The Last LAAFF?!?

2014 – Is this the Last LAAFF for Lex Fest?

Hopefully not! Although is has been declared over and done and this year will be the “Last LAAFF” there will be metamorphosis to the project with a larger group of directors and organizations including the businesses along Lexington Avenue, the very source of the fest itself.  I believe LAAFF proved in the shadow of its final bow, that it is a festival Asheville wants. Even though I didn’t get to stay as long as I wanted to it was as much fun as ever! Particular favorites for me were The Water Temple, Bike Races with a Dunk Tank finish, Asian Teacher Factory and of course all of the great artists, performers and just folks that dress up and come out to LAAFF. The people watching is always par excellence and this year was no exception! Here are a few choice looks from the day. You can find more photos from LAAFF on my facebook page here.

[*And a note to the future organizers, please don't scrap a good thing because of one bad year. There's no such thing as a last LAAFF.]

 

 

Saturday Afternoon – Asheville

I’ve been doing some traveling for work this week.  I’m always glad for the change of perspective, but so completely happy to be back in the mountains. It was a gorgeous late afternoon to be back with the family. Looking around on a typical Saturday afternoon in Asheville it’s not hard to see why I love it here!

Mmmmmwuh!

Saturday Afternoon in Asheville

Thoughts on “Finding Vivian Maier”

My two cents about Vivian Maier.

I saw the documentary of Vivian Maier’s life a few months ago and it rattled me, deeply, so much so it’s taken me this long to assimilate it. Watching this movie, I distinctly identified with her need to capture precious real moments, glimpsed in an instant, composed between seconds. She devoted herself to her craft in private, never sharing her images with others but ubiquitously known to have the camera with her at all times. I am certain if she knew all of the scrutiny she was receiving now she would be mortified. And yet, I was intrigued to discover, she left a clear trail of clues for and of herself. A dizzyingly cluttered trail, of 1000s of photo prints and negatives, newspapers and receipts, boxes and boxes of undeveloped film, all patiently  just waiting for the world to discover her. Bold enough to photograph fearlessly, yet so timid about possible rejection that she would craft letters of submission and then save them, unsent, among her collections. It screams, “Find me!”

What would become of any of us in such circumstances? An intensely private single woman, with a passion for art and a true eye for photography, a beloved skill learned from her mother. Living in a time when women of her “station” were primarily hired for domestic opportunities and jobs for “odd” unattached older women as she aged, rarer still. Living among the lives and children of her well off employers, always to be locking them out of her privacy, yet always the voyeur of theirs.  Ultimately, for most of these people, she was little more than a convenience, like your dish washer or an iron and they pay her just about as much attention. Meanwhile Vivian displays a penchant to pursue, capture and portray stories of the marvelous mundane as well as the macabre in the every day. Taking the rich people’s children to the rough parts of town to see & photograph real every day life playing out in the streets and alley’s of Chicago.

As she ages and the commodity of her passion’s aggregate begins to make her upper floor bedroom sag noticeably into the ceiling below, realizing that time and space are limited, she must have been panicked about what would happen to her precious collections. Her sanity and ability to control her circumstances slowly ebbing away until she dies alone and unknown, taken away to the hospital after a fall, never to return.  Within months of her passing she is discovered by John Maloof, a complete stranger who bought a box of her things at a warehouse auction and who is now the steward of her “photographic estate”. In the end, of all the people they interviewed who knew her, some friends, some employers, some children she had cared for now grown, all tried to  explain from their perspective who she was; but I don’t think any of them really did.

Just wow. What a story! It truly spoke to me about the importance of putting your passions out there fearlessly. Would really love to see her work in person someday. . .

I made this a few years ago as a reminder to myself to keep making and pushing myself to be better. As I walked out of the theater it kept floating back to me again.

