Sure, Asheville’s renowned for the art that’s produced, displayed and sold here. You can’t walk a block, it seems, without hitting a store full of artful objects of one kind or another. But on your way to just about any downtown location (and in many other parts of Asheville), you’d have to be blind to miss the parade of art that’s sharing the sidewalks with you.
I’m talking about tattoos, the skin-laden art that draws your eye — sometimes just about the moment you remind yourself that maybe you shouldn’t be looking there. Mary Taylor, a bartender at the downtown watering hole Gypsy Moon, thinks it’s time to take a closer look.
“It’s live art,” says the many-tatted Taylor of Asheville’s vibrant tattoo scene. To shine a spotlight on locals who decorate their skin, she’s helped organize the first Asheville Tattoo Art Show, a free celebration and exhibit at Gypsy Moon this Monday, Sept. 19, at 9 p.m. The event will feature drawings, paintings and sculptures by local tattoo artists, along with a sturdy sampling of their work as displayed by the tattooed denizens of Asheville.
The show will “showcase the kind of art that people who normally wouldn’t walk into a tattoo shop don’t see — the hidden talent in Asheville,” Taylor says. But this isn’t just an attempt to turn attention on a vibrant counterculture. “I wanted to do it because there’s a certain amount of competition — a little beef — between tattoo shops in town,” she explains. “It’s a very catty business. I wanted to create some unity and bring people together through art.”
Artists from four tattoo shops will display their work, local DJs will provide the soundtrack, and two local filmmakers, Craig Shroyer and Ricky Shriner, will be shooting footage for their documentary on the local tattoo industry and culture. The show is co-sponsored by Gypsy Moon and Forever Tattoo.
Gypsy Moon is located at 13 Walnut Street. Call the bar at 232-4454 for more information.
— Jon Elliston
Running on something else
The temporary post-Katrina gas crunch has heightened general awareness of the far more fundamental petroleum problem facing technological civilization. This rising concern makes the Land-of-Sky Regional Council’s “Clean Vehicles for Clean Cities” event particularly timely. The day-long gathering and luncheon will be held at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Workshops will cover a wide range of related material such as: air quality and mobile-source impact; alternative fuels and vehicles; hybrid and fuel-cell technologies; local clean-vehicle success stories; and new legislation and incentives to use cleaner fuels and vehicles. Topics of particular interest to fleet managers include: making your fleet more fuel-efficient; new diesel-engine and fuel-emission standards; idle reduction; clean school buses and other emission-reduction programs. An afternoon Clean Vehicle Technology Showcase will include the latest in alternative-fuel and clean-vehicle technologies.
The luncheon keynote speaker, Paul Roberts, is author of the widely acclaimed book, The End of Oil (Houghton-Mifflin, 2004), which examines the history of energy use, the current state of alternative-transportation technologies, steep oil prices and the effect of energy policy on national security and foreign relations.
The cost for registration by Sept. 15 is $35 for the workshop and luncheon and $25 for the luncheon only. After Sept. 15 (and as space permits), the cost is $40 and $30, respectively.
For additional information or to register, contact Linda Herrera at email@example.com or 251-6622.
— Cecil Bothwell
Better than Prozac
“We had one person who came into the class on Prozac and said that this was far better than any antidepressant she could possibly take,” reports Coordinator for Clown Programs Morgana Morgaine about the clown workshops The Health Adventure offers twice a year. “She really got into the art of clowning and has clowned with us now for a long time.”
“Other people just say they found a side of themselves that they didn’t know was there,” she adds. “They thought of themselves as very serious and very shy, but once they put the makeup on and the costuming, somebody else popped out.”
In the six-session workshops, participants learn everything from the fundamentals of costuming, makeup, movement, props, gags and gimmicks to character development — or, as Morgaine puts it, “developing the authentic [clown] personality that you have inside.”
“The point is not for you just to pick something out of the air and say, ‘I’m going to do that,’ but to find what really fits with your personality, and then based on that character, we decide on what your makeup and costuming will be,” she explains.
The next clown workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20, and will meet every Tuesday through Oct. 25. (The last session is “graduation night,” Morgaine says — a chance for newly minted clowns to “‘come out,’ as it were,” and perform for friends and family in all their regalia.) The fee for the workshop is $85 plus the cost of the manual and makeup. The Health Adventure will provide makeup during the initial experimentation process.
Many graduates go on to volunteer with The Health Adventure’s Clown Troupe, which raises funds to help support programs and exhibits at the health and science center.
The clown workshops have graduated more than 400 clowns since they began in 1989. “We’ve had people from all walks of life take it — people from the IRS, lawyers, nurses, lots of retired people — who just want to do something different in their lives or kind of bring out another side of themselves,” notes Morgaine.
“With all the things that are going on in the world,” she adds, “we cannot have enough clowns.”
To register, or for more information, contact Morgaine — also known as Kabookee the Clown — at 254-6373, ext. 326 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Lisa Watters
Listen to your elders
If aging gracefully or fighting it every step of the way doesn’t seem like enough choice in the matter, the Great Old Broads for Wilderness offer another option: Forget the face cream and focus on preserving the environment.
This national, nonprofit public-lands organization formed in 1989 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. In the past 16 years, these women have lent their voices and wisdom to nature-preserving causes. Their projects include encouraging retirement of public grazing lands and preventing the development of new driving paths for off-road vehicles in roadless areas. The group is primarily made up of senior women, though their ranks also include men and younger women — known as “broads in training.”
And though the Colorado-based organization has concentrated its efforts in the western United States up to now, from Thursday, Sept. 22, through Monday, Sept. 26, they’ll be making their first stop in the Southeast.
