Journey of a lifetime

“We don’t need any more war.” – retired X-ray technician, social worker and missionary June Lamb “It’s a small world after all,” observes globetrotter June Lamb, adding, “Good people find each other.” Those words could be the septuagenarian’s motto. As a radiological researcher, social worker and missionary, she’s traveled through most of Asia and Europe […]

Good hair & great gossip

“Don’t even come in here!” the sleekly coiffed receptionist at Eclipse Salon & Boutique declared, recoiling in mock disdain when I told her what I was after. (Here’s a hint: It wasn’t an inch off the ends.) I wanted to talk about Steel Magnolias, the 1980s beauty-parlor play now coming to the Southern Appalachian Repertory […]

Esprit de Terpsicorps

Wearing only black-spandex shorts, Jon Upleger hoists Jennifer Cavanaugh aloft, where his fellow dancer spends a significant part of their performance. Cavanaugh, clad in a flesh-colored unitard decorated with leafy-green designs, writhes in a series of acrobatic twists to ambient, leafy-green music. The pas de deux climaxes with her elfin, flab-less body balanced on Upleger’s […]

The art of murder

“I’ve stayed away from the real story, because I didn’t want it to taint my view of the play,” admits Charles Mills, director of Haywood Arts Repertory Theatre’s production of Rope. A director who doesn’t want to know too much about the events that inspired his current project? Sounds strange. Then again, Rope is full […]


If director Charles Mills was worried that Rope wouldn’t pull in the usual HART patrons, his concern was unfounded. The Waynesville theater was pretty well-attended on opening night — by a mostly-senior crowd, too, which was obviously not put off that the curtains wouldn’t be rising on a musical comedy. The play opens on the […]

Celebrating silence

All of the retreats share one key commonality: silence. Silence is a universal language — the language of the spirit. And for 25 years, the Southern Dharma Retreat Center in Hot Springs has been offering people a place to converse with their own souls in that primal tongue. From the beginning, those visitors have spanned […]

Vinyl values in a digital world

“I was a psychedelic kid,” Daniel Lanois revealed in a recent phone interview. “I grew up listening to night radio.” As a grownup, Lanois is probably best known as the atmosphere architect of such Grammy-winning albums as U2′s Achtung Baby (Island, 1991), Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind (Columbia/Sony, 1997) and Emmylou Harris’ genre-shifting Wrecking […]

Human nature

John McKah’s “Full Moon” is all chilly solitude; the painting’s titular orb is pale and unassuming amid bare tree branches. But Jay Pfeil’s Oriental-influenced “Morning Magnolias” shows inky trees laden with delicate blossoms. This collection of outdoor scenes is as much a study of mood as it is of nature. “These artists are absolutely all […]

Mentors that move

“All the world’s a stage,” penned Shakespeare. And while the Bard certainly wasn’t referring to modern dance, for members of the Ailey II troupe, his famous words are hardly mere rhetoric: They’re reality. While most dancers don’t feel they live on stage — and that’s despite the long hours they put in, and the intense […]

No small change

Sara Watkins, one third of bluegrass-turned-acoustic-pop sensation Nickel Creek, is sick of wasting paper to-go cups at her favorite coffee shop in San Diego, where she lives. “I’m going to borrow this mug,” she murmurs into her cell phone. “I mean, I come in here all the time, so I don’t think they’ll mind.” She’s […]

Getting fresh outside the Grove Arcade

“You’ll buy produce from the person who grew it,” declares Adrianne Gordon, assistant market manager for the Grove Arcade. “We’re not at all flexible on that. She’s talking, of course, about the Mountain Fresh Market, a row of 12 stalls located outside the downtown shopping complex’s south entrance. “The whole idea of public markets is […]

Heading south

I’ve got two words for you: cabin fever. Happily, even as the temperatures dip and the snow descends, there’s a secret weapon for surviving winter: vacation. Even for folks on a meager budget, taking off for sunnier climes may be well within the realm of possibility — if you’re willing to forgo the Caribbean in […]

Double vision

“I don’t tour that much anymore,” claimed Alejandro Escovedo when I finally caught up with him by phone while he was in Chicago. It’s a relative assertion: Escovedo is currently in the middle of a three-week string of U.S. dates following a month-long stint in Europe. He’s not an easy guy to reach, and his […]

Peripheral vision

“Sometimes brilliance happens,” announces Susan Collard, director of Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre. “Experimental art in festivals is spontaneous” — and, she concedes, “almost accidental.” ACDT’s latest project, the Fringe Festival, “was inspired by a festival I saw in Toronto last year,” she relates. “Giles [Collard's husband] and I came across the festival on the Web, […]

Facing race

“When some people heard about the show and the subject matter, they were a little put off,” admits Lorraine Tipaldi, visual-arts curator at the YMI Cultural Center. Other people weren’t offended by the center’s latest art exhibit — until they actually saw the work, that is. Painter Beverly McIver’s interracial-love portrait with watermelon, for instance, […]