Letters to the editor

Xpress: Take a pulse before declaring patient dead

I’m writing to inform all concerned that rumors of the Surreal Sirkus’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. The recent article about Salsa [“The River on Patton,” Xpress Feb. 25] describes Rigel 7 as “a member of the now-defunct Surreal Sirkus.” As an active member of Surreal Sirkus, I was saddened to know that all those shows we’ve done recently were officially under the auspices of a defunct organization. How did I fail to notice?!

Let me make the record clear: Surreal Sirkus is alive and thriving. Our last performance was on Valentine’s Day at Shotzy’s (which included not only an elaborate show, but gourmet, surreal appetizers, and a reception as well), and before that we had held our annual Halloween Arts Festival, also at Shotzy’s. Both shows were very well attended. Our next performance will be around May 1 (more details will be forthcoming).

So, as you see, the Surreal Sirkus is far from “defunct.”

In the future, please take a pulse before declaring the patient dead (“I’m feeling much better … ,” nags the persistent Monty Python voice in my head that has been making quite a ruckus since I read the article in the Xpress).

— Jim Genaro

A show of support for ACRC

[Last week, Xpress received four letters of support for the Asheville Community Resource Center, or ACRC, which is being evicted from the space it occupies on Lexington Avenue, next door to Downtown Books & News. Three of those letters appear below.]

What can we do to help?

I am a downtown business owner and resident, and I am writing in support of the ACRC. I was upset to hear that they were so quickly asked to leave a space into which so many have invested so much. I am very familiar with the ACRC, because several of my employees are actively involved with the organizations housed there. These are people I know to be dedicated, hardworking and resourceful. I know if offered a chance for dialogue, they could come up with a better agreement than eviction.

It is my understanding that complaints from local shop owners are a big factor in the decision to evict the ACRC. Our restaurant is located on Wall Street, so I will not pretend to know every side of this story. As an active member of daily downtown life, I would like to support the street as a whole the way that it is.

Lexington Avenue is my favorite street downtown. I do almost all of my retail shopping down there, and I am a big fan of the restaurants now lining the street. I enjoy the street because it is not all retail. It is a city street, not a mall. I also feel so comfortable there because of its long history as a sort of alternative hub within our alternative town. That is why it is the perfect location for the ACRC. By definition, a resource center needs to be located where people can take advantage of its resources.

I would not want an Asheville without the Global Report or the Prison Books program anymore than I would like a town without the independently owned storefronts like Minx and Adorn. Having attended the last two Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festivals, I have been particularly impressed with this street’s ability to pull off an event that represents the Asheville [that] locals know and love. That is an event pulled together by artists, shop owners and activists.

I hope that those same people can devise a better solution than eviction for all the vital organizations housed in the ACRC. I would like to reiterate that I know and respect many of the people working for these organizations. They are not only my employees, but also my clientele and my neighbors. If there is anything that our business can do to assist the ACRC, we would like to do so.

Public issues such as restrooms and affordable space for local nonprofits have been solved by the ACRC. Public events like the Tell Us the Truth tour have been professionally held at the ACRC. I would hate to see Asheville lose this important resource. Please let me know if I can do anything to help.

— Julie Stehling
Co-owner, Early Girl Eatery

ACRC a breath of fresh air in our world of profits and fees

I am writing to express my concern about the impending eviction of the Asheville Community Resource Center, and to express my support for this young institution. I believe the ACRC serves an extremely important function in our community, and that it deserves all of our support.

From housing several nonprofit, community-oriented organizations to providing a public reading room and a space for fund-raisers and other events, the ACRC collective — the body that democratically runs the center — has shown its commitment to serving the community. Its emphasis on providing free services and not turning anyone away for lack of funds is a breath of fresh air in today’s world of profits and fees.

A friend and I focalize a group that meets weekly to share knowledge and practice conversation in Spanish. While the [meetings] are usually small, I feel that many people, including myself, have benefited from these sessions. This is but one tiny part of what the center offers its community.

I hope that all concerned parties keep in mind the great benefits that the ACRC provides for the community and the amount of support it enjoys due to the devoted efforts of the collective and the center’s staff.

— Joseph Patteson

ACRC presence a boon to downtown

We are writing to express our dismay that the Asheville Community Resource Center has lost their lease to the space at 63 N. Lexington Ave.

As a Lexington Avenue business, we [at Rosetta’s Kitchen] enjoy a good relationship with the ACRC, and find that our business is much enhanced by the members of the collective and their guests. They regularly bring in a lot of business and new customers to the restaurant.

Truthfully, many ACRC-collective members are employees at this establishment, and we find them to be dedicated and hard-working members of our staff, and know that their dedication to the projects and the community at the ACRC is even more profound. Several employees also have children who participate regularly in Asheville Free School classes, and it is so helpful to these families to have home-schooling opportunities available to [them] right here on Lexington Avenue, where they work.

On a more personal level, we would like to state that we consider the award-winning Asheville Global Report, whose offices are housed within the ACRC, to be an incredibly important international newspaper, and [we] gladly distribute the paper from our premises. The work those writers and editors do to keep the public informed on international issues is invaluable in these politically volatile times, and we wholeheartedly support their efforts, and mourn for them the challenge they will face in seeking new office space.

If there were anything we as a business could do to help the ACRC regain rights to their space, we would do so enthusiastically. We consider the ACRC to be in an excellent location on Lexington Avenue, and feel their presence enhances the entire downtown-Asheville community. Furthermore, we hope the move to terminate the lease with the ACRC is not an example of the overdevelopment of downtown space, or an example of prejudice against any of the groups affiliated with the space or their guests who enjoy the services they offer.

Please let us know if we can show our support for the ACRC in any other way, as we gladly will.

— Justina Prenatt and Rosetta Rzany
Rosettta’s Kitchen

[Ed. Note: Fourteen other Rosetta’s staff members also signed this letter.

The Asheville Global Report has now relocated to an office in the Flat Iron Building.]


What a difference a dot makes.

In last week’s Buzzworm, we urged restaurant owners and managers to tell us about new restaurants and other eateries that have never been listed in Blue Ridge Flavors, Xpress‘ annual guide to dining and summer fun in WNC. Unfortunately, the address for accessing an online form included a dot where a slash should have been. The correct address: www.mountainx.com/dining/form.php.

For more information, see “Desperately Seeking New Feeding Grounds …” in this issue’s Buzzworm section.

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