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Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.

East Asheville history and sites

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Feb 27, 2017.

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Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

The Douglas Ellington effect: An Appreciationby Rob NeufeldIMAGE: Douglas Ellington’s original drawing for a City Hall-County Courthouse Art Deco complex.            “Dear Douglas,” Kenneth Ellington wrote his brother, the 38-year old Pittsburgh architect, on May 6, 1925, “I know things are…See More
Wednesday
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Dom Flemons legendary musician at BRCC Jan 25

Dom Flemons, Grammy Award Winning Banjo Player, Jan. 25Dom Flemons, legendary banjo player and co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops performs 7 p.m., January 25th, at Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium.The show is the latest “Keeping the Fires Burning” series, produced by The Center for Cultural Preservation to celebrates the heroes of Southern Appalachian culture.Dom awakened Americans to the rich African-American roots tradition that informed old-time and bluegrass…See More
Wednesday
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

African-American music in Asheville

Asheville's African-American music meccaby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: The Outcasts, the state’s Battle of the Bands winner in 1979, included: (kneeling l to r) Edward Stout, saxophonist; Darriel Jones, drummer; (seated) Patricia McAfee, vocalist; (standing l to r) Marvin Seabrooks, trombonist; Mike Steele, saxophonist;…See More
Monday
Frank Thompson posted events
Monday
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Explore the Landscapes of Story & Telling in 6 Weekly Sessions at Lenoir Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies Asheville

January 24, 2018 at 10am to February 28, 2018 at 12pm
Explore the Landscapes of Story & Telling in 6 SessionsIt’s winter and Connie Regan-Blake is excited to offer a new learning opportunity to warm-up your storytelling voice and creativity!  Join her in Asheville at Lenoir-Rhyne University (36 Montford Ave) on Wednesday mornings 10:00 am – 12:00pm for six story-work sessions.  This weekly format allows for your…See More
Jan 8
Susan Weinberg posted an event

Reading by Poet Anne Waldman at Table Rock Room 201B, Plemmons Student Union, AppState

March 22, 2018 from 7:30pm to 8:45pm
The Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series presents a reading by Poet ANNE WALDMAN. The author will also present a craft talk from 3:30-4:45 in the same location. Admission is free, and book sales and signing will follow each event. Parking is free on campus after 5 pm, with the parking deck at College & Howard streets recommended. For further details, check www.visitingwriters.appstate.edu.    Anne Waldman is a poet, performer,…See More
Jan 4
Julia Nunnally Duncan updated their profile
Dec 15, 2017
Spellbound posted an event
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Lyndsay Eli with GUNSLINGER GIRL (YA Novel) at Spellbound Children's Bookshop

January 20, 2018 from 6pm to 7pm
Are you a fan of The Hunger Games?  Then picture what Katniss would be like - with a gun.  That's just a taste of the "new" West action Lyndsay Eli brings to Spellbound Children's Bookshop with Gunslinger Girl.  She shares her debut novel on Saturday, January 20, at 6 p.m. The US has been fractured by a Second Civil War. Serendipity 'Pity' Jones finds a home of sorts in the corrupt, lawless city of Cessation (think Las Vegas on steroids).  Her shooting skills make her a star of the Theater…See More
Nov 20, 2017
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Cherokee and WNC music and dance events

Two Big Cultural Events in December in Hendersonville & Ashevillefrom press releaseThe Center for Cultural Preservation, WNC’s cultural history and documentary film center, presents, Cherokee Music and Dance on Thursday, December 7, 7 p.m., Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium.  Tickets are $5. The screening of A Great American Tapestry will be held on December 2, 2 p.m., at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Reuter Center, UNC Asheville.  Tickets for that event are…See More
Nov 15, 2017
Spellbound posted events
Nov 9, 2017
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Battery Park Hill through the ages

Battery Park through the Years by Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTIONS: 1) Present-day view of Battery Park Apartments from…See More
Nov 6, 2017
Mark de Castrique posted a blog post
Oct 13, 2017
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Dave Minneman and a sense of justiceby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Dave Minneman doing research at Pack Memorial Library.  Photo by author.            “One of the biggest things I did as a kid, in order to escape my father,” Asheville resident Dave Minneman says of his 1960s and 70s rural Indiana childhood, “was…See More
Oct 8, 2017
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan at MACA Authors' Booth

October 14, 2017 from 9:30am to 1:30pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be signing her new books A Part of Me and A Place That Was Home at the Mountain Glory Festival in downtown Marion on Saturday, October 14, from 9:30-1:30. She will be located at the MACA Authors' booth on Main Street.See More
Oct 7, 2017
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Sample 8 Great Smokies Writers at Malaprop’s, Oct. 15

Writers in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP)read atMalaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 3 p.m., Sun.,Oct. 15 Elizabeth Lutyens, editor of the GSWP’s Great Smokies Review, leads the Prose Master Class and will host the reading. ·        Ellen Carr, who works in the financial industry, will read excerpts from her novel of uneasy relationships, Unmanned. ·        Sarah Carter, an artist and photographer who will publish an excerpt of her novel, Jolene, Joe-Pye,…See More
Oct 6, 2017
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

The Douglas Ellington effect: An Appreciationby Rob NeufeldIMAGE: Douglas Ellington’s original drawing for a City Hall-County Courthouse Art Deco complex.            “Dear Douglas,” Kenneth Ellington wrote his brother, the 38-year old Pittsburgh architect, on May 6, 1925, “I know things are…See More
Oct 6, 2017

Dance critic applies grace to every move

by Rob Neufeld

 

            It’s nice to find just the right word for something, especially when it sums up a main idea in your way of thinking.

