STEP RIGHT UP,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, AND BEHOLD THE BEST OF
WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA!
YOUR BALLOTS HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED
INTO A GLORIOUS, FULL-COLOR CATALOG OF THE REGION’S FINEST OFFERINGS!
WITNESS THE MAGIC AND MYSTERY THAT HAPPENS WHEN THOUSANDS OF
XPRESS READERS VOTE FOR THEIR FAVORITE FINDS, THEIR MOST STUPEFYING SHOPS, THEIR MOST FAVE-WORTHY RESTAURANTS
AND MUCH MORE! THE PRIZES ARE YOURS
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= HALL OF FAME (FOUR CONSECUTIVE WINS)
EDITORS JAYE BARTELL, REBECCA SULOCK PRODUCTION MANAGER CARRIE LARE LAYOUT AND DESIGN NATHANAEL RONEY, DREW FINDLEY COVER DESIGN DREW FINDLEY INTERIOR ILLUSTRATIONS EMILY BUSEY PHOTOGRAPHERS MAX COOPER, HALIMA FLYNT, BILL RHODES, JONATHAN WELCH WRITERS JAYE BARTELL, MELANIE MCGEE BIANCHI, MILES BRITTON, MARY CAITLIN BYRD, JON ELLISTON, JAKE FRANKEL, URSULA GULLOW, ALLI MARSHALL, JEN NATHAN ORRIS, MICHELE SCHEVE, TOM SCHEVE, STEVE SHANAFELT, DANE SMITH, REBECCA SULOCK, BECKY UPHAM CARNIVAL BARKER MILES BRITTON
mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 3
Acupuncturist 1. Whitney Williams, Source for Well-Being 411 W. State St. # B, Black Mountain 669-8800 sourceforwellbeing.com Forget the phrase, “on pins and needles” when you’re doing an acupuncture session with this year’s first-time winner, Whitney Williams. She’s got more than 11 years of experience, two degrees in traditional Chinese medicine and her own (Best of WNC-winning) alternative healing center in Black Mountain.
F O W T S E B wenty-ElevenNC T
Wilson says it’s not just the environmental aspect that keeps the shop a local favorite. “One of the main things that’s missing in the automotive repair industry is something that we work on the most, and that’s communicating with people,” he says. — C.B.
2. Nancy Hyton, Center for Holistic Medicine 779 Haywood Road 505-3174 centerholistic.com 3. Cat Finks, Asheville Community Acupuncture 378 Haywood Road 777-8804 communityacupuncture.com
2. Xpertech 1295 Tunnel Road 298-3612 3. Dougal’s Automotive 18 London Road 242-3013 dougalsautomotive.com 3. Mostly Automotive 253 Biltmore Ave. 253-4981 autorepairasheville.com
Alternative Healing Center 1. Source for Well-Being 411 W. State St. # B, Black Mountain 6698800 sourceforwellbeing.com
Located in Black Mountain, Source for Well-Being has been around for nine years. Founder Whitney Williams (see Best Acupuncturist) opened this hub for wellness with a team of two massage therapists — now, Source boasts 14 practitioners who offer upward of 30 different modalities, including sex therapy, shamanic energy healing, naturopathy and dream work.
1. Dr. Brent Myers, Myers Chiropractic & Functional Health 3106 Sweeten Creek Road 676-0963 bmyerschiro.com 1. Dr. Renee Graziano, Source for Well-Being 411 W. State St., Black Mountain 669-8800 sourceforwellbeing.com
“What resonates with one person may not resonate with another,” she says. “I think it just offers options to meet them wherever they are in their journey for wellness.”
2. Center for Holistic Medicine 779 Haywood Road 505-3174 centerholistic.com 3. Asheville Community Acupuncture 378 Haywood Road 777-8804 communityacupuncture.com
BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
Without a drop of oil on the floor, Organic Mechanic appears to be a new repair shop ready to take a look under the hood. But this shop isn’t that new — it’s just that eco-conscious. The shop opened in 2004 and, for the sixth consecutive year, has been named Best Car Repair by Xpress readers. There’s no need to drive a hybrid to get service there. They’ll fix your ride, whether it chugs gas or biodiesel. The green aspect happens in the procedures, says owner Charley Wilson. For example, technicians collect grease to eliminate the use of absorbents and have a permeable parking lot.
“I love what I do, and I feel for my clients when they feel any kind of discomfort,” she says. “I hear what they’re saying and what they’re not saying. I listen to their body and I just put all of it together, and am able to utilize Chinese medicine and help shift their body back into balance.” — C.B.
Beyond the variety, Williams says being fully present with clients reflects the core philosophy of the center. “While we may not have all the answers, we are going to listen to help find the most efficient healing and balance in their lives as possible.” — C.B.
1. h Organic Mechanic 568 Haywood Road 255-2628 organic-mechanic.com
Fabulous heights of health and comfort!
Walking tall will be even easier for the two chiropractors Xpress readers voted as the best in WNC. Brent Myers of Myers Chiropractic and Renee Graziano of Source for Well-Being (see Best Alternative Healing Center) get to share bragging rights, even though their methods vary. Myers uses a three-pronged approach that includes chiropractic treatment, soft tissue massage techniques (called Active Release Techniques, ART for short) and rehabilitation work. “Patients describe it as a ‘good hurt,’ which tells me their body is telling them that’s what it needs,” he says. In Black Mountain, Graziano specializes in Network Spinal Analysis, a technique that uses gentle, sustained contacts to the spine to release tension from the nerve system. “It’s basically to make people feel better, and have
mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011
L of FAM L A
N at u ra l
PHOTO BY BLAKE MADDEN
for making us tops 4 years in a row! Bring in this ad for 15% OFF any 1 item October 14th or 15th. 647 Haywood Rd. ~ West Asheville ~ 253-4747
BEST ACUPUNCTURIST WHITNEY WILLIAMS m
people feeling better in their own bodies,” she says. — C.B.
2. Dr. John Faherty, Animal Chiropractic animalmovement.com 3. Awakening Heart Chiropractic 30 Ravenscroft Drive 254-1767 awakeningheartchiropractic.com
Computer Repair 1. h Charlotte Street Computers 252 Charlotte St. / 300 Airport Road # 30, Arden 225-6600 / 651-6600
BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
charlottestreetcomputers.com When you see the spinning beach ball of death or the blue screen of doom, try not to panic. Seriously, it’s going to be OK. Just take your machine to Charlotte Street Computers. It’s the go-to place Xpress readers voted as Best Computer Repair service in WNC for the ninth consecutive year. “It all comes down to customer service and earning customer loyalty,” says co-owner Greg Mayer. “And, our turnaround time is very strict. We have a quick 24-48 hour turnaround that I think people really appreciate.” When they’re not repairing more than 300 computers a week between two locations, the shop mends problems in the community with its philanthropic work, such as refurbishing about 20 computers each month and giving them to folks who wouldn’t have one otherwise. Also, Charlotte Street Computers doesn’t
mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011
local farmers providing
grassfed beef pastured pork & chicken
PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
We feel honored to be voted
BEST LOCAL FARM
three years in a row.
lBEST Thank you to ALL of our customers. You make farming sustainable! FARM STORE HOURS: 7 DAYS A WEEK THRU OCTOBER 31 WED. – SAT. YEAR-ROUND 57 Sugar Hollow Road • Fairview, NC 28730
ESTHETICIAN h KELLY DAVISm
discriminate when it comes to fixing hardware. They’ll repair Macs (they’re Macauthorized) and PCs, regardless of where they were purchased.
1. dr. Timothy E. Gillespie 36 Orange St. 252-9351 2. CityMac 755 Biltmore Ave. drtimgillespie.com # 101 251-4242 citymac.com 1. Dr. Kani Louise Nicolls, 3. Christopher’s Computers 549 Merrimon Ave. # 203 670-9800 Asheville Smiles 167 E. Chestnut St. 251-2426 ashevillesmiles.com christopherscomputers.com In a first-place tie, Dr. Kani Nicolls and Dr. Timothy Gillespie gave Xpress readers 3. Computer Mechanix a reason to smile about the care they re4 Vermont Ave. # 2 281-4379 ceived for their pearly whites this year. computermechanix.com Told you everything would be OK. — C.B.
BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
At his practice, Gillespie says he offers patients a variety of services beyond his specialty in cosmetic, implant and restorative dentistry. From applying porcelain veneers to completing routine cleanings, Gillespie makes his office a one-stop shop for dental work. “We take a lot of pride in customer service and building long-term relationships,” he says. Building relationships and comfort is also important to Nicolls. She even provides complimentary use of iPods at her office for patients. But it’s more than that, she says. “Smiles change lives, and that’s how we present ourselves. A smile is the first thing people see. We have patients that haven’t smiled or don’t smile very big, and
100 Charlotte Street Visit Us at
mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011
to see them break out in huge smile ... it really is life-changing.” — C.B.
coming in for an appointment.
2. Marks Family Dentistry 674 Merrimon Ave. #230 A 255-8447 northashevilledentist.com 3. Dr. Scott Peele Dentistry 1087 Hendersonville Road 274-4747 ashevilledentalwellness.com
2. Tunnel Vision 4 S. Tunnel Road 298-6500 tunnelvisionasheville.com 3. Asheville Eye Associates 8 Medical Park Drive 258-1586 ashevilleeye.com
Esthetician 1. Kelly Davis, L’eau de Vie 20 Battery Park Ave. # 203 258-9741 leaudeviesalon.com Kelly Davis is on the front lines of beauty. She waxes (both eyebrows and, uh, otherwise), performs facials and applies makeup, all in the name of making her clients look elegant and attractive.
Mr. K’s USED BOOKS, MUSIC AND MORE
Anyone who visits the salon L’eau de Vie is sure to leave feeling refreshed and ready for the camera or a night on the town. For many of us, getting a facial is a special occasion; something to look forward to and savor long after the steam leaves your face. A good esthetician goes beyond simply performing the treatments listed on the spa’s website. Clients want an experience that is clean, safe and relaxing, all of which Davis provides within L’eau de Vie’s sanctuary from the dirt and stress of the outside world. — J.N.O.
ASHEVILLE’S LARGEST USED BOOKSTORE
NEW & USED: Books • CDs Video Games • Books on Tape • DVDs BUY • SELL • TRADE
2. Sara Judy, Sensibilities Day Spa 59 Haywood St. 253-3222 sensibilities-spa.com 3. Alyssa Hill, Sensibilities Day Spa 59 Haywood St. and 43 Town Square Blvd. 253-3222 / 687-8760 facebook.com/alyssahillspa
Thank You for Voting Eye Care Us One of the Best!
1. Envision Eyecare 180 Charlotte St. 254-6757 myenvisioneyecare.com
Open Mon. - Sat. 9am-9pm • Sun. 12-6pm 800 Fairview Rd. • Asheville, NC River Ridge Shopping Center • Beside A.C. Moore • Hwy 240 exit #8
299-1145 • www.mrksonline.com 10 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
Dr. Larry Golson joked that winning was just blind luck, but Xpress readers saw no need for that when they chose Envision Eye Care for Best Eye Care. Golson credits what he calls, the “Envision experience.” This means greeting patients when they walk in the door, asking how they would like to be called, if they would like coffee, water or tea, and if there are any time constraints the staff should know about. “It’s very customer service-oriented, not only on the front end, but throughout the process. Every step of the way, we’re explaining what we’re doing,” Golson says. For example, if you’re diagnosed with cataracts, not only will they explain the condition to you at the office, they’ll send you an email with short videos about cataracts. They’ll even send you a thank-you card for
Now that’s swell service. — C.B.
Hair Salon 1. Willow’s Dream 210 Merrimon Ave. 225-5922 willowsdream.com Whether you’re ready for a dramatic transformation or want to keep your current style split-end free, Willow’s Dream is the place for stylish hair. Owner Marcy Lanier dreamt of such a place when she was a little girl. Now she has spun her dream into reality and in the process honored her own daughter, Willow. Not to let sibling rivalries get in the way of good business, Lanier named her gift shop Connor’s Corner after her “unique and spirited son.” The boutique’s wide array of items are perfect for the gift-giver in a pinch. The salon’s boutique offers unique and creative delights from around the corner, and around the world. Lanier’s dedication to her staff, her craft and her family make Willow’s Dream more than a place to become beautiful. It’s also a reverie from which you won’t want to awaken. — J.N.O
2. Beauty Parade 783 Haywood Road 257-4073 beautyparadesalon.com 3. Wink Heads and Threads 18 Brook St. # 103 277-4070 ilovewink.com 3. Blue Ribbon Hair Salon 506 Haywood Road 251-4288 blueribbonsalon.com
Hair Stylist 1. Guadalupe Chavarria, Studio Chavarria 84 Walnut St., Unit A 236-9191 studiochavarria.com Guadalupe Chavarria is a stylish guy. He’s known for his slim black suits and crisp white shirts, and his fashion sense shines through every haircut he gives. Chavarria prides himself on his unique philosophy and its influence on his work. His inspiration comes from “time-honored techniques that are gleaned everywhere, from the traditional barber trade to some of the most esteemed masters and stylists worldwide.” The result is a personalized haircut, whether clients are searching for a sleek, sophisticated style or a wild look that reflects the Asheville’s unique character. — J.N.O.
THANK YOU FOR VOTING US #1
Fulltime Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist Gentle 24 Hour Nursing Care for Hospitalized Patients Advanced Dental Care* Dental suite with Digital Xray Asheville’s First AAHA Certified Hospital * Endoscopy Color Flow Doppler Ultrasound * Eklin Digital Xray Laparoscopic Minimally Invasive Surgery and Biopsies Advanced Ear Diagnostics with MedRx Video Otoscopy Therapeutic K-Laser for Arthritis and Wound Healing Gentle Cat Care and Separate Facilities Decrease Stress Thorough Wellness Exams and Preventative Yearly Care Continuous Pain Control Post Surgery * Extended Hours Lots of Hugs and Treats throughout the Hospital!
1 Beaverdam Road at Merrimon Ave.
ahna.net • Join us on Facebook
Unsurpassed in Caring State-of-the-Art Affordable, Serving all WNC
From all of us at Blue Mountain we are deeply appreciative of your vote of confidence in our restaurant.
2nd Place Best Restaurant 2nd Place Best Neighborhood Gathering Place (for Weaverville / Woodfin)
Blue Mountain Pizza • 55 N Main Street • Weaverville NC 28787 828.658.8778 • www.bluemountainpizza.com mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 11
PHOTO BY HALIMA FLYNT
lBEST 2. Terra Marshall, Beauty Parade 783 Haywood Road 257-4073 beautyparadesalon.com 3. Tina Ford-Cox, Willow’s Dream 210 Merrimon Ave. 225-5922 willowsdream.com
Makeup Artist 1. E. Scott Thompson, makeup at the grove arcade i page ave. #143B 505-4075 makeupatga.com Makeup can be the art of disguise. With a sweep of eye shadow or a painted mouth, you can become a different person for a day. But what if you want to look like a more so-
MAKEUP ARTIST h E. SCOTT THOMPSONm phisticated version of yourself? The person to call is E. Scott Thompson. “I’m not trying to make women look like they’re from Atlanta or New York or Miami. I want to embrace who they are and help them have more of a polished look,” Thompson says. While much of Thompson’s work is sophisticated commercial photography assignments for local businesses such as The Biltmore and Verve Magazine, his store in the Grove Arcade features a wide range of beauty products. The star of his shop is his own line of vegan nail polish, which is free of formaldehyde and other noxious substances. The polish comes in 44 rich hues, and is an ideal way to dress up your current look without pretending to be someone you’re not. Thompson credits this kind of independent spirit for his success. “We try to be something totally unique and different, just like Asheville.” — J.N.O.
12 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
2. Tina Ford-Cox, Willow’s Dream 210 Merrimon Ave. 225-5922 willowsdream.com 3. Amanda Lynne Anderson amandalynne.com 3. Elizabeth May
Massage Therapist 1. Lee Stanford, adorn salon & Boutique 58 College st. 225-8828 leestanfordmassage.com
Whether she’s giving you a full-body 90minute Swedish massage in the privacy of your home, or has worked you in for the 30-minute Thai lunch massage at Adorn Salon, Xpress readers say massage therapist Lee Stanford knows how to work out those knots and aches that won’t go away. “Trust me, you don’t run out of things to do in 90 minutes,” she says. “I like to incorporate techniques from a variety of modalities, especially Asian, Ayurvedic and Swedish massage, along with energy work.” However, sometimes folks do run out of hours in the day, which is why she offers on-site services and evening sessions for her clients. But it’s not just her availability that clients respond to — it’s her medical background. As a registered nurse, Stanford uses a holistic assessment and recognizes when people need more attention than a massage, knowl-
Thank You for Voting Us #1 Smoke Shop and for 18 Years of Support! WILLY
L of FAM L A
SMOKE SHOP ASHEVILLE
1269 TUNNEL RD. SUITE B .........................299-8880 1062 PATTON AVE. ....................................232-6030 660 MERRIMON AVE. .................................253-2883 80 N. LEXINGTON AVE. ..............................254-4980
ARDEN 140 AIRPORT RD. ................. 654-0906
HENDERSONVILLE 2000 SPARTANBURG HWY. .......... 828-697-1050 mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 13
edge she says only benefits the well-being of her clients. — C.B.
Thanks for voting Evergreen
the BeSt SChOOL
and Tony Mele & Chris Weaver
the BeSt teACheRS in WNC!
