Smokin' Hot

A busy barbecue restaurateur goes glam.

by Jess McCuan . photos by Matt Rose

Her restaurants are two of the most talked-about eating establishments in Asheville. But Sabra Kelley actually prefers to avoid the limelight.

In 2006, Kelley and her husband Thomas Montgomery opened what’s become one of Asheville’s most popular barbecue joints, 12 Bones Smokehouse. The red-roofed rib shack in the River Arts District only serves weekday lunch, and if you’ve ever driven by, you know lunch is enough. A line of hungry people starts wrapping around the building at 11am. In 2008, they started up another 12 Bones location, which is open Saturdays, on Sweeten Creek Road in Arden.

The staples on the menu—slow-cooked pork, beef and smoky, decadent sides like potato salad and cheese grits—are solid. But the restaurant’s success was bolstered by a flurry of early publicity. In 2007, one of Montgomery’s creations, blueberry chipotle ribs, won the “Best Bites Challenge” on ABC’s Good Morning America. That led to write-ups in Southern Living, Our State and Garden & Gun magazines, and it didn’t hurt that, on his campaign trail in the fall of 2008, President Barack Obama stopped by for a meet-and-greet with 12 Bones customers and walked out carrying a sack of ribs. He and Michelle dined at 12 Bones again when they vacationed in Asheville in 2010.

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:28PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References13 References

Ladies on the Links

New women-only golf groups—and a few impressive local pros—encourage gals to get out on the green.

by Karen Chávez . photos by Naomi Johnson

Breanne “Bre” Hall is the kind of girl who makes men’s mouths hang open. But usually not in the way she’d like. Hall, 29, is the head golf professional at the Grove Park Inn, overseeing the busy 18-hole, Donald Ross-designed course there, which regularly attracts seasoned golfers and even the occasional world leader. Hall, who escorted President Obama on the GPI course two years ago and gave his golfing buddies a lesson, is part of a growing female golf scene breaking down the unspoken—yet very real—golfing gender barriers.

“A lot of guys come in and ask for the golf pro, and ask where is ‘he?’” Hall says. “At first, it was tough to be young and to be a female. Over time, it gets easier. I learned to smile.”

But belying that smiling, petite girl in a pink polo shirt, Hall is a roiling dynamo on the green, in charge of all the resort’s golf lessons, tournaments and course operations in the sport rooted in an old boys’ club. “When I was in high school, female golf professionals were few and far between,” Hall says. “Nowadays, you see more female head golf pros, or at least female assistants.”

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:26PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References6 References

Sarah Margaret Makes A Leap

Celeb Andie MacDowell’s youngest daughter is kicking off a serious dance career and leaving us (for now) for New York.

by Jess McCuan . photos by Jeff Cravotta

So how did you spend your summer vacation? VERVE was lucky enough to sit down with one of actress Andie MacDowell’s daughters, 16-year-old Sarah Margaret Qualley, before she jetted off to intensive ballet programs in New York City. She spent June and July at a summer program of American Ballet Theatre, one of the most prestigious dance academies in the world. After that, she spent time at the French Academy (actually in New York City), training with an instructor from the Paris Opera Ballet School, Francois Perron. This spring, she finished 10th grade at North Carolina School of the Arts high school in Winston-Salem. But now, according to MacDowell, Qualley might get to make up her school schedule as she goes, studying at a private school in New York City this fall that allows students to take academic classes while they focus on artistic pursuits. “She took an online English course this summer and decided she likes having teachers,” says MacDowell, 53, the star of movies like Groundhog Day, Three Weddings and a Funeral and Sex, Lies and Videotape.

Still, Qualley clearly hasn’t forgotten her roots. She’s been training with Michelle Lee of Asheville’s Center Stage Dance Studio and Heather Maloy, the artistic director of Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, since she was a child. She credits Maloy, a choreographer whose work has won awards in national dance contests, with introducing her to the world of serious dance. “I started dancing with Heather when I was eight or nine, and then I realized ballet was what I wanted to do,” says Qualley, who has delicate features, a diamond-shaped face and a lean, strong 5’9” frame.

