Around town: An evening of scary stories from Appalachia

GATHER 'ROUND: Delanna Reed shares scary stories outdoors at dusk at the annual Evening of Storytelling event. Photo courtesy of Vance Birthplace State Historic Site

Do you wonder what otherwordly beings roam Asheville’s surrounding hills after dark? If so, you’ll have a chance to learn more at the annual Storytelling at Vance Birthplace on Saturday, Oct. 21, 7-9 p.m., at the Vance Birthplace State Historic Site in Weaverville.

The free program, held outdoors around a campfire, will feature Delanna Reed, a member of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild and faculty member of the East Tennessee State University Storytelling Program. Reed will tell seasonally appropriate folk tales highlighting ghosts, witches and other supernatural entities.

“Our purpose at the Vance Birthplace is to preserve and interpret Appalachian history and culture, so this event fits into that mission,” says Lauren May, site manager. “Place is significant in a lot of the stories Dr. Reed shares, and many of the stories are traditional tales from Western North Carolina. Being outside on the land while enjoying these stories builds a more tangible link with the past — and with the people who shared these stories across the generations.”

Although Reed tells tales with connections to people or historical themes associated with the site, none are directly related to the property, adds May.

The stories are suitable for ages 12 and older. Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair.

The Vance Birthplace State Historic Site is at 911 Reems Creek Road, Weaverville. For more information and to register, visit

Queer Girls Literary Reading in the RAD

The 14th annual Queer Girls Literary Reading, co-hosted by author and UNC Asheville English professor Lori Horvitz, will be held Sunday, Oct. 22, 5 p.m., at Tyger Tyger Gallery in the River Arts District.

Six to eight local and regional authors will speak on a range of work relating to the queer experience. Previous stories have explored crushes, dating mishaps and coming to terms with being queer.

While the event’s title refers to “queer girls,” Horvitz adds that anyone who identifies as feminine is invited. “We go out of our way to find all representations of queer female-identified folks. We want to celebrate identities in a supportive environment.”

Horvitz began the readings in 2009, inspired by a similar event held at Phil Mechanic Studios. “[The reading is] important for the community, important for others who are still questioning their own identity,” she says.

The event is free, with a suggested donation of $5-$10.

Tyger Tyger Gallery is at 191 Lyman St., Suite 144. For more information, visit

Wilde in the round

UNC Asheville’s theater department opens its season with Moisés Kaufman‘s Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, on Thursday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., at the Carol Belk Theater.

The play, which interweaves actual courtroom testimony with excerpts of Wilde’s writing, tells the true story of the author and playwright’s prosecution for his relationships with Alfred Douglas and other men.

Set in the round, the show removes the “fourth wall” between actors and audience, inviting viewers to be voyeuristic while participating as jurors. Characters will walk among and address attendees directly.

“This production is intended to engage audiences in challenging existing biases, [while] promoting empathy and support for marginalized communities,” says Stephanie Hickling Beckman, director.

The production runs through Sunday, Oct. 22.

The Carol Belk Theatre is at 1 University Heights. For more information, visit

New name for Cherokee museum

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian has a new name and visual rebrand, as was publicly announced on Oct. 9, Indigenous Peoples Day.

The 75-year-old institution, located on the Qualla Boundary — the sovereign land of the federally recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians — is now ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏗᏴᏫᏯᎯ ᎢᎦᏤᎵ ᎤᏪᏘᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏙᏗ or “Museum of the Cherokee People.” Pronounced “idiyvwiyahi igatseli uweti asquanigododi” in Tsalagi, or Cherokee, it translates to “All of us are Cherokee people. It is all of ours, where the old things are stored.”

The contemporary rebrand logo was created by museum in-house designer Tyra Maney (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Diné).

“I feel [the new name] is inclusive,” she says in a press release. “With the word ‘Indian,’ some Cherokee people like it, some are indifferent, and others don’t identify with it — I felt like it wasn’t representative of our community if the museum had a name that excluded part of our community. A lot of times Cherokees are depicted as historical figures, and we even have visitors who don’t always know we’re still here. I hope this gives a new meaning and new interpretation of who we are as people and shows that we’re constantly changing and adapting.”

The Museum of the Cherokee People is at 589 Tsali Blvd., Cherokee. For more information, visit

Inspired by the Hendersonville community

Local poet Tony Robles will launch his new collection, Thrift Store Metamorphosis, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 1 p.m., at The Buzz in Hendersonville.

Robles is the Carl Sandburg Writer in Residence. He says his poems were inspired by the Hendersonville community as seen in a local thrift store, where he worked while pursuing his master’s degree in creative writing.

“I saw profound and poignant things … things that, for me, defined a community,” Robles says in a press release.

The Buzz is at 225 S. Grove St., Hendersonville. For more information on the book, visit

RAD ceramists win ‘Crammy’ award

Brian and Gail McCarthy, founders of Highwater Clays and Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, will receive the 2023 “Crammy,” the John Cram Arts Leadership Award. ArtsAVL will present the award at its annual State of the Arts Brunch on Monday, Oct. 30, 10:30 a.m., at The Orange Peel.

The couple began their business blending clays in a cooperative studio along the Swannanoa River shortly after arriving in Asheville in 1979. Now, Highwater Clays is nationally known for its high-quality wet clays, which are processed on-site, as well as for its glazes, underglazes, tools and equipment. “We continue to support clay and clay artists to the best of our ability,” says Gail in a press release.

Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, which focuses on making ceramic arts accessible for all, offers professional development for K-12 teachers, a free therapeutic program for veterans, a residency for early-career ceramic artists, mentorships for high school students and children’s programming.

The McCarthys also started the River Arts District’s Studio Stroll.

The McCarthys were “instrumental in the creation of the River Arts District Artists,” says Julie Ann Bell, president of River Arts District Artists Inc. in the same press release.

For more information, visit

— with additional reporting by Murryn Payne 


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About Andy Hall
Andy Hall graduated from The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. After working at the United States Capitol for ten years, she has returned to her native state to enjoy the mountains — and finally become a writer.

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