Best Medicine: House a Cop Week could be Asheville’s next big thing

BRAINSTORMING SESSION: Comedian Cayla Clark, top left, is joined by her latest round of fellow humorists to brainstorm ideas for unique local music festivals and new types of weeklong citywide celebrations. Also pictured, clockwise from the top right, Helen Jenny, George Awad and Kathleen Hahn. Photo of Clark by Donnie Rex Bishop; all other photos courtesy of the comedians

Hello, dear readers! Spring is sprung AF, and the world is fresh and green and new. This is the perfect time of year to stroll an open-air farmers market, picnic at Carrier Park or impulse-buy a pair of roller skates (only to eat asphalt and quit moments after lacing them up for the first time).

Honestly, though, roller skating is hard. Too hard. I fell and skinned both knees almost instantly. Into the trash they went, along with my pride. All I want is to be one of those hot girls who roller skates through the River Arts District in denim booty shorts, listening to Thundercat, winking and smiling at every sweaty, shirtless jogger I pass. 

But alas, I will be sticking to crying indoors and hating myself (which is usually a wintertime activity).

Fortunately, this season I won’t be crying alone. Instead, I have three of my closest friends by my side, at least in spirit. Allow me to introduce Helen Jenny of Local Color Comedy. This stand-up comedian and show producer is hot on the scene and hot on the … eyes. Kathleen Hahn, founder of Dance Club Asheville and pole dancer extraordinaire, is one of the funniest human beings I know. She is also very hot. And the hottest of all, George Awad of Double Dip Productions, co-produces Blind Date Live alongside yours truly and puts on an impressive assortment of other well-loved local comedy shows, including “Appalaffin” and “The Hometown Show.”

These three gorgeous specimens are not just comedic powerhouses; to me, they are comedic powerhomes. 

Cayla: April showers bring May thunderstorms, torrential downpours and golf ball-sized hail. Oh, Asheville weather, you coy, fickle mistress. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the storms to pass indefinitely; bring on that sweet, sweet sunshine and all of the outdoor recreation that comes along with it. Unfortunately, as we all know, the French Broad River is straight-up poisonous. According to the 2023 State of Our Rivers Report, the Middle French Broad, which flows through Marshall and Asheville, had an average E. coli level nearly eight times the EPA standard. With this in mind, what’s your favorite “locals only” body of water that isn’t absolutely riddled with life-threatening bacteria?

Kathleen: This is not me hitting on everyone in Asheville at once, for the record, but my favorite “locals only” body of water is my hot tub. Swimwear: optional. Fun: nonnegotiable. But, yeah … so, just curious, what is everybody doing tonight?

Cayla: No shame in casting a wide net, Kathleen! I’m free — what should I bring?

Kathleen: Oh, giddy up, Cayla in my tub! You’ll need to bring your Hot Tub Club membership card, a pair of goggles, tub snacks (I’ll email you the list of snacks I prefer), some raunchy jokes, a Shewee and an open mind. Snacks are a pretty important part of the equation; it’s essential to bring things that you can enjoy when damp. For example, cheese and pretzel sticks are both tasty regardless of moisture levels. A loaf of Wonder Bread — no good. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to bring along some extra energy to do some weeding in my backyard after the hot tub session concludes. See, I love hosting, but I feel like I’m providing a service, so I request my guests complete a household chore in exchange. It’s only fair. 

George: Most bodies of water are just that to me: big holes in the earth filled with wet stuff. Don’t get me wrong, they can be scenic receptacles of nature’s fluid beauty. I could even enjoy myself being submerged in most of them (preferably the ones with a low E. coli level). I also love shrimp. But my fave “locals only” water holes all have bar stools and glasses filled with those little black sippy straws. The beer taps are minimal, but the liquor bottles are ample. The clientele and the decor are blissfully unfussy. And while most of these joints are at least mildly riddled by life-threatening bacteria, none of them have threatened my life yet. I would name some of these spots, but Asheville can be quite the small pond.  

