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Posts Tagged ‘Arts 2 People’

By Noor Al-Sibai

naalsiba@unca.edu

Published: Thursday, September 10, 2009

UNCA’s The Blue Banner

www.thebluebanner.net

Photo by Emily Kerrr

LAAFF 2009

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Fairy wings, rainbow-hued hair, pirate attire and other sundry modes of dress adorned this year’s Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival. Festival-goers, artists and vendors alike said LAAFF is the most local of happenings in Asheville.

LAAFF ran from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. The three stages, two courtyards, 60 vendors and six bus tours made LAAFF a success, according to PR director Erin Scholze.

“The community really owns it, which is amazing” said Scholze.

The stages, placed at various locations on Lexington Avenue, were the Greenlife Electric stage, the Mountain Xpress Walnut stage and the BoBo Gallery stage.

Each stage offered up a variety of local and national acts, from Pierce Edens to the nationally acclaimed Blue Rags.

“There’s no such thing as free time, and I’m not so sure about luck. There’s no easy way to break up,” sang Shane Conerty and female lead singer Dulci as their band, Now You See Them, played the Mountain Xpress stage.

Listeners at New You See Them show included a couple from Knoxville, Tenn. who came to LAAFF exclusively for the band and for beer, and a baby with a mohawk who split his time between schmoozing with the audience and lead singer Conerty.

Now You See Them, originally from Pennsylvania, were very excited to play LAAFF according to drummer Jason Mercer.

Down the street and a few hours later, Ami Worthen and Jason Krekel of Mad Tea Party ravaged the crowd as various fairy-winged women boogied like zombies alongside men in skirts and face-painted children.

Around sunset at the BoBo stage, acoustic singer-songwriter Angi West captivated the crowd with a voice reminiscent of folk singer Joanna Newsom as fans lounged on the street.

West’s breathy, gospel-tinged vocals accentuated the dwindling sunlight and the ambiance it created during the festival.

The cross-legged audience sat in a hush as Mad Tea Party’s vocalist smiled near the sound booth.

Songwriter’s circle at Liquid Dragon Tattoo’s courtyard had the appearance of spontaneity as local songwriters democratically performed acoustic versions of their own music.

“It’s just amazing to hear a person with their instrument and their song” said Rory Carroll, a local performer.

Cello during Ash Devine’s haunting performance flowed with Carroll’s bluesy voice, while Now You See Them’s Conerty brought about an upbeat note.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of this community,” Carroll said.

Indeed, community was a dominant theme at LAAFF.

Groups of friends gathered on the street and in front of stages, parents and children conversed with other families, and strangers stopped to talk to not only those dressed outlandishly, but to offer genuine compliments to each other.

The party atmosphere was supported by the nature of the goods being sold.

Booths selling handmade jewelry and local foods were flanked by vendors selling clothes both tie-dye and hand-printed, as well as novelty stands selling paintings and pottery.

One such stand was a man with the bottle cap truck, a mainstay at arts festivals such as LEAF, whose proprietor was wearing a white tailcoat with multicolored fuzzy craft balls.

The eccentric attire of many of the festival goers fazed none, and were even considered by some to be beautiful.

“The most beautiful thing I saw was a woman with curly hair down to her knees” said Tommy, a local attendee. “She was slow-dancing.”

Alongside festival-billed oddities such as bike jousting were many impromptu happenings, a symbiosis of street performances and participating spectators.

Near Spiritex clothing store, a woman played harpsichord for hours while another woman played a silver painted snare drum.

The performance art of LAAFF did not end with musicians. There were at least three people on stilts roaming the festival at their leisure, sometimes stopping to pose with other personalities, and otherwise perpetuating the carnival atmosphere the festival created.

Another of the festival’s main draws was the beer.

Eight local breweries supplied LAAFF attendees with enough plastic cups to need “compost only” trash-cans.

The community building reached beyond Lexington Avenue.

Various shops sold scraps of fabric and took donations to support Responsive Education Accessing Creativity for Healing, or REACH, a program for battered women.

LAAFF’s impact varies almost as much as the outfits of those who attend, but they all agree on at least one note: Ashevillians, out-of-towners and artists alike love LAAFF.

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by AskAsheville

The Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival is going to be awesome! Here is Erin of http://twitter.com/dreamspiderweb Dreamspider Publicity in Asheville, NC telling us about the plans for the day. LAAFF is on September 6, 2009 in the downtown area. Thousand and thousands of people will be there. We expect a social bloom to happen in the area at this event. Make plans to come out and attend LAAFF in Asheville!!!

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Cover Art by The Mountain Xpress. Photo by Jonathan Welch

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by Rebecca Sulock in Vol. 16 / Iss. 6 on 09/02/2009 Mountain Xpress

www.mountainx.com

Here’s one for the annals: The first-ever Freaks of Asheville calendar, set to debut at LAAFF this year. Photographer Michael Traister (Sock Monkey Dreams, Faces of Izzy’s), known for his stunning portraiture, turns his deft lens to some of our town’s “cultural creatives,” creating portraits of some local eclectic personalities.

