Rhetorical Factory Show July 2015!

All new show scheduled, opening July 10, 2015 at Rhetorical Factory!

So excited for summer!

And here’s why…. 2 months ago I had a sit down, that’s amazing, brainstorm-y idea to collaborate with one of my favorite local artists. Today I ordered 9 yards of fabric from Spoonflower for what will become the centerpieces of my July show “Getting Off the Wall” at Rhetorical Factory in West Asheville.

This locally powered shop focuses on upcycling clothes and innovative design. Bethany Adams, the designer and captain of the ship at the shop,  had an inspiring boots on the ground meeting with me yesterday. She and I have had wonderful success in the past collaborating on projects (if you’ve ever seen me in a CLicKs shirt) and I can’t wait to see what she creates with my images! The show will also include 20 original glass art tiles which I’ve been working on for most of this year.

Come see what we’ve been dreaming up. . . second Saturday, July 10, 2015.

Tangleheart Carousel – Glass Art Tile 6″x6″ with wood stand available at upcoming show July 2015 at Rhetorical Factory in West Asheville.

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

Birthday Thanks

The 20th anniversary of my 21st birthday, 41.

Yesterday was my birthday and for everyone who sent me wishes and blessings, thank you.  So much more appreciated than silly presents I’ll never use or paper decorations on the walls, I received a litany of phone calls from my family, (my parents sang to me), cards, visits, flowers, taken out for a fabulous dinner by a dear friend, e-mails, texts, and a stream of Facebook wishes all day long that started before I woke up and went on until I went to bed. Who can stand in the face of that without feeling drenched in love and a little awed at the response to a day? A day which I consider to be just like any other that I’m blessed to ride the planet where it’s just good to be alive and turning the page. I feel like I’m only starting to sort out this bigger picture I stare into every day called Life but I am enjoying the journey. The older I get the more my birthdays have become a joyful and humbling experience, less about the presents and more about the presence. In the spirit of humbling experiences I did my own portrait today, because it’s important to know that I never ask anyone to do something in front of the camera I wouldn’t do to myself. One light, a remote on the camera and me grinning back at myself.

So this is what 41 looks like! Think I’ll stick around and take the planet for another spin around the sun.


Wham Bam Bowie Band

Wham Bam Bowie Band

Friday night found Cass and I out on a rare date night together,  celebrating my birthday a little early at the Wham Bam Bowie Band show at Highland Brewing. What a fun time and such a great band! They sound so much like the real thing, it’s eerie!  They did some hits to open the set and then went right into The Rise and Fall of  Ziggy Stardust from beginning to end.  Sounded flawless!  If you get the chance go see them, you won’t be disappointed! Here are some of my favorites from the show with more on my Facebook page.

Canie Creek Greenway Project

Canie Creek Greenway Project

Canie Creek GreenwayFriends and neighbors, I just found out a few weeks ago about a community project that is coalescing around a historic piece of property and I’m so excited!  This is an amazing opportunity to conserve a piece of  Asheville’s shrinking urban woodland areas and extend the Hominy Creek Greenway to West Asheville. A group of neighbors has already put together this excellent presentation regarding their proposal to gather community support to acquire the 32 acre tract of land, currently privately owned, leading along the creek valley from Smokey Park to Sand Hill Rd. There will be a brief summation of their presentation at the Malvern Hills Community Meeting on March 23rd with a more detailed presentation tentatively scheduled for early April.  This property, which Canie Creek twists and bends the length of, has historical significance in Asheville’s past as well as being a key location to bring nearly continuous access to the larger Asheville greenway system to residents in West Asheville.

A while back I dug into some history research for a friend which acquainted me with many of the stories and local lore surrounding the creation and growth of West Asheville in the late 1870′s through the 1930′s. While doing this research I found several references to the Sulphur Springs Hotels ( both Deaver’s & Carrier’s “The Belmont”), and an old photo  of the spring house where folks would go while staying at the hotels  to breathe the vapors and I guess drink the water as a curative (at least is wasn’t radium water).  Since I saw that photo my curiosity has been peaked to see if the spring house was still there. When I heard about the new greenway project I contacted the group for permission to visit the property and see for myself.

Buncombe County’s observation and brief history of the property references concrete ruins still existing from the Belmont Hotel that burned in 1892.  And so it is, the only standing piece left of that era,  just within earshot of the bustling whine of Smokey Park Hwy. Overgrown in ivy and crumbling in places, but still there and still leaking it’s potent drip into the basin of the floor. It was an echo of the structure I had seen in the photo but undeniably the same place.  This small spot of water, that smells faintly of eggs and rust, was a key part of the Asheville health craze which brought the likes of E. G. Carrier and G. Vanderbilt to this area in the first place. A significant piece of the puzzle to present day Asheville’s historical mystique. What would Asheville be now if these people had not sought the “curative restoration” that being here offers?

