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It’s a date: Local calendars make every day count

When was the last time you got excited about a calendar? Really, truly excited? Take a minute and cast your mind back …

Was it Celebrity Pugs 1999? Sashimi 2000? Bodies by Silicone 2004?

It’s true that even as the personal computer takes over most every aspect of our lives, calendars, in all their stubborn paperyness, are still with us. We need them. They’re handy. They’re tactile. But choose well, friend: You’ve got to live with the durn thing for a whole year.

Sure, you could spend your money on something bland and universal, but why not mark the days with a local calendar? Something that shows off the young bucks who toil at a neighborhood bar, say, or really big trees, or mature lesbians and their favored pets, or the unfathomable mysteries of our mountain weather?

If any of those options speaks your language, you’re in luck: We’ve done your searching for you. Read on…

Biltmore Calendar

A little more than a century ago, George and Edith Vanderbilt began transforming thousands of acres of worn-out farmland and depleted woods into the green and groomed Biltmore Estate we know today.

Today their vision lives on — patient and still growing — in a number of notable arboreal giants.

This year’s Treasured Trees calendar, the fourth in a series produced annually by the local nonprofit Quality Forward, celebrates those specimens in black-and-white photographs by Benjamin Porter, with text by Bill Alexander. Some of the trees are exotics — the estate’s champion Persian parrotia, for instance. Others seem more at home in the Southeast, such as the national champion bigleaf magnolia, whose leaves look like they could provide ample cover for a full-grown T. rex.

The calendars cost $15 and are available at a number of locations around town or through www.qualityforward.org. The proceeds will support tree-planting efforts in Buncombe County. Call 254-1176 for more information.

Mest of West Asheville Calendar

For the second straight year, the Men of Westville Pub have stripped down to bare bones and brass tacks for their calendar. The premiere effort raised not only eyebrows but also $1,000 for Helpmate, a local domestic-violence agency. Be forewarned: This year’s edition is even bawdier. One backyard photo shoot for the calendar reportedly elicited a visit from the Asheville Police Department.

Once again, the proceeds will go to Helpmate. The calendar ($10) is available at Westville Pub, Diggin’ Art, Orbit DVD, the Lucky Otter and The Trophy Club.

Weather Calendar

If you’re going to resort to talking about the weather, you might as well know your stuff. The 2007 Western North Carolina Weather Calendar reflects 22 years’ worth of local climate research by UNCA Department of Atmospheric Sciences chair Alex Huang.

The calendar eschews pretty pictures in favor of pertinent data culled from the Asheville-based National Climatic Data Center. Armed with it, you can produce such sure-fire conversation stoppers as local high and low temperatures, precipitation levels and the dreaded wind-chill factor.

The calendar can be purchased for $6 by writing to Alex Huang, UNC Asheville, 1 University Heights, Asheville, NC 28804-8511; make checks out to “Weather Calendar.”

OLE Calendar

People and their pets are always eye-catching, so members of the local group Older Lesbian Energy decided to catch as many eyes as possible with a calendar benefiting two local groups: Helpmate and the Asheville Humane Society. OLE normally sponsors hikes, movie nights and other social activities, but organizer Betsy Mayers thought the calendar would be “a way to integrate ourselves into the greater community.”

So out the OLE members came, with their parrots, goats, cats, donkeys and dogs, to pose on behalf of a pair of worthy causes. They’ve already donated $500 to each group, and only a limited number of the calendars are still available. They can be purchased directly from Helpmate (254-2968) or the AHS (253-6807).

You Theatre Calendar

The young actors depicted in the YouTheatre 2007 calendar sing, dance, don fabulous costumes and shine in the spotlight. Such is the learning experience at YouTheatre, a drama program at the Flat Rock Playhouse that offers classes for all age groups from K-12.

For YouTheatre parents, the calendar’s colorful pages are not only a source of pride but a useful tool for keeping up with their budding actors’ performance schedules, with important program dates highlighted. For the rest of us, buying one of these calendars is a way to lend support to youth in the arts: The $15 requested donation will help fund a new education center for the drama program. To order one, call 693-3893, or e-mail betsy@flatrockplayhouse.org.

Church Calendar

Libraries, like schools, often need to supplement their public funding through extracurricular means. The Leicester branch library sells calendars to help keep the shelves full and fund programs.

Produced by the Friends of the Leicester Public Library, the calendars celebrate the heritage of the Leicester/Sandy Mush area. This year’s edition spotlights the history of a dozen community churches, many of them dating back to the 19th century. The price is $4, and all proceeds benefit the library. To get yours, act fast — the supply is limited. For more information or to check availability, call the library at 683-8867.

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