Sister Bad Habit, aka LaZoom Tours' Jim Lauzon. Photo by Michael Traister.

Sister Bad Habit, aka LaZoom Tours' Jim Lauzon. Photo by Michael Traister.

“Each month will feature a classic portrait of a noted Asheville ‘freak’ and tell the story behind their uniqueness,” writes Erin Scholze of Arts2People. Included in the calendar are some key milestones in local counter-culture history. Partners in the endeavor include LAAFF founder Kitty Love, Mountain Xpress managing editor Jon Elliston and Asheville Fringe Festival co-organizer Jim Julien. The project is a fundraiser for Arts2People. Here’s to all those with an abundance of creative energy, each month of the year.

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by Alli Marshall in Vol. 16 / Iss. 6 on 09/02/2009

The Mountain Xpress

www.mountainx.com

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Greenlife Electric Stage (bottom of Lexington Avenue)

• The Swayback Sisters (singer/songwriter trio with Nikki Talley, Laura Blackley and Lyndsay Wojcik), 11-11:45 a.m.
• Eymarel (keyboard & drum duo), 12:05-12:50 p.m.
• Roberto Hess (spoken word), 12:55-1:05 p.m.
• U-N-I-Verse (reggae), 1:10-1:55 p.m.
• Hunab Kru (break dance),  2-2:10 p.m.
• The Poles (rock) 2:15-3 p.m.
• Hunab Kru (break dance), 3:05-3:15 p.m.
• Dehlia Low (bluegrass), 3:20-4:25 p.m.
• Parade (begins at Bobo Gallery, ends at stage), 4:15 p.m.
• Zabumba! (Carnival rhythms), 4:25-4:40 p.m.
• Mad Tea Party (vintage rock), 4:45-5:50 p.m.
• Melmacpink/Asheville Hoops (hula-hooping), 5:55 – 6:05 p.m.
• The Blue Rags (blues-ragtime boogie), 6:15-7:15 p.m.
• Jen and the Juice (folk rock), 7:45-9 p.m.

Mountain Xpress Walnut Stage

• Ceol Leinn (traditional Celtic), 11-11:50 a.m.
• Blackjack (kid rockers), 12:10-12:45 p.m.
• Asheville Dance Revolution (kids’ dance group), 1-1:30 p.m.
• Now You See Them (folk-pop), 1:40-2:15 p.m.
• Runaway Circus and Loose Caboose (comedy, music & sideshow act), 2:25-2:55 p.m.
• Galen Kipar Project (folk blues), 3:10- 3:50 p.m.
• Taylor Martin (singer/songwriter), 4:15-5 p.m.
• The Chx (female drummers), 5:15-5:50 p.m.
• Velvet Truck Stop (rock), 6-6:35 p.m.
• Brushfire Stankgrass (psychedelic bluegrass), 6:50-7:30 p.m.
• Baraka Mundi the Bandit Queens of Bellydance, 7:45-8:15 p.m.
• Modo (jazz rock), 8:25-9 p.m.

BoBo Stage

• Dip-N-Flip (DJs) 11:10 -11:45 a.m.
• Lulo (free jazz), noon-12:45 p.m.
• The E.Normus Trio (jazz), 1-1:45 p.m.
• Pierce Edens (gritty rock), 2-2:45 p.m.
• The Poetix Vanguard (spoken word), 3-3:45 p.m.
• Arundas (world) 4-4:45 p.m.
• The Secret B-Sides (soul) 5-5:45 p.m.
• Pilgrim (indie-folk) 6-6:45 p.m.
• Angi West (singer/songwriter), 7-7:45 p.m.
• Dip-N-Flip (DJs), 8-9 p.m.

LaZoom Tour Bus

• LEAF in Schools and Streets: Youth at Jazz (kids show), 2-2:45 p.m.
• Ash Devine (singer/songwriter), 3-3:45 p.m.
• Hillbillyonaire$ (alt-country), 4-4:45 p.m.
• Oso Rey (acoustic folk), 6-6:45 p.m.
• La Feral Zoom: Rollin’ Barks of Laughter (adults only), 7-7:45 p.m.
• Unitard: hilarious one-woman show from Kelly Barrow (adults only). 8-8:45 p.m.

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by Alli Marshall in Vol. 16 / Iss. 6 on 09/02/2009

The Mountain Xpress

www.mountainx.com

If LAAFF is a free pass to dress and act as our most wildly creative selves (keeping it PG, of course: The festival is for the kids, too), it’s also an opportunity for local musicians to get experimental.

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That’s the case for The Swayback Sisters, which features singer/songwriters Nikki Talley, Laura Blackley and Lyndsay Wojcik. All three of these ladies have viable careers on their own. They also all have very different styles. Talley’s brand of indie rock is acoustic-instrument fueled — sometimes it’s driving, sometimes it’s mellow — and serves as the perfect backdrop for her dusky, comfortable vocals. Blackley’s bands over the years have run the gamut from folk-rock to country blues, but no matter the genre, Blackley’s rich and swampy vocals color the music. Her songs are a blend of folklore, family-inspired tales and love songs. Wojcik has a breezy-pretty presence, a relaxed banter with her audience and a penchant for roots and soul-tinged sounds. One thing to be said about this trio: There’s not a diva in the bunch. Just solid performers who know how to shine individually and blend their styles — and their voices — for something utterly fresh.

