Starring: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, John C. Reilly, Twink Caplan, Robert Loggia

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

The Story: Two talentless bozos make a movie about two talentless bozos making a movie, losing a fortune and trying to recoup that money by reviving a rundown mall before the gangsterish producers of their movie catch up with them. The Lowdown: Quite possibly the worst movie ever made, which, I suspect, will be taken…

Say “cheese”

Western North Carolinians may not don foam cheese hats at Tourists’ games, but we’re a cheese-loving and cheese-making region all the same. That’s why Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project is putting the focus on local farmstead cheese this month in its Get Local initiative, which brings together farmers, chefs and community members to celebrate a single […]

From one Depression to another

The annual Swannanoa Gathering is an ideal locale for interviewing the Twilite Broadcasters. Here, on the campus of Warren Wilson College, Adam Tanner and Mark Jackson are surrounded by fellow musicians obsessed with the myriad forms of archaic Americana. A killer multi-instrumentalist and mainstay on the Western North Carolina folk scene, Tanner is scheduled to […]

Stories of coal

In the battle to stop mountaintop removal in Appalachia, Grammy Award-winning singer Kathy Mattea is firmly entrenched in the center of the dialogue. Answering the call: While "singing is like breathing," the challenges of advocacy and activism are "much more involved," says Mattea. Photo by James Minchin. "I'm living in the question of how we […]


How many artists, besides the late Johnny Cash, open with a prison song? Roots and blues musician Woody Pines probably found himself in an exclusive club when he started off a recent Orange Peel set with the song “99 Years.” The thing about Pines (whose band borrows its front man’s stage name) is that he’s […]

The Dirt: Mum’s the word

When autumn arrives, I can’t resist chrysanthemums. I place them in container pots on my porches, in baskets in my house, and in even smaller baskets in the bathrooms. Kitty is currently destroying the one on my desk by batting the blossoms around. Live long and prosper: According to folklore, if you place chrysanthemum petals […]

Shifting sands

It would take serious effort to miss all the buzz about the collaboration between Led Zeppelin’s front man (turned solo act) Robert Plant and Union Station front woman (turned producer) Alison Krauss. The unlikely duo’s Raising Sand (Rounder) dropped last fall and has been a subject of much philosophizing and rhetoric among music critics and […]

Superhero Movie

The Story: A teen is bitten by a genetically enhanced dragonfly, contracts super powers, and decides to become a superhero. The Lowdown: Another in the long line of Movie movies. This one is slightly better -- and a lot shorter -- than its pedigree would lead you to believe, but that still doesn't mean it…

One-night millennium

So how does one go about condensing a millennium’s worth of music into a one-evening performance? Well, singer/songwriter Richard Thompson can’t exactly tell us, as by his own description he was “cheating” when he came up with the title “1,000 Years of Popular Music” for the show that he brings to town on Sunday. What […]

Black Snake Moan

The Story: When an aging blues musician finds a battered young woman with promiscuity issues in the road near his house, he takes her in and attempts to reform her. The Lowdown: A visually striking, thematically daring film from Craig Brewer that works more than it doesn't, but suffers from clunky structure in the last…

Shrimp trawls and smokehouse­s

At its heart, Southern food is a tapestry of flavors, the result of a complex weaving together of the various cultural and regional cuisines that developed throughout the South’s elaborate history. Consider, for example, the food of the Southeastern Lowcountry, a region of lush estuaries and marshes and generous expanses of coastline. The distinctive cuisine […]

For Generation S(nuffleup­agus)

When staffers at the Health Adventure wanted to lure a more mature audience to its family-friendly halls, they decided to host a traveling exhibit steeped in 1970s nostalgia. After all, a museum can’t just tap a keg and blare loud music to win adults’ attention. Or can it? For “Retro Night,” a 21-and-over party at […]

Into the blogospher­e

They’re bloggers, and they’re everywhere. They’re a new breed of citizen-reporters, net-savvy activists and digital diarists, and through their Web logs, or blogs, they keep journals of their passions, posting them online for all to read. In recent years, they’ve also made blogs a new media force to be reckoned with. Six years ago, it […]


Skeletons in the jukebox “Skeletons” provides a forum for local musicians, artists, record-store owners, etc., to erase cool points by expressing their unseemly affection for an unhip album from their past. Rocky IV Soundtrack, by Kevin Cassels, owner of Good Music and Other Stuff. “If you suddenly smell Velveeta while driving past a flea market, […]

After you light the fuse …

Storytelling goes way back in these mountains, as an oral tradition common to both the indigenous population and the sometimes equally non-literate Europeans who evicted them. The Europeans, of course, brought along the notion of front porches and rocking chairs, which contributed immeasurably to the ambiance of the storytelling milieu. Songwriter and tale-spinner Michael Reno […]

The politics of coffee

“I’ve heard some complaints about TransFair, but they are definitely taking steps to protect some of these farmers and their families.” — Mountain City Coffee Roasters’ Randall Sluder On a blustery, gray winter morning in downtown Asheville’s Beanstreets Coffeehouse/Cafe, a chilly patron waiting in line shuffles one step closer to her eagerly awaited daily pick-me-up: […]

What’s luck got to do with it?

While Americans are busy pinching their post-holiday pennies, hoping for good tax returns and generally lying low this time of year, across the globe, the party’s just getting started. Michi Chin, an international student at A-B Tech, was visiting her family in China recently, during the buildup for her native country’s new-year celebration. Chin’s family […]

Soul food from the Universe Cafe

Revolutionary carrots? Transformational potatoes? After a talk with Sister Miriam Therese MacGillis, the spiritual aspect of food seems less an esoteric abstraction than an everyday delight. Restoring the connection between earth, food and humans is not only Sister MacGillis’ personal mission, it’s her job (she’s the director of Genesis Farm, a 180-acre educational center and […]

Toe-sucking geek rock

When I was a degenerate college dropout in the mid-’90s — working in a laundromat, sustaining my body with frozen pizza and bad beer (the latter acquired via my roommate’s older brother’s driver’s license) — I was listening to a lot of music, probably with more attention and with more openness than I have before […]

And the music never stopped

Every family has its traditions. Sometimes they are newly made, and sometimes they are passed down from a grandmother or an aunt. But these days, few can claim a tradition as old and as steeped in heritage as the music that still lives on through some Madison County families. For these people, music has been […]