This weekend on a shoestring: May 26-26, 2011

Thursday, May 26

• “Having spent his musical adolescence in Pennsylvania playing in punk rock bands, Brian McGee is not the most natural figurehead for a movement of new Americana rock,” reads his bio. “But after living in Western North Carolina for the last ten years and absorbing the sounds and culture of the region, McGee has milled a new angle into his songwriting palette and taken to fusing his punk rock heritage to raw country sounds.” McGee brings his energetic brand of Americana to the French Broad Brewery (101D Fairview Road, 277-0222) on Thursday. 6 p.m. Free.

Photo by Sandlin Gaither

• “Spork! represents the artistic collaboration of some of the most in-demand musicians in the region to create original, spontaneous and exciting acoustic music,” claims a release for the band’s upcoming CD release show at Mo Daddy’s (77 Biltmore Ave., 258-1550). “Members of Spork! have lent their musical ability to such artists as Grammy-winning pop star Michael Buble, legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb, as well as a host of popular Asheville-area groups like stephaniesid, the Archrivals and Jar-e. Spork! incorporates all of these experiences and influences into a sound that’s both jazz-drenched and funky, simultaneously cerebral and soulful. Think Art Blakey meets James Brown with a sprinkle of Radiohead, and youʼve got Spork!” 9 p.m. $5.

Mr. Lif has been churning out socially-conscious hip-hop since the mid-nineties, releasing three full-legnths, two EPs and a host of singles and collaborations over the past decade. Much to our surprise (and delight), he’ll perform an intimate set alongside Asheville’s own Vice Squad (featuring Foul Mouth Jerk and Topr) and Raleigh’s Mad Rabbi at Mellow Mushroom (50 Broadway St., 236-9800). 10 p.m.

Friday, May 27

• Music, food, outdoor activities and vendors; what more could you ask for? If this sounds enticing, head over to Carrier Park in West Asheville for the annual Mountain Sports Festival, featuring Sanctum Sully, The Broadcast, Woody Pines, Kellin Watson and more. The three-day event will also include rock climbing, cycling, frisbee, dodgeball and a triathlon. See website for a full schedule of events. The festival kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. Free.

• “In playback theatre, personal stories from audience members will be transformed into performance pieces, accompanied by improvised music,” reads the Asheville Playback Theatre‘s website. “As always with playback, the teller’s story will be honored both as a personal event and as a moment representing our shared experience. In a playback gathering, it is not unusual for audience members to exclaim ‘but this is my story too!’ Through sharing our local experiences, the company hopes to create a meeting ground for the Asheville community, a place where differences can be shared and better understood.” Don’t miss your last chance to take part when the troupe takes the stage of the Asheville Masonic Temple (80 Broadway St., 252-3924) for its final performance of the 2010-2011 season. 8 p.m. $10, but no one turned away.

• Take in dozens of dozens of short films, animated features, documentaries and more at the 17th annual Twin Rivers Multimedia Festival , a three-day, juried competition to be held at Asheville’s Courtyard Gallery (109 Roberts St., 273-3332). The festival kicks of Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a short reception, featuring drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Free.

Push Skateshop (25 Patton Ave., 225-5509) is more than a place to pick up new boards and shoes. The downtown storefront also hosts monthly art openings. This weekend, the Neon Heathens exhibit will decorate Push’s walls, featuring the work of nearly 10 local artists, including Gabriel Shaffer, Andy Herod and Jesse Reno. The reception will also include a special poetry reading by Nathanael Roney and music by Lovett. Drinks and light hors d’oeuvres will be served. 7 p.m. Free.

Saturday, May 28

• Still haven’t finished your summer planting? Not to worry. The 18th annual Garden Jubilee Festival‘s got you covered. Hosted on Main Street in downtown Hendersonville, the two-day event will feature more than 200 vendors offering plants, garden accessories, food, crafts and more. Experts will also be on hand for free lectures and casual planting advice. 10 a.m. Free.

• Downtown Brevard will celebrate the city’s beloved mascot this weekend with the 8th annual White Squirrel Festival, a two-day event featuring more than a dozen local musicians (including Acoustic Syndicate, Jill Andrews and Town Mountain), a 5K/10K race, a soap box derby, a downtown parade and more. No dogs or alcohol allowed. 11:30 a.m. Free.

• You’ve probably seen Soft Opening frontman Jamie Hepler serving drinks or spinning records around town (he booked shows at the now defunct New French Bar, held a weekly DJ residency at The Vault and now lends his talents to Arcade Asheville). This weekend, Hepler will celebrate his true passion with the release of Soft Opening’s debut full-legnth, a dark and ominous collection of tunes in the vein of doom metal and stoner rock, though decidedly slower and more melodic. Held at The Grey Eagle (185 Clingman Ave., 232-5800). 9 p.m. Free.




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