A launch, an anniversary and a closing

Cut and Paste — PUSH's first flyer, circa 2005.

Jargon #116

For the first time in nearly a decade there’s a new Jargon Society number rolling off the press. Corn Close: A Cottage In Dentdale, otherwise known as Jargon #116, debuts Thursday, June 18, at The Captain’s Bookshelf.

The book is both a photographic and literary homage to a small 17th-century stone cottage in Yorkshire, England — Corn Close — and its most famous residents. Author Thomas Meyer lived there with his lifelong partner Jonathan Williams, an Asheville native, Black Mountain College alumnus, poet and founder of the Jargon Society. For nearly 40 years the two split their time between that house and their permanent home in Highlands.

Corn Close is the creative brainchild of New York City-based rare book dealer James Jaffe, who was introduced to Williams (or JW as many called him) by Chan Gordon, a co-owner of The Captain’s Bookshelf. “James became enamored by Jargon, Jonathan, Tom and the whole world they lived within,” Gordon says. “After Jonathan passed, Jaffe decided he wanted to do a photo essay book.” The book features photographs of the house and property by Rueben Cox and accompanying essays by Meyer and Anne Midgette, a journalist and friend of Williams and Meyer.

“Corn Close began as a literary invention,” says Midgette in her essay “Substantiating The Cottage.” Williams slyly included a 17th-century stone cottage in England as one of his residences on the back panel of his 1969 poetry collection, An Ear in Bartram’s Tree. At the time it was a hopeful bit of creative license. But a few months later, Meyer and Williams boarded a ship out of Savannah, Ga., and headed for England, where they soon found a cottage. Don Anderson, a friend and New Mexico-based painter, financed the renovation. The house became a literary destination for writers of all kinds, from Black Mountain College students and alumni to the beat poets.

Williams, who died in 2008, founded the Jargon Society in 1952 as a publishing outlet for the avant-garde fiction, prose and poetry being created by Black Mountain College’s literary community. The Jargon Society catalog and publishing rights transferred to the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in 2008 by arrangement of Meyer, who remains at the creative helm.

The Corn Close book launch is on Thursday, June 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Captain’s Bookshelf, 31 Page Ave. in downtown Asheville. Jaffe, Meyer, Midgette and other BMC and Jargon affiliates will be in attendance. For information, email captsbooks@aol.com. captainsbookshelf.com

Still PUSHing

As online retailing continues a takeover of the book, art supply and music industries, skate shops prevail. There are a few online skate retailers, and they do have an impact on brick-and-mortar stores, says Rob Sebrell, owner of PUSH Skateshop and Gallery (now entering its 10th year of business), but nothing can match the community built around the neighborhood shop.

To celebrate its anniversary, PUSH is debuting its second full-length skate video, Left On Red, and PUSH: A Retrospective at PUSH Gallery, an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia. The video premieres on Friday, June 19; the exhibition opens the next night.

“In the world of skating, everything starts with the skate shop,” Sebrell says. The storefront allows access to a town’s network of skaters, skate spots, video and arts scenes and potential sponsorships — things you can’t necessarily get online. The owners of PUSH, which doubles as a fine arts gallery, have also given home to, and enriched an artistic faction within, the local skate scene. Skate and street art paralleled skateboarding since its inception in the 1940s and rise in the ’70s. Skateboard decks are synonymous with illustration and the graphic arts, as are the clothes, gear, advertisements, video designs and skate locations. In a decade, PUSH Gallery has displayed the works of more 100 artists.

The exhibition will be divided. One wall features scene and shop photographs by Mike Belleme (who co-curated the show), George Etheredge and Logan Khidekel. The other half of the show includes a decade’s worth of posters, graphics, fliers and leaflets, articles and shop ephemera. Most of that content comes from a scrapbook that Sebrell and his co-workers have compiled. It will also offer a glimpse into former Xpress writers, such as Connie Bostic, who penned the first review of a PUSH art opening, and early articles by Carol Motsinger, formerly of the Asheville Citizen-Times.

“We’ll also have photos and pieces from our favorite skate spots around town,” Sebrell says. “Anything that represents some little bit of time past.” A lifelong skater with a fine arts degree from Appalachian State University, Sebrell moved to Asheville in 2004. He opened his shop just a year later in an effort to permanently bind both of his interests. “Those are my two passions: skateboarding and art,” he says. “They’ve always been linked, and PUSH was the best way that they could exist together in one space.”

Left On Red premieres Friday, June 19, at 9 p.m. at Asheville Music Hall. PUSH: A Retrospective at PUSH Gallery opens on Saturday, June 20, 7-10 p.m. pushtoyproject.com

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About Kyle Sherard
Book lover, arts reporter, passerby…..

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