Small bites: Storytelling and vino at Metro Wines

TELLING TALES: Connie Regan-Blake has been entertaining listeners for four decades with her stories that combine adventure, humor and traditional tales. Photo courtesy of Connie Regan-Blake

For the last four decades, Connie Regan-Blake has made a living traveling the world and telling stories. Her tales range from true life to adventure, comedy to traditional. Often, however, she blends genres, weaving together tales that capture the full extent of the human experience.

“Every culture in the world has traditional stories,” Regan-Blake notes. “It’s the way that we pass along what’s important to us.”

Regan-Blake’s storytelling has led her to audiences in 47 states and 16 countries, entertaining guests in concert halls, libraries and the corporate world. In addition to her own tales, Regan-Blake leads classes and workshops teaching the form.

On Saturday, June 18, at Metro Wines, guests will get the chance to hear some of these narratives. The “A Slice of Life” performance will have Regan-Blake and seven students from her Taking the Stage workshop sharing their stories. “It’s an intimate space, and people get to have a glass of wine that comes with the ticket,” she says.

All seven of the tellers presenting that evening have taken numerous workshops with Regan-Blake. Each story will run 12-15 minutes. Traditional tales, humor and personal experience stories will be in the mix. The event itself — a live performance — is the final component of the group’s most recent three-day workshop.

With over half her life dedicated to telling stories, Regan-Blake remains aware that some still have reservations about the form as a means of entertainment. Namely, she notes, people tend to think that it might be boring. “Nothing can be further from the truth,” she says. “People come away from storytelling performances feeling more alive. It’s like the stories tap into all those places inside of us and connect us. One of my goals — one of the images I have of a good performance — is its as if the storyteller and the audience are breathing together.”

“A Slice of Life” begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. Tickets are available for $15 and include a glass of wine. Parking is free. To purchase tickets, visit avl.mx/2nc. To learn more about Connie Regan-Blake visit storywindow.com For more on Metro Wines, visit metrowinesasheville.com

Father Knows Best at Lex 18

This Father’s Day, Lex 18 is offering a 1950s radio variety dinner show: Father Knows Best. It will be a combination of comedy, music and storytelling. The dinner is a four-course meal that falls in line with the show’s theme, incorporating American old-time classics, such as meatloaf, creamy garlic mashed potatoes and apple pie. Dads will also receive a shot of vanilla-spiced Catdaddy moonshine whiskey with their meal. The radio music and storytelling drama includes pianist Bob Strain, vocalists Lauren Rivas and David Boyd, sound effects and narrative by Alan Van de Kamp, Jason Heilfurth and Georgia Malki.

Father Knows Best Dinner and Show has seatings at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 19, at 18 N. Lexington Ave. An advance payment of $10 per person secures a reservation, and that amount will be applied to the $48 ticket for dinner and the show, plus alcohol, beverages, state sales tax and 20 percent gratuity. For details, visit fatherknowsbest.bpt.me.

Dinner in the Vines at Addison Farms Vineyard

Homemade sausage from local pigs, locally sourced greens, mole birria (goat) with fresh lime wedges, cilantro, queso fresco and warm tortillas are among the items served at Addison Farms Vineyard’s Dinner in the Vines. Chef Hollie West — winner of the 2015 Asheville Wine and Food Festival’s Chef Challenge — will be the event’s guest chef. In a press release, owner Jeff Frisbee notes, “Every bite is flavorful, and we are always well-satisfied after enjoying one of Hollie’s meals.” Wine tastings will be paired with each of the menu’s item.

Addison Farms Vineyard is at 4005 New Leicester Highway. The dinner begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 18. Reservations are required. Tickets begin at $79 per person. For additional information visit addisonfarms.net

WNC Battle of the Burger 2016

All American Food Food Fights presents the third annual WNC Battle of the Burger. The event itself happens in August, but tickets go on sale at noon Tuesday, June 21. According to the event’s press release, tickets “typically sell out in just days,” in anticipation of the grills and griddles that will line the Salvage Station. Local music will accompany the sounds of  sizzling meats, while Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will pour beers to accompany bites. To nominate your favorite local restaurant for the challenge, look for All American Food Fights on Facebook or email Kelly Denson at kelly@allamericanfoodfights.com.

The WNC Battle of the Burger runs 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Salvage Station, 468 Riverside Drive. General admission is $10. VIP tickets are $40 and include unlimited burgers and beer, access to an exclusive VIP area and early entry (1 p.m.). To buy tickets and learn more, visit allamericanfoodfights.com/wncbattleoftheburger/.

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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