Rock n' Roll Couture

Moog has never been so en vogue.

Story by Jess McCuan . Photographed by Stewart O’Shields at the Lexington Avenue Brewery in downtown Asheville.

It’s pronounced Moog. Like vogue. And every time someone says Moog with a long “oo”—as in the words blue or fruit—they should donate $1 to the Bob Moog Foundation. That would certainly make Bob Moog’s daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa, happy. And her foundation would get a whopper of a cash infusion. Later this month, whether people mispronounce Moog or not, she’ll be getting a financial boost from Moogfest, which is shaping up to be one of the buzziest Asheville music events of the year.

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:46PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments1 Comment | References10 References

Tea for Two

On the national political scene, everyone’s talking about the Tea Party. What is the “party” up to locally? We asked its leaders.

by Jess McCuan . photos by Matt Rose

Before last year, Jane Bilello had never been to a political rally. In fact, when she attended her first one, an Asheville Tea Party gathering on the steps of the federal courthouse in April 2009, the 61-year-old former schoolteacher felt a bit out of her league. “Erika Franzi handed me a clipboard,” she says of the ATP’s founder and former chair. “They were rallying in support of states’ rights, which I didn’t know much about. I just had a gut feeling that we were going down the wrong path.”

Bilello, now chair of the Asheville Tea Party, has been a Democrat most of her life. In 2002, she decided she didn’t like Tom Daschle and a handful of other powerful Democrats at the time and became a left-of-center Republican. In 2008, she says, she got anxious about all sorts of political issues. She watched Barack Obama on TV and “saw socialism through and through.” The national debt was mounting, and she worried about border security. She felt that John McCain was a RINO—Republican In Name Only. In other words, she didn’t want to vote for anyone. “Republicans and Democrats are both bought and paid for by lobbyists. They don’t understand our founding documents or the idea of limited government,” she says. “We need to get off this train.”

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:44PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments3 Comments | References3 References

Scare Tactics

A former Miss Iowa runs the Tomato Jam and hunts for Asheville’s ghosts.

by Kelly Drake  .  photo by Matt Rose

Those things that go bump in the night might not be your imagination after all. Asheville’s departed have their share of unfinished business, says Iowa native Deb Maddox, who claims she’s privy to all of their favorite haunts. Take the first floor ladies’ room of Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria on Biltmore Avenue. Employees there have reported seeing a vanishing figure, Maddox says. Or Room 224 of the Battery Park Hotel, where the spirit of Helen Clevenger has been rumored to reside since her murder there in 1936. You may have seen Maddox around Asheville. She’s the one escorting a crowd of wide-eyed ghost enthusiasts brandishing ghost meters, dowsing rods and cameras in hopes of capturing one of these restless spirits on film. Maddox keeps a book of spooky photos taken on her Ghost Hunters of Asheville tour, including a shot of an apparition that looks like a bride and groom in front of Asheville’s First Presbyterian Church.

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:43PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment

More Fish in the (Bering) Sea

Heidi Dunlap is back from Alaska with one of her best catches yet.

by Jess McCuan . portrait by Matt Rose

Yes, the world’s oceans are over-fished. And this year, no one’s anxious to get their seafood from the Gulf Coast. But up in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, where Heidi Dunlap and her boyfriend Steve Maher spend their summers fishing for wild salmon, the fish were healthy and plentiful. “Our river was hitting over 100,000 fish a day,” she says of the Wood River, one of several that feed into the vast 250-mile-long bay, an arm of the Bering Sea. To be sure, her haul this summer wasn’t quite as big as last season, when Bristol Bay was having one of its biggest salmon runs in 20 years. In fact, the last five years or so have been banner years for the bay, and over three months, Dunlap can easily reel in more than 100,000 pounds of salmon.

Dunlap, who’s been visiting Alaska since age 6 and started fishing there at 15, has one of the most unusual jobs in Asheville. During spring, fall and winter, she and Maher live in their comfortable house in Montford, taking mountain bike rides and having friends and family over for dinner. But to prepare for the summer fishing season in May, they fly to Alaska and spend a month basically living inside a shipping container. For those few weeks, their lives are all about boat maintenance—fixing pumps and replacing engine parts on their large fiberglass fishing rig. Last season, they got up to Alaska to discover that they had to rebuild their engine in just a few days.

