Around town: Black History Month celebrations, live theater, virtual concerts and more

LIFE’S WORK: Local entrepreneur and artist Crystal Cauley, back row, third from left, considers spotlighting African American culture through creative writing and spoken word poetry as part of her life’s work. Last year, she launched Rise Up: A Celebration of African American History and Culture. This year, the event returns via Facebook Live. Also featured in last year’s group photo, back row from left: Etta Robinson, Linda Smith, Cauley, YaShara Lynch, Compton Chiles Tucker, Tijuna Green and Josh Williams; front row, from left: Charne Tucker, Tiara Channer and Karen Hayes-Roberts. Photo by Tony Shivers, Still Smiling Photography

Rise Up: A Celebration of African American History and Culture

For a second consecutive year, Crystal Cauley, founder of Black Business Network of Western North Carolina and the Black History Collective of Henderson County, will present Rise Up: A Celebration of African American History and Culture. The virtual gathering, she says, “focuses on African American culture in a positive way.”

Highlights from this year’s event include a musical performance by the Agape World Outreach Praise and Worship Team, a dance recital by Indian Jackson, a talk by storyteller and poet R. “Zack” Zachary and poetry by Cauley.

“The name Rise Up speaks for itself,” says Josh Williams, the event’s host. “We must rise up against racism and stand together in unity. I feel that this program is also very educational and a way for the African American community to express themselves and present our culture to others so that they can learn as well.”

Watch the event on Facebook live at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, via Crystal Cauley’s personal page. To learn more, visit

Asheville Wisdom Exchange

A new virtual series, the Asheville Wisdom Exchange, launches via Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. The free event will feature a talk by Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, a Native American physician and author of several self-help books, who will discuss the healing power of story and connection. For more information, visit

The Magnetic Theatre launches 2021 debut

The Magnetic Theatre will host its first live performance of the 2021 season with its Saturday, Feb. 27, debut of something i cared about. The play explores the evolution of a single relationship over the course of several decades. The production will be staged across a portion of the Reed Creek Greenway in the Montford neighborhood with multiple actors portraying the play’s two leading characters. Audiences will walk roughly two miles as they observe the couple’s story unfold at different sections of the greenway.

“While partly inspired by COVID precautions, our choices for this show have turned out to mean so much more,” says Katie Jones, the theater’s artistic director. “We hope that audiences are inspired by the many forms that love can take.”

Staggered performances will run each Saturday and Sunday through March 13. The production runs between 60-75 minutes. Masks are required. Tickets are $23 per person; $20 for members. For additional information, visit

The Meccore String Quartet

The Asheville Chamber Music Series will present a free online concert by the Meccore String Quartet with two evening performances on Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. and an afternoon broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m.

“This young ensemble is recognized for its flawless technique, visionary interpretations and breathtaking performances,” says Marilynne Herbert, vice president of the Asheville Chamber Music Series. “They have become one of Europe’s most compelling ensembles.”

The concert, recorded exclusively for ACMS, will feature recitals of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Quartet in G major, Op. 18, No. 2; Wolfgang A. Mozart’s Quartet in D major, K. 575 and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikowsky’s Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11. Donations are accepted. For additional information, visit

Lazy Diamond closes

After six years, the Lazy Diamond, 98 N. Lexington Ave., announced on its Instagram page that the downtown music venue and bar is closing. Wednesday, Feb. 24, is its final day of service, 4-9 p.m. According to the social media post, COVID-19 restrictions influenced the decision. But upcoming plans for the venue remain in the works. “We have some really cool dreams about what we want to do with the space and, we’re excited to have more good times in the future,” the post notes.


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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