Mountain Xpress 04.22.20

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OUR 26TH YEAR OF WEEKLY INDEPENDENT NEWS, ARTS & EVENTS FOR WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA VOL. 26 NO. 39 APRIL 22-28, 2020

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APRIL 22-28, 2020

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APRIL 22-28, 2020

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APRIL 22-28, 2020

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APRIL 22-28, 2020

GREEN

WELLNESS FEATURES

NEWS

FEATURES 12 THE BIG PICTURE Asheville wrestles with grim COVID-19 budget projections

13 ‘AN EPIDEMIC CONQUERED’ Asheville Archives looks at how wishful thinking helped spread the 1918 influenza

16 HEALTH ROUNDUP Community showers health workers with food; potential location for behavioral health hospital announced; more

PAGE 8 MINDING THE STORE A routine trip to the grocery store has become a tightrope nowadays for both customers and workers. In this era of COVID-19, Xpress looks at how local stores and shoppers are approaching face masks and other protective measures. COVER ILLUSTRATION Brent Brown COVER DESIGN Scott Southwick 5 LETTERS 5 CARTOON: MOLTON 7 CARTOON: BRENT BROWN 8 NEWS 12 BUNCOMBE BEAT

18 A PLANET APART WNC celebrates socially distant Earth Day

13 ASHEVILLE ARCHIVES 14 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 16 WELLNESS 18 GREEN

FOOD

Accounting Office Management Asheville Holistic Realty Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company Biltmore Estate Black Bear BBQ Bottle Riot / formerly District Wine Bar Bullman Heating & Air, Inc. Buncombe Partnership For Children / Smart Start Calypso - Esther F. Joseph’ Chinese Acupuncture & Herbology Clinic City of Asheville Police Department City of Asheville Sanitation Connect Buncombe Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts Father and Son Home Improvement Franny’s Farm Givens Gerber Park Green Built Alliance (WNC Green Building Council)/ Blue Horizons Project Habitat for Humanity Restore Half Moon Market Highland Brewing Co. Ingles Markets Inc. John McClung Roofing Lancaster Law Firm Lenoir-Rhyne University Livewell in WNC / Live Well Mellow Mushroom Metro Wines LLC Mission Health Mostly Automotive Inc. Mountain Area Pregnancy Services (MAPS) Nanostead Pack’s Tavern Pisgah Brewing Co Range Urgent Care River Arts District Association Ruth’s Chris Biltmore Village Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Smoky Park Supper Club Southern Atlantic Hemp Co, Inc. - SAHAE Sovereign Kava Terminix Town and Mountain Realty 2010 Tunnel Vision Wellington Sales LLC West Village Market / Sunflower Diner Wicked Weed Brewing Working Wheels

C O NT E NT S

23 SHARING IS CARING New initiative connects local farmers with residents facing food insecurity

22 FOOD 24 CAROLINA BEER GUY 25 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 28 MOVIES 29 COVIDTOWN CRIER

A&E

A special thank you to all our advertisers, who make Xpress possible.

25 BUILT TO LAST Local stage actors adapt while theaters are closed

30 FREEWILL ASTROLOGY 30 CLASSIFIEDS 31 NY TIMES CROSSWORD

STAFF PUBLISHER: Jeff Fobes ASSISTANT TO THE PUBLISHER: Susan Hutchinson MANAGING EDITOR: Virginia Daffron OPINION EDITOR: Tracy Rose GREEN SCENE EDITOR: Daniel Walton STAFF REPORTERS: Able Allen, Edwin Arnaudin, Thomas Calder, Laura Hackett, Daniel Walton COMMUNITY CALENDAR & CLUBLAND: Lauren Andrews, Laura Hackett, Susan Hutchinson MOVIE SECTION HOSTS: Edwin Arnaudin, Bruce Steele CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Peter Gregutt, Rob Mikulak REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS: Mark Barrett, Leslie Boyd, Cindy Kunst, Gina Smith, Luke Van Hine, Kay West ADVERTISING, ART & DESIGN MANAGER: Susan Hutchinson LEAD DESIGNER: Scott Southwick MEMBERSHIP AND DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR: Laura Hackett MARKETING ASSOCIATES: Sara Brecht, Brian Palmieri, Tiffany Wagner OPERATIONS MANAGER: Able Allen INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES & WEB: Bowman Kelley

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OPINION

Send your letters to the editor to letters@mountainx.com.

CARTO ON BY R A ND Y MOL T O N

In defense of tourismbased businesses The letter by Geoff Kemmish about our tourism-based economy was outrageous, ill-informed and improper in tone for the moment we are in [“Build Foundation for a Less Tourist-dependent Asheville,” April 8, Xpress]. His remark that our tourism industry has the morals of a “West Virginia strip miner” is insulting and about 99.9% overblown. I know many people who work in this industry. I also know many of the business owners, small and large, who serve the tourists. They are anything but immoral. Look right now at how are they are working just to stay alive. Look at how hard many of these businesses are working to feed our health care workers and first responders. They are hardworking, civic-minded and a part of our neighborhoods and families. When it is safe, I hope the tourists come back in droves to help put our friends and families back to work. — Les Vann Asheville

About those downtown trees I just wanted to comment on Polly McDaniel’s response to the removal of trees along Haywood Street [“Goodbye to Haywood Street Trees,” April 1, Xpress]. Funny how the roots weren’t removed. I guessed that had nothing to do with streetscape and infrastructure.

It does seem odd that the trees were removed from spots that homeless people cool off at or take shelter to wait for the bus. Will there be a bus enclosure put in [in front of the library]? The odd thing is this happened on Patton, right in front of the Western Carolina Rescue Mission. When the tourists do come back, maybe Malaprop’s can sell sunscreen to them so they will not get sunburn looking at their cell phones for directions. — Jessica Blackford Asheville Editor’s note: Xpress contacted city spokeswoman Polly McDaniel with a summary of the letter writer’s points, and we received the following response: “Removal of the tree roots will take place in a later phase of the Haywood Streetscape project, during excavation for utility and sidewalk reconstruction. The project expands public sidewalk space and provides additional opportunities for seating and shade. This is especially the case in the area outside of the library, where residents from the Vanderbilt Apartments and others sit to relax, socialize or wait for the bus. In that area, the sidewalk will be expanded significantly and include seven trees in place of the three that were removed. In addition, five benches will be installed, and open areas will be available for people in wheelchairs to sit. More information about the project, including the public input process that informed the design, is available at www. ashevillenc.gov/haywoodstreetscape.” MOUNTAINX.COM

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OPINION

Send your letters to the editor to letters@mountainx.com.

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I’m certain I can’t be the first to wonder why the St. Joe’s campus side of Mission Hospital couldn’t become a resource for housing hundreds of people just like that?! The rooms of the vacant building all have plumbing and probably still have beds; there is a cafeteria that could become a place to feed people even if they had to pay $1 or $2 per meal; the old emergency room could be a “quick look” clinic; and there are other spaces that could become community rooms and activity spaces; and a way to create lots of jobs. Is there no possibility of bringing this concept to the attention of the City Council and county commissioners to end homelessness around here real quick? — Michael Harney Asheville Editor’s note: This letter was received before COVID-19 concerns began affecting Asheville and WNC. Also, Xpress contacted Mission Health with a summary of the letter writer’s points, and we received the following response from spokeswoman Nancy Lindell: “Mission Health’s St. Joseph campus in Asheville currently houses inpatient and outpatient services for multiple departments, including the entirety of the behavioral health department. Throughout the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. Joseph campus is also included in the planning for potential bed space expansion. If a COVID-19 surge approaches, we are able to access additional bed capacity by converting other hospital beds into ICU beds and accessing unused capacity at St. Joseph’s, including a 14-bed ICU and its old emergency department.”

Another side to Pond Road development story There is an aspect other than traffic overload that [a recent] Mountain Xpress article missed, and that is environmental impact [“Developer Proposes 697 Residential Units West of City,” March 11]. And reflecting on the consequences of previous environmental actions. Five years ago, the referenced “mulch and compost business” that now exists on the 83-acre proposed development site was much more. It was an 80-plushead Black Angus cattle farm, which also leased about 60 additional adjacent acres. This 140-acre farm was wooded pastureland, with Hominy Creek running through it and along the southeastern border. It was a family farm for two-three generations, but its days were numbered

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as family interest in supporting the farm business was fading. The mulch and compost business was a sideline with a solid reputation among gardeners and landscapers. The cow manure ingredient was supplemented by organic waste from the Farmers Market and many area restaurants. The product was economical and by far the best around, with customers throughout Western North Carolina, to include me. Unfortunately, during a heavy rain event in December 2015, the manure-holding basin overflowed. The overflow had been straight piped to a back cove on Hominy Creek, a violation of a state operating permit. The resulting high E. coli bacteria spike in Hominy Creek was detected by MountainTrue stream monitoring. Fines were levied on the farm, and remediation steps were in place, all administered and overseen by county and state environmental agencies. After a Jan. 13, 2016, article was run by the Asheville Citizen Times, the federal EPA got involved. The ensuing additional fines, legal fees and public humiliation greatly contributed to hastening the demise of this farm. The approximately 60-acre leased wooded acreage, shown to the right of “subject property” in the Mountain Xpress article aerial photo, was the first to fall to developers. Almost all trees (many mature oaks) cut down, topsoil scraped off, road beds and numerous house lots, with the flood plain bordering Hominy Creek filled in. Those trees shown in the aerial photo are now almost all gone. Now the main farm is going. Since the Angus herd has left, Hominy Creek E. coli and sediment pollution has actually worsened. During the French Broad River E. coli outbreak last summer, Hominy Creek was a primary E. coli source. The farm was never part of the ongoing problems. So, in place of a large wooded farm, which was in violation of permit, we will have 140 acres of treeless, impermeable surfaces and a filled-in flood plain. Nothing has been done to improve imperiled Hominy Creek water quality, only making it worse. I have asked local environmentalists and regulators about this sequence of events. The answer has always been the same: What the farm did was illegal; what the developers are doing is legal. Drastic loss of the deciduous tree canopy, stormwater surges, erosion and sedimentation. County zoning, so, no problem. This is referred to as “unintended consequences.” We trade an isolated E. coli spike into a polluted, imperiled stream for the destruction of a watershed. — Bill Miller Enka

People who are incarcerated, not ‘inmates’ North Carolina has seen a dramatic increase in rural jail admissions. There has been a 191% increase in the total population of those incarcerated over the last 50 years in North Carolina, ranking third in the country in jail admissions. In 2015, Buncombe County ranked fourth in the most annual jail admissions. While there are organizations that are helping address this growth and the population’s needs, they are not using appropriate language when referring to people who are incarcerated. Websites used throughout Buncombe County’s judicial system refer to people who are currently incarcerated as “inmates.” This language is dehumanizing. When we are working to help this population, we must use appropriate language that sees them as people first. This will help members of the community view people who are incarcerated with humanity, removing the existing negative social construction of this population. If we do not make a switch to person-first language, we are further stigmatizing people who are incarcerated. As a community, we should band together to support our vulnerable members, such as those who are currently incarcerated. This can start by using appropriate language to address them and treating them with respect. — Brittany Bingham, Berkley Churchill and Ellen Kathrein Western Carolina University MSW students Asheville Editor’s note: We appreciate hearing from our readers. In our coverage, Xpress seeks to use language that reflects the humanity and circumstances of members of our community. When speaking of those confined at the Buncombe County jail, for example, we emphasize that the majority of those individuals are in custody awaiting trial and are therefore presumed innocent. Like many other news organizations, Xpress uses the The Associated Press Stylebook for guidance in matters of usage. The word “inmate,” the AP advises, is used to denote a person serving a sentence in a prison or a jail. “In jail or in custody awaiting trial are terms describing someone in that status,” the AP continues; it also notes that it plans to issue further guidance on the topic later this year.

Washington’s aggressive actions have local effects WNC Veterans for Peace have stood vigil against our many wars for over 17 years, but we moved the vigil online in


C AR T O O N B Y B R E N T B R O W N order to follow the “stay at home” orders. I have been told by the Mountain Xpress that our country’s foreign policies and many wars are “not a local issue.” I think they are very much a local issue. We are all impacted by the decisions made by the clowns in D.C. to fund weapons, bombers, drones and other instruments of war instead of providing universal health care, hospital beds, protective equipment and ventilators for our own population. This is a local issue that is having a local impact right now. The USA is leading the world in aggressive action against poor brown and black people on the other side of the world (none of whom have ever hurt anyone on U.S. soil) just like we are leading the world in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. The USA is exceptional all right, like in exceptionally bad for its citizens and the rest of the world. We are destroying and poisoning parts of the planet with these wars. Our wars have caused many refugee camps. These camps are going to be breeding grounds for the novel coronavirus. They are going to be devastating for the people trapped in those camps, but they are going to impact us, too. As a matter of fact, this pandemic is going to hit our many military bases and military ships pretty hard, too. That is what happens when you put a lot of people in one place and you have an easily transmittable virus going around the world. It spreads.

But the truly infuriating part is that all these trillions of dollars spent on useless and evil activities could have been used to help people here at home. And locally, we are going to pay for that now and well into the future. And once the stay-at-home orders are lifted, local Veterans for Peace will vigil at Vance Monument at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday once again. It looks like we will be doing it for another 17 years. — Susan Oehler Asheville

A costly auto insurance caveat A month ago, my car was struck by a hit-and-run driver while sitting in my driveway, and now, despite the fact that I have paid my premiums faithfully, the insurance company is threatening to use a loophole in state insurance law to avoid paying for the damage. I won’t name the company because any insurance company would do the same in similar circumstances. I just want to say that if you have only the legal minimum liability insurance, this could be you. Spring for collision to be covered in the case of such an accident. — Penelope B. Stephens Asheville

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APRIL 22-28, 2020

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NEWS

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BY MARK BARRETT markbarrett@charter.net Some area residents would like what used to be a routine shopping trip for groceries or home supplies to feel less like walking a tightrope. And at least one local grocery store worker would appreciate it if customers would take steps to make his job feel safer, too. An executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper required retailers across North Carolina that are allowed to be open to adopt stricter standards to reduce the chances of COVID-19 in their stores beginning April 13. It appears the order has resulted in less variation from store to store in the Asheville area in measures to fight the virus as some retailers adopted steps others had put in place days or weeks before. Cooper directed stores to limit the number of customers in the building, mark off checkout queues and other high-traffic areas to encourage customers to stay 6 feet apart, do the same for areas where customers must wait to go inside and frequently clean and disinfect high-touch areas. BEHIND THE MASK

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Some customers wonder why some retailers don’t take things a step further and require all of their employees to wear face masks on the job. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending April 3 that everyone wear cloth masks or something similar while out in public — while leaving the precious supply of N95 and surgical masks for health professionals. Cooper’s order also encourages retail workers to use cloth masks. “A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others,” the CDC says. That’s especially important if the wearer has COVID-19 and doesn’t know it. Experts are divided over how much of a benefit homemade cloth masks provide. Some say they may provide a false sense of security and encourage people to slack off on other measures like social distancing or hand-washing. Advocates say the coverings block some droplets produced when people cough, sneeze or talk and to a lesser degree lower the chances that the wearer will breathe in

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CLEAN TEAM: A Trader Joe’s employee wipes down carts between uses outside the Trader Joe’s grocery store on Merrimon Avenue. Behind her, about 20 customers wait in line to enter the store. Photo by Virginia Daffron droplets containing the COVID-19 virus. Some say a mask can’t hurt and probably helps ­— and that wearers should also continue other steps to prevent spreading the virus. A reporter who visited several stores on the east and south sides of Asheville April 14 and 15 found that retailers were using tape and signs to help customers practice social distancing, and at least some were monitoring the number of customers in their buildings. Tape on the floor usually marked spots where customers should wait to check out, and signs and tape showed which direction traffic should flow through many store aisles. But only a quarter to a third of retail workers visible had masks on. That street runs in both directions: A lot of customers were not wearing masks, either, although the proportion of shoppers with them was typically higher than that of retail workers. Perhaps half wore masks and half didn’t. North Asheville resident Christopher Pratt says the presence of masks will be a big influence on where he shops for some time. “We’re looking at the long haul here. If I’m going to the grocery store in the next few months, I want to see masks,” he says.

‘TERRIFYING’ AT FIRST While many retailers have been shut down during the pandemic, these are also stressful times for retailers allowed to stay open. In North Carolina, grocers, drugstores and hardware and home improvement stores are among those considered essential. Posts on social media in the Asheville area complain that this or that store is not doing enough to combat COVID-19, or that workers or customers are ignoring social distancing guidelines. Other posts offer appreciation of store workers and praise for retailers and sanitation steps they have taken. Chain retailers and some smaller stores have responded to concerns with measures like limiting store hours to provide more cleaning time and less strain on staff, installing clear shields at checkout stations, sanitizing shopping carts and allowing customers to order remotely and pick up items outside stores. Many have given staffers raises, bonuses and expanded sick time. Black Mountain-based grocery chain Ingles Markets is hiring additional workers “due to the increased


volume of customers, to ensure our stores are vigorously cleaned and to meet current social distancing guidelines,” Chief Financial Officer Ron Freeman says. “We have been pleased with the response we have gotten and are glad to be hiring when so many have lost their jobs.” Job seekers may visit ingles-markets.com. People at two local grocery stores noted for acting early in the pandemic said the changes they made have helped customers and workers. At the Trader Joe’s on Merrimon Avenue, worker Robert Maddix says, “The initial week or two of that panic was terrifying” for most store workers. The store is smaller than a typical grocery store, he notes. “The measures we took we pretty much had to take because we were pretty much on top of each other.” Workers erected clear plastic “sneeze guards” at cash registers, limited the number of customers who could be in the store at any one time well before Cooper mandated that step and began sanitizing shopping carts between customers. After the CDC’s mask recommendation came out, three employees brought their sewing machines into the store

and made masks, which every employee now wears, Maddix says. Bobby Sullivan, general manager at French Broad Food Co-op on Biltmore Avenue, describes a somewhat similar response, saying it was “vindicating” to see Cooper order or recommend changes his store made of its own accord some time ago. Clear shields went up at cash registers early on, workers moved checkout stations to create more space between them, the store switched from a self-service system for bulk food to having an employee fill those orders, and the co-op quickly adopted a limit on the number of customers allowed in the store. After initial difficulty finding a supplier, the co-op bought “nonmedical” face masks from a Canadian company, and all employees are required to wear them, Sullivan says. They are also for sale at the store. He called it “alarming” that many workers at other retailers are not wearing similar masks.

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N EWS

LUNCH LINE: Part of the midday crowd waits for admittance to the Whole Foods store on South Tunnel Road in East Asheville April 14. An executive order by Gov. Roy Cooper limits the number of people who can be in a store at the same time. Photo by Mark Barrett FEELING EXPOSED Government officials have sent differing signals on whether ordinary people should wear masks. The CDC’s April 3 recommendation in favor was a U-turn from its previous position. Some retail chains with stores in the Asheville area say they are supplying some workers with masks and some cited shortages of masks as a challenge. Lowe’s says on its website that it is “making masks and gloves available to all associates in the workplace who want them.” The Home Depot says it is giving “nonmedical” masks to workers in areas where government is requiring them and trying to obtain masks for employees at other stores. Grocery chain Publix says it is giving masks to workers “until our supplies are depleted.” At Ingles, “Our store associates are encouraged to wear face coverings, and we are pursuing a number of options to make that easier for them to do so,” Freeman says. “Guidelines on masks and

other COVID-19 recommendations will continue to evolve. The safety of our customers and associates, as well as the safe operation of our stores, is our top priority during this crisis, and we will continue to evaluate all options.” Maddix says he feels Trader Joe’s is taking important steps to protect him and other employees. Still, “Just going to work every day, I feel like I’m exposing myself,” he says. Those steps are a competitive advantage for the chain, Maddix says. “We’ve had a lot of customers come to us because we are taking safety measures … where some grocery stores are not taking it as seriously,” he says. Pratt says he appreciates the steps he has seen retailers take and suggests that more masks would both boost business and slow the spread of COVID-19. “This is a situation that’s not going to go away, and we’ve got to look after each other,” he says. X

Be kind on aisle 4 Here are some tips and requests for grocery shoppers during the COVID19 pandemic from Robert Maddix, who works at the Trader Joe’s store on Merrimon Avenue: • “Do not make a trip to the grocery store unless (you) have a substantial list of essential items.” Maddix says he sees a few customers coming every day or two for a small number of items, increasing their risk and that of employees. • “Shop alone. Do not bring in your spouse or your children if at all possible.” More people means more breathing and more exposure, plus it means it will take longer for other shoppers to be able to get into a store that has reached its capacity. • Don’t forget to stay 6 feet away from others. • You’ll have to bag your own groceries if you bring your own bags because workers want to avoid bags that could be contaminated. Some other stores are encouraging shoppers not to bring their own bags during the pandemic. • “Customers are really tiring of this crisis. Sometimes people can be short with us. … Be courteous to grocery store workers. We’re under a lot of stress, too.” X

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BUNCOMBE BEAT

Asheville wrestles with grim COVID-19 budget projections

THE BIG PICTURE: Members of the public were only able to view Asheville City Council’s April 14 budget work session via livestream due to COVID-19 restrictions. Screen capture courtesy of the city of Asheville In the words of Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell: “What a difference a month makes.” On March 13, when Asheville City Council last met to discuss its budget for next year, the city was just one day into its COVID-19 state of emergency, and staff members still anticipated $6.8 million in general fund revenue growth for fiscal 2020-21. At a budget work session on April 14, when Campbell made her remarks, that growth estimate had been revised downward to just $2 million — leaving $4.8 million of previously planned spending with no money to back it. Tony McDowell, the city’s budget manager, explained that the biggest hit to next year’s revenue expectations came from sales tax shortfalls. As restrictions on business operations meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 also restrict consumer spending, he said, the city now anticipates sales tax receipts in the next fiscal year to be about $2.8 million less than projected in March. But McDowell cautioned that the true impact of the economic downturn on Asheville’s finances could be even greater. The city’s projections follow the “moderate” forecast of the N.C. League of Municipalities, a nonpartisan organization representing cities and towns throughout the state, which still calls for a 1.5% growth in annual sales tax revenue compared to fiscal year 2019-20. 12

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By comparison, the league’s “severe” projection anticipates a 2.3% decline in sales tax receipts next year, while the “most conservative” scenario models a drop of 3.2%. McDowell did not explain why the city was using the most optimistic league model in its planning for fiscal 2021. Other areas where Asheville expects to see less money next year than previously projected include property taxes ($600,000), investment earnings ($1.1 million) and service fees ($300,000). The city’s remaining revenue categories are currently anticipated to stay on par with fiscal 2020, although Campbell noted that the situation was changing daily. “Some of the numbers just aren’t here yet for us to be able to make some very definitive decisions,” Campbell said, adding that sales tax data for March wouldn’t be available until June. “We’re operating in the gray.” That uncertainty, Campbell argued, means Asheville’s government must cut back on its projected spending for the next fiscal year. Since March, the city has trimmed $3.4 million from its first-pass fiscal 2021 expenditure budget of $139.1 million, including $1.6 million for an employee cost-of-living raise, $588,000 to finance additional capital projects and $500,000 toward the employee health fund. Still included in the remaining $3.4 million of new spending is more than $1.7 million to continue expansions


ASHEVILLE ARCHIVES

F E AT UR E S of the Asheville Rides Transit system that were implemented in January, as well a mandatory $700,000 increase in Asheville’s contribution to the state employee retirement fund. McDowell said the city has yet to identify funding for $1.5 million of these expenditures; by state law, all cities must pass balanced budgets. The city does have roughly $24 million in reserve through its general fund balance, which could be used to fill the budgetary gap. McDowell noted that up to $5.5 million of that money may be needed to make up for coronavirus-related revenue shortfalls in the current fiscal year, which would take the fund balance below the amount recommended by city policy (15% of general fund revenues, or about $20 million) going into fiscal 2021. McDowell continued that COVID-19 may make Council consider an exception to the rule. “This is really the classic textbook type of situation where you would want to use fund balance to get you through the short term, so you don’t have to make substantial reductions on the operating side,” he said. Council member Gwen Wisler expressed concern that the use of reserves might impact the city’s AAA credit rating, which lowers its borrowing costs for capital projects. However, as Xpress reported in March, the benefit of a high credit rating is currently minimal due to the extremely low federal funds rate set by the Federal Reserve. At that time, Matt Fabian, a partner with Massachusetts-based research firm Municipal Market Analytics, said some local governments suffer opportunity costs in pursuit of the AAA label. “If you’re working hard, not spending your money, and your kids are going hungry because you want to get that higher credit score, well, maybe your priorities are not correctly aligned,” Fabian said. Off the table for now are many of the “strategic investment requests” — items above and beyond what Campbell called a “continuation budget with no new services or enhancements” — previously under consideration for the fiscal 2021 budget. Those include support for urban forestry planning and staff, an overhaul of the city’s Unified Development Ordinance, rooftop solar projects, participatory budgeting and staff compensation increases. “This could be a catastrophic change in revenue year over year,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer. “Before we start spending new money, I want to know if we’re going to see a little bit of a normalization on the horizon. I don’t want to be sitting here with a $20 million deficit in the next fiscal year.”