            That was the case with Sarah Kaufman when she’d first felt moved, nine years ago, to write her new book, “The Art of Grace” (W.W. Norton).

            Kaufman, then a veteran dance critic for the “Washington Post,” had already expanded her coverage to include such dancelike subjects as the Tour de France and the Changing of the Guard.  Next, she’d decided, she’d write about Hollywood’s “Golden Age” movie stars, how they walked, faltered, and gestured.

            “The first movie I popped into my DVD,” she said in a recent interview with me, “was ‘The Philadelphia Story,’ and I knew instantly that the core of my essay was going to be about Cary Grant because that word—“grace”—just dropped into my mind when I saw him.”

            Kaufman presents her book at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville Saturday evening, Jan. 9..

 

Everyday contexts

 

            Kaufman’s subject has become a beacon to her, as she follows it to sports arenas, religious practices, restaurant kitchens, emergency rooms, and ice trucks.

            “There’s so much art all around us, so much beauty,” she explained compassionately—“you know, in the way people tend to fall into step when they walk together; or with an easy exchange in a coffee shop between a barista and a customer; or with a homeless person on the street corner.”

“Have you ever thought of creating—or have you created any choreography?” I asked Kaufman.

            “No, that’s not my art,” she replied.  However, her writing might find expression in a documentary, as “some people are working on it,” she said.

            Passages in “The Art of Grace” would make great filmed scenes, I think—for example, the restaurant kitchen Kaufman writes about in the chapter, “Everyday Grace.”

            “Eight cooks are squeezed together like a submarine crew,” she relates.  “Still, they swivel with graceful ease.”  They bend and spring.  “These toqued commandos glide calmly through the same motions again and again.  They’re a hairbreadth away from ruin, mere seconds from scorched shoat.”

            I had to stop at the word, “toqued.”  Did Kaufman mean “torqued”?  No, toque is the little hat, that’s funny.

            “The Art of Grace,” is a good mix of celebrity anecdotes; timely advice; exuberant story-telling; and delicious wit, though the word-love sometimes spirals into romantic moon-shots.

 

Longed-for expression

 

            From childhood, Kaufman had been a story-teller and seeker.  Dance became a main channel within that interest, partly because of a childhood experience.

            “Born with a heart defect that required surgery when I was seven,” she writes, “I was strictly kept away from physical exertion until a year after I’d had the operation.  I watched and absorbed vicariously all I could of others’ play and sports.  Ballet lessons...finally gave me a way in to the much-longed-for world of physical expression.”

            In the chapter, “To Become Unstuck,” Kaufman reports on a dance class for  people with Parkinson’s Disease at Mark Morris Dance Group’s headquarters.

            “If we think of grace as a magical combination of phrasing, fluidity, musicality, suspension, (and) the sense that one movement leads to the next—all that goes away with Parkinson’s,” Kaufman quotes David Leventhal, program director of “Dance for PD.”

            Beginning with repetitive gliding and expressiveness—not memorization of steps—the class leads participants to a new sense of themselves.

 

Kinds of grace

 

            The meaning of grace contains the ease of movement that people try to attain, the relief of revelation, the power of generosity, and the humility of good manners, Kaufman explicates.

            Kaufman’s saint of gracefulness and graciousness, Cary Grant, purposely flubbed his lines if his co-star’s delivery was off, so that the scene would have to be reshot without embarrassing his partner.

            When the House Un-American Activities Committee revoked Charlie Chaplin’s visa in 1952, Grant announced his retirement, stood up for Chaplin, and told the nation, “We should not go off the deep end.”  In 1940, Grant had donated his entire salary from “The Philadelphia Story” to the British war effort.

            Also that year, Grant had starred in “His Girl Friday” with Rosalind Russell.  Seated at lunch with his ex-wife and her new fiancé, Grant’s character delivers a cutting line that is full of play and pain. 

            The coup de grace in this exchange, Kaufman relates, occurs when an action “that starts in his neck and trickles across the top of his suit jacket shouts out loud and clear that Hildy (his ex) is making a stupid mistake...That liquid, nearly imperceptible roll of a muscle hangs there like an echo...a shiver in the emotional current.”

 

More of the interview

 

            “Your book has been a passion of yours for a long time,” I acknowledged in my interview with Kaufman.

            “It’s true,” she said.  “It’s a topic that I couldn’t find written about already in a way that tries to identify the grace that we see and experience in our everyday lives.”

            When she said she’d been a shy and somewhat socially inept person as a child, I asked her how grace had helped overcome that.

            “One thing to bear in mind,” she advised, “is to take the focus off yourself.  One of the 1930s manuals that I quote in the book said, ‘If you feel self-conscious, think of the other person, and you can’t hold two ideas in your mind at the same time.’”

            “Have you had an eye-opening experience of grace lately?” I wondered.

            “In fact, just a couple of weeks ago,” she recounted, “I was in a grocery store café, doing work on my laptop.  It was a quiet evening.  From across the room, a fellow started singing...the whole Beatles canon!  I was thinking to myself, ‘Why?  I was having such a good time here.’” 

“As I was listening to him,” she continued, “he got to ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ and started singing the line, ‘All the lonely people.’  I felt a tear.  It was one of those moments of two impulses crashing up against each other—a little bit of frustration, and then a lot of compassion.   It was a moment of grace.”

 

AUTHOR EVENT

Sarah Kaufman presents her new book, “The Art of Grace: On Moving Well through Life,” 7 p.m., Sat., Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville (254-6734).

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