Thursday, Jan. 20
• “Africa is often approached by American media through a lens of stereotypes, and most Americans will never get to experience the continent for themselves,” says a release for African Art: A Collector’s Perspective, which aims to “break down common misconceptions about Africa by using art and culture to talk about Africa’s past and present.” Hear curator Jan Goffney’s take as she hosts a lecture to coincide with the exhibit’s opening in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union. Traditional African foods will be served. 5:30 p.m. Free.
• While you’re in the building, why not drop in and screen Taking Root, which tells “the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy — a movement for which this charismatic woman became an iconic inspiration,” according to a synopsis for the documentary. Hosted by UNC Asheville’s Intercultural Center in the Highsmith University Union, room 104. 7 p.m. Free.
• One need look no further than this band’s name and photos to see that they’re crude and rowdy, to say the least. If you’re into that sort of thing, swing by The Root Bar (1410 Tunnel Rd., 299-7597) to catch Brooklyn “psychobilly” outfit Hickry Hawkins and the Panty Sniffers as they visit Asheville on their month-long jaunt through the Southeast. 9:30 p.m. Free.
Friday, Jan. 21
• “The wonderful Karen Abbott returns to Malaprop’s Bookstore (55 Haywood St., 254-6734) to discuss her newest historical work, American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee, and present a slideshow,” reads a release on the bookstore’s website. “Abbott, the author of the New York Times bestselling book Sin in the Second City, delves into the Roaring ‘20s, peppered with Vaudeville, FDR, Houdini, Lucky Luciano and more in American Rose.” 7 p.m. Free.
• Pisgah Brewing Company (150 Eastside Dr., 669-0190) invites you to soak in the sounds of classic country, jazz and blues with The Lazybirds, a local quintet specializing in styles from the “first fifty years of recorded music,” according to the band’s website. 8 p.m. Free.
• The Whappers peg their sound as “face melting rock and roll music,” but the band’s lineup includes members of local outfits ranging from Jonathan Scales Fourchestra to Uncle Mountain. See for yourself at The LAB (39 N. Lexington Ave., 252-0212) as the Whappers perform with Asheville Country Music Revue and John Stickley and Josh Haddix. 10 p.m. $5.
Saturday, Jan. 22
• If getting more exercise was on your list of new year’s resolutions, Lighten Up Yoga (60 Biltmore Ave., 254-7756) is leaving you no excuse to delay as it presents Free Yoga Day. Classes and teachers will rotate every hour. Donations to benefit Buncombe County Medical Society’s Project Access are requested. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
• If you haven’t been stricken by the seasonal cold that is plaguing Asheville, here’s your chance to join the ranks of the sniffly and congested. “The Asheville Racquet Club presents the 3rd Annual Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Meals On Wheels of Asheville and Buncombe County on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 10 a.m.,” according to a release for the event. “We need you to come out and be apart of the fun!” Even if you aren’t willing to brave the frigid water, you can still turn out to support the jumpers (and giggle at their shocked and horrified expressions). More info: 253-5286.
Sunday, Jan. 23
Asheville Playback Theatre is teaming up with Big Brothers Big Sisters to celebrate National Mentoring Month with a free performance at Biltmore Village’s All Souls Cathedral (9 Swan St., 274-2681). The performance will continue the company’s seasonal “Human Story” theme, in which audience members’ true stories are interpreted onstage. 3 p.m.
• “Electrician by day, author by night, Josh Boyd is a towering man poised to lift working class poetics back into the lime light,” reads the poet’s bio. “His creative approach stems from touring as a spoken word artist from the flatlands of Iowa and the farms of forgotten places. He enjoys travel, laughter, studying, listening to records, throwing knives, museums, midnight, athletics and films.” See him read — along with Jay Buchanan, Rob Sturma and Danny Sherrard — as the The Rom Scuba Sweetheart Family Tour visits Firestorm Cafe (48 Commerce St., 255-8115). 3 p.m. Free.