Around Town: DIYabled stages second annual Disability Pride Art Show

INCLUSION NOT INJUSTICE: Priya Ray, founder of DIYabled, must use a wheelchair as a result of an accident at an Atlanta skateboard park in 1990. Photo courtesy of Ray

July is Disability Pride Month, marking the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. In celebration, local nonprofit DIYabled will hold its second annual Disability Pride Art Show at Different Wrld in West Asheville on Sunday, July 30, 4:30 p.m.

The show, held in partnership with Iowa-based arts nonprofit This Body Is Worthy, will honor the rights of disabled individuals through the power of art. Twenty-five artists, writers, video artists and dancers will exhibit their talents.

Priya Ray, DIYabled founder, fell through a skateboard ramp in Atlanta in 1999, causing a spinal cord injury that resulted in her having to use a wheelchair. Ray, an artist and musician, was already part of a DIY community, which creates space for artists to express themselves without corporate support.

“After I became disabled, I became aware immediately of how inaccessible almost everything is and how little people knew about the rights of disabled people. After the ‘bathroom bill’ passed — a bill that limited the bathroom rights of the transgender community — I thought about how my bathroom rights as a disabled person were violated daily. That is when I decided I needed to speak out about disability rights [and] created DIYabled.”

“Disability on the Spectrum,” a documentary film created by Ray that features disabled people and their experiences, will be shown during the event.

“My mission is to have a community that includes disabled people,” says Ray. “We all must make sure that our streets, sidewalks, schools and stores include every person in [our] communities — not just some.”

Different Wrld is at 701 Haywood Road, Suite 101. For more information, visit

Terpsicorps toasts to 20

Professional contemporary ballet company Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, founded in Asheville, is celebrating its 20th season with a grand performance of Cleopatra at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts from Thursday, July 27-Saturday, July 29, at 8 p.m.

The Terpsicorps production is an interpretation of the Shakespeare play “Antony and Cleopatra,” but artistic director Heather Maloy chose to remove Antony from the title.  “As soon as I started researching Cleopatra, it became very obvious to me that it would be unjust for her to share the title with anyone,” she says. “I think she would appreciate it.”

Maloy conducted research for a year, which included a five-day boat trip down the Nile River that followed the same route Cleopatra took with Julius Caesar. “Everything about our trip inspired me, and I feel that there is a hint of that experience in every aspect of the show,” she says. “What is amazing is that many of the sites she toured with him were already in ruin then and were built as far away from her time as her time is [from ours]. I’ve tried to incorporate that heavy weight of time that you feel when you are within a structure that people have been standing in for 4,000 years.”

The production will feature a two-story set, lavish costumes, five projection screens and dancers from around the world. “This is the largest and most ambitious production I have ever created,” says Maloy. “I feel that my career as a choreographer has been leading me to this point. The costumes, set, projections, music, dancers, lighting — even the scents of the time wafting through the theater — it is all coming together to be a one-of-a-kind spectacle.”

Terpsicorps, which is known for casting ethnically diverse dancers, is based in Asheville and also has a location in Winston-Salem.

The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is at 18 Biltmore Ave. For more information, visit

A party of firsts

Southern rock, gospel and blues musician Kevin Daniel will celebrate his first label album release at the One Stop at Asheville Music Hall on Friday, July 28. The free show will begin with singer-songwriter Ashley Heath at 10 p.m., followed by Daniel and his band, The Bottom Line, at 11:15 p.m.

The album, The Life & Adventures of Kevin Daniel, is produced by Arden-based Organic Records, which is also Heath’s label. Daniel says it’s his first created with multiple co-writers and his first where he covers another artist’s song. It includes well-known and respected musicians such as keyboardist Kevin Williams of Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters, keyboardist Aaron Price, steel guitar master DaShawn Hickman and guitarist Patrick French.

“A lot of this is new territory for me, and I think that’s what excites me the most,” says Daniel. “I really wanted to touch on a lot of different parts of my life — including love, touring and the struggles I face as a musician pursuing his dreams.”

The One Stop at Asheville Music Hall is at 55 College St. For more information, visit

Booking it

Two local women authors will hold book launch events at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe early next month.

Lauren Yero, whose book Under This Forgetful Sky is a young adult science fiction novel about two futuristic star-crossed teens in love, will converse with New York Times bestselling, local young adult author Megan Shepherd on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at 6 p.m.

Meagan Lucas is the author of Here in the Dark, a collection of grit-lit stories set in Southern Appalachia. She will speak with Asheville horror and dark fantasy author Nathan Ballingrud on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 6 p.m.

Yero says her novel “is full of acts of resistance, longing and questions about the state of our world and its future.” She says publishing her first book came with a learning curve. “I never realized how involved authors are in helping their books find the right readers, and I’m still learning how to do this in ways that feel right for me,” she says. “But the most surprising thing has been seeing just how many people make their mark on a book before it goes out into the world. It makes me so grateful … that this story gets to live on bookshelves for anyone to discover.”

“It’s wonderful because as a writer there is [nothing] much better than being able to share your work, than connecting and feeling heard,” says Lucas. “But it’s also terrifying because the stories in Here in the Dark are so deeply personal. They are my hope and fear, my desire and pain, my entire heart on paper. It’s an intensely vulnerable position to be in, and I’m not quite comfortable with the public nakedness, yet.”

Both events will be hybrid in-person and online. Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe is at 55 Haywood St. For more information, visit

Lake monsters

Approximately 200 revelers are expected to dress in costume and participate in the third annual Lake Monster Parade at Lake Tomahawk Park in Black Mountain on Saturday, July 29, at 10 a.m.

New this year is music by Brass Your Heart marching band and The Upbeats Ukulele Band. Food truck Voodoo Roux will sell New Orleans Creole cuisine.

This free event is put on by a team of local volunteers with the aim of providing a summer activity for local families. It was started by Jeannie Regan, director of UNC Asheville’s SkillSet program; Theresa Fuller, owner of Arbor House of Black Mountain; and Bethany Boyle, owner of DotDot Crafters Club. “I came up with the idea when I was working as a summer camp instructor,” says Regan. “I realized the cost of summer camps was becoming so high that camps were out of reach for a lot of families, and that meant many kids didn’t have much to look forward to doing over the summer.”

The organizers chose the monster theme in homage to the legend of an extra-large snapping turtle that lives in the lake.

“We need more activities for our community that encourage people to be creative and silly,” says Regan.

Lake Tomahawk Park is at 401 Laurel Circle Drive, Black Mountain. For more information, visit

Documentation series offered

Monday, July 31, is the deadline to file a statement of interest for the In these Mountains Community Documentation Workshops, a training series presented by the N.C. Folklife Institute and the N.C. Arts Council.

The workshops, which will be presented in Thursday evening training sessions from August to October, mostly in Cherokee, are open to residents of Western North Carolina “who are interested in the preservation of the culture and traditional arts of our communities.” Training will be offered in research skills, interviewing methods and ethics, archival techniques, photography and videography. A $300 research stipend will be awarded to participants who complete the full workshop series.

For additional information and to obtain an application, contact Sarah M. Sneed, project facilitator,, 828-269-8346; or Olivia Phillips, Folklife intern for the N.C. Arts Council,

Applications may be completed online at

Andy Hall


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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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