2. Kat Cortellucci Flat Iron Building, 20 Battery Park Ave. #803 335-0675 3. Katrina Auer Chappell 2 fairview hills drive 713-1546
Piercing Studio 1. Diamond Thieves Body Piercing & Tattoo 1570 Patton Ave. #2 225-3845 diamondthieves.net
Thank You WNC!
For Voting Us One Of The
BEST SWEETS / CHOCOLATES
Body modification — the act of piercing, stretching and altering the flesh — is a true art form. There are plenty of studios in the region, but finding the right one isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Diamond Thieves Body Piercing & Tattoo welcomes everyone, whether they want gemstone gauges or a petite nose ring. One of the unique things about Diamond Thieves is its atmosphere, which focuses on high-quality work and outstanding customer service. The staff consists of men and women, offering people of both genders a comfortable experience. After all, there are some ... intimate piercings that require the utmost discretion. If you’re looking for a stone-cold sober piercing artist, owner Daron James is completely alcohol- and drug-free, which is good news for anyone (and everyone) who wants a focused, professional piercing or tattoo artist. And if your body is already modified to your liking, Diamond Thieves also carries a wide array of jewelry, perfect for dabblers and enthusiasts alike. — J.N.O.
Locally owned and operated! Open 7 days a week!
26 Battery Park, Asheville • (828) 252-2639 • 116 W. State St., Black Mountain (828) 669-6119
2. Man’s Ruin Tattoos, Piercing and Art Gallery 660 Merrimon Ave. 253-6660 mansruintattoos.com 3. Empire Tattoo 83 Patton Ave. 252-8282 empiretattooing.net
Place To Work Out 1. YWCA Asheville 185 S. French Broad Ave. 254-7206 ywcaofasheville.org
14 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
are five things that you may not know about Club Dub: 1. The “W” actually stands for Welcome Everyone. Okay, I made that up, but it could be true. 2. Really, everyone. Men and women, black and white, young and old, the fitter than thou and the “happy to be here.” You’ll see them all in the workout room. 3. You get a discount if you agree to arrive at the YW by foot, bike or bus. 4. A free triathlon-training group comes with your membership. 5. I teach spin class there and it’s awesomely fun. — B.U.
2. YMCA, downtown 30 Woodfin St. 210-9622 ymcawnc.org 3. The Rush 1056 Patton Ave. 274-7874 therush247.com
Primary-Care Physician 1. Dr. Jodi Schwab, Ravenscroft Family Health Center 43 Oakland Road 252-2511 ourfamilydoctorasheville.com When a Band-Aid won’t fix it, an aspirin won’t help it and time just won’t heal it, it’s time to go to the doctor. When you do go, Xpress readers recommend Dr. Jodi Schwab for primary care. Why? She loves this community and these mountains, and it shows. In her spare time she can be found at a concert downtown, or outdoors, where she likes to go whitewater kayaking. Schwab says this helps when it comes to talking about health concerns with patients. “I think I’m able to relate to people a little bit more than a lot of other physicians. I spend more time with my patients,” she says. “I tend to talk to people give them adequate care just because I enjoy talking to people.” — C.B.
To many of the YWCA’s members, the fitness center is one of Asheville’s best-kept secrets. YW folks want to tell you how great it is to be a member, but then maybe they don’t, fearing that their beautiful little exercise bubble will be popped if too many folks discover its charms.
2. Dr. david “Gus” Vickery, Vickery Family Medicine 15 Yorkshire St. 274-1600 vickeryfamilymedicine.com
You might be familiar with the YWCA’s mission, “to eliminate racism and empower women.” You may have even heard about some of its green practices: the 30 solar panels on the roof heat the showers and pool. But why is it WNC’s best place to work out? Here
3. Dr. Meredith Polansky, Ravenscroft Family Health Center 43 Oakland Road 252-2511 ourfamilydoctorasheville.com
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PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
Thanks for Voting Us Best Wine Bar!
PHYSICIAN h DR. JODI SCHWABm
Spa 1. the Grove Park Inn Spa 290 Macon Ave. (800) 438-5800 groveparkinn.com Life is stressful. Whether you’re hustling at work or taking the kids to school, it’s easy to let the tension of the world weigh you down.
5 Walnut St. Downtown Asheville
mon - thur 2pm - 12am
There is a solution: The Grove Park Inn Spa. Guests slip through a pool surrounded by polished stones and re-emerge into a world of tranquility. Treatments are inspired by the elements; popular packages include Fire, Rock, Water and Light, all of which feature full-body exfoliation, waterfall massages and
16 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
luxurious body masks. Other experiences for pampering the senses include rose-scented essential oils, local honey-butter exfoliants and lavender-oil massages. The Grove Park Inn Spa invites visitors and locals to release their tension and enjoy the relaxation that comes with an hour (or an afternoon) of indulgence. — J.N.O.
2. Sensibilities Day Spa 59 Haywood St. / 2 Town Square Blvd. 253-3222 / 687-8760 sensibilities-spa.com 3. Spa Theology 53 College St. 255-4171 spatheology.com
Tattoo Artist 1. Danny Reed, Hot Stuff Tattoo 428-C Haywood Road 251-6040 facebook.com/pages/Hot-Stuff-Tattoo Asheville is teeming with tattoos — the city itself is probably a tattoo of a city on the mountain landscape. A walk down Haywood Road is like a kinetic gallery, full of tribal armbands and the always-popular butterfly on the ankle. Tattoos are forever, so picking the right artist is just as important as choosing the right design. For the past 10 years, Danny Reed of Hot Stuff Tattoos has crafted crisp, bold imag-
mountain xpress presents
2011 OFFICIAL GUIDE Publishing October 26th This year, Xpress is proud to partner with AC Entertainment, the festival hosts and organizers. We’ll be printing the official guide, which will be in the hands of thousands of eager festival-goers. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this internationally-significant weekend.
Deadline is October 19th CALL YOUR SALES REP TODAY! 828-251-1333 or email@example.com
828-277-5151 Store Hours Mon. - Thurs. 10am - 7pm Fri. & Sat. 10am - 6pm Closed Sundays
Shoes & Apparel • Accessories On-site Pedorthist • Custom Orthotics Foot Rx Asheville is committed to strong customer service that enables many to take their fitness and wellness to the next level. Our customers enjoy highly trained staff to help with the fit and function of their shoes and orthotics. We practice both the “science and art” of making feet comfortable. Proper shoes and orthotics should not only fit your feet but also your lifestyle.
Brands offered include:
and many more!
www.footrxasheville.com mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 17
es that denizens of Asheville wear with pride. Some of his favorite recent creations include a traditional skull and dagger, a full panther sleeve and, of course, the bright red devil that adorns the Hot Stuff sign. — J.N.O.
2. Tiffany Lemeaux, Freaks & Geeks Tattoo Sideshow 745 Haywood Road 254-4429 freaks-n-geeks.com 3. Kitty Love, Liquid Dragon 66 N. Lexington Ave. 251-2518 liquiddragontattoo.com 3. Heather Ruin, Man’s Ruin Tattoos 660 Merrimon Ave. 253-6660 mansruintattoos.com
Tattoo Parlor 1. Hot Stuff Tattoo 428-C Haywood Road 251-6040
L of FAM AL
Thanks, Asheville, for voting us ”Best Art Supply Store” Seven Years Running! E
If you’re looking for a devil of a tattoo, no need to go to hell. Simply stroll through West Asheville and keep your eye out for Hot Stuff Tattoo’s pointy-tailed sign.
trueblueartsupply.com | 18 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
Yoga Studio 1. Asheville Community Yoga Center 8 Brookdale Road 450-5370 ashevillecommunityyoga.com Black lights are usually reserved for cheesy nightclubs and roller rinks, but Asheville Community Yoga Center does black-light yoga right — for free (though donations are encouraged). In fact, all of their classes are free, even Vinyasa yoga and the always popular Flow Yourself to Sleep Class. “The center is becoming a melting pot where people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures and races are coming together to practice. High school and college students, servers and bartenders are showing up and practicing next to doctors, attorneys and accountants,” says Programs Director Amber Acheson. The yoga center’s classes aren’t just for masters who can bend themselves into pretzel-like contortions. There are classes for teens and seniors, along with community workshops and health-related lectures. If you’re a beginner hoping to ease into yoga, or an experienced practitioner looking for a unique way to connect with the community, Asheville Community Yoga encourages better health and flexibility, whether the black lights are on or off. — J.N.O.
The walls are lined with bright drawings of tattoos, plus a few taxidermy birds for character. Hot Stuff’s tattoos are vibrant pieces of art, each one tailored to the whims of the customer. Hot Stuff is more than a tattoo shop. It has hosted music events, such as a CD-release party for musician Matt Evans (who plays guitar in Just Die!, this year’s winner for Best Punk Band), whose voice soared over the buzz of the needle. So if you’re searching for a top-notch tattoo parlor with a sense community (and a sense of humor) Hot Stuff is the place. — J.N.O.
3. Bikram Yoga Asheville 802 Fairview Road, # 800 299-7003 hotyogaasheville.com
2. Freaks & Geeks Tattoo Sideshow 745 Haywood Road 254-4429 freaks-n-geeks.com
3. Man’s Ruin Tattoos, Piercing and Art Gallery 660 Merrimon Ave. 253-6660 mansruintattoos.com
1. Joe Taft, West Asheville Yoga 602 Haywood Road 350-1167 joetaftyoga.com
2. Asheville Yoga Center 239 S. Liberty St. 254-0380 youryoga.com
3. West Asheville Yoga 602 Haywood Road 350-1167 westashevilleyoga.com
Mountain Xpress Readers for voting us
#1 Dive BAR October 6 • George Terry Paintings Art Opening pinball, foosball, ping-pong & a kickass jukebox • kitchen open until late
504 Haywood Rd. West Asheville • 828-255-1109
People go to yoga class for many reasons: to stretch, relax, be active and connect with their spirit, for a few. Joe Taft started practicing yoga for relief. Years of whitewater kayaking left him in constant back pain, and yoga became the solution. Shortly after discovering the connection between body and spirit, Taft dedicated his life to Ansuara yoga. What’s Ansuara yoga? It’s a Tantric practice with an uplifting philosophy that celebrates the heart-shaped heart and seeks out the good in all things. It’s a growing movement in the Asheville area that has international appeal. Taft spent hundreds of hours training and it shows. His positive outlook on life radiates through his practice, drawing yoga enthusiasts from throughout the region. — J.N.O.
2. Cindy Dollar, One Center Yoga 120 Coxe Ave.#3A 225-1904 onecenteryoga.com 3. Shala Worsley, Asheville Yoga Center 239 S. Liberty St. 254.0380 youryoga.com 3. Cat Matlock, West Asheville Yoga 602 Haywood Road 350-1167 westashevilleyoga.com
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Artisan Crafter 1. Justin Blowers 432-0452 justinblowers.com Stone carver Justin Blowers has been having a great year. His work was accepted into the Grovewood Gallery and he got to work on a project involving “10 Tuscan columns and a 14-foot tall fireplace carved from Pinon Obscura, a beautiful volcanic rock.” Blowers divides his time between functional art and contemporary abstracts.
F O W T S E B wenty-ElevenNC T
When The Caribbean Cowboys Band isn’t lassoing manatees in Key West, the Parrot-Headand-Proud ensemble performs its stripe of “Trop Rock” in and around WNC. Although the band may not be quite a household name in the general Asheville music scene, the group clearly is some form of domicile-name. Perhaps a cabana or a gazebo. Seasoned readers will recall the band’s win in the 1999 and 2000 Best of WNC for Best Local Band. The boys are back in town, like they say, but they never really left. — J.B.
2. Organic Armor 191 lyman st. 367-0203 organicarmor.com 3. Julie Armbruster 129 roberts st. #2b5 545-6182 juliearmbruster.net
2. Sirius.B siriusbmusic.com 3. Kovacs & The Polar Bear kovacsandthepolarbear.com
Fiber Artist 1. Jen Swearington, Jennythreads 915 haywood road # 103 275-0305 jennythreads.net
1. Mangum Pottery 16 N. Main St., Weaverville 645-4929 mangumpottery.com
Though fiber artist Jen Swearington is probably best known for her body-friendly, screenprinted apparel, she says that her favorite project of the past year was the Wall of Gratitude at Glen Rock Depot. “I love a challenge that takes me out of my comfort zone,” she says. “It helps my work grow and change.” Along with her clothing line, which Swearington says “evolves rather than debuts” (check out her cocoon cardigan with pleated cuffs and a flattering back silhouette), she’s in the process of “writing and illustrating a how-to book centered around screen printing.” — A.M.
Functionality and flair are both winners as Xpress readers voted Rob and Beth Mangum of Mangum Pottery Best Ceramics Artists/ Potters in the area for their selection of highfired tableware and sculptural pottery.
Meanwhile, Rob uses his hand-building expertise to produce more inventive (and more expensive) forms like fiddles, banjos, clocks, fountains and furniture. The ceramic clocks are fully functional, as are the instruments. But if you’re planning to audition for the Asheville Symphony you might want to leave that raku violin on the wall. — U.G.
2. Heather Knight, Element Clay Studio 129 roberts st. 275-8279 heatherknightceramics.com
Favorite Local Band 1. The Caribbean Cowboys islandtimes.net/ccb/
Like Asheville’s other famed stone carver (Thomas Wolfe’s father, W.O. Wolfe, who sought to create the perfect marble angel), Blowers says, “I very much relate to the quest to create an ideal shape, a piece that is wholly and completely itself from every angle. Perfectly balanced, perfectly defined. I’ve had glimpses of it at times, but I’m still a long way off from achieving it. This suits me fine, as I’m in love with the process.” — A.M.
“It’s such an honor to win this because there are so many great potters in the area,” says Beth. The couple met as design students at N.C. State University, and they opened their Weaverville shop in 1989. Advertised as “stuff you can use,” and with prices ranging from $18-$75, Mangum pottery is as affordable as it is practical. The biggest sellers in the shop are mugs, of which Beth has been known to make up to 100 each week.
2. Akira Satake Pottery 136 woodfin drive, swannanoa 686-9320 akirasatake.com 3. Josh Copus, clayspace coop 119a Roberts St. 242-2368 joshcopus.com
Artistic wizardry and five-star acts!
2. R. Brooke Priddy, Ship to Shore 428-a haywood road 242-1378 shiptoshoreshop.com 3. Barbara Zaretsky, BZ Design 122 Riverside Drive, Studio D 505-2958 bzdesign.biz
Indie Crafter 1. Robin Plemmons rawbinrobin.blogspot.com If the term “indie crafter” brings to mind let-
20 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 21
terpress prints, hand-stitched pillows and beaded jewelry, Robin Plemmons has another angle on the DIY movement. On her Lemons With A Pea etsy.com site, Plemmons sells greeting cards, posters and “blocks of awesome” that impart bits of wisdom like “go do shit” and “you can’t say happiness without penis.” If she were to write a card to express how her Best Of WNC win makes her feel, she says it would read, “Times like these make me want to french everyone I see. Right after I poop my pants.” — A.M.
with a culture that thrives on novelty, it’s possible that people have just grown tired of his schtick. — S.S.
2. Silver Drummer Girl silverdrummergirl.com 3. This is a mean category.
Live Show Of 2011: Local Music Event
2. Alena Hennessy, curve studios 6 riverside drive 280-0071 alenahennessy.com 3. Celia Barbieri, The Button Flo- 1. Moogfest moogfest.com rist 109 roberts st. 910-840-3182 It’s not like we don’t get much press here in thebuttonflorist.blogspot.com Asheville. We’ve made too many Top 10 lists
Jeweler 1. Jewels That Dance 63 Haywood St. 254-5088 jewelsthatdance.com Diamonds may (or may not) be a girl’s (or boy’s) best friend, but jewelry-design gallery Jewels That Dance is a best friend to jewelry fans. In business since 1983, the downtown Asheville studio and showroom specializes in unique pieces — custom designs, Asheville charms, trendy right-hand rings and romantic keepsakes. Oh yeah, if diamonds are your best friend, Jewels That Dance has an exclusive collection of conflict-free South African sparklers. — A.M.
to count, won Beer City USA two years in a row and we’ve been profiled twice in the New York Times “36 Hours” travel column in the last four years. But when a first-year Asheville music festival gets covered by Pitchfork, Spin, The Wall Street Journal and gets its own slide show in the arts section of the New York Times, it puts the whole city on notice: This is a big deal. And even if you don’t care about the hype, Brian Eno and Moby coming to town later this month might possibly seem kinda cool. Boone Vires, brand manager at A.C. Entertainment, the force behind Moogfest, says choosing Asheville to be the home of the festival was as easy as getting lost in space. “Asheville is a wonderful city that’s very supportive of art and culture, plus its connection to the Moog legacy goes without saying. Our concept, from the beginning, was to reinvent Moogfest here in Asheville … and reinvent it with a strong contemporary vibe.” — B.U.