— Daniel Walton  X

by Thomas Calder | tcalder@mountainx.com

‘An epidemic conquered’ How wishful thinking helped spread the 1918 influenza

PRAY THEY DON’T SING: In late November 1918, after nearly two months without services, city health officer Dr. Carl V. Reynolds allowed churches to reopen, despite the continued emergence of new influenza cases. As a precaution, Reynolds requested that church leaders omit singing from their services. This photo, circa 1910, shows a group of local congregants. Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville On Nov. 10, 1918, a headline in The Asheville Citizen’s editorial section declared: “An epidemic conquered.” Evidence, the paper wrote, suggested overall cases of influenza were declining in the city. Within another week, the paper supposed, local health authorities would begin “the lifting of the various safeguards which have caused much inconvenience, it is true, but which, nevertheless, saved the community from the ravages of the scourge that has swept the world.” By Nov. 14, the paper’s previous optimism all but crumbled when 41 new cases were discovered within a 24-hour period. “This report was discouraging to the city health authorities, who had hoped that

Re-Imagine Senior Living

with the steady decrease in the number of new cases ... schools, churches and motion picture houses might be opened next week,” The Asheville Citizen wrote. Though the majority of Buncombe County’s influenza cases occurred in Asheville, residents in the county’s rural areas were impacted as well. On Nov. 21, 1918, the paper reported a total of 1,652 cases and 42 deaths outside the city; meanwhile, Asheville saw 4,129 cases and 120 deaths within the same two-month period. Regardless of lower county numbers, the paper wrote “that conditions in some of the townships are now worse than at any time since the epidemic started.”

Despite this sudden increase in rural cases, the latest city numbers showed a decline. On Nov. 22, with only 13 reported illnesses within the previous 24 hours, The Asheville Citizen announced that Dr. Carl V. Reynolds, the city’s health officer, would allow churches to reopen on Nov. 24. “The health officer stated that if no bad results follow the Sunday church opening the schools and motion picture houses will be allowed to resume operations in a few days,” the paper added. That Sunday, as congregants prepared for their first service in nearly two months, city officials urged worshippers to remain cautious. “Dr. Reynolds called attention to the fact that disease germs may be carried in the nose and mouth of a person apparently well,” The Sunday Citizen reported. “He stated that he wished to call attention to the probability that germs may be scattered by general singing in church and to ask that this feature of the services be omitted today.” In the same article, it was announced that schools would reopen the following Wednesday. With restrictions loosened, influenza spread. On Dec. 1, 1918, The Sunday Citizen revealed that 32 new cases were reported within the previous 24 hours. The article continued: “The health department states that the increase in the number of cases is undoubtedly due to the numerous gatherings and meetings of various kinds that were held this last week. When it was announced that churches, schools and theatres would reopen, the board states that the majority of the people took it for granted that all epidemic danger had passed and governed themselves accordingly. The health officials said little last night but they looked grave.” Editor’s notes: Peculiarities of spelling and punctuation are preserved from the original documents. X

More Affordable Rental Retirement Community Givens Gerber Park is pioneering the next generation of affordable housing for 55 year olds and better with a range of one- and two-bedroom rental apartments and beautiful on-campus amenities. Residents can enjoy lunch with friends in our café or walk to nearby shops and restaurants while enjoying breathtaking views of the North Carolina mountains. We welcome you to make the most out of your next chapter at Givens Gerber Park. Contact Nicole Allen at (828)771-2207 or nallen@givensgerberpark.org to schedule an appointment. For more information, to download applications, or to view floor plans, go to www.givensgerberpark.org MOUNTAINX.COM

APRIL 22-28, 2020

13


COMMUNITY CALENDAR

VOTE FOR THE

BEST OF WNC

APRIL 22 - 30, 2020 “Keeping Asheville Comfortable since 1993”

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Thank you Asheville

Now through April 30

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CALENDAR GUIDELINES

THEATER For a full list of community calendar guidelines, please visit mountainx.com/calendar. For questions about free listings, call 828-251-1333, ext. 137. For questions about paid calendar listings, please call 828-251-1333, ext. 320.

MUSIC A CAPELLA SINGING (PD.) WANNA SING? ashevillebarbershop.com WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22

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• MOOG Synthesize Live, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72c • LEAF Global Arts: West African Drumming & Dance for Kids, 9:00AM, Online, avl.mx/71v THURSDAY, APRIL 23 • MOOG Synthesize Live, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72c • Flood Gallery Virtual Open Mic, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72i FRIDAY, APRIL 24 • MOOG Synthesize Live, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72c • LEAF Global Arts: West African Music, Culture & Language (Adult class), 9:00AM, Online, avl.mx/71v SATURDAY, APRIL 25 • LEAF Global ARTS: ALL Ages Hip-Hop, 9:00AM, Online, avl.mx/71v • LaZoom: What’s Up Your Asheville?, 5:00PM, Online, avl.mx/71s SUNDAY, APRIL 26 • MOOG Synthesize Live, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72c MONDAY, APRIL 27

West Village Market Vote for us! ~ Health Food Store ~ 771 Haywood Rd. • West AVL

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14

APRIL 22-28, 2020

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Dance for Kids, 9:00AM, Online, avl.mx/71v

• MOOG Synthesize Live, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72c • LEAF Global Arts: Spread the Joy Collaborative Audio & Video Music Project, 3:00PM, Online, avl.mx/71v TUESDAY, APRIL 28 • LEAF Global Arts: Interactive Rhythm & Drums at Home, 9:30AM, Online, avl.mx/71v • LEAF Global Arts: Percussion Class Using Household Objects w/ Agustin Frederic, 9:30AM, Online, avl.mx/71v

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 • LEAF Global Arts: West African Drumming & Dance for Kids, 9:00AM Online, avl.mx/71v • The One Stop at Asheville Music Hall & Disclaimer StandUp Lounge host First Annual Virtual Deadly Pandemic Comedy Short Competition, (vote for submitted entries on Facebook by April 29 at midnight, winners announced April 30 at 5:00PM), Online, avl.mx/72j THURSDAY, APRIL 30 • Flood Gallery Virtual Open Mic, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72i

ART THURSDAY, APRIL 23 •Stuff to Know w/Revolve AVL Webinar: Hilma af Klint: 20th Century Visionary & Artist, 8:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72t • LEAF Global Arts: Easel Rider Live, 3:00PM, Online, avl.mx/71v FRIDAY, APRIL 24 • LEAF Global Arts: West African Music, Culture & Language (Adult class), 9:00AM, Online, avl.mx/71v SATURDAY, APRIL 25 • Flood Gallery Virtual Gallery Openings, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72g • LEAF Global Arts: ALL Ages Hip-Hop, 9:00AM, Online, avl.mx/71v MONDAY, APRIL 27 • LEAF Global Arts: Spread the Joy Collaborative Audio & Video Music Project, 3:00PM, Online, avl.mx/71v THURSDAY, APRIL 30 • LEAF Global Arts: Easel Rider Live, 3:00PM, Online, avl.mx/71v • WCU Fine Art Museum Webinar: Presentation w/ Q&A; Time and Again: Glass Works by Kit Paulson and SaraBeth Post, 12:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72k

DANCE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 • LEAF Global Arts: West African Drumming &

ONGOING • Asheville Community Theatre Daily Happy Hour Stream, (submit videos for #ACTHappyHour & watch from 5-6:00PM), Online avl.mx/710 FRIDAY, APRIL 24 • The Magnetic Theatre: Live Reading of Beautiful Cages w/ Jamie Knox, 7:30PM, Online, avl.mx/72n

FILM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 • Streaming Documentary: Saul and Ruby's Holocaust Survivor Band, all day, Online, avl. mx/72o FRIDAY, APRIL 24 • World Cinema w/ Flood Gallery, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72g FRIDAY, MAY 1 • World Cinema w/ Flood Gallery, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72g

CLASSES, MEETINGS, & EVENTS Empyrean Arts Online Live Classes (PD.) The physical studio is closed for now but we are offering some of our regular class offerings online - Go to our website at EMPYREANARTS. ORG, create a new student account, then purchase and sign up for classes.

FRIDAY, APRIL 24 • Ask a Scientist w/ AMOS, 11:30AM, Online, facebook.com/Asheville. Science SUNDAY, APRIL 26 • Seeing w/ New Eyes: Virtual Earth Day Vigil, (songs, prayers, readings) 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72y MONDAY, APRIL 27 • Swannanoa Valley Museum History Webinar: 1566 Juan Pardo & the Native Town of Joanna, 10:30AM, Online, avl.mx/722 TUESDAY, APRIL 28 • Queer Yoga w/ Equality NC, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72l • Wild Abundance Facebook Live Stream: Homesteading, Herbalism, Gardening & more Q&A, 7:00PM, Online, facebook.com/ WildAbundance.net • Virtual Workshop: Tree Establishment, Planting & Maintenance, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/6z6 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 • Online Virtual Shamanic Journey Circle, 6:30PM, Online, dreamtimejourneys.net THURSDAY, APRIL 30 • Facebook Live: History Mystery hosted by Vance Birthplace, 2:00PM, Online, avl.mx/71d FRIDAY, MAY 1 • Ask a Scientist w/ AMOS, 11:30AM, Online, facebook.com/Asheville. Science

FOOD & BEER

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 • Online Virtual Shamanic Journey Circle, 6:30PM, Online, dreamtimejourneys.net • Western Carolina Chapter Alzheimer Association Virtual Webinar: Effective Communication Strategies for Dementia Cargegivers, 10:30AM, Online, alz.org/northcarolina

THURSDAY, APRIL 23 • Wine Tasting w/ Metro Wines, 5:30PM, Online, avl.mx/72u

THURSDAY, APRIL 23 • UNCA Presents The Odyssey Project: The Journey Home, Part Three: Beyond the Seduction of Violence as Virtue, 7:00PM, Online avl.mx/72r • Facebook Live: History Mystery hosted by Vance Birthplace, 2:00PM, Online, avl.mx/71d, • NCDOR Virtual Webinar: Your Small Business Taxes, Business Tax Essentials, 9:00AM, Online, avl.mx/727 • Virtual Talk: WCU Bardo Center: WNC From the Air, 12:00PM, avl.mx/72k

SATURDAY, APRIL 25 • ASAP Farmer's Market at A-B Tech, 9:00AM-12:00PM, A-B Tech, 340 Victoria RD.

FRIDAY, APRIL 24 • Weekly Zoom Guided Beer Tastings w/ The Whale AVL, 5:00PM, Online, facebook.com/ TheWhaleAVL

THURSDAY, APRIL 30 • Dine IN For Life, (order delivery or takeout & donate to WNCAP). To see participating restauraunts visit avl.mx/72m FRIDAY, MAY 1 • Weekly Zoom Guided Beer Tastings w/ The Whale AVL, 5:00PM, Online, facebook.com/ TheWhaleAVL/


COMMUNITY CONSCIOUS: Inspired by Sussex, England-based painter Matthew Burrows’ #artistsupportpledge initiative, Asheville visual artist Mark Bettis launched a local version in which participating artists post works on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #artistsupportpledgeRAD. To encourage financial accessibility for the public and fellow creators, no piece may be priced above $200, and every time one of the artists sells a total of $1,000 of their own work, they pledge to buy a piece of art from another artist. “We currently have 20-plus Asheville artists participating in the network, but the number climbs each day as we navigate this together,” says Bettis, who’s already sold over 20 pieces of art and, true to his pledge, purchased three from his colleagues. “After selling my own work and buying other artists’, it feels empowering, uniting and impactful.” Photo of Light at the End of the Tunnel, 12” x 12” oil, cold wax medium on wood panel, by Bettis, courtesy of the artist KIDS ONGOING • Weekday Stream: Janet’s Planet Online Astronaut Academy, Every WEEKDAY, 10:0011:30AM, Online avl.mx/71n • Livestream: Miss Malaprop's Storytime, (for kids ages 3-9), WEDNESDAYS, 10-11:30AM, Online avl.mx/71e, • Facebook Live: History Mystery hosted by Vance Birthplace, THURSDAYS, 2:00PM, Online, avl.mx/71d • Ask a Scientist w/ AMOS, FRIDAYS 11:30AM, Online, facebook.com/ Asheville.Science/ • Get Outside! w/ the Girl Scouts, SATURDAYS, 11:00AM, Online, avl.mx/72h WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 • Little Explorers Club Celebrates Earth Day w/ AMOS, 10:00AM Online, avl.mx/72z MONDAY, APRIL 27 • Virtual Workshops w/ the Girl Scouts, (see Facebook for additional times & dates), 11:00AM. Online, avl.mx/72h TUESDAY, APRIL 28 • LEAF Global Arts: Interactive Rhythm & Drums at Home, 9:30AM, Online, avl.mx/71v • LEAF Global Arts: Percussion Class using

Household Objects w/ Agustin Frederic, 9:30AM, Online, avl.mx/71v WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 • LEAF Global Arts: West African Drumming & Dance for Kids, 9:00AM, Online, avl.mx/71v

OUTDOORS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 • Earth Day 2020 Trash Clean Up Challenge, 9:00AM, Online, avl.mx/724 • Virtual Stargazing & Meteor Party!, 9:30PM, Online, avl.mx/72p FRIDAY, APRIL 24 • 2020 City Nature Challenge presented by NC Arboretum, all day, avl.mx/72q SUNDAY, APRIL 26 • Asheville JCC: Virtual Falafel 5k, 8:00AM, Online

SPIRITUALITY Astro-Counseling (PD.) Licensed counselor and accredited professional astrologer uses your chart when counseling for additional insight into yourself, your relationships and life directions. Stellar Counseling Services. Christy Gunther, MA, LPC. (828) 258-3229.

