Special delivery

This is the story: Four mentally handicapped men live their lives in a supervised house under the eye of a young, burned-out social worker. Okay, it’s not the sexy, midriff-baring, star-vehicle material Hollywood cranks out. It’s not even I Am Sam. The Boys Next Door gives us no explosions, no car chases, no alien invasions, […]

Not another safety dance

There are ballet slippers, yes. But they’re teamed with sports jerseys. And you will hear Chopin. More often, though, it’ll be hip-hop or techno. The first thing that’s apparent about a Hubbard Street 2 performance is that this is no Tchaikovsky show. Three men in white T-shirts gyrate on the floor, athletically and somewhat suggestively. […]

Mining a strange mountain

“I find it’s a great way to pick up guys,” local musician Lin Llewellyn recently confided to Xpress. Her advice for the lovelorn? Strum a ukulele. Llewellyn, a hula dancer and member of lei-festooned party band the Hula Cats, is a long-time player and fan of the diminutive instrument, made famous by 1920s-era vaudeville bands, […]

Making Willy silly

“Everyone has an idea of what Shakespeare is,” announces Angie Flynn-McIver, director of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) — a collaborative effort between local professional troupes North Carolina Stage Company and Flat Rock Playhouse. “It’s guys in tights,” she continues. “That’s us,” deadpans actor Damian Duke Domingue. But the point of Complete Works […]

Andie, Stella and PETA (oh my)

“Cancer is a wake-up call, like any life-threatening illness,” local visual artist Vera Struck, herself an eight-year survivor, recently explained via e-mail. “To me,” says Struck, “every day is a gift.” For Struck and other survivors, that gift is something that must be shared — either as a way of healing oneself, of helping others […]

Beyond cha-cha and Aguilera

“We make a kind of music that’s not very well known in the U.S.,” says Chilean-born songstress Mariana Montalvo. “When you hear Latin music [in America], it’s Salsa or cha-cha — dance music. “We’re showing another side to Latin music.” Currently on tour with two other Latina performers (Toto La Momposina from Colombia and Belo […]

The (Gen)-X factor

Just because it doesn’t look like anything you’d buy at the mall, and just because cubic zirconia never enters into the equation, doesn’t mean the jewelry currently on display at Grovewood Gallery should be passed over as too weird to wear. “All of us are challenging the idea that this isn’t a legitimate art form,” […]

For ladies only … and men who have periods

“Women’s studies — we though it’d be a little macrame … ” protest Madeline and Sylvia, two New York seniors, as they totter into the cafe where they’re meeting their class. Soon enlightened by their continuing-education course, the eccentric elderly duo attempts to hang with vegetarian cuisine, alternative decor and a feminist-themed interpretive-art performance. That’s […]

Standing up for the almost-famous

Despite the sensational writerly struggles brought to light in Scribblers: Stalking the Authors of Appalachia — Wolfe pisses off everyone in Asheville and Fitzgerald drinks himself into suicidal tantrums — countless other (and, who knows, maybe better) authors grind on at their craft in obscurity. And thus Stephen Kirk’s book is ultimately defined by a […]

Betwixt and be tweed

Kate Moss wants it: tweed, that is. Which just goes to show that what’s frumpy and school-marmish one season is top-model hot the next. But who are we mere mortals to question the whims of the fashion gods? The great thing about the old-Celtic look currently sweeping magazines with plaid patterns and packing catalogues with […]

Small wonder

“We [aren't] trying to portray this as an Asian cultural display, but as a horticultural art,” explains Arthur Joura, the bonsai curator at the North Carolina Arboretum. The facility boasts an extensive display of the ancient art – from the expected ficus pruned in the traditional Asian manner to trained bougainvillea and more radical creations […]

His own secret weapon

“I’ve had enough of being a backup musician,” declared Tyler Ramsey — everyone’s favorite backup musician — during a recent interview. Which is not to say that the award-winning multi-instrumentalist won’t still sit in with friends or jump on board a promising project. But these days, Ramsey is ready to make his own material a […]

Give ‘em the (Free) Bird

“Creative people struggle with demons, and try to deal with them on certain levels,” suggests Mark Kemp, author of the just-published rock ‘n’ roll memoir Dixie Lullaby: A Story of Music, Race and New Beginnings in a New South. “Based on conversations I’ve had with musicians, alcoholics, drug addicts and recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, […]

Attack on high fashion

“There’s something very fashionista, very dry and cold, about the fashion world,” muses R. Brooke Priddy. And no matter what Calvin Klein, Vera Wang — or even “friendlier” designers like Betsey Johnson — would have you believe (and buy), that’s not a good thing. “Paul [Olszewski], Kelledy [Francis] and I are repelled by that,” Priddy […]

Making great strides

Zohar Israel not only trains young musicians and dancers, he hires them to perform in his troupe — which will be putting in an appearance at this year’s Goombay! Festival. “I’m the one healing the wounds,” said the director of the New Orleans-based Free Spirit African Drummers, Dancers and Stilt Walkers in a recent interview. […]