Arts & Performance

The New York Times announced today that come January, it will have a new publisher. But the name at the top of the masthead won't be changing much.

The person who will replace Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. in helming the Gray Lady? His 37-year-old son, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, known as A.G.

Matt Peiken

In a land of Americana music and art imbued with the mountains, you can forget you’re in Asheville while you’re inside Revolve.

It’s a gallery and performance space in the RAMP Studios, an unmarked industrial building near UNC-Asheville. Revolve is dedicated to contemporary, experimental work -- meaning, it’s 180 degrees from the music and art you’ll generally find along the region’s paths of tourism.

Matt Peiken | BPR

City government, tax and planning commissions and nonprofit board meetings. Those settings naturally conjure ... mystery and romance?

They do if you’re Renee Kumor.

“I’ve been on nonprofit boards for years. I’ve dealt with staff members who’ve embezzled -- that happens constantly,” Kumor said. “The issues of conflict of interest. Just having a crisis of direction on the board, and I just decided those crisis discussions can end in murder, what the heck?”

CULLOWHEE -- Picture in your mind a traditional Cherokee Indian basket. You can see its shape, the bands of bundled pine needles or rivercane wicker, the painted patterns drawn from tribal imagery.

 

But when you these baskets, do you reflect on treaty violations, the appropriation of Native names and imagery or forced removal from ancestral homelands?

Waynesville has more galleries per capita than Asheville. BPR Arts & Culture Producer Matt Peiken captured a view from Waynesville's Main Street, meeting artists and gallery owners along the city's monthly visual arts showcase "Art After Dark."

In John Hall’s classroom at ArtSpace Charter School, in Swannanoa, there’s an equation stamped in dark capital letters high up one green wall: Vision + perseverance = impact.

Hall teaches social studies, not math, so perhaps that’s why he’s found this equation elusive in his own life. He’s pursued some things and persevered in others. They just haven’t always aligned.

By many measures, including his own, David Hopes is a successful poet and playwright. He’s certainly an influential one, at least to those who have studied with him over the years at UNC-Asheville.

But by other measures, including his own, Hopes hasn’t achieved the notoriety one might expect of someone with so many works published and produced.

In “Rapture, Blister, Burn” at NC Stage, Rebecca Morris stars as a strong, independent woman quick to stand her ground. In many respects, she’s the woman Morris wishes to be.

“So in the rehearsal process, there was a lot of drawing that out (of me),” Morris said. “Your personal power or potency, standing on my own two feet and speaking my mind, whether I think people are going to agree with me or not, is very difficult for me to do.”

The Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre is rehearsing a piece that depends on props and costuming that aren’t quite holding together.

At this point, performances are two weeks away, and Susan Collard doesn’t appear too worried. After 38 years of ups and down and dips and turns she could never have choreographed, Collard responds to these malfunctions with a smile.

“You have these visions of what you want to create,” Collard said. “And then (you have) the bill, and then ‘how do you raise your money?’”

NOTE: This is the second in a two-part series on the Asheville Symphony Orchestra's search for its next music director.

 

Here’s an interesting situation that become a piece of obscure trivia:

Daniel Meyer was among six finalists this past season to become the next music director of the Fresno Philharmonic, in California. The person who won the position is Rei Hotoda. Now, Hotoda is one of six finalists to succeed Meyer on the podium of the Asheville Symphony.

NOTE: This is the first in a two-part series about the search for the Asheville Symphony Orchestra’s next music director.

 

The Asheville Symphony is a part-time orchestra. Everyone responsible for the music has another job, or two jobs. So it’s a little stunning to learn how many people applied to become the orchestra’s next music director.

 

437.

 

In 2015, world powers agreed to give Iran relief from some economic sanctions in return for inspections and limits on its nuclear program. Since the nuclear deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — took effect in January 2016, Iran has allowed inspections and is seeing some economic payoff.

Wiley Cash grew up in a solid, supportive family, attended great schools and is quick to say he is the product of a sheltered, all-American privilege.

 

So even though he sets his stories in his native North Carolina, Cash is writing as an outsider.

 

“I had to go to graduate school in Louisiana, however many decades removed from the event itself, to learn about the defining moment in my hometown’s history,” Cash said.