ONGOING • Still Point Wellness: Daily 20 Minute Didgeridoo Meditation, 7:30AM, Online, avl.mx/71r • Sunday Celebration Service w/ Jubilee Church, 9:30AM, Online, jubileecommunity.org • Weekly Meditations w/ Prama Institute, WEDNESDAYS 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/71z, • Weekly Online Stream: Jewish Power Hour w/ Rabbi Susskind, 6:00PM, Online, avl.mx/72s THURSDAY, APRIL 23 • Chabad Asheville: Virtual Torah & Tea, 11:00AM, Online, avl.mx/72s THURSDAY, APRIL 30 • Chabad Asheville: Virtual Torah & Tea, 11:00AM, Online, avl.mx/72s

VOLUNTEERING Free Books through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library! (PD.) All children under the age of five are eligible to

receive a brand-new, age-appropriate book each month mailed directly to their home. Enroll online/more info at www.litcouncil.com or imaginationlibrary.com. Free. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 • American Red Cross Blood Drive at Asheville Outlets, 11:00AM, Asheville Outlets, 800 Brevard Road THURSDAY, APRIL 23 • American Red Cross Blood Drive at Asheville Outlets, 11:00AM Asheville Outlets, 800 Brevard RD • Virtual Conserving Carolina Volunteer Info Session, 5:00PM, avl.mx/6z6 • Tranzmission Prison Project, 6:00PM, Firestorm Books & Coffee, 610 Haywood Road FRIDAY, APRIL 24 • Western North Carolina AIDS Project, 10:00AM, Register for location, Asheville

HALF MOON MARKET Order online for delivery or curbside pickup. Free delivery for seniors 65+ & orders over $150 with code FD150. Order by 3pm for same-day delivery. Fresh organic produce, local organic meats, vegan options, snacks, bulk items & more. 5% off first order w/ code STAYWELL

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MOUNTAINX.COM

APRIL 22-28, 2020

15


HEALTH ROUNDUP

Community showers health workers with food, supplies West Village Market Hang in there Asheville.

Stay put & be well. Let us deliver your groceries ~ or place an order for curbside pickup Visit our website: westvillagemarket.com to place your order. Groceries, Produce, Bulk Prepared Foods Herbs & Supplements Grab & Go Foods Beer & Wine and, of course, toilet paper.

NEW HOURS CURRENT MARKET HOURS (subject to change): 9am-1pm, re-open 4pm-8pm DAILY

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Call 828-225-4952 to order!

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828-225-4949

16

APRIL 22-28, 2020

MISSION OF MERCY: Local food businesses exist to feed people, and with dine-in service on hold for now, many are turning their focus to nourishing health care workers and first responders. Aimee Diaz of Salsa and Diaz Restaurant Group, far right, coordinated an April 8 delivery to Mission Hospital, noting that the supplies had been financed by an anonymous donor who wanted to support front-line workers during the COVID-19 emergency. Photo by Cindy Kunst Registered nurse Robyn Sadle isn’t a native of Western North Carolina, but over the three years she’s lived here and worked at Mission Hospital, she says, “I’ve been overwhelmed at the community support and how much this area is committed to making sure that they have a good health care system.” Sadle and her colleagues at Mission Hospital have recently been feeling the love from all corners of the community, with restaurants delivering meals around the clock, schools and businesses manufacturing personal protective equipment for medical workers and local residents stepping forward to donate masks and other supplies. “As we navigate these difficult and uncertain times, Mission Hospital has truly appreciated the generous outpouring of support we are receiving from our community. Our team members are uplifted and find encouragement from the kindness our neighbors have shown us, and I share their sin-

MOUNTAINX.COM

cere gratitude,” says Chad Patrick, CEO of Mission Hospital. At least 20 different food businesses have delivered meals for Mission staffers, according to Mission spokesperson Nancy Lindell.

Health care providers explore new formats While there’s no doubt the crisis created by COVID-19 is placing local and national health care systems and providers under tremendous strain, it’s also becoming increasingly clear that the disease is functioning as a catalyst for health care innovations and adaptations. A wide range of local providers have announced new or expanded telehealth options, including Pardee UNC Health, Mission Health, the Charles George VA Medical Center, Mountain Area Health Education Center, Blue Ridge Health, Vickery Family Medicine and even the Chinese

Acupuncture Clinic at 369 Montford Ave., among others. “It’s 2020, and telemedicine is here, now, for everyone who needs it,” comments Cissy Majebe, a Chinese medicine physician and founder of the Chinese Acupuncture Clinic. Remote or virtual appointments often come with a cheaper price tag. For example, Vickery Family Medicine is offering telephone visits with a primary care physician for $50. That fee can be applied to the cost of an in-person visit if additional followup is needed. Eleanor Health, an addiction and mental health service provider, opened a virtual clinic in Asheville on April 16. Services include medication-assisted treatment, psychiatric management, therapy and recovery support and are available online to anyone living in North Carolina. Limited walk-in hours and in-person appointments are also available at 39 McDowell St. The clinic is the fifth of 10-15 locations the company plans to open in the state this


year. More information is available at eleanorhealth.com. Another sign of the times is Pardee UNC Health’s designation of its Fletcher Urgent Care at 2695 Hendersonville Road as a respiratory clinic, with its other two urgent care facilities in Mills River and Hendersonville reserved for patients not experiencing respiratory symptoms. The move is designed to “maximize patient safety and minimize unnecessary exposure to coronavirus or other respiratory illness,” according to a press release. Among other changes, the Charles George VA Medical Center began offering curbside pharmacy service to allow veterans to refill prescriptions without leaving their vehicles. Overnight mail delivery is also an option. And at the state level, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a variety of modifications of regulations affecting Medicaid recipients, including coverage for telehealth services and 90-day prescription refills to reduce the frequency of pharmacy visits.

Child abuse awareness even more important during crisis April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and brightly colored pinwheels mark its annual observance. This year, with schools closed and social distancing mandated by state and local officials, children are at increased risk of abuse and neglect, says Laura Phipps, a physician assistant at the Believe Child Advocacy Center in Hendersonville, where she provides forensic exams for victims of child abuse. Teachers and school support staff account for one in five reports of abuse, Phipps says. Pediatricians and other health care providers, as well as extended family members and friends, are also less frequently in contact with children right now and thus are less able to observe and report signs of abuse or neglect. “Most child abuse and neglect occurs in the home,” says Victoria Dunkle, director of communications for AdventHealth Hendersonville,

which is displaying a pinwheel garden on the front lawn of its main campus. “With parents and caregivers confronted with daily, increasing financial, emotional and physical stressors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, child advocacy teams anticipate seeing increases in cases of abuse.” To check in with a child during a time of social distancing, Phipps suggests using Facetime or Google Hangouts. To report a potential case of abuse or neglect, she advises, contact your county’s department of social services.

Potential location for behavioral health hospital announced As part of the deal for its Feb. 1, 2019, purchase of Mission Health, Nashville-based HCA Healthcare committed to building a behavioral health hospital with at least 120 beds within five years. Now HCA has announced a potential location for the facility off Crayton Road near Sweeten Creek Road and Interstate 40. Initial plans are for a one-level, 85,000-square-foot facility on 25 acres of land. “We are at the beginning phase of a process that will take time to complete,” Mission officials said in a statement. “During this phase, we will be doing due diligence to ensure the location is the right place for our behavioral health hospital.” No timeline or cost information has been announced. Mission currently serves patients requiring mental health treatment at its 82-bed Copestone facility, which is located on the former St. Joseph campus across Biltmore Avenue from the new Mission Hospital North Tower. According to Mission spokesperson Nancy Lindell, Copestone is the largest inpatient behavioral health facility in the region and serves emergency department patients from all of Mission’s regional hospitals. The new facility will be 32% larger than Copestone and provide inpatient and outpatient care for adolescent, adult and geriatric patients.

Range Urgent Care is here for you. Stuck at home? Try out our Virtual Visits! Schedule online at rangeurgentcare.com

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— Virginia Daffron  X

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APRIL 22-28, 2020

17


GREEN SCENE

A PLANET APART BY DANIEL WALTON dwalton@mountainx.com Alex Lines had big plans for Earth Day. As an organizer with Sunrise Movement Asheville, the local chapter of the national Sunrise Movement climate justice group, she’d hoped to contribute to the largest worldwide climate strike in history and help register hundreds of thousands of people to vote in the November elections. “This is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and we wanted to revive the mass noncooperation and energy that originally led to the passage of the Clean Air [Act] and Clean Water Act and the creation of the [federal Environmental Protection Agency],” Lines says. “The original Earth Day was transformational and pressured Richard Nixon into taking environmental reform seriously.” But while this year’s Earth Day marks a historic milestone for the environmental movement, it also falls within the duration of Gov. Roy Cooper’s statewide stayhome order to help prevent the spread

of COVID-19; the order is currently set to expire on Wednesday, April 29. Mass gatherings are prohibited, and many of the parks and trails from which lovers of the outdoors draw their inspiration are closed to visitors. Many groups throughout Western North Carolina, including Sunrise, have responded by moving their Earth Day activities to the virtual sphere. Just because those observances can only take place online, however, doesn’t mean environmentalists are losing heart in their work to bring about a more sustainable planet. “This COVID-19 crisis is a crisis for many of us and for us as a society, but it’s also an opportunity because it gives us a chance, a very rare chance, to step back from our busy lives and reflect on where we want to be going as a society,” says Rose Jenkins Lane, spokesperson for Hendersonville-based nonprofit Conserving Carolina. “It shows us that we can make big changes.”

WNC celebrates socially distant Earth Day

WEB OF LIFE: Western North Carolina activists have moved many of their plans for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day online. Photo illustration from Getty Images KEEPING THE PACE Lane says Conserving Carolina has seen strong responses from its members as the organization has transitioned more of its programming online, particularly on social media. Posts encouraging people to share their experiences of backyard wildflowers and window-seat bird watching — and use those experiences as a springboard to wildlife conservation — have been especially popular. “When it turned out that home was going to be where we were spending a lot more of our time, it seemed like a good opportunity to amp that up,” Lane says. “Our members have appreciated opportu-

nities to connect with something hopeful, something pleasant and enjoyable.” The Sierra Club of Western North Carolina has also been successful at keeping its members virtually engaged. Judy Mattox, the group’s chair, says an April 2 webinar on the U.S. Forest Service’s revised management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests drew over 100 viewers, in line with attendance at regular in-person meetings. And club members used the information shared during the webinar to submit online comments about the plan in support of wilderness protection. The online shift has come with some challenges. While its member engagement remains strong, Lane says, Conserving

Get involved Setting the course for clean energy

Worried about Climate Change? Action is the remedy for despair The Blue Horizons Project has many ways for you to take action in your home, business, and community to support the transition to a clean energy future.

Visit bluehorizonsproject.com to get involved.

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APRIL 22-28, 2020

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Below is a sampling of virtual or at-home opportunities being organized by Western North Carolina environmental groups for Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22. • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Activity Challenge — The Asheville Museum of Science hosts a social media contest for the creative use of household disposables. More information available at AshevilleScience.org. • Earth Day Clean Up Challenge — MountainTrue sponsors a contest of trash pickup photos, with the person collecting the most trash winning a prize to be announced at 7 p.m. Use #MTEarthDayChallenge on social media. • Earth Day Live — The WNC Climate Action Coalition hosts an online broadcast of videos showcasing local sustainability efforts beginning at 5 p.m. More info at WNCClimateAction.com. • Earth Day Scavenger Hunt — At 8 a.m., Asheville GreenWorks will post a list of environmental tasks that can be completed from home to its social media accounts; participants can win a tree, a GreenWorks shirt and a reusable straw. • Catalyzing a Just Recovery — Sunrise Movement Asheville is partnering with the N.C. Climate Justice Collective for a 3:30 p.m. webinar on the climate crisis and COVID-19. Registration is available at avl.mx/72x. • Virtual Earth Month Celebration — A list of 50 conservation activities, including the Habitat at Home photo contest, compiled by Conserving Carolina. More info at avl.mx/72w. • WNC For the Planet — A virtual calendar where local organizations are posting service, educational and recreational opportunities throughout April. More info at WNCForThePlanet.org.


Carolina isn’t sure how donations will be affected as in-person events remain on hold. And Lines notes that Sunrise, which thrives on high-visibility public actions such as December’s occupation of Asheville City Hall, has found organizing to be harder. But Lines adds that COVID-19 has also sharpened Sunrise’s messaging around the need for systemic change to address environmental problems. “We hope that people are able to see that the climate crisis and the coronavirus are linked and both stem from the same corrupt system,” she explains. “The communities most impacted by the climate crisis are the communities most impacted by the virus and the economic fallout it’s creat-

ing. The government treats some people and communities as expendable and prioritizes corporate interest over human life and community health.” BEYOND THE SCREEN While social distancing requirements have put a momentary pause on group efforts, some WNC organizations are still encouraging people to take individual action in the real world. Chelsea Rath, community engagement coordinator for Asheville GreenWorks, says the nonprofit

CONTINUES ON PAGE 21

TAKING ACTION

Kimberly Hunter weaves community webs Kimberly Hunter focuses on the long game. A real estate agent, broker, cooperative business developer and member of Asheville’s Downtown and Civic Center commissions, she’s committed to working with farmers, property owners and businesses that have long-term, sustainable investment mindsets. “There are more and more people who really care, not just about their own needs and interests, but then, ‘Who am I selling to? Is it someone local or someone from outside the area? What is the succession of what’s going to happen to this property?’” she says. As the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic shifts the landscape for cooperative development initiatives, Hunter’s primary concern has become helping community members keep their property — particularly those who slip through the cracks of current aid programs. “I’m trying to convene people who care in a way that will help the folks who are being left out, because there’s a high percentage of our friends and neighbors who won’t make it.” says Hunter. “They were living less than paycheck to paycheck, and all of their income sources have been threatened because of their personal status — because they’re a low-wage worker, whatever the situation.” Part of this new work has been helping to pull together some fresh cooperative efforts for Western North Carolina. One of these is the Patchwork Producer Alliance, a group of local farmers and food activists organizing to create a mar-

HOME GROWN: One of the new efforts Kimberly Hunter is supporting in response to COVID-19 is the Patchwork Producer Alliance, a group of local farmers and food activists organizing to create a marketing outlet for small-scale growers and homesteaders. Photo courtesy of Hunter keting outlet for small-scale growers and homesteaders. Developing cooperative business structures, she says, helps build food-secure, equitable, resilient communities that are better prepared to withstand threats like the current pandemic. “Folks that have been doing solidarity work and social justice work in the form of creating business and community models that work are not as impacted by what’s going on with COVID-19,” she explains. “Because there’s already been a network — a web of cooperation — among individuals, and that creates a community in and of itself.”

— Gina Smith  X MOUNTAINX.COM

APRIL 22-28, 2020

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GREEN has established stations throughout the city where residents can pick up supplies for self-directed neighborhood cleanups. To keep its push for increased urban forest canopy alive, Rath adds, GreenWorks has delivered hundreds of trees to Buncombe County homes in lieu of its usual in-person giveaway. “We remain committed to inspire, equip and mobilize our communities so that we all reap the benefits of clean water, fresh air and access to unspoiled nature within and around our urban spaces,” she says.

And Conserving Carolina’s “Habitat at Home” contest is using the promise of social media cred to promote pollinator and wildlife habitat projects like bird boxes and bee hotels. Area residents can submit photos of their work to earn online shoutouts, as well as prizes from businesses such as New Leaf Garden Market and Spriggly’s Beescaping. “Conservation in parks and nature preserves isn’t enough,” Lane says about the contest. “Wild animals need more places to live, and we all have a role to play.” X

TAKING ACTION

Oakley residents plant seeds of community resilience

PICK YOUR BATTLES: Michael Stratton works to prepare a row at the Fairview Road Resilience Garden in Oakley. Photo by Laurence Périgaud When Michael Stratton bought the house next door to his Oakley residence as a rental investment, he envisioned transforming part of its front yard, which faces busy Fairview Road, into a community footpath and garden. Then COVID-19 happened. “Originally, we were going to do raised beds and planter boxes, and anybody who’s interested can show up and pool resources,” Stratton says. “It was going to be a focal point of community more than anything. But when this virus hit, we said, ‘Let’s reevaluate that and think about how we can try to make an impact on the hunger situation that we’re going to be facing.’” So Stratton moved the project, dubbed the Fairview Road Resilience Garden, to the property’s sunny backyard, with the plan of producing as much food as possible to support the community. Since late March, he, his wife, Amanda, and a small, hardworking steering committee have managed to transform a 4,000-square-foot grassy field into 15 neat garden beds, which in mid-April were already speckled with

green sprouts of onions, potatoes, kale, chard and more. “We’re really focused on growing high-producing, high-yielding options, things that can be turned into meals easily once we take them to the food pantry,” Stratton says. Another component under development for the initiative is a mutual aid group that will enlist neighborhood volunteers to make and freeze batches of soup to be included with medication and other items in “Miracle Boxes” that can be distributed to community members who are ill or otherwise in need. “We’re not going to be able to solve all the problems or issues, but I think the secondary goal, beyond just giving food away, is creating a model that people in other neighborhoods can latch onto,” says Stratton. “If anything, it just allows people to know that this is possible with very few resources and just a few people who say, ‘We can do this.’” To learn more and connect with the Fairview Road Resilience Garden, visit its pages on Facebook and Instagram.

— Gina Smith  X MOUNTAINX.COM

APRIL 22-28, 2020

21


FOOD

Spring 2020

Nonprofit issue

KICKED TO THE CURB Asheville’s independent restaurants weigh their options

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To-go or not to-go. That was the existential question facing hundreds of business owners in this restaurant-rich region in response to an executive order issued March 17 by Gov. Roy Cooper closing all bars and prohibiting in-house dining for an indefinite period. The directive does allow for takeout, delivery and drive-thru options. For fast-food giants that count windowto-car transactions as a significant part of their revenue, it was a simple pivot. But for the owners of Western North Carolina’s independent restaurants, there was nothing simple in weighing whether to shutter entirely or devise a transition to takeout. Anticipating Cooper’s order, the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association hosted an emergency meeting of its member-owners March 16 to hear from and question Buncombe County health officials and emergency management representatives, labor law experts and the Small Business Administration on what they might be facing. And since the first day of pandemic closures, AIR has maintained a spreadsheet detailing the services member restaurants are able to offer, a list that AIR Executive Director Jane Anderson says “changes daily, almost hourly.” Chefs Laura and Brian Smith, co-owners of Rezaz, spent several days agonizing the pros and cons of their situation before the governor’s order. “Brian and I had been looking at what was happening in Italy and other places and started questioning everything,” Laura recalls. “Will we have to shut down, what will we do about our employees? It wasn’t so much the livelihood of the business as the livelihoods of the 30 individuals we take responsibility for. Every independent restaurant in this town makes a family of their workers.” They decided on March 13 that they would have to close Rezaz entirely, but they wanted to give their staff time to make as much money as possible before shuttering. “We brought them in Tuesday, the day of the order, and basically let them all go. It was very emotional.” When employees returned two days later to get their paychecks, the Smiths had organized all the information they

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PICKUP LINE: Meals, cooked and packaged, are ready for customer pickup at Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian, which is offering takeout service daily. Photo courtesy of Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian needed to file for unemployment and had cooked plenty of food for them to take home and put in their freezers. “It was devastating,” says Laura. “The most horrible day of my life in this business” is how Eric Scheffer, owner of Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian, describes having to lay off over 40 employees of his 10-year-old restaurant. But because the North Asheville restaurant already had a reliable takeout trade, he felt they could keep the kitchen open with a skeleton crew. “We were technically ready for it.” Still, there were many adjustments to be made, such as retooling the menu and setting up systems to maintain social distancing among the staff he kept on to implement takeout seven days a week, noon-8 p.m. Remaining open — and the generous tips Scheffer says customers add to their checks — has also allowed him to offer a daily meal to all of his laid-off employees. “We’re holding our own,” he says. “Over 90% of what we’re cooking, people are coming to pick up, which surprised me. But I think most people just want to get out of the house.” For A.J. Gregson, who has owned Black Bear BBQ with wife, Autumn Pittman, since August 2018, the decision to remain open for takeout was a no-brainer. “If I close for over a week, I’m done,” he says. “We have no bankroll. We had a lot of takeout business before this, so we made adjustments to keep going.” The adaptations included paring down the menu, moving to four days a

week and cutting hours of operation and staff while piling up the hours himself. Gregson also runs a food truck three days a week that he parks at various local apartment complexes by prearrangment, and he’s offering no-contact deliveries left at the door of customers who preorder and pay. “If the food truck keeps up, and we keep the numbers going that we have now, it’s sustainable,” he says. “Some restaurants are better suited to this than others. Places where the ambiance is a big part of what they do, it’s hard to put that in a to-go box. Luckily, my food doesn’t require ambiance, just flavor.” Scheffer agrees that navigating times of trouble often depends on the type of food you offer. His first Asheville restaurant, The Savoy, was a fine-dining establishment, a segment that ran into trouble during the Great Recession of 2008. “I closed that and went back to my roots,” says the native New Yorker. “There was no red-sauce Italian, New York-type joint here, and I thought there was a need for that, so I opened Vinnie’s, a place people could feel loved and part of the family. We’ve been very successful with that.” Especially in hard times, says Scheffer, people are seeking comfort. “So we’ll keep doing takeout until we get out of this thing. Then we’ll welcome people back to the restaurant.” Check airasheville.org for updates on area restaurants that are offering takeout and delivery. X


Take care of yourself and others

Sharing is caring New initiative connects local farmers with residents facing food insecurity

SHARING IS CARING: From left, Mark Rosenstein, John Fleer and Aaron Grier walk a road through Grier’s Gaining Ground Farm, where he will grow produce to supply Southside Community Kitchen through the new initiative We Give a Share. Photo by Will Eccleston “Do something good in the world, Aaron.” Those words from chef John Fleer resonated with Aaron Grier, who with his wife, Anne, owns Gaining Ground Farm in Leicester. At the time of their conversation, Aaron was struggling to find the silver lining in the black cloud of crisis that COVID-19 had brought to restaurants and farmers across the country. “We always had a [community supported agriculture program], but it has become a much smaller part of our business,” he says. “When Fleer moved to town, he put his back behind us, purchasing our produce for his restaurants, which gave us support to expand and supply more restaurants. That became a large part of our business, with the other big component the North Asheville Tailgate Market.” The mid-March shutdown of in-house restaurant dining and the subsequent (and ongoing) delay of the NATM season opening planned for April 4 was a onetwo punch for small farmers like Grier. “I was talking with John about it all, and he told me he was cooking with Mark Rosenstein and Hanan Shabazz at the Southside Kitchen, working with David Nash at the Asheville Housing Authority to feed residents. The last thing he said to me was, ‘Do something good in the world, Aaron.’” The seed Fleer planted with Grier germinated into an idea to reinterpret the concept of CSA shares from carefully curated boxes for individuals to

larger community shares that will supply Southside Kitchen with weekly deliveries of fresh produce while supporting small farmers. Thanks to a team of local design and marketing experts who jumped on board to help, the We Give a Share website went live the second week of April. There are four donation levels available, with the nonprofit arm of the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville acting as a pass-through to make contributions tax deductible. The money from the shares purchased will go to the farmers; the produce they grow will go to Southside. “Instead of buying a share for yourself, you’re buying a share that will be prepared into meals for people in need,” Grier explains. “We won’t be taking Southside the box with 13 different vegetables. It will be very intentional: hundreds of dollars of tomatoes and hundreds of dollars of potatoes.” Grier says he hopes We Give a Share becomes larger than Gaining Ground and Flying Cloud Farm, which is also signing on to the program. “It’s checking two boxes — it’s supporting local agriculture and supporting the underserved,” he explains. “We want to see this replicated across the country and continue after this crisis is over. There will always be need. We can always do good.” For more information and to donate a share go to wegiveashare.org.

— Kay West  X

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CAROLINA BEER GUY

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If you can’t get to the beer, the beer will now come to you. The COVID-19 pandemic has led a growing number of Asheville-area breweries to begin home delivery of their ales, lagers and sours — a service that recalls the days when dairies delivered milk to doorsteps and farmers brought fresh eggs directly to customers. Home delivery is generating much needed revenue at breweries that have experienced severe financial strain due to the temporary closing of their taprooms and the loss of draft accounts throughout the region. Breweries are protecting delivery personnel with gloves and masks, and limiting contact with the public. But if you order beer, have that driver’s license handy to prove your age. Wicked Weed Brewing is delivering bottles and cans within a 10-mile radius of its original Biltmore Avenue brewpub, according to spokesman Kyle Pedersen. “This is something that we did not offer before [the pandemic],” he says. ­“It took us a little time to get acclimated to the nuances of home delivery.” Consumers can order through the brewery’s website and select from a wide array of products. From there, it’s a simple process to fill in delivery and payment information. “As long as we receive your order by 4 p.m., we guarantee same-day delivery,” Pedersen says. The delivery drivers are all Wicked Weed employees who had previously worked in food service jobs within the

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CHANGING GEARS: Michael Palmer, manager of Wicked Weed Brewing’s Brewpub location, loads a company vehicle for a delivery. Photo by Julia Lindholm Photography company. “This has allowed us to maintain our workforce,” Pedersen says. UpCountry Brewing Co. is delivering both beer and food from its new in-house restaurant, Grata Pizzeria. “We are trying to support the West Asheville neighborhood,” says brewery owner John Cochran. Orders can be placed both by phone or online. “If pizza and beer won’t brighten your day, what will?” Cochran posits before turning to the future. “When this [pandemic] all goes away, UpCountry will be stronger for it because we’ll have the delivery business on top of the dining business.” Catawba Brewing Co. is offering delivery and pickup from its locations in Asheville, Morganton and Charlotte. “It’s the only thing that is really keeping jobs in the tasting room,’” says company co-owner Billy Pyatt. Deliveries can be made by calling, texting or ordering online. “It’s amazing how well this has gone,” he says. Burial Beer Co. is delivering its products within an 8-mile radius of its brewery, says co-owner Jessica Reiser. Online delivery is offered via the company’s website, and deliveries are made

by front-of-house employees. Every Wednesday, new beers are added to Burial’s order form. Less than four months after opening, DSSOLVR is delivering its beers 7-10 miles from its Lexington Avenue location. Brewery co-founder Mike Semenec has been bringing beer himself to customer’s homes. Orders can be placed via the brewery’s website, and Semenec is wearing gloves and a mask while toting bottles and cans to patrons’ doorsteps. “It’s been a mixed bag for sure,” he says, regarding the risks of customer interactions. “But if we don’t do this, it’s the difference between keeping the business going or closing. It’s been nice seeing people and the support we’re getting from the community has been great.” At press time, other Asheville breweries offering beer delivery included Archetype Brewing (through its Haywood Road neighbor OWL Bakery), Bhramari Brewing Co., Green Man Brewery, Hi-Wire Brewing, One World Brewing, Twin Leaf Brewery and Asheville Brewing Co. (through the Takeout Central service). X


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

BUILT TO LAST

Local stage actors adjust while theaters are closed

BY EDWIN ARNAUDIN earnaudin@mountainx.com Theaters are closed and performers are out of work, but if there’s one profession that’s built to weather the various consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, local actor Scott Treadway believes it’s his. “In a lot of ways, actors are prepared for this,” he says. “We live like this all the time. We’re accustomed to periods where there’s not a steady income, so we have sort of supplemented and come up with ways of finding alternate sources of income, so a period of time where there’s no work is not something terribly new to me.” Treadway had just closed Jeeves Saves the Day at North Carolina Stage Company and, as he did “several years ago for a few seasons,” resumed company management work for Flat Rock Playhouse when “stay home, stay safe” mandates brought the area theater industry to a halt. His headshot photography company, Treadshots, had been bringing in respectable side revenue, but with actors currently not looking for work, those services aren’t in high demand — or technically legal. Once statewide restrictions are lifted and his “nonessential” business is allowed to resume, he plans to begin accepting appointments. “As of yet, I have tried to just manage with the resources that I’ve got. I haven’t gone the unemployment route or any of that stuff — and that’s just because I’m kind of hardheaded that way,” Treadway says. “If I can, hopefully, go through about three weeks of lean times, but then start booking headshots again, then I’m gonna be fine.” Carin Metzger says she’s fortunate that “a decent majority” of her income comes from performing as an actor in local theaters and as a guide for LaZoom Tours. Heading into the middle of March, she had been about to open Immediate Theatre Project’s production of Well at NC Stage, but it was forced to shut down days before opening, and LaZoom had to stop running tours a day or two later. “As many in the arts industry, and especially in Asheville, there are many ways we keep ourselves afloat and thriving financially and artistically, and to see it all being pulled out from under you in one, as I like to say, ‘swell foop’ is not only jarring, it leaves me at a loss as to how to adapt or even prepare for when things ‘come back,’” Metzger says. “While Well is looking to remount in the future with as much of the cast as

DIGITAL MARCH SISTERS: Due to “stay home, stay safe” restrictions, the cast of Asheville Community Theatre’s production of Little Women is not allowed to rehearse in person. Instead, the actors use BlueJeans video conferencing software to enhance their dramatic rapport. Photo by John O’Neil possible, not only was that a loss in income for me, but it could even affect my ability to claim acting for tax purposes, since a certain amount of my income has to be from that source.” Though Treadway didn’t have a follow-up to Jeeves lined up until late June, he kicked off FRP’s Vagabond Video series by reprising his role as Arles from the theater’s Tuna plays. Metzger is on The Magnetic Theatre’s board of directors, where she’s helping develop an array of online content, and is involved with several local improv groups, including the NoSeeUms. “We do audio improv, which seems like a pretty easy transition into a virtual realm, but even we are struggling in moving our rehearsals to online platforms,” she says. “Without each having professional audio equipment in our homes, using [the online videoconferencing platform] Zoom to try to create these scenes with our amazing piano improvisor Chuck Lichtenberger has proven less than ideal. But we’re not giving up hope.” Before she was laid off from LaZoom, Metzger also got to film a segment of her character in her own apartment, focusing on how she was coping with quarantine. It was the first time she’d ever set up and lit her own shoot, she says, so the video is

easiest way to help out,” the next best thing theatergoers can do is hold on to tickets they’ve purchased to canceled or rescheduled shows. Donations of household items are also welcome, as theaters across the country are currently reorganizing their prop and costume storage holdings in preparation for the traditionally busy summer season. Treadway also sees a parallel between current hardships and the New York City theater community post-9/11, during which “everybody pulled together.” Combine that track record of resilience with “people who know how to stretch a buck like no other business” and theatergoers’ “hunger to get back out and be entertained,” and the veteran actor is optimistic about the future. “In other economic downturns, the thing that did not come along with it was the fact that we had to put ourselves into our own personal jails at home,” Treadway says. “If anything, I think people are going to get sick to death of streaming and the options on the computer, and they’re just going to want human interaction. And I think in some ways, hopefully, there may be just a desperate desire to get back out there into a more socially entertaining world.” X

“a little out of focus” but provided a fun and fulfilling way to redirect energy. “Although taking a character who’s used to being in front of 40 people in a purple bus, swinging from the handlebars and getting a lot closer than 6 feet to audience members, and translating that to film — well, it had its challenges, too,” she says. Similar moments of adversity have arisen at Asheville Community Theatre, where the cast and crew of Little Women continue to prep via videoconferencing for a potential late spring or early summer opening. “The lack of in-person rehearsals is hard on the cast, not only because we don’t get to move in the same room, or at all, but because we do not get to create the community that you get when doing a show, especially one that is emotional like Little Women,” says John O’Neil, the production’s stage manager. “One thing that has come out during our rehearsals is the ability to really focus on the emotions and how we convey them through our faces, which is not usually something we have a lot of time to focus on. The cast has really seemed thankful that we are continuing this process.” As for encouraging the return of Little Women, Well and other productions, Treadway says that while “money is MOUNTAINX.COM

APRIL 22-28, 2020

25


A& E

by Edwin Arnaudin

earnaudin@mountainx.com

The art of adaptation Winston-Salem native Sarah Siskind left North Carolina when she was 18 years old and never thought she’d move back to the Tar Heel State. But when Nashville — her home for nearly two decades, during which her songs were recorded by Alison Krauss, Randy Travis and Wynonna Judd — became too big for her and her then-partner Travis Book (singer/bassist for The Infamous Stringdusters), they looked elsewhere. After a stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia ended when their “sweet setup” rental house suddenly became unavailable, and having “gotten attached to mountain living,” they moved to Brevard, which Siskind visited regularly with her parents during childhood. “It’s only five hours from Nashville, so I go there still a lot to work and write — I mean, obviously not right now, but when the [COVID-19] craziness lifts, I will be going back there some,” Siskind says. “Within the [Brevard] community, there’s so much talent. Jeff Sipe is a hero of mine. I got to have him on my record, but he is part of why I wanted to move here. I thought, ‘Well, it must be awesome if he’s there raising his family.’ And Shannon Whitworth and Woody Platt are here. It’s sweet. Jeff’s wife, Rainbow Sipe, calls Brevard ‘the center of the universe.’ And it is. It’s its own microcosm.” The album Siskind mentions is Modern Appalachia, which was released on April 17 after multiple delays, the most significant one being the bankruptcy of crowdfunding service PledgeMusic, which she says never paid her the money she raised for the project. Produced by Siskind and tracked at Echo Mountain Recording Studios with engineer Jason Lehning, the 12-song collection finds the singer/songwriter backed by the Jeff Sipe Trio. The eponymous drummer, along with Mike Seal (electric guitar) and Daniel Kimbro (bass) imbue her soulful, introspective compositions with their distinct jazz fusion sound, and Siskind is elated to share the work with listeners, despite

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MOUNTAINX.COM

Sarah Siskind releases a new album, embraces change

POWER IN NUMBERS: Sarah Siskind primarily worked with the Jeff Sipe Trio to craft her new album, Modern Appalachia, but also recruited remote collaborations from guitar legend Bill Frisell and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. “Those are two really kind dudes right there,” she says. “They’re very similar in soul. They’re very kind and peaceful souls and have been just such great friends to me and musical partners. I definitely wanted them involved somehow on this project.” Photo by Brian Boskind the COVID-19 pandemic preventing her from performing it live before a physically assembled audience. “Now that we’re in the middle of all this, and the album’s coming out, I actually think it’s a great time for music. People’s attention spans are a little bit longer right now, and people need uplifting, and people need inspiration and new creative input,” Siskind says. “Now, the tour isn’t going to coincide, but that has never been that big of a deal to me to have that match up. And honestly, I think,

in a way it’s nice to give people time to live with the music so that by the time you play it for them live, they already feel like they know it.” Opening track “Me and Now” could be one selection that resonates especially strongly with listeners. Currently going through her second divorce, Siskind wrote the song as a way to process the challenges of living alone for the first time in her life, specifically sitting with solitude and struggling with the inability to be still. But since the advent of “stay home, stay safe,” the work has taken on new meanings. “When I wrote it, it was very much me self-isolating or quarantining in a different way, because I was not cut off from people, but I was in a house by myself, except for when I had my kids because we split [custody] 50/50,” Siskind says. “One of the cool realizations that I have had through this is that maybe it’s not me that has that struggle. Maybe it’s all of us. And I think all of us are really feeling challenged with not being able to incorporate with each other and socialize and hug. The smallest things like giving a hug or even shaking somebody’s hand, we took all that for granted, and now that it’s taken away, it’s like a craving or a yearning to want to connect with people.” Helping bridge that gap, Siskind recently launched Mod App Live, a Sunday night variety show on Facebook and Instagram featuring “music, conversation, cooking, crafts, living and weekly special guests.” The weekly schedule has provided her a welcome bit of consistency and a creative outlet to consciously plan in order to make each edition memorable. And in times of great uncertainty, the show or similar options could just replace traditional ways that listeners have interacted with artists. “The music business has been going through a metamorphosis already for years because of adapting to streaming,” Siskind says. “I think that this might be the turning point for that old model to change of you release an album and you put together a release tour around the release date. We’re just having to find new ways to do everything, but I really think that this could be what really makes musicians step back and assess things in a different way.” sarahsiskind.com X


by Edwin Arnaudin

earnaudin@mountainx.com

Just peachy

New Floating Action album seeks to lift people’s spirits

EVERGREEN: Seth Kauffman’s new Floating Action album, Outsider Art, was written largely in October, but its words have taken on new meanings in the current pandemic. “It’s almost eerie how all past Floating Action lyrics also sound like specific COVIDesque lyric themes,” he says. “But I think every song ever probably does — that natural human longing/death cry that is kind of the reason people write songs anyway.” Photo by Jen Rodriguez In addition to touring with Jim James, Dylan LeBlanc and Michael Nau, and recording with Angel Olsen, Ray LaMontagne and Tyler Ramsey, Black Mountain-based musician Seth Kauffman has been writing, producing, engineering, mixing and playing practically every instrument on Floating Action’s albums for well over a decade. On April 1, he surprised music fans with his latest homemade rock collection, Outsider Art, the timing of which also came as somewhat of a surprise to its creator, who’d had a potential May vinyl pressing in mind until COVID-19 restrictions halted production. “After, like, week two of quarantine, I thought, ‘Man, I’m just sitting on these fresh tunes. It could in theory lift people’s spirits during this dark time if I released it at least digitally.’ So, I did,” Kauffman says. “It brings me great joy knowing these songs are out there for people to hear now, as opposed to a year from now or whatever.” Taking a break from “riding bikes, playing in creeks and hiking on trails” with his wife and 4-year-old daughter, Kauffman spoke with Xpress about the allure of simplicity, lyrical priorities and how he and his family are adjusting to state and county “stay home, stay safe” mandates. On challenging himself with minimal instrumentation and equipment: “I try to keep everything relatively simple. Self-imposed resourcefulness — trying to make the most with very little. I forced myself to use just one 5-watt, Amazon.com house-brand guitar

amp, one tape delay pedal and one $250 Stratocaster copy, plus a drum kit, a bass and one conga, and try to make it all happen with just those things — self-imposed limitations. A couple other instruments made appearances [on Outsider Art], but not all that much.” On collaborating with Ashevillebased saxophonist Jacob Rodriguez on Outsider Art’s standout track: “The song he plays on, ‘Oil & Water,’ the call-and-response riff that the horns do was the initial/core idea of the song. When I made it up, I voice memoed it, noting, ‘Get Jacob to do those horn parts.’ It’s such a happy, hopeful song. It just has to have horns — and that beat, such a celebratory high-life beat that I wish could just go on forever. And it kind of does. The song ends, and the beat just keeps going for another minute or so.” On his approach to songwriting: “Well, by doing everything myself for 15 years, I’ve arrived at a unique way to be able to make songs where it’s very spontaneous, unfiltered, in the moment, and you’re actually writing it as you’re recording it. It seems to be the most ‘direct to source’ way, with very little cerebral interference. It’s all about trust, and each melody, hook [and] rhythm exists solely to support and hold up the other thing, to where everything is self-sacrificing itself. True love, symbolized musically, but maybe that’s something people can sense on some other level through music? “The giving up of self is something I’ve come to realize may be the most important thing a human can do. It’s all

laid out in the laws of Mother Nature, but humans have been able to build up technology that can sort of fool us into thinking we’re immune to those laws — until now, perhaps?” On adjusting to COVID-related restrictions: “I got home from [a] monthlong Dylan LeBlanc tour right before quarantining started. So, we had more tours that were supposed to be happening, well, now. Plus I had a few recording sessions booked with other artists. It all just got instantly

canceled. So, your only income is suddenly gone, and there’s really no end in sight. I could feasibly never get to play another show again or make any more money playing music again. “We’re staying optimistic maybe 85% of the time? Then, of course, you’re gonna have waves where the uncertainty hits you, and you start to brace yourself to basically become Robert Duvall in The Road, vomiting up canned peaches around a campfire.” floatingactionlive.bandcamp.com X

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APRIL 22-28, 2020

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MOVIE REVIEWS

Hosted by the Asheville Movie Guys EDWIN ARNAUDIN earnaudin@mountainx.com

BRUCE STEELE bcsteele@gmail.com

go with the flow of the comedy, a showcase for Sweeney’s dense, witty writing. Here’s hoping Straight Up propels him into a writing gig where he creates his own “Gilmore Girls” for the next generation of Todds and Rorys. REVIEWED BY BRUCE STEELE BCSTEELE@GMAIL.COM

Beyond The Visible: Hilma af Klint HHHS

DIRECTOR: Halina Dyrschka PLAYERS: Julia Voss, Johan af Klint DOCUMENTARY NOT RATED

Straight Up HHHH DIRECTOR: James Sweeney PLAYERS: James Sweeney, Katie Findlay, Randall Park COMEDY NOT RATED Here’s an affinity test for the new comedy Straight Up: If you see the comic potential in a gay man who’s dating a woman dressed up as Brick from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for a costume party, sit down right now and start streaming this movie. Straight Up has the pop-culture density of a Quentin Tarantino script filtered through the sensibility of an intense young gay man with OCD. Straight Up is written and directed by James Sweeney (writer/director/ star of the short film “Before Midnight Cowboy”), who also plays protagonist Todd, a 20-something programmer his best friends describe as a “Kinsey 6” — that is, as gay as you can get. But Todd’s a virgin — insecure, asexual and intimidated (maybe repulsed) by the gay dating scene in Los Angeles. So when he meets fellow “Gilmore Girls” fan Rory (Katie Findlay, ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder”), a struggling actress with her own troubled relationship track record, the two bond and start dating. The film’s main virtue is its literate, clever, rapid-fire dialogue, and its humor doesn’t flag, right up to the finale — a rare thing for an indie comedy. Its vibe is reminiscent of early 28

APRIL 22-28, 2020

Hal Hartley or Whit Stillman films, in which young people talk intensely and with minimal expression, favoring words over overt emotions. Visually, it reflects Todd’s OCD, with rigorous compositional symmetry and striking interior locations justified by Todd’s second job as a professional house sitter. But it’s never arch: A number of scenes are just thoroughly entertaining riffs on the movie’s premise, most memorably a dinner with Todd’s parents (The Interview’s Randall Park and Betsy Brandt of AMC’s “Breaking Bad”) and his sessions with his jaded therapist (Tracie Thoms, Rent). In an earlier day, Straight Up might have been considered politically radioactive for pairing a man who’s clearly gay with a woman who’s clearly straight. But Todd’s predicament and motivations are entirely credible: He’s not trying to de-gay himself; he’s just trying to find a soul mate who wants what he wants. Rory’s motives are more amorphous, and some viewers may find her willingness to pair with Todd unjustified. But the balanced, fragile performance by Findlay as Rory assuages most concerns: She’s lonely and understandably suspicious of straight men and finds Todd a comfort. Sweeney wants viewers to question the centrality of sexuality in our pairing customs, particularly for people for whom sex is either undesirable or just a low priority. But viewers can ignore the social context if they just want to

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Immensely informative and inspirational, the documentary Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint is also academic to a fault. Essentially the visual tangent of a gallery-approved coffee-table-book companion to a major exhibit, German filmmaker Halina Dyrschka’s feature directorial debut succeeds at advocating for the talent and influence of the titular pioneering Swedish abstractionist. The prolific and wildly imaginative af Klint’s paintings are the film’s rightful stars, and they and her notebooks are depicted via crisp close-ups, augmented by illuminating interviews with predominantly female scholars who provide welcome background on this largely unknown figure. German art historian Julia Voss, whose recent af Klint biography is slated for an English translation in 2021, is by far the most passionate and possibly the most informed of the bunch. As with her fellow interviewees, she offers sparkling insight on the long history of women’s inability to be recognized by the male-dominated art world and the exciting impact of science and spirituality on af Klint’s imagery; yet Dyrschka’s overall presentation is so dry and PBS-basic that it’s a bit of a struggle to remain engaged for more than half an hour at a time. In an effort to retain viewer attention, Dyrschka interjects dramatized re-creations of a few af Klint paintings, purposefully employing overhead shots that succeed at depicting the works’ scales rather than merely providing a cute yet empty stylistic detail. The director herself is also directly involved in front of the camera, leading the investigation into the reasons for her subject’s omission from art history — at least initially, before all but disappearing and letting her film’s mixed bag of approaches stodgily roll on.

AVAILABLE VIA FINEARTSTHEATRE.COM (FA) GRAILMOVIEHOUSE.COM (GM) PISGAHFILM.ORG (PF) And Then We Danced (NR) HHHH (GM) Balloon (NR) A fact-based thriller about a daring Cold War escape. Available starting April 24 (FGM) Beanpole (R) HHHS(FA) Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint (NR) HHHS (FA, GM) Best of CatVideoFest (NR) HHHS(GM) The Booksellers (NR) HHHS(FA, GM) The Etruscan Smile (R) Brian Cox stars as a Scotsman who reluctantly leaves his home to seek medical treatment in San Francisco. Available starting April 24 (GM) Extra Ordinary (R) HHHS(FA) Fantastic Fungi (NR) HHHH (FA, GM, PF) Incitement (NR) HHHS(GM) Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (R) HHHH (PF) Pahokee (NR) A documentary about four impoverished Florida teens’ senior year of high school. Available starting April 24 (FA) The Roads Not Taken (R) HHHS (FA) Saul and Ruby’s Holocaust Survivor Band (NR) HHHH (FA) Slay the Dragon (PG-13) HHHH (FA, PF) Someone, Somewhere (NR) HHHH (FA) Sorry We Missed You (NR) HHHHS(FA) Straight Up (NR) HHHH (Pick of the Week) (GM) The Times of Bill Cunningham (NR) HHHHS (FA, GM) The Wild Goose Lake (NR) HHHHS (GM, PF) The Woman Who Loves Giraffes (NR) HHHHH (FA)

While tracking af Klint’s education and development as an artist, with help from the recollections of surviving relatives, Dyrschka tosses in unsubtle suggestions that some of the artist’s ideas were stolen and showed up in famous works by Andy Warhol and Frank Lloyd Wright — thrilling possibilities but a tad sensationalistic given that the film offers not a shred of evidence. Still, the provocative insinuations plant the possibility of her widespread impact — and, in tandem with her marvelous body of work, provide justification for further investigation to rightfully place af Klint’s name on equal footing with her well-known peers. If you need further proof of her enduring allure, consider the record-setting attendance during her six-month, 2019 show at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, 75 years after her death — a celebration that will hopefully result in an even better documentary about her. REVIEWED BY EDWIN ARNAUDIN EARNAUDIN@MOUNTAINX.COM


Saul and Ruby’s Holocaust Survivor Band HHHH DIRECTOR: Tod Lending PLAYERS: Saul Dreier, Ruby Sosnowicz DOCUMENTARY NOT RATED

Someone, Somewhere HHHH

DIRECTOR: Cédric Klapisch PLAYERS: François Civil, Ana Girardot FOREIGN FILM/COMEDY NOT RATED

Need a boost in these difficult times? Look no further than Saul and Ruby’s Holocaust Survivor Band. Tod Lending’s loving, humorous and frequently moving documentary chronicles the friendship between 91-year-old drummer Saul Dreier and 87-years-young keyboardist/accordionist Ruby Sosnowicz, as well as the adventures of their titular ensemble, composed of fellow victors over the Nazi regime’s atrocities. Now enjoying the good life in Florida, the two men — yes, Ruby is a dude — perform music regularly and, rather than just stay in their community, offer Lending the compelling narrative of the group’s efforts to raise funds to perform in Poland, specifically in Auschwitz and Warsaw. The quest of reconciliation and defiance is important to the guys and Ruby’s daughter Chana, who sings in the band and helps (the understatement of the year) with logistics and organization. Copious humor arises through their rehearsals and Saul’s drum “lessons,” including plentiful bickering and other behind-the-scenes shenanigans that may inspire viewers to revisit This Is Spinal Tap. But considerable drama also stems from both fellows’ wives’ health issues, and, as one might expect with a film called Saul and Ruby’s Holocaust Survivor Band, there’s significant power in the rarity of their musical offerings, which also resonates with the people who come hear them play. Those emotions become amplified once the guys return to their homeland, both with sympathetic and empathetic concert attendees, and as the gents return to scenes of great pain from their storied pasts, which reveal some surprising connections with a certain Spielberg film. Lending captures it all with a steady hand and he edits with a sharp sense for entertainment and human interest, limiting the film’s run time to a fitting 81 minutes. As a result, the band’s core messages are heard even clearer: Remember the past and stop the current rise of anti-Semitism. Available April 22-24 via fineartstheatre.com

The new French film Someone, Somewhere was originally titled Deux Moi, which means, more or less, Two of Me. But if the U.S. distributors had really wanted a good American title, they could have dubbed it Sleepless in Paris, since it’s about two lonely people who might be the cure for one another’s melancholy — if only they would meet. Rémy (François Civil, Frank) works for an Amazon-like distribution center that’s busy replacing humans with robots. He seems impervious to stress but isn’t happy and can’t sleep. Mélanie (Ana Girardot, Escobar: Paradise Lost) is worried that she sleeps too much. She’s a graduate student and researcher nervously preparing for her first major presentation. The movie follows each of them through their lives in a series of smart, funny vignettes: Rémy spectacularly failing a job interview; Mélanie having a series of bad dates from online match sites; and so on. They live, of course, on the same floor in adjacent buildings and (almost) cross paths in their local pharmacy or in the Middle Eastern market where they shop — and Rémy even smells the smoke from Mélanie’s cigarette when they’re both on their oh-so-close balconies. They even consecutively adopt the same adorable white kitten who’s therapeutic for each of them. But they don’t meet until — let’s just say “later.” It’s not overreaching to state that Someone, Somewhere is less about Rémy and Mélanie than it is about modern alienation and isolation. But that’s not likely to repel viewers, because the theme is so well grounded in narrative, in familiar behaviors and situations and feelings we all recognize. Most importantly, the lead actors, Civil and Girardot, are completely believable and sympathetic, which gives the movie emotional weight despite its episodic plotting. The final third of Someone, Somewhere may be a bit longer than it needs to be, especially once viewers can see where it’s going, but the ending is still satisfying — hopeful yet not saccharine. It’s a happy jolt of espresso, hold the sugar.

REVIEWED BY EDWIN ARNAUDIN EARNAUDIN@MOUNTAINX.COM

REVIEWED BY BRUCE STEELE BCSTEELE@GMAIL.COM

“Why are they publishing this Crier rubbish?” you may be asking. We certainly are. The rest of this edition of Mountain Xpress can’t help but show the tough times WNC is facing. Here’s one little spot in the paper where we offer a bit of levity, to possibly brighten someone’s day, poking a bit of fun at the outrageousness of it all.

COURTSHIP ACTIVITIES RETURN TO ROOTS The lonely in love are, well, lonelier right now. It’s easy to match online, but then what? Meeting for coffee is a no-go, much less dinner and a movie. But dating apps are offering courting advice that hearkens back to earlier times — now with a CDC-approved twist. For a first date, the tEnder app recommends scheduling your weekly grocery run at the same Ingles, where you could lock eyes and share a wink above a masked mouth from opposite sides of the produce department. Two gloved hands may even grab for the same banana. If sparks fly while hunting and gathering, enjoy a picnic by the park, each of you ordering takeout and dining on adjacent benches, beneath the ambiance of an LED street lamp. Be sure to disinfect the bench before and afterward as a Mr. Manners-approved courtesy. Discuss the shared experience over video chat from just a few yards apart. “Parking,” the retro rendezvous accompanied by “heavy petting,” is possible in separate cars, offers PlayWithMatches.com. Dates can caravan to a scenic overlook and paw themselves while staring longingly through two panes of glass at their courting partner. MediocreEros.com even has ideas for getting physical. Revive the Colonial American practice of “bundling” for an exciting blast from the past. After donning masks, gloves and face shields, family members can encase the lovebirds in individual plastic wrap cocoons and place them next to one another in bed for a night of chaste, protected bodily intimacy. Local health department nurse Healy Wells was skeptical of these and other suggestions from dating services, commenting, “Good luck with all that: We couldn’t even get people to wear condoms while hooking up with random strangers before all this pandemic business.”

DUMPS LIKE A TRUCK (TRUCK, TRUCK) The Laborers’ International Union of North America may have dismissed noted Leicester-based conspiracy theorist Wanda Offthemap‘s claim that COVID-19 is a giant ruse for construction crews to catch up on projects as “total bunkum, pun most definitely intended,” but local industry workers aren’t denying the benefits of a largely empty Asheville. “We’re adopting the reverse Field of Dreams approach: If no one comes, we can build it,” says project chief George Foreman. “Could we do any of this alongside bachelorette parties and Stu Helm’s food tours? Or tourists driving between art studios and not buying anything? I think not.” In addition to the “subterranean gutting” of Haywood, Walnut and College streets, during which his crew claimed to see “multiple Ninja Turtles,” Foreman is spearheading the new roundabout project by the entrance to Wedge Brewing Co.’s parking lot. Touted as a tribute to European motorists, the traffic pattern replacing the five-point intersection is actually primarily intended “to [mess] with Southerners who weren’t taught how to maneuver them in Driver’s Ed.” Though Foreman referred to the existing “right of way nightmare” as “the greatest opportunity for Asheville drivers to show their asses, outside of crosswalks and highway on-ramps,” he’s confident in the potential entertainment value of three roundabouts within a half-mile of each other. “Rooftop viewing decks in this stretch of the RAD are going to be the new microbreweries. And if you have a brewery with a rooftop spot? Look out!” he says. “I’m going to call my broker now.” MOUNTAINX.COM

APRIL 22-28, 2020

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FREEWILL ASTROLOGY ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the future, when the coronavirus crisis has a diminished power to disrupt our lives, I would love for you to have more of the money you need to finance interesting new experiences that help you learn and thrive. Now is a good time to brainstorm about how you might arrange for that to happen. For best results, begin your meditations with vivid fantasies in which you envision yourself doing those interesting new experiences that will help you learn and thrive TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Renowned Taurus composer Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) completed his first symphony when he was 43 years old — even though he’d started work on it at age 22. Why did it take him so long? One factor was his reverence for Ludwig van Beethoven, the composer who had such a huge impact on the development of classical music. In light of Beethoven’s mastery, Brahms felt unworthy. How could any composer add new musical ideas that Beethoven hadn’t already created? But after more than two decades, Brahms finally managed to overcome his inhibition. He eventually produced four symphonies and scores of other pieces, and left a major mark on musical history. For you, Taurus, I see the coming months as a phase comparable to the time when Brahms finally built the strength necessary to emerge from the shadow that had inhibited him. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): A Gemini friend sent me and three of her other allies a poignant email. “This note is a tender apology to those of you whom I’ve hurt in the process of hurting myself,” she began. “I want you to know that I have been working hard and with great success to eliminate my unconscious tendency to hurt myself. And I am confident this means I will also treat you very well in the future.” I received her message with joy and appreciation. Her action was brave and wise. I invite you to consider making a comparable adjustment in the weeks ahead. CANCER (June 21-July 22): The Ojibwe are indigenous people of North America. Professor of Ojibwe studies Anton Treuer writes that in their traditional culture, there have been men who act and dress like women and women who act and dress like men. The former are called ikwekaazo and the latter ikwekaazowag. Both have been “always honored” and “considered to be strong spiritually.” Many other Native American groups have had similar arrangements. Transcending traditional gender behavior is not unique to modern Western civilization. With that as inspiration, and in accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to explore any inclinations you might have to be your own unique gender. The time is ripe for experimenting with and deepening your relationship with the constructs of “masculine” and “feminine.” LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): “The history of my stupidity would fill many volumes,” wrote Nobel Prize-winning poet Czesław Miłosz. Wow! If a highly respected genius like him has spawned so much nonsense and ignorance, what about the rest of us? Here’s what I have to say about the subject: Each of us should strive to be at peace with the fact that we are a blend of wisdom and folly. We should be tenderly compassionate toward our failures and weaknesses, and not allow them to overshadow our brilliance and beauty. Now would be a good time for you Leos to cultivate this acceptance and perform this blessing for yourself. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Helen Traubel (1899–1972) was best-known for her opera career, although she also sang in concerts, nightclubs and musical theater. But in her autobiography, she confessed, “Opera bored me.” She reminds me of Georgia O’Keeffe, famous painter of flowers. “I hate flowers,” O’Keeffe said. “I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.” Now of course most of us have to do some things that we don’t enjoy; that seems to be a routine part of being human. And since the coronavirus arrived in our midst, you may have been saddled with even more of this burden. But I’m happy to inform you that the coming weeks will be a favorable time to brainstorm about how you could do more of what you love to do once the crisis has abated.

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APRIL 22-28, 2020

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): What’s the current state of the relationship between your ego and your soul? Is there an uneasy truce between the ambitious part of you that craves success and recognition and the lyrical part of you that yearns for rich experiences and deep meaning? Or do those two aspects of you get along pretty well — maybe even love and respect each other? Now is a favorable time to honor your ego and soul equally, Libra — to delight in the activities of both, to give them plenty of room to play and improvise and to encourage them to collaborate in ways that will further your well-rounded happiness and health. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio author Voltaire (1694–1778) was a crusader for freedom of thought and civil liberties, as well as a key player in the Enlightenment. He was very prolific. In addition to producing 2,000 books and pamphlets, he carried on such voluminous written correspondences with so many interesting people that his collected letters fill 98 volumes. Would you consider getting inspired by Voltaire’s approach to cross-pollination? According to my calculations, the next phase of the coronavirus crisis will be a favorable time for you to intensify your communication via the written word. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I like musician David Byrne’s views on what constitutes meaningful work. It’s not just the tasks you do to earn money. “Sex is a job,” he says. “Growing up is a job. School is a job. Going to parties is a job. Religion is a job. Being creative is a job.” In other words, all the activities he names, to be done well, require a commitment to excellence and an attention to detail. They are worthy of your diligent efforts, strenuous exertion and creative struggle. I encourage you to meditate on these thoughts during the coming weeks. Identify what jobs you want to get better at and are willing to work hard on and would like to enjoy even more than you already do. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): At its best and brightest, Capricornian love isn’t frivolous or flighty. It’s not shallow or sloppy or slapdash. When Capricornian love is at its highest potency, it’s rigorous, thoughtful and full-bodied. It benefits anyone who’s involved with it. I bring this up because I expect the coming weeks to be a Golden Age of Capricornian Love — a time when you will have the inspiration and intelligence necessary to lift your own experience of love to a higher octave. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I hope you’re not one of those Aquarians who regards stability and security as boring. I hope you don’t have an unconscious predilection for keeping yourself in a permanent state of nervous uncertainty. If you do suffer from those bad habits, you’ll be hard-pressed to stick to them in the coming weeks. That’s because the cosmic energies will be working to settle you down into a steady groove. If you cooperate, you will naturally enhance your ability to be well-anchored, calmly steadfast and at home in your life. Please don’t resist this opportunity. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I foresee the likelihood that you’ll be having brilliant and evocative conversations with yourself in the coming weeks. Your heart and your head may become almost blissful as they discuss how best to create a dynamic new kind of harmony. Your left side and right side will declare a truce, no longer wrestling each other for supremacy, and they may even join forces to conjure up unprecedented collaborations. The little voices in your head that speak for the past will find common ground with the little voices in your head that speak for the future — and as a result you may be inspired to formulate a fresh master plan that appeals to both.

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T H E NEW Y O R K T IM E S C R O S S W O R D P UZ Z L E 1

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ACROSS 1 Annual tennis or golf championship 7 “Sign me up!”

61

11 ___ dispenser 14 Team spirit 15 Detective Wolfe 16 Friend for Philippe

edited by Will Shortz

21 Spree 22 Removes, as 16 from a club 24 Had high hopes 19 27 Gay rights or climate change 22 23 29 Grizzlies that don’t fall for traps? 33 Writer who went 31 32 through hell? 37 36 Rat-___ 37 Cheer from the 41 stands 38 Greek god who 44 fought with the mortal Hercules 39 Many a time 41 Prefix with space 51 52 53 42 Small set 58 43 Surrealist Maar 44 Called off 62 63 45 Exam in an interior design class? 49 Singer Luis with the 13x platinum hit “Despacito” 50 Write the book 17 Zombies with a on, so to speak sense of humor? 54 Automaton of 19 Pinch folklore 20 What to do after 56 Like some spicy saying grace food 10

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Puzzle by Ricky Cruz 58 “Snakes ___ Plane” (2006 film) 59 Abbr. before an alias 60 Terrible attempts at peeling corn? 64 Org. that collects 1099s 65 Wonder Woman, for Gal Gadot 66 Mexican dish prepared in a cornhusk 67 “Hmm, I don’t think so” 68 Shift and Tab, for two 69 Less fresh

DOWN

1 Called balls and strikes 2 Word before system or panel 3 Deliver a stemwinder 4 Be punished (for) 5 Figure in Santa’s workshop 6 Neither feminine nor masculine 7 Lead-in to China 8 Introductory scene in some rom-coms

No. 0318

9 Subj. of the federal tax form 5498 10 “For sure” 11 Like some salmon that’s not baked or broiled 12 Give off 13 10001, 10002, etc., informally 18 Ore source 23 Exercise 25 Fifth book of the New Testament 26 Daisy ___ (character who loved Li’l Abner) 28 Astronaut Shepard, first American in space 30 Like almost 0% of tarantula bites 31 Like blue moons 32 Having footwear 33 Harebrained 34 ___ 51 35 “Hey, let me be the first to tell you …” 39 Reactions to gut punches 40 Orchard pest 41 Up the ___

43 Nation whose flag is a white cross on a red background 44 Neighbor of F1 and a tilde 46 Outer edge of a golf club 47 Shade akin to turquoise 48 Is 51 One giving directions to a tourist, say

52 Where a pant leg and a sock meet 53 It’ll give you a shock 54 Benefit 55 Vegetable that’s frequently fried 57 Colors 61 Great distress 62 Lid, so to speak 63 Thurman of “Pulp Fiction”

ANSWER TO PREVIOUS NY TIMES PUZZLE

P A L M E R

E R E A D E R

B O U G I E

L A T I N X

C U T I E P I E

A N B A U P E N O C A A R S T A H R E P N U P T R O I L E

H A T Y E A S P O N P U D M E A N S T I S T

E L E C T R O

A T L A R G E

M A G E N T A

U N E A T E N

T C O I E T N D Y A Y I E L A A L F F I E R L O L S O M W I S S

O B R A D E A S E E N S F L U S C A M T A P E R K S O E N G A G S R A T H I Y A I A M I N N E R T A R S

NO JOB TOO LARGE OR SMALL

FATHER AND SON

Home Improvement Billy & Neal Moxley

100 Edwin Place, AVL, NC 28801 | Billy: (828) 776-2391 | Neal: (828) 776-1674

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