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 […]

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 […]

Old habits: A five-year hiatus did little to cool the chemistry between Nickel Creek's members. They celebrate the band's 25th anniversary with an album and tour.

Five cents worth

Nickel Creek’s reunion tour stops in Asheville Five years ago, Nickel Creek — one of the most respected young acoustic bands in America — called it quits. Now, to celebrate 25 years since that band formed, its members have regrouped with a brand-new album, A Dotted Line, and a tour. They’ll swing through Asheville for […]

Photographic memory: The late singer-songwriter Jason Molina, far right, appears with Magnolia Electric Co. Members of that band and other Molina collaborators have teamed up for a tour. Photo by Will Claytor

No good in goodbye

In the second verse of “Farewell Transmission,” one of the late Jason Molina’s finest compositions for his band Songs: Ohia, his voice starts to shake. “After tonight, if you don’t want this to be,” he sings, trembling on the word “be,” as if it’s all he can do to shape these words, to hear his […]

Joke’s on her: Dar Williams imagined she’d write books about natural food and play music on the side. Her career turned out to be the exact opposite, not that the well-respected singer-songwriter is complaining. Photo by Amy Dickerson

Folk-famous

When Dar Williams (who plays Saturday at The Grey Eagle) released her debut album, The Honesty Room, in 1994, she was pretty sure any career she might have would come from writing books about natural food stores. The music thing, she imagined, would probably just be something she did on the side. She showed up […]

Backing the campaign: The Swayback Sisters bring haunting harmonies and a deep catalog of traditional tunes to the Love Offering.

This little light of theirs

On May 11, less than a week after Amendment One passed, local singer/songwriter Laura Blackley (Swayback Sisters), her partner Cindy and six others were cuffed and carted off by the Asheville Police Department. When the Register of Deeds denied them a marriage license, they refused to leave without one. It was part of an action […]

Good night, Doc-attachment0

Good night, Doc

By now, you’ve probably heard music legend Arthel “Doc” Watson died last night at the age of 89. He was surrounded by friends and family near his home in North Carolina. I’ve been trying to think of how best to mark his passing — a musician who redefined the way an instrument was played, but who also always, without exception, delivered the music for the sake of the music.

Good vibrations

A man is lying on a table. Another stands over and behind him, reaching under a sheet with a sort of pole rammed into the lower half of the first man, in a place where … well, we can only imagine where. (This is theater, after all.) They pause for a note from director Angie […]

Music as message: Mipso feels artists have a social obligation to share their feelings about not only broken hearts, but the broken world. Photo by Leon Godwin

“When silence is betrayal”

Mipso Trio’s first gig back in 2010 was a benefit show for an on-campus organization at UNC. Their second was a fundraiser for the Hope Chest in Asheville. Considering this, it’s hardly surprising the Chapel Hill-based bluegrass troupe is rolling back through this mountain burg, fusing its upcoming CD-release party at the LAB with an […]

Most wanted: While recording their latest album, Now You See Them faced some big questions about life, sacrifice and electric guitars.

This is what they want

Once upon a time, all three members of Asheville indie roots band Now You See Them were deported from Australia. But, there’s more to the twisted, meandering tale of how they became the band they are today — and came to record a definitive full-length album titled What We Want (dropping April 20 with a […]

Review: Love Child-attachment0

Review: Love Child

Plays about life in the theater can feel a little cliché — the easy image of the play-within-the-play dating back to Shakespeare, and beyond. For an audience of non-actors, such storylines can be a little too self-absorbed to be relatable. Fortunately that’s not the case with Love Child, now at N.C. Stage.