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Posts Tagged ‘Freaks’

LAAFF took place on Sunday Sept 5th in downtown Asheville and was a complete success! Thank you to everyone involved; we appreciate all of our volunteers, performers, vendors, staff, costumers, fellow freaks, photographers, and all of the LAAFFers!!!! Check out some of my pictures below.

Some of the comments we have been receiving on facebook are:

Zen Sutherland “A huge thanks to you, and everyone who worked long before, during and after! It was a masterpiece!”

Steven J. Rash -“oh man. the fest was fantastic as usual. i’m already counting down the days to LAAFF 2011. thanks again!”

Paper Tiger at LAAFF 2010

Daniel Simmons “A day I will remember forever!”

Molly Kummerle “had such an amazing day/night yesterday – thank you thank you thank you!! kudos on another rocking fest ;)”

Cute Mustasheville kid on the LaZoom Bus

Jason Kimenker “You rock!! Thanks for helping to make LAAFF such a pleasure to work. I had a really great time, thank you thank you thank you!!”

Jeremy Long “Another great festival. Thanks for making it as fun and unique as Asheville itself.”

Dreamspider Erin

Darlene Wright “I’ve gone every year except for the first. I go to many festivals, but this is by far my favorite one. I look forward to it every year. It occurs on or near my birthday and is a great way to celebrate it. I look forward to many more years of it.”

Alien Dancing to Woody Pines aat LAAFF

Patty Dougherty Haberman “Fun, Freaks, Family, Food, Finds, and Favorite…..LAAFF”

Jason V. Martin “My favorite Asheville festival..favorite period!!”

Dj Candice B at the Bobo Stage

Alice Smyth “Thanks everyone for giving me a great day of FUN! Loved every minute of it and the weather sure was great! I will be sure to make it next Labor Day as well! (o;”

Sandy Scholze “saw the photos in Garys posts. Its fun to see all the costumes.Kinda like mardi gras and halloween all rolled into one

Vending Coordinators: Rebeccaand Rose Hecht

and here are some fun #LAAFF tweets:

@tracyhyorth: #LAAFF is really Asheville’s Mardi Gras. Just takes place in September. Aren’t we lucky?

@aRagingMuse: At the poetry van the Asheville Horns are funkin’ up my world as all the stars start to shine… #LAAFF -ing all the way

@adam_casto Fests like #LAAFF spoil me. keep checking the fridge hoping 4 tacos, pizza, ice cream,loaded hot dogs,various beer.

Mountain Xpressers: James Fisher and Mackensy Lundsford

@zensutherland: @lexfest It was the best #LAAFF so far! Can’t wait for you to see ’em all (whew, i took over 6 gig of shots)

@elizzlebizzle:guh, I am so beat from [#LAAFF &] repping @trashincavl. met Oscar the Grouch, drank a lot of kombucha, saw a lot of freaks

RT @ayanaberry: Totally. My favorite fest in #avl RT @jar_e: Thank you @Dreamspiderweb for making another wonderful day… So much fun! @lexfest #laaff

RT @papertigermusic: BEST.  #LAAFF.  EVER. thank you asheville, paper tiger loves you 😉

RT @mackensy: Feeling a little fuzzy-headed to be giving interviews today. I have a LAAFF-over. #laaff

Sanders, Sipe, Pond, and Cardine

RT @hopicecream Thank u @lexfest and everyone else for giving #Asheville reason to celebrate the local community! Had a blast 🙂 #LAAFF

RT @mxenv: Loved the labels on the waste bins at #LAAFF today: glass, plastic, and LANDFILL. That’s the truth…LANDFILL doesn’t mean GONE

Tall Bike Freak: The Reverend Michael Mooney

RT @robinplemmons laughed really hard @ #LAAFF. Best part is meeting customers who get me & love my creations. smiled so much my cheeks hurt

RT @phetched: Scrumptious Hardcastle dawgs, Pisgah Pale, Kovacs & the Polar Bear + sexy @robinplemmons at #LAAFF… now it’s naptime. #zzzz

