Could you be a bit more specific, please?

A casual visitor or newly arrived resident to Asheville/WNC could get pretty turned around (if not turned off) when reading listings in Mountain Xpress regarding events going on around town. In the Feb. 18 issue’s Weekly Picks section, for example, the Sunday pick told us that the “Asheville Mardi Gras Parade starts … in front of what used to be Joli Rouge”, nothing more. The inner dialogue of the writer and editor must have been: “Well, you all know where we mean anyway.”

This seems to me, as a fairly new arrival here, to be an obviously erroneous way of getting the word out. An address is the first thing one would look for in this kind of posting. It referred the reader to further coverage in that issue; however, it is not uncommon to come across only a part of the paper in a café.

I was doubly inclined to write in because this brought back my frustration when first arriving here last fall and being interested in seeing something at the Asheville Film Festival. I picked up your paper and read the festival “full-coverage” page and following pages for listings. On the first page, there was no running-date line (i.e. running November 12-18 etc.). Then I checked the listings for individual days/dates and film times/showings. These were listed only as “Friday, Saturday, Sunday etc,” with no corresponding dates anywhere in the coverage. Again, it seemed to be saying: “Everyone in town knows this is happening this week—every year.” I was confused. Week-in-advance listings are not unheard of. I figured out the actual dates out (being that current week), but it seemed silly to even have to.

Dates are equally important to researchers looking back via the Internet, as well. The irony wasn’t lost on this reader when your paper ran a story last month on the state and outcome of the Asheville Film Festival—reporting a so-so turnout.

I do enjoy the paper: Think locally—write globally.

— M. MacElhiney

The editors respond: The Mardi Gras cover story for the week mentioned included more detailed information about where the parade was to begin—we apologize that information didn’t find its way into the weekly picks. We certainly want our readers to be able to find the wonderful events Xpress features, and the suggestions about addresses is a good one. Regarding the missing dates for the Asheville Film Festival: We did include the dates in an opening page of basic festival information, but we certainly should have made those dates prominent in the schedule as well (and next time we’ll be sure to).

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2 thoughts on “Could you be a bit more specific, please?

  1. September Girl

    M. – you have uncovered a conspiracy hatched by the local media to inculcate newcomers into our strange use of defunct landmarks and mystery dates. Think of it as an entertainment scavenger hunt. Half the fun is getting there (on the right date)

    Try setting up a rendez vous at the old French Bar or the old Old Europe (or possibly the old new Old Europe, when it reopens) Once you get the hang of it, you’ll enjoy impressing your out-of-town visitors with your knowledge of the (old) lay of the land.

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