(SATIRE) Crowd-source campaigns worth the ante

DAZE LIKE THESE: Showing his love for Asheville, actor Woody Harrelson picks this city to open a CBD oil shop. Supporters of the cause can earn perks from a raw food tasting to a Maui vacation. Sort of. Photo of Harrelson in the films 'Wilson' courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures Photo by Kimberly Simms. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Inspired by “Emily Dickinson’s Patreon” by Riane Konc in The New Yorker, Xpress dreamed up four arts-related Kickstarter projects (led by local and international personalities) that would surely be worth funding — if only for the choice perks.

The high life

Campaign: Hey Asheville! It’s your old pal, Woody Harrelson. As you might have heard, your generous microbrewery scene prompted me to take a break from drinking a couple of years ago after having a few too many during the production of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but you know I still love you! And as most of you also know, because you’re all smart people, Hawaii wouldn’t grant me a permit to open a marijuana dispensary, so I’m turning to my second favorite place to open a CBD oil shop. I’m thinking West Asheville or somewhere on Lexington Avenue but can be persuaded otherwise. Anyway, to help get that project going, I’ve thought up some rewards that I think you’ll enjoy.

Pledge $10 or more: I will personally make Martin McDonagh rename our most recent movie Three Billboards Outside Sylva, North Carolina. The original title doesn’t make any damn sense considering where he filmed it. Have you been to Missouri? There aren’t mountains like that down there. And like I told Marty when I signed on, “If you’re trying to make a statement about the South, that’s great! You’re already there! Just change the stupid title!” I’ll also be sure he adds in a “thank you” at the end of the credits to the good people of Black Mountain, home of the goddamn billboards themselves! But enough with the rant. You pledge, consider the renaming a done deal and I’ll send you a copy of the newly titled film on Blu-ray. None of this plain old DVD business. Next!

Pledge $15 or more: When someone says they’re a raw foodist, do you go, “How the hell can someone live off carrots?” Pledge at this level, and I’ll open your mind through a guided tasting of some of my favorite natural edibles. My buddy Jason Sellers at Plant has agreed to let us use his restaurant as many times as we need to so that all of you can get the culinary education you deserve.

Pledge $20 or more: For everyone at this level, I’ll tell you who “You’re So Vain” is really about. I won’t tell you how I know, and you have to promise not to share it with anyone else. Deal?

Pledge $25 or more: Supporters at this level will be invited to stay at my place in Maui for an entire week. I’m not going to pay for your ticket there (sorry), but I’ve got a few guest rooms, so tee up a lollygag and we’ll figure it out. — Edwin Arnaudin

It’s a wrap

Campaign: Christo will “Keep Asheville Weird” by wrapping the city in sustainable food-storage wrap.

Known for their massive fabric installations, husband-and-wife artist team Christo and Jeanne-Claude weren’t acknowledged as separate entities until 1994. Though Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009, not long after the couple’s visit to Asheville for a lecture, film screening and exhibition, 10 years on Christo feels he has unfinished work in this city. “I didn’t wrap anything,” he says regretfully.

Previously, Christo and Jeanne-Claude completed such monumental works as 1969’s Wrapped Coast in Little Bay, Australia (1.5 miles of cliff-lined shore was draped in a million square feet of erosion-control fabric), and 1985’s Pont Neuf Wrapped in Paris, France (454,178 square feet of polyamide fabric was used to cloak the famed bridge). Now, Christo will wrap Asheville’s creative districts, including downtown, Southside/South Slope and the River Arts District, in reams of sustainable food-storage wrap.

“The only way to keep the weird in and — let’s face it, the bros, venture capitalists and khaki-clad masses out — is with a hermetic seal,” the artist says.

Though Christo has long eschewed sponsors of his work, he does believe that buy-in from Asheville’s creative class is necessary for this project to succeed. Sign on to support weirdness preservation and earn incentives.

Pledge $5 or more: Christo will wrap a Pubcycle full of bridesmaids, effectively muffling the shrieks and “Oops! … I Did It Again” soundtrack.

Pledge $20 or more: Christo will wrap the Pit of Despair in gold lamé and sequins.

Pledge $50 or more: Christo will wrap the former BB&T building/current giant Jenga set in camouflage cloth because, seriously, who isn’t sick of looking at it?

Pledge $500 or more: Christo will wrap all of your holiday gifts next year. (This incentive comes at a premium because, let’s face it, he’ll have to come to your home, and your family is … well, you know how your family is.) — Alli Marshall

GET IT TWISTED: Miss Julia, the title character of author Ann B. Ross’ cozy mystery series, goes over to the dark side. Help fund the novel project while also procuring your spot on the author’s good side.

Art of darkness

Campaign: Ann B. Ross, the Hendersonville-based author of the Miss Julia cozy mystery series (Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, Miss Julia Takes Over, Miss Julia Throws a Wedding, etc.), plans to break out with a new linked collection. Miss Julia Goes Rogue, the first book, features the same plucky widow — only as a vampire vixen out to take justice into her own hands. In brutal, sexy and disturbing ways. Part Queen of the Damned, part Fifty Shades of Grey, Ross’ subversive update of Miss Julia promises to attract new readers while still offering familiar characters and small-town high jinks (albeit with a postapocalyptic twist) to faithful fans.

Ross’ publisher, unwilling to upset the original Miss Julia brand, refused to green-light the project — hence the need for crowd backing of this tantalizing break with tradition.

Support Miss Julia Goes Rogue:

Pledge $20 or more: You can have a townsperson named after yourself or a loved one.

Pledge $30 or more: You can have a townsperson, named for an enemy or annoying neighbor, killed off in a gory fashion.

Pledge $50 or more: You can attend the cover shoot in which Jason Mamoa (Aquaman) will pose as Miss Julia’s vampire/Fabio-type consort.

Pledge $75 or more: You can apply spray oil to Jason Mamoa’s torso.

Pledge $250 or more: Special for die-hard fans of the traditional Miss Julia — you will not be mailed updates, cover reveals, book trailers, reviews, subsequent film adaptation screeners or photos of Rogue Miss Julia fans in homemade Halloween costumes that are guaranteed to ruin your pristine image of the formerly cozy mystery maven. — Alli Marshall

Empress express

Campaign: Who hasn’t dreamed of taking a late-night ride on the rails to the Peach State with the leader of The Pips? For certain individuals, that wish will come true this April as Fairview-based music legend Gladys Knight hosts a mobile concert to benefit the RHS Community Foundation, the nonprofit she started with her husband, William McDowell, to transform Canton-based Reynolds High School into a multipurpose Reynolds Community Center.

Seeing as Asheville lacks sophisticated public transportation, shuttles will take participants down to the Amtrak station in Greenville, S.C., starting at 10 p.m. The train will depart promptly at the stroke of midnight and arrive in Atlanta around 3:15.

On the ride, The Empress of Soul and her band will make their way down the center aisle, performing her greatest hits, deep cuts, covers and maybe even a request or two. Music will be piped (Pipped?) through the speakers throughout the train as the ensemble moves from car to car, completing as many circuits as necessary.

Each pledge includes the cost of a one-way ticket — the song doesn’t say anything about going round-trip! — and comes with a special bonus.

Pledge $50 or more: A mix CD of Knight’s favorite locomotive-themed songs. Possibilities include works by The O’Jays, The Doobie Brothers, Soul Asylum, Ozzy Osbourne, Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Cat Stevens and Quad City DJs, plus various takes on “Wabash Cannonball” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Don’t rule out her personal choices from the band Train’s catalog, either.

Pledge $65 or more: A copy of Knight’s children’s book about homonyms, Nighty Knight, with illustrations by Mo Willems of The Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny and Elephant & Piggie book series fame.

Pledge $80 or more: A return ticket to Greenville. You deserve to get home.

Pledge $100 or more: Pip for a Day. What’s a Pip? Get ready to find out. To be redeemed at a later date. — Edwin Arnaudin


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