RT @AskAsheville: 12seconds – Alien dances to Woody Pines at #LAAFF in Asheville http://tiny12.tv/R2D03 #avlent

RT @AskAsheville: Laughing my A-S-S off! This is such a cool event! #LAAFF w/ @thesavvyeater @avlcustomcloset)

Fun guy, AskAsheville Gary, and AVL Custom Closet Amanda

RT @AskAsheville Great #wedding #photo of Jack & Rosetta at their #LAAFF marriage in downtown #AVLhttp://su.pr/1KM88P #avlpics #avlwed

RT @aRagingMuse: Beautiful with Archrivals soundtrack! RT @rsulock: awesome #LAAFF footage from Jesse Hamm for Xpress! http://bit.ly/c6r2ME #avlent

Bike joust! RT @AshevilleLife: RT @fobes RT @ ashevillein : call it a draw then? #LAAFF #avlevent http://flic.kr/p/8yrQVR

Jenny Juice's Songwriter Lounge

RT @houseofdevochka: Dudes. Seriously. @lexfest was amazing! I’m going to bed. Right now. For three days. Or 5 hours. #laaff

RT @AskAsheville: People… I am talking about 169 photos of the Lexington Ave Arts and Fun Festival #LAAFF in Asheville NC right here.. http://su.pr/3ai4ud#

Bright Life Photography- Lissy multitasking at LAAFF 🙂

RT @lyndacd: #LAAFF: Lex Ave Arts & Fun Festival – Still the best fest in Asheville! Great day with interesting people, food, music, fun!

AVL Beer, Jenny Juice, Bob 7, Amy

RT @Iveys: Body paint & a human float. Asheville’s Mardi Gras. #laaff http://plixi.com/p/43517320

RT @adam_casto: Enjoyed spending time downtown at #laaff today. Need to make an effort to get out more. We really do have a wonderful city here. #AVL

Robin Plemmons

RT @SocialLifeAvl: Just got lil one a mocha oreo from the @hopicecream tent with @robinplemmons @lexfest #LAAFF

RT @SocialLifeAvl: I just saw that. My daughters wants to it. BAD RT @ncmattj: http://twitvid.com/M6VW9 – Street Jousting at #LAAFF

Lulu and Dreamspider Erin

RT @SocialLifeAvl: Downtown is packed for @lexfest #LAAFF alot of culture, music, food and vendors.

Molly, Crissa, and Billy Jack

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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

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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By Carol Motsinger • August 30, 2009 12:15 AM
Asheville Citizen Times Sunday Edition
www.citizen-times.com

At the Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival in 2007, Megan and Leslie Abernathy (sisters) hula-hoop.  At the Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival in 2007, Megan and Leslie Abernathy (sisters) hula-hoop. (Paul Balicky/special to the Citizen-Times)

At the Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival in 2007, Megan and Leslie Abernathy (sisters) hula-hoop. At the Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival in 2007, Megan and Leslie Abernathy (sisters) hula-hoop. (Paul Balicky/special to the Citizen-Times)

ASHEVILLE — For Frank Bloom, directing the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF) is more than a day job. The festival, which is taking over a few blocks downtown Sept. 6, is one of the reasons he moved to Asheville.

Before making the permanent move, Bloom traveled from his home in Charlotte to help with the sound for the festival’s stages. One group turned out to be a sound engineer’s nightmare: There were more people than square footage on the stage. The group of dancers and drummers had never performed together.

“They weren’t even a band,” Bloom said. “They were more like an experiment.” But despite Bloom’s handwringing, the performance went off without a hitch.

“It was really cool…it was a little welcome to Asheville,” Bloom said. “It was one of those experiences that was a decision-maker for me moving here.”

Four years later, Bloom is no longer behind the sound board; he’s up front at the helm of the 8th annual event celebrating all things arts, music and Asheville. The free festival will fill three blocks of N. Lexington Avenue between College Street and the I-240 overpass from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 6.

