Thursday, Nov. 1
• “Our mission is to bring exceptional independent films of all genres that will not play in local theaters,” states the Asheville Cinema Society, host of the Asheville Cinema Festival. “Sometimes we showcase bigger films before they screen in Western North Carolina. We offer ACS memberships to our seasons, creating a large, dedicated group of people that attend screenings of films they would probably never watch. Besides getting to see great films, the members really enjoy the intelligent discussions/Q&As after each film with the filmmakers and special guests we bring in. As one member wrote us, ‘It’s not just going to the movies. It’s an enriching experience and unlike anything else in the area.’” This weekend, the society hosts the Asheville Cinema Festival, with a variety of screenings that include features, documentaries and shorts, along with a series of workshops and Q&A sessions. Held at the Regal Biltmore Grande, the Masonic Lodge and Asheville Community Theatre. See website for full schedule. $10 opening and closing nights/$7 all other screenings/$5 students. All filmmaker workshops are free.
• From a press release, “The A-B Tech Drama Club is pleased to host the Ensemble Theatre Company, Asheville’s newest professional theatre company, as it debuts with What Teachers Make: An evening of Taylor Mali’s Poetry, performed by Andrew Hampton Livingston and directed by Dusty McKeelan … Taylor Mali is something of a cult figure in spoken word poetry. His poems about teaching and being taught are funny, opinionated and a heartfelt defense of the teaching profession. Livingston is performing some of Mali’s best-known poems with permission from the poet himself (who texted his formal permission with this brief message: ‘You have my permission. You honor me.’)” Performed Nov.1-3 at A-B Tech’s Carriage House Theatre, Asheville campus. 7:30 p.m. Pay-what-you-can.
Friday, Nov. 2
• The Brevard Storytelling Festival kicks off Friday with an opening performance by noted storytellers Heather Forest and Len Cabral. The free, family-friendly event continues Saturday with regional storytellers, workshops, concerts and more. Held at the Transylvania County Library, 212 S. Gaston St., Brevard. Fri., 7:30-8:30 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. See website for full schedule.
• “November 2012 marks 40 years since Shirley Chisholm’s historic run for president,” begins a website for Chisholm ‘72: Unbought and Unbossed. “Chisholm’s no-nonsense campaign is a refreshing contrast to this year’s election season. Come get inspired by a phenomenal candidate. A summary of the film from the PBS website: ‘In 1968, Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman elected to Congress. In 1972, she becomes the first black woman to run for president. Shunned by the political establishment, she’s supported by a motley crew of blacks, feminists and young voters. Their campaign-trail adventures are frenzied, fierce and fundamentally right on!’” Screen the film at the YMI Cultural Center, 39 S. Market St. 7 p.m. $5 suggested donation.
• The Women’s Wellbeing and Development Foundation hosts its second annual Party for the People, to benefit the organization’s Healthy Living Program, which “engages in empowerment-based community organizing and development within public housing neighborhoods in Asheville.” According to a website for the event, “This celebration will be a fun-filled, family-friendly opportunity for members of diverse communities to come together and enjoy great local food, door prizes, raffles, awards and special performances by the Secret B-Sides, the Urban Arts Institute and La’Ney African Dance Troupe.” Free childcare available. Held at Jubilee! Community Center, 46 Wall St. 7-9:30 p.m. Love donation.
• From The Toy Hearts’ website, “This Birmingham-based, sister-fronted outfit has been not-so-quietly carving out its own niche in the Americana and roots music scene for a while now, so if you haven’t been to one of their shows before, you are in for a real treat. … One thing about The Toy Hearts is clear: their love for the music they play and the conviction of their delivery far exceeds any simple mimicry of American music. They manage to tip their hats to their influences, from bluegrass, country and swing, while making their own mark and having their own distinct style, which is quite different from that of those who inspire them. From the heartbreak in Hannah’s voice, to her sister’s take-no-prisoners guitar playing, to their father Stewart’s multi-instrumental talents, this unlikely trio demonstrates what it means to really want to play this kind of music and truly love doing so.” The Toy Hearts visit Asheville for a series of performances, beginning Friday at Jack of the Wood, 95 Patton Ave. 5 p.m. Free. You can catch them Saturday at Pisgah Brewing Company, 150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, 3 p.m. and at The Bywater, 796 Riverside Drive, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 3
• Watch folk art come to life before your eyes as the Western North Carolina Carvers host a woodcarving competition and exhibition at the Folk Art Center, MP 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Free to attend/$15 to compete. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-6877.
• “OK, the secret’s out,” begins a webpage for the Robotics Opportunities Committee of WNC. “Here among the scenic mountains of Western North Carolina is a quickly-growing community of kids, parents, educators, mentors and others who just can’t get enough of technology and robots. … FIRST is a nonprofit company that provides robot competitions for ages 6 through high school. What’s amazing is that the people who participate in FIRST robot teams (students, coaches and mentors) work together to solve REALLY HARD technical challenges but feel like they’re at play. Best of all, students who participate in a FIRST robot team WANT to learn more about technology and science, make some really smart robots and then use them to compete against robots from other teams!” Get a look at what those students are up to at the FIRST Lego League Robotics Competition for students ages 9-14. Held in UNCA’s Sherrill Center. Noon-3 p.m. Free to attend.
• From an Xpress article earlier this year, “Old-school Ashevillians may remember Morgan Christopher Geer as frontman of the seminal ‘90s outfit The Merle; newer residents have probably caught wind of his current projects The Unholy Trio and Drunken Prayer (both have a tradition of Asheville holiday shows). Regardless of how you know him, it’s clear that the prolific songwriter has kept one foot in Asheville since moving to Portland in the early 2000s, and rumor has it that we’ll soon have him all to ourselves again. Geer’s decision to celebrate the release of Drunken Prayer’s latest effort, Into the Missionfield, with a performance at The LAB only fuels that speculation. The album, as with most of his work, is a dark and powerful mishmash of outlaw country twang and electric rock blustering, tempered with just enough pop (and the occasional spattering of horns) to keep Geer’s gruff delivery inviting.” This weekend, Drunken Prayer celebrates the vinyl release of Into the Missionfield with another local performance, this time at Static Age Records, 110 N. Lexington Ave. Frank’s Diggle Pickers and Hearts Gone South open. 9 p.m. $5.
• Local surf-soul-rock-n-roll-ers Floating Action are keeping busy these days. The band just released its latest record, Fake Blood, toured the Northeast Coast, spent a week opening for Band of Horses in the Southeast and, later this week, will release its latest music video (for “Matador”). Earlier this summer, it performed at Louisville’s Forecastle Music Festival, where My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James (a big fan of FA) sang backing vocals on a few tracks; in December, the band will join James and MMJ for a performance in upstate New York. Needless to say, with all this time on the road, local shows have been few and far between. Luckily, local fans can catch the band at home this weekend when it takes the stage at Emerald Lounge, 112 N. Lexington Ave. Cabinet opens. 9 p.m. $10.