EYE ON ART: A view from above Pack Square shows the recent closing in of the upper floors of the Asheville Art Museum as the new facility nears completion. Museum leadership says the building will be an anchor for downtown, as well as a worthy permanent home for the museum’s collection. Photo courtesy of Asheville Art Museum

Asheville Art Museum builds for the past, present and future

As the city gets ready to meet the latest incarnation of the Asheville Art Museum on Pack Square, Xpress looks at the museum’s history and its plans for the future, along with cost of the building project and its effects on other Pack Place institutions to feel out what the new space will mean to Asheville and the region.

LIFT EVERY VOICE: To commemorate two decades of music — and major shifts in attitudes toward the LGBTQ community — Cantaria is preparing an impressive program featuring some songs from its original lineup as well as a handful of originals. Among the latter is a new, two-part piece composed by David Troy Francis of Asheville, with lyrics by local poet Gavin Dillard. Photo courtesy of Cantaria

Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus celebrates its 20th anniversar­y

Asheville was a very different place in 1998: There was no Blue Ridge Pride and what LGBTQ community existed was not entirely out and loud, much less well-connected. Despite all that, the North Carolina Pride celebration was scheduled to happen in Asheville that year, so there was buzz in the city about LGBTQ visibility and an opening for a new gay men’s chorus to emerge.

HOLIDAZE: John Waters has been performing his Christmas-themed stage show for 12 years, and he knows a thing or two about handling the holidays. From ornaments with pictures of ugly relatives to a decorated electric chair, “I think that you just can take the traditional things about Christmas and have a little more fun with them,” he says.

Filmmaker John Waters talks Christmas, career, criminals and more

“I’ve been doing this Christmas show for 12 years,” Waters says. “Even when I made all the movies, I use to always do a show called This Filthy World or An Evening with John Waters. It began when I use to tour with the movies to introduce them. I’ve always had a stage show of some kind or other — I never gave up on Vaudeville.”