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:25PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References5 References

Shadow Boxer

A Trinidadian Asheville artist spends her days playing with shadow, light and high-pressure paint guns.

by Ursula Gullow . portrait by Matt Rose

Since she was a little girl, Heather Lewis has been drawn to the light. Growing up in Trinidad next to an oil refinery, Lewis, now 49, recalls the long shadows cast upon her bedroom walls by the factory. It’s not the sort of thing most kids grow up with, but for Lewis, the glowing orange light and elongated shadows were staples of her childhood.

They’ve become staples in her artwork as well—installations and projections that Lewis categorizes as “nontraditional drawings.” A shadow, she explains, is much like a stencil that uses light as a medium—flat, the way a traditional drawing is, and totally accurate. But shadows can also be toyed with, and she’s made a career out of doing so. “I can take it outside and blow it up big on a building,” she says of a projected shadow. “It can be destroyed and created in an instant.”

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:23PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments2 Comments | References1 Reference

Someone's Gotta Give

She was the first, and she keeps on giving. Joyce Roush, one of the first women in America to donate a kidney to a stranger, speaks out about her life’s work: healthcare for all.

by Mick Kelly . portrait by Matt Rose

In her 40s, nurse Joyce Roush was working with families at what is arguably the worst moment of their lives: the critical hours after a relative is pronounced brain dead and the family must decide whether or not to donate the body’s organs. Roush, who grew up in Indiana and had worked in hospice care, was then with the Indianapolis-based Indiana Organ Procurement Organization. Today, she lives in Flat Rock and works as a wellness coordinator for Park Ridge Hospital. Having been a practicing nurse for 35 years, she won the Athena Award from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce this spring for one of her life’s missions: providing healthcare to people in dire need.

The award was given partly because, in 1999, Roush took an extraordinary step in that direction: she donated one of her kidneys to a total stranger, and was the first person in America to do so publicly (according to news reports at the time, the University of Minnesota announced that a 50-year-old woman also gave a kidney to a stranger, but she and the recipient both requested anonymity).

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:22PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

What A Gem

Her upcycled jewelry can help you make a dramatic entrance.

by Melanie McGee Bianchi . photos by Matt Rose

To say that Amber Hatchett’s necklaces make a statement would be—well, an understatement. They grab attention like an emergency broadcast, although their tone is decidedly less serious. One stunner of a piece—a half-dozen old wristwatches braided into a thick, vintage rope chain—is whimsically titled “Time Won’t Let Me Go.” But in fact, as time goes on, Hatchett’s star seems to keep rising.

She recently became the personal jewelry designer for Asheville-based actress Ann Mahoney, cast alongside A-listers Jaime King and Rachel Bilson in CW’s fall show Hart of Dixie. Earlier this summer, the self-taught artist stood in an interminable line on a hot New York City sidewalk to present her pieces at the audition for Project Accessory, a spin-off of the reality-TV hit Project Runway. She passed harsh preliminary judging with a panel of fashion insiders, including Handbag Designer 101 founder Emily Blumenthal Klibansky, and was turned away just before the final round. “I’ve only been doing this for two years, and they said I had some room to grow,” says Hatchett, a 31-year-old native of Newton, North Carolina, who speaks in a sing-songy foothills lilt. One hopeful note: the judges kept her portfolio on file for a hinted-at future Project series showcasing upcycled designer lines.

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:21PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Bringing The Shack Back

Meet the lady who helped Rocky make his Hot Chicken Shack into a hip West Asheville diner.

by Mick Kelly . photo by Matt Rose

Fear not, hot chicken fans: Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, the macho Hendersonville Road dive that served only blisteringly hot chicken breasts (on top of white bread–with a pickle) has reopened in West Asheville after closing for more than a year. On opening day last month, hundreds of people filed into the new Rocky’s, named for co-owner Rocky Lindsley, in the former Tomato Cocina Latina space on Patton Avenue in West Asheville. The draw? Well, the buzz about the new place was palpable, as was the intrigue surrounding Rocky’s infamous main dish, a juicy chicken breast that ranges in spiciness from Plain (“scared,” says the menu) to Hot (“pepper spray”) to XX Hot, which comes with the warning: “Mt. St. Hell No!” Lindsley says his hot chicken is known to cause euphoria, and at the very least, he promises you’ll sweat.

