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For photos of blue swimsuit-clad models doing water ballet and shots of some of the world’s coolest art (and local artists hanging out with it), be extra sure to check out www.mountainx.com this week. We put together a gallery with the artists’ pics of what they saw at Art Basel Miami Beach, arguably the most important domestic art fair.

Dancer Janice Lancaster will perform as part of freedom of information 2008.

Satellite Gallery owner Bill Thompson took a crew of Asheville’s finest down to Miami this year. Thompson is earning a reputation for taking Asheville artists under his wing and showing them the sharky world of marketing and art business. “We were quite the buzz,” Thompson reports.

In other news, we’re happy for 2009—it rhymes with fine and wine, for example, which is good. And we’re hoping for some change this year, so New Year’s Eve has a special importance to it. If you’re still looking for something to do, check out our New Year’s roundup.

Country/folk/zydeco jammers Donna the Buffalo‘s two-night stint at the Orange Peel will feature some special guests. On Dec. 30, the opening spot belongs to a veritable variety show of local acts: Woody Wood, Josh Phillips Trio, Mad Tea Party (MTP play the next night’s New Year’s blast with Larry Keel and Natural Bridge at the Grey Eagle), and an old-time string band featuring Trevor Stuart, Cary Fridley, Meredith McIntosh, John Herrmann and Ira Berstein‘s traditional Appalachian clogging.

Donna has longtime Asheville connections (current and former members live here, along with many fans) as the addition of the so-called Asheville revue (emceed by WNCW host Martin Anderson) shows.

For a more sobering New Year’s, visit the freedom of information 2008 event. Part performance, part ritual, part protest, for 24 hours, dancer and choreographer Janice Lancaster will perform continuously while blindfolded and earplugged.

Other artists across the nation will be doing the same, creating freedom of information 2008, an artistic act of solidarity with those displaced by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lancaster will represent North Carolina by performing at the Black Mountain College + Arts Center on Broadway.

The event—held at sites across the country—culminates with the midnight arrival of 2009. The artists’ continuous movement and sensory deprivation is designed to focus on the “dislocation and disorientation” of those who don’t have the basic right of being safe for even a day, according to the event’s organizers. The threat of violence keeps them moving constantly, and freedom of information is a reminder of that.

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