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Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
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Gary Carden's one-act play, Coy, Feb. 16 and 23, benefits Liar's Bench

Liars Bench Presents Benefit Performances Of “Coy” At WCUs Mountain
Heritage Center.”

The “Dramatic performance of “Coy” to be centerpiece of two Liars Bench benefit shows.”

Gary Carden of The Liars Bench, a two-year old program featuring authentic traditional Southern Appalachian storytelling, music, poetry, and drama, has announced that the show's
February performances will be a benefit for the organization.  There will be an admission charge of $10.00.

“We have done over twenty, free performances in Sylva and Cullowhee, and in addition, we have traveled to other locations such as Andrews, Franklin, and Waynesville,” said Carden, the founder and Artistic Director of The Liars Bench. “The show has become quite popular and
part of the program's appeal is due to the fact that admission at all of the City Lights and Mountain Heritage Center performances have been free. Customarily, we 'pass the hat' at each performance in order to give a token payment to the performers. However, in order to stabilize our finances we have decided to charge admission for this special program. Further, we intend to do two performances, one on February 16 and the second on February 23.”

Carden readily admits that The Liars Bench programs took an unexpected turn, both in terms of purpose and popularity. “At first, I simply wanted an opportunity to tell stories. However, when local musicians and poets agreed to perform, I realized that perhaps The Liars Bench was an opportunity to do more than merely entertain the audience.  Gradually, the show has become a means of showcasing Appalachian culture and presenting it with integrity and authenticity. With the assistance of the Mountain Heritage Center, we are in the process of developing a series of programs called “The Balsam Chronicles” which are based on the history and folklore of the region.”

Recently, The Liars Bench, in conjunction with the Mountain Heritage Center, developed a grant proposal that was funded by the Jackson County Arts Council. “This grant will give us the resources to develop programs that deal with topics such as Dr. John R. Brinkley, the hanging of Jack Lambert, and the historical basis for the belief that Abraham Lincoln was born here. We plan to do this with storytelling, music, poetry and drama.”

During the past year, Carden has designed and directed a series of shows that dealt with Cherokee history and culture; religious music, Jack Tales, and myths and legends. After a show from last October was recently featured on the regional television program “Life in the
Carolinas,” both the performers and the staff of the Liars Bench became convinced that the show should move toward becoming a significant voice in defining and preserving the region's culture. The two February shows will be another step in that direction.

In addition to Liars Bench regulars, such as Lloyd Arneach, the Cherokee storyteller; Paul Iarussi, claw-hammer guitar specialist; William Ritter, vocalist and musician; Barbara Duncan, poet and musician and Eric Young (mandolin); the February performances will feature a play, “Coy,” written by Gary Carden and performed by Tom Dewees. Advance tickets are $10.00 and are currently on sale at City Lights Bookstore (828-586.9499). 

Performances are February 16 and 23, both shows starting at 7:00 pm. For additional information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at (828) 227.7129.

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Comment by Gary Carden on February 17, 2012 at 12:21pm

Last night was the first performance of "Coy" for the Liars Bench and it will be done again next Thursday on Feburary 23rd. I was pleased by the audience response, especially the number of people who asked about getting Tom Dewees, the actor in "Coy" to come to their location.  In addition to "Coy," the music was exceptional: Eric Young, William Ritter, Karen Barnes, Paul Arussi and our regular Cherokee storyteller, Lloyd Arneach. It was an exceptional show.

Comment by Ernestine Upchurch on February 3, 2012 at 4:31pm

Thanks, Neufield for this post. I have seen the monologue "Coy" athe Hart Theatre last week-end .I was impressed with the script and the actor. I would recommend the performance  for the sensitve audience about  the  perspectives of living and dying.Also feel the Liar's Bench is an on going venue which needs local support for the heritage of music, literature, and culture of our mountains.

Ernestine Upchurch

Comment by Gary Carden on February 3, 2012 at 2:39pm

Well, I am pleased to see this article posted here.  Something is definitely happening to the Liars Bench and it looks like it both growing and changing.  If we maintain our relationship with the Mountain Heritage Center and we continue to showcase local talent, I think we become a significant aspect of this region's authentic "voice."

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