• MOM’s back: The local political action committee Match Our Mountains, which formed in 2003, is back in action for Asheville’s upcoming municipal elections. The group says it will endorse and financially support those candidates deemed most likely to “help strengthen Asheville’s economy and protect our environment.”
MOM is a PAC with a little different approach to finances, restricting its donors to a maximum contribution of $100, with the goal of “developing a broad base of support and minimizing the role of large individual donations in local politics.” Business checks, according to MOM’s rules, are not accepted.
Visit www.matchourmountains.org for more information.
• Sept. 19 Mayoral Forum: From 7 to 9 p.m. at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, the League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County will host the primary candidates in Asheville’s mayoral race following a pre-forum “meet and greet” with City Council candidates. (The League will also host a general election forum for mayoral candidates Oct. 17 at the Renaissance.)
[Candidates, organizations and citizens: Send your campaign-event news — as far in advance as possible — to (fax) 251-1311, or “Campaign Calendar,” Mountain Xpress, P.O. Box 144, Asheville, NC 28802.]
Party on the moon, and you’re invited
Here’s a chance to get in on the ground floor of a moon shot, so to speak. Asheville-based filmmaker Chris Bower is inviting all would-be space-walkers to “The Moon Europa Space Art Show,” a fundraiser at the Wedge Gallery this Saturday, Aug. 27.
The event will celebrate and help launch a local film-in-progress, Moon Europa. The movie is a “community-based project that brings together artists, actors, craftspeople and technical gurus to produce a cutting-edge science-fiction film,” explains Bower, who is the film’s writer/director. And unlike most movie ventures, which find big-bucks backers, this one’s being made on the combined strength of Asheville-area volunteers. So far, Bower says, roughly 150 folks have pitched in to help make the film — “and we’re always looking for more,” he adds.
Moon Europa, which went into production last week, is being shot in lush, kudzu-clad natural areas around WNC and in a futuristic spaceship set Bowers and his collaborators built inside an Asheville alley space. The film crew expects to complete shooting the movie this winter.
A suggested donation of $5 will get you in the door for the space-age benefit, which will feature otherworldly music, multimedia projections and lots of local artworks for sale. Liftoff is at 6 p.m., and this party will likely rocket into the wee hours.
The Wedge Gallery is at 115-B Roberts St. in Asheville’s River District. To learn more about Moon Europa, including volunteer opportunities, visit www.mooneuropa.com.
— Jon Elliston
Bound for Peace
Amid the steady stream of news reports showing the strife-filled withdrawal of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip, it can be easy to forget that the move may constitute a real step toward peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Meanwhile, the Asheville-based North Carolina Outward Bound School is making a small but meaningful effort on that front as well, sponsoring its first “Palestinian-Israeli Unity Crew.” The crew of 10 teenagers — five Israelis and five Palestinians — recently completed a 10-day wilderness expedition together in the Pisgah National Forest.
The expedition, explains Outward Bound School marketing director Erin Johnson, is modeled after the “Breaking the Ice” project, which sent an Arab/Israeli delegation trekking to Antarctica last year in the name of building friendship and finding new avenues of cooperation between two peoples long at odds with each other.
“We’re using the wilderness experience as a catalyst to bring people together,” Johnson says. When the teenagers on this expedition get back to their home city of Haifa, Israel, she adds, “they’ll work together on a service project to build even more understanding.”
Before they return to the Middle East, however, the Unity Crew will be making post-expedition presentations here about what they learned from the experience. The group will appear at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, in the Kittredge Theater at Warren Wilson College.
For more information, call the North Carolina Outward Bound School at 299-3366.
— Jon Elliston
Alternatives to standard public schools are springing up all over the country. Some, like Asheville’s magnet-school program, are even emerging within the public-school milieu. Among the outsiders, few are as definitively different as the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Mass.
Established in 1968, the Sudbury school is run as a pure democracy, with all of the students and staff members voting on matters of curriculum and policy — even hiring and firing of teachers. Students decide what and when to study, and whether to have classes or do independent projects. The equivalent of high-school graduation occurs when a student is ready, in the eyes of the school community, to live as an adult in the greater community.
Recently, a group of parents and educators decided to bring this unconventional approach to Buncombe County. The newly formed Katuah Sudbury School will host a community potluck picnic at the Unity Center in Fletcher, where the school is setting up shop, from 1 to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 27. A graduate of the original Sudbury Valley School will speak, books and brochures about the Sudbury philosophy will be available, and the Katuah organizers will answer questions about the school, which opens in early October. (Plus, there will be face painting and other kids’ activities.) New students ages 5-18 are welcome to apply.
For more information, visit www.katuahsudbury.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 891-1130.
— Cecil Bothwell