Bigfoot Wants To Kick Your Coolness Factor Up a Notch
Shelia Gupta wearing a Bigfoot Kick tee – CREDIT: Tara Lilly
Bigfoot Kick’s Success is No Hoax
Daniel Bliley was binge-watching Cobra Kai on Netflix, and it was bringing up all sorts of childhood nostalgia for him.
“I used to draw comic books and sell them at school, then I’d take my earnings to the arcade to play Mortal Kombat. I was listening to A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots and De La Soul. My brother and I even had our own high school rap group called Soul on Ice.”
Add to all that a fascination with rainforests, mountains and animals — and in particular, legendary animals — and he realized he had discovered some brand pillars on which to create something really unique.
Cut to today, and Bliley (a VP of digital engagement at a Charlotte-based financial institution) now boasts a growing side hustle called Bigfoot Kick – a pro-artist, cryptozoology-obsessed fashion brand that’s starting to generate some buzz.
Read on to learn how Bliley’s authentic passions, plus his thirst for artist collaborations, is leading to opportunities for artists to exercise creative freedom – and make money doing it.
Whoa! Is your head spinning, or is it just us? Either we’re on a wicked sugar high from all the Halloween candy we’ve “pre-eaten,” or there’s a ton of creative news floating in the ether.
It’s both. A) We’ve worked our way through all the Kit-Kats, Twix and Butterfingers, and now all that’s left for the kids are Zagnuts and Oh, Henry’s. B) See below for some quick hits on creative developments at work in the Queen City.
KiiK Creates Energy Field Tokens at Wells Fargo Plaza
KiiK Create Drops “Energy Field Tokens” Uptown
This week, KiiK Create, a team of married artists who moved to Charlotte last year, installed painted sculptures they call “Energy Field Tokens” at the Wells Fargo Plaza on the 300 block of S. Tryon Street. They will be up through Thanksgiving. They are accompanied by the giant camera, “Project 1839” by Aguinaldo Santos, also installed on the plaza.
Explore the Present and Future of the Albemarle Rd. Corridor
The community celebration planned for Oct. 28 at the Four Seasons Shopping Center on Albemarle Road has been postponed until Monday, Nov. 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. Visitors can learn about future plans on the corridor and (more importantly) share their perspective with the City of Charlotte’s Corridors of Opportunity team.
Artist Rosalia Torres-Weiner of Red Calaca Studio will be on hand building a Day of the Dead ofrenda – a collection of objects placed on a ritual display during traditional Día de Muertos celebrations – and leading hands-on art activities for kids of all ages.
Three More Days to Enjoy Of Earth and Sky
If you haven’t seen Of Earth and Sky, a collection of larger-than-life poetry installed in locations across uptown Charlotte, you have until Oct. 31 to get out and see them. A team from Blumenthal Arts identified snippets of poems from more than 200 local submissions and workshops earlier this year.
The words are displayed in various ways — free-standing letters, temporary murals, window displays, digital displays, etc. A book featuring photographs of the poetry is available at That’s Novel Books at Camp North End, the Visitor’s Center uptown and online here.
Celebrate a Creative Charlotte Leader Under the Age of 20
Do you know a creative, community-minded Charlottean under the age of 20? Of course you do. Through Oct. 31, you can nominate 14- to 19-year-old student leaders in the Queen City for a 20 Under 20 award. This program, which received a $1,000 Bear HUG powered by the LendingTree Foundation earlier this year, was created by My Dean’s List. Nominees will be honored at a special celebration in December and will be evaluated for their:
- Artistic/educational endeavors
- Community involvement and volunteerism
- Leadership skills and roles
- Scholastic and personal achievements
- Commitment to making a long-term positive impact in the community
Jason Jet, Joni Deutsch and Lute at GrindHaus Studios
WFAE & Lute Team Up for the 100th Episode of Amplifier
Since debuting in 2018, WFAE’s Amplifier Podcast, hosted by Joni Deutsch, has produced 100 episodes highlighting Charlotte music and the people who make it. On a special 100th show recorded at Jason Jet’s GrindHaus Studios, Deutsch spoke with breakout Charlotte rapper Lute about his career, from his 2021 self-published mix tape to his recent full-length album and Grammy-nominated collaboration with DaBaby and Kendrick Lamar.
