This weekend on a shoestring

Thursday, Aug. 4

Vanuatu Kava Bar (151 S. Lexington Ave. 505-8118) hosts Words Are Better Than War, an evening of poetry, music and short films. From the bar’s Facebook page, “Pasckie Pascua and Caleb Beissert traverse a lush geography of poetry and music: from Pacific Island monsoon sonatas and European city sidestreet dirges to the Bleeckers and North Beaches and Pritchard Parks of our American lives to the Lorcas and Nerudas of their aftermidnights … plus short films The Bridge, by Sheldon Schwartz, and A Prayer for Peace, by Dustin Grella.” 8 p.m. Free.

• Learn about the birds, bees, bats and flying squirrels that live in local forests as Blue Ridge Parkway Rangers host a family-friendly program about the flying creatures of the Southern Appalachians at the Parkway Visitor Center, MP 384 in Asheville. After the presentation, participants are invited to make stunt airplanes to mimic the animals’ flight. Free, but registration is required: 298-5330. 7 p.m.

• Puppet shows aren’t always lighthearted and silly, though they’re nearly always fun. See how these entertaining performances can address serious social issues as Firestorm Cafe (48 Commerce St. 255-8115) hosts the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army. “The tour stop will include a few different shows,” reads a release on the Firestorm website. “The feature show uses shadow puppets to outline the history of the Prison Industrial Complex, from antebellum slavery in the South to where it is today. The other two shows are a modernized Hansel and Gretel, as well as a rock opera featuring Ted, the anti-technology turtle. All of the shows are child friendly.” 7 p.m. 

• “The Blue Dragons blend the classic sounds and instrumentation of rock, blues, Americana and jazz into a vibrant and exciting live performance,” reads the local quintet’s bio. “The female vocals and accompanying harmonies are reminiscent of the late jazz divas; The Dragons combine improvisational acoustic and electric instrumental work to create an original sound from a familiar place.” Catch the band at Pisgah Brewing Company (150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, 669-0190). 8 p.m. Free.

Friday, Aug. 5

• Take in “a full evening of scenes and sonnets from the Bard’s folios” as The Montford Park Players present a return of The Asheville Shakesperience at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre in Montford Park. Performances are held through Sunday. 7:30 p.m. Free, but donations appreciated.

• “It’s two sisters, two brothers, four friends, eleven instruments, one fun little folk band,” begins The Vespers’ bio. “Callie and Phoebe Cryar have been honing their craft for many years having been brought up in a musical family and having the luxury of being born and raised in a city ripe with undiluted talent. Their vocal exchange and pure harmonies have been described as ‘two angels,’ ‘ghostly and haunting,’ ‘honey sweet’ and ‘serene’ … at a campfire jam one night, the girls met musical eyes with two long-locked boys who were doing their own thing around Music City. Taylor and Bruno Jones knew instantly that campfire jam was a fateful event. After a single show combining Taylor’s percussion and Bruno’s acoustic bass to the sisters sound, the band was set. The boys’ ‘tight and creative rhythm section’ is grounded in the earthy volume of the gritty southern rock and lowdown blues that they were gratefully exposed to at a young age. That raw approach to the music and to the live stage show was the missing ingredient to The Vespers’ overall approach that is said to be ‘reminiscent of hearing the words I love you’ for the first time.’” The Vespers visit Asheville for a show at Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Ave., 252-5445). 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 6

• Learn more about what goes into your favorite brews with a local hop and beer tour at Hop’n Blueberry Farm ( 24 Middle Mountain Road in Black Mountain). According to Pisgah Brewing Company (150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, 669-0190), “The tour begins at the farm, where owner Van Burnette will share information about growing hops from the ground up, taking us from the vine to the kettle. Participants will enjoy a complimentary sample of Pisgah’s wet-hopped beer, appropriately named ‘Burnette’s Brew.’  According to Burnette, ‘This is the best batch yet with a fresh aromatic taste that will delight anyone.’ The afternoon continues at the brewery where the tour will hear about hops from the kettle to the keg. Join us for this farm-to-table collaboration. ” 12:45 p.m. $8. 

• Put that summer tomato harvest to good use at the Transylvania Tailgate Market’s Summer Harvest Celebration and Salsa Contest. Connoisseurs of spicy sauces are invited to prepare at least two cups of their most delectable recipe to be judged as part of the afternoon event. First prize takes home a basket of “goodies” from market vendors. Info: 877-3796. 8 a.m.-noon.

RiverLink‘s Summer Film Festival continues at the organization’s Sculpture and Performance Park (119 Riverside Drive) with a screening of the family-friendly Disney classic An American Tale, the story of a “young Russian immigrant mouse who gets separated from his family and must relocate them while trying to survive in a new country.” Film begins at dusk. Free, but donations are appreciated.

• “By the year 1991 there was a sense of restlessness and frustration among rock music fans,” recalls a bio for Once, an Atlanta-based Pearl Jam tribute band. “Growing more dissatisfied with the legions of hair metal bands that clogged up the airwaves, they were ready for something new. A handful of people knew about what was already brewing on the Seattle music scene, but no one had any idea of the musical explosion that was about to rock the world. Pearl Jam’s album Ten is arguably the most important work of the entire 90s grunge movement.” Hear those songs performed live (without breaking the bank) as these die-hard fans revive Pearl Jam’s seminal album at Wild Wing Cafe (161 Biltmore Ave., 253-3066). 10 p.m. $5.


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