Culture watch

Arise From Your Grave!

It’s kind of hard to be sarcastic when you’re talking about people’s hopes and dreams. But, in the case of the recently announced Ghost Town movie, it’s equally hard not to. When Maggie Valley tourist magnet Ghost Town in the Sky closed in 2002, the impact on the already struggling local economy was severe. Hundreds of jobs were lost, along with hundreds of thousands of tourist dollars. And then came Ghost Town, a low-budget film that will use the closed theme park as both thematic heart and primary filming location. With two (count ’em, two) first-time directors and a cast that includes not-so-heavyweight performers like Dolly Parton’s sister (Stella Parton), a grown-up Wally from Leave It To Beaver (Tony Dow), and starring Herbert “Cowboy” Coward (best known for his role as “Toothless Man” in Deliverance — his only other film role, actually) as a mountain man out for revenge, it’s not looking like a summer blockbuster. The filmmakers recently told Haywood County newspaper The Mountaineer that they hope the film will “create a form of visual art equal to a $5 million Hollywood production.” While all the signs point to “straight-to-DVD” for Ghost Town, things are actually looking up for the theme park itself. Ghost Town in the Sky recently received a $6.7 million USDA loan (with the backing of Congressman Charles Taylor) and will reopen to visitors next spring.

The Silliest Jihad

Recently, a hacker — or, more likely, a group of hackers — identified as “crackers_child” infiltrated the Flat Rock Playhouse’s Web site. Using broken English, the hack was presented as part of a “Cyber-War” to prevent people from saying “untrue things” about the prophet Muhammad and “Yslam” [sic]. Crackers_child appears to have been behind a rash of such “internet graffiti” recently, and a search on Google shows hundreds of nearly identical attacks that have taken place in recent months. When asked why an Islamic hacker would single out secular Flat Rock Playhouse, staffer Sharon Stokes replied, “It’s the same to me as being tagged with gang graffiti. Who is even to say that the hackers are even actually Islamic? It’s really easy to hide behind that mask.” The attacks do, however, appear to be related to a Turkish “hacktivist” site,, which hosts instructions on how to do exactly this kind of hacking.

Art For Insomniacs

Meanwhile, local artist Karina Padgett recently won a spot in the national Red Bull Art of the Can competition, in which participants make visual art from discarded cans of Red Bull brand energy drink. Padgett’s creation, “Rock Hard with Red Bull II,” is a seven-foot guitar sculpture made from 275 cans of the drink. Her creation will be on display through Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Atlanta’s Mason Murer Fine Art gallery.


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