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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

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

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

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Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Fantastic, that will be very helpful."
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

First Drumbeat

First Drumbeat(Part of Living Poem) The time has come.Call it a drum,Or a crumb,What’s left of life. I used to tell a jokeWhen my life was wide,And I was a stud,And not a dud—I knowI’m not a dud.  I’m a dude,A dad.  But everyone mustRebut the dud chargeAt summing up time. Oh yeah, the joke,A trademark one for meIn that it’s not funny. I used to say I’ll never retireFrom writingBecause if I’m ever…See More
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Thanks for the prompt, Joan!  I have attached the whole work in progress as a doc at the bottom of the table of contents page:"
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Is there a way from this website to print everything or might you send me such a document to"
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan at Marion Branch McDowell County Public Library

October 24, 2018 from 4pm to 5pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be launching her new poetry collection A Neighborhood Changes (Finishing Line Press, 2018) at a book presentation and signing to be held at the McDowell County Public Library in Marion on October 24.See More
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"This could be interesting--thanks!  I'm at 828-505-1973 (my home business office).  And"
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"I'll ask the kids, Barb and Ethan, if they have any contacts who might have an interest in this as a unique topic for any performers they know. It might also be something that my friend Ruby Lerner could brainstorm about to her theatre…"
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Thanks much, Joan!  I'm trying to get some attention for these poems.  Triple Whammy is def in rap style.  And the beat goes on.  Hugs from me and Bev."
Joan Henehan posted a discussion

on Reading Living Poem

You might be the first ALS-subject-matter rapper. Add some beats and spread it. the time is now...See More
Sep 15
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

More from the World of ALS

More from the World of ALS (Part of Living Poem)    Negotiating steps is like someone who seeksTo emulate a goat on mountain peaks. Crossing a threshold, limping inIs like the valley-walking of an Olympian. A cane and its grip make a fellow stopTo consider the physics of leans and drops. To know how a forefinger grabs and digsImagine your digits are chestnut twigs When a new drug trial notably…See More
Sep 6
Nancy Werking Poling posted a discussion


RANDALL KENAN SELECTS NANCY WERKING POLING WINNER OF THE 2018 ALEX ALBRIGHT CREATIVE NONFICTION PRIZE(31 August 2018)Nancy Werking Poling of Black Mountain is the winner of the 2018 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition for "Leander’s Lies." Poling will receive $1000 from the North Carolina Literary Review, thanks to a generous NCLR reader’s donation that allowed this year’s honorarium to increase (from the previous award of $250). Her winning essay will be published in the North…See More
Sep 4
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Sep 4
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Upcoming Rides

Upcoming Rides(Part of Living Poem) I must take a break from writing aboutThe third Lord Granville’s loss of landIn colonial North Carolina to noteI’m losing functionality in my hands. I’m confining my writing to a four-line,Alternate rhyme form, like a horse-fenceFraming a pantomimeOf equine force.  Hence, It’s time to imagine the power of mind,For instance, when a nod or thoughtInstructs a machine to…See More
Aug 26
Ann Miller Woodford updated their profile
Aug 17
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Cherokee and the Colonists

The Epic of the Cherokee and the Colonists            Hernando De Soto stopped in Asheville in 1541            When the Spanish conquistador came through here on his way from the Gulf Coast to Lake Michigan, he encountered big towns, well-used roads, and abandoned homes.   A smallpox epidemic—one of a series of plagues…See More
Aug 17
Connie Regan-Blake posted events
Aug 3

A Boone drama inspired a theater of dreams in Arden

by Rob Neufeld


PHOTO CAPTION: Paul Trueblood, General Manager of the “Thunderbird” production, on the phone, drumming up business.  Photo by June Glenn, Asheville Citizen-Times, 1952.  

          “Forest Amphitheater, nine miles south of Asheville, will become one of the most popular entertainment centers in Western North Carolina,” George McCoy wrote about the new venue in the booklet for the premiere of “Thunderland: The Story of Daniel Boone.”

            Outdoor drama had been big in North Carolina since 1937, when “The Lost Colony” was staged in 1937 in Waterside Theatre on Roanoke Island.

            In 1950, “Unto These Hills” began attracting crowds with its pageant of Cherokee history in Cherokee; and, in 1952, “Horn in the West” dramatized Revolutionary War events on the Daniel Boone Amphitheatre stage in Boone.