Summer’s Mask

Feeling especially artsy fartsy tonight after weeks of semi doldrums. A thing here, a thing there, chasing flickers in the dark. (I figured out they were lightning bugs. Yay summer!) Tonight though I pulled my head out of its box and set it out in the sunshine for the last few rays before the sun goes under the mountain. A summer’s mask of  ripe colors filtered though a distorted head. Magic time!

Wednesday Night Blues with the 12 Bar All-Stars

My husband Cass and I have a long history of enjoying live music together, especially the blues. Before we had kids and responsibilities we were regulars at the Beale Street Blues Fest in Memphis and of course the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  We’ve seen The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Buddy Guy at Red Rocks, Dr. John, Ray Charles (god rest his soul) and attended all sorts of little blues festivals up and down the Eastern seaboard, yeah, you could say we got around.

Asheville’s got plenty of blue skies, blue ridges, and even bluegrass but not a lot of blues. Happily, through a few strange twists of fate, Cass recently found himself with a chance to create a blues night at the Asheville Music Hall every Wednesday in May, so he’s running with it!! Come out to the Asheville Music Hall for the 12 Bar All-Stars, featuring Aaron “Woody” Wood, J.C. Lang, Marcel Anton, Chris Kew and Zach Alberto!! These guys had a lot of fun last week (check out their face book page for pics) and are fixing for more tonight! $5 cover after 9 so get there early!

Blues 12 Bar All Stars

Shower Head

A little fun time at home today, continuing to play with my head, this time in the shower!Shower Head

 

Daytrip to Marshall & Hot Springs

All of Asheville was abuzz with Moogfest this weekend and I hope you all had fun! I did an about face and took some friends (one who hasn’t been here long and one visiting her from England) out for  a day trip up the old Marshall Highway for a day of small town exploring in Marshall and then on up to Hot Springs for an explore and a soak. We did have some fun!

Marshall almost looks like it was cut out of a small town story book, located right on the French Broad River and along the train tracks it’s Main Street is a quick but charming tour with several charming shops, a sweet little restaurant, the Pork & Pie, Zuma coffee shop, Flow Gallery and  a real, honest to goodness old time department store, Penland & Sons. In a town the size of Marshall you really only need one of everything.  They’ll be having the Mama Mia Celebration honoring Mother’s Day Saturday, May 10 with family activities, music and food all over downtown.

Hot Springs, just another 15 minutes up the road, was also a hit, and we spent another good chunk of the afternoon wandering from shop to shop all along their Main Street before stopping for lunch.  Then it was off to the tubs for a nice hour long soak at the “World Famous Hot Springs“. A word to the wise as we come into season, make a reservation ahead of time if you plan on renting an outdoor tub on the weekend as they were completely booked for the day by 1 pm and even if you go during the week it never hurts to call ahead and reserve a time. More fun upcoming next weekend in Hot Springs as well with the French Broad River Festival for two fantastic days of music and camping.

Marshall

13

With permission. My oldest.

Two sides of 13, 5 minutes apart.

 13

The Circle’s 4-20 Weekend Sale!

Happy 4-20!!

I was approached a few weeks ago by my friend Shannon Covart who owns the Circle on Haywood Road in West Asheville. She asked if I would come in and photograph some the amazingly beautiful, locally blown, custom glass that they sell in preparation for their big 4-20 sale which starts today!  Of course I said yes! I love working with Shannon and everyone at the Circle Crewe! She also asked me to make a few special radiants for her to use for the sale and design some flyers. Yes again! So here is one of the custom radiants I created for the Circle’s 4-20 sale event this weekend. Go check it out!!

4/20

 

Baby Portraits

Awww! Baby Portraits!!

Newborn Photography

Nothing makes me happier than a chance to work with a new baby and their family.  I was so pleased to meet the lovely Baby Jovie yesterday, 16 days old and what a sweetie! We had a lovely relaxed and comfortable session at home with no lights and backgrounds, no stress, just her, and her adoring parents and I, chatting about babies and basking in that beautiful hushed glow newborns seem to generate.   Perfect. Welcome to the world Baby, I’m glad you were born!