Cayla: Give us one name, George! What’s your favorite locals-only watering hole, if you had to choose?

George: OK, fine. I do love me some Crucible. Poorly lit bars with no signage are a dying breed. 

Cayla: Down with signage! Well, I’ll be dragging my senior dog to Laurel River Trail, a family-friendly hiking spot right outside of Hot Springs. I’m hesitant to name-drop a really awesome body of water that might not be on everyone’s radar, but I’m sure most swim-hole-savvy locals have been to this gem. It’s imperative to find a secluded spot along the river, upstream from pee-happy children. One of the first times I was there, I was on a psilocybin-assisted mind journey with my pal Matt. We were sprawled out on a giant rock in the sunshine, talking about God and basking in her natural beauty. After about 30 minutes, a water-shoe-wearing woman approached us *squish squish squish* and immediately made herself comfortable. I didn’t mind, until she started telling us — in excruciating detail — about the last time she had been to Laurel River Trail. “I brought three ticks home,” she said. “They burrowed underneath my skin!” We got to hear about her subsequent experience digging the blood-thirsty insects from her flesh. Needless to say, it was horrifying … and kind of a buzzkill. 

Helen: I say, forget the French Broad and Laurel River; the real “locals only” hotspot is Beaver Lake! Why? Because it’s aggressively selective! Unlike Kathleen’s hot tub, which bubbles wantonly at any stranger’s toe dip, Beaver Lake’s got standards and a gaggle of hard-shelled homegirls to back them up. A young, rough-and-tumble group of turtles who enjoy martial arts and sunning their perineums dictate who’s stricken with the toxic algae ooze and who just enjoys a good dip. When Montana native Jack took a dip in 2021, he got the worst case of pink eye I’ve ever seen. Really disgusting stuff — though his local friend emerged smiling and refreshed. These dock-blocking turtles are just trying to get a message through our thick transplant skulls: Go home or go blind.

Cayla: AVL Beer Week just wrapped, and it’s possible that half of the town is still nursing a hangover. Because Asheville has more craft breweries per capita than nearly any other city in the country, this event certainly makes sense. However, as someone who doesn’t drink beer, I’d love to see the city host a different celebratory week. For example, Affordable Housing Week, which would raise awareness about the housing challenges many residents face while fostering community engagement and policy discussions aimed at creating sustainable housing solutions. Eh, no, that would never work. How about Tarot & Astrology Week, where Asheville witches set up little booths all over town and fill the skies with sage smoke? If you could implement a week, what would it be? 

Kathleen: I mean, I’m trying not to be biased, but what about Asheville Dance Week? I want to be entertained, and Netflix hasn’t been cutting it (not since I binged “Baby Reindeer,” at least). The rules for Dance Week are simple: You are not allowed to walk or run anywhere, you must dance everywhere you go. And if you’re not dancing, you get arrested. Not just arrested, actually — arrested and yelled at. The arresting officer will have to loudly shout something like, “WHAT, YOU DON’T LIKE TO DANCE, LITTLE DANCER BOI?” Maybe if you don’t want to spend the night in jail, you have the opportunity to compete in a break dance dance-off with the officer right there on the spot. If you win, you remain a free man. If you lose, you are handcuffed and laughed at. Doesn’t that sound entertaining?

Cayla: It definitely sounds entertaining, but we might run into some trouble with the whole “getting arrested” part. As reported by Xpress in April, 86% of Asheville police officers live outside city limits, and police patrols are down 40%. Which brings me to my next point — House a Cop Week. Similar in theory to international exchange student programs, House a Cop Week requires all Asheville homeowners to open their home to one police officer from June 3-7. In exchange for providing said cop with room and board, each household is allowed to commit up to five petty crimes. These can include (but are not limited to): disorderly conduct, jaywalking, a drug-related infraction (marijuana only), petty theft (WalMart only) or one minor traffic offense. 

George: Speaking of traffic offenses — how about Turn Signal Awareness Week?

Cayla: What’s a turn signal?