2. Blue Goldsmiths 1 Swan St. 2772583 bluegoldsmiths.com 2. Mumford & Sons, Asheville 3. Joanna Gollberg 216-8369 Civic Center, June 7, 2011 joannagollberg.com 3. Bele Chere belecherefestival.com
Least-Favorite Busker/Street Live Show Of 2011: Local Performer Performing 1. Ralph “WhiteMan” Longshore Arts Event whitemanentertainment.com It’s a dubious honor to be voted as the “Least-favorite busker/street performer.” One might think that any one of the lessertalented musicians who perform for tips on Asheville’s streets would claim that honor. Say what you will about Ralph “WhiteMan” Longshore’s gimmick — a living statue dressed entirely in white and covered in white body paint, playing a snippet of a song when a dollar is placed in his tip jar — but he’s hardly without talent. So what makes him this year’s least favorite? It’s just a guess, but as one of the most visible and active of the several living statue performers in downtown, working in a city
22 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
1. LEAF theleaf.org In 2010, Lake Eden Arts Festival celebrated its 30th festival, but don’t expect a midlife crisis any time soon. The twice-a-year weekend fest attracts shiny happy people from all over the country and still manages to keep a large and loyal group of local LEAF-ers. And speaking of locals, LEAF offers a specially priced community pass for those who want to sleep in their own bed at night. The festival brings in musicians from all over the world, and hosts an impressive range of performing artists, too. Poets, fire dancers, trapeze artists, puppets, circus artists and
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lBEST stiltwalkers will be on hand Oct. 20-23, and more than 50 artists will be on site showing and selling original artwork. It’s no surprise that it’s been our reader favorite so many years; LEAF combines the two loves of so many WNC residents: art and nature. — B.U.
2. Moogfest moogfest.com 3. Angels in America, North Carolina Stage Company 15 Stage Lane 350-9090 ncstage.org
Local Actor (Male Or Female)
INDIE CRAFTER h ROBIN PLEMMONSm founder of Hall of Fame-winning theatre company N.C. Stage) offers up a couple of reasons he earned top honors in this new category: “Truth be told, probably the only reason I was voted ‘best of’ is because Scott Treadway moved away this past year.” Aw shucks, Charlie. C’mon, though, which role (out of the dozens of disparate performances you’ve given us) might have been the standout that caused the votes to pour in? “The play most people mention to me as something that had a profound impact on them was Chesapeake by Lee Blessing. That was a one person play about art, politics and dogs — very funny, smart and quite moving.” His next performance will be 2012’s Love Child, a play that requires two actors to play 7-8 roles each. “I’m excited about figuring out how it works, while at the same time terrified by the growth it will require of me as an actor,” Flynn-McIver admits. “Unless you’re playing a role that you’ve played a dozen times before, an actor, in essence, is doing something he doesn’t really know how to do … it’s a creation of something new, and that’s a little terrifying.” — R.S.
1. Charlie Flynn-McIver, North Carolina Stage Company 15 Stage Lane 350-9090 ncstage.org 2. Andie MacDowell The terrific and humble Flynn-McIver (co-
24 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
3. Callan White, Montreat Col- alongside the stalwarts. — U.G. lege montreat.edu 2. The Satellite Gallery 55 Broadway St. 505-2225 3. Woolworth Walk 25 Haywood St. 254-9234 woolworthwalk.com 3. BoBo Gallery 22 N. Lexington Ave. 254-3426 bobogallery.com 1. h Blue Spiral 1 38 Biltmore Ave. 251-0202 bluespiral1.com
Local Art Gallery
You love Blue Spiral 1 for its glass, its clay, its paintings and its prints. But most of all, you love the gallery for offering some of the finest craft artists of the Southeast, which is why you’ve voted Blue Spiral Asheville’s Best Art Gallery for the 11th year in a row. Established in 1991, when Asheville’s art scene was burgeoning and unharnessed, Blue Spiral 1 drew in the reins — tightening the public’s appreciation of craft and paving the way for more commercial galleries to spring up downtown. These days, visitors can appreciate three floors of art and fine craft while exhibitions revolve continually. New artists are consistently introduced
Local Author 1. Ron Rash wcu.edu/303.asp
On the heels of fiction successes — the novel Serena in 2009 (a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist) and last year’s short-story collection Burning Bright (which won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award), local writer/Western Carolina University professor Ron Rash has returned to his other love: Poetry. The slim volume Waking is filled with regional imagery, and will be released on Saturday, Oct. 15. — A.M.
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2. Sara Gruen saragruen.com 3. Thomas Wolfe wolfememorial.com
Local Band: Acoustic / Folk 1. John Wilkes Boothe and the Black Toothe myspace.com/johnwilkesbootheandtheblacktoothe John Wilkes Booth and the Black Toothe is a charming and quirky duo whose dark and offbeat lyrics contrast with its energetic performances and bright, uplifting melodies. “The songs definitely ricochet between the relatable and the sublimely surreal,” the band explains, adding, “The Toothe is something akin to an unholy union of Simon and Garfunkel, The Avett Brothers, Ween and The Mountain Goats.” Its current lineup has been turning heads in WNC for a few years, but Myles Holt and Ben Melton began playing together as kids. The band’s debut album is set to be released this month, and the duo says it aims “to impregnate hearts and minds with such intense melodic joy that many will die where they stand, their faces frozen in an expression of pure rapture. Or at least get some toes tapping.” Upon learning of their victory, overcome with joy, the pair “looked into each other’s eyes and vomited, while high-fiving,” according to Melton. And what’s with the Black Toothe? Explains Holt, “The name was divinely revealed to us by a Radiant Walrus-Christ. We asked him if we could go with something shorter, but he just shook his glittering tusks and vanished in a puff of crimson smoke. Oh well.” — D.S.
2. Sirius.B siriusbmusic.com 3. Josh Phillips Folk Festival myspace.com/joshphillipsfolk
Local Band: Americana / Country
appearance in the Best of WNC, having previously climbed from third in ‘09 to second last year. “Hopefully next year we can start expanding into other categories until we gradually take over the entire poll,” jokes Platt. “Sometimes this business is frustrating because it is so often one-step-forward-two-steps-back, but everything that’s happened to us so far has felt very comfortable and organic ... I think we’d be making music even if people seemed to hate it, just because we don’t know what else to do. But having the support of a community like Asheville makes it one hundred times sweeter.” — D.S.
2. Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work pierceedens.com 3. Dave Desmelik davedesmelik.com
Local Band: Electronic 1. RBTS WIN myspace.com/robotswin RBTS WIN has been steadily growing both its sound and its fan base. Regional touring (Charlotte, Miami) helps, but so do frequent recordings — remixes, EPs and albums — available for free download. “We have the feeling that music should be free for all to hear,” says founding member Cliff Worsham. “We just want as many people to listen as possible.” Recent remixes include Asheville’s Paper Tiger along with Sleep Over and Lil Wayne. Says Worsham, “The one local that we’ve been trying to remix for some time is Now You See Them.” Look forward to that, along with a RBTS WIN Moog Sound Lab performance and the release of full-length album The Dark Ones, due out this month. — A.M.
2. Sonmi Suite somnisuite.com 3. Paper Tiger papertigermusic.com
Local Band: Fragglepop 1. What the hell is FragglePop? We answer your question with questions.
1. The Honeycutters myspace.com/thehoneycutters Although they’re known for stellar live performances, Amanda Platt and Pete James are, above all else, songwriters. The duo pens the sort of tunes that penetrate the deepest corners of the heart, instantly relatable and heartbreaking in the most beautiful way. Whether performing as a two-piece or with a full band, Platt’s twangy vocals, James’ meandering guitar leads and the duo’s lonesome harmonies are reminiscent of Americana’s legendary pairs, most notably Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. This is the band’s third
26 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
Who among us doesn’t long to laugh the cares away and save the worry for another day? What happens when a Doozer doesn’t do? If Wembley were here, what would he say? Probably that Fragglepop is groovy, subterranean and utterly made up by Xpress staff to smuggle some humor into the preponderance of music genres a contemporary newspaper has to consider. Our own research into the matter yielded a song titled “Fragglepop” released in 2007 by an Arkansas group named “lost alsatian bitch” (listen here http://avl.mx/5j). It’s quite a good song. — J.B.
2. Mad Tea Party themadteaparty.com 3. Big Hungry reverbnation.com/ bighungryband
Local Band: Hip-Hop 1. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo secretagent23skidoo.com The secret’s out: For the second year in a row, the self-proclaimed “King of Kid-Hop” is Asheville’s favorite emcee. Since dropping his first children’s album in 2007, Agent 23 Skidoo has been building a big fan base with clever lyrics, catchy beats and stories that appeal to kids and adults alike. And the music is truly a family affair, for the artist as well as the fans: Skidoo’s 9-year-old daughter, MC Fireworks, often holds her own on the microphone, and so does her mom, Bootysattva. This past year, the family act wowed local crowds everywhere from The Hop to the Orange Peel. And the group has been impressing national crowds as well, playing fests such as Lollapalooza and garnering rave reviews from TIME Magazine, NPR and more. — J.F.
2. The Ville Boyz myspace.com/ncvilleboyz
Local Band: Jazz
1. h Firecracker Jazz Band firecrackerjazz.com At this point, it almost goes without saying that Firecracker Jazz Band will own Best Local Jazz Band, as it’s dominated the category since its inception in 2005. But the group’s unmistakable talent, charisma and spunk make it clear that this trend is hard-earned and likely to continue. As its tagline, “explosively hot jazz,” suggests, the band doesn’t bother with stuffy and dry regurgitations of once-lively tunes, nor is its music fodder for the background of intellectual musings or historical archives. Firecracker Jazz Band is high-energy, inventive and unpredictable, the very characteristics that should define the genre. — D.S.
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2. Vertigo Jazz Project myspace.com/vertigojazzproject
3. Kat Williams myspace.com/katwilliamsinthehouse
3. Jonathan Scales Fourchestra jonscales.com
Local Band: Metal
3. GFE granolafunk.com
1. Josh Phillips Folk Festival myspace.com/joshphillipsfolk Josh Phillips Folk Festival, despite its name, isn’t entirely a folk act. The band has made frequent appearances in Best Of WNC polls past, and last year, it took home top honors as Best Local Folk Band. To be fair, the band doesn’t neatly fit in any category. This year it lands in the most appropriate category to date, because whether Josh Phillips Folk Festival is tackling roots-y anthems, soulful and rocking party tunes or dabbling in its ever present reggae leanings, the band always jams, in the best possible way. — D.S.
“We had an 8-year-old who did his first stage dive and crowd-surfing,” guitarist Josh Chassner says about that show. “An 8-year-old! That was amazing to see.”
of F LL AM
Local Band: Jam / Progressive
We said it before and we’ll say it again: Damn, it’s good to be the Kings. Still riding high after last year’s thundering debut, Occurring Before In Time, the instrumental audio-visual wizards have taken the crown for Best Metal Band for the third year in a row. Now honed down to a sharp four-piece, KoP have recently garnered some great national attention — check out their full-page write up in Alternative Press — and last month became the first metal band to take the stage at LAAFF in the fest’s 10-year history.
3. CrazyHorse & Colston reverb- 1. Kings of Prussia nation.com/crazyhorseandcolston myspace.com/kingsofprussia
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Thanks to a cinematic live show that’s just as majestic and sinister as the music, KoP is one of the few local bands regularly tapped to headline the Orange Peel. Of course, having (tastefully dressed) strippers join you on stage probably doesn’t hurt. “That was the only time the mosh pit completely came to a full stop,” Chassner says with a laugh. — M.B.
2. Toubab Krewe toubabkrewe.com 2. Telic myspace.com/telicnc 3. Wayfarers All 2. Megahurtz myspace.com/wayfarersall myspace.com/megahurtzmetal mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 27
PHOTO BY BILL RHODES
LOCAL ACTOR h CHARLIE FLYNN-MCIVERm
3. As Sick As Us myspace.com/assickasus
2. Wayfarers All myspace.com/wayfarersall
egory all its own. And our very first winners are undoubtedly the king of that sonic hill: noisy psych-rockers Soft Opening.
3. Common Foundation myspace.com/commonfoundation
Since forming in ‘08, this experimental fourpiece has been moving well beyond its stoner-metal roots. In fact, this year’s untitled debut album finds the band awash in waves of organs and heavy delay for a more neopsychedelic racket a la Spacemen 3.
Local Band: Next Big Thing
3. RBTS Win myspace.com/robotswin
1. Sirius.B siriusbmusic.com
3. Kovacs & The Polar Bear kovacsandthepolarbear.com
Since forming in 2006, not a year goes by without these beloved gypsy-punk weirdos appearing somewhere on our Best of WNC list. And the band just keeps getting bigger and better. Last year’s fanciful EP Monkey Robot Soldier solidified Sirius.B’s growing reputation as one of the best musical acts around town, thanks to the band digging even deeper into the rich, authentic sound of their Eastern European torch bearers (and torch swallowers). But it’s their feet-twirling, sweat-shaking live shows — plus one of the rowdiest versions of “Hava Nagila” this side of Ukraine — that make Sirius.B so seriously awe-inspiring. — M.B.
Local Band: Noise / Lo-Fi / Shoegaze 1. Soft Opening Thanks to Asheville’s burgeoning noise/ lo-fi/shoegaze/drone (whatever the hell you want to call it) scene, we figured it was finally time we gave it a Best of WNC cat-
28 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
“It’s interesting how it’s changed around a lot over the years,” says frontman Jamie Hepler about their sound. “A lot of different kinds of influences have come and gone in different ways.” Currently back in the studio, the band’s finishing up some new material and planning on releasing a split 7-inch with Atlanta shoegazers N.E.C in the next few months. Which means good bet you’ll be seeing the name Soft Opening in this same spot next year. — M.B.
Local Band: Old-Time / Bluegrass 1. Steep Canyon Rangers steepcanyon.com The beloved bluegrass boys are hall-of-famers in their genre, and with good reason: their classic harmonies and deft picking have earned them a special place in the hearts of traditional music lovers — and a special place in the heart of banjo aficionado Steve Martin, who picked the Rangers as his backup band. It’s not just Xpress readers who kick up their heels to the strains of the Rangers’ traditional sound — the International Bluegrass Music Association just voted the outfit Entertainer of the Year. The Mountain’s Gonna Sing, indeed! — R.S.
2. Knives and Daggers myspace.com/knivesanddaggersmusic 2. Sons of Ralph 3. Alligator Indian sonsofralph.com alligatorindian.bandcamp.com
mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 29
HOLY CRAP, ASHEVILLE! YOU REALLY LIKE US!!! #1 Best Place to Dance
all weekend, every weekend
#1 Best Local Karaoke Night every Wednesday at 10pm
# 1 Local DJ, Kipper Schauer
shaking your rump every Saturday
#1 Photographer, Micah MacKenzie our resident shutterbug since opening day
#2 Best Local Trivia Night
every Thursday at 9pm with Michael McMurtrey
#2 Best Bar
not bad for a toddler!!
#2 Best Hipster Bar
ummmmmm...at least on Sundays & Tuesdays?
#2 Best Bartender, Sean Bickford ...but #1 with the ladies.
We’ll keep getting better. You keep voting. In the meantime, we want to thank you with a TREAT... And maybe a few TRICKS. October 31st. Be here.
828-258-1400 • 130 COLLEGE ST., PACK SQUARE • facebook.com/arcadeasheville 30 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
THANK YOU ASHEVILLE FOR VOTING ME ONE OF THE BEST JAZZ ARTISITS IN WNC!
S i n g e r, A c t r e s s & S o n g w r i t e r An electrifying & unforgettable performer
The most sought after singer in the region… Weddings • Fund Raisers • Grand Openings Rehearsal Dinners • Private Parties
828-280-6009 katWilliams@LIVE.com mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 31
PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
LOCAL AMERICANA BAND h THE HONEYCUTTERSm
3. Blind Boy Chocolate & the Milk Sheiks myspace.com/themilksheiks 3. Sanctum Scully sanctumsully.com
Local Band: Pop 1. stephaniesid stephaniesid.com stephaniesid was composing smart, thoughtful, fun pop music back when the rest of Asheville was firmly entrenched in acoustic and roots music sounds. And, though times change, this band hasn’t stopped doing what stephaniesid does best. Just-released album Starfruit shows stephaniesid in peak form, with cool lyrics, infectious grooves and unwavering style. And live, the band just keeps getting better as a recent performances at LAAFF and Blue Ridge Pride proved. Plus, frontwoman Stephanie Morgan’s self-
designed onstage wardrobe deserves a Best of WNC accolade of its own. — A.M.
2. Now You See Them nowyouseethem.net 3. Kovacs & The Polar Bear kovacsandthepolarbear.com
Local Band: Punk 1. Just Die! myspace.com/justdiehardcore No. No they just f--king won’t (exclamation point). Which, good thing for all of us, is just the way you like it, Asheville. For the third consecutive year, these melodic thrashers have taken the local top punk prize. Why? Just take one listen to this year’s A Momentary Lapse In Positive Thinking, their latest and catchiest album yet. Sure, the hardcore four-piece is as pissed off and pummeling
32 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
as ever, but on tracks like “Impossible” — which swaggers more like Reigning Sound than Black Flag — they show they’ve got a hell of a lot of rock ‘n’ roll soul, too. — M.B.
2. Zombie Queen 3. Pleasures of the Ultraviolent
Local Band: R&B / Blues 1. The Secret B-Sides myspace.com/entertheboom We all knew about the Secret B-Sides way back when. The band has been quietly gaining momentum for years, and it’s not like frontman Juan Holladay is hard on the eyes and ears. But when the local old-schoolmeets-new-school soul/funk/R&B outfit dropped sophomore album Flowers & Chocolate earlier this year, those sultry, sweaty,
swaggering sounds hit just the right note. Add to that an ambitious show schedule, lots of local festival appearances, a wrenchtight live show and a crazy-brilliant accompanying cosmology involving dinosaurs, flying saucers and a mystical land of flowers, and you begin to understand why the Secret B-Sides are the current reigning kings of soul. — A.M.
