Around town: New books, Shakespeare, fundraisers and more

ANIMALS AND NUMBERS: Transylvania County youth services librarian Laura Gardner recently celebrated the release of her debut children's book, Blue Ridge Babies 1, 2, 3. Photo courtesy of Gardner

For nearly 10 years, Laura Gardner, a youth services librarian, has been sharing her love for storytelling with the children of Transylvania County. In time, this passion for literature led Gardner to try her hand at writing a kids book. This March, Page Street Kids Publishing released her debut work, Blue Ridge Babies 1, 2, 3.

The rhyming text introduces kids to 10 different animals native to the Appalachian Mountains with illustrations by Stephanie Fizer Coleman. Gardner has also recorded a song and video based on the book, working with several local musicians, including Nikki Talley, Ty Gilpin and Gardner’s husband, Tim.

“I hope parents and kids will take away a love and appreciation for the Appalachian Mountains and the opportunity to explore the power and beauty of language,” says Gardner. “Music only enhances a child’s assimilation of language, and this book is essentially a love song to my home.”

On Wednesday, April 14, at 10 a.m., Gardner will read her book and share her song during Miss Malaprop’s virtual storytime, hosted by Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café. To learn more, visit avl.mx/96c.

Popcorn Sutton

Speaking of books, North Carolina photographer, filmmaker and author Neal Hutcheson recently celebrated the release of his latest book, The Moonshiner Popcorn Sutton. A biography, the work includes photographs and interviews with the late Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, the infamous moonshiner from Haywood County. WNC author David Joy and Penn State anthropologist Kirk French contribute to the book as well. To purchase a copy, visit avl.mx/96d.

‘Comedy of Errors’

Shakespeare goes virtual Thursday-Sunday, April 15-18, when the Blue Ridge Community College theatre department presents Comedy of Errors. The one-act production will feature interactive elements, including a game of bingo, says Jennifer Treadway, the show’s director.

“In these Zoom times of theater, I think the most difficult challenge is how to engage the audience, particularly when the language can be tough to understand,” Treadway says.  “Because of this, I thought it particularly important to focus on the slapstick elements that are inherent in all Shakespeare comedies.”

All three performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom. For more information or to reserve your free ticket, contact the theater department at js_treadway@blueridge.edu.

Call for artists

On April 23, The Center for Art & Entertainment, 125 S. Main St. in downtown Hendersonville, will reopen. The center is currently seeking artists to create original works on the surfaces of 62 wood tables placed throughout the space to allow safe social distancing. Artists will work with table sponsors to create a design that will feature the sponsor’s name or company logo. According to a press release, sponsors may provide artists with concepts, but “the artist is creating an art piece, not a billboard.” Each design will include the artist’s signature; artists will also receive a voucher for two complimentary tickets to a show of their choice. To apply, call 828-698-8547 or email info@thecenterai.com.

Asheville Area Piano Forum

On Sunday, April 11, the Asheville Area Piano Forum will premiere its 15th annual Spring Benefit Concert on YouTube. The virtual, prerecorded performance will feature AAPF pianists William Bares, Kimberly Cann, Elizabeth Child, Luke Shaver and Wayne Smith. Tickets are $20. All proceeds go to scholarships for local children to receive piano lessons. The concert link will remain active until Sunday, April 25. To purchase tickets, visit avl.mx/96j.

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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 and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, comes out on March 23, 2021.

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