The Asheville International Children's Film Festival entertains all-ages audiences with a tightly packed schedule of 70 cinematic works from artists in 25 countries, divided into seven blocks of short films and one feature-length movie. On Saturday, families gather in Asheville Pizza & Brewing's colorful theater to witness Round the World and Home Again, a live-action flight through the lives, dreams, and playground treaty negotiations of children in seven countries. Wee ones release exhilarated squeals at 13 shorts in Once Upon an Adventure, which fills the screen with animated and live-action feats that delight juniors without the stress of adopting a litter of knights.
Singer-songwriter Kate Voegele's compulsion for crafting jaunty, elegant pop music rewards fans as she teams with alt rockers Parachute for the Parakate tour. Known for her mesmerizing voice and her role as Mia on the prison drama One Tree Hill, Kate’s addiction to music began at the age of 15. Now 24 and touring behind her third album, Gravity Happens, the multifaceted chanteuse unveils a collection of rock- and folk-tinged songs that strum the heartstrings and warm the ears like a snug pair of ear pants. Joining the Parakate tour, the five faces and 50 fingers of Virginia’s Parachute throttle in a show leaking with uninhibited energy. A musical hash of rock, soul, and pop, Parachute’s pouncing anthems and smoky ballads serve as the perfect soundtrack for uniting friends or untying acquaintances from railroad tracks.
As a rock-climbing facility designed by and for climbers, The Quarry hosts more than 12,000 square feet of wall space with challenges for all ability levels of skyward scrambler. 125 top rope and lead routes include vertical avenues shooting up to 55 feet through a steadily rising mountain-goat population, and the bouldering-exclusive second story contains walls up to 14 feet high. New routes and bouldering obstacles are added each week, meaning climbers must rely on their own sense of up and down or the microscopic sherpa they keep in their backpack. Two 60-minute Explore Climbing classes set up gravity-defying guests with expert teachers for group-based instruction. Students learn proper use of equipment and climbing basics, such as belaying and how to use a banana as an ice axe.
Now in its 35th season, Sweet Fanny Adams thrills crowds with an inimitable blend of Old English music hall, American vaudeville, and Broadway musical. The 2011 calendar sparkles with offbeat musical gems such as Share My Lettuce, an amalgam of dance and comedy routines, and The Unfortunate Adventures of Millicent Sweetly, a 1890s musical melodrama complete with an audience sing-a-long and a 19th-century flog-along for those discovered texting during the show.
Now in its sixth season, Cirque de Chine sweeps across Smoky Mountain Palace’s stage with awe-inspiring flips and twirls as performers don elaborate costumes and props during the two-hour show. Staged by renowned acrobatic troupes from China, the multihued spectacle introduces audiences to scenes such as “Five Flying Motorcyclists” and “Hoop Divers,” the latter of which features players catapulting themselves through circular structures up to 10 feet high, just like basketballs. Against a backdrop of traditional Chinese abodes, dancers build human pyramids, balancing in midair atop teammates’ steady hands as spectators and ziggurat contractors watch, transfixed.
Guest conductor Michael Porter leads the Asheville Choral Society in the final performance of its 34th season, raising 100 volunteer voices in traditional and contemporary song. During the program, the large chorus, bolstered by guest soloists Amanda Porter (mezzo soprano), Beth DuRoy (soprano), and Carl Kimbrough (boy soprano), lend their voices to music as powerful as a bench-pressing xylophone. The concert commences with Bach's time-honored "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott," which builds virtual fortresses with concrete German consonants, followed by selections of the contemporary composition John Brown. Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms concludes the evening, leaving patrons’ ears contentedly purring.