COVIDtown Crier: June 3, 2020

“Why are they publishing this Crier rubbish?” you may be asking. We certainly are. The rest of this edition of Mountain Xpress can’t help but show the tough times WNC is facing. Here’s one little spot in the paper where we offer a bit of levity, to possibly brighten someone’s day, poking a bit of fun at the outrageousness of it all.

Transformers… businesses in disguise

Gov. Roy Cooper’s implementation of Executive Order 141, aka Phase 2, aka The Deuce, on May 22 allowed salons, restaurants and other businesses to reopen at reduced “mid-’90s Asheville” capacity. Meanwhile, in textbook rapture fashion, other businesses were left behind, still unable to welcome customers — a reality that has many entrepreneurs reevaluating their services and finding new ways to serve the public. Several local operations initially not allowed to reopen have exploited various loopholes and are returning this week with revised missions.

“We’re not a gym anymore,” argues Crossfit AVL trainer Trey Magnifeek. “We’re a pool, so dive in and get ripped.” Recently the business’s owners closed the garage-style doors and rolled back the roof, letting the tropical-storm-fueled rains fill up the facility and allowing the business to open at 50% capacity. No more wiping down equipment, Magnifeek promises, “and if you think rolling tractor tires is tough, try treading water with one.” Crossfit AVL has also replaced its rowing machine with an actual rowboat, tethered to the east wall. Frazier’s Tavern has also opened, identifying as a pool — though it remains unclear whether the move is rooted in confusion about playing pool versus having a pool.

It’s raining “a-mens” at the historic Grove House, where drag queens have transformed the one-time Scandals nightclub into a church offering late-night services. Dubbed “Second Coming,” the ecumenical house of worship offers solace during this difficult period.

“Scandals is my spiritual home, and right now it makes perfect sense to use the space to continue bringing souls into holy communion with one another,” says Sister Linda Hand. The facility has parlayed its experience with prophylactic measures into an extensive set of practices to ensure safe celebrations.

“We spent a lot of years convincing people we don’t serve food, despite our name,” says new Burger Bar restaurant owner Alita Pickle. “Now we do … technically.” In fact, the West Asheville mainstay doesn’t even sell drinks anymore — just Jell-O. “My favorite is the Jell-O lasagna,” she says. “But the traditionalists are enjoying the Jell-O burger.” All the dishes are made on the premises in refrigerators and are chock-full of vodka and other clear liquors that may or may not “cook off.” Incidentally, Crier food critic, Al Havanother, hasn’t been heard from since he was dispatched to Burger Bar for its first lunch service Friday.

Smoky Mountain Sk8way has partnered with several licensed beauticians to offer “Haute (Couture) Wheels.” With haircuts now falling into the category of permitted businesses, customers who come for a trim also receive a complimentary skate rental. “Just please slow down when they get close to your ears,” warns manager Jim “Wheelz” McCutcheon, adding, “Roll-ins are welcome.”


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