Stina's Picks

By Stina Sieg | Dec 01, 2012
Photo by: Courtesy photo Famed string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops will be playing Asheville this Saturday night. The always-fun Two Man Gentlemen Band will be opening.

Sometimes helping others and telling them what to do can seem awfully similar. “You must see this movie,” we say, or “You’ve got to check out this book/article/cat video.” For good measure, we might even throw in something like “It will change your life,” all the while feeling confident it will. Maybe this isn’t the best means of persuasion, but I’m as guilty as anyone of it. So, you must hear The Two Man Gentlemen Band live.

I am full-on in love with their upbeat old-time/ragtime/western swing — and I think you could be, too, if you just knew who they were. I first heard this dapper duo, whose suits and songs harken back to another era, in a small town in Colorado and was immediately enthralled by their energy. Their shows are quirky, partially improv-ed experiences, complete with a bit of humor, a lot of energy and often a few double entendres. They take an antique idea and don’t just make it new. They make it their own, with enough of an edge to always keep it feeling fresh.

While I’ll admit the Gentlemen won’t change your life, they might make it a bit more fun. And this new leaf could start as early as this Saturday, when they play The Orange Peel in Asheville. Below is some info about their upcoming show, along with a few other entertainment options a little closer to home.

Old-timey evening
Oh, did I forget to mention that the Gentlemen are opening for the Carolina Chocolate Drops? For a certain, public-radio-listening or college-aged set, this combo is about as exciting as it gets. Both bands celebrate a past they’re way too young to remember by making it come alive on stage. While the Gentlemen have a swinging, manic vibe, the Chocolate Drops bring a soulful simplicity that can skew from excited to introspective as they tackle everything from fiddle-infused jigs to beatbox-laced dirges. Curious yet? I could go on with more adjectives and examples of why these bands matter, but really, they deserve to be seen, not just heard — and certainly not just described by me. For tickets to their 8 p.m. show, visit or call 225-5851.

HART-warming tale

The idea that Christmas is about people, not things, is much older than Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” But that doesn’t mean we’re not apt to forget. Good thing Haywood Arts Regional Theatre is providing a refresher course this holiday season. Starting a two-week run this Friday night, HART’s version of “A Christmas Carol” stays true to the classic story, and Dickens’ original words, while sprucing it up with a new score by Anne Rhymer Schwabland and a new script by Mark Jones. If that’s not enough to entice you, perhaps the promise of seeing HART Executive Director Steve Lloyd inhabit literature’s most famous old crank, Scrooge, is. Though he’s normally behind the scenes, this time he’s in each and every scene of the play. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 16. Saturday, Dec. 15, will have both an afternoon (at 2 p.m.) and evening performance. For tickets, call 456-6322 or visit

Main Street gets festive
No matter how many times I see Santa and Mrs. Claus around Haywood County, I never get tired of it. Actually, I frequently go through Santa withdrawals (as the Clauses do give the best hugs). If you’re in the same boat, I recommend checking out “A Night Before Christmas” from 6 to 9 p.m. this Saturday. The Jolly Old Elf will be strolling through downtown Waynesville, but he’s not the only reason to check out the little town’s salute to the holiday season. From wagon rides to carolers to a pretty cool re-creation of Bethlehem, there is plenty to keep you window shopping (or actually shopping) for a few hours. Many of the stores, of course, will also be open. So, I say bring your wallet, your family and a coat. Temperatures are expected to dip into the frosty, festive 40s or 30s. For a full schedule, visit

Adios, ‘Art After Dark’
Oh, goodbyes are so painful for me, especially when it comes to downtown Waynesville’s monthly art walk, “Art After Dark.” This celebration of local creativity, and the galleries that make a livelihood supporting, is going into hibernation after this Friday all the way until May. You bet I’m going to send it off right. The festivities, which include many galleries featuring live music and/or tasty food, will last from 6 to 9 p.m. If you haven’t been in a while, I say now is the time to wade back in. The water (or should I say the complimentary wine) is fine. For more information, visit