THE MUSIC MAN: Bascom Lamar Lunsford, third from left, appears in this photo from the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Scrapbook, Southern Appalachian Archives, Mars Hill University. The caption reads, “The Lovingood sisters and the Greer sisters with Bascom about 1933, ‘still feeding my soul!’”

Mars Hill’s Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival celebrates a folk hero

While many people wear multiple proverbial hats and dabble in more than one career, Madison County-born Bascom Lamar Lunsford epitomized that concept. A lawyer and a folklorist, the Mars Hill native campaigned against hillbilly stereotypes while preserving Appalachian mountain music traditions. A performer himself — his recordings are included in the Archive of American Folk […]

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Smart bets: Die Fledermaus

“Die Fledermaus,” a libretto often rewritten and performed with local flair, will soon transform into its Asheville incarnation with the help of Asheville Lyric Opera. Set in Western North Carolina’s famous Giltmore home and based around the Southern mountain charm of the Vanerburgh family, ALO’s adaptation is intended to “create a deeper sense of appreciation […]

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Smart bets: Mountain Heritage Day

Break out the candles! Western Carolina University celebrates its 125th year during the 40th annual Mountain Heritage Day festival, a free event to recollect WCU’s rich history. Two stages and a dedicated dance floor will host clogging team performances and concerts (including Grammy Award-winner David Holt), and more than 100 vendor booths will sprawl into […]

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Smart bets: Heritage Weekend

This September marks the 34th year for Heritage Weekend, a free festival that explores traditional Appalachian customs like beekeeping, coopering, heritage toy making, broom and furniture making, spinning and natural dyeing, all sponsored by the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Both Saturday and Sunday offer a full lineup of crafts, dance and mountain-inspired music with fare […]

WILD CHILD APPROVED: Celebrate local music, food, drink, arts and eccentricities on Lexington Avenue. Photo by Frank Merenda

LAAFF returns with an eye toward the future

“Never say die,” reads the poster for the Lexington Avenue Art and Fun Festival, which returns Sunday, Aug. 31, after a one-year hiatus. When the beloved (and, in recent years, beleaguered) event’s return was announced earlier this summer, it was as a last hurrah. Organizers Kitty Love (LAAFF’s co-founder, who’s now executive director of the […]

Photo by LAAFF staff

LAAFF announces schedule for Aug. 31 festival

Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival  returns on Sunday, Aug. 31 with a full day’s worth of music, art street theater, local vendors, food and drink and more. Festival planners just released the lineup, which includes more than a dozen bands on two stages, with an additional stage programmed by Lex 18 moonshine bar. The […]

Husband and wife duo, Jonathan and Jennifer Adams, got the band name Montana Skies from the first song they ever wrote together. Photo courtesy of the band

Smart bets web extra: The Asheville Ballet with Montana Skies

“This ain’t your granny’s chamber music,” claim husband and wife, Jonathan and Jennifer Adams, on their band’s website. The couple’s sound is constructed of guitar and cello pairings, delivered with more spunk than you’d expect from any instrumental family band and packaged under the name Montana Skies. The duo’s knack for extracting spiced-up grooves from […]

Costume is strongly encouraged at the Seelie Court Masquerade. Clothing by Royal Peasantry, photo by Duncan Chaboudy

Smart bets web extra: Seelie Court Masquerade

It’s time to break out the old leather-studded collar and golden tiara. New Mountain Asheville will host Seelie Court Masquerade, a two-night “multi-sensory fantasy event featuring two rooms of music, fashion, theater and dance,” according to a press release, and all attendees are strongly encouraged to dress their faerie best. Masqueraders will enjoy various live […]

MOUNTAIN MOVES: The J Creek Cloggers perform regionally at Shindig on the Green and Folkmoot. Photo by Sheila James

Fancy footwork: Folkmoot brings together world and regional folk dance

With folk dancers from Taiwan, Trinidad, Romania, Russia and other far-flung places performing at Folkmoot, it might be easy to overlook the fact that southern Appalachia has its own dance custom to share. Dressed in their full crinoline skirts and tap shoes, four Appalachian clogging teams represent the mountain tradition at the international folk dance […]

MASTER CLASS: "Dance can be a contemporary art form," says MOTION Dance Theatre founder Nick Kepley. "Just as you’d go to a museum and contemplate art, you can do the same with dance.” Photo by Parker J Pfister

Everybody’s doing a brand-new dance now: From MOTION’s choreographic laboratory comes cutting-edge performance

“At 21 years old, it had been decided for me the roles I was capable of dancing for the rest of my life,” says choreographer Nick Kepley. “That was kind of silly.” It’s also, at least in part, the reason he created MOTION Dance Theatre, a choreographic laboratory and three-week residency. From that comes a […]

Life as art: Frida Kahlo "met death twice before she was 20," says Coco Palmer-Dolce, who narrates ACDT's Looking for Frida. The production commemorates the local dance company's 35th anniversary. Photo by Toby Maurer

Viva La Vida: Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre presents Looking for Frida

Commemorating 35 years of modern dance, ACDT recreates its signature ballet, “Looking for Frida.” First choreographed in 1998, and staged in Asheville; Montpellier and Toulouse, both France; and Merida, Mexico, the production embodies the company’s mission to produce to daring and often haunting performances inspired by the work of great artists and writers.

Fleming Lomax as Aphrodite and Lyle Laney as Eros (left and right of platform) dance for the wedding couple, Cinderella portrayed by Emily Craig and Prince Charming played by Christopher Scruggs.

Asheville Ballet’s Cinderella

Review by Mark-Ellis Bennett Last weekend Asheville Ballet staged Cinderella, the largest production of its 50-plus year history. Prokofiev’s powerful score, the stunning choreography and colorful new costumes and sets were enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience of all ages. According to Asheville Ballet’s artistic director, Ann Dunn, the company spent nearly a year rehearsing and […]

Watch and learn: “People think burlesque is just a parade of people emulating the beauty standards of the past,” says Onça O’Leary. “The point is using every tool — costuming, athleticism, comedy — to explore social issues.” Photo courtesy of ABSFest

Agent provocateur: ABSFest showcases burlesque and sideshow arts with social relevance

ABSFest showcases burlesque and sideshow arts with social relevance This year’s Americana Burlesque and Sideshow Festival will include, among other spectacles, “the world’s foremost authority on sideshow,” James Taylor. Not “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain” James Taylor — the other one, whose personal collection of sideshow memorabilia includes a taxidermied unicorn from the […]

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Smart Bets: Alice in Wonderland

Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre celebrates 35 years of modern dance while the New Studio of Dance marks its 45th anniversary of dance education. The local artistic strongholds commemorate those milestones with a performance of Alice in Wonderland. “You may already know Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts, but how long has it […]

Something in the air: Pawtooth's grooves sit somewhere between Blondie, The Stooges and Siouxsie and the Banshees — and Bromelia Aerial Dance Collective plans to perform to that soundtrack.

Flight club

Local aerialists and rockers team up for a production An unlikely collaboration was forged in January, when Bromelia Aerial Dance Collective performed at the Mothlight as part of the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival. According to local movement artist Anna Bartlett, “One of our dancers was injured, and our friend Valerie Phillips saved the day by […]