Culture watch

Unto These Marketing Awards

Each year, the Southeast Tourism Society picks 13 of “the best and brightest in the tourism industry” for their annual Shining Example Awards. It’s not exactly clear what makes one seeming tourist trap more spiffy-keen than another — perhaps a per capita ratio of gimmicky boutiques? — but whatever it is, Cherokee has a double helping of the stuff. They took home two awards: The “prestigious” Travel Attraction of the Year award and the Visual Excellence award, beating out similar spots in 11 states. However, the real winners here aren’t the folks in Cherokee, but Asheville-based PR firm the Goss Agency, a group of ex-Atlanta marketing types who have spent the past six years trying to make every aspect of WNC culture into a marketable brand name. No word yet on their “Candler is for Canoodling” campaign.

It Came From MySpace

“I am the fading voice of my generation,” writes my new favorite Asheville-based author Randy Moser on his MySpace blog. “I seek to declare myself in late fall 2006 with the forthcoming book, The Vanished Messenger, published by 1195 Press.” The book is supposedly about the “cohorts of Generation X as they explore coast to coast in search of their place in the broken landscape of the American Dream,” but I’m really thinking it’ll be an overlong semi-autobiographical novella about some dude’s personal issues spelled out in yawn-inducing detail. Oh, and it’s also maybe a ghost story, too. Or maybe it’s about the 1960s — it’s kind of hard to tell, actually. But watch your back Augusten Burroughs, there’s a new edgy personal essayist on the case. Learn more from the voice of this practically unknown generation at www.myspace.com/vanishedmessenger.

Westville Sound Explosion

OK, the headline is a bit much, but there are a lot of interesting new albums coming out of the Haywood Road music scene. For instance, westbound rockers Agralola will be releasing their self-titled debut this week. The 10-track, 55-minute album was recorded at various studios in the area and includes live recordings from the Westville Pub. Another Westville Pub favorite, Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work, will be releasing their debut sometime before the end of the year. The 11-track album was recorded at Silvermine Studios in Marshall, and is still without a title at press time. And West Asheville’s reigning folky girl-group, The Barrel House Mamas, is soon to issue Gathering. The debut was recorded at the Acoustic Music Room, and is currently slated for release in mid-October at the Grey Eagle.

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