Thursday, Nov. 10
Fans of tender art-folk (think The Swell Season) definitely shouldn’t miss John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light. The Denver-based band fill their songs with beautiful harmonies and an array of instruments (e.g., cello, guitar, keys, glockenspiel). Here’s some high praise from The Onion (seriously): “With all the craft of a consummate songwriter, John Common builds songs that dig beneath thick skins and lazy thinking. He deconstructs them with the abandon of a mad scientist, resulting in [music] that’s as rich in texture as it is drenched in tenderness.” Catch them at The LAB (39 North Lexington Avenue, 252-0212). 10 p.m. $5.
Friday, Nov. 11
“You have been working way too hard lately and you deserve a day to relax in the park, hang out with your friends and enjoy the pleasant sounds from a number of local bands and musicians, who will be very purposely succeeding in penetrating the ear holes of ecstatic victims who will be moved into a blissful dance unsuspecting as the music makers open their minds to take them higher than that!” So says the Facebook page for the inaugural Higher Than That Music Festival. The all-day event will kick off at 11:11 a.m. in Pritchard Park, and feature bands like Makayan, John Wilkes and the Black Toothe (pictured), Spicy Moustache and the Flavor Saviors and many more. Free.
For those suffering from the post-Halloween blues, you can still get your spooky fix at the second annual Arts of Darkness group show at PUSH gallery (25 Patton Ave., 225-5509). “Spawned from the dank cavernous bowels of the netherworld in the final days leading up to All Hallow’s Eve,” reads an email from the gallery, “the Arts of Darkness 2 slashed its way into PUSH gallery on October 28th with artwork from eleven of the most torturously talented artists ready to wreak havoc on your retinas. Come one, come all but be forewarned, this show is not for the faint of heart.” The exhibit runs through December 1st. Free.
As if there wasn’t enough great music going on this weekend, don’t miss this excellent (and eclectic) local line-up at the Emerald Lounge (112 N Lexington Ave., 232-4372), featuring The Critters, RBTS WIN, Zombie Queen, and Albert Adams (of recent LAAFF fame.) “This genre-spanning lineup is a veritable showcase of Mountain Xpress Best of WNC readers poll finalists,” says the press release. 10 p.m. $5.
Saturday, Nov. 12
So how many pancakes do you think you can eat in a day? Well, here’s two great reasons to find out. FATZ restaurant (5 Spartan Ave., 665-9950) will host Short Stacks for Big Change, a pancake breakfast fundraiser to benefit The Smoky Mountain Toy Run. Tickets are $7. And on the other side of town, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (223 Hillside St., 252-6512) will sponsor an all you can eat pancake day for $5 (children under 12 free). Both of the syrupy-goodness events start at 8 a.m.
“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grow up moving from home to home? Have you ever thought about how you would manage if you didn’t know where you were going to end up or who was going to care for you – if anyone? And have you ever considered what an incredible opportunity you have to make a difference in the life of these children? Come learn how you can change a child’s life forever” at the Foster and Adopt Fall Festival happening at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (1 Resort Drive). “Drop in anytime to learn more about foster parenting and about the older children who are waiting for adoption. There will also be crafts for kids to do, giveaways, face painting and more!” 2-5 p.m. Free.
And if you’re in the mood for something uniquely Asheville, check out this weekend’s River Arts District Studio Stroll. “The first, largest and most walkable tour of working artists’ studios in the region, the River Arts District Studio Stroll takes place in 19 historic buildings along the French Broad River,” says the website. “There will be artists’ demonstrations and hands-on activities throughout the weekend.” It’s a great chance to check out some of the amazing art being created in our little city, and maybe even pick up a one-of-a-kind, locally-made gift for the holidays. The stroll will be rolling Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.
Who’s faster: Superman or Wonder Woman? Does The Flash ever get winded? Could the Green Lantern beat Captain America in a foot race? And can Batman outrun anybody? Find out the real answers to all your comic book questions at this year’s Superhero 5K. It’s free to watch, and a lot of fun to cheer on your favorite costumed runners. The race kicks off at 4:30 p.m. at the downtown Asheville Brewing Company (77 Coxe Ave., 255-4077) and runs through Montford.
No wonder loons are the stuff of legends. With their eerie calls and striking red eyes, the unusual (and common) waterbirds sound like the stuff of imagination. And you can track some down this weekend during the Loons of Lake James Boat Tour.
“Join Park Ranger Earl Weaver on a boat ride to search for the loons that frequent Lake James during the winter months,” reads the press release. “Discuss how they survive during their winter migration and how they use the resources at Lake James to help them through the winter.” Bringing water, binoculars, a camera and a towel or cushion to sit on is recommended. The tours meet at 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, in the Paddy’s Creek Area office of the Lake James State Park. Call 584-7728 to register. Free.
Sunday, Nov. 13
Thanks to the guys at Harvest Records, Christmas will once again come early for all you audiophiles, vinyl geeks and anolog anoraks at the fifth annual Asheville Sound Swap, happening all day at the Grey Eagle (185 Clingman Ave., 232-5800). “Save up your pennies and update that wish list, because the best, baddest Record Fair in all the land is almost here,” reads the press release. “Harvest Records and Tomentosa Records are proud to again present 40 tables of vinyl, vinyl and more vinyl (and some cds too!) for you fiends and freaks out there. Tons of the south’s finest record stores, record dealers and record nerds converge for an all-out extravaganza of rare vinyl, not-so-rare vinyl, all the missing pieces in your collection and all the groove warmth you can fathom.” 11 a.m – 5 p.m. Free admission.