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. […]

Round and round (and round)

The Redundant Theatre Company Theatre may be repetitive in name, but the local group can surely claim first rights for its original concept. “The name is a joke because people keep saying there’s already too much theater in this town,” explains Willie Repoley, co-creator of the company, which is on the verge of staging its […]

Junkyard demagogues

On the official Web site of Ming + FS, you’ll find a prominently displayed link for a national youth-voting campaign — and that sort of thing is pretty common these days. But the quadruple-turntable-toting duo also promises that if you enroll as a Democrat, you’re entitled to a hug from the musicians, redeemable at any […]

Where the beef isn’t

OK, I admit it: I’m not the best person to tell anyone which locally made veggie burger could convert a carnivore, because I’ve never been a meat eater (though I do know all the words to that 1980s-era Whopper theme song). So you quarter-pounder fanatics can do what you like, but keep this in mind: […]

Hoop dreams—and demons

The nasty word “rape” has a way of permanently attaching itself to all who come in contact with the act it describes. Yet sports stars, buoyed by a fame that often includes a bubble of bad-boy charisma, seem magically able to dodge its taint. Accused rapist and L.A. Lakers celebrity Kobe Bryant is, of course, […]

Valley of the dolls

“When I was a kid, I made a puppet show with my Raggedy Andy doll,” reveals Chicago-based theater director Blair Thomas. “There wasn’t a movie theater or anything in the town I grew up in,” he slyly adds. To be fair, most kids pick up a puppet at some point, no matter where they happen […]

Getting Punchy

Who can talk about puppetry for any age group without drifting to that most delightfully acerbic of all marionettes, that comical ne’er-do-well Punch? Not that the hook-nosed buffoon has ever, by any means, offered “family-friendly” entertainment. In fact, with his spew of curses, Punch surely embodies an early foray into adult entertainment, especially when joined […]

Rebels without a recipe

Introducing tourists to authentic New Orleans cooking probably makes downtown restaurateur Chris Jones pretty happy. However: “If we have Vassar Clements jamming on a Parliament tune by the end of the [BlueBrass finale show], I’ll be really happy!” declares the Thibodaux Jones Creole Kitchen co-owner and head instigator of the BlueBrass Project. Veteran fiddler Clements […]

Fooling around with folk

Ceramic artist Liz Sparks, one of the artists-in-residence at the Energy Xchange in Burnsville, is also a newly appointed member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. “To me, folk pottery is what’s made in Seagrove,” she continued during a recent interview. Seagrove, the North Carolina piedmont town famous for its large population of potters, is […]

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 […]

Lives of the rich and fictitious

“He’d had affairs with Bianca Jagger, the princess of Savoia and some runway model turned singer named Annie Lennox,” announces name-dropper Lucia Sanchez, a character in Valerie Ann Leff’s debut novel. Leff, a local writer, set her Better Homes and Husbands in New York’s Upper East Side, at fictional 980 Park Ave. — a pre-war […]

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 […]