LOVE COLLECTION: A showcase of local hip-hop artists seconds as a fundraiser for LEAF Schools and Streets, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and the Jewish Community Center. From left, Brian Bullman, Henter Bennett, DJ Ra Mak, Austin Haynes, Alpha Lee, Big Dave, Chachillie, Diggy and Bryan Colston perform as part of For the Love of Music at New Mountain. Photo by Tim Robison

Many splendored things: Valentine’s events in and around Asheville

To those who think the celebration of romantic love is just a Hallmark company construct: not quite. Since the 1700s, lovers have been giving each other handwritten cards, flowers and sweets. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Valentine’s Day cards were mass-produced. But 200 years of tradition doesn’t mean you have to give in […]

Image from rantsports.com

Superbowl XLIX companion: a game day guide to Asheville’s cheap booze, good eats and big screens

While nacho stains are certainly more socially acceptable in the comforts of one’s own home, why not venture out for some game day antics this year? Super Bowl XLIX, New England Patriots versus Seattle Seahawks, kicks off Sunday, Feb. 1, at 6:30 p.m., and Asheville-area businesses have planned a variety of celebrations to suit your football fancy.

Abby "The Spoon Lady" and Chris Rodrigues perform.

Asheville Buskers Collective continues discussing downtown busking issues

On Tuesday, Jan. 20, several members of the Asheville Buskers Collective met in the conference room above the French Broad Food Co-op for a post-holiday regroup, aiming to find consensus about what buskers do, who buskers are and whether (and how) enshrining their needs in city ordinances is a realistic possibility. Several weeks after a previous […]

Image courtesy of Asheville Wing War

Asheville Wing War approaches its fourth year of competitio­n

So far, confirmed warriors include Mojo Taco Lounge, Luella’s Bar-B-Que, Haywood Lounge, the Social, Foggy Mountain Brewpub, Scully’s Bar and Grill, King James Public House, Moe’s Original Bar B Que, Creekside Taphouse and the Barleycorn. A few additional competitor slots remain, and three of the listed participants — Barleycorn, Moe’s and Creekside — are in the game to defend a title.

Regi Carpenter, photo by Dede Hatch

Talk it out: Storytelli­ng workshops and monthly events begin Jan. 24

A story slam is like a poetry slam only — and this is probably the obvious part — with stories rather than poems. The story is rated by the audience or a panel of judges, and prizes (or at least bragging rights) are at stake. To that end, Black Box Storytelling Theater presents two workshops led by Regi Carpenter, a professor of storytelling at Ithaca College.

The Resonant Rogues play at New Mountain on Sunday, Dec. 14 and Cork & Keg on Friday, Jan. 2. Photo of the Resonant Rogues from their website

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features the debut full-length studio album of local act Resonant Rogues, a healthy deli’s management transition, expansion by a vintage clothier and an online music subscription with a twist.

KEYS TO HER HEART: Hearts & Plugs recording artist Grace Joyner plays a Casiotone organ from the '70s that she received as a gift. “I ended up really loving it. I’m a big fan of eerie, romantic sounds,” she says. “If I didn’t play the organ, I’d feel like something was missing.” Photo by Apartment A

Grace Joyner headlines Hearts & Plugs showcase at New Mountain

If singer-songwriter Grace Joyner’s path to fronting a band meandered a bit, the end justifies the means. Her debut EP, Young Fools, is eloquent and self-possessed without being overworked or overwrought. The coolness of the spacey keyboard tones and shimmery percussion is well-matched to Joyner’s simultaneously rounded and remote vocal. The musician — who plays […]

KNOW HOW TO WORK IT: Big Freedia, one of the only bounce artists with prominent national exposure, teaches fans to lose themselves in the music with sage advice such as “release your wiggle." Photo courtesy of the musician

Big Freedia, Queen of bounce, plays New Mountain on Sept. 30

It’s just after noon on the final day of 2013’s South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The fatigue that the marathon music festival inflicts is readily evident in a grand ballroom in Austin’s labyrinthine convention center. A small crowd has gathered to watch New Orleans rapper Big Freedia (pronounced FREE-duh) perform a daytime set, but their […]