Lindsey A. Freeman: The Uncanny Bohemia in Black Mountain

When the Black Mountain School began last summer, many folks were skeptical of this new school growing up in the ghostly space of the old. The site had what Michel de Certeau calls “an uncanniness of the already there,” a feeling of the past that is so familiar in a space that it overpowers the present, making unknown places feel known. Ragan and Void have since changed the name of their experiment in education to School of the Alternative. Even with the name switch, the inspiration of the original BMC shines through. A pedagogical sensibility clearly exists between the old avant-garde school and the new one. This can be seen in classes such as: Lose Your Mind and Come to Your Senses, which promises instruction in Fluxus methodologies, mindfulness, and chance operations; Giant Loom Weaving, which is just what it sounds like and takes place outdoors; and Tablows Vivant, which, according to the course description, is “a series of posed scenes to communicate a story or idea. In between each scene is a mini dance party. At night, with dramatic lighting! With some bodies involved.” Continue Reading Lindsey A. Freeman: The Uncanny Bohemia in Black Mountain

Doug Orr: A Young Pete Seeger Encounters Music of the Appalachians

Pete was seventeen years of age in 1936 when he accompanied his father to Asheville to attend Lunsford’s Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. During Fiona Ritchie and my Wayfaring Strangers book interview with Pete at his home above the Hudson River, Pete recalled that “ordinary working people were making fantastically good music.” The youthful Pete Seeger was mesmerized as Lunsford presided on the spotlighted stage over a parade of square-dance teams, family string bands, singers, fiddlers, and banjo players. There Pete had his formative exposure to the five-string banjo played by Samantha Bumgarner, from whom he acquired his first such instrument. Pete recalled that Lunsford patiently showed him basic banjo licks that Pete would practice and perfect over subsequent years. Continue Reading Doug Orr: A Young Pete Seeger Encounters Music of the Appalachians

North Carolina Icons: Asheville and the Biltmore House

This week in our North Carolina Icons series we’re featuring Asheville and its most famous residence, the Biltmore House. Our State describes Asheville as “A different kind of place. Unless you’re a little different yourself. Make a visit and see.” Continue Reading North Carolina Icons: Asheville and the Biltmore House

Rosh Hashana evolves over generations in North Carolina

With the start of Rosh Hashana at sundown this evening, we welcome a guest post from Leonard Rogoff, author of Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina. Published in association with the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina, Down Home is part of a larger documentary project of the same name that includes a film… Continue Reading Rosh Hashana evolves over generations in North Carolina

UNC Press Goes West (And Likes It)

First, let’s set the scene: A little closer… Last Sunday, UNC Press held a book party at the historic Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.  The event celebrated three of our fall 2009 titles: Foy Allen Edelman, author of SWEET CAROLINA, spent six years traveling every inch of North Carolina to collect the best in… Continue Reading UNC Press Goes West (And Likes It)