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Smart bets: Jim Lauderdale

Although country singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale is as tied to Nashville as to the colorful, embroidered suits he wears, he’s actually a North Carolina native. The son of a minister and a church organist, Lauderdale was born in Troutman, N.C., and grew up in South Carolina. He did head to Nashville after college, but it was […]

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Smart bets: The Royal Noise

Drawing on influences from the great funk masters Herbie Hancock and Parliament Funkadelic, as well as contemporary bands like Umphrey’s McGee and Lotus, Philadelphia-based funk band The Royal Noise is a self-described “relentless funk dance party.” One reviewer characterizes the band as “Groove, groove and more groove — with a side order of groove and a […]

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Smart bets: Quilts as Inspiration

There was a time when quilts served as one of the few pieces of artwork in Appalachian homes, and they truly were works of art. “The hallmarks of great art always include line, color, patterns, texture, balance. Quilts are no exception,” according to a press release for American Folk Art & Framing’s upcoming exhibit, Pattern, […]

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Smart bets: Ali Douglass

There is something comfortingly familiar about Ali Douglass’ whimsical illustrations and paintings. It might be the eye-pleasing color combinations, charming characters and quirky cityscapes and scenes — or it might actually be that you’ve seen them before. Douglass has been illustrating for countless magazines and newspapers  — including Seventeen, Martha Stewart, Glamour and The New […]

WHAT'S YOUR MOTIVATION?: Kevin Patrick Murphy, founder of The Actor’s Center of Asheville, describes the center as a kind of gym — “You have to work the muscles,” he says. Photo by Kellin Watson

Hitting your mark: The Actor’s Center of Asheville moves to Black Mountain

Kevin Patrick Murphy’s New York roots are showing. The founder of The Actor’s Center of Asheville takes huge strides and talks fast — leftover traits from his previous home base. The actor began training in 1991 at the Studio Arena Theater School in Buffalo, N.Y., and has since worked in theater, commercials, television and film. […]

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Smart bets: Safe & Sound

“Helpmate could use a helping hand,” says the Facebook invite for an evening of music by Jeff Thompson, Vendetta Creme and Aaron Price. The local performers cross genres and styles: Thompson is a singer-songwriter and guitarist, Price a multi-instrumentalist with a knack for clever piano-pop, and Vendetta Creme is the jazz and cabaret project of […]

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Smart bets: Barbara J. Taylor

Barbara J. Taylor’s debut novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, is “an evocative story of family tragedy and healing set in coal-mining Scranton, Pennsylvania.” As a native and current resident of the Electric City, where the story is set, Taylor draws inspiration from a haunting family story to blend real-life incidents with historical […]

Allan Wolf at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Southern Fried Poetry Slam. Photo from Wolf's Facebook page.

Poetic injustice: Locals respond to N.C.’s poet laureate debate

Poetry has long been an action-packed artistic genre in Western North Carolina. Here, it’s not merely written but spoken, slammed and taken into schools (thanks to Poetry Alive! — which celebrates its 30th anniversary with an event at The White Horse on Aug. 15 — and LEAF in Schools & Streets, among other initiatives). In […]