Stina's picks

A point in the right direction
By Stina Sieg | Nov 04, 2012
Photo by: Courtesy photo You can hear Nobel Prize winner Leymah Gbowee this Saturday at the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference.

A few nights ago, I saw the film “Flight,” and it made me sad. And not because of the death, destruction and discussion of personal demons. The movie wasn’t bad — and most of it caught and held me close — but the last 15 or so minutes were a letdown. It was as though the director gave up or got lost or felt some need to wrap everything up in a shabby, shameless bow. There was one moment in particular that was so sadly formulaic that someone actually laughed in the audience. It wasn’t me, but it could have been.

It got me to thinking bout how tenuous any piece of art is. From finger paints to novels, we’re never safe when we get creative. That lack of sure-footedness is a needed ingredient, I think. This said, I’d like to enlist your help with The Mountaineer’s celebration of all (local) things artistic, The Guide. I and the rest of The Guide crew want to know what you like about the publication — and even what you don’t. Do you want more of something? Less of something else? Are you itching for us to profile your cousin who makes sculptures out of toothpicks? Let us know. This week’s back page is a survey that you can send in, drop by or  just email me at

Thank you for your help. And thank you for reading. You are why this exists.
Here are some of my best arty bets for the coming week.

Family feud
No matter how crazy your family might be, the Westons will probably make you count your lucky stars. They’re the foul-mouthed folks at the center of “August: Osage County,” the black comedy opening this Friday, Nov. 9, at Haywood Arts Regional Theatre. The clan includes several dubious characters — from a druggie to a control freak to a man named Beverly — but it manages to draw you in and make you care. At least that’s what Hollywood is banking on.

There’s a movie in the works about this famed portrait of familial dysfunction starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and (my personal favorite) Ewan McGregor. But why wait until 2013? See “Osage” on stage this week and next, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17, and at 3 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 11 and 18. For tickets, call 456-6322 or visit

A time for peace
This year I’ve been lucky enough to meet Dr. Wright Spears, the centurnarian who’s done many amazing things — including help found the annual Peace Conference, headed once again to Lake Junaluska this week. While everyone is invited to register for the whole Thursday-through-Sunday shebang, I think it’s important to know you can also attend one event on a donation basis. Nobel Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee helped bring an end to war in Liberia and has been fighting for women’s rights for years. And You can hear this powerhouse peace activist at 7 p.m. Saturday in Stuart Auditorium for a requested donation. Students, from middle school through college, may hear her entirely free of charge from 4 to 5 p.m., the same day and place. To learn more about Gbowee and the entire conference, visit or call (800) 222-4930.

Flight of fantasy
Having worked in the world of (fairly) straight-forward journalism for years, sometimes I forget how much the world make-believe matters. But it doesn’t mean you should. If you’re looking for a reminder, you can stop by Blue Ridge Books at 3 this Saturday afternoon and meet Stacy Wright. The author of several fantasy-filled books, Wright is also known around here for his recent writing workshop for teens. At his upcoming event, he’ll read, sign and discuss some of his latest works — and might even help ignite the fire to write in an onlooker or two. For more info, visit, give a call to 456-6000 or just stop by Blue Ridge, at 152 S. Main St., Waynesville.

Looking ahead — really
I will admit planning is not my strong suit, but it’s amazing what’s possible with the right motivation. And comic Paula Poundstone and writer Barbara Kingsolver are exactly that. Both women are headed to Asheville this month, and I plan (though I wince at the word) to see both. Poundstone will bring her self-deprecating, no-nonsense observations to the Diana Wortham Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, while Kingsolver will discuss her wonderful words at UNC-A’s Lipinsky Auditorium at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28. For tickets and info about Poundstone, visit For Kingsolver, visit or call 254-6734. Each ticket to her talk includes a copy of her newest novel, “Flight Behavior.”

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