Grammy-nominated country-bluegrass performer Dierks Bentley takes the stage at this year's Appalachian Summer Festival, an annual outdoor concert and arts celebration held in Appalachian State University's football stadium. Bentley croons his way through songs from his latest album, Up on the Ridge, and plucks audience heartstrings while revisiting career-defining tracks such as “What Was I Thinkin’,” and “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do." Bring a blanket and watch firework displays with awed eyes, or thumb-wrestle aggressive praying mantises encroaching on your sandwich plate.
It takes a lot of pirouettes to fill a half-century. And since 1963, Asheville Ballet has staged seasons full of fluid choreography, dazzling costumes, and French vocabulary. As the area's only professional adult resident company?and one of western North Carolina's oldest non-profit organizations?the ballet has become a creative pillar of the community. An average of 23,000 audience members flock to see their productions each year, marveling at masterworks such as The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Swan Lake. In addition to their classical credentials, the company also gracefully tackles contemporary, full-length pieces featuring multi-media elements.
At Aerial Space, workouts unfold in midair. Practitioners weave through suspended silks, flow through yoga poses supported by hammocks, or practice acrobatic moves on the static trapeze and lyra, a suspended hoop. Aerial Space's aerial circus-arts classes, offered privately and for groups of children and adults, instill equal parