Celebratin­g silence

All of the retreats share one key commonality: silence. Silence is a universal language — the language of the spirit. And for 25 years, the Southern Dharma Retreat Center in Hot Springs has been offering people a place to converse with their own souls in that primal tongue. From the beginning, those visitors have spanned […]

Vinyl values in a digital world

“I was a psychedelic kid,” Daniel Lanois revealed in a recent phone interview. “I grew up listening to night radio.” As a grownup, Lanois is probably best known as the atmosphere architect of such Grammy-winning albums as U2’s Achtung Baby (Island, 1991), Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind (Columbia/Sony, 1997) and Emmylou Harris’ genre-shifting Wrecking […]

Human nature

John McKah’s “Full Moon” is all chilly solitude; the painting’s titular orb is pale and unassuming amid bare tree branches. But Jay Pfeil’s Oriental-influenced “Morning Magnolias” shows inky trees laden with delicate blossoms. This collection of outdoor scenes is as much a study of mood as it is of nature. “These artists are absolutely all […]

Mentors that move

“All the world’s a stage,” penned Shakespeare. And while the Bard certainly wasn’t referring to modern dance, for members of the Ailey II troupe, his famous words are hardly mere rhetoric: They’re reality. While most dancers don’t feel they live on stage — and that’s despite the long hours they put in, and the intense […]

No small change

Sara Watkins, one third of bluegrass-turned-acoustic-pop sensation Nickel Creek, is sick of wasting paper to-go cups at her favorite coffee shop in San Diego, where she lives. “I’m going to borrow this mug,” she murmurs into her cell phone. “I mean, I come in here all the time, so I don’t think they’ll mind.” She’s […]

Seriously feminine—a­nd other spring attitudes

Milan, Paris and New York unveiled their spring fashions sometime last autumn, when most of us were busy unearthing our wool sweaters and thermal underwear. But just because we missed the runway fervor doesn’t mean we can’t catch spring-fashion fever in real time at some of Asheville’s newer downtown boutiques. The color of chic Pink […]

Getting fresh outside the Grove Arcade

“You’ll buy produce from the person who grew it,” declares Adrianne Gordon, assistant market manager for the Grove Arcade. “We’re not at all flexible on that. She’s talking, of course, about the Mountain Fresh Market, a row of 12 stalls located outside the downtown shopping complex’s south entrance. “The whole idea of public markets is […]

Heading south

I’ve got two words for you: cabin fever. Happily, even as the temperatures dip and the snow descends, there’s a secret weapon for surviving winter: vacation. Even for folks on a meager budget, taking off for sunnier climes may be well within the realm of possibility — if you’re willing to forgo the Caribbean in […]

Double vision

“I don’t tour that much anymore,” claimed Alejandro Escovedo when I finally caught up with him by phone while he was in Chicago. It’s a relative assertion: Escovedo is currently in the middle of a three-week string of U.S. dates following a month-long stint in Europe. He’s not an easy guy to reach, and his […]

Connick-styled crescendo

It’s strange to imagine a kid too young to drink headlining jazz clubs like New York’s Red Blazer. Stranger still is that, the better part of a decade after he started gracing such venues, piano sensation Peter Cincotti is still too young to drink. “I think age has very little to do with this,” objects […]

Peripheral vision

“Sometimes brilliance happens,” announces Susan Collard, director of Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre. “Experimental art in festivals is spontaneous” — and, she concedes, “almost accidental.” ACDT’s latest project, the Fringe Festival, “was inspired by a festival I saw in Toronto last year,” she relates. “Giles [Collard’s husband] and I came across the festival on the Web, […]

Facing race

“When some people heard about the show and the subject matter, they were a little put off,” admits Lorraine Tipaldi, visual-arts curator at the YMI Cultural Center. Other people weren’t offended by the center’s latest art exhibit — until they actually saw the work, that is. Painter Beverly McIver’s interracial-love portrait with watermelon, for instance, […]

Simple gifts

Short story writer O. Henry’s name is synonymous with surprise endings. All of his many tales finish with a twist — a skill so perfected by the author that, despite the century that’s passed since he last penned a narrative, his works are still pertinent, and still catch us off guard. The former Asheville resident […]

Men’s liberation (through) movement

It’s a typical scene at 5:30 p.m. on a cold Monday: Parents are hanging out around the New Studio of Dance, the school component of the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre. They’re waiting on their daughters, who, clad in leotards, complete a string of cartwheels. Instructor Giles Collard counts for each girl (“One, two, three, four”) […]

Getting with the L word

Though Eva Hartman shares the same first name with the woman she depicts in Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, she’s more interested in ways the audience might resonate with her character. Despite being frequently labeled “the lesbian The Big Chill,” Asheville on Broadway’s current production, says Hartman, “deals with many universal themes: life, love, loss […]

Food for thought

Despite all its German names, The Nutcracker contains all the necessary ingredients of an American holiday classic: a little violence, a little drama, lots of overindulgence and a fairy-tale ending to boot. The beloved ballet is often performed several times during the holiday season by local dance companies. It’s a chance for young dancers to […]

The end of an era

Before the sprawling, red-brick Merrimon House was leveled this past summer, I managed to sneak a peek in the window of the funky former boarding house across from Deal Motor Cars. The front room was paneled in dark wood. There was an art-deco fireplace and a wide, elegant stairway with a carved banister. The dining […]

Playing dirty

Sex. Now that I have your attention … this piece is actually about, well, sex. It’s also about seduction, betrayal and scandal among the elite — and yes, there is nudity involved. I know, you’re thinking reruns of Dallas, or maybe Melrose Place — but what I’m talking about is the unparalleled predecessor to all […]