2. Skinny Legs and All skinnylegsandall.com 3. Peggy Ratusz and Daddy Longlegs myspace.com/peggyratusz2
Local Band: Rock 1. Sirius.B siriusbmusic.com “The one and only Harlequin Slinky,” is what Sirius.B calls itself on its website. They
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Inner Body Yoga with Lisa Stendig
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based on the teachings of Angela Farmer Mondays @ 5:30-6:45pm and Saturdays @ 9-10:15am
for more information, call
$15 per class -- discount packages available
(the carriage house behind the Kenilworth Inn Apartments)
Lisa Stendig is an Inner Body Yoga and Embodiment instructor who has been working with yoga legend, Angela Farmer, for almost 20 years.
60 Caledonia Road #B
private instruction also available
Thank you Mountain Xpress readers for voting us one of the Best Jewelers in WNC
4 B I L T M O R E AV E • D O W N T O W N A S H E V I L L E • 2 7 7 - 1 2 7 2
mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 33
have a number of other descriptives as well, but the thing is, unless you’re at a Sirius.B show, all caught up in the rhythmic fracas and melodic melee, no adjectives are going to spell out what it is that this band does so well. Legions of fans, built up over the band’s tenure on the Asheville music scene, understand. It’s a mad-science alchemy of old-world songs, rare instruments, classical training, punk savvy, uninhibited fun and (as this win illustrates) rock prowess. — A.M.
2. Floating Action floatingaction.com 3. Doc Aquatic myspace.com/docaquatic 3. Kovacs & The Polar Bear kovacsandthepolarbear.com 3. The Critters soundcloud.com/the-critters
Local Band: Soul 1. Secret B-Sides myspace.com/entertheboom
bootyband.com 3. Kat Williams myspace.com/katwilliamsinthehouse
Local Band: World/Reggae 1. Toubab Krewe toubabkrewe.com Six years into the game, these local world-music ambassadors continue to make Asheville proud as they tour across the globe bringing their unique sonic blend of rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities and international folk to the masses. The band’s most recent album, TK2, is helping fuel its ongoing rise, propelling a wealth of rave reviews such as one by Blurt that proclaimed the band manifests the sound of “liberation.” Toubab Krewe will bring its “futuristic, psychedelic neo-griot frenzy” home to the Orange Peel later this year for a New Year’s Eve blowout. — J.F.
(See description in Best Local Band: R&B/ Blues.)
2. Common Foundation myspace.com/commonfoundation
2. Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band
Local Busker/ Local Comedy Street Troupe Performer 1. LaZoom Tours 225-6932 1. Silver Drummer Girl silverdrummergirl.com Last year, Jessica “Silver Drummer Girl” Smith got mixed messages from Best of WNC voters, taking home both the best and worst awards for busker/street performer. It’s not surprising she provoked such a strong reaction, being hard impossible to miss in her shiny silver dress and body paint, playing short — if occasionally complex — drum solos when tipped. It’s the kind of thing passersby are likely to either love or hate. This year, voters loved it and only kind of hated it (Silver Drummer Girl got second place in the Least Favorite Busker category). Even though she thought winning both awards last year was “awesome,” we’re betting she’s more than happy to be edged out of first place in the Least Favorite category by Ralph “WhiteMan” Longshore, a busker who also mixes being a single-color living statue with live music. — S.S.
2. Blind Boy Chocolate & the Milk Sheiks myspace.com/themilksheiks 3. Bobby Sax
Local Comedian 1. Sean David Robinson He only started performing in April, but comedian Sean David Robinson is already distinguishing himself in the vibrant and growing local comedy scene. “It’s quite an honor, considering how talented everybody is in this area,” he says. “Asheville comedians right now are some of the best in the Southeast. I’m just happy to be part of this community, because it’s blowing up huge.” Robinson describes his style as “the brand of the disgruntled intellectual.” He adds that “a lot of my material comes from pointing out the absurdities we take for granted. I do some pop-culture references. Mostly the good stuff comes from experiences in my life.” And he has some new material to work with now, noting that he’s proud of also claiming the No. 2 spot in this year’s poll for Local Villain. “It’s hilarious, it was an elaborate joke,” Robinson says of his Facebook campaign for the auspicious title. And he has a message for Asheville’s top villain, former conservative City Council member Carl Mumpower: “Next year I’m coming for you,” he declares. “Maybe I’ll run for City Council or something.” — J.F.
2. Pat Hinson 3. Tom Chalmers 34 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
In a town known for its wealth of zany characters and funny crews, the folks at LaZoom Tours have set themselves apart. Jen Lauzon, who started the eccentric Asheville purplebus tour five years ago with her husband, Jim, says growing in to one of the area’s most beloved attractions has been a natural, if unexpected, process. “It started out as a couple and we’ve really turned it in to a troupe,” she says. “It wasn’t intentional, it just turned out that way.” It’s been a big year for the group, as they’ve added members of other popular local troupes, including LYLAS and the Feral Chihuahuas. And they’ve got an action-packed few months coming up, says Lauzon, noting that they’ll amp up the Haunted Comedy Tour as Halloween nears. But Jen remains humble about LaZoom’s success. “It’s really amazing,” she says. “I’m surprised to win with so much great talent in the area.” — J.F.
2. The Feral Chihuahaus feralchihuahuas.com 3. LYLAS lylas.org
Local Dance Company 1. h Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance terpsicorps.org Known for pushing the limits of classical ballet with style and finesse, Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance thrives on unique collaborations between local and national dancers and artists. Started in 2003 by choreographer and teacher Heather Maloy, the not-for-profit company focuses on producing astounding summer shows at Diana Wortham Theatre. This year, the revolving troupe mesmerized audiences with Maloy’s Vampyre, a gothic tale of love, death and immortality. Coming next summer: The Many Deaths of Edward Gorey. — J.F.
2. Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce St. 254-2621 acdt.org 3. Asheville Ballet 4 Weaverville Highway 252-4761 or 258-1028 ashevilleballet.com
Local Dj (Non-Radio)
Local Drag Performer
1. Kipper Schauer
1. Cookie LaRue LaRue’s Backdoor, 237 Haywood St. 252-1014
Spinning music for more than 10 years now, DJ Kipper has only recently gained local fame, likely the result of his raging Saturday night dance parties at Arcade Asheville. “I’d like to take a moment to thank Arcade. We blow the doors off weekly, and it’s a beautiful hot sweaty mess on the dance floor week after week,” he says. And although he maintains it’s the pure joy of playing music that keeps him going, he admits the growing recognition feels good. “Spinning music has been a great source of joy and peace for me. To have people appreciate and celebrate my joy along with me is truly wonderful,” he says. Schauer also offers praise for his fellow local DJs, offering surprise and humility in snagging the top spot. “I have to be honest when I say that I didn’t think I’d even be in the top three, and I am completely humbled,” he says. “Asheville is filled with a tremendous amount of incredible DJs. Marley Carroll and Bowie are both pushing the limits with their music and technical skill, and although I may be No. 1, they’re better than I am.” — J.F.
2. THUMP twitter.com/ThumpStep 3. DJ a.d.d.ict myspace.com/thedjaddict
Last year the late (and self-described) “irritainer” Cookie LaRue responded to her win from beyond the grave (she passed away last year). Happily, our trusty medium-on-retainer was able to make contact again, and this is Ms. LaRue’s message: ““Geez Louise! I’m dead people! Dead! Gone! Buried! Pennies on the eyes!” She adds, “However, there is a rumor out there that Michael Sheldon is writing a new show for me, my cousin Lorna Doone and a new person he has come up with named ‘Darrick Zenniger.’ It’s called Live From The Satellite Lounge. Look for it at a theatre near you, soon. Love, Cheetos, and I’ll tell Jesus everybody says ‘Hi!’”— A.M.
2. Chyna Wurdinger myspace.com/carolinashowgirl 3. Manhattan
Local Filmmaker 1. Chris Bower chrisbower.tumblr.com Chris Bower has been quiet this year, doing post-production work on We Won’t Bow Down, his much-anticipated documentary on the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans (Bower screened a trailer for that film at last year’s Best of WNC Bash, and we’re eagerly waiting a chance to see the final cut). Readers are no
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mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 35
PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
LOCAL ELECTRONIC BAND h RBTS WINm
doubt eager as well, voting him No. 1 for the second year in a row. — R.S.
barred brawls have attracted some stiff
2. Rod Murphy 614films.com 3. Paul Schattel paulschattel.com
cade likes it.
Local Karaoke Night
Asheville,” says co-owner Kelly Aaron. “We
competition. Which is just the way the Ar“We created Arcade Idol to be the biggest, baddest, most over-the-top karaoke night in kind of have a ‘go big or go home’ philosophy about everything we do, so we wanted to attract great singers as well as incredible performers. We feel we accomplished both.”
1. Arcade Idol, wednesday nights 130 College St. 258-1400 arcadeasheville.com Give another power-up to the new kid on the block. Barely five months old, the Arcade’s subversive karaoke competition has got everything a wannabe-crooner could want: awesome prizes, snarky judges (including guests like blogger Jason Sandford) and cold, hard cash for the winner. Not surprisingly, Wednesday night’s no-pipes-
2. Karaoke Disaster at Broadway’s, sunday nights 120 N. Lexington Ave. 285-0400 3. The Get Down 1045 Haywood Road 505-8388 getdownasheville.com
36 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
Local Music Video 1. Kovacs & The Polar Bear, “Skeleton Crew” kovacsandthepolarbear.com This enchanting video brings viewers into a fantastical world where a 20-something year old girl (brilliantly played by Faith Calloway) grieves over her dead teddy bear until it’s reborn as a dancing and banjo-playing human-size fury creature. The two then play music and frolic around (and the bear gets a little shy at a party). The story might be a metaphor for growing into adulthood and staying young at heart. Or maybe it’s about the death and rebirth of a romantic relationship. But regardless of any possible deeper meanings, it’s awesome. And it’s racking up honors, also winning this year’s Music Video Asheville
Critic’s Choice and Best of MVA awards.The video’s director Joe Chang, (also a guitarist in Kovacs and The Polar Bear), is currently working on a feature film called Present. — J.F.
2. Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, “Muddy Vishnu” 3. Ben Lovett, “Heartattack” 3. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo secretagent23skidoo.com
Local Original Production 1. Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood, Parkway Playhouse What is it that resonated with Xpress theater-
We’re only 3 years old and you’ve voted for us 3 YEARS IN A ROW!
THANK YOU WNC! BEST ALTERNATIVE HEALING CENTER 2011
2009 (#1), 2010 (#1), 2011 (#2)
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mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 37
Best Restaurant in Brevard 2010 & 2011 Thanks WNC2! Open 7 Days a Week for Lunch & Dinner Enjoy our new Fall menu, Daily Entreé and Drink Specials Sunday Brunch ½ Priced Wine Bottles on Mondays and Tuesdays Live Music Thursday Night Trivia Visit www.sqroot.com for more information about upcoming events, catering and private parties. Follow us on Facebook to stay connected!
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38 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
RiverLink is River Centric— with your help and support
JUMP IN! Join Riverlink We would like to thank board members past our donors for
Today! all our 600 volunteers, and present and all voting us the...
BEST ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP
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Source for Well-Being extends its warmest gratitude to its clients and community for voting us
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www.sourceforwellbeing.com • 828.669.8800 mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 39
PHOTO BY BILL RHODES
LOCAL METAL BAND h KINGS OF PRUSSIAm
goers about Jeff Douglas Messer and Robert Akers’ version of the Robin Hood story? It may have been the whole “stealing from the rich” thing — the economic imbalance in America has riled folks up. Or maybe it was the clinking of swords, or the jubilance of the Merry Men? Perhaps people just dig men in tights. Whatever ‘twas, Parkway Playhouse earned a hit with Messer and Akers’ new take on the fabled story. — R.S.
2. When Jekyll Met Hyde, The Magnetic Field 3. The Ballad of Tom Dooley, Parkway Playhouse
Local Poet 1. h Glenis Redmond glenisredmondstore.com There might be a bit of a poet within all of us (this year’s Xpress Poetry Prize turned up some talented newcomers), but not everyone can pen the sort of poetry that grabs the ears and hearts of an entire community. Glenis Redmond, who uses verse to tell stories from her own life and African-American heritage, has earned enough awards and accolades to be Asheville’s poet laureate. Redmond recently moved back to her hometown of Greenville, S.C., but she’s clearly
40 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
still a part of Asheville to Xpress readers. — A.M.
2. Laura Hope-Gill laurahopegill.blogspot.com 3. Barbie Angell barbieangell.com
1. h Echo Mountain 232-4314
echomountain.net What could be a more fitting gift for Echo Mountain’s fifth birthday than winning Best Local Recording Studio for the fifth year in a row? It’s a pretty stunning record, and one that’s well-deserved. This year the downtown studio saw one of its recordings nominated for Best Alternative Album at the Grammy Awards (Band of Horses’ Infinite Arms), and worked with major national acts like Flogging Molly and the Avett Brothers as well as local luminaries like Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Toubab Krewe and Wages. But it’s the fact that the humble studio never lets things like that get to their head that really make them the best game in town. — M.B.
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2. CollapseAble Studios 503 Haywood Road 255-0502 collapseablestudios.com 3. Hi-Five Recording 275-8126 Hifiverecording.com
Local Singer/ Songwriter 1. Aaron LaFalce aaronlafalce.com Aaron LaFalce is one of the hardest-working musicians in WNC. Performing more than 200 dates a year, the Asheville native is just as comfortable on the guitar as on the piano, and as natural performing solo as he is jamming with rock and blues masters. Not surprisingly, the singer/songwriter’s philosophy reflects his love for performing: “It’s all about the song. Check your ego at the door.” His dedication to the craft earned him two nods in last year’s vote, Best Local Singer/Songwriter and Best Local Performance Artist, but LaFalce is no stranger to performing outside the region as well, with a tour history that boasts appearances at Carnegie Hall and the Virgin Islands. You can catch his engaging show at least once a month at Pack’s Tavern. — D.S.
2. Nikki Talley nikkitalley.com 3. Dave Desmelik davedesmelik.com
Local Theater Company 1. h N.C. Stage Company 15 Stage Lane 239-0263 ncstage.org From the strength and variety of N.C. Stage’s tenth anniversary season, it’s easy to see why the theater company has earned a place in the Best of WNC Hall of Fame. After a dynamite run of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, we next get Angels in America Parts 1 and 2 in repertory, followed by a multitude of intriguing engagements into next year: including a play about the invention of the vibrator (ooh) and the
42 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
holiday favorite It’s a Wonderful Life. Not only does N.C. Stage bring us professional theater with equity actors, it also hosts the edgy Catalyst Series, where up-and-comers can host their work in the established and intimate setting of its downtown theater. — R.S.
2. Asheville Community Theatre 35 W. Walnut St. 254-1320 ashevilletheatre.org 3. The Magnetic Field 372 Depot St. 257-4003 themagneticfield.com
Local Trivia Night 1. Kipper’s Totally Rad Trivia, at broadway’s monday nights 120 N. Lexington Ave. kipperstrivia.com After two years and three venue changes, the underdog has finally done it. Yep, Kipper’s hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, pop-culture nerdfest has stolen the crown from its (none of the above) friendlier Patton Avenue rival. “I’m absolutely shocked,” says host Kipper Schauer, whose Monday night trivia is wellknown for keeping things fresh (not to mention classy) with categories like CosPlay Fails and Guess That Animal Dong. “I am thrilled and humbled and flattered. I really thought I’d always be No. 2.” So what’s it mean now that the tables have turned? “I guess now I have become the Empire,” he muses in Star Wars-esque terms. “Or, maybe now that the Rebellion has won, it’s time to form a new and better nation.” — M.B.
2. The Fabulous Questions/Answers Spectacular with Michael McMurtrey, at Arcade Asheville, thursday nights 130 College St. 258-1400 arcadeasheville.com 3. Quizzo at Jack of the Wood, monday nights 95 Patton Ave. 252-5445 jackofthewood.com
Local Video Store
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1. h Orbit DVD 783 1/2 Haywood Road 251-1337 orbitdvd.com The oft-overheard refrain “only in Asheville” is an accurate statement when it comes to the work of residents like Mark McCloud, owner of Orbit DVD in West Asheville — the Best Local Video store for the sixth straight year — and TV Eye downtown (in third place this year). Orbit DVD is nothing less than a cultural outpost, a library for the obscure and hard-to-find (sometimes impossible-to-find) as much as a convenient spot to rent new releases and TV shows. What’s more, McCloud is consistently innovative when it comes to community outreach and spreading the gospel of 24 frames a second. For one, the inventory is for sale. As long as the item can be replaced, all DVDs and video games can be purchased. Orbit’s email newsletter keeps subscribers updated on new releases, sales, notable events in cinema and reports on the national climate of video rental (Blockbuster going bankrupt; Netflix increasing rates). This year, on Oct. 15, McCloud and some other independent-rental colleagues inaugurated Independent Video Store Day. “Î and a few dozen video stores have been talking about celebrating our independent spirit for a while now,” McCloud wrote in the announcement. “We have decided to forge ahead without the help of the major studios and I hope you come by on this day — it will be worth it.”
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It is worth it. Do you think Red Box will stock Krzysztof Kieslowski or Agnes Varda? — J.B.