 

Jarrod Perkins

Female readers of young adult fiction have lifted Stephanie Perkins onto the list of New York Times Bestsellers, an appearance on “The Today Show” and other notoriety most young authors would covet. For Perkins, that meteoric success triggered a crippling bout of depression.

 

Some might wonder why there’s an annual conference dedicated to a tiny college that shut down 60 years ago. That conference, “ReViewing,” going into its ninth year, until now has been the sole domain of arts professors with particular interests in multidisciplinary practice and the groundbreaking history of Black Mountain College.

Murphy Funkhouser Capps begins writing her plays by living her life.

That’s why it’s impossible to separate the writer and performer from the teenage runaway, the former solo parent, the woman whose husband is battling bone cancer.

Matt Bush BPR

Nearly all counties in Western Carolina are now home to self-serve kiosks where people can learn more about mental illness – and determine whether they might be suffering from one.  The kiosks are really just a computer screen, with no keyboard and a phone is attached to the screen.  With just a few touches on the screen, users can learn the symptoms of several common mental health conditions says Jessie Smathers of Vaya Health, which helped place the kiosks around the region.

Ann Dunn has spent her entire life in motion -- by necessity, force of will, restlessness and, through it all, a curiosity that refuses to sit still.

At age 71, Dunn has so many active elements in her life: She has a fulltime teaching schedule at UNC-Asheville. She’s working on her fourth book of poetry. Every summer, she dives into culturally immersive travels the world over, and she’s eager to share what she sees and learns both in her classroom, with her 11 grandchildren and anyone she has time to sit with.

 

 If you want people to hear some new songs you’ve written, there’s an open-mike around Asheville almost any night of the week. But for songwriters who want to put a little more on the line, the One Stop hosts a songwriting competition every Wednesday night throughout the fall.

 

Music directors and orchestras often stick together about as long as coaches last with professional football teams. But on Saturday, the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra launches its 20th season under the baton of Thomas Joiner. This is the story of a marriage that works.

 

Daniel Nevins has painted for nearly 30 years, but if you want to trace his influences, he will point you to the Beatles and the psychedelia of the '60s and '70s. His work was already selling around the world when he moved to Asheville almost 20 years ago. His paintings now grace 30 album covers and even an illustrated version of the Old Testament.

Different Strokes is an Asheville theater company with a mission to "change the world one play at a time." Still, Stephanie Hickling-Beckman, the founding director of Different Strokes, couldn't have known the company's production of "Best of Enemies" would come on the vapors of the racially charged events of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Matt Peiken | BPR

Jeremy Phillips teaches religion and humanities at Haywood Community College and UNC-Asheville, and he connects that academic work to his visual art. Jeremy sees both as exploring the unresolvable.

 

Open Air Brevard

Jun 27, 2017

OPEN AIR BREVARD  - Great music in the mountains from WCQS and the Brevard Music Center Summer Festival   Blue Ridge Public Radio – WCQS  will highlight the magnificent performances from the Brevard Music Center’s Summer Festival with broadcasts  Wednesday mornings at 10, beginning June 28th.  We’ll start with performances from the 2016 season and move on to concerts from this summer.

Blue Ridge Public Radio continues to invest in the development of local programming and content with the hiring of Matt Peiken as the NPR station’s first Arts Producer.

Peiken, whose entire journalism career has concentrated in covering arts and culture, will produce segments for Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and will develop a range of digital elements for BPR’s web and mobile platforms. He’ll also lay the groundwork for a new, weekly arts and performance showcase for BPR.

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. May 11th marks Fresh Air's 30th anniversary. It's a remarkable milestone for one of public radio's most loved and respected hosts and programs. We hope you'll join us in celebrating Terry Gross and her team.

WCQS

It's a bittersweet day here at Blue Ridge Public Radio.  Thirty one years ago this month, music director Dick Kowal hit the airwaves.   Today, he hosted his last show.   While it's  impossible to capture all of the amazing accomplishments of his talented career, we do have some highlights, and a few good stories.  BPR's Helen Chickering reports.

(Dick Kowal on the air)

“It’s about 6 minutes after 9, good morning.”

If you live in Western North Carolina, chances are, you know this voice.

(Dick Kowal on the air)

Dick Kowal knows a lot about music. He can draw you into a special moment of artistry by one of the world’s great orchestras during one of his broadcasts on WCQS Radio or informally connect with a talented local musician who’s about to perform live on Friday @ 2.

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