Baby Portraits

NC Science Fest at the Discovery Academy

Discovery Academy

NC Science I took the kids to the brand new Discovery Academy to check out the NC Science Fest this afternoon.  We should have gone earlier, the Geo Dome was sold out by the time we got there around 12:30. There was still plenty of fun science to try out though. We explored stations that focused on magnetism, microscopes and scientific measurement. It was extra neat to check out the new STEM high school that MJ has applied for. She was already walking the halls like she owned the place. Fingers still crossed for the application/ lottery process, wish her luck.

NC Science NC Science

Got Horns? It’s for the Band.

Instrument Drive for Eblen & Erwin School Bands

We have a mixed blessing happening in our schools’ music departments, an explosion of interest in the band program coupled with an ever shrinking fine arts budget, can you help?

From our band teacher at Eblen Intermediate/Erwin Middle Schools:

Band to hold instrument drive to support students
 
Due to a rapidly growing band program, director Jason Miller foresees a large instrument shortage in the coming school year at Eblen Intermediate and Erwin Middle schools.
“The band program is seeing record-breaking growth,” Miller said. The middle school band currently has 60 students in the 7th and 8th grades, while Eblen has 112 6th graders participating in the music program. “I already have more than 150 5th graders signed up to play next year. We just don’t have enough instruments to support that many students.
While most students purchase their own instruments, many of the larger ones such as baritones, French horns and tubas are often provided by the school for students to borrow. However, the Eblen/Erwin bands do not have enough for all the upcoming students.
The band is holding an instrument drive and asking the community to check in their closets, basements and attics for any band instruments gathering dust. All donations are appreciated and accepted no matter what condition they are in. “We can always have instruments repaired and if they are too far gone, we can sell them for scrap and use the money toward another instrument,” Miller said. “Plus, there are many students who want to play the trumpet, flute, clarinet, saxophone and other smaller instruments whose families just can’t afford them. Music education should be accessible to all students.”
If you are interested in donating an instrument, please label the instrument “donation” and drop them off in the front office at either school:
Eblen Intermediate School
59 Lee’s Creek Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
OR
Erwin Middle School
20 Erwin Hills Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
Band

The City Market 2014

City Market Opens for 2014 Season

City MarketI love to go to the farmer’s & tailgate markets here in Asheville! Last Saturday was opening weekend for Asheville City Market‘s regular season. This Saturday promises to be a gorgeous day to be outside so treat yourself to something good.  It’s a great way to see what’s in season, meet some nice people, learn something new and come home with real fresh food.  You just never know what you’re going to find, maybe small herb starts and bacon or fresh eggs and bread, or ramps and mushrooms.  You’re almost always sure to find kind folks who worked hard to produce what’s there and got up real early in the morning to bring it to you. And the City Market schedules local music performances and kids activities so there’s plenty of reasons to bring the family. Go to the market, find something amazing, take it home and eat it!

 

 

Handful of Blossoms

Spring by the handful! These pretty little cherry blossoms were knocked down by the rain and picked up by me!

The L.O.T.U.S. blooms in Emma!

L.O.T.U.SOh yeah!!! The city of Emma, in the Township of Hazalton*, Asheville, N.C. has it’s own, gorgeous,brand spankin’ new urban farm supply and garden store, on N. Louisiana Ave. L.O.T.U.S. Living Only Through Urban Sustainability.  (Heads up poultry keepers, they swear they have the lowest feed prices in the area.) The store front is ’round the back about a block before the railroad tracks on N. Louisiana. It has an excellent selection of organic soils, seeds, fertilizer, starter plants, and compost tea.  They are working on opening their aquaponics section soon. Owned by a couple of knowledgable local guys, Brook & Clint, who understand the quirks of the gardening seasons in WNC they are ready to answer any question. So happy to have them just down the hill and not have to drive to Lowe’s or downtown for everything!!

*That’s what it says on my house’s legal description. 

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