            “Horn in the West” still runs, as does “Unto These Hills” with a 2006 rewrite to represent Cherokee culture more accurately (for instance, ballet-style dances were replaced by authentic Cherokee ones).

            The script for “Thunderland” also betrayed a colonist’s skew, and cast white people as Indians.  It built up to the second of two acts, which opens with the mourning of Daniel Boone’s son, James, tortured to death by Indians opposed to the settlement of Kentucky; and proceeded to the sale of Kentucky to Richard Henderson, Boone’s new employer.

            Henderson’s purchase of territory between the Kentucky and Cumberland Rivers had been based on a sham agreement with the British government.  However, as Robert Morgan writes in his biography, “Boone,” “Henderson knew the value of precedent and primary claim...(and) once he had attracted thousands of settlers by selling them  parcels of land at bargain prices, who was to get him out of Kentucky?”

            Henderson’s portrayal in “Thunderland” is less cynical.


Manifest destiny


            Outdoor drama suited the epic way America thought of itself in 1952.  The manifest destiny of its founding years matched the international expansionism of the post-World War II period.

            Boone, despite being Henderson’s tool, was a larger-than-life and sympathetic figure, whom the Indians loved.  His triumphs and tragedies were practically Biblical.

            “Destiny pointed a dramatic finger at Daniel Boone’s cradle; even on the day of his birth,” “Thunderland” playwright Hubert Hayes wrote in his “Story of the Play.” 

            Boone’s mother, Sarah, “a devout Quaker, had turned to the Bible, to find a name for him,” and had come upon this passage in the Book of Daniel: “And he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.”

            Hayes was not only full of American folk pride, he was an Appalachian spokesperson, born in West Asheville.  His first play, “Tight Britches,” about a Great Smoky Mountains community, opened in Asheville in 1933 and went to Broadway the next year.  He served as the manager of the Asheville City Auditorium from 1945 to 1954.


Mountain music


            The 1950s was a gateway year for tourism in this region.  In 1952, the Cherokee built its historic village; and Hugh Morton purchased Grandfather Mountain.

            Colleges and universities began instituting Appalachian studies programs.  Southern Appalachia represented, to promoters and appreciators alike, an unspoiled English-Scots culture and an area in need of economic uplift and investment.

            For the music for “Thunderland,” Hayes collaborated with Lamar Stringfield, who, in 1928, had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his orchestral suite, “From the Southern Mountains.” 

            Stringfield, like Hayes, had many Asheville connections.  Born in Raleigh, he moved with his family to this region at age five, his father serving as pastor of churches in Barnardsville, Burnsville, and Asheville before establishing a permanent home in Mars Hill.

            Stringfield attended Mars Hill College; and, after service in World War I, studied flute and music with Emil Medicus and Joseph DiNardo in Asheville.  After further studies in New York and Paris, and after his Pulitzer, he returned to North Carolina and organized the North Carolina Symphony.

            He is credited with composing the music for Paul Green’s “The Lost Colony.”  The “Thunderland” score was a late career masterpiece.

            The local production was also a fundraising boon for “the college in the sky,” Asheville-Biltmore College, precursor of UNC Asheville.

            Perched atop Sunset Mountain on Fred Seely land, it was looking to grow out of its junior college function and become a four year liberal arts college.

            Sunset Mountain Attractions, Inc. was formed, with former mayor Clarence E. Morgan as president; and, “after inspection of a number of proposed sites,” McCoy wrote, “a 61-acre tract was leased from Biltmore Estate.  On a portion of this tract, at the northwest intersection of Long Shoals Road and the French Broad River, the Forest Amphitheater has been built.  Surrounded by the forest, provision was made to seat 2,300 spectators.”

            Escape to the forest remains a driving force in people’s lives, as does a feeling of not having enough “elbow room,” to use Boone’s phrase, and being under siege.

            “Thunderland” ends with three scenes titled, “Attack!”; “Victory”; and “Daniel and Rebecca Boone’s departure further west.”

            For lack of funding, the drama lasted just one more year.  Forest Amphitheater no longer exists, though its parking area access road has become Thunderland Circle, serving Sunshine Chevrolet.

            A copy of the script of “Thunderland” is held in the North Carolina Collection at Pack Memorial Library.


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