George:  Sigh.  

Helen: Asheville folks love manifestation, positivity and gratitude, so I suggest we get all that crap out of our systems during “YAAAS QUEEN (and others) Week.” Local retailers will sell out of vision boards pretty quickly, so we’ll just have to turn our front doors, sidewalks and public toilets into Mod Podge collages of our dreams and ambitions. We’ll exercise our gratitude for others with expressions of love like: “Slay the day, goddess (or Mr. Goddess)! You’re as stunning as the Biltmore Estate … at least from what I can see from behind the gated entrance.” Or, “You’re as resilient as the French Broad River, BABY! We keep dumping, and you receive our abundance with grace. After a breakfast of tires and an agricultural bin fizz, you only swell higher, you fabulous flow queen!” If we reiki with enough oomph, the E. coli should dissipate by week’s end.

George: “Agricultural bin fizz” is upsetting imagery, Helen. I will say, I do like the idea of Dance Week. During that week, it would be city law that you cannot cross the street without being waltzed or tangoed across by a municipal civil servant dance partner. And all vehicles would have to install hydraulics so that everyone’s cars shimmy like they do in a Dr. Dre video, circa 1995. Yes, I am that old.   

Kathleen: I’m with you, George — although I’m much, much younger. I think strictly ’90s hip-hop should be playing in every establishment for Dance Week.

Cayla: Looking ahead to another seasonal event, the first round of AVLFest tickets was recently released. The four-day, venue-based music festival will take place Thursday, Aug. 1- Sunday, Aug. 4, and the lineup includes a variety of local, regional and national artists. With over 20 local venues, there is certainly no shortage of space for musical talent to shred, jam, gig and groove. Personally, I think AVLFest should throw in some secret locations that are announced to ticketholders the day of the show. For example, imagine Papadosio performing live behind the meat counter at Ingles. What a dream. Or, local band Magenta Sunshine tearing it up in the Hot Spot parking lot on New Leicester Highway. If you could pair any local or regional artist with a unique Asheville locale, who would you pick and where would you put them?

George: I think Asheville’s underrated funky neo-soul, blues duo Smooth Goose, doing a minitour of area urgent care centers would be a soulful remedy for everyone in the waiting room. There’s nothing like toe-tapping grooves and layered harmonies to make filling out that same damn clipboard of paperwork go by faster. Maybe the Goose can also provide a melodic backdrop standing behind the doctor as he tells you that you contracted gonorrhea … again. That would make the news a little less painful and a little more funkadelic. 

Helen: I’d like to see local musician Lo Wolf mentor the litter of red wolf pups (who were born at the Western North Carolina Nature Center last year) to form a sultry new set of backup howlers. They’re close to extinction, so a cool Lo Wolf and the Red Wolves revamp may be just the ticket to boost their numbers. Red wolves will become highly sought-after mates, like the Beatles but for wolves. And Lo will cement her spot as howl queen, a well-deserved honor. As for where I’d like to see their inaugural performance, probably somewhere big, like the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. I’d suggest a similar route for another fantastic local band called Tall Tall Trees. Rustling leaves are today’s tambourine. Save the oxygen-producing percussionists (trees) and boogie! They could play at any/all of the 436 Airbnb tree houses scattered around Asheville. 

Kathleen: How about having DJ Lil Meow Meow play at the Asheville Regional Airport; or better yet, inside one of the jets headed to Barbados? I think that would be a great selling point for ticket buyers. I would buy a ticket to AVLFest just for that, especially if the tropical vacation was included in the ticket price. Nothing says “I love and support Asheville” like utilizing the local airport to get TF out of dodge.


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One thought on “Best Medicine: House a Cop Week could be Asheville’s next big thing

  1. Frank

    Was everyone naked while learning about the tick problem? Appreciate the fresh reminder to check out Lo Wolf etc. Love that these talents are all about town. The FB is soon to have a wave park installed so we can expect a corresponding wave of rashes infections and the like. Thanks, so funny!!

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