Stina's picks

A point in the right direction
By Stina Sieg | Jul 01, 2012
Photo by: John Rolland See John Rolland's new show, “South of the Sahara: Portrait of Africa," at Gallery 86 in Waynesville.

Oh, how I want to write something witty or heartfelt, but I’m just too hot to think. Considering how little air conditioning there is in this county, I’ll bet many of you are in the same boat (and wish you really were in a boat, too). On a strange level, however, it’s kind of interesting to be distracted by something so in my face and universal. Like being sick or incredibly tired, being hot takes me way out of my head and into the present. I’m not thinking about the future or my career or which of my friends might be mad at me. My current priorities are, in order: water, ice cream and books. Anything else sounds like too much work.

Below are some other things might make their way on that small list — providing the temperatures dip a bit.

A sizzling Fourth

By the time many of you read this, Independence Day will be only a memory, but if I happen to catch you before the festivities, here’s my biggest recommendation: drink water and wear sunblock. I know that sounds motherly and obvious, but really, one way I know to truly extinguish all the fun from a day off work is to walk around parched and burnt to a crisp — and with highs expected in the upper 80s, that’s a distinct possibility. Barring that fate, I think you’ll have a good time no matter where you go for the holiday. Much of the festivities around the county are child-centered this year, from Waynesville’s Kids On Main Parade at 11 a.m. (sign up at 10) to Maggie Valley’s Red, White and Boom, featuring petting zoo and bouncy houses, starting at 2 p.m. at the festival grounds. If you’re really ambitious (and have gas money, to boot), you could hit up every corner of the county, as Canton and Lake Junaluska are also in on the action. Check out The Guide’s calendar and for the full run down.

A lovely drag

I was in my 20s before I realized not everyone is charmed by drag queen culture. That’s growing up in San Francisco for ya. A few years later, I am sensitive to this fact but still don’t fully get it, as I can think of few things as effervescent, fun and joy inducing as a good dose of drag. That’s why I can’t wait for HART’s newest musical, “La Cage Aux Folles,” to begin its four-week, fabulous run this Friday. Think “The Bird Cage” — minus Nathan Lane and plus several giddy and masterful musical numbers. I’ve heard some of the songs, seen some of the costumes and met the play’s delightful Puerto Rican houseboy, and I can say without a doubt that this show is going to be a whole lot of fun. For the full calendar of shows and more info, turn to this week’s Guide story on the play, visit or call 456-6322.

From Nashville to Waynesville

I’m not well versed in Christian music, but I can say from my uniformed perch that Andrew Peterson has something special. The Nashville-based Christian singer/songwriter has a gentle sound and lyrics that really say something. I’m regretting now I didn’t get a chance to interview him, because he’s probably got an interesting story. I’m sure you can hear some of it at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, when he performs at Lake Junaluska’s Stuart Auditorium. For tickets, call 800-222-4390 or visit For more information about Peterson, visit

Art in the morning, art in the evening

All my favorite little and big towns make a point to celebrate art, which is why I have an especially soft spot in my heart for “Art After Dark.” I know it’s easy to forget after a long workweek, but I’m always glad to attend the evening of artwork, music and plentiful snacks, when galleries and shops alike stay open from 6 to 9 p.m. the first Friday of the month. This year, the new “Saturday Stroll,” which is essentially the same thing but from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the following day, looks like a nice addition. There is a lot packed into this month’s edition, but I would not miss seeing Adam Malis and his global photography at The Lone Backpacker, watching Jenny Buckner create of her wildly impressionist paintings at Twigs and Leaves Gallery or meeting photographer John Rolland at Gallery 86. Rolland and his show, “South of the Sahara: Portrait of Africa,” will be bringing a global perspective to Main Street, which sounds like a real treat. Visit or call 452-9284 for more info.