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:42PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References4 References

Picture Imperfect

Nava Lubelski’s complex work appears in major shows in New York and Toronto this fall. In her Asheville studio, she’s perfecting the art of “imperfectionism.”

by Ursula Gullow . portrait by Anthony Bellemare

Imperfectionism. It’s the term Nava Lubelski has coined to describe her highly intricate mixed media artwork. “It’s kind of my joke with myself,” says the 41-year-old native New Yorker. “I think about it as being a diligent care and attention to achieving something that is entirely flawed.”

Lubelski, whose family is Eastern European, has exhibited work all over the globe, from New York City to Mexico to Sweden. While she may use fundamental crafting methods like stitching and lace making, she makes it clear that she is not a craft artist. “Craft sticks to a plan. It finishes what it set out to do—and that is what’s valued about it. I’m pretty much doing the opposite of that,” she says.

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:40PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References4 References

Lox of Love

Real Jewish soul food comes to Asheville just one day a year.

by Joanne O’Sullivan . photos by Matt Rose

Asheville has accumulated impressive accolades in national polls for everything from arts to beer. And in food and beverages, we’re now on par with much bigger cities. We have Indian street food and plenty of Thai. There’s even a kava bar downtown. But behind all our culinary progress, there’s still a nagging question: can a city be truly great without a great Jewish deli?

For most of the year, transplants from other cities that have beloved deli institutions (think Katz’s in New York City or Canter’s in L.A.) have only their memories to bite into. But for the past eight years, they’ve had a chance to taste the real thing during the annual HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival, to be held this year on October 17 in Pack Square Park. “We’re the best deli in town,” says Barbara Jaslow, a festival organizer. “But we’re only open one day a year.”

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:39PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

Channeling Dorothy

interview by Jess McCuan . photo by Anthony Bellemare

Name: RoseLynn Katz

Age: 71

You often play the poet and critic Dorothy Parker in plays around town. Why do you like Dorothy so much? I love her elegant wit. I started reading her in my teens. She really speaks to the women of her times—though I don’t think she speaks for women of today.

Why not? She lived by the rule that you always had to have a man around.

And what’s your favorite Dorothy Parker quote? Oh, there are so many. Here’s one: “If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.”

Any others? You know what Dorothy Parker said when she found out Calvin Coolidge was dead? She said, “How could they tell?” 

Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:38PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References5 References

Vroom, Vroom

interview by Jess McCuan . photo by Rimas Zailskas

Name: Sonya Klepper

Age: 42

Growing up, what did you want to be? I’ve always loved to write. I have a degree in mass communication and a minor in poetry. I wanted to be a poet, then an artist, and maybe a college professor.

But you mainly do yoga now? I spend most of my time running Truly Twisted Marketing, but yes. I’ve always practiced yoga. I bought a Raquel Welch yoga tape in the ‘80s. I was living in East Tennessee, and I don’t think I even knew what it was.

And what bits of wisdom do you learn from yoga? To breathe. We walk through life literally holding our breath. We’re rushing to get in the car, get our coffee, get the kids to soccer practice. We don’t stop to really breathe.

Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:36PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment

Doin' It To Julia

interview by Kelly Drake  .  photo by Rimas Zailskas

Name: Halli Anderson

Age: 23

So you sing and play the violin and piano with an Asheville band, Do it to Julia. Are there any other instruments you want to play? I really want to play saxophone or the trumpet. My favorite instrument besides the violin would be a trumpet that’s muted. It sounds all kind of jazzy and sexy.

If you could jam with any person living or dead who would it be? Van Morrison. Van is my man. I’ve never seen him live, but I’ve been in love with him since I was a kid. I have all his albums, and he sang Straight to Your Heart, so I would love to play the fiddle with him.

If you could have one super power what would it be? I want to harness the power of sound waves. The planet would be my symphony.

If you suddenly won ten million dollars what would you buy? If I were a selfish person, I would walk straight into a music store and buy as many instruments as I could find.And then spend the rest of my life sitting in a room learning them and playing them.  

Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:35PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment

Sporting a New Look

A Fletcher mom who prefers T-shirts takes some terrific fall clothes for a spin.

by Mick Kelly . photo by Rimas Zailskas

Julie Hayes has always been sporty. Growing up in Miami, she played softball and golf, and she’s always comfortable hanging by the beach in flip-flops and shorts. But these days, she’s not so thrilled with some aspects of the sporty look. Without a lot of styling, her hair can appear helmet-like, and she says, jokingly, “I feel like I put on the same helmet every day.” The 47-year-old Fletcher resident works part time on fundraising projects for Western North Carolina schools. She spends the rest of her time playing mom—cooking, doing laundry and hauling her two children, 11-year-old Katie and 14-year-old Kevin, around to soccer and band practice. “I love style and fashion, but at this point, it’s not a priority in my life,” she says. “Now, I’m more into my kids’ style.”

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:34PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment

String Theory

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra kicked off its 50th season last month with a glamorous outdoor concert in Pack Square Park. A few longtime female players remember the ASO’s humble roots.

by Joanne O’Sullivan . photo by Matt Rose

When Mary Daniels played in the Asheville Symphony Orchestra as a teen, the group was so small it met in the basement of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Charlotte Street—and if you’ve ever seen the place, you know it’s a really small church. Daniels, a violinist, left town for conservatory and then came back to serve as the symphony’s concertmaster for 25 years. She says it wasn’t so long ago that the number of professional musicians in the orchestra topped out at three. “Now there are maybe three who aren’t professional musicians,” she says. “We’ve progressed from a tiny little civic orchestra. It’s amazing to see the caliber of musicians who want to play here now.”

That includes folks who have moved here from big-city orchestras or commute in from areas like Greenville/Spartanburg or as far away as Washington, D.C. Rita Hayes, who plays both piccolo and flute for the orchestra and has been with the Asheville Symphony for 25 of her 30 years in the area, says newcomers are always expanding the group’s musical universe. And attendance has grown significantly recently. “People who move here from bigger cities like New York or Philadelphia express surprise at the quality of our symphony,” she says. “They don’t expect it from a town of this size.”

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:32PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References5 References

You Be the Judge

Actually, they want to be. Two women, two separate races. Both for superior court judge.

by Jess McCuan . photos by Laurie Johnson and Byron Gasque


Heather Goldstein

The executive director of Asheville’s Jewish Community Center talks about fairness. And Skittles. 

Heather Goldstein admits she has a candy problem (the habit started in law school.) But the 39-year-old New Jersey native grew up in Fairview, and she’s quick to point out that her family of six eats plenty of organic vegetables too. In fact, her first job was on a Fairview sprout farm. Goldstein has degrees from Duke University and George Washington University Law School. She’s running against Asheville attorney Diane K. McDonald (who declined an interview with VERVE) and current district court judge Marvin Pope after longtime superior court judge Dennis Winner retired in June.

Growing up, did you want to make movies? Oh gosh, no. Growing up, I was interested in politics. But I really got this bug in college for film…My senior year I made a film, which was a great experience. By virtue of trying something, you discover it’s not what you should be doing.

Why do you think you would make a good judge? I think for the judge races, people need to think about what makes a good judge. In my view, it’s three things: knowledge of the law and excellence in scholarship. Another factor is community engagement. The third is character and temperament.

Do you think you’re an unknown? How would people know if you’d treat them fairly? I don’t know that you get to be successful as a manager of any organization if you can’t do that. If I am not personally known, I do think the JCC (Jewish Community Center) and its work is known. I would hope that that’s a reflection of me as a leader and the team of people we have here.

What would our readers be surprised to learn about you? Do you have quirky habits or only eat yellow Skittles? That’s funny. I was eating Skittles when you called.


Kate Dreher

In 2000, Rolling Stone called Dreher, the Buncombe County Assistant D.A., a “fierce little biscuit.” She still takes it as a compliment.

She’s been assistant district attorney for 20 years, trying high-profile homicide, child abuse and armed robbery cases. What scares Kate Dreher? “Nothing,” she says matter-of-factly, and then pauses for the next question. Dreher was born in tiny Frackville, Pennsylvania, and attended University of Pennsylvania. After a law degree at Washington, D.C.’s Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America and a short stint in civil law in Pennsylvania, she moved to Asheville in 1989. Dreher eats pizza every day of her life. No kidding. “I’m probably gonna lose the doctors’ votes,” she jokes.

Why did you stop riding motorcycles? I like to ride on the back of my husband’s. I took a course just in case something happened…My riding was really questionable.

