November/December 2008 Issue

The November/December Cover

Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 12:06PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment

Art that Gets Under Your Skin

by Joanne O'Sullivan / photos by Steve Mann

A Spruce Pine sculptor hides her edgy messages in the layers. 



Political art requires a deft touch. Strong-arm your viewers and you risk losing them. Let your medium overwhelm your message and you fail to make an impression. With her mixed-media sculpture, Spruce Pine artist Anne Lemanski hits something of a sweet spot between form and content—as you look at one of her pieces, its message might sneak up on you.

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Posted on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 10:26PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment

The City that Patti Built

by Jess McCuan / photo by Rimas Zailskas

It would be an exaggeration, of course, to say she built the whole city of Asheville. But you’d be amazed at how many prominent Asheville buildings architect Patti Glazer has had a hand in designing, building or refurbishing. She and five employees at downtown Asheville’s Glazer Architecture have won 15 Griffin Awards for preserving classic structures like the 1921 Castanea building, now home to Sensibilities Day Spa, Jewels That Dance and other shops; the 1914 WCQS Elk’s Home Building; and the Echo Mountain Recording Studio, housed inside a 1928 church. The firm has created commercial buildings for everyone from Asheville Savings Bank to Earth Fare to Habitat for Humanity. 

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Posted on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 09:59PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments3 Comments | References3 References

Playing Their Cards Right

photos by Matt Rose



At a card table, luck only runs in one direction, says Audrey McLane, a retired nursing professor who’s been playing bridge for decades and now plays against her neighbors for pennies. If you happen to be seated along the unlucky meridian, just switch chairs. And whatever you do, don’t play it too safe. “If you don’t bid, you’re never going to win,” she says. McLane was one of 13 bridge players at the Winning at the Waverly Ladies’ Autumn Luncheon and Bridge Party, held at Diane and John Sheiry’s Waverly Inn in Hendersonville, a late-September fundraiser for Henderson County’s Dispute Settlement Center. Therese Smoke of Columbus, North Carolina, and her partner, Shirley Catanese of Hendersonville, happened to be winning their hand. “It’s not luck, you just sort of pray,” Smoke says. Lee Luebbe of Flat Rock said she learned to play bridge in 1959 while her husband was in dental school. “It was cheap entertainment,” she says. “We taught ourselves—that’s why I’m so lousy.” Luebbe’s frequent bridge partner is 85-year-old Inger Brodin, whose best card-playing advice is: “Stay calm—if you can.” 

Posted on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 09:50PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment

Black and White and…Raising Money for a Good Cause

by Jess McCuan / photos by Matt Rose

Always a rollicking dance party and a who’s who of Asheville politics, the YWCA’s Black & White Gala raised nearly $25,000 this year. A crowd of 300 showed up for the annual fall fundraiser at The Orange Peel in early October, despite the fact that it competed that night with the televised vice presidential debates. Johnny White & the Elite Band’s Motown classics had Holly Jones, the YWCA executive director and a Buncombe County Commissioner, cutting a rug on the dance floor. A silent auction prize was lunch with Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, who also attended. More than 30 restaurants donated food, thanks to the organizing efforts of Lu Young, co-owner of the Westville Pub. “The value of what we provide the community becomes even more crucial during economic times like these,” says YWCA marketing director Ami Worthen. “The local businesses acknowledged that.” 

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Posted on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 09:05PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment


The Lake Eden Arts Festival has been a Western North Carolina cultural staple for 15 years. It’s a music, art and dance extravaganza held twice a year at Camp Rockmount in Black Mountain, and if you haven’t heard of it, you probably haven’t lived here very long. But even if you live here, you might not have heard much about the festival’s founder, Jennifer Pickering, who recently won Etown’s E-Chievement Award. A nationally broadcast radio show dedicated to educating and inspiring diverse audiences through music and conversation, Etown’s choice of winner couldn’t have been more in line with their philosophy.

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Posted on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 09:03PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References5 References

The Longest Yard

by Jess McCuan / photos by Rimas Zailskas

Lucille Neilson hasn’t bought an outfit from a store since sometime in the 1950s. Since then, she’s made all her clothes using material from her own store, the House of Fabrics, which has been in business on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville since 1969. At 83, she’s seen a fair number of fashion trends come and go—beginning with polyester, the fabric that fueled her business for at least a decade.

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Posted on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 09:01PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References53 References

Why Go Virtual?

by Jess McCuan

Laraine Meyer of Flashback Vintage Modern in West Asheville has started selling her funky furniture on eBay, where the pieces often fetch higher prices than in her shop. But she doesn’t want to go completely virtual—“I think I’d go crazy staying home with my computer,” she says. PHOTO BY JESS McCUANVirginia Teel, owner of The Wrinkled Egg in Flat Rock, sees her online business as a complement to sales in her Flat Rock retail store. Online sales make up less than half of the company’s revenue, but, “we wouldn’t compete in this business if we weren’t online,” she says. PHOTO BY RIMAS ZAILSKAS




















A few months ago, when Laraine Meyer started posting pictures of her vintage couches and funky lamps on eBay, she wasn’t sure what to expect. For most of last year, business at her jam-packed 624-square-foot West Asheville shop, Flashback Vintage Modern, was reasonably brisk. But this year, with the economy sputtering, fewer people have been stopping in, so she decided to try her luck online. Fortunately—or rather, unfortunately, in some ways—the furniture sold for almost double what it might have in her store. 

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Posted on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 08:42PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References19 References

A “Claire-voyant” Truck Driver

by Debra LeBar / photos by Hannah Huff

Growing up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Claire Long became known as “the weird girl.” Not because she looked weird or necessarily acted weird but because she felt she had psychic powers. She says her mother and grandmothers had all been strongly “intuitive,” able to tell when their children were sick, in harm’s way or (more often) fibbing. But she was the most outright clairvoyant in her family, predicting, for example, when she was eight years old that her father’s plane would have mechanical trouble and have to make an emergency landing, or being able to feel, at age nine, that the dungeons in a fort she toured with her family in St. Augustine, Florida, had been used to torture people. “People don’t always like hearing the truth, but that’s what I saw,” Long says. She knew being different wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. She just needed to find an outlet for her gifts.

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Posted on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 08:38PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments1 Comment | References20 References

Paper Trail

by Janet Hurley / photos by Brent Fleury

Johnnie Grant, publisher of Asheville’s monthly newspaper The Urban News, begs to differ with Thomas Wolfe’s famous book title You Can’t Go Home Again. “You can go home again,” she says fervently. You just might be surprised what you find when you get there. 

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Posted on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 08:25PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment | References23 References
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