2. Rosebud Video 197 Charlotte St. 250-9500 rosebudvideostore.com 3. TV Eye Video Emporium 108 N. Lexington Ave. 254-2123 tveye.net
Local Visual Artist 1. Dustin Spagnola (Studio) 474 Haywood Road dustinspagnola.com A few years ago, Dustin Spagnola shifted his focus from abstract compositions to screenprint-style portraits of socially and politically significant individuals, especially those related to the U.S. civil rights movement. “I realized that I could use other techniques than painting by eye, when I started using wheat paste and stencils,” Spagnola says. “Before that I was doing non-representational work primarily.” Spagnola’s pieces are seemingly ubiquitous. Exiting I-240 West at Haywood Road, drivers look at the large windows of Spagnola’s studio, it seems that his work is everywhere. (One
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mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 43
PHOTO BY MAX COOPER
LOCAL COMEDY TROUPE h LAZOOM toursm
time I was at an ATM and saw a “Spagnola” bumper sticker on the adjacent trash bin.) It seems that the proliferation is appreciated.
3. Adam Strange myspace.com/adamstrange
Recently, Spagnola held a series of everything-must-go studio sales. The purpose was to clean house, but also to make his work available to those who wanted it. “I’m in process of getting my work into the hands of people who want it,” Spagnola says. “I feel incredibly flattered and privileged to be able to make artwork that people like and want to look at. I want people to own it who appreciate it. I don’t have a strong desire for money, it’s not the reason that I make art.”
In 2011, Spagnola exhibited in Asheville, Miami, Charleston and other cities. What’s next? “For the next year, my main plan is to work on a solo show that I’m going to do at Satellite Gallery [in downtown Asheville] for next spring. That’s what I’m trying to focus on. And to continue to learn and make more things.” — J.B.
“Steebo” Bonitz about his large, one-of-a kind assembled sculptures, gates, signs and railings. For Steebo, small-scale art is somewhere around human size, and his largest work is an 18-foot steel Celtic Cross commissioned by Milligan College in Tennessee — it weighs more than 8,000 pounds. Drive down Haywood Road in West Asheville and you’re likely to see moustached silver cowboy perched on a quizzical dog; the sculpture marks the location of Steebo’s
2. Gabriel Shaffer gabrielshaffer.com
studio, where he’s been working for almost nine years. “I have a personal feeling that all art is functional, even if you just put it out on your yard — whether it’s there to fill a space or create a smile on people who are walking by — it’s serving a function,” says Bonitz. — U.G.
2. David Earl Tomlinson, 1. Stefan Bonitz, Steebo Design Dynamic Metalwork 355 Haywood Road 253-4610 dynamicmetalwork.com steebo.com “I collect shapes and forms from the scrap 3. Susan West, blue 1 Swan St. yard and I evolve from there,” says Stefan 277-2583 bluegoldsmiths.com
44 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
Movie Theater 1. h Fine Arts Theatre 36 Biltmore Ave. 232-0257 fineartstheatre.com Since the Fine Arts Theatre opened on Bilt-
more Avenue in 1996, the two-screen movie house has shown about 40 films a year. Fine Arts has been the WNC favorite since at least 1998 (that year, the theater showed 63 films). This year was no different, in either respect. The films, both limited and wide release, kept playing and readers kept watching. In addition to the regular daily and nightly flicks, Fine Arts hosted QFEST Asheville, the city’s first LGBTQ film festival, at the end of Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. Other special screenings include The Last Mountain, a documentary about mountaintop-removal coal mining. — J.B.
2. The Carolina Asheville 1640 Hendersonville Road 274-9500 carolinacinemas.com/asheville 3. Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. 675 Merrimon Ave. 254-1281 ashevillebrewing.com
mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 45
PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
DJ (NON-RADIO) h KIPPER SCHAUERm
1. Dustin Spagnola (Studio) 474 Haywood Road dustinspagnola.com
1. Jonas Gerard 240 Clingman Ave. 350-7711 jonasgerard.com
About his murals that adorn many interior and exterior walls and surfaces in Asheville, Dustin Spagnola says: “I try to put ideas in the viewers’ minds by picking subject matter that I think is important.” If you’re short on ideas, or just want to see the murals that Xpress readers deem the best, here are a few local spots where Spagnola has left his mark: The Prospect (11 Buxton Ave.); Desoto Lounge (504 Haywood Road); BJ’s Food Mart (10 Michigan Ave.); (The Southern Kitchen and Bar (41 Lexington Ave.). — J.B.
2. Ishmael 3. Taz (Chris King)
Energy Dance. Fearless Spirit. Golden Force. These are a few titles of Jonas Gerard’s abstract pieces and, put together, an apt description of his work in general. Gerard works mostly in his studio/gallery at 240 Clingman Ave. in the River Arts District, but he is known for his public-performance, too. In fact, as soon as Gerard drives away from his studio in his van, he’s having an art exhibit. (Just keep an eye out from now on if you haven’t seen what I mean). Live painting, often with the accompaniment of a jazz or world-music ensemble, may be Gerard’s trademark locally. Performances in 2011 included “Jonas Paints Live!” as part of the RAD Studio Stroll in June, and a live-painting performance on the island of Malta in March. According to the artist’s website, Gerard was “invited to be the honorary guest at the sec-
46 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
ond annual Art Week on the Island of Malta. They played Jonas’ video on wide screens in classrooms and had a powerful response from the students and staff. During the visit, assisted by his partner Cynthia McCarty, he hosted several painting performances at the school and at the Art Academy Gallery in Mosta and was also interviewed for the local TV program called the Meander.” Readers also noted Gerard’s charity work when casting their vote, which probably refers to events such as the Caring For Children Fundraiser, OpenDoors of Asheville and Doors of Asheville for Mountain Housing Opportunities, all of which Gerard participated in this year. — J.B.
2. Gabriel Shaffer gabrielshaffer.com 2. Adam Strange myspace.com/adamstrange 3. Dustin Spagnola (Studio) 474 Haywood Road dustinspagnola.com
Photographer 1. Micah Mackenzie micahmackenzie.wordpress.com Micah Mackenzie says people are his favorite subject, and the proof is in his photos. Mackenzie, 35, grew up in Kenilworth, and left the area for some time until “the vortex brought me back 10 years ago,” he says. “[In Asheville] the eternal creative flow never stops.” You may have seen Mackenzie shooting photos at any one of the popular music and art festivals around town — HATCHFest, TedXAsheville, LAAFF and most recently, the Arts Council’s Turquoise Ball. In spite of these high profile events, “the school of hard knocks” is where he learned his craft, he jokes. “I’m self-taught in life and photography,” says Mackenzie. — U.G.
2. Angela Stott angelastott.com 3. Courtney Robbins
mountain xpress on facebook for local news, events and ticket giveaways!
Thank You, Mountain Xpress Readers for Voting Dr. John Faherty, DC as a Finalist in the Category of Best Chiropractor 2011
Iâ€™ve been honored to serve the Asheville community for 26 years. â€“ Dr. John Now also providing Animal Chiropractic Care
Please visit: www.animalmovement.com
START SAVING MONEY TODAY! CALL THE WATER LADY A Water Bill can easily drip away your hard-earned savings if youâ€™re not paying attention. In short, be aware of your water bill. Your wallet will thank you for it. We were the first in the industry to offer submetering and we are still the best. We have been saving property owners money for 26 years. Metering makes it fair to the tenants.
4(% 7!4%2 ,!$9 ,,# Wa t e r C o n s e r v a t i o n & M e t e r i n g In 1988, Madison County native Linda Knox founded a little water metering service company called If Itâ€™s Water. Her origins were quite humble, personally servicing her customers on a door-to-door basis. Being a little out of the ordinary that she was the only woman in her trade, customers got accustomed to wanting to â€œtalk to the Water Lady about their water.â€?
Linda Knox â€œThe Water Ladyâ€?
Any viable business must be profitable. Water is a business. And, the best way for a water utility to measure or account for the water produced and then sold is by using water meters. A system without meters is like a taxi without a fare counter. Without a meter, it costs the same to drive around the block as it does from New York to Los Angeles. Think about water. it is yours for the asking, 24-hours a day. All you have to do is turn a facet. But, now think again. The water you use doesnâ€™t come magically from now where. Itâ€™s a carefully manufactured product - clean, and piped directly into your home â€“ a valuable resource that shouldnâ€™t be wasted or taken for granted. Water will eventually recycle itself. But the high quality water that we need and expect in our homes is not an infinite resource. Water conservation is a good way of life.
Big Enough to serve you and small enough to know you. â€œYou donâ€™t know the worth of the water until the well runs dryâ€? w 658-1000 cell 828-206-5505
Visit Us at www.ifitswater.org mountainx.com â€˘ VOLUME TWO â€˘ BEST OF WNC 2011 47
PHOTO BY BILL RHODES
METALWORKER h stefan bonitz, STEEBO designm
Place To Dance Place To Hear Live Music 1. Arcade Asheville 130 College St. 258-1400 arcadeasheville.com
The beats coming from Arcade bump out across Pack Square Park on nights when the dancing is in full session. Which nights are those? Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, when those inclined to shake it turn out en masse for some of the town’s most-fun DJS: Par, Marley Carroll and Kipper (who, not coincidentally we’re guessing, garnered top honors in this year’s DJ category). Whether its ‘80s, ‘90s or a night full of surprises, Arcade is the place to get it on. Your dance, that is. Get your dance on. Get your mind out of the gutter, people. — R.S.
2. Scandals Nightclub 11 Grove St. 252-2838 thegrovehouse.com 3. The Admiral 400 Haywood Road 252-2541 theadmiralnc.com
1. h The Orange Peel 101 Biltmore Ave. 225-5851 theorangepeel.net For such a small town, Asheville has an almost absurd amount of great music venues (suck it, Charlotte). And year after year — eight, to be exact — readers have voted The Peel as the best of the best. Consistently featuring some of the biggest and most exciting bands to come through town, the Peel’s got the perfect, grandly intimate setting that can reel in the major acts while still making the audience feel like a true part of the action (see: Gogol Bordello, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Edward Sharpe). And now that they’ve got PULP, the liquor-swilling club located in the basement,
48 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
music lovers can drink all the martinis and scotches they want while waiting patiently for the opening band to finally get the hell off the stage. (Just kidding, opening bands. Cheers!) — M.B.
2. The Grey Eagle 185 Clingman Ave. 232-5800 thegreyeagle.com 3. White Horse Black Mountain 105-C Montreat Road 669-0816 whitehorseblackmountain.com
Woodworker 1. Gabriel Aucott, Goods from the Woods 5510942 goods-fromthewoods.com “All you have to do is cut open a tree and polish it and it’s beautiful,” says Gabriel Aucott. Originally from New Jersey, Aucott
moved to the area in 1998 to attend Warren Wilson College. He dropped out two years later, “to follow my dream as a woodworker,” he explains. These days Aucott works out of his studio in the River Arts District, using locally sourced domestic hardwoods like walnut and cherry to create cabinets and home furnishings. His preferred aesthetic is “Danish Modern”, and recently he worked with designer Talli Roberts to produce a set of furniture for the Indigo Hotel. When asked how he felt about winning best woodworker Aucott says, “I’m very surprised. I didn’t even know this was a category.” — U.G.
2. Chris Perryman, Domus Aurea 318-6334 goldsplinter.com 3. Henry Harris
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50 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
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Favorite Feature In Xpress 1. Cranky Hanke mountainx.com/movies Blame it on Snow White. That’s the first film that made an impression on Ken Hanke, Xpress’ longtime lead movie reviewer.
F O W T S E B ty-Ele NC Twen
The year was 1959. “I would have been about 3 or 4 at the time,” Hanke recalls. “I watched most of it from under my seat in the theater.”
The best, he opined, is almost certainly Being There, the 1979 film that starred the late Peter Sellers and was shot in part at the Biltmore Estate. Coincidentally, that location also hosted parts of Hanke’s pick for the worst: Richie Rich, the 1994 stinker that starred a young Macaulay Culkin. — J.E.
2. News of the Weird newsoftheweird.com 2. Asheville Disclaimer mountainx.com/disclaimer 3. Food mountainx.com/dining
2. Ken Hanke mountainx.com/movies 3. Ursula Gullow artseenasheville.blogspot.com
Free Publication Other Than Xpress
1. h Ashvegas ashvegas.squarespace.com It’s hard to imagine what Asheville’s bustling blogosphere would look like without Hall-ofFamer Ashvegas, the brainchild of Asheville Citizen-Times columnist/reporter (and former Xpress staffer) Jason Sandford. He was blogging before blogging was cool.
1. The Laurel of Asheville thelaurelofasheville.com
Since launching Ashvegas in 2005, he’s built the blog into a kind of community bulletin board and tip sheet, a place where “rumors of news” evolve into bona fide scoops. On many days, it’s a go-to spot for the latest on local business openings and closings, entertainment scuttlebutt, celebrity sightings and behind-the-news developments at area media outlets.
The Laurel of Asheville, a monthly magazine that bursts with upbeat news about local businesses, personalities and arts, recently celebrated its seventh birthday. It’s carved out a solid niche in a region rich with competing publications — and done so with a spartan staff of only 10 employees.
2. Verve Magazine vervemag.com 52 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
1. Alli Marshall mountainx.com/ae
“I know it sounds a little cheesy, but the thing is, I have a dream job, and almost every story I get to write is a favorite in some way,” Marshall says. But the past year of arts reporting held many identifiable highlights for her, from interviewing various heroes of rock (Chris Robinson, Peter Murphy, Joseph Arthur, Neko Case and Jolie Holland, to name a few) to showcasing local standouts like Secret B-Sides, stephaniesid and dep (aka Danny Peck). — J.E.
In the Best of WNC spirit, we asked Hanke to name the best and worst flicks that were shot in Western North Carolina.
“We’re fortunate to live in an area that so many talented artists have chosen to call home,” he says. “Along with the stories of these creative souls, we also enjoy bringing to our readers stories of the unique and giving individuals who live here and of the businesses that create the flavor that is Asheville and beyond.” — J.E.
Local Arts Reporter In Asheville’s topsy-turvy print-media world, names come and go from the mastheads. That’s just one reason that Alli Marshall — who marked eight years on the job at Xpress in August — stands out as a consistent chronicler of all things arts in WNC. She’s also excelled online, launching such features as the fashionforward “Asheville Street Style.”
And so began Hanke’s fascination with the big screen, a passion he shares in his weekly movie-review column, “Cranky Hanke.” Our intrepid reviewer is quick to point out that he’s got a major partner in the feature: fellow film writer Justin Souther.
Paul Howey, The Laurel’s editor-in-chief, says that Western North Carolina is the perfect locale for a free publication that celebrates arts and culture.
3. WNC Woman wncwoman.com 3. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine blueridgeoutdoors.com
Wonders from above the fold!
Sandford has a blast with the blog, but feeding Asheville’s constant hunger for breaking news can prove a taxing responsibility. “People now expect me to be there, on top of what’s going on,” he says, but sometimes he just has to take a break. “I always come back, though, because you know what?” he adds. “That expectation drives me, too.” — J.E.
2. Scrutiny Hooligans scrutinyhooligans.us 3. Blog Asheville blogasheville.com
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PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
LOCAL RADIO PERSONALITY h AARON LAFALCEm
Local News Reporter 1. Tammy Watford wlos.com Tammy Watford, an award-winning journalist and afternoon news anchor for Asheville-based WLOS, enjoys her studio time just fine, but she’d rather be back in school, so to speak. Or back in schools, to be precise. Watford’s popular series of education stories, “Never Stop Learning,” takes her to classrooms, cafeterias and playgrounds on a regular basis. “The best part of my day is visiting the schools in Western North Carolina and meeting the students,” she says. “They always brighten my day.” In her 18 years at the TV station, Watford has seen some of her young interviewees move onward and upward. A favorite story from her early years on the job featured “an intriguing little Haywood County girl
who wanted to grow up and study sharks,” Watford remembers. “She’s now about to graduate college.” — J.E.
ville Radio Group: Hear him weekday afternoons on 98.1 The River and weekends on 105.9 The Mountain.
2. Darcel Grimes wlos.com 3. John Boyle citizen-times.com
“Music is my life,” LaFalce testifies. “If I’m going to have a part-time job outside of playing music, it might as well be musicrelated.” What’s more, he says, “I get the opportunity to shed light on local music, which is extremely important to me, being from Asheville.” — J.E.
Local Radio Personality
Spindale-based WNCW is a public-radio station that serves a music-loving public. Sure, the station offers NPR’s syndicated news coverage and other newsy features, but its real claim to fame is its musical mix. Tune in to some of WNCW’s signature shows — the local-music showcase “Local Color,” the bluegrass-infused “Goin’ Across the Mountain,” the classic-album review “Spindale Cycle,” to name a few — for an eclectic soundtrack that spices up any day in the mountains. — J.E.
