Take a walk on the Wampus side: At the Mountain Xpress Best of Bash, Local Legends come alive

If the Best of WNC issues are a celebration in word, then the Best of WNC Bash is a celebration in deed. This year’s readers’ poll was our most abundant yet. (That’s something that people say, but it’s true this time!)

We had more categories than ever before (and more votes, too). The two issues were hulking testimonies to the vibrancy and quality of local restaurants, bars, businesses, artists and the many other brilliant elements recognized in the annual survey.

Consider the two issues an invitation to the party. On Saturday, Nov. 17, Xpress brings a cross section of this year’s best musicians and entertainers to the stage of the Grey Eagle (this year’s No. 2 music venue) for an evening of mingling and merriment with the admired and their admirers — the winners and the readers who declared them so.

Thus concludes the hyperbole section of this announcement. But wait — we haven’t even mentioned the acts yet! Now where is that box of exclamation points.

We’ve been billing Augusta Wind from LaZoom (No. 1 comedy troupe) as our “hair-blowing host,” so you can come to the show straight from the shower. Ms. Wind will preside over the evening, interpolating between acts with her antics that make people on the LaZoom Comedy Tour scream with joy, or terror, or terrible joy.

Two of this year’s smoothest first-place music acts: Secret B-Sides (No. 1 soul) and Crazy Horse & Colston (No. 1 hip-hop) provide the soundtrack.

About the first, No. 1 arts writer Alli Marshall writes, “Earlier this year, The Secret B-Sides released a new full-length, Easy Magic. That album shows that the B-Sides’ decadent, soulful Flowers & Chocolate was no mere one-off. Easy Magic brings more deep grooves, retro cool and space-age romance.” Crazy Horse & Colston, tied for No. 1 with Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, also promise to bring the cool. Writes Marshall, “While CrazyHorse & Colston’s Max Hupertz and Bryan Godleski (with DJ Kilby) grew up in Asheville and have been growing their sound for a while, the duo really burst onto the local scene this summer with a Bele Chere set, an opening slot for Gift of Gab and the release of their distinctly WNC-flavored Backroads & Bonfires.”

Without the instruments but with no fewer grooves, a battery of eccentric Ashevilleans each contribute their distinct stripe to this zebra of a night. No. 1 indie crafter Robin Plemmons, famous for her randy greeting cards and other uncouth stationary, has a surprise presentation planned. This doesn’t mean that we don’t know what it is! We do and it’s going to be great. Kipper Schauer, the No. 1 DJ and trivia host, is a veritable Care Bear of positive emanations, with a knack for throwback pop culture so genuine it will wipe that ironic grin right off your face (and replace it with a Burt Reynolds smirk). Local cutup Tom Chalmers (No. 1 comedian) has emerged from years performing “Crumpet” in David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaries to make his name as a funny man for all seasons, holidays and retail outlets.

Scandals Nightclub (No. 1 gay bar and drag night) celebrates its dirty-30 birthday this year, and the two drag queens and a king who’ll perform on the club’s behalf will show that the third decade still has its shine. Celeste Starr, Odette Dynasty and Tanner Taylor may require that the audience wear sunglasses (and little else).

That’s it, I guess. Not bad for a Saturday night. It’s a big tent.

But one more thing: The whole evening is not only a benefit for the hearts and minds of all who attend, it also benefits this year’s top-three nonprofits. A portion of ticket sales goes to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, MANNA FoodBank and Asheville-Area Habitat for Humanity.

Needless to say, see you there.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets — $10 advance/$12 at the door — are available at Orbit DVD (No. 1 video store), Harvest Records (No. 1 record store) or at http://www.thegreyeagle.com.

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