What an exciting opportunity we have as a community to step up and do the right thing and keep this property intact for the public to enjoy.  Instead of a small highway marker 1/2 a mile a way as a reminder of this time and place we can protect and maintain this green space so our community as a whole can appreciate it’s unique ‘curative’ properties and history.

 

 

 

Blind Pig: Beggar’s Banquet

Beggar’s Banquet, Sam Etheridge’s Homage to the Rolling Stones

It was an A-List evening that was all about the music Sunday for Blind Pig‘s Beggar’s Banquet in support of  the Asheville Music School.   Sam Etheridge, Owner/Chef of Ambrozia in North Asheville,  created 8 courses of Rolling Stones inspired dishes, truly a rock-n-roll feast, for his homage to the band.

Around 80 guests queued up before 6 pm on the side walk in front of the Asheville Music Hall, waiting for doors to open for the show, while inside kids from the Rock Band Ensemble of AMS ran through their sound check and warm ups.  Then it was show time! Doors opened, folks flowed in to find their seats and plugged in, amped up and rockin’ out, the kids from the Rock Band Ensemble filled the stage and delivered an excellent performance with an impressive and challenging set list including, Get Off of My Cloud, Paint It Black, Jumpin’ Jack Flash & Sympathy for the Devil, as well as several other classic rock favorites. Meanwhile Sam and his entire staff from Ambrozia worked seamlessly backstage to prep and plate their side of the show.  By the time the kids had gotten their standing ovation it was time to eat.

Here’s the menu for the evening:

Start Me Up. . . You’ll Never Stop – Foie Gras Flan, Duck & Fig Spring Roll,Duck Chicharones

Goat’s Head Soup – Slow Braised Cobrito, Coconut Curry, Goat Cheese Roti

Jumpin’ Jack Flash – Amberjack Crudo, Radish, Jerk Spiced Mango, Radish Sprouts, Habanero-Moonshine Gastrique

Paint It Black – Black Grouper, Seaweed, Forbidden Black Rice, Black Truffle, Squid Ink, Kewpie Aioli, Tobiko

Sticky Fingers – Pistachio & Blue Cheese Baklava, Honey Comb, Green Apple – Jalepeno Cotton Candy

Beast of Burden – Braised Oxtail, Plantain& Benton’s Bacon Fufu, Hazelnut Gremolata

Satisfaction. . . I Can’t Get No – Mick’s Cherry Limeade, Miracle Berry

As a long time performance and concert photographer I can attest to how similar it is to watch a show or an underground dinner come together since I occupy this odd middle ground between the front and back of the house.  I know I’m not alone in this opinion, Steven Goff made reference to it in his guest column this week on Jonathon Ammon’s food blog The Dirty Spoon:

“Really, cooking was just what funny looking guys with criminal records do for a living.  That or construction… but as a degenerate, very frequently vagrant punk rocker, cooking had it all!  The fast paced “rock n roll” ness of the kitchen, free beer and late nights.”

Load in starts early in the afternoon, hours before dinner is supposed to begin, while prep and practice have been going on for days in advance of the actual show to make sure everything sounds/tastes right.  There’s warm ups, and like sound check, last minute menu changes and menu details to run through and server instructions so guests’ questions can be answered intelligently. Once guests start arriving the show is ON and it’s a ‘Wheels Up, Don’t Crash’ form of controlled madness that I’m certain would look familiar to any roadie or venue tech.  It’s often in the dark, on the edges, with no net and balls to the wall action in the wings to make it look smooth out front with a rolling procession of plates, prep, server pick up, plates come back, get scraped down and stacked for wash, repeat.  Like music in the air, beautiful plates are created again and again, enjoying their whole existence as a realized concept for maybe 5 or 6 minutes tops, including travel time to the table, before they are a consumed memory. And then, after the last plate has been pushed away it’s another mad rush to break it all down and pack it up on the truck because there is another show booked for the late night crowd with doors at 10.  Yeah baby! That’s Rock-n-Roll!

 

Asheville Mardi Gras Parade 2014

Fun downtown at the Asheville Mardi Gras Parade!