2. Matt Mittan, The Matt Mittan Show takeastandshow.com 2. 98.1 The River 981theriver.com 3. Martin Anderson, WNCW 1. Aaron LaFalce, 98.1 The River wncw.org 3. WCQS 88.1 wcqs.org and 105.9 The Mountain aaronlafalce.com “I got into radio five years ago as a way to supplement my income as a gigging musician and songwriter,” explains Aaron LaFalce, an Asheville-based performer who knows firsthand just how tough it can be to make it in the music biz. Now, he’s helping other artists connect with listeners via his two DJ shifts for the Ashe-
54 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
Local Radio Station
Local Tv Personality
1. h WNCW 88.7 FM wncw.org
1. Darcel Grimes wlos.com
Back again for yet another first-place win,
Darcel Grimes has a lot more to celebrate this year than her Best of WNC win: She’s
mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 55
PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
LOCAL TV PERSONALITY h DARCEL GRIMESm
also marking her 30th year at WLOS, Asheville’s ABC affiliate. A lot has changed in the news business since 1981. “The biggest changes have been technology and social media,” she tells us. “Computers have changed our world, from how we prepare scripts to how we get video on the air. Social media … allows us to interact with our viewers on a different level and gives our viewers a voice in our newscast, while allowing them to give us almost instant feedback.” One thing hasn’t changed: Grimes’ affection for her profession. “I love anchoring — for me it’s like breathing life into a story,” she says. “I am just as touched by my relationship with my viewers. It’s a special bond that has made my career here so fulfilling.” — J.E.
Local Twitter Star 1. Michael Muller @michaelfmuller Be brief, be interesting, be engaged. That’s a formula for finding fans on Twitter, where the ideas and information flow from and into all directions. Asheville’s ranking Tweeter — part-time political consultant, full-time fabulist and former Xpress reporter Michael Muller (@ michaelfmuller on Twitter) — has turned the medium into a kind of performance art with his 140-character-a-minute bursts.
2. Tammy Watford wlos.com
Even if you’re a regular follower of Muller’s tweets, you’ll often wonder: What is this guy going to say next?
3. Julie Wunder wlos.com
If he’s monitoring a meeting of some local-
56 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
government entity, he might do something like straight-up reportage. Or he might spice things up a bit with sly references to various backstories, undertows and tensions. If he’s raising funds for a local charity, he might tweet about it so often that each missive stings your conscience (and tries your patience) just a little bit more. And if he’s on one of his signature Twitter benders, there’s really no telling what lies ahead. Could be tweets of drugs, sex and filthiness. Or tweets of hope, joy and revelry. Suffice it to say that Muller packs a lot of humor and pathos into Twitter’s tiny messaging format. Alerted of his Best of WNC win, he greeted the news with characteristic wryness. “That’s terrible,” he said. “Isn’t Xpress ashamed?” “Why would we be?” “Well,” Muller said, “this doesn’t exactly speak well of the intelligence level of your
readers.” — J.E.
2. Julie Atallah @BruisinAles 3. gary charles @AskAsheville @GSocialMedia
Local Website 1. h Mountainx.com Mountainx.com used to offer little more than a digital version of the newspaper’s print edition, but now it’s become its own beast, featuring photo galleries, videos, podcasts, Twitter feeds, copious comments and up-to-the minute breaking news. Like any good website, mountainx.com is constantly evolving; shortly after this year’s Best of WNC voting ended, Xpress rolled out a radical redesign. Xpress’ publisher, Web-enthusiast Jeff Fobes,
fresh, since 1994!
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mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 57
"Thanks asheville for voting Me Best
Singer/Songwriter & Best Radio Personality"
Ð aaron lafalce
Download FREE tracks at website
says the change was overdue and will prove to be a good thing. “The new site operates much faster, because it is built upon an efficient, modern architecture,” he explains. “We’re improving the functionality of the site every day and hopefully we’ve ironed out most of the bugs.” Soon, Fobes adds, the site will offer new tools for customizing readers’ experiences and a revamped mobile version. It takes a small army of staffers and contributors to keep mountainx.com humming along, but major credit goes to the site’s designers: Patrick Conant and Jesse Michel. — J.E.
2. Ashvegas ashvegas.squarespace.com 3. Citizen-Times.com
Most OverReported Story 1. Casey Anthony trial The Casey Anthony murder trial. Ugh. You’d have been hard-pressed to find news in Xpress about this tabloid fodder, but it received a seething mess of coverage by national news outlets. “Over-reported” might be the nicest descriptor of the whole sad spectacle. But readers’ picks for the second- and thirdmost over-reported stories, the notorious topless protest(s) and the annual Bele Chere festival, were indeed local-news topics that received the requisite ink in Xpress. Perhaps there’s a way to condense coverage of those two items in the future. An indecent proposal: Next year, why not just combine Bele Chere and the topless protests into one big, Asheville-style cesspool of a weekend? — J.E.
2. Topless protest 3. Bele Chere
Most UnderReported Story 1. West Asheville crime The news about a summer spate of harrowing crimes in Asheville — home break-ins in the wee hours, assaults on the street — came too little, too late, for many city residents. They felt let down by how local law enforcement and media outlets spread word about this most-serious local matter. Then, an interesting thing happened: The residents became their own media. When West Ashevilleans convened a crisis meeting with the Asheville Police Department, for example, local activist Jim Barton compiled a detailed report for the Xpress website (http://avl. mx/5i). And another West Asheville denizen, Bill Rhodes, spearheaded an online (and offline) campaign to keep the community connected, informed and active in facing its collective concerns. Check out this ongoing citizen-journalism project at westashevillewatch.com. — J.E.
2. Home invasions 2. Assaults in Montford 3. “Republicans’ destruction of America” 3. Corruption in APD and Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department
ASANA • PRANAYAMA • MANTRA • MEDITATION • BLISS
Thanks for Voting Us One of the Best Yoga Studio: West Asheville Yoga Yoga Instructor: Cat Matlock
WestAshevilleYoga.com AshevilleYogaTeacherTraining.com 58 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
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Asheville’s Best-Kept Secret 1. Not telling After all of these years, we’ve finally cracked the cipher of what readers mean by “not telling.” It’s a spoonerism! When readers say “not telling,” they really mean “tot nelling.” Let’s just say it has something to do with a certain company on the NYSE that you may or may not want to keep an eye on. — J.B.
F O W T S E B wenty-ElevenNC T
3. The Bywater 796 Riverside Drive 232-6967 bywaterbar.com
Enjoy your title while you can, “Keep Asheville Weird,” cause things are about to get dirty. — M.S.
2. Don’t move here 3. Buy Local
1. Hotel Indigo 151 Haywood St. ichotelsgroup.com
Local Colorful Character
Since opening a location in Asheville in November 2009, Hotel Indigo — one of a chain of boutique hotels — has made its mark downtown. Nine-stories tall with the Phi Bar and Bistro on the lobby level, Hotel Indigo offers 100 guest rooms featuring murals on the walls, contemporary décor and funky color schemes.
1. Sister Bad Habit lazoomtours.com If you spend more than an hour in downtown Asheville, chances are you’ll see a somewhat masculine nun making a scene, and being cheered on for her antics. The oft-seen and beloved nun — Sister Bad Habit — is part of LaZoom Tours, which operates city tours for locals and tourists alike out of an equally recognizable large purple bus.
Ask an employee what makes Hotel Indigo unique, and they won’t hesitate to tell you that it’s the emphasis the hotel places on weaving itself into the local fabric.
3. Princess Anne Hotel 301 E. Chestnut St. 258-0986 princessannehotel.com 60 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
Since 2005, the popular “Keep Asheville Weird” bumper sticker has propagated on bumpers throughout the city in a back-end attack against normalcy.
While the recent cesspool comment originally validated everything the “Keep Asheville Weird” bumper sticker has been striving for over the past six years, it may also be the thing that knocks them out of the prestigious Best Bumper Sticker category when the sure-to-bemade “Keep Asheville a Cesspool” sticker is released.
3. The Sky Bar 18 Battery Park Ave. 225-6998
2. The Grand Bohemian 11 Boston Way 505-2949 bohemianhotelasheville.com
Residents of Asheville recently scored a major coup in their “Keep Asheville Weird” bumper sticker campaign when N.C. Sen. Jim Forrester called the city a “cesspool of sin.”
These days “weird” barely does the city justice when it comes to describing Asheville’s eclectic and sometimes eccentric culture.
2. Frugal Decor and More 1100 W.Chapel Road 277-5700 frugaldecorandmore.com
“Hotel Indigo cares about being a part of the community,” said Jeremy Weber, who works at the front desk. “Everything about the hotel — from the furnishings to the paint on the wall — everything comes from within a 50mile radius. We’re big about the guest experience being about the community, and doing things local. We even use local food in our restaurant. It’s just very community- and local-based.” — T.S.
1. Keep Asheville Weird
When Sister Bad Habit isn’t dashing down the street (for the amusement of LaZoom passengers — and, by default, the general public), she’s being “caught” drinking a pint on the patio of a local bar, or riding a ridiculously tall bicycle expertly/haphazardly (depending on perspective) down the street alongside the bus. And you know you’re doing something right if your ticket to being “local colorful character” is a black-and-white outfit. — T.S.
2. Jim Lauzon lazoomtours.com 3. Brother Christopher
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mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 61
PHOTO BY MAX COOPER
BOUTIQUE HOTEL h HOTEL INDIGOm
Local Environmental Group
ter-related lessons to more than 4,000 K-12 students. “We’ve also motivated over 600 volunteers to conduct 150 river cleanups, collecting over 1,500 bags of trash and 300 tires,” Russell notes.
1. RiverLink P.O. Box 15488 2528474 riverlink.org
Even more exciting programs are on the horizon, such as the French Broad River Paddle Trail, which will eventually offer overnight paddle-in, paddle-out campsites along the French Broad. — M.S.
“I think the people of the Asheville area really appreciate what RiverLink is doing — and has done — for the community,” says Dave Russell, RiverLink’s volunteer director. “People of all segments of society appreciate amenities such as Carrier Park, and are excited about the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan, the 17-mile greenway system RiverLink is spearheading.” Russell says that much of the appreciation for RiverLink stems from its consistent and continued efforts to “clean up the French Broad River, educate the public and encourage recreation on and around the river.” The environmental group has been busy this past year. RiverLink has taught wa-
2. Dogwood Alliance 129 Biltmore Ave. 251-2525 dogwoodalliance.org 3. Asheville Greenworks 29 Page Ave. 254-1776 qualityforward.org
Local Eyesore 1. h BB&T 1 W. Pack Square towerassoc.com
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No stranger to the aesthetic ire of WNC residents, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the BB&T Building was once again voted Best Local Eyesore. Looking out from inside the upper floors of the visually loathed BB&T Building located at 1 Pack Square in the heart of downtown Asheville, the view of the surrounding environs is astounding. If nothing else, it’s a unique perspective looking down on the pedestrians and drivers who are looking back up toward you in disgust. From appearance alone, none of the building’s 18 stories seem to promise interesting stories of their own; instead, each floor serves as one gray flapjack in a tall stack of boredom. More than just evoking a rainy day in Pyongyang, the BB&T building also makes one think of a secret-police interrogation center in mid-20th-century Stalingrad, adorned with windows acquired during the squashing of the Hungarian Revolution. It’s a special place. — T.S.
2. Digital billboards
3. Hotel Indigo 151 Haywood St. ichotelsgroup.com
Local Festival 1. Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun FestIval lexfestasheville.com Has it really been 10 years? Since launching in 2001, the Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival has grown from a block party on the lower end of eclectic North Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville to a two-day, multi-stage event that stretches from College Street to I-240. The collective fever dream of Kitty Love and Michael Mooney (who at the time ran Sky People Gallery & Design Studio, also on North Lex), LAAFF soon joined forces with Arts2People (an Asheville nonprofit dedicated to providing all people with access to the arts and artistic expression). The result has been a stilt-walking, bicycle-jousting
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masquerade of the macabre and magnificent. Despite all the shenanigans, LAAFF has always been a kid-friendly event. The grandparents, however, may be a little confused by it all. — T.S.
2. Bele Chere belecherefestival.com 3. Moogfest moogfest.com
Local Hero 1. Capt. Jeff Bowen
Brother Wolf has ongoing projects that are continually growing with community involvement. One, the Outward Hound Hiking club, has grown from a once-a-week outing for the dogs, to a thrice-weekly event. Bitz says the outings are great for the dogs, and for the human volunteers. “It’s good exercise and helps refresh your soul.” Brother Wolf is open seven days a week, 365 days a year. — M.S.
2. MANNA FoodBank 627 Swannanoa River Road 299-3663 mannafoodbank.org
On July 28, 2011, Asheville firefighters responded to a four-alarm fire call at a five-story medical office building at 445 Biltmore Ave. Around 60 firefighters worked to put out the blaze and ensure that the 200 people who had been inside when the fire started were safely evacuated, with none left behind.
3. Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project 306 W. Haywood St. 236-1282 asapconnections.org
Bravely serving the city of Asheville and its residents, Capt. Jeff Bowen, 37, was looking for people trapped inside when he suffered exposure to heat and smoke, and later died of cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife and three children. Bowen’s funeral service at Biltmore Baptist Church was attended by more than 2,400 people and he was honored by citizens and public servants across the state.
“Capt. Jeff Bowen was a 13-year veteran ... known as a very proactive firefighter who was always eager to learn new skills and to teach those new skills to his fellow firefighters,” says Kelley Webb of the Asheville Fire Department. “As part of the Rescue Company, Jeff was highly trained in heavy rescue, and most of all he loved the water aspect. At the time of his death, Jeff was pursuing purchasing new dive equipment for the rescue truck. Capt. Bowen was an upbeat person who did his best to treat his crew with respect and to always keep them motivated.” — T.S.
2. Cecil Bothwell ashevillenc.gov 3. Blue Ridge Roller Girls blueridgerollergirls.com
Local Nonprofit / Not-ForProfit Group 1. Brother Wolf Animal Rescue 31 Glendale Ave. 505-3440 bwar.org Brother Wolf is always trying to look for inventive ways to bring the community into the process of pet adoption. Denise Bitz, Brother Wolf’s executive director, says the most important way a person can support the nonprofit would be to adopt. “If we don’t have what they are looking for, we would love for them to go to another rescue or shelter. Adoption versus buying an animal.” Bitz explains that Brother Wolf is more than a shelter; it’s a community resource. “It’s every-
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body’s adoption center in Asheville. People know this and that’s why they love us.”
3. RiverLink P.O. Box 15488 252-8474 riverlink.org
1. Cecil Bothwell, Asheville City Council member bothwellsblog.wordpress.com WNC’s favorite local politician is clearly plotting an upward trajectory for his immediate political career, as he prepares to run against Rep. Heath Shuler in hopes of unseating his fellow Democrat and representing the party — and the (re-gerrymandered) region — in the 2012 general election. But, more likely than not, it’s not his political ambition that endears the readership to Bothwell, a true Renaissance man who has over the years been a writer, spoken-word performer, builder, publisher, musician and rabble-rousing investigative reporter and former Xpress editor. Rather, it’s probably Bothwell’s penchant for openness, frankness and immediate communication with the electorate, as well as a desire to fight for the principles he — and many within the Asheville community — holds dear. Bothwell apologizes when he feels he’s erred, but not otherwise, no matter how blistering the criticism. Try to ruin his political dreams by hanging the “atheist” label on him (“posttheist,” he has oft insisted), and he’ll happily talk about it on a national news program. Have a fondness for sacred cows? Then don’t read his biography of the Rev. Billy Graham, provocatively titled, The Prince of War. But want to know what he thinks about any issue? Just ask him. — T.S.
2. Gordon Smith, Asheville City Council member ashevillenc.gov 3. Terry Bellamy, Mayor ashevillenc.gov
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PHOTO BY ZEN SUTHERLAND
BEST BUMBER STICKER / EYESORE KEEP ASHEVILLE WEIRD / BB&T
Local Villain 1. Carl Mumpower thecandidconservative.com You can’t keep a good villain down. Largely out of the spotlight since putting all his eggs into a failed 2008 congressional-campaign basket, Carl Mumpower, a clinical and family psychologist and former Asheville City Council member, has continued to find ways to keep his name on the lips of his detractors, something he seems to relish. And Xpress readers have, well, taken notice. Since leaving office, Mumpower has kept himself in the public arena by producing and distributing a regular column and radio commentary, “The Candid Conservative.” Mumpower has recently penned a book, also titled The Candid Conservative, described on the cover as “a handbook for saving America.”
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But would a villain set out on a humble quest to “save America?” Absolutely not! But would a villain spoil the fun of public female nudity on a Sunday afternoon in downtown Asheville? Absolutely. Following a confusing and confused public rally to secure the already-secured rights of women to go publicly topless in North Carolina, WNC’s local villain sponsored a counter-rally to make sure Asheville’s libertine ladies kept their shirts on in public. Boo! — T.S.
2. Sean David Robinson 3. Tim Moffitt avl.mx/5p
Neighborhood 1. h West Asheville onhaywood.com Alice Oglesby of onhaywood.com says
THANK YOU ASHEVILLE FROM
A warm thank you Asheville for voting us as one of the best in the artisan jeweler category! We are delighted to be a part of this community and look forward to many more years serving you. Chris Van Dyke, GG Jeweler, Proprietor
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THANKS, ASHEVILLE! for voting us ONE OF THE BEST
she loves living in West Asheville because it’s an interesting community and has fabulous proximity. Oglesby says people care passionately about their neighborhoods and supporting the local businesses. “Heck, your neighbor probably owns your favorite restaurant and has a really interesting obscure hobby or area of expertise.” Oglesby says “walkable” doesn’t quite cover West Asheville. Not only is it easy to walk, but it also includes bicycle and bus options along the corridor. “A wide variety of businesses, services and parks are easily accessible from most West Asheville neighborhoods.” Bill Rhodes of West Asheville Watch agrees there is a long history of community in West Asheville. “You can see it on the street as people wave to each other, recognize each other in our stores, shops and bars by saying hello, and the way people pitch in and help on projects large and small. This neighborhood is local. This neighborhood is healthy. This neighborhood will survive whatever is thrown at it.” — M.S.