Charlotte’s Off-Broadway Brings Up the Lights
It’s a busy time for Charlotte’s Off-Broadway and producer, Anne Lambert. The theater group recently joined the growing community at the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) in the former Hal Marshall Center uptown. And, with help from a Bear HUG powered by the LendingTree Foundation, they are debuting a new play by Susan Lambert Hatem, My Dinner with Andrea, at the Arts Factory black box theater Nov. 4 – 20. The work was a 2021 finalist for Ashland New Play Festival.
RENT Stops in Charlotte for a Bow on their Farewell Tour
They still might not be sure how they’re gonna pay last year’s rent, but — for now — we’re focused on the present. The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, RENT, is temporarily relocating to Charlotte as part of its farewell tour. After 1,005 performances in 237 cities in five countries, RENT will move in for a short stay at the Belk Theater Nov. 9-14. We’ll have a look behind the scenes of this 25th anniversary show in the next batch, but don’t wait to get your tickets.
Wesley Mancini at the 2021 Pinnacle Awards
Wesley Mancini Wows with His Fabric Design
Award-winning fabric designer Wesley Mancini — featured in The Biscuit last year — was honored at the 25th anniversary of the International Society of Furniture Designers (ISFD) Pinnacle Awards on Oct. 19. He was the first non-furniture designer ever to win an award for fabric design.
Skyline at the Convention Center expansion.
A New Skyline Within the Skyline
Last week, the Arts & Science Council (ASC) unveiled Skyline, a new work of public art, created by Los Angeles-based artist Susan Narduli, and permanently installed as part of the Charlotte Convention Center’s $126.9 million expansion. The piece features approximately 1 million pixels lining the walls and ceiling of a bridge-viewing platform. These can be programmed to create an immersive light experience surrounding visits on the platform.
Skyline will feature a 10-minute show that will play hourly from 7 to 10 p.m. each day. Skyline was funded through the City of Charlotte’s 1 percent for the Arts Ordinance, managed by the ASC.
Join the ‘Zine Scene this Saturday
Admission is free to the 2021 Queen City ‘Zine Fest at Goodyear Arts at Camp North End. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., guests can explore the work of more than 40 creative working zines (hand-made publications), illustration, comics and paper-based media from North and South Carolina.
Dr. Evil on his set at WBTV.
The Dr. Evil You Don’t Know
For us at The Biscuit, digging into Charlotte’s creative history is a dream. Okay, sometimes, it can be a nightmare, but of the delightful variety.
A few weeks ago, we searched the archives of Newspapers.com and found this classified in a 1960 edition of the Charlotte News.
Oh, yeah. We had to get to the bottom of that.
After searching more, we found similar ads in papers across the East Coast in the late 1950s and early 60s. A Charlotte News story that ran two days after the classified ad told the story of a man in a gorilla suit climbing the giant WBT billboard that used to tower about the Square at Trade & Tryon streets. This incident, it turns out, was a publicity stunt for a “spook show,” a combination classic horror movie marathon/live action magic and shock stage show that used to play in theaters. And, that name … “Dr. Morris.” It seemed too easy, but it was true. All roads led back to Philip Morris, showman, magician and founder of Morris Costumes right here in Charlotte.
And, climbing the WBT sign in a gorilla suit (we have confirmation from Morris’ wife, Amy Morris Smith, that it was, indeed, Philip in the suit), Morris was just at the beginning of a beautiful partnership with the station.
He donned a red fez, grabbed a crystal ball and created the character of “Dr. Evil” for WBTV, hosting Dr. Evil’s Horror Theatre, a show featuring classic horror movies that ran on Friday nights from 1962 to 1969, all while building up Morris Costumes, which became the largest costume distributor in the world. (Large enough to be bought earlier this year by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, as reported by The Charlotte Ledger.)
Dr. Evil vs. Dr. Evil
The story of Dr. Evil didn’t go quietly to the grave after WBTV. It returned from the dead when Mike Myers (not to be confused with Halloween’s Michael Myers) donned a bald cap and a Nehru jacket and picked up his hairless cat, Mr. Bigglesworth in Austin Powers.
Morris sued the producers of Austin Powers over trademark infringement. His 2017 obituary in The Charlotte Observer reads, “Younger [Charlotteans] will recognize Dr. Evil (and his son Scott) from the Austin Power movies – a character Morris created for local TV [WBTV] and stage shows in 1959. Scott Morris (yep, you read that name right) said his father reached a settlement with film producers over his trademark claim.” [NOTE: Scott Morris is president of Morris Costumes today.)
The next time you lift your pinky to the corner of your mouth and say, “One million dollars,” raise another pinky to the original Dr. Evil – Charlotte’s own Philip Morris.
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