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:20PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments1 Comment | References2 References

Well Red

interview by Olivia Springer . photo by Beth Ellen

Name: Cathy Caudill

Age: 23

Where are you from? Charleston, West Virginia

Why are you in Asheville? [My sister and I] are just passing through. We both have friends in Greensboro and Gatlinburg.

What have you done here so far? We’re staying at a bed and breakfast, and we got lost earlier today. Thankfully, some locals told us where to go.

Are you still in school? I graduated from High Point University with a major in English and History. Normally, I have to tell people in West Virginia where High Point is in North Carolina because they’ve never heard of it.

Tell me your favorite historical time period. I like the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, so the early 20th Century. They didn’t beat you over the head with it in high school, so it was intriguing because no one really talks about it...Can I tell you my favorite writers instead?

Sure. Thomas Hardy, Somerset Maugham, Catherine Mansfield, W.B. Yates.

Are you always this fashionable? I got my ideas from my younger sister.

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:17PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

Village Voice

interview by Jess McCuan . photo by Matt Rose

Name: Robin Payne

Age: 34

Occupation: development and marketing coordinator for Asheville’s Our Voice, a nonprofit support and outreach group for sexual violence victims

Lives in: Asheville

You look terrific. I lost 20 pounds recently training for a triathlon.

Really? How did you do? I didn’t come in last. That’s good enough for me.

And you had never been a runner or a cyclist or anything before? Never. But I’m all about a challenge.

What will be your next one? My dream is to say, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night…”

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:16PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments1 Comment | References1 Reference

French Connection

interview by Jess McCuan . photo by Matt Rose

Name: Laurie Miller

Occupation: architect at Glazer Architecture

Age: 60

Lives in: Asheville

How long have you been working as an architect here? 11 years

And what’s your favorite building? I’m not a person who has favorites. I just can’t pick a favorite this or a favorite that. I do like City Hall, the Hotel Indigo and Pack Square Park. The park isn’t a building, but architecture is also about space and light.

What are you reading right now? I’m reading Paris: A Century of Change, by Norma Evenson. A friend asked me to be her tour guide around the city. I’m really starting to intensify my studying and re-learn French. I studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris for a year.

Paris tour guide sounds fun. French is such a beautiful language. I love their expression bon courage—good courage. It can mean something like “good luck,” but it’s deeper than that.

Deeper how? It’s so full. It’s a phrase that, to me, fills people with life.

What else do you like about France? It’s like any travel. It broadens your perspective and shows you that people all around the world are just like us. 

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:14PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

A Deli Gal Goes Digital

After chopping turkey, she types away on her new indie wedding blog.

by Mick Kelly . portrait by Matt Rose

For years, Jennifer Callahan has been up before dawn arranging sweet potatoes. While most of us snooze, the former photography instructor rolls into the West Asheville Earth Fare to set up the deli case—a steaming bar of savory foods and salad in one corner of the local chain’s store in the Westgate shopping plaza. When she moved to the area from Nashville a few years back, college-level teaching posts were hard to find. Earth Fare has been her full-time job for four and a half years. When she has time, Callahan works as a wedding photographer, scrapping with the swelling crowd of local photogs for wedding and portrait work.

Then it occurred to her: Why not be a blogger? Asheville has all sorts of bloggers, from foodies to mommy bloggers to art-scene chroniclers. A handful of photographers seemed to blog as a way to promote their work, but no one was rounding up local wedding-related services in one spot. Thus the idea for, which she launched in May. She says she pondered the idea for a year and a half and then came across one key bit of research that helped her pull the trigger: according to Google Keywords, a search-term tool on the site, Asheville-area residents searched for the phrase “indie wedding” about 6,600 times a month. “My blog is an answer to people interested in that topic,” she says.

