War and peace
One year to the day after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, concerned citizens will take to the streets in cities around the world for a “Global Day of Action for Peace and an End to War and Occupation” on Saturday, March 20.
Here in North Carolina, two large marches/rallies are planned, one in Asheville and one in Fayetteville (home of Fort Bragg, one of the largest military bases in the U.S.).
“There was a lot of public opposition to the war” at the start of the invasion, notes Cicada Brokaw, a member of the North Carolina March 20th Planning Committee. These demonstrations, he says, “are to show that people are still opposed to the war and the occupation that’s going on right now.”
The Asheville event will start with a rally at City/County Plaza from 1-4 p.m., featuring speakers, music and poetry. At 4 p.m., a parade will wind its way around town, including a stop at Hilliard Street, where a series of crosses erected by the local Veterans for Peace group will feature the names of all the soldiers who have died in the conflict so far.
Brokaw expects the Asheville event to draw participants from both Western North Carolina and neighboring states.
Several related events are planned for Friday, March 19 at UNCA: a demonstration on the quad (1-5 p.m.), a teach-in at Karpen Hall (7-10 p.m.), and a candlelight vigil on the quad (10:30 p.m. to midnight). The teach-in will cover such subjects as war-tax resistance, the effects of war on children, and keeping a space for peace. The public is welcome at all these events. Some students will also take part in a nationwide strike to protest the war in Iraq, Brokaw reports.
The North Carolina March 20th Planning Committee represents more than 100 peace-and-justice groups from across the state, including the WNC Peace Coalition, the Asheville War Resisters League, Fools of Conscience, the Peace and Earth Committee of the Asheville Friends Meeting, Veterans for Peace, and others.
[For more information, call the WNC Peace Coalition’s Peace Line (271-0022) or visit their Web site (www.main.nc.us/wncpc/).]
— Lisa Watters
Celebrating the F-word
In a way, it was disappointing. When coordinator Lori Horvitz tried to put a different spin on this year’s F-Word Film Festival by making it a juried competition, only four filmmakers responded — and none of those entries were appropriate, she reports.
So Horvitz, an assistant professor of literature and language at UNCA, resorted to picking films distributed by Women Make Movies (a New York City-based distribution company), guided by input from students and colleagues.
But she was also inspired to pick up a video camera herself and interview both male and female students about what feminism means to them, en route to producing two films for the festival.
“Most people really don’t know exactly what [feminism] is. Even women who insist that they’re not feminists would say, ‘Well, but I believe in equality of the sexes — and I believe women should have more equality in the workplace and in the home.’ It’s like they still don’t want to claim the F-word, but inadvertently they are.”
Horvitz was also surprised to discover that “a lot of male students are very open … and claim to be feminists. It was quite enlightening. … I said, ‘Where are the guys that are really conservative?’ And we couldn’t seem to find any.”
The festival, says Horvitz, seeks to shine a light on the negative connotations attached to feminism and to consider where they come from. “It’s also about highlighting all issues connected to oppression. … Racism and classism, homophobia — all kinds of oppressions, and bringing that to light. “
Other featured films include the story of four young French women who risked their lives to fight the Nazi occupation; a critical examination of the changing concepts of beauty and sexuality in modern China; and a profile of acclaimed author Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina), her birth as a writer and feminist, and her coming to terms with a family legacy of incest and abuse.
The F-Word Film Festival: A Celebration of Images by and About Women is free and open to the public. The event happens Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20 in UNCA’s Humanities Lecture Hall, starting at 7 p.m. Both women and men are encouraged to attend; a panel discussion will follow each night’s screening.
[For more information, visit the UNCA Web site (www.unca.edu) and click on “Women’s History Month.”]
— Lisa Watters
Even before the city’s new hockey team begins its first season, the Asheville Aces seem to be trying to skate around some thin ice left behind by the now-departed Asheville Smoke. The Aces are part of the World Hockey Association 2, a newly formed developmental league with teams in six other cities in the Southeast. And though the Aces won’t hit the Civic Center ice until this fall, concerns over the way their predecessors left amid accusations of unpaid bills and disappointed boosters have tainted the enthusiasm of some local fans.
Speaking to a crowd of about 50 people at a Tuesday, March 9 press conference, Aces General Manager/Head Coach Jeff Brubaker (a former NHL player) tried to alleviate concerns about his organization’s financial structure.
“I’ve heard a little about the team that came before us,” said Brubaker. “I can tell you that we won’t run up a tab. If we want something and we can’t afford it, we’ll just do without. We will pay as we go.”
He also promised exciting live hockey.
“I can’t guarantee that we’ll bring home the league championship, but I can guarantee that we’ll play the kind of hockey people like to watch,” said Brubaker. “We’ll be tough, and we’ll be physical — we won’t bore you.”
Asheville Vice Mayor Carl Mumpower was also on hand, along with league co-founder David Waronker. Both spoke briefly about the importance of bringing hockey back to the area, stressing the financial and community benefits the team is expected to bring.
The announcement was followed by a brief “meet and greet” and a tour of the Aces’ new Civic Center offices, which Brubaker said he expects to have fully operational within the coming months.
— Steve Shanafelt
Keep it green
If you believe that concern for the environment begins at home, then you’ll want to check out the latest edition of the WNC Green Building Directory.
The free guide contains a host of local, regional and national resources for designing, building and outfitting “green” buildings — those built using the least-toxic, most-durable materials with an eye toward energy efficiency, a healthy indoor environment and sustainability.
Besides listing regional businesses and organizations working with environmentally sound building products and services, the guide also features educational articles on green-building techniques and case studies of green buildings in the region.
The WNC Green Building Council — an all-volunteer nonprofit — produced the guide, with help from Mountain Xpress.
Sound intriguing? You can be one of the first people to get your hands on the new directory at a benefit concert for the WNC Green Building Council. Six bands are scheduled to play at the event, set for 6 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, March 21 at The Grey Eagle (185 Clingman Ave. in Asheville). Suggested donation: $5 to $10.
The directories are also available at retailers, building-supply stores, real-estate offices and other outlets — including selected distribution points for Mountain Xpress — in a dozen counties across WNC.
— Tracy Rose
There goes the neighborhood
When filmmakers Francine Cavanaugh, A. Mark Liv and Adams Wood created the documentary Boom: The Sound of Eviction, they couldn’t have known they were making a movie about Asheville. After all, they were West Coasters taking a close look at the dot-com bubble whose epicenter was the Bay Area.
But scenes in Boom suggest the changes happening in the Land of the Sky as redevelopment moves through neighborhoods, governmental departments and City Council chambers. The issues and the contending camps appear the same; only the names and faces differ. The film therefore serves as both a record and a primer, with lessons for all parties wherever pro-development forces come in conflict with an existing community.
This makes the March 25 Southeast premiere of Boom a good fit for the fund-raising event’s beneficiary — the Asheville Community Resource Center. The ACRC recently lost its low-cost lease on a building at 63 N. Lexington Ave., an eviction some observers have blamed on continuing local gentrification.
The 9 p.m. showing at the Fine Arts Theater (36 Biltmore Ave.) will be followed by a discussion of local development issues. Tickets cost $5 to $20 on a sliding scale.
[For reservations, phone Mountain Eye Media (254-5580). Advance tickets are also available at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe (55 Haywood St. in Asheville).]
— Cecil Bothwell