Stina's picks

A point in the right direction
By Stina Sieg | Sep 16, 2012
Photo by: Stina Sieg See Jerry Donahoe, seen above at the Haywood County Fair, and the rest of the Frog Level Philharmonic will be playing at this Saturday's Music at the Mill event at the Francis Mill off of Highway 276.

On Saturday, I took a short but educational trip out of the country.

At least that's how it felt spending a few hours at Thunder in the Smokies, the twice-annual bike rally in Maggie Valley. Surrounded by doo-rags, leather and the occasional mullet, I was way out of my element. But sometimes that's the best place to be.

Maybe it was because of my camera, or maybe I just looked like an oddity, but people were extremely gracious and friendly when I chatted them up. They didn't shy away from my lens, but instead mugged, preened and flashed peace signs in front of it. No one gave me that distrustful look — that look all photographers know — that asks, "Who are you and what do you want?" Instead, they just themselves go, laughing and hugging and dancing like no one was watching. As I stood there, snapping away, I tried to compare this to anything else I'd seen, but came up short. This was its own thing, its own world, and while it wasn't my mine, I did enjoy the trip.

I actually kind of miss it, though I'm ready to spend some quality time back in more familiar territory this week. Here's what I might be up to.

A talented finale

While "America's Got Talent" has its charms, it has nothing on our own, home-grown talent show. For my money, "Haywood's Got Talent" has got the other beat, because, really, how much can you care about someone you've never met? The HART-produced show, which heads into finals at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 22, isn't just about talent. It's about supporting a creative spark in people who you  might known in a completely different context. While it's true there may be no Susan Boyle at this show, there might just be your co-worker or classmate. I think that's far more interesting, especially since a crowd vote helps determine who walks home with the $1,000 purse. For tickets and more info, visit or call 456-6322.

Music, munchies and one old mill

Come for the music, come for the barbecue or come for the history. But just come. I can say with near-certainty that you'll have a good time at Music at the Mill — from 1 to 5 p.m. this Saturday — as all the day's ingredients (fried pies included) pretty much guarantee it. If you've never been, this is a pretty momentous year to start, as it marks the 10th anniversary of this little shindig — and the 125th birthday of this little mill. Like always, proceeds from the day go to the Francis Mill Preservation Society, aimed at keeping the place grinding for many moons to come. For more information and tickets, visit or call 456-6307

'Groovy Movie' time

I don't think there's anything quite like the power of seeing a movie that touches you. It's such an intimate and personal experience, and at the very best, cathartic and joyous. Believe me, I've made many a trip to Asheville looking for that elusive high. It's nice to know I don't always have to. Every month, the Groovy Movie Club beams movies that matter straight into Buffy Queen's Dellwood home. Starting with a potluck and often ending in discussion, the club's movie nights always center on cinema that's just a bit off the grid. This time around it's the British comedy "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," about a group retirees who move India. Its stars include Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson — and that's about all I need to know. The food starts at 6:15 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m. this Friday. For directions and to RSVP, call 454-5949 or send an email to

Adios, Downtown After 5

I love autumn entirely and without question, but if there is one bummer about it, it's that outdoor music tends to go into hibernation. Send it off right this Friday night with the final edition in this season's Downtown After 5 free music series in Asheville. With WNCW favorite The Black Lillies (Americana meets Appalachia) and opening act The Buchanan Boys (countrified rock 'n' roll), it's bound to be a good time — if you can find a parking spot. If you're that lucky, you can see the show from 5 to 9 p.m. on North Lexington Avenue (between Hiawassee Street and the overpass). Learn more at