The feet of nations

Attending Folkmoot USA is like getting to tour the globe without fear of jet lag or parasitic giardia. It’s like Walt Disney’s dream for the “It’s a Small World” theme ride — only with way more authenticity. Now in its 21st season, Folkmoot — the Waynesville-based international-dance event — is still striving to bring the […]

Which Y?

They share three letters in common — three words, in fact — “Young,” “Christian” and “Association.” They each have a gym, a pool and an after-school program. Even their fees are pretty comparable ($58 a month for a family membership at the YM, $50 at the YW). But their mission statements move in decidedly different […]

Not so obvious

“You can ask any old friend of mine: I’m a f••ing comedian, a fun guy, and that’s what most people thought I’d become; not Old Misery Guts,” British singer/songwriter Beth Orton recently confessed to Believer magazine. It’s true that every interviewer claims the 6-foot-tall musician is almost punchy, always cracking jokes and telling crazy stories. […]

The ex factor

“I had so much racism and ill feelings toward whites that I had to back up a lot to gain perspective once I decided to follow Jesus. “Anyway, now I’m able to see what and where the true issues are at,” writes Speech, front man and mastermind of the recently reunited hip-hop group Arrested Development, […]

Vital Signs

“We want to be a visible presence; we want to be taken seriously,” insists Sylvia, a founding member of the Asheville Vegetarian Society. As if to drive that point home, four group members have met me for lunch at the Early Girl Eatery — and together, we’re a server’s nightmare. “Does this have any dairy?” […]

Everybody’s doing it

“Once it’s had as much as it can take, it falls off,” pop star Britney Spears recently announced on the Web forum Contact Music. “It’s supposed to fall off every six months,” the bad press-beleaguered singer lamented. “Mine falls off every other day.” Perish whatever see-through-body-suit, Madonna-tongue-kiss thoughts you might be having: Spears is talking […]

Vital Signs

“Call them a poor man’s racehorse,” jokes Bob Simpson, secretary of the Blue Ridge Racing Pigeon Club. But racing pigeons — and we’re not talking about the kind that hang around Pritchard Park chasing bread crumbs — don’t necessarily come cheap. Prices for these specially bred birds can soar into the thousands of dollars, says […]

Green mind

When most people get Celtic musician John Doyle on the phone, they invariably start talking about guitars. He’s a left-handed player and uses a dropped D tuning, instead of the classic DADGAD. But I don’t know much about guitars — left-handed or otherwise. I tell Doyle this right off. “Fine,” he says. “I’m sick of […]

O brother(hood), where art thou?

Don’t go milking Brad Land’s grueling Goat for any epiphanies. Giving readers “a grand observation” is the aim of most tell-all books, acknowledges the 27-year-old, South Carolina-based author. “That’s something I’ve seen a lot in memoir,” he says. But he deems the approach “kind of bulls••t.” Goat (Random House, 2004), his debut, has met with […]