Welcome to the premiere issue of Verve!
By Jess McCuan
Photos by Sarah Henry
Career waitresses are increasingly rare these days, and it’s easy to see why: it’s hard work for long hours and, sometimes, little pay. In North Carolina, state law says employers can pay workers who get tips as little as $2.43 an hour as long as the employee collects enough tips to at least make minimum wage. Starting in July this year, the base amount will be even lower, letting restaurants pay waitresses as little as $2.13 an hour. “Some days you make $50 an hour, some days you make $5,” says 43-year-old Kim Whitaker, who has waited tables at restaurants in downtown Brevard on and off for 17 years. “In general, we are very underpaid for what we do.” Still, Whitaker says she likes meeting new people every day, a job perk for all the waitresses we interviewed. A genuine love of people (and a tremendous tolerance for their pesky requests) was also a common trait in all the waitresses who, in some cases, have been serving food to Western North Carolinians for more than four decades.
By Allie Goolrick
You may remember Jane Fonda solely for her bouffant hairdo in the ‘70s or, more recently, for being the first woman to use the “c” word on national television. But there’s more to the actress-turned-fitness-queen than a sharp tongue and a handful of famous husbands. During her 70 years, Fonda has experimented with about as many identities as she has hairstyles—model, Oscar-winning actress, feminist, Black Panther supporter, exercise-video guru, born-again Christian, and her controversial Vietnam-war protester persona “Hanoi Jane.” Through it all, activism of one sort or another has been an enduring theme, something that will earn her cred with the Asheville crowd when she speaks at the three-day (June 20-22) Time For Our Power! conference on June 21 at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Take our quiz to see if you’ve been paying attention to Jane’s Life So Far.
By Mick Kelly
You wouldn’t think a home called an Earthship would be made of some 450 regular rubber car tires. But the plans for an eco-friendly Earthship, dreamed up by New Mexico-based architect Michael Reynolds in the 1970s, can call for thousands of car tires, beer and soda cans, and piles of plastic water bottles, depending on its size.
Though they were always open to unusual ideas, Sue and Geoff Stone were never radical types and they certainly wouldn’t have pictured themselves in something called an Earthship.
By Laurie Capps
Photos by Maggie West
It’s like Brooklyn, but all on one street. In any good-sized city, you might look around and realize that all the cool kids and young families are moving to one particular neighborhood. In Asheville’s case, it’s West Asheville, where homes purchased in the beginning of 2001 more than doubled their value when they sold last year, says David Wall, a realtor with RE/MAX in West Asheville. The nickname for the neighborhood used to be Worst Asheville. “When I told people I was going to specialize in West Asheville, they laughed at me,” he says.
Our spotlight on Western North Carolina’s movers and shakers.
Know an amazing Western North Carolina woman who deserves to be recognized? Send us a note and tell us about her award or achievement.
For Mary Jaeger-Gale, the road to the top was paved with patience. She started as a high school English teacher in Michigan in 1971 and moved to Bat Cave in 1978. She took a job three years later as publicity and sales manager for Chimney Rock Park. The park, 25 miles southeast of Asheville, is known for its towering rock landmark overlooking Lake Lure and was owned by the Morse family beginning in 1902. Its president and general manager, starting in 1986, was Todd B. Morse. But last year, when the family sold the park to the state of North Carolina for $24 million, putting Chimney Rock in the hands of a new public-private partnership, Jaeger-Gale, the park’s longtime marketing VP, took over as general manager.
By Allie Goolrick
Erin Braasch and Katherine Abbott have been dancing together so long they sometimes feel like they’re joined at the hip.
And in their last show, Thin Walls, they actually were. Performing as modern dance collective Moving Women, their March show, subtitled “A private glimpse into the tangled and peculiar,” featured Braasch and Abbott performing together as a Vaudeville spectacle, the Hilton sisters (no, not those Hilton sisters)—conjoined twins exploited as a singing and dancing sideshow in the 1930s.
Lives in: Fairview
According to Pam, Asheville could use more…parks and parking spaces, and high-end shopping
On her way from…a pedicure at the Spa at Biltmore Village
and headed to…Kim’s Wig Center on Haywood Street in downtown Asheville, to buy wigs for a martini party at her house
Thinks her best qualities are: organization, attention to detail, and compassion
Worst: not always being prompt
What would you do if you won the lottery? “Pay off some bills, give to some charities and then pick up my son and daughter-in-law and go on a fabulous vacation to Italy.”
What should we do about global warming? “We should all be more conscientious and do everything we can to educate ourselves and prevent it.”
Guilty pleasure: white wine. “Specifically, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I can drink three to four glasses a day. But not every day! Less than a bottle. Let’s just leave it at that.”
Photos by Matt Rose
Only in Asheville would you find dogs prancing down the runway alongside models decked out in more organic cotton than organza. The scene at the Purple Ball Fashion Show in April, one of the biggest of the year and the prelude to the Purple Ball on June 14, was nothing if not eclectic. A dozen local designers and 14 boutique owners trotted out their latest and greatest garb, from mod Elliott Elephant dresses by Amanda Boekhout to classic ‘60s shifts by The Costume Shoppe.