Of course, being experimental doesn’t have to mean a break from form. Alt-country band The Hillbillyonaire$, who claim to have started as a “three piece autoharp and dulcimer orchestra that catered to playin’ for the Ladies Auxillary,” puts its own unhinged and bass-heavy spin on chestnuts like the gospel tune “Ain’t No Grave.” Pilgrim shares little with the Hillbillyonaire$ beyond being a trio. Fronted by poet/musician Jaye Bartell, the slow-core band crafts atmospheric notes and haunting imagery. Themes of birds, nature and loneliness are palpable in these quiet songs.

And then there are the traditionalists (though it could be argued that, amidst the alt-ness of LAAFF, orthodoxy is new heterodoxy). Celtic band Ceol Leinn, from Hickory, plays traditional Scottish and Irish music. In kilts. With highland bagpipes, penny whistles and a marching snare. And, perhaps every bit as exciting (and immemorial) as a double dose of bagpipes is classic rock. Think: The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds.” That’s what Hendersonville-based BlackJack brings to the stage. The departure for these rock purists is that the entire group is middle school-aged.

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by Alli Marshall in Vol. 16 / Iss. 6 on 09/02/2009

The Mountain Xpress

www.mountainx.com

Photos by Jonathan Welch

Photos by Jonathan Welch

If memory serves, my eighth birthday involved a swimming party in our backyard pond and carob cupcakes that none of my friends would eat (but decades later still laugh about). For the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival’s eighth, the day-long celebration promises costumes, a parade, a couple dozen performers, jam sessions, DJs, visual art, costumed revelers, bicycle jousting, local food and beer and spontaneous creative expression (and heck, maybe a carob cupcake, too). LAAFF knows how to throw a party.

So, as downtown Asheville’s most unique shopping district gears up for its most unique festival, what sort of tricks does LAAFF have up its sleeve? For starters, a new director. In July, Frank Bloom stepped into that leadership role, and really, who better? Bloom brings a wealth of experience (he’s managed food and beverage outlets for a NASCAR track, booked shows for Emerald Lounge, run sound for both Donna The Buffalo and Acoustic Syndicate, worked as drum tech for Mickey Hart’s Global Drum Project and performs with Asheville’s Thunderdrums).

Next on the roster of important deets: Beer. LAAFF has, since the beginning, taken a local-brews-only stand. This time around, better than a selection from a single local brewery, Asheville Brewers Alliance (comprised of eight beer crafters) is involved. Wash the suds down with an array of snacks from Crepes of Wrath, Rosetta’s Kitchen, Blue Daisy Cafe, Mela Indian Restaurant and more. You’ll need the sustenance — this is a marathon day of fun.

090209hulahoopJonathan WelchSpeaking of fun, the best way to get into the spirit of LAAFF is to come in costume. Yeah, Asheville is pretty open to all manner of dress. Jeans and flip-flops are de rigeur, dresses are paired with boots, dudes wear skirts, wings and horns are perfectly acceptable accessories. Even so, why pass up a chance to spend a day in full festive regalia? Dress as your favorite alter ego and then cut loose with the newly added Big Wheels for Big Kids activity or saddle up for a round of bike jousting. (What not to look for this year: Daredevil Michael Mooney won’t go for a third attempt at a Guinness World Record for the three-story tall bike ride. Mooney — as “Medieval Knieval” — will lead the foam armor- and banana-seat bicycle jousts.)

Don’t have a costume? Never fear: Honeypot hosts Sew Your Own Art Clothes.

OK, LAAFF is a whole lot of activity, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of chances to cool your heals and just be entertained. Sit back and take in a (mobile) show on the LaZoom bus (LEAF in Schools and Streets’ Youth at Jazz and singer/songwriters Oso Rey and Ash Devine with Quetzal perform on the 40-minute tour loops. Tickets are $2 for kids and $3 for adults. Sketch comedy troupe The Feral Chihuahuas put on an adults-only show). Beat the heat in one of Lexington Ave’s shady courtyards where Celtic, bluegrass, old-time and DJ sessions take place.

There’s more, of course. LAAFF tends to morph the way organic, homegrown things do. Most of it’s mapped out (check the festival Web site for more info), but the street performers, musicians, artists and attendees who show up have a way of adding their own personal, unique and perfectly wacky touches.

090209gracieJonathan Welch

Gracie May is adorable, but please leave dogs at home!

There’s more, of course. LAAFF tends to morph the way organic, homegrown things do. Most of it’s mapped out (check the festival Web site for more info), but the street performers, musicians, artists and attendees who show up have a way of adding their own personal, unique and perfectly wacky touches.

who: Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival
what: All-local music and arts celebration
where: Lexington Ave. between the I-240 overpass and College St.
when: Sunday, Sept. 6 (11 a.m.-9 p.m. Free. http://www.lexfestasheville.com)

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