Culture watch

Making Papa Proud

It takes a certain kind of writer to wrestle the grit and guts of insight into a short story worthy of Hemingway, but Brian Railsback did. No doubt using his most terse and muscular prose, the WCU Professor of English penned the piece “Clean Break,” recently given top honors at the Ernest Hemingway Festival’s “Prose for Papa” short-fiction contest. Railsback will be a guest at the festival, which takes place in late September in Hemingway’s adopted hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho (his story will be published in the official festival guide and on the event’s Web site). According to advance press, Railsback is the second straight North Carolinian to win the award, which went last year to Raleigh-based writer Gregg Cusick. Interestingly, Railsback is most noted for his study of a major 20th-century writer — but it’s not Hemingway! The former Dean of the WCU Honors College is actually an expert on the works of Steinbeck, and was co-editor of the John Steinbeck Encyclopedia, released this year by Greenwood Press. His seemingly Hemingway-inspired first novel, The Darkest Clearing, was published by High Sierra Books in 2004.

Dude, Where’s My Band?

According to their blog, Asheville-based pop-punk/ska-wannabe band Dawn Of The Dude is planning to take a brief “break from everything.” No reasons were cited on the blog, and given that their overall fan support appears high, it’s hard not to speculate that internal tensions are to blame for the unexpected hiatus. One reason may be the increasing stress of the group’s recent touring schedule, which included a relatively high-profile performance at this year’s Bele Chere. Should they actually survive the break — anything but certain, given the constant flux of local pop-punk bands — the quintet plans to release a yet-to-be-named follow-up album to their debut, Release The Awesome, released on their own Rage Records. Learn more at

Be Careful Who You Ignore

Meanwhile, Sanctity, Asheville’s little-metal-band-that-could, is in the throes of what can only be called a surprisingly successful tour. Sanctity is slated to take the stage this September as a featured act on the Megadeth-headlined international metal orgy Gigantour, a two-month-long gig across the U.S., Canada and Australia. The band has spent much of the last few months in Florida recording their still untitled debut album, due in early 2007. Even given their overwhelming regional popularity, Sanctity’s promotion to mid-level thrash band is mildly shocking: They’re poised to become one of WNC’s most successful bands, second only perhaps to Gov’t Mule. Who knew? Learn more about the tour — which comes nowhere near us — at


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