputtering smarts to the game, transfer Trevor Lacey has become an all-conference level performer. Nobody is talking about how Lacey can do everything that T.J. Warren could do, but the truth is, he isn’t far from consistently being that level of player.
  • BJ Anya is a great shotblocker who is foul-prone. If he can stay on the court, NCSU’s frontcourt can match up to UNC’s.

State’s play is straightforward, but UNC’s is not. The first part of this 2015 season has been a trying one for UNC fans. The team, sporting with 6 McDonald’s All-Americans, has struggled to show any kind of cohesiveness and consistency. However dissecting the Heels reveals some things about this team that the babbling, mantra-driven local sports radio media fails to see.

  • Against the 5th most-difficult schedule in the country thus far, UNC has held opponents to only 0.78 points per possession. That’s the best defensive of any UNC team in the 19 years I’ve tracked this statistic. That’s a period where the school has won 2 National Championships, been to 5 Final Fours, and put dozens of players into the NBA. The goal is to keep teams below 0.85, and this team is surpassing the stated goal by an impressive amount.
  • UNC is averaging 4.5 more possession than opponents, the largest
    margin in the tracking period, too. This means that this team is the best rebounding UNC team in the last two decades.
  • UNC is the #4 team in the nation in defending the 3-pointer (and that’s including the stats from the Notre Dame game).
  • UNC is averaging 0.90 points per possession on offense. That ranks
    #15 in the 19-year period. (goal is to be >0.95)
  • UNC is turning the ball over on 14.4% of its possessions. That’s a fairly average performance compared to other years.
  • UNC is shooting 31% from 3, good for a #271 national ranking (345 ranked). They are #302 in 3 pointers made in each game.

With UNC’s weakness being outside shooting, one would think UNC would play to its strengths, however they are attempting 24% of their shots from beyond the arc. Usually Roy’s teams can shoot the 3 well, and only take about 22% of their shots from behind the arc.

The keys for UNC moving forward are establishing Joel Berry as the primary PG, moving Marcus Paige to the SG, narrowing the rotation, and running the offense through Kennedy Meeks.

Much attention is on Marcus Paige, however the statistics show that UNC falls apart offensively when Kennedy Meeks leaves the game. For UNC to win tonight, they need an excellent game out of Meeks, and to shut down the Pack offensively.

In the last 20 years NC State is 1-14 after beating Duke or UNC. I expect NCSU to struggle shooting the ball tonight, and for UNC to win this chapter.  Revenge for tonight’s loser comes in 5 weeks, though, where NCSU may play their best Dean Dome game in quite some time. We’ll see…

Sep
05

Big Shindig Releases Set Times

shindigThe 95X Big Shindig on Sunday brings the best full day of alternative rock music of the summer to Walnut Creek Amphitheater. Impressively, nearly every Shindig artist has had a song in heavy rotation on Alternative Nation (Sirius/XM) this year (the same cannot be said for the event’s chief sponsor, however).

The day can be divided into 3 chapters. IAMDYNAMITE (“Stereo”) opens the new alternative chapter with their driving, jangly sound. However the day really gets going with the performer of one of Alternative’s best, tertiary songs of the year, Sir Sly (Gold), takes the stage. Brit pop Wolf Gang (”The King and All Of His Men”) follows, then Big Data takes the stage (“Dangerous”). “Dangerous” will probably be the big hit song of the afternoon. Bear Hands (“Giants”) and the outrageous Foxy Shazam (“Oh Lord”) round out the first chapter.

The sound takes a more Modern Rock feel at 4:45 when The Pretty Reckless (“Heaven Knows”) takes the stage with the day’s only female lead singer. They are followed by 90s Modern Rock kings Fuel (“Shimmer”, “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)”). Fuel is, ironically, the band that has gotten the most airplay of this event on Raleigh radio through the years.

This decade returns with a gigantic tub of “happy” at 7pm when Fitz & the Tantrums (“Out Of My League”, “The Walker”, “MoneyGrabber”) take the stage. Their April 2003 release, “More Than Just A Dream”, was one of the year’s best CDs.

At 8:10 Foster the People will take the stage and probably mark the entire event’s apex. Best known for “Pumped Up Kicks”, Foster… has snuck in eleven other hits since, and stands as one of the most significant bands of this decade. (“Best Friend”, “Houdini”, “Helena Beat”)

Headliner Weezer takes the stage at 9:25. With their 15+ hits, Weezer is one of the most important Alternative Rock bands in the wake of Nirvana. However the bulk of their excellence came in the 90s, and while I’m sure their show will be as good as it was in the DPAC earlier this year, this is a school night, so forgive us for leaving early. (“Say It Ain’t So”, “Island In The Sun”, “Back to the Shack”)

* * *

Parking Lots Open: 11:00 AM
Gates Open: 12:30 PM
1:30 PM: IAMDYNAMITE
2:20 PM: Sir Sly
3:00 PM: Wolf Gang
3:35 PM: Big Data
4:10 PM: Bear Hands
4:45 PM: Foxy Shazam
5:20 PM: The Pretty Reckless
6:10 PM: Fuel
7:00 PM: Fitz & The Tantrums
8:10 PM: Foster The People
9:25 PM: Weezer

Jul
24

Raleigh to Host Farm Aid

farmaidOn Saturday, September 13, Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Amphitheatre will be the host to the 2014 Farm Aid concert and festival. The all-day music and food festival will feature “family farm-identified, local and organic foods with its own HOMEGROWN Concessions®. In Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village, attendees will have the chance to meet farmers, engage in hands-on food and farm activities, and learn about the ways family farmers are enriching our soil, protecting our water and growing our economy, in addition to bringing us good food for good health.”

However the real draw is the music, featuring a lineup of:

  • Willie Nelson & Family
  • Neil Young
  • John Mellencamp
  • Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
  • Jack White
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • Jamey Johnson
  • Delta Rae
  • Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
  • Carlene Carter
  • Pegi Young & The Survivors
  • Insects vs Robots

Tickets go on sale tomorrow (7/25) at Noon. Prices range from $49 to $175.

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