Party with the best on Sunday, Oct. 25

Back in the day, Xpress rewarded its reader-voted Best of WNC winners with (curb your enthusiasm) a plaque. That's cool and all, but most of us would agree that nothing says "Congratulations!" quite like a big fat party. So, last year Xpress got thinking, not only is the Best of WNC winners circle populated by talented folks, but when we're talking musicians, artists, dancers, chefs, bakers and brew masters, we're pretty much talking about a ready-made celebration. Food, drink and entertainment: The only missing ingredient is an audience to enjoy the revelry.

Cookie LaRue

That's where you come in. For all of your hard work voting in that seemingly endless online poll (2009 brought an unprecedented number of categories), you deserve a chance to reap the rewards. The 2nd annual Best of WNC Bash is slated for the Orange Peel on Sunday, Oct. 25. It's a full evening (6-11 p.m.) of dancing, snacking and plenty of surprises. Here's what's in store:

Best band nobody's heard of yet Skinny Legs and All brings the blues and classic rock with a heavy-hitting sound far beyond their tender years. (In case you didn't know, this accolade-garnering group is all teenaged, but you'd never know it to hear vocalist Jesse Barry howl the Bill Withers jam "Use Me.") Explosively hot jazz act Firecracker Jazz Band (best blues/jazz/soul Hall of Famer) brings its high energy New Orleans-inspired sound to the stage. Tubas, banjos, cornets, oh my! At the top of its game, Firecracker recently released the smokin' album Red Hot Jazz; the group's Best of WNC party set promises to be ablaze.

Other entertainment will be provided by the likes of Montford Park Players (a fight scene!) LYLAS (all-female comedy!) and irreverant antics by Best drag performer winner Cookie LaRue, who will also MC the event.

Is all this upcoming excitement making you hungry? Local eateries including The Lobster Trap, Mela, Doc Chey's, Jersey Mikes, Mamacita's, Asheville Brewing Company, Rosetta's Kitchen, Jack of the Wood, City Bakery Cafe, Wasabi, Laughing Seed, Tomato Cucina Latina and The French Broad Chocolate Lounge will all serve up tasty treats.

There's a raffle, a slide show, art by Gabriel Shaffer and more on the bill, but perhaps the best part of all this best-ness is that the evening benefits best do-gooder group MANNA FoodBank. A barrel will be available at the event to collect canned and nonperishable food items; proceeds from the event will also be donated to MANNA. Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 at the door and can be purchased at the Orange Peel box office and the Mountain Xpress office at 2 Wall St. in downtown Asheville.

More information at; e-mail us at or call 251-1333.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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One thought on “Party with the best on Sunday, Oct. 25

  1. I am very happy that Cookie LaRue has received such acknowledgement and will be MCing the Best of Bash. Cookie, aka Michael Sheldon, has put in years of entertaining in this town. His performances are a lot more than just a funny drag show. They are original and bitingly witty.

    One of my best memories of Cookie is when Miss LaRue was doing an improv in the front window of the old O.Henry’s (downtown Haywood St., close to the Civic Center) and was talking to people as they were leaving a symphony concert. I stood across the street, watching and laughing hysterically. Those poor folks had no idea what they had just witnessed. Too bad for them. They passed Cookie as swiftly as possible. Never breaking stride, Cookie continued on to “irritain” the next group of passersby. Hats off to you, Cookie, dahling.

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