Stina's Picks

A point in the right direction
By Stina Sieg | Dec 17, 2012
Photo by: Stina Sieg What does Stina think you should do this Sunday? Contra, of course. The Waynesville Contra Dance, open to all ages and abilities, will be from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at The Gateway Club.

So, how’s everybody doing?

Yeah, me too.

If you haven’t been sobbing in your car or curled up in a fetal position lately, good going. I can’t say the same for me, but I admire your fortitude. Now, I’m not going to say anything more about this, because there are no words. It’s too big and too sad. All I can really say is that this week, as I head home to California and we all head into Christmas, I’m looking for light and love. I want it for me, you and everyone. I just want it to be better for all of us.

For what it’s worth, here are my suggestions of things to check out this coming week. I hope wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, it makes you happy.

Handmade holidays
Time is ticking down to Christmas, and I’ll bet that always-elusive “perfect” gift for your special someone is still pretty elusive. Now I’m biased, but you could just make something — using The Guide’s handy center spread, of course. If you have your heart set on a new cappuccino maker, power washer or kitten, go for it, but if you’re fresh out of ideas (and cash), I say why not try your hand at a homemade bird feeder, wreath or ornament? Even if it’s a disaster, it will be a memorable disaster — with no waiting in line at the cash register. If none of those knick knacks or whatnots catch your eye, how about a batch of homemade shortbread? As the simple equation goes, butter + sugar + flour = popularity.

Strings attached
Haywood County loves its stringed instruments. From mandolins to banjos, dulcimers to plain old guitars, they really are the sound of the Southern Appalachians. Harps, on the other hand, not so much. But those delicate, delicious melodies are still worth a listen. Vocalist and player Betina Morgan will bring her angelic and unwieldy instrument to  the next “Friday Night Live,” the Classic Wineseller’s weekly offering of free music. Morgan’s rendition of holiday favorites and show tune classics will begin at 7 p.m., with dinner served beginning at 5:30 p.m. For more information on the shop or the series, call 452-6000, visit or stop by 20 Church St., in Waynesville.

The gift of contra
I’ve been slacking on my contra proselytizing duties lately, but believe me when I say I’m back in full force — and so is the Waynesville Contra Dance. Headed to that beautiful ballroom in The Gateway Club this Sunday afternoon, the dance blends live music and an enthusiastic caller with participants of all ages and abilities. Friendly and warm, this isn’t a place where people show off or exclude one another. It’s a space in which everyone is welcome, and there’s always room in the fold. Even if you’re nervous, I say take the leap and check it out from 2 to 4:30 p.m. It might just be the perfect gift to yourself — and a real steal at $5 a head. For more information on the dance, featuring Out of the Woodwork this time around, call Kathy Odvody at 316-5810.

Movies for all moods
There are certain festive films that we all have seen more times than we can count. With stalwarts like “A Christmas Story” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” filling the airwaves all month, it’s hard to be cinematically surprised during the holiday season. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for Christmas flicks that are slightly less well know.
If you want….
a romantic comedy, try “Love Actually” — because, really, is there a more delightful rom com out there?
a quirky crime comedy, try “The Ref” — because who couldn’t use a little more Denis Leary/acerbic wit this holiday season?
an animated experience, try “A Nightmare Before Christmas” — because it’s fun and gleefully creepy.
a creature feature, try “Gremlins” — because it’s good to be reminded of  why not to give children pets for Christmas.