What do you say when people call you things like “fierce little biscuit”? I say to myself: Who would have thought I’d be 52 and somebody would be calling me something like “fierce little biscuit.” I think it’s cute. It’s a compliment.

Is it better for Asheville to keep putting its efforts behind nuisance court, prosecuting quality-of-life type crimes? I think nuisance court has netted the city what they hoped it would net them—we’ve gotten people downtown engaged in cleaning up graffiti, and they seem more interested in cleaning up their own city.

How do you feel about the recent report that Missouri judges are being told how much sentences will cost taxpayers? Judges in North Carolina are bound by sentencing guidelines set by the legislature. Judges need to be concerned with the laws that come from the legislature. I’m big on upholding the law, regardless of what I might think of it. When [judges] go to far afield on the law, they turn the whole government into a rubik’s cube.  

Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:28PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Walk This Way

Want an Asheville women’s history lesson? Take a walk with Brenda Williams. It beats a classroom by a mile.

by Janet Hurley . photo by Matt Rose

The husband made a deal with his wife: go with him to Bass Pro Shop and he’d do the Herstory walking tour. He got the best out of that bargain. “He told me the stories were just fascinating,” says Brenda Seright Williams, 46, founding owner of Herstory, a company that leads women’s history walking tours around downtown Asheville. “Men come to please their wives and then get drawn in.” At presstime, on the website Trip Advisor, Herstory was #2 on a list of 91 Asheville attractions. Williams, a Texas native who landed in Asheville just four years ago, leads 90-minute tours several days a week, telling stories of Asheville’s “famous, infamous and unsung heroines.” After a year as communications director for the fitness company ChiLiving, the single mom dove into local history and launched Herstory in 2007. VERVE recently sat down with Williams to learn more about, ahem, her story.

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:25PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References3 References

She Wants You help get out the vote next month.

by Jess McCuan . photo by Matt Rose

Carmen Ramos-Kennedy really did intend to start a jewelry business. Really. But Asheville’s Democratic political community had other plans for her. “I think I have the word ‘yes’ tattooed somewhere secretly on my forehead,” she says.

Always politically-minded, Ramos-Kennedy and her husband Bruce moved to Asheville to escape the hustle and bustle of New York and L.A. Ramos-Kennedy had worked in marketing for music companies and as a Saks Fifth Avenue buyer. In 2005, they sold their L.A. house and toured the country for two years in a motorhome. They landed in a house in Asheville’s East End neighborhood, where Bruce does freelance web design and Ramos-Kennedy intended to start designing jewelry.

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:24PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment

Bustin' Out All Over

This month, look for breast cancer awareness events everywhere. Work out, drink wine or take a walk in the park for a good cause.

The pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness must be one of the most successful health-related marketing campaigns ever. Yes, there are pins and ribbons associated with other causes, and other health conditions to rally for in other months. September, for example, is ovarian cancer awareness month, and in November, it’s lung cancer awareness. But “Think Pink” efforts seem to have taken deep root in the public psyche—especially in October, officially designated breast cancer awareness month for the past 25 years. After a quarter century, people are finally getting it.

Businesses and organizations around WNC seem to really get it. This month, you can drink wine (in at least three places), run a race or paint your nails to help raise money for area breast cancer groups. The Asheville Citizen-Times will be printed on pink paper on October 7, and every Wednesday in October, Jessica Gualano’s Wine Studio of Asheville will host Beauty Through Cancer, which offers services and programs to breast cancer patients. There are so many cool events this month it’s tough to know which one to choose—a good problem, to be sure. Below, just a few area events that will keep you thinking pink.

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:18PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments2 Comments

Editor's Note

If it’s the Year of the Woman, I can’t wait.

2010: the Year of the Woman. I’ve heard it repeated for months now. But political pundits have been using the phrase “year of the woman” since at least the early ‘70s, when Shirley Chisholm, Gloria Steinem and others convened the first National Women’s Political Caucus. Commentators also called 1992 the Year of the Woman, after several of them—including Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer—were elected to the U.S. Senate. My favorite quote from that year comes from Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, still the country’s most senior female senator. “Calling 1992 the Year of the Woman makes it sound like the Year of the Caribou or the Year of the Asparagus,” Mikulski said. “We’re not a fad, a fancy, or a year.”

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Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:15PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference