Around town: Stewart/Owen Dance unveils new project

MAKING MOVES: Gavin Stewart and Vanessa Owen unveil their latest project — where i end, you begin — at the Wortham Center. Photo courtesy of Stewart

Stewart/Owen Dance will present where i end, you begin Thursday, May 9-Sunday, May 19, at the Tina Mcguire Theatre.

The six-dancer production is led by husband-and-wife duo Gavin Stewart and Vanessa Owen, who moved to Asheville in 2017, bringing along and recruiting a company of dancers to realize their artistic vision. The couple has also choreographed music videos for Moses Sumney, Sylvan Esso and Ben Phantom. Place features prominently in the ethos and performances of the dance company, inspired by the couple’s time in the Appalachian mountains.

“The vibrancy of this community, combined with our connection to nature, have inspired us to create work that highlights the interplay of the odd and the beautiful,” Owen says. “We believe WNC is a place where quality performing arts can thrive, and we want to make dance that lives here, not leaves here.” In April 2023, the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts commissioned a production from Stewart/Owen, featuring community collaboration and bringing them on as the resident dance troupe.

The Tina McGuire Theatre is an intimate performance venue in the Wortham Center, and Owen looks forward to the physicality of the space, which places the audience up close and personal with the dancers. She says it supports an experience of immediacy and interconnectedness, which is the theme of the performance. “The tone of the show is buttoned up, yet rough around the edges and off-kilter,” says Owen. “The dance is set to a folksy, energetic and whimsical soundtrack.”

The company also offers regular dance workshops and programming for schools, the YMCA and other community organizations, emphasizing the use of movement to tell stories. Performances of where i end, you begin will be at 8 p.m. with an additional 2 p.m. showtime offered on Saturdays and Sundays while the performance runs.

The Tina McGuire Theatre is at 18 Biltmore Ave. For more information, visit

Asheville Chamber Music presents piano-cello duo

The Canellakis-Brown Duo, composed of pianist Michael Stephen Brown and cellist Nicholas Canellakis, will perform at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville on Friday, May 10, 7:30 p.m.

The Canellakis-Brown Duo has been performing together for over 15 years, honing unique musical arrangements of classic pieces. They have been lauded by The Washington Post as “a pair of adventurous young talents who play with their antennae tuned to each other.” Their most recent recording (b)romance was released in March. The Asheville performance will incorporate nine pieces, including original pieces from the performers’ repertoire as well as rare and familiar classical pieces such as Claude Debussy’s Beau Soir, Lukas Foss’ Capriccio and Niccolo Paganini’s Variations on One String on “Moses” by Rossini.

Tickets are $45 for adults and $25 for children.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville is at 1 Edwin Place. For more information, visit

Mother’s Day comedy show

Slice of Life Comedy presents Not Your Mom Jokes, a Mother’s Day comedy show and open mic on Sunday, May 12, 6:30-9 p.m., at Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co.

The event, hosted by Hilliary Begley, promises plenty of mom jokes, drinks and dinner. Though the press release labels the show as “not safe for all moms,” new mom Becca Steinhoff is set to perform, alongside Carrie Adams, mother of twins, and Helen Jenny who says, “Hell no, I’m not a mom!” Following the performance, the mic will open for anyone who wants to share their best mom jokes. The event will take place in movie theater 2.

Asheville Brewing Co. is at 675 Merrimon Ave. For more information, visit

BirdFest comes to Dillsboro

BirdFest is coming to Monteith Farmstead & Community Park in Dillsboro on Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

This is the seventh annual BirdFest in Western North Carolina, celebrating all birds, especially migratory birds that reside in the region. “World Migratory Bird Day coincides with the return of our feathered friends from their overwintering locations,” says Hope Corbin, outreach coordinator for Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, a festival partner. “This year, the theme of the festival is ‘Protect Insects, Protect Birds,’ highlighting the important relationship that birds share with insects.”

In the spring, birds especially rely on insect populations as an important source of food for their nestlings. Mindfulness and conservation are key aspects of the festival, which features educational presentations on birds as well as vendors, food trucks, local artists, bird walks, crafts and games.

BirdFest is the culmination of WNC Bird Week, a series of free and donation-based bird and conservation-themed events throughout the region, including birding and songwriter meetups in Pisgah National Forest.

Monteith Farmstead & Community Park is at 1381 W. Hometown Place No. 316, Sylva. For more information about Birdfest and WNC Bird Week, visit

BPR announces new lineup

Blue Ridge Public Radio has announced that longtime music host Don Pedi will be moving his show, “Close to Home,” to WNCW starting Sunday, May 12.

According to a press release, the move comes as BPR prepares to split its content and offer two distinct broadcasting services to WNC: BPR News, which will feature local and syndicated news stories, and BPR Classic, which will feature exclusively jazz and classical music.

“It has been my privilege to serve as an on-air host at Blue Ridge Public Radio since 1985,” says Pedi in the release. “I am most grateful to WNCW for welcoming me into their lineup and for the opportunity to continue sharing what I consider to be ‘positive energy’ through music on the radio.” “Close to Home” features traditional American music and considers its influence on popular music. Pedi uses his decades of musical expertise to articulate similarities between American musical traditions and the musical traditions of other countries.

BPR has previously provided both musical and news coverage on a single station, serving 650,000 people in over 14 counties. The nonprofit organization is funded by listeners and regional businesses and other organizations.

For more programming information, visit

New gallery showcases butterfly art

A new gallery in the River Arts District will feature entomological and bird-inspired art, with a focus on butterflies.

Sam Trophia has loved butterflies since he was 7 years old and has been working with butterflies since he was 15. Before opening On the Wing Gallery with his brother David Trophia and his husband, Shane Hall, Sam co-owned a butterfly conservatory with Hall in Florida, where they stocked hundreds of pupae. He has also worked for the University of Toronto, locating the monarch butterfly overwintering site. He says these experiences put him in touch with the butterfly suppliers who made his art possible. Each of the butterflies used for his pieces is meticulously preserved, using sustainable farming and preservation techniques to replenish threatened butterfly species, removing the impact on wild populations while supplying scientific organizations, hobbyists and artists with a varied stock of butterflies. The farm-raised butterflies are preserved in acrylic cases.

In addition to the entomological creations, the gallery will feature custom jewelry by Deb Karash, Tony Perrin and David Trophia and artwork inspired by winged insects.

On the Wing Gallery is at 20 Artful Way, No. 105. For more information, visit

Movies in the Park schedule released

Asheville Parks & Recreation will kick off the summer Movies in the Park series in Pack Square Park on Friday, May 10.

The free movies are played on a large outdoor screen on the second Friday of each month. The APR Rec n Roll Play Zone opens an hour before the movies begin, offering games, music and themed giveaways for kids and teens. Food trucks will be available, along with local vendors Kona Ice of Asheville and Kernel Mike’s Famous Kettle Corn.

“The Asheville Parks & Recreation team creates each year with the goal of bringing community members together through the unique power of shared experiences,” says APR director D. Tyrell McGirt in a press release.

The showtimes are as follows:

May 10: Wonka (PG) at 8:25 p.m. Kids will receive free 2-ounce bottles of bubbles while supplies last.
June 14: Barbie (PG-13) at 8:45 p.m. The first 300 kids will receive free pink-and-black sunglasses with UV 400 lenses providing 100% ultraviolet A and B protection.
July 12: Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13) at 8:45 p.m. The first 300 kids will receive free Recycling Raccoon coloring books.
Aug. 9: Toy Story (G) at 8:25 p.m. The first 100 kids will receive rubber duck toys that change color in water.

Community members are invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs to Pack Square Park and are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes before the showing. Pets, smoking and alcohol are prohibited.

Pack Square Park is at 80 Court Plaza. For more information, visit


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