Oh Asheville, I love to see you shake your furry, freaky, sparkly, happy selves down the middle of the street!  Gone are my February blues, chased away with bright colors like pink, purple  and orange, cheetah prints, amazing costumes and wide grins from this weekend’s parade revelers.   This year’s theme, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ seemed like a natural fit for a place like Asheville. There were every sort of beastie, creature and creative interpretation of the theme along with a lot of bead throwing and fun.  I just posted 75 photos on my Facebook Page  but here are a few of my favorites from the day:

 

 

 

 

 

2.27.14 – Asheville’s Sharpest Edge

Asheville’s Sharpest Edge is a sharpen anything with a blade business just outside of town on Merrimon in Woodfin.  Pop recently found a really nice trim saw blade for a great price at Habitat but it needed some cleaning up and sharpening so we dropped it off there a few weeks ago. When we came back to pick it up today I dragged my youngest with us too.  She thought I was nuts to make her come along on this obviously boring errand until we walked into the store.  You see, aside from Asheville’s Sharpest Edge being a local, friendly place to get your sharps sharpened fine enough to split a hair, it is also the home to 3 aquatic turtles who live in the 125 gallon tank that sits in the window. Harmony’s been asking me for a pet turtle so I thought it would be a good idea to bring her along. Vickie, who runs ASE, is a wealth of information about the turtles and gave her lots of things to think about when you’re picking them as pets. It was awesome, and H is now more interested than ever (I told her we still need some more research).  These are some really happy well kept turtles too and come right up to the top of the tank when people come in the store.

Asheville

 

 

2.17.14 – Blind Pig : Zodiac

A starry night in Candler for  Blind Pig’s Zodiac Supper

Blind Pig ZodiacAfter 2 out of the last 3 weekends on the road to Raleigh with Blind Pig it was so sweet to come home to Western North Carolina for  this weekend’s Zodiac dinner supporting The Mission Foundation. We had a wonderful crew headed by Brad Mess of Ben’s Tune-Up, Joe Marple of the Southern and Adrian Nohe Weir-Villatoro at Zambra with lots of other  friendly hands on deck and backstage to help prep, prepare, plate, serve, clear and clean 1200 plates, for this one night only dinner. That’s right, months of planning for 12 courses for 100 guests in about 4 hours.  Brilliant!

The evening opened with the arrival of the 360 Party Bus delivering 3 rounds of guests to our secret location in Candler for the evening’s events. As folks began arriving The Krektones revved up the mood with some seriously great dance music.  Guests mingled, played skee ball, relaxed on the rocking chair porch and had their fortunes read by Raziel, an intuitive tarot reader from Asheville.  Then it was time for everyone to get seated as Mike introduced the chefs and Mission Foundation’s mission.

Since the theme of the dinner was the Zodiac each sign received it’s own tribute, here’s the break down and no, they were not served in cosmological order.

Scorpio – Watch House Oyser, Blood Orane, Scorpoion Mezcal, Honey, Fennel Ginger, Microslaw, Scorpion Salt

Paired with Pisces – Ginger Cured Trout & Avocado Roulade, Celery Broth, Chili Oil, Cilantro

Sagitarius – Blackened Beef Heart, Arrow Root Naan, Horse Radish-Creme Fraiche, Garam Masala, Crispy Shallots, Shaved Radish, Lime Zest

Aquarius – Clam Ao Dashi, Little Necks, Crab Roe, Tobiko, Kombu Foam, Watercress

Gemini – Duck Liver Scrapple, White Bean Puree, Seared Duck Breast, Smoked Peach Gremolata, Maccerated Cherries, Tobacco Shallots

Cancer – Lump Crab, Mint, Fennel, Greek Yogurt, Duck Cracklin’ Granola, Grapefruit Gelee

Paired with Libra – Monte Enebro, Saki Lees Fermented Golden Beets, Pickled Red Cabbage, Miso Rice Cracker

Capricorn – “Mannish Stew” Beulah Farms Braised Goat, Island Roots, Plantains, Pigeon Peas, Fried Calamari, Jicama Chow-Chow

Taurus – Compost Baked Bulls Blood Beets, Beet Puree, Carrot Puree, “Earth Crumble”, Bulls Blood Blood, Micro Greens

Aries – Lamb Crepinette, San Marzano Stewed Wheat Berries, Gaujillo Puree, Crispy Pistachio, Curried Yogurt

Leo – Lion’s Tail Eclair, Bourbon Poached Pear, All Spice Creme, Lime-Chocolate

Paired with Virgo – Theros Olive Oil Gelato, Myer Lemon Zest, Sea Salt

Overall an excellent night of music and food, and a sure way to beat those mean old February Blues.

 

Valentine’s Day Blues

Valentine’s Day was cancelled on account of snow.

Valentine Blues

Last year’s Valentine’s Day festivities were radically different from this year’s. This year, it was snowy, slushy and cold, my honey had to work and it was just another day of the February Blues so I froze my little blue heart and tossed it out in the snow.  Last year I was at the Anti-Valentine’s Day Pillow Fight downtown in Pritchard Park and it was about 55 degrees.  This year I was sad to miss it although it happened on the 15th instead of the 14th. I heard it turned into a huge snow ball fight at the end and went on for hours. Boo!  It’s my fault for hibernating a little to deep.  Oh well, here are shots from last year’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Pillow Fight as a reminder to not mis out NEXT year.

 

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