I checked into my room at the Tunnel Road Motel 6 in Asheville yesterday afternoon expecting an overnight low of 58 degrees. The order of events was to have been dinner, movie, sleep, joyous reunion with sub-60 mountain air, breakfast, more sub-60 mountain air.
This morning, however, the temperature had dropped to only 65, so I ate breakfast and hit the road. A disappointment, yes, but taken with last night’s blackened scallops at Posana’s, an unexpected outdoor country music festival at Pack Square, all manner of street musicians en route to said festival and Tabloid, a delightfully surreal documentary at the Fine Arts, not a very big deal, either.
Tabloid is the jaw-dropping account (It was for me, anyway.) of beauty queen Joyce McKinney’s transatlantic pursuit of Kirk Anderson, the Mormon missionary she hoped to marry, but who she believed was being brainwashed and turned against her by his fellow elders. McKinney became a British tabloid sensation in 1977 when she was arrested for kidnapping and raping Anderson. She mounted a flamboyant defense, saying that she and her intended had slipped away together for three days of “food, fun and sex.” Anderson, on the other hand, possibly fearing excommunication, told a different story. He claimed that McKinney, aided by two men, had abducted him from the London mission where he’d been working, shackled him to a bed in a rented cottage and there forced him to consmmate their relationship a total of seven times. Today, as she did then, McKinney insists that what Anderson described “would have been like trying to put a marshmallow in a parking meter.”
After Tabloid, I walked over to Pack Square where “Shindig On the Green” was in full swing. Clogging, bluegrass, a sea of smiling faces, children dancing spontaneously on the sidelines. It was revolting.
The two street musicians that I’d like Greenville to lure away once in a while were an all-white guitar player and an all-silver drummer. Male and female respectively, working different blocks, they did the robot schtick, playing then freezing, playing then freezing. It’s an old gimmick, I know, but such gimmicks as theirs, on the right night and in the right context, make a place magical, don’t you think? Which is not to say that Asheville needs much help in the magic department … certainly not at this time of year.