Asheville, you’ve changed!

On a recent visit to Asheville, I was surprised at the changes that have taken place in the “Paris of the South" in the year since I moved away. After living here for four years, I came to the conclusion that there was very little about the overall structure [of] Asheville that is sustainable; I have suffered through the agony of relocating to a place where the wind chill gets below minus-30 degrees for real life improvements.

From the local media, I saw that Pastabilities was shutting down — with no mention of places like the Village Wayside [in Biltmore] adapting to the economy. In other media outlets there are [stories] that fit a very specific image [of Asheville] and that artists of all types will be milled through. Even if artists moved to Asheville last month and leave the next, they are considered "local," which disregards the efforts of the actual local artist community that struggles to survive. Asheville seems to represent a microcosm of the larger global economy: catering to the interests of the wealthy while Rome burns.

I'm really not sure how much longer the town itself can sustain the image that has made it such a popular destination without really doing some serious self-examination. It’s great that the Biltmore [Estate] exists, but does the entire culture of Western North Carolina have to pivot on making rich people feel better about themselves by hiding away from any of the help? Are there any technology groups in the classifieds? Where are the green jobs? What about the smart grid? To sit back and allow the [class] disparity to widen in Asheville is beyond hypocrisy for the liberals and progressives, and gets at the very core of the unemployment, homelessness and all the other unstable features Asheville has to offer the working class.

— Dallas Taylor
White Bear Lake, Minn.

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20 thoughts on “Asheville, you’ve changed!

  1. Curious

    Whatever happened to Dallas Taylor’s plans for an Asheville Music Hall of Fame?

  2. Ken Hanke

    Isn’t Mr. Taylor the fellow who once complained about not being able to cash his paycheck in Asheville at 2 a.m.? Do they do that in White Bear Lake?

  3. Killarue

    So, you relocate to improve your lot in life, only to continue to hold onto past negativity and some sort of beef with this city. Sounds pretty sad to me, Mr. Gloom and Doom. On a brighter note, you wouldn’t be much warmer here this week. Egad, it is cold!

  4. chalkbox

    Pastabilities shutting down is the beginning of the end of Asheville!?! Did you ever eat there?

  5. Killarue

    I thought that I read Pastabilities was closing due to the owners plan to renovate the building. It is difficult to run a business in a construction zone, I think. However, I do hope that they decide to open again, and in W. Asheville.

  6. Well Tayor it’s pretty sad when you bring up Pastabilities when there are a ABUNDANCE of GREAT restaurants in and surrounding Asheville. Ever heard of the AIR (Asheville Independent Restaurant) Association?

    Before you write a bitter letter about Asheville, you should take a really hard look at yourself.

  7. TokyoTaos

    Dallas says, “To sit back and allow the [class] disparity to widen in Asheville is beyond hypocrisy for the liberals and progressives …”

    He seems to expect OTHERS to make Asheville what he wants to be. It’s easy to live in a place for a mere four years and then leave and complain. It’s much more meaningful (and harder) to stay and work towards change.

  8. Ashevegasjoe

    Pastabilities closed for the same reason most restaurants close–their food was terrible. You can only sell frozen lasagna and canned tomatoes as long as you have no competition. Now that there are other, decent restaurants, they couldn’t compete.

    Also, I haven’t been in town for four years like the writer, I’ve been here for 19, and the economy has vastly improved, and for the most part remained stable during the decline the rest of the nation experienced.

  9. Dallas Taylor

    Actually, I was not being negative when I mentioned that Pastabilities was shutting down. Talk about taking something out of context, the very next words in the damn sentence says “with no mention of the Village Wayside”. A comment on the media only showing the negative as if there’s no positive things happening. The following is the original letter before a revised version was sent back for my approval, leaving out information that is helpful for the local musician/artist community. Oh, as long as we’re all giving each other advise, how about you all get over yourselves and consider that maybe there’s room for improvement.

    [On a recent trip over the holidays, to visit friends and family in Asheville, I was surprised to find the changes that had taken place in "The Paris of The South" over the year that I had been away. After living here for 4 years I came to the conclusion that there was very little about the overall structure of the community that is sustainable and have suffered through the agony of relocating to a place where the wind chill gets below -30 degrees for real life improvements. From the local media I saw that Pastabilities was shutting down with no mention of places like the Wayside Village adapting to the economy. In other media outlets there is a disturbing trend that lends itself to pieces that fit a very specific image and that artists of all types will be milled through and even if they moved to Asheville last month and leave the next, they are considered "Local Artists" while disregarding the efforts of the actual local artist community who all struggle to survive. What Asheville seems to be experiencing is a microcosm of the larger global economy, ie. the interests of the wealthy constantly being catered to while Rome burns. I'm really not sure how much longer the town itself can sustain the image that has made it such a popular destination without really doing some serious self examination. First of all, its great that the Biltmore exists, but does the entire culture of WNC have to pivot on making rich people feel better about themselves by hiding away from any of the help? Are there any Technology groups in the classifieds? Where are the Green Jobs? What about the Smart Grid? To sit back and allow the disparity gap to widen in Asheville is beyond hypocrisy for the Liberals and Progressives of all shapes and sizes and gets at the very core of the unemployment, homelessness, and all the other unstable features Asheville has to offer those of lesser means (or wasn't born into money like George Vanderbilt). With my fist in the air, I tip my hat to Mr. "Grandpappy" Pyle and encourage him to unite the musician community in Asheville, an "Impact Study" to show the economic power of the musicians would be a great place to start. I can't believe how many button down shirts there are in Asheville after only one year.]

  10. YesDallas

    What is Asheville if not a hotbed of hypocritical elites who demand a Utopian dream that they are not willing to support? That has become its identity.

    “Keep _______ weird” … it’s a fill-in-the-blank bumpersticker.

  11. PSDallas

    Asheville didn’t really change in the last few years, you just got to know her better.

  12. Candyland

    Really? Was it the unfortunate closure of Pastabilities that prompted Dallas Taylor to write this? Surely Taylor can give us more examples of how our fair city (PLEASE do not refer this place to Paris any longer – because it is nothing like Paris) let him down, and continues to cover up the fact that maybe it lost its “joie de vivre” to the tourism machine and rough economy. Is the enlightened Dallas Taylor suggesting that we are nothing more than a village of phonies swallowing our artistic fantasies along with our favorite pasta joint?

    I genuinely agree with Taylor in that the area media pumps out or allows select information to sway the public, local and visitor, in certain favorable directions. I agree also in that sustainability is touted around here like a big enlightened freedom flag, but sustainable-anything is not upheld or practiced by many. In fact, it offends me that Asheville calls itself a green city. But by no means is all this unique to Asheville, North Carolina.

    Dallas Taylor, above and beyond any citizen paying rent, taxes, utilities and/or mortgages in Asheville, needs to get real. Welcome to the American city, USA. It’s easy to come over and critique in passing, a city you spent four years in and then left. It’s a much bigger task to be an active participating resident of any community and actively attempting to bring to light serious issues to fellow neighbors.

    In fact, I find it oddly comical that Taylor breezes through town and then feels the need to bitch about a place he is no longer all that familiar with. I’m sure White Bear Lake has plenty of it’s own issues to tackle. Why doesn’t he head back up there and get involved?

    (I’m from up that way, in fact, but it never crossed my mind to complain publicly about my old midwestern stomping grounds, seeing as I’m no longer involved in that Wisconsin community).

  13. BigAl

    “What is Asheville if not a hotbed of hypocritical elites who demand a Utopian dream that they are not willing to support? That has become its identity.”

    I disagree with the use of the term “elites” in this statement.

    The elites, during their 6-month residency away from Florida, enjoy private, often gated, communities and entertainment venues away from downtown or with attached garages (DWT) to keep themselves away from the unsavory Utopian lotus-eaters. Their privelaged behavior is entirely consistant with their lack of desire to support their half-time home. Noblesse Oblige is, after all, a European affliction. We’re ‘Mericans, dang it!

    The Utopian full-time locals are also consistant in their Marxist demand that the elites pay a greater share (from each according to their ability) for the community which they, the Utopians, are best suited to lead and design (to each according to their needs).

    Neither side are hypocrits, they are being true to themselves.

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