Here’s why: The proposed North Shore Road near Bryson City would cut through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The roadway, which will cost an estimated $374 million, was planned as a compensation for Swain County, which lost a county road some 60 years ago with the creation of Fontana Lake.
“Our involvement in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is to lend our unique perspective in protesting a road that almost nobody wants,” explains Broads’ program director Rose Chilcoat. The group recommends a $52 million cash settlement to Swain County instead of building North Shore Road at taxpayers’ expense.
The Great Old Broads invite everyone interested to join them for a five-day event at Smoky Mountains Broadwalk near Bryson City. Hiking, camping and meeting with other park advocates is included, as well as four dinners, four breakfasts and guest speakers. The fee is $125 per person. Reserve a spot by mailing a $50 deposit to Great Old Broads for Wilderness, P.O. Box 2924, Durango, CO 81302.
— Alli Marshall
N.C. animal-rescue teams head south
Local and state animal workers have stepped forward to assist with rescue efforts in the Gulf Coast area in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, sending professional and trained volunteer workers to the scene, and coordinating donations and other assistance from here in North Carolina.
The Asheville Humane Society is partnering with the Humane Society of Spartanburg, S.C., to send teams to a Hattiesburg, Miss., shelter set up to care for rescued animals and try to match them with their owners. The first team to go included AHS animal caretaker Mark Sokolowski and several rescue-qualified volunteers from the Asheville area. They were to rotate out on this week, according to Shelly Moore, AHS director, with new volunteers replacing them. “They’re working on the front line,” says Moore, and rotation is almost a physical necessity for the humans.
It’s necessary that the volunteers who make the trip be trained in rescue work, Moore emphasizes. But folks back home still have concrete ways to help with the animal-rescue efforts. “Things change by the moment because the needs change in a disaster area daily — hourly — and it’s better not to send supplies in. It’s better to make cash donations so they can buy what they need,” Moore pointed out (see below for giving options).
AHS is also gearing up to deal with potential arrivals of evacuated animals traveling to Asheville with their owners. A number of Gulf Coast residents are expected to be moved to temporary shelter in the Asheville area, and companion animals will not be allowed in that shelter, Moore says. Arrangements are being made in conjunction with Asheville’s Animal Compassion Network to house the animals nearby, and foster homes will be needed if this takes place. To volunteer to foster a companion animal, call AHS at 236-3885; names will be forwarded to ACN, which will then screen potential foster homes.
Meanwhile, the veterinary school at North Carolina State University is busy sharing the expertise gained in the aftermath of this state’s own Hurricane Floyd disaster in 1999. Veterinarian and faculty member Kelly Ferris, who is part of the State Animal Rescue Team initiated by Gov. Mike Easley after Floyd, is directing a team of school volunteers working in tandem with Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where a large number of rescued animals — including horses — are being housed.
“She reported back yesterday,” university spokesperson Dave Green said of Ferris, “that things are worse than she thought — and getting [still] worse.”
While Green identified obvious immediate needs for cages and supplies, transport is so difficult that he — like Asheville’s Moore — recommends financial donations instead. The NCSU facility is prepared to provide housing for animals, especially horses, in the event the Baton Rouge shelters are overrun.
To support to the Asheville Human Society’s rescue efforts, donate online at www.ashevillehumane.org or mail checks made out to “AHS Disaster Relief Fund” to AHS — Disaster Relief, 168 Merrimon Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. To donate to the rescue effort that NCSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine is assisting, make checks payable to “LVMA Dr. Walter J. Ernst Veterinary Memorial Foundation” (write “Katrina Fund” on the memo line) and send to the LVMA, 8550 United Plaza Blvd., Suite 1001, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. More information is available at www.vetmed.lsu.edu and www.cvm.ncsu.edu.
— Nelda Holder
• Sept. 19 mayoral forum: From 7 to 9 p.m. at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, the League of Women Voters will present a forum for the primary candidates in Asheville’s mayoral race, following a pre-forum “meet and greet” with City Council candidates. Open to the public.
• Sept. 21 community forum: The West Asheville Business Association is sponsoring an open community forum for candidates for Asheville City Council and mayor at 6:30 p.m. The forum will be held at the West Asheville Community Center, 970 Haywood Road, behind the fire station and West Asheville Library.
• Sept. 21 pub party: City Council candidate Bryan Freeborn is hosting a “Political Pub Party” featuring locally produced refreshments and music starting at 9 p.m. at the Westville Pub, 777 Haywood Road in West Asheville.
• Sept. 23 mayoral luncheon: The Asheville Jewish Community Center is sponsoring a luncheon and “Meet the Mayoral Candidates” forum (moderated by WCQS’ David Hurand) on Friday, Sept. 23, 12-1:30 p.m. The program is open to the public, and a catered vegetarian lunch is included in the price: $7/JCC members; $10/community. RSVP by Tuesday, Sept. 20, by calling 253-0701 or e-mailing email@example.com (seating is limited). The luncheon will be held at the JCC, 236 Charlotte St., between Hillside and Lenox; parking lot entrance is via Lenox.
• Oct. 5 candidate forum: The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2005 Candidates’ Forum, highlighting Asheville mayoral and city council candidates, takes place from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Resort. This forum is open to Chamber members only. A reservation is required to attend, and the $10 registration cost includes lunch. Reservations can be made online at www.ashevillechamber.org, or by calling 258-6118.
• Voter deadlines: To vote in the Oct. 11 primary election, you must be registered by Friday, Sept. 16. Absentee voting by mail for the primary begins Friday, Sept. 9, and ends Monday, Oct. 10. One-stop absentee voting begins Thursday, Sept. 22, and ends Saturday, Oct. 8, at 1 p.m. For further information, contact the Buncombe County Board of Elections at 250-4200 or visit www.buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/Election.
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.