And in a lot of ways, Bloom’s new gig isn’t too far removed from the afternoon he made sure the sounds of that 20-person band got the crowd dancing. “It’s organized chaos,” Erin Scholze, who booked the bands, said of the planning process.

The art at LAAFF, as seen at a previous festival, isn't dominated by paintings of fall colors and the Flat Iron Building.

The art at LAAFF, as seen at a previous festival, isn't dominated by paintings of fall colors and the Flat Iron Building.

But organized it is. In just one day, the festival will showcase more than 30 bands and 70 artists. Not to mention a kids area, a circus side show, street performers, a new stage in the La Zoom purple bus and whatever other spontaneous acts of creativity decide to show up.

“It’s a showcase,” Scholze said. “For us, it’s really about maxing it out and sensory overload.”

Forget the stages: Scholze’s favorite part of the festival is the “fabulously freaky” characters who make up the crowd.

“I always love seeing the people in costumes,” she said. “You might see the person who just served you at Zambra walking around in this random costume.”

“That’s the spirit of LAAFF…it’s very eye-opening,” she added.

Bloom’s primary goal this year “was to continue the spirit and the atmosphere of the festival,” he said. And what is that spirit? It’s celebrating everything that makes up Asheville: Local art, food and beer, he said.

“This has a party atmosphere,” he said. “We definitely want to keep that identity.”

A street performer entertains the crowd at last year's Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival.  A street performer entertains the crowd at last year's Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival. (Erin Brethauer/Asheville Citizen-Times)

A street performer entertains the crowd at last year's Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival. A street performer entertains the crowd at last year's Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival. (Erin Brethauer/Asheville Citizen-Times)

That certainly doesn’t mean there haven’t been changes. “In eight years, the area around the festival has definitely changed,” he said. “The festival celebrates that indie spirit that was the beginning of the re-birth of downtown.”

As the city center has flourished, so has the festival. When Scholze started working with LAAFF in its second year, some 3,000 people came out to the party. The event now draws 12,000 people downtown, she said.

Festival organizers also try to “integrate the evolution” of Asheville, Bloom said. For instance, they will be serving six local beers instead of just one, as they have in previous years. When the festival started, Asheville wasn’t known as a beer city, Bloom said.

There will be some subtractions this year as well. Michael Mooney will not be attempting to ride the world’s tallest bike this year, a stunt that’s so fundamental to the festival that it’s part of the official poster. They also won’t paint a donated car this year, Bloom said. But bicycling jousting (another Mooney original and crowd favorite) is still planned and they have some new surprises Bloom wanted to keep hush-hush.

But the most unique part of the festival may not be the break-dancing pirate or the kooky couple hula-hooping to funky beats. What makes this event special is the personal investment of the people who volunteer their time to make it happen, Scholze said.

“The community really takes ownership of it,” she said.

The same folks show up year after year. “It’s like a big family reunion,” Scholze added.

A kooky cast of characters entertain the crowds at last year's Lexington Ave Arts and Fun Festival. (Erin Brethauer/Asheville Citizen-Times)

A kooky cast of characters entertain the crowds at last year's Lexington Ave Arts and Fun Festival. (Erin Brethauer/Asheville Citizen-Times)


Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival performers
Blue Rags, Dehlia Low, Eymarel, Hunab Kru, Jen and the Juice, Mad Tea Party, Melmacpink, Roberto Hess, Swayback Sisters, tHE POLES, U-N-I verse, Zabumba!. Asheville Dance Revolution, Baraka Mundi, Blackjack, Brushfire Stankgrass, Ceol Leinn, Galen Kipar Project, Modo, Now You See Them, Runaway Circus and Loose Caboose, Taylor Martin, The Chx, Velvet Truck Stop, Angi West, Arundas, Dip-N-Flip E.Normus Trio, Lulo, Pierce Edens, Pilgrim, Poetix Vanguard, Secret B-Sides, Ash Devine w/ Quetzal, Hillbillionaire$, La Feral Zoom: Rollin’ Barks of Laughter, LEAF in Schools and Streets: Youth at Jazz, Oso Rey, as well as a bluegrass jam, celtic jam and old-time jam.

