Stina's picks

A point in the right direction
By Stina Sieg | Apr 26, 2012
Photo by: Donated photo QuickDraw, the art-in-an-hour challenge and art education benefit, is headed to the Laurel Ridge Country Club this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Above is work from longtime QuickDraw-er Jo Ridge Kelley.

Sometimes it’s just nice to get out.

I was thinking that last weekend, as I ambled through PlottFest and later Taste of Chocolate both in Maggie. As much as I was enjoying the events themselves (a festival featuring Balsam Range followed by all the chocolate I can need eat … of course), I was reminded how enjoyable it is to rub elbows with my friends and neighbors. This winter wasn’t that long, but I think I might have forgotten that subtle spark of happiness that comes from being surrounded by a gaggle of people I know. That kind of thing tends to get less exciting as the high season drags on, but right now I’m ready for more. So, will I see you at QuickDraw, HART or that 5K in Clyde this weekend? Hope so.

Art as sport

QuickDraw, certainly the coolest art fundraiser in the land, is almost upon us. For those not in the know, the event raises money for local public school art teachers and college-bound art students by challenging artists across the county to create a unique work on the spot in just an hour. The pieces are then sold to the highest bidder in an auction that inspires the kind of adrenaline and attachment usually reserved for NASCAR viewers. With great eats, wine and many other cool accoutrements, it’s just a fun, and much-appreciated, way to spend an evening. Get your tickets now for the arty event — starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at the Laurel Ridge Country Club — by calling 452-9284 or visiting

‘Homeward’ at HART

While most of us have tried dearly to erase the memories of our teenage foibles, famous author Thomas Wolfe captured them forever in his first big hit, “Look Homeward, Angel.” The extremely autobiographical novel, which tells of Wolfe’s wayward upbringing in pre-World War I Asheville, eventually became a Broadway play — the Haywood County version of which you can see this weekend and next. The show will be at 7:30 p.m. April 27-28 and May 3-5, and at 3 p.m. April 29 and May 6, at HART, 250 Pigeon Ave. Call 456-6322 or visit for more information.

Run for reading

I didn’t run last year’s Cardinals Take Flight 5K, but just watching the runners cross the finish line at Clyde Elementary School’s then-inaugural race was like being hugged. There aren’t many places where everyone is celebrated, regardless of their ability, but this little race is one of them. Runners and walkers, fast and slow, old and young — all get applauded in the end. Sound good? Thought so. This year’s event, a benefit for childhood literacy, will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday at the school, 4182 Old Clyde Road. A fun run begins at 10 a.m. Call 627-2206 for registration information.

Contra time

Let me be clear: Contra dancing is not the square dancing you forced to do in elementary school. This art from is as old as the day is long but is attracting new followers constantly, and for good reason. It’s hard to describe contra, except that whenever I look around a contra dance hall, everybody (and I do mean everybody) is smiling like crazy. That’s contra. The next Waynesville Contra Dance from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at The Gateway Club, 37 Church St., Waynesville. Jack Mitchell is this week’s caller, and music is by Boom Chuck with Nik Coker.

Wanna meet Ira Glass?

Well, I do. When it comes to the host of public radio’s “This American Life,” you either love him, hate him or have no clue who he is. No matter where you stand, though, I definitely think it would be interesting to see him 15 feet tall. On May 12 and 15, a live version of Glass’ amazing (and polarizing) radio show about the lives of everyday people will be broadcast at many theaters throughout the country — The Carolina Asheville included. Though this is still several weeks out, I recommend getting your tickets now, because there are probably many public-radio-loving Buncombe County hipsters just waiting to beat you to the punch. Don’t let ‘em. Find out more at