A Tribute to Folk Art and Authentic Mexican Food 401 E. State Street, Black Mountain (828) 669-0550 1235 Tunnel Road East, Asheville (828) 298-0733
2. Montford montford.org 3. North Asheville
Place To Break Up 1. Break-up table at Broadway’s 120 N. Lexington Ave. 285-0400 Looking for a good place to crush the spirit of your once-upon-a-crush? Asheville has a place for that! Nothing says “I don’t love you anymore but we can still be friends” like a stiff drink at the not-so-intimate break-up table at Broadway’s. Many find that the front-room table-for-two and alcohol are the perfect mixture for the magic of moving on with the rest of your life.
Focused on what we do best – 100% Woodfired BBQ No Fancy Trappings Just Real Pit BBQ Along with Traditional Southern Scratch Made Sides THANKS FOR VOTING US ONE OF THE BEST IN WNC!!! FULL SERVICE: 2375 US Hwy 70 Swannanoa, NC • Mon-Sat 11-8 • 828-686-0050 TAKE OUT: 807 Smokey Park Hwy Candler, NC • Mon-Sat 11-7 • 633-0777 www.okiedookiesbbq.com
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The bad news is, whoever is doing the breaking up is ethically obligated to pay for the drinks. The good news is, if you position yourself right, your soon-to-be ex can hold back tears and stare blindly out the window (at a nice view of Lexington Avenue) while you get to keep an eye on the door and look for your next love-slash-rebound. — M.S.
2. At home 3. Text message
Place To Get It On 1. The Blue Ridge Parkway Why don’t we, as the Beatles suggested, do “it” in the road? Because of all the feces from the chickens who are constantly crossing it to get to the other side, that’s why. However, Xpress readers are apparently fond of cou-
pling on either side of one road in particular, in cars parked in nearby “scenic overlooks,” and along and around the trails that sprout off the Blue Ridge Parkway. A perusal of proposed “casual encounters” on the Craigslist site for Asheville reveals you don’t even need to have a romantic partner in mind beforehand in order to enjoy the Parkway’s fall foliage while kicking off the dashboard like an Olympic swimmer making an end-of-lane turn in a frantic race toward sexual release. But don’t get it on while actually driving on The Blue Ridge Parkway, people — climbing into the back of a heavily tinted car belonging to a stranger you scheduled anonymous sex with on the Internet just moments earlier is one thing, but making love to your longtime partner while negotiating hairpin turns is just downright dangerous. — T.S.
2. Home 3. the Botanical Gardens at asheville ashevillebotanicalgardens.org
Place To Get Married 1. The Biltmore Estate 1 Approach Road 225-6280 biltmore.com For couples wanting a picture-perfect wedding but not the hassles that go with it, the Biltmore Estate is their favorite place to tie the knot. And no wonder: how could you not feel like royalty when the backdrop to one of the biggest moments in your life is essentially America’s version of a castle? If it was good enough for Cornelia Vanderbilt, it’s good enough for anyone. There’s a reason the Biltmore Estate is the setting for more than 250 weddings a year. “We do everything from intimate weddings up to the larger affairs,” says Maura Scarmack, senior catering sales manager at Biltmore Estate. “We have a history of hospitality and superior service and we certainly try to stay true to that. We offer amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and we have the most incredible culinary experts prepare meals for clients. The food offering coupled with the overall service experience hopefully makes us a little special.” It’s practically a wedding and honeymoon rolled into one. The Biltmore Estate can host not only the wedding and the reception (and, with more than 8,000 acres, can host as many as eight weddings a day) but also bridesmaid luncheons and rehearsal dinners, while the betrothed stay at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. Bachelor parties? Try the Red Roof Inn. — T.S.
2. The North Carolina Arboretum 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way 665-2492 ncarboretum.org 3. Claxton Farm 288 Upper Flat
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Thanks for Voting Us
Best Thai Food in WNC!
Thai Basil Authentic Fine Thai Cuisine Asheville – Black Mountain Asheville: 828-258-0036 Black Mountain: 828-664-4322 www.thaibasilnc.com
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PHOTO BY MACKENSY LUNSFORD
PLACE TO GET MARRIED h BILTMORE ESTATEm
Creek Road, Weaverville 658-1390 claxtonfarm.net 3. the Grove Park Inn 290 Macon Ave. 252-2711 groveparkinn.com/Leisure/Dining
2. High cost of living 3. None
Reason To Leave Asheville
Reason To Live In Asheville
1. No jobs
1. h The Mountains
Economic troubles are nothing new to those trying to hack out a living in Asheville, and the area’s lack of jobs has long topped our readers’ poll. The city’s unemployment numbers have hovered just over 8 percent for much of the year, which translates to more than 17,000 people looking for work. And that doesn’t take in to account those who have stopped trying.
“The mountains win again,” as the Blues Traveler song goes ...
However, on the hopeful side of things, that’s down from when the economy bottomed out two years ago, when unemployment reached 9.6 percent. And the current rate is lower than the national mark of 9.1 percent. Meanwhile, many of the jobs here
remain notoriously low-paying, with the tourism and service industries continuing to dominate the economy. — J.F.
And there’s a lot to love about living in Asheville. Yes, the town is full of amazing people (“the people” earned No. 3). And it sure is awesome (“it’s awesome” came in at No. 2). That’s on top of great food, beer, music, arts and more. But nothing compares to the lure of the Appalachian Mountains, which comfort, cradle and surround this town, and define it more than anything else. — J.F.
2. It’s awesome
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3. The people
Thing Downtown Asheville Needs 1. Parking ‘Round and ‘round we go — it’s a familiar sentiment for many us who often find ourselves circling downtown on a Friday or Saturday evening looking for parking. On the other hand, compared to larger cities where parking is almost impossible or extremely expensive, we’ve got it pretty good. Downtown parking decks are rarely full, and at least one more is on the way: A big new parking deck is scheduled to be completed this spring at 51 Biltmore Ave., offering hundreds of more spaces in the heart of town. — J.F.
2. Public restrooms 3. Bike lanes
Thing You’d Like To See Local Government Do 1. Create jobs Judging from the recent rhetoric of City Council candidates, they hear your call. At forum after forum, most of them have touted themselves as the right person to help create jobs, in one way or another. And that sentiment has been echoed by sitting officials, with renewed efforts to improve growth using everything from infrastructure spending to economic incentives. But of course, the success of those measures remains to be seen. And there’s clearly historical and national trends at work here that may limit what local government can really do to improve things quickly. — J.F.
2. Bike lanes 3. More sidewalks 3. Improve public transportation
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Brevard Harboring a rare and comely rodent is a great tourism-booster. Brevard’s celebrated white squirrels — allegedly spawned from a dray of circus-train escapees — now get their own festival every Memorial Day Weekend. Really, the town is graced with more than its fair share of natural riches: Seated in atmospherically named Transylvania County along Western North Carolina’s southern border, Brevard also boasts 250 waterfalls, about half of them named, including 400-foot Whitewater Falls (the highest cascade east of the Rockies).
F O W T S E B ty-Ele NC Twen
Local Musician/ Group 1. Steep Canyon Rangers steepcanyon.com 2. Dave Desmelik davedesmelik.com 3. Jeff Sipe Trio myspace.com/jeffsipetrio 3. Shannon Whitworth shannonwhitworth.net
Varying the tune of WNC’s rootsdrenched scene, the Brevard Music Center is a summer classical-music institution. Its festival draws the genre’s pinnacle performers (Yo-Yo Ma headlined in August of this year). BMC turned 75 this year, and Transylvania County twice that, celebrating its sesquicentennial with events that began in September. A significant percentage of the town’s yearround residents are retirees. But as long as white-squirrel spotting and waterfall hunting stay prominent on tourists’ summer to-do lists, Brevard should keep scurrying into the future. — M.M.B.
1. DuPont State Forest dupontforest.com 2. Pisgah National Forest hikewnc.info/trailheads/pisgah 3. Davidson River hikewnc.info/ trailheads/pisgah/pisgah/davidson. html
Place To See A White Squirrel
Art Gallery 1. Red Wolf Gallery 8 E. Main St., Brevard 862-8620 redwolfgallerync.com 2. Bluewood Gallery 36 W. Jordan St., Brevard 883-4142 bluewoodgallery.com 3. Gallery On Main 36 E. Main St., Brevard 885-7299 galleryonmain.net
1. Brevard College Campus brevard.edu 2. Downtown Brevard brevardnc.com 3. White Squirrel Festival whitesquirrelfestival.com
Restaurant Luminaries from the great beyond!
1. Square Root 33 Times Arcade Alley, Brevard 884-6171 squarerootrestaurant.com 2. Hob Nob Restaurant 192 W. Main St., brevard 966-4662 hobnobrestaurant.com 3. Jordan Street Café 30 W. Jordan St., Brevard 883-2558
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“One of the most beautiful outdoor venues in the state.” Fall/Winter 2011 • The amazing beauty of the Swannanoa Valley • Base packages that include everything you need: tents, tables, chairs, linens, dishes, dance floor, DJ, sound system, event coordination, horse/carriage, golf cart/driver, ice chests, lighting packages, etc. (You are saving over $5000 by not having to rent these items yourself.) • Tasteful and affordable on-site lodging for your guests • Shuttle transportation available for guests when off-site accommodations are booked through Hidden River • Excellent preferred vendors who give you 15-40% discounts when you book them through Hidden River 828-333-3401
Thanks to Our Customers & Staff for Your Patronage, Loyalty & Support. WE LOVE YOU! 337 Merrimon Ave. Weaverville, NC 828.645.3309 • Stoneyknobcafe.com
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Swannanoa/Black Mountain There’s a whole lotta learning going on in these two scenic burgs edging the easternmost rim of Buncombe County. Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa is known for its MFA Program for Writers — regularly ranked on lists alongside the University of Iowa’s legend-disgorging Writers’ Workshop — and for being “green,” centuries before green was gold. When enviro-minded outlets began releasing their own lists, Warren Wilson rose to the top like the cream in the milk of its dairy cows, whose descendants cropped grass on the rural campus starting in 1894. Thanks to its privately managed forests, organic gardens and biodiesel campus vehicles, the Swannanoa school was named secondgreenest school in America by Good Housekeeping’s consumers’ guide The Daily Green, even beating out famous granola institution Evergreen State College. Nearby Black Mountain boasts a charming downtown district ringed with views at every turn. It’s home to the ever-flourishing Lake Eden Arts Festival and to long-defunct Black Mountain College. Although the experimental school closed its doors almost 60 years ago, the reverberations of its culturally luminous alumni — Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, Charles Olson, et al. — refuse to subside. Events held in the college’s honor sell out every year. — M.M.B.
2. Dynamite Roasting Company 3198 U.S. Highway 70 West, Black Mountain 243-4085 dynamiteroasting.com 3. Town Hardware & General Store 103 W. State St., Black Mountain 669-7723 townhardware.com
1. Seven Sisters Fine Arts & Crafts Gallery 117 Cherry St., Black Mountain 669-5107 sevensistersgallery.com 2. Black Mountain Center for the Arts 225 W. State St., Black Mountain 669-0930 blackmountainarts.org 1. Pisgah Brewing Co. 150 East3. Pisgah Brewing Company 150 side Drive, Black Mountain 669-0190 Eastside Drive, swannanoa 669-0190 pisgahbrewing.com pisgahbrewing.com 2. White Horse Black Mountain 105-C Montreat Road, black mountain 669-0816 whitehorseblackmountain. com 1. Seven Sisters Fine Arts & 3. Town Pump [CLOSED] Crafts Gallery 117 Cherry St., Black Mountain 669-5107 sevensistersgallery.com
1. My Father’s Pizza 110 Cherry St., Black Mountain 669-4944 myfatherspizza.com 2. Ole’s Guacamoles 401 e. state st., black mountain 669-0550 olesguacamoles.com 3. Morning Glory Café 6 E. Market St., Black Mountain 669-6212 themorningglorycafe.com 3. The Blackbird Restaurant 10 E. Market St., Black Mountain 669-5556 theblackbirdrestaurant.com 74 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
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Thanks for Voting Us Best Antique Shop in WNC!
Authentic Chinese Cuisine Dine In & Take Out
Thank you for voTing us 2nd besT Chinese resTauranT! HOurs: Sun - Thurs: 11am - 10pm • Fri - Sat: 11am - 10:30pm
48 Westgate Parkway Asheville, NC 28806
828-236-3839 • www.orientalpavilion.com Westgate Pkwy
Westgate Shopping Center
828-252-7291 • www.atbarn.com
TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE
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PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
restaurant h MY FATHER’s PIZZAm
We would like to thank everyone for voting Good Stuff in this year’s Best-Of. AND Invite you to a celebration party for our fifth year in business [and fun]. Saturday, October 22nd Starting at 3pm Sample tastings, music, reindeer games... ...and now Good Stuff Grocery is styling with “YUM!” Our new restaurant serves up some of the finest this side of the French Broad.
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PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
ART GALLERY h SEVEN SISTERS GALLERYm 2011
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Woodfin/Weaverville A curvy ramble on Riverside Drive accesses one of WNC’s most subtly picturesque spots: Woodfin River Park beside the storied French Broad. Just a couple of minutes north of Asheville, Woodfin’s still dotted here and there with the manufacturing plants that once defined its existence. Some warehouses have been transformed into artists’ studios, though, and nearby upscale community Reynolds Mountain forecasts, for better or worse, the eventual gentrification of this historic mill town. Next stop: Weaverville, home to so many potters, painters, metalworkers and jewelers it merits a twice-yearly Art Safari driving tour. Think of Weaverville as Asheville’s creative baby sister — same grade of charm, much less traffic. History buffs know the town as the rearing grounds of ante- and post-bellum N.C. Governor Zebulon Baird Vance, a prominent Civil War figure honored by the stark monument in downtown Asheville. Much more revealing: Vance Birthplace in Weaverville’s Reems Creek Valley, a state-maintained farmstead and historic site that hosts yearly tributes to the governor and his family. — M.M.B.
Local Artist 1. Rob Mangum, mangum pottery 16 n. main st., Weaverville 6454929 mangumpottery.com 2. Spencer Herr spencerherr.com 3. Jennifer Jenkins, mIYA gALLERY 20 N. Main St., Weaverville 658-9655 miyagallery.com 3. Steven Forbes-deSoule 143 David Biddle Trail, Weaverville 645-9065 stevenforbesdesoule.com
Local Shop 1. Miya gallery 20 N. Main St., Weaverville 658-9655 miyagallery.com 2. Sanctuary of Stuff 440 Weaverville Highway, Weaverville 484-8047 sanctuaryofstuff.com
3. Well-Bred Bakery 26 N. Main St., Weaverville 645-9300 well-bredbakery.com
Neighborhood Gathering Spot 1. Well-Bred Bakery 26 N. Main St., Weaverville 645-9300 well-bredbakery.com 1. Jack of Hearts 10 S. Main St., Weaverville 645-2700 jackofheartspub.com 2. Blue Mountain Pizza 55 N. Main St., Weaverville 658-8777 bluemountainpizza.com 3. Lake Louise Weaverville
Restaurant 1. Stoney Knob Café 337 Merrimon Ave., Weaverville 645-3309 stoneyknobcafe.com 2. Blue Mountain Pizza 55 N. Main St., Weaverville 658-8777 bluemountainpizza.com 3. Jack of Hearts 10 S. Main St., Weaverville 645-2700 jackofheartspub.com 78 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
mountain xpress presents
Voted One of the Best Gift Shops in WNC! “Thanks for Choosing Our Store for Your Fair Trade Gifts!”
OFFICIAL GUIDE Publishing October 26th This year, Xpress is proud to partner with AC Entertainment, the festival hosts and organizers. We’ll be printing the official guide, which will be in the hands of thousands of eager festival-goers. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this internationally-significant weekend.
Twinkling Stars Candleholder $16 Made in India
Deadline is October 19th CALL YOUR SALES REP TODAY! 828-251-1333 or email@example.com
10 College St., Asheville, NC (828) 254-8374 • asheville.tenthousandvillages.com Black Mountain Restaurant
Voted one of the Best Mountain Xpress 2011
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PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
neighborhood gathering spot h jack of heartsm
Now Open For Business In Downtown Asheville! Serving you since 2004
New York Pizza & Signature Sandwiches Slices & Whole Pies • Featuring Boar’s Head Meats & Cheeses 640 Merrimon Avenue Asheville 28804 • 254-5442
12 Biltmore Avenue Asheville 28801 • 225-5552 • 225-5554
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PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH
ART GALLERY h MIYA GALLERYm
Compassionate People Providing the Best Animal Emergency Care
Animal Emergency Hospital
Continuous overnight monitoring by veterinarians Advanced imaging including digital radiography and ultrasonography Transfusion medicine (whole blood, packed RBC’s and plasma) Specialty medicine consultation including radiology, cardiology, pathology, toxicology and internal medicine Feeding tube placement and nutritional support Rabbit, avian, guinea pig, reptile, goat and pig emergency care
Emergency surgical procedures including gastric torsion, splenectomy, nephrectomies, chest tube placement, etc Oxygen and nebulizer therapy Full scope of toxicity treatment; including testing and treatment for antifreeze ingestion. Snake envenomation with antivenin kept in stock Autoimmune disorders Working with primary care veterinarians to provide continuous veterinary care. Doppler and ocillometric blood pressure reading FULL SERVICE EMERGENCY CARE
Mon. - Fri. 5pm - 8am Sat. - Sun. & Holidays 24 Hours
677 Brevard Road Asheville, NC
Congratulations to WHITNEY WILLIAMS, LIC. AC. (on right) voted Best Acupuncturist - First Place and
RENEE N. GRAZIANO, D.C. (on left) voted Best Chiropractor - tied for First Place for 2011 in Mountain Xpress’s “Best of” in WNC!
Our deepest gratitude and appreciation to our clients and community for the opportunity to serve! See ad on page 39 for Source for Well-Being, voted
#1 Best Alternative Health Center in WNC! www.sourceforwellbeing.com • 828.669.8800
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Marshall/Hot Springs Faintly spooky Marshall is literally and culturally fastened to the ancient French Broad River. Its single-shot Main Street is so enshrined in time, it deserves its own movie. Which it got, in the moody indie gem All the Real Girls starring Zooey Deschanel. One can’t dismiss the Madison County town as an artifact, however. Roughly concurrent with the opening of Zuma Coffee 10 years ago, Marshall’s become an everbuzzier hive for creative types — witness the transformation of the former downtown high school into a vast suite of artists’ studios, or such quirky events as Mermaids in Marshall (part of the seasonal gallery showcase French Broad Fridays).
Imaging focused on YOU ... At Marquis you will find: • A warm, inviting atmosphere • An attentive staff focused on your comfort and needs • On-site radiologists to interpret results for your doctor • State-of-the-art equipment: - “Open-concept” MRI that is comfortable for all patients, including claustrophobics and those up to 550 lbs. - Next generation CT technology that reduces radation exposure
Ask your doctor about
1000 Centre Park Dr. Asheville, NC 28805 (Conveniently located off Chunns Cove Road, just minutes from Asheville Mall)
Phone: (828) 255-8885 Fax: (828) 255-4595 Accepting all insurance and offering the region’s most-competitve self-pay rates
Lower rates means less out of pocket for you
The county’s other aquatic attraction is Hot Springs, where folks have been immersing themselves in the allegedly curative mineral waters for 200 years. A pass-through on the Appalachian Trail, the town abounds with character, outfitting whitewater adventurers and hosting several rootsy events per year at popular Hot Springs Resort and Spa and its adjacent campground. Chief among these is the Bluff Mountain Music Festival, a free showcase of indigenous fiddlers, stompers, cloggers and ballad singers. — M.M.B.
1. Good Stuff Grocery 133 S. Main St. #101, Marshall 649-9711 goodstuffgrocery.com 2. Bluff Mountain Outfitters 152 Bridge St., Hot Springs 622-7162 bluffmountain.com 3. Penland and Sons Department Store 50 S. Main St., Marshall 649-2811
1. Zuma Coffee 10 S. Main St., marshall 649-1617 zumacoffee. blogspot.com 2. Iron Horse Station 24 S. Andrews Ave., hot springs 622-0022 theironhorsestation.com 3. Yum at good stuff 133 S. Main St., Marshall 649-9711
Place To Camp 1. Hot Springs campground 622-7676 nchotsprings.com 2. Rocky Bluff avl.mx/5l 3. Max Patch localhikes.com/Hikes/ maxpatch_0480.asp
Swimmin’ Hole 1. Laurel River At the intersection of Highway 25/70 and Highway 208 localhikes.com 2. French Broad River 3. Hot Springs hotspringsnc.org
Your Pet Deserves The Best! THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST PIZZA IN ASHEVILLE! Proudly Serving WNC for over 17 years.
946 Merrimon Ave. N. Asheville • 285-0709
1854 Hendersonville Rd. S. Asheville • 277-0004
A Special Congratulations to Asheville Pizza Company! 82 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
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Waynesville/Canton Edging the Smokies west of Asheville, rustic, beautiful Haywood County generally keeps to itself — except when it enjoys its surprisingly regular bursts of international fame. There’s Folkmoot, a yearly folk-dance festival headquartered in Waynesville, that features performers from countries worldwide. In 2011, the event celebrated 29 years of success with troupes from Burundi, China, Italy, Trinidad, Croatia, Guadeloupe and Finland. The rest of the year, Waynesville is known for a lively main street full of cafés, fine-craft galleries and upscale restaurants. It all happens in the shadow of Cold Mountain, the imposing Haywood County peak that in 1997 made a National Book Award winner out of Charles Frazier — raised partly in Canton — when he released his Civil War epic by that name. The novel was eventually turned into a major movie starring A-listers Jude Law and the curiously-wrong-for-the-part-if-you-knew-the-character-from-the-book Nicole Kidman. (In further absurd choices, filmmakers selected Romania as the set locale instead of the real-life backdrop.) Fred Chappell, North Carolina’s poet laureate from 1997-2002, is another famous Canton son. It’s primarily an industrial town; the Blue Ridge Papers factory employs the majority of Canton’s work force. And it’s also regaining ground as a cultural destination, thanks in part to the final renovation of the historic Colonial Theatre five years ago. Today the venue brings in traditional-music acts of regional and national
Waynesville 456-5559 sweetonionrestaurant.com 2. Smokey Shadows Lodge & Dining 323 Smokey Shadows Lane, Maggie Valley 926-0001 smokeyshadows.com 3. Bogart’s Restaurant & Tavern 303 S. Main St., waynesville 452-1313 bogartswaynesville.com
1. Twigs and Leaves Art Gallery 98 N. Main St., Waynesville 456-1940 twigsandleaves.com 2. Leapin’ Frog Gallery 58 Commerce St., Waynesville 456-8441 2. Gallery 86 86 N. Main St., Waynesville 452-0593 haywoodarts.org/ aboutus/gallery86.html 3. Art on Depot 250 Depot St., Waynesville 246-0218 artondepot.com 1. Sunburst swimmingholes.org/ nc.html 2. Pigeon River 3. Lake Junaluska Pool
An Extraordinary Experience in Eye Care
Local Musician/ Group
1. Balsam Range balsamrange.com 2. Caleb Burress, Five Pound Fire myspace.com/fivepoundfire 3. Lorraine Conard lorraineconard.com 3. Rafe Hollister rafehollister.com
Restaurant 1. The Sweet Onion 39 Miller St.,
The Envision Team would like to thank our fantastic
Grateful Steps Publishing House congratulates Laura Hope-Gill, poet of The Soul Tree and Director of Asheville Wordfest.
Thank You Asheville, for Loving Poetry! www.thesoultree.com www.ashevillewordfest.org Twitter: @gratefulsteps
patients for voting us #1 BEST EYE HEALTH CARE
Our Team of experts pledges to deliver the ﬁnest in eye health care and client service.
www.myenvisioneyecare.com 180 Charlotte St | Asheville, NC | 828-254-6757 mountainx.com • VOLUME TWO • BEST OF WNC 2011 83
Sylva/Cullowhee A Cullowhee man was once bitten by a spider so rare he carted it off to Duke University, where it was summarily named in his honor. Itâ€™s a great story â€” but it canâ€™t be called an urban legend. Even â€œtownâ€? wonâ€™t quite do it. College hamlet Cullowhee is still termed a Census Designated Place (or CDP) â€” government speak for unincorporated. The proud, woodsy locale is home to mountain-cradled Western Carolina University, which stands out for its combination of gorgeous rural atmosphere and vernacular slant, including the Mountain Heritage Center and the Cherokee Studies program. The addition, last decade, of the John W. Bardo Fine & Performing Arts Center and an M.F.A. program has expanded the schoolâ€™s scope, attracted major national performers and ensured a fresh influx of ideas for the 21st century. Not that Jackson County hasnâ€™t always housed its share of mavericks. Decades before downtown Asheville became clogged with bistros, bakeries and ethnic cafĂŠs du jour, downtown Sylva had Luluâ€™s on Main, WNCâ€™s original artisan-food restaurant. (Southern Living magazine declared it their â€œfavorite restaurant in the region.â€?) These days, though, Sylva is more than a one-attraction town. The Greening Up the Mountains event in late April is a showcase of local music and craft that unofficially kickstarts the Southern Appalachiansâ€™ jam-packed, six-month festival season. â€” M.M.B.
4HANK YOU LOYAL READERS 9OU KICK ASS !SHVEGAS LOVES YOU
1. Motion Makers Bicycle Shop 552 W. Main St., Sylva 586-6925 motionmakersbikes.com 2. City Lights Bookstore 3 E. Jackson St., Sylva 586-9499 citylightsnc.com 3. Annieâ€™s Naturally Bakery 506 W. Main St., Sylva 586-9096 anniesnaturallybakery.com
Place To Get Beer
2. PJâ€™s Fast Food Mart (BP) 237 U.S. Highway 1974, Sylva 586-9645 3. Oâ€™Malleyâ€™s on Main Pub & Grill 83 Asheville Highway, Sylva 631-0554 3. Soul Infusion Tea House and Bistro 628 E. Main St., Sylva 586-1717
Restaurant 1. Luluâ€™s on Main 612 W. Main St., Sylva 586-8989 lulusonmain.com 2. Guadalupe CafĂŠ 606 W. Main St., Sylva 586-9877
1. Heinzelmannchen Brewery 545 3. Annieâ€™s Naturally Bakery 506 W. Main St., Sylva 586-9096 Mill St., Sylva 631-4466 anniesnaturallybakery.com yourgnometownbrewery.com
FRANKâ€™S NY DELI â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…â€œSimply the best!â€? â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…â€œI just ate the best sandwich I ever hadâ€Śâ€? â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…â€œFrankâ€™s is the best sandwich in town.â€?
Specializing in rumors of news
84 BEST OF WNC 2011 â€˘ VOLUME TWO â€˘ mountainx.com
See what our customers say: menupix.com & urbanspoon.com
ViSit OuR New LOCAtiON - Mid OCtObeR 2145 Hendersonville Rd. Âź mile South of Long Shoals Road Mon-Fri: 10am-7pm, Sat: 10am-5pm â€˘ 3732 Sweeten Creek Rd., Arden
Saturday-Night Hangout 1. Oâ€™Malleyâ€™s on Main Pub & Grill 83 Asheville Highway, Sylva 631-0554 2. Guadalupe CafĂŠ 606 W. Main St., Sylva 586-9877 3. Soul Infusion Tea House and Bistro 628 E. Main St., Sylva 586-1717
Hendersonville/ Flat Rock Approximately 5,000 acres in Henderson County are devoted to apple orchards, owned by about 200 growers. Itâ€™s the primary apple-producing county in the state, and among the countryâ€™s top ten. Still mountainous, but a little warmer than Asheville to the north, Hendersonville is a favorite landing place of retirees and supports a lively, picturesque main district with numerous museums, galleries, restaurants and boutiques. Not surprisingly, the four-day Apple Festival, which happens each Labor Day weekend, is the cityâ€™s core event. Neighboring Flat Rock enjoys an unusual cultural prominence for a town its size. It was summer-home central for rich Charleston planters in the antebellum period, and historic mansions such as the Saluda Cottages compound still echo the era. â€œLittle Rainbow Row,â€? a suite of shops and restaurants, is a dainty nod to that coastal cityâ€™s influence. North Carolinaâ€™s official state theater isnâ€™t situated in the university-heavy Triangle area or in artsy Asheville but, in fact, right here. Flat Rock Playhouse, a professional equity organization, has been staging dramas in its current incarnation for 50 years. Today, it mixes musicals with serious fare (John Patrick Shanleyâ€™s acclaimed Doubt was a recent offering) and shows a strong flair for community and educational outreach. â€” M.M.B.
Attraction 1. Flat Rock PlayHouse 2661 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock 693-0731 flatrockplayhouse.org 2. Carl Sandburg Home 81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock 693-4178 nps.gov/carl 3. Hands On! A Childâ€™s Gallery 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville 697-8333 handsonwnc.org 3. Jump Off Rock historichendersonville.com/jump_off_rock.htm 3. Southern Appalachian Brewery 822 Locust St., Hendersonville 684-1235 sabrewery.com
Festival 1. Apple Festival 318 N. Main St., # 7, Hendersonville 697-4557 ncapplefestival.org 2. Garden Jubilee hendersoncountync.org/travelhvl/garden_jubilee.htm
Local Shop 1. The Wrinkled Egg 2710 N.C. Highway 225, Flat Rock 696-3998 thewrinkledegg.com
2. Mast General Store 527 n. main St., hendersonville 696-1883 mastgeneralstore.com 3. Dancing Bear Toys 418 N. Main St., Hendersonville 693-4500 dancingbeartoys.com
Restaurant 1. West First Wood-Fired Pizza 101-B W. First Ave., Hendersonville 693-1080 2. Umi Japanese Fine Dining 633 N. Main St., Hendersonville 698-8048 umisushinc.com 3. Never Blue 119 S. Main St., Hendersonville 693-4646 theneverblue.com
,+*+/- ./,+ .* -1 0/*+.-
Introducing Dr. Pamela Putman !$#"#%!## !#! #!#(!#! ! " " !$#"#!# (!""#("## #"#&! & !# ! ! $# !$"%%## $#"#"#(%% &## $#$!# ! !$#!%!&" !#( ! #"#!()"" "#%( (#! !##"#"#( #"#!("! "" !!"!#"!"$!!( #" '""###$#!"#!$# !$#"!#American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association, North Carolina Dental Society, and Florida Dental Association
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Dr. Pamela Putman DMD, FAGD 200 Newstock Rd. Asheville, NC 28804
I-26 exit 21, then 1/2 mile west
mountainx.com â€˘ VOLUME TWO â€˘ BEST OF WNC 2011 85
Burnsville/Celo/ Spruce Pine
Thank you Western NC for voting us
Best Chiropractor for 2011!!!!
Focusing on patient specific care, Dr. Myers utilizes Active Release Techniques® (ART®), Chiropractic care, Graston technique, patient specific rehabilitation, and nutritional supplements to improve the functional health of every patient. “ART® is simply the fastest and most effective way to get back after an injury. I use ART® regularly to prevent injury in the first place!!” -Kelly
3106-E Sweeten Creek Rd. • Asheville, NC 28803
828-676-0963 www.bmyerschiro.com “Be
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When they hand out blue ribbons for best place names, Yancey and Mitchell counties may finally be prized out of isolation. There’s Loafer’s Glory, a townlet that inspired a band name and numerous online tributes. The mysteriously dubbed Toe River is a pristine curl of trout-stuffed mini-whitewater, a magical oasis that snags artists, thinkers and other solitary types in its wake. (Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Rockies, is also here.) National draw Penland School of Crafts, located just outside Burnsville, is an “it” institution that gets ittier every year. Potter-dotted Celo is a land trust/intentional community dating back to the Depression era; its utopian roots survive in Camp Celo, a Quaker summer program for kids. Spruce Pine, founded on mining, is now part of the High Country’s general alpine draw. The town’s Mayland Community College can boast Senior English Instructor Elizabeth Baird Hardy, a fantasy-literature expert who’s contributed to a book on the Twilight phenomenon. In fact, the whole area — so long known for its ceramic artists — is bursting into a wordier realm. Since 2006, the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival has been headquartered in Burnsville. This year’s headliner was bestselling novelist Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife). With that unusual surname, she was a natural fit. — M.M.B.
1. Toe River Arts Council 102 W. Main St., Burnsville and 269 Oak Ave., Spruce Pine 682-7215 and 765-0520 toeriverarts.org 2. Crimson Laurel Gallery 3. The Design Gallery
1. Knife and Fork 61 Locust St., spruce pine 765-1511 knifeandforknc.com 2. Garden Deli 107 Town Square, Burnsville 682-3946 garden-deli.com 3. In The Garden café 117 W. main st., burnsville 682-1680
Outdoor Spot 1. South Toe River 2. Mt. Mitchell 3. Carolina Hemlocks
Thanks for Voting Us #1 Come Visit a Real American Delicatessen!
Buy any Sandwich & Fountain Drink & Get another Sandwich for 50% OFF or a FREE cup of soup! Valid 3pm-9pm. Expires October 26, 2011.Must present this coupon when ordering. Phone in orders allowed. Must mention coupon when ordering. Must present coupon when paying for order.
We Make Our Own:
• Corned beef, turkey breast, roast beef • Mozzarella • Breads & Rolls • Matzoh ball soup • All salads & sides (including Whitefish salad, chopped liver, coleslaw, chicken salad, etc.) • Rugala, hamantashen, babka, biscotti & other pastries • We also offer delicious catering for any event Hours of Operation: Mon - Sat 10am - 9pm • Sunday 10am - 8pm
625 Haywood Rd • Asheville • 828.575.2055
Free parking in back - Outdoor seating area now available! (dogs allowed on leash - outside)
86 BEST OF WNC 2011 • VOLUME TWO • mountainx.com
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Thank You Asheville! 2nd Year Voted One Of The Best Italian Restaurants!
â€œItalian Comfort Foodâ€? OPEN for ALL Holidays
Grab nâ€™ Go Market 60 + Outdoor Seating Bocce Ball On-site Retail/Wholesale Bakery
2310 Hendersonville Road Arden, North Carolina
828-651-9991 â€˘ south.fioresashville.com
Downtown â€˘ 122 College Street Asheville, North Carolina
Open for Lunch & Dinner â€˘ Tue - Sun 11am - 9pm Fri - Sat 11am - 10pm mountainx.com â€˘ VOLUME TWO â€˘ BEST OF WNC 2011 87