On the side of peace

Though both houses of Congress recently voted to give President Bush authority to use military force in dealing with Iraq, many Americans remain strongly opposed to war. Those wishing to join together and speak out for peace will have an opportunity to do so at the national March for Peace! walk in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Oct. 26. The WNC Peace Coalition is chartering a bus that leaves Friday, Oct. 25 at 10:45 p.m. and returns Sunday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. The $55 cost includes a Saturday night stay in a Presbyterian church at Tacoma Park; scholarships are available.

Closer to home, the WNC Chapter of the United Nations Association will present a talk by retired U.S. Ambassador Jack Perry titled “Family of Nations or World Empire?” on Saturday, Oct. 26, in UNCA’s Owen Conference Center, beginning at 11:15. Perry questions the administration’s “go-it-alone” foreign policy and says the U.N. offers the best hope for peace. Admission to the talk is $5.

For more information about the national peace walk or to reserve a seat on the bus to D.C., call 253-6156 or 258-0022. For more information about Perry’s talk, call 251-6974 or 698-6868.

Together We Read explores regional heritage

Since mid-August, thousands of high-schoolers, college and university students, senior citizens, book-club members and library patrons have been reading and discussing The French Broad (by Asheville native Wilma Dykeman) as part of Together We Read, a communitywide reading program sponsored by the Asheville-Buncombe Library System.

The book, first published in 1955, takes a clear-eyed but affectionate look at a region whose history, sociology and economics are inextricably linked with the French Broad River and its tributaries.

“I figure we probably have reached about 20,000 people, because every college and university in a 30-mile radius has been involved in this program. … So unbeknown to those not involved, thousands of people have been focusing on The French Broad and what it means to us today,” observes Program Director Rob Neufeld.

A discussion of the book by Dykeman and other authors and scholars was broadcast on WCQS; public involvement has included discussion groups at all 12 Buncombe County libraries and at participating schools, retirement homes and book clubs, as well as on-line.

Although it was inspired by similar programs in other areas, Together We Read took things a key step further, says Neufeld. “We decided … that we would not only pick a work of great literature, we would pick a work that related very strongly to our heritage — and I think that’s been a big boon for us. … I think we’ve doubled if not tripled our audience because this is more than just a book discussion — it’s also us talking about who we were, who we are, where we’re going and what our purpose is, and people are turned on to that.”

The two-month project will culminate in “The Heritage Show,” an innovative regional-history convention that happens Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:30-6 p.m. at Pack Memorial Library (67 Haywood St. in Asheville). Admission is free.

At 1:30 p.m., Carol Johnson (curator of the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Division) and local photographer Peggy Gardner will discuss William Henry Jackson, one of America’s most famous landscape and documentary photographers, who made a little-known visit to this area in 1902, producing more than 70 images.

At 3 p.m., catch a cinematic survey of films shot in WNC. The show will feature one- to two-minute clips from 24 such movies, including Being There, The Fugitive, Where the Lilies Bloom, Thunder Road and Tap Roots. True film buffs can test themselves with name-that-film quiz sheets.

At 4:15 p.m., Dykeman will present “Seedtime on the French Broad” — a discussion of her book’s contributions to our culture.

Throughout the day, diverse individuals and agencies involved in the program and in regional heritage in general will exhibit the results of their research and explorations. “It amounts to an updating of our local epic,” says Neufeld.

And looking ahead to 2003, attendees will have a chance to vote on next year’s book choice.

The program has been funded by the local foundation Glad Tithings, the N.C. Humanities Council and library support groups.

For more information, call 255-5203.

Living, breathing jazz

Like all artists, jazz musicians often struggle to balance artistic integrity with the demands of the marketplace. The Jazz Composers Forum, formed last fall by members of the locally based Taken Back Quartet, aims to encourage creative composition and improvisation while forging an intimate and educational musician/audience relationship.

Modeled after New York City’s Jazz Composers Collective, the forum presents monthly concerts featuring new works by both regional and nationally known jazz composers — rising lights as well as established names. After each performance, the artists talk informally about their work. The concerts are also recorded and made available for purchase.

The forum recently received a 2002-03 Grassroots Grant Award from the Asheville Area Arts Council for “presenting innovative works by rising and well-known jazz musicians.”

The next Jazz Composers Forum happens Monday, Oct. 28 at The Left Bank (90 Patton Ave.) in Asheville. At 8 p.m., the Taken Back Quartet will play an all-original set, followed by a half-hour intermission. At 9:30 p.m., composer/tenor saxophonist Ziad will play his original compositions with help from bassist Kerry Brooks and percussionist Brian Sullivan (all from Charlotte) and special guest Bill Gerhardt, an NYC-based pianist. Ziad has performed with such notables as Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Koko Taylor, Ramsey Lewis and James Brown.

The following month’s forum happens Monday, Nov. 18 (also at The Left Bank), following the same format/schedule. After the Taken Back Quartet’s set, local composer/tenor sax player Stuart Reinhardt will present his original compositions. Reinhardt has performed and recorded with a wide variety of bands and artists such as Warren Haynes, Inside Out, Con Clave, the Howard Hanger Jazz Band and many others.

Admission to each concert is $10 ($6/students); audience members are free to attend either or both sets per night.

After taking December off, the forum will launch a new season in January.

For more information, visit The Jazz Composers Forum Web site at or e-mail

Movie festival showcases indie film, digital and video works

Until now, most Asheville-area film festivals have been limited to Super 8 and 16mm offerings, notes local artist Sara Legatski. “I’ve been involved in some of [the festivals] and met a lot of people … who are more into digital and VHF. They were curious about what opportunities existed in showing those kind of films in our area,” she explains.

None, until Legatski teamed up with filmmaker Elijah Brasch to create the Eye of the Beholder Film Festival, which continues through Tuesday, Oct. 29 at various downtown Asheville locations.

“Producing this festival was driven by the idea that more of us should pick up cameras,” Brasch explains. “With the introduction of digital filmmaking, practically anyone can put their personal perspective in front of the public eye. This movement of fresh, experimental films is vital to the survival of culture, we feel, and should be helped along in any way.”

The festival boasts a lineup of films that should satisfy just about anyone’s tastes: from provocative documentaries and profiles to animated and experiential shorts to serious drama to science-fiction comedy and mockumentaries (There’s even a film that’s described as “not your ordinary supernatural lesbian rodeo soap opera.”) Local filmmakers are well represented, but there are also offerings from across the country and Canada.

The remaining festival schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, Oct. 23 at Vincent’s Ear (68 N. Lexington Ave.) beginning at 8 p.m.: Rowdy Roundup: Night of the Killer Pinatas (trailer: 5 min. – Mini-DV), Frogs (10 min. – 16mm), A Code of Courage (2:45 min. – celluloid), Yo Soy Herichero (48 min. – VHS), Planetarium (7 min. – VHS), 10,082 (5:30 min. – Super 8), Men in Patience (10 min. – 16mm), and The Devil’s Pharmaceuticals (2 min. – 16mm). Admission $3.

Thursday, Oct. 24, Vincent’s Ear, 8 p.m.: Turtles (2 min. – Super 8), Liquify (8:07 min. – DV NTSC), Colchones (5 min. – video), Chunk (11 min. – 16mm), Videoworks Volume 3: Computer Smarts (4 min. – video), The Dutch Act (24 min. – celluloid), Route 11 (5:48 min. – Super 16mm), Golden Blade II (22:30 min. – Mini-DV) and Bad Moon Rising (18 min. – digital). Admission $3.

Friday, Oct. 25, YMI Cultural Center (39 S. Market St.), 7:30 p.m.: Slingshot (18 min. – 16mm), Clyde (5 min. – 16mm), Nigger or Not? (30 min. – Mini-DV), Now Let Us Praise American Leftists (2:30 min. – video), Tejoula Turner: Documentary of a North Carolina Artist (21:50 min. – Mini-DV), and Final Exit (5 min. – video). Admission $5.

Saturday, Oct. 26, YMI Cultural Center, 7:30 p.m.: Dancing With Old Havana (22:14 min. – Mini-DV), Love Songs #1 (4 min. – video), When the Bough Breaks (57 min. – digi-beta, beta-sp, 16mm), and Agora (7:30 min. – Super 16mm). Admission $5.

Sunday, Oct. 27, Gallery 31 (31 Carolina Lane): 3 p.m., The Sexy Chef (81 min. – Mini-DV); 6 p.m., Closer Than That (45 min. – digital); and 8 p.m. Ether (feature length – digital). Additionally, The Return of Paul Jarret (48 min. – VHS) will play at 7:30 p.m. at Big Idea (27 Carolina Lane). Admission is $1 for each film.

Monday, Oct. 28, Big Idea: 7 p.m., Razing Appalachia (72 min. – Mini-DV and beta); 9 p.m. Down to Earth (52 min. – DV). Admission is $1 for each film.

Tuesday, Oct. 29, Big Idea, 7:30 p.m.: The Loneliest Time of My Life (65 min. – 16mm). Admission $1.

On Friday, Nov. 1, The Orange Peel (101 Biltmore Ave.) will host the Eye of the Beholder awards ceremony. Doors open at 9 p.m.; entertainment will include a masquerade and carnival floor show, plus theatrics by the band/performance group The Goodies. Admission is $7; audience members are encouraged to come in costume.

For more information, visit or call 242-7569.

6.28 billion and growing

The numbers on world population growth are sobering. In a proclamation declaring Oct. 20-26 World Population Awareness Week in the state of North Carolina, Gov. Mike Easley notes that more than 1 billion people (one-sixth of the world’s population) are now between the ages of 15 and 24 — the biggest generation ever in that age bracket.

Commenting on this year’s theme, “Population and the Next Generation,” Easley says, “The choices young people make today regarding their sexual and reproductive lives, including responsible male behavior, will determine whether world population stabilizes at 8 billion or less or 9 million or more.”

According to the proclamation, 17 million young women ages 15-19 give birth each year — 13 million of them in less-developed countries. Statistically, early pregnancy and childbearing are associated with serious health risks (for both mother and child), less education, and lower future-income potential.

In addition, the risks of dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth are 25 times higher for girls under 15, and twice as high for women ages 15-19.

Easley further notes that roughly half of the 5 million people infected with HIV last year were between the ages of 15 and 24. In addition, almost 12 million young people now live with HIV, and about 6,000 more become infected every day.

World Population Awareness Week celebrates its 18th anniversary this year. The event was developed by The Population Institute to boost public awareness of the consequences of rapid global population growth and the need for immediate action. Last year, 31 U.S. governors, 288 mayors, 266 organizations and 77 countries signed on in support of the week.

For more information about world population, visit the Population Institute Web site:

Spaces still available on NYC trip

How’d you like to spend three nights at the historic Warwick Hotel in the heart of Manhattan, enjoying tickets to Broadway shows, sumptuous meals, plus some Big Apple holiday shopping opportunities? The Asheville Symphony Guild’s New York City Adventure (Dec. 9-12) offers all this plus a chance to support the Asheville Symphony. The deadline for reservations is Friday, Oct. 25.

A portion of the $1, 325 excursion price (including round-trip airfare) is a tax-deductible donation to the symphony; in addition, the Bergdorf-Goodman department store will contribute 10 percent of tour members’ purchases.

The Asheville Symphony Guild supports the growth of the symphony and encourages interest in music and cultural activities in the greater Asheville community.

For more information or to register for the trip, contact Anne Holt (658-8700;


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