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 […]

Flying lessons

“I realized that one day my home was full of clutter, my sink was overrun with dirty dishes, and I looked like a truck had just run over me.” — anti-clutter guru Marla Cilley Western N.C. native Marla Cilley, a.k.a. the FlyLady, just spent the whole day talking to People magazine. She’s also appeared on […]

Toy story

If a funny classical ballet sounds like a contradiction in terms, remember that opposites will attract. It’s a point the Shanghai Ballet gracefully demonstrates in its latest production, the playful caper Coppelia. So how did a Chinese dance company end up performing a resurrected French production? That, too, is a story of opposites attracting — […]

Special delivery

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m no great wit. Yet somehow I ended up playing Abbott to funny man Killer Beaz’s Costello. Our long-distance shtick went something like this: “Alli? Killer Beaz here, world-famous comedian.” “Really? World famous?” “Yep. And part-time swimsuit model.” “Huh?” “Well, you know. For those real long […]

Shirt tales

“Sex was never something to be shushed up,” announces Calliope Porter. The actress is half of the mother-daughter duo behind Girls Wear Shirts, a movement-theater play that takes its cue from the conversations mothers and daughters have (or don’t have) about sexuality. “Of course,” she adds, “we didn’t talk about it at the dinner table.” […]

From the front porch to the world

Despite her obvious proficiency at yarn-spinning, Western North Carolina native Sheila Kay Adams didn’t consider herself a storyteller until recently. “I was a ballad singer,” she explains. Adams was born into a family of traditional singers in Madison County. She’s able to trace the family penchant for balladry back to the 1830s, when the local […]

Every gyro tells a story

The 16th Annual Asheville Greek Festival is more than a nod at Asheville’s melting pot — it’s a celebration of the Greek community that, this November, will celebrate 80 years feeling at home in Western North Carolina. “Most of the families who originally settled here are from a place in Greece that’s very similar to […]

Finding the pulse in avant-garde

Painter/assemblagist Allan Kaprow didn’t coin the art term “happening” until 1959 — but, according to some schools of thought, the first “happening” happened at Black Mountain College back in 1952. That year, composer John Cage presented his “Theatre Piece No. 1” with a little help from his BMC artist friends, among them modern-dance pioneer Merce […]

Turning memories into movements

“This is the transitional season,” announces Deborah Scott with a dab of trepidation. Asheville Playback Theatre is changing its successful format this year, and Scott, the group’s artistic director, admits she isn’t completely sure how the new shows will play out. “Our overriding concern is [still] to honor each person’s experience,” says Scott. The company, […]

Growth vs. grace

“Everyone moved here and destroyed what they moved here for. … We’re loving it to death.” — developer Greg Phillips of Mayfair Partners It’s a Catch-22 of sorts. The Asheville area’s natural beauty is one of the reasons people love it here. So they move to the mountains in droves to be close to said […]

Toward good vibrations

On August 16, 1987, the prophecy of Quetzalcoatl known as the 13 heavens and nine hells was fulfilled. Hell ended and the Harmonic Convergence began the following day. For those who were too busy watching the Mets beat the Cubs, celebrating Madonna’s 29th birthday or catching “Miami Vice” to notice, the Harmonic Convergence was the […]

A face in the crowd

“We all pretty much dance the cosmos — for me, it’s more of an intuitive process.” — Anni Paisley You know the feeling. You’re walking downtown and you see a familiar face — someone you don’t know but recognize because he or she is a local fixture. Downtown Asheville’s streets and shops are buzzing with […]