LAAFF Performers Schedule

IF YOU GO
What:
8th Annual Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival.
When:
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 6.
Where:
Three blocks of N. Lexington Avenue between College Street and the I-240 overpass.
Cost:
Free.
For more
about LAAFF 2009 www.lexfestasheville.com
about Arts 2 People www.arts2people.org

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Carol Motsinger • August 14, 2009 12:15 AM
Asheville Citizen Times
www.citizen-times.com

A mermaid graces the cover of the  A mermaid graces the cover of the "Freaks of Asheville" calendar that's being celebrated in an exhibit starting Friday at Pack Place.

A mermaid graces the cover of the A mermaid graces the cover of the "Freaks of Asheville" calendar that's being celebrated in an exhibit starting Friday at Pack Place.

ASHEVILLE — A nun with a bad habit and a mountain-living mermaid sound more like characters in a bizarre dream than glossy calendar girls. Yet these individuals have found a home in the Arts 2 People’s Freaks of Asheville Calendar.
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The images in the calendar, as well as photographs and artifacts from the organization’s Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival, will be celebrated in an exhibit opening 5-7 p.m. today at Pack Place.

The calendar features some of Asheville’s creative professionals, “a certain slice of the Asheville experience,” said Kitty Love, Arts 2 People’s executive director and driving force behind the calendar.

“I really just wanted to highlight who these people are,” she said. The calendar also features important dates in freak culture, such as moon phases and death and birth dates of some of the important people who contributed to the current community.

Love teamed up with John Elliston and Michael Traister, photographer for Sock Monkey Dreams and the Faces of Izzy’s project, to create a series of black-and-white portraits of Asheville’s “freaks.”

But what exactly is a freak? For Love, freaks “have been deformed by the power of their own creative potential,” she said. “They have an overwhelming creative urge, insatiable curiosity, but difficulty being amused.”

The calendar is essentially 12 months of performers and artists like burlesque performer Corky Bordeaux and folk artist Bob Seven.

“I mostly just wanted to celebrate the people who are constant contributors to the magic I see every day,” Love said.

Traister kept the setup simple — neutral background and no props other than what the subjects brought with them — to make sure the “subjects come out more,” he said. Traister thinks that part of what makes Asheville special is that there is a sense of freedom for people to be who they want and to express who they are, however they see fit.

It’s exactly that spirit that Love hopes the calendar will highlight — and help preserve. “It’s important that we retain this part of our culture as we develop into a bigger city,” she said. “I want to see the creative culture considered in terms of economic development, in terms of tourism and everything else Asheville does.”

The calendar is just the beginning for the project. Love hopes to produce a set of Asheville freak-themed Tarot cards and possibly a larger collection of portraits for a book. Organizers hope to have the calendar available for sale at the upcoming LAAFF, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 6, and at downtown retailers soon. A portion of the proceeds will go toward Arts 2 People.

The Pack Place exhibit also includes images previewing next month’s LAAFF, an arts celebration organized by Arts 2 People. The exhibit will also host Michael Mooney’s bike jousting gear, a sport regularly featured at the festival. Mooney, also known as “Medieval Knievel,” a co-founder of LAAFF, also has a spot in the calendar.

Through all of its projects, “Arts 2 People has worked really hard to try to create something that can move the creative cultural experience forward,” Love said. “We want to create an opportunity for self-expression and community building.”

IF YOU GO:

What: Exhibit for the Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival and the Freaks of Asheville Calendar.

When: Opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday. The exhibit runs through Aug. 29.

Where: Pack Place Front Gallery at 2 S. Pack Square.

More information: http://www.arts2people.org or http://www.lexfestasheville.com.

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