A&E roundup: Magnetic Theatre presents first live stage show since March

BACK IN MASKS: The Magnetic Theatre returns to live theater with the outdoor sketch comedy show "Crimes, Missed Demeanings and Videotape," Friday, Sept. 25-Sunday, Sept. 27. Photo by Tempus Fugit Design / Rodney Smith

The Magnetic Theatre continues to showcase its pandemic-sparked creative programming with a pair of shows over the next week. On Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m., Cameron Davis’ The Jingler will be livestreamed from the theater. The dark comedy peeks into the life of one prolific yet unknown man who’s responsible for every commercial jingle in history. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for members (maximum of four tickets).

And for theater-lovers who’ve missed in-person entertainment, Crimes, Missed Demeanings and Videotape will be presented live, Friday, Sept. 25-Sunday, Sept. 27, in the South Slope parking lot of season sponsors The Matt and Molly Team at Keller Williams (86 Asheland Ave.). The sketch comedy stage show draws inspiration from the likes of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” “The Carol Burnett Show” and classic “Saturday Night Live,” and is directed by veteran helmer Rodney Smith. It’s written by Adam Arthur, Anne Dickens, Stewart Goldstein, Tony Rivera, Ashley Scronce and Smith, who also stars alongside George Awad, Sonia D’Andrea, Sarah Felmet, Darren Marshall and Jason Phillips.

Performances are set for Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. Limited seating is $25 per person for up-front lawn viewing (attendees are asked bring their own chairs) or $30 per carload for “slightly-more-socially-distant” parked viewing. Member discounts are available for both ticket types. Mask and social distancing protocols will be enforced, and there will be temperature checks at the gate. themagnetictheatre.com

Words of wisdom

The Center for Cultural Preservation’s new short film, They Who Overcame: Stories of Hope and Resilience, will have its world premiere on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m., via livestream. The film focuses on how elders in Western North Carolina coped with major challenges, including pandemics and Great Depressions.

“It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the news, the pandemic, politics and difficult economic times. But what gives me comfort is understanding that this is not the first time our community has faced these issues,” says Center director and filmmaker David Weintraub. “When we don’t understand our local history and the resilience our community has shown in the past, we suffer. By learning how our recent ancestors overcame trials and tribulations, we have great emulative examples to follow to help us in today’s world.”

The screening will be followed by discussion and Q&A with Weintraub and a local elder. Suggested donation of $5 for individuals and $10 for households. All proceeds benefit the educational endeavors of the Center. saveculture.org

Natural wonders

The Madison County Arts Council toasts its latest art exhibit, Paradise, with an opening reception on Sunday, Sept. 20, 1-4 p.m., at the Arts Center in Marshall. Curator Sandy Melton of Blue Heron Whitewater describes the show as “a confluence of art and science, celebrating the rich web of biodiversity in this special place we call home,” and features paintings, 3-D art and information on wildlife migration. Public health and safety guidelines will be followed, and the exhibit will be up through Friday, Nov. 20. Free to attend. madisoncountyarts.com

The road to healing

Asheville-based author Anne Reeder Heck, whose rape survival story was featured on the front page on The Washington Post and led to an interview with Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America,” has now explored her ongoing journey in book form. A Fierce Belief in Miracles: My Journey from Rape to Healing and Wholeness will be published on Tuesday, Sept. 22. In it, Heck looks back on the incident — at the age of 26, she was on a bike ride in northern Virginia when a man stopped her to ask for directions, then violently beat and raped her — and, for the first time in a public forum, offers guidance and support to others who are healing from trauma. A free virtual book launch is planned for 8 p.m. on publication day. anneheck.com


Asheville-based filmmaker Kira Bursky and her frequent collaborator Robert Gowan have crafted a music video for Charlotte-based artist Kristen Lay. Gowan describes their work on “The Place Beyond” as “a dreamy video using projection mapping,” and the song itself as “an airy dream pop landscape that guides you into [Lay’s] world of transformation.” Lay’s full-length album Be More will be released on Wednesday, Sept. 30. avl.mx/8af


Former Asheville-based hip-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo recently won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest’s Grand Prize in the Children’s category for his composition “Imaginary Friend.” The international contest began in 1997 “to give songwriters an opportunity to express themselves, gain recognition and get their music heard,” and is made possible by Yoko Ono Lennon. “I like that an existentially weird song about the multiverse and what’s really real won the kids category,” Skidoo says in a Facebook post. “I think John Lennon must be smiling down from the sky, with Lucy and the diamonds.” secretagent23skidoo.com

Fringe 411

To better prepare artists looking to apply for the 2021 Asheville Fringe by its Wednesday, Sept. 30 deadline, the Fringe tech team of Jennifer Bennett and Morgan Biessert will host a free online “Drop-In Q&A” on Sunday, Sept. 27, 4-6 p.m. According to the Facebook event listing, Bennett and Biessert “will give an overview of options and answer questions, from beginner to the latest features. There will be several Fringe artists stopping by to share what they have learned in the last six months about what works and what doesn’t in the new world of online performance.” avl.mx/8ag


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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