Monday, July 28, 2008


I used up my Flickr account for the month, bah. Thus, I labor onward with Picasa.

I do not enjoy how Picasa doesn't let you copy and paste the photographic alignment. Or rather, there is probably a way to do this, but my puttering and muttering can not unlock the key to the magic GRAPHIC DESIGN GENIE that will impart this arcane knowledge to me. Harumph! And so, apologies for the horizontal (and decidedly uncool) layout below.

More photos available on my Flickr page.


I love Bele Chere with a passion!!!! This is Asheville, North Carolina's 30-year-old street fair, which (yes, I realize!) has been corporatized, blah blah blah, unlike Comfest, the similar street festival I grew up with in Columbus, Ohio. There are people passing out dog food samples and Sensodyne and trying to sell you cell phones. I try to ignore the annoying capitalism, hawking wares everywhere. The wonderful part of Bele Chere is seeing the People Like Us come out of the woodwork, the offices, the mountains, the cities, wherever we are. The invasion of flower children and hippies is something to behold. I want to kiss everyone I see.

And speaking personally, I love seeing a profusion of older white women with LONG HAIR, a rare and exotic species to which I belong. (Cultural note: Older Latino and Asian women are obviously allowed long hair, but I first started getting harassed to cut my hair and "do something with it" when I was about 20 years old. PS: I have done something with it, and this is it!) It is GREAT to see so many transgressive, menopausal women who have similarly dug in their heels. I LOVE YOU, DEAREST LONG HAIRED LADIES!!!!!!! And their equivalent, the old guys with ZZ Top beards and braids in the back. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Asheville, like Austin, is fabulous, liberal and tolerant. They recycle with a vengeance, and I am NOT the only vegetarian on the block. The bad news? Rich people want to live there, thus intrinsically changing the basic nature of the place. Authentic hippies can't afford it anymore and have moved over to West Asheville. There is a brawl taking place over the center of town, and like Greenville, the infestation of MILLIONAIRE CONDOS is imminent (see below*). Let's hope they don't turn the place into a hippie-theme park, but that is the fear many locals have.

Meanwhile, I loved it, as I always do. I partied and danced in the streets with everyone else.

First, we drive up the Blue Ridge Mountains to get to Asheville. It's beautiful and calming, like a pilgrimage.

*As noted above, the condo developers are at the gate. The Mountain Voices Alliance collects signatures of folks opposing the downtown Parkside project.

The Lee Boys kick out the jams!

Beautiful women dance to the Lee Boys.

Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, as close as I could get.

And the crowd, from a distance, rocking to the Booty Band.

And now, a word from our sponsor!

The Grascals, bluegrass band.

A beautiful, graceful mime.

Menage, or two of them, anyway, at the Mountain Xpress folkie stage.

Butterfly mural

There is always one unhappy person. He proudly posed for the picture, and then (very politely, calling me ma'am) supplied me with a Jack Chick comic! Nothing but the best for Bele Chere! (The music, people and food are all top-notch, so the Jesus-tracts are similarly at the forefront of excellence.)

Your humble narrator