Nashville to Hendersonville II — a celebration for Michael Carlisle

Last December, more than a dozen accomplished Nashville musicians journeyed to Hendersonville to play a benefit concert for Henderson County native Michael Carlisle, who’s been a performer and studio musician in Nashville for the last 20 years. Carlisle has been suffering from kidney failure due to hypertension; the benefit raised about $4,000, which enabled him to return to Nashville to be with his son and his friends as he continued receiving treatment.

Ten months later, Carlisle is feeling much better — and his Nashville buddies enjoyed their enthusiastic reception in Hendersonville so much that they’re coming back.

“It’s a celebration this time,” Carlisle explains over the phone. “Last year was a benefit. This one, I just want everybody to know I’m back, feeling good.”

The celebration will take place on Friday, Oct. 18, beginning at 8:30 p.m. at The Chariot (corner of Seventh Avenue West and Church Street) in Hendersonville. Donations will be taken at the door, and it’s BYOB.

The lineup will be much the same as last time. The Nashville contingent will include Carlisle (with the band Mysterioso), fellow Henderson County native Tom Eizonas (with the band Short Term Memory), and award-winning blues singer/guitarist Mike Holloway. Local artists making an appearance will include Bruce McTaggert and his band, as well as acoustic guitarist Pat Corn.

“We’re going to have an acoustic set, and some special friends are going to get up and play. … It ought to be cool,” notes Carlisle. “We’re going to go as long as the people want us to.”

Carlisle, who’s been undergoing dialysis since last November, says: “I’m feeling a whole lot better. I’m healthy, I’m walking — I walk a couple of miles every day. You know, I’m just happy to be here.”

His sister Myra Kitchen, who lives in Belgium, has volunteered to donate one of her kidneys to her brother. “Everybody feels real good about it,” says Carlisle. “It will probably happen around Thanksgiving. That will be my Christmas present.”

If he’s learned anything from this experience that he’d like to pass on to others, Carlisle explains, “It’s check your blood pressure!”

“That’s what happened to me,” he continues. “They call it the silent killer. We never checked my blood pressure because I always ate the best, I was the healthiest. … But then my blood pressure was way high over way high. I just shut down, all my organs. … And then I was in for a wild ride there for a while. If I’d just checked my blood pressure, I would have known it was out of control. We musicians, we don’t really go to the doctors that much.”

“If I can do anything through all this, I’d like to make people aware that health is the main thing.”

For more information on the show, call The Chariot at 693-9059.

Exhibit explores sacred journeys

“Imagine squeezing 2 million people into Pack Square from all walks of life, different countries, different languages, different colors. That’s haj.”

— Zacharia Abuasba

As Americans, we live in a time of both escalating violence and increased opportunity for cross-cultural understanding. The exhibit “In the Footsteps of Pilgrims: Historic Travels of Faith” at the YMI Cultural Center (39 S. Market St.) aims to provide a framework for discussion that focuses on the similarities of the human experience despite our differences.

The exhibit (which runs through Friday, Nov. 29) explores the cultural and historical issues of journeys of faith from the viewpoints of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Visitors will learn about the haj to Mecca as well as pilgrimages to Rome, Jerusalem, Canterbury, Santiago de Compostela (in Spain), Varanasi (in India) and Shikoku (in Japan).

Drawing on historical documents as well as the eyewitness accounts of local citizens who have made these sacred journeys, the Asheville-based Center for Diversity Education has researched the historical context of these pilgrimages and assembled a significant collection of photographs and artifacts from around the world. These include a camel saddle from North Africa, prayer rugs, pilgrim badges of the Middle Ages, clothing from many of the pilgrimages, photographs of 2 million people in prayer, and much more.

On four consecutive Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m., area residents will share their own experiences as pilgrims. The schedule is as follows:

On Oct. 22, Dr. Peter and Jasmine Gentling will speak about their pilgrimage to Shikoku.

On Oct. 29, Howard and Barbara Jaslow will discuss their pilgrimage to Israel.

On Nov. 5, Abuasba will talk about his pilgrimage to Mecca.

And on Nov. 12, Dr. Tom Sanders will talk about his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

In addition, Ahmad Amara will speak about “The Haj in Islam” during a brown-bag lunch at noon on Thursday, Nov. 21.

The exhibit was designed to fit with the North Carolina public-school curriculum for seventh- and 10th-graders, which covers these faiths. Docent-led tours are scheduled each morning for the nearly 1,000 WNC students in those grades and may also be arranged for other groups.

“In the Footsteps of Pilgrims: Historic Travels of Faith” is on display at the YMI Cultural Center (39 S. Market St. in Asheville) through Friday, Nov. 29. The show is open to the public on Tuesdays from 1-7 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 1-5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 254-9044 or visit the Center for Diversity Education Web site: A one-time fee ($2/students, $4/adults) covers admission to both the exhibit and all the associated events for the run of the series.

Benefit supports WNC farms

“Farmers Feed Us All” proclaims part of the design of the six-acre Blue Ridge Corn Maze (570 Everett Road, near Brevard). That’s also the message of the upcoming Farmers Feed Us All celebration, to be held at the maze on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 2-7 p.m., followed by an after-dark walk through the corn maze.

Participants are asked to bring a picnic meal (and a flashlight, if they plan to do the after-dark walk) and enjoy live music, fun and games as well as the maze — all in celebration of Western North Carolina farms and the work of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. Admission to the event is $10 for adults and $6 for children.

The proceeds will benefit local farms through the work of ASAP, a nonprofit, community-based collaborative supporting farms and rural communities in WNC.

The organization’s initiatives include: the Buy Appalachian Local Food Guide, a free, 40-page guidebook listing local farms, tailgate markets, restaurants, grocers and other businesses that sell or process local farm products; the “Get Fresh, Buy Appalachian” campaign, which works with local restaurants, caterers, grocery stores and tailgate markets to forge links between family farms and local consumers; and (in cooperation with A-B Tech) developing the Sustainable Mountain Farming Program, with courses in sustainable agriculture, the organic certification process, and organic production systems for both new and experienced farmers.

For more information, directions or a bad-weather advisory, call ASAP at 293-3262 or visit their Web site:

Bringing cancer out of the closet

Ironically, professional actress Barbara Bates Smith of Clyde, N.C., was playing the role of the cancer patient in the Margaret Edson drama Wit in Waynesville about a year ago when she was diagnosed with cancer herself. Smith’s treatment was supervised by Asheville radiation oncologist Eric Kuehn, M.D.

Out of that experience — and their mutual desire to bring cancer out of the closet and into the light of candid, compassionate communication — the two created a public-service program “The C-Word: A Doctor-Patient Dialogue on Cancer.” They’ll present the program on Friday, Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m. at Jubilee Community Church (46 Wall St. in Asheville).

“The C-Word” employs a three-way, interactive format: Smith shares her experiences as a cancer patient, some of them humorous; Kuehn addresses the medical issues; and audience members may add questions or comments at any point. A monologue and brief scene from Wit will also be presented.

The two have presented the program to groups of health-care professionals, caregivers, counselors, clergy, patients and their families, and other interested community groups in Waynesville, Clyde, Charlotte and Asheville.

For further information, call Smith at 627-8923.

Dancing for a cause

Members of the Asheville-Buncombe Community Relations Council were searching for a way to honor the memories of two women who did a great deal for the organization: former staffer Phyllis Sherrill (who died last year) and former board member Gladys Forney (who died April 3). Along with their work for the Community Relations Council, these women gave countless hours of their time to programs helping disadvantaged Asheville youths improve their lives and self-esteem.

Fittingly, Council members hit on the idea of a scholarship fund. Beginning next year, the Sherrill/Forney Community Relations Scholarship will be awarded annually to two needy students who have completed high school and need financial assistance to continue their education. Students will be screened by a committee of community leaders.

To raise money for the scholarship, the Community Relations Council will host a fund-raising gala on Friday, Oct. 18 at the Holiday Inn Great Smokies SunSpree Resort. The social hour will start at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing. Cost: $30 per person.

For tickets or more info, call the Asheville-Buncombe Community Relations Council office (252-4713).

Clean Air Fund awarding cash to schools for contests

The Clean Air Community Trust Fund is already giving money to local public schools, in the form of cash prizes for winners of clean-air curriculum and poster contests. On Oct. 1, it awarded $500 to Asheville Middle School and another $500 to Erwin High School, Fund members announced at the Buncombe County Commissioners’ meeting.

Asheville Middle’s Barbara Groome, an 8th-grade Language Arts & Social Studies teacher, won for her interdisciplinary lesson plan focusing on the problems and possible solutions for air pollution in our region. At Erwin, Chemistry/Earth Science Teacher Angela Helms won for her curriculum “Air Quality Rules!,” whose lesson objectives include exposing students to the effects of poor air quality, conducting experiments to see the effects dirty air has on the environment and our health, and helping students express their opinion about the state of the air we breathe.

The Trust is now sponsoring a Poster/Project contest for all Asheville City and Buncombe County Middle and High School classes, with $500, $300 and $100 prizes. Posters may summarize previous research on and possible solutions to Western North Carolina’s air pollution problems. Projects may include actual original research on either the science, economics, or policy related to air pollution. Deadline for submissions is Nov. 6; for more information, see, or call 254-3577.


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