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:13PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Sexting Scenarios

It’s dicey for adults, and worse for teenagers. Four words: Just don’t do it.

by Susan Reinhardt . photo by Rimas Zailskas

True story: I was in the tub, cell phone on the floor, enjoying a hot bath, when I heard the ding.

Oh, a text. Hmm.


It was from a friend from the past. A guy. And he was telling me all the delicious—and disgusting—things he planned to do to my naked body.

I didn’t answer his sext. Then came another ding. More salacious messages about doing shots on my breasts and other lady parts I won’t mention. Ten minutes later, he realized his huge mistake. He’d sent his horn-dog sexts to the wrong woman. I’ll never feel the same about him. He makes that Anthony Weiner cat look like a monk in meditation.

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:11PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

RAD Fashion Scene

Is the River Arts District Asheville’s new fashion district? This month, check out three designers and a Shakespeare-themed fashion show.

by Olivia Springer

Perhaps it’s difficult to pinpoint Asheville’s fashion epicenter to begin with. Lexington Avenue? Haywood Street? Wherever it is, a handful of River Arts District designers want to direct your attention to what they call “fashion on the fringes”—the scene that’s emerging from studios in the River Arts District. On August 6, the Artery Gallery at the Asheville Area Arts Council’s outpost in the RAD will host a fashion show and month-long exhibit, Immersion, showing clothing by two designers, Stina Andersen of ARTeries and Kristina Benshoff of Provocation. The Roberts Street designer Moe Donnelly also has an opening show in the Phil Mechanic’s Pump Gallery on August 6.

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:10PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments1 Comment | References3 References

To Bee, or Not to Bee?

National Honeybee Day is this month. One local group is drawing global attention to disappearing bee colonies. Another wants you to send them your honey.

by Olivia Springer

August 20 is National Honeybee Day. Who knew there was such a holiday? But there is, and beekeeping is big in WNC. So we checked in with several local beekeepers, many of whom were so busy tending to bees that they hadn’t planned special events to mark the occasion. Still, some had set aside their hats and gloves long enough to start working on interesting projects. N’ann Harp’s organization, Friends of Honeybees, has a slew of high-profile bee-saving efforts in the works, including a screening of the film Vanishing of the Bees for children from all 50 states at the UN in New York City early next year. The film focuses on Colony Collapse Disorder, a honeybee die-off that hit North American colonies hard starting in 2006.

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Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:07PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References9 References

Editor's Note

Happy 80th, Grannie. I can’t wait for mine.

My Grandma Bonnie turns 80 this month. I’m looking forward to driving back home to Missouri for the party in her honor, and also to the day when I’m 80 myself. One of my favorite novelists, E. Annie Proulx, once told an interviewer that, as she aged, she became pleasantly invisible. Sidling up next to people in diners or bars, no one paid much attention to the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer—which meant she could observe them and take notes however she liked. “This is great, this is great!” she told the New York Times in 1994, at age 59. “Especially when your main desire in life is to find out things and overhear.”

No one wants to be invisible all the time. In fact, I love walking down the street in Asheville feeling like I know many people and they know me. But I am looking forward to aging as gracefully as my grandma, and Annie Proulx, too. Bonnie has lived in Missouri all her life but traveled far and absorbed much, whisking me away to Israel when I was 7 and flying with my sisters to New York City when she was 70 and I was 22. She is in nearly perfect health, which she attributes to lots of black coffee and prayer.

I just celebrated a birthday in late July, and a few other close women friends, including VERVE’s Laura Miklowitz, celebrate late-summer birthdays. Happy birthday, all you Leos. Rather than dreading birthdays in my 30s, I’ll start looking forward to 80, when I can only hope to be as healthy, wise and well-read as my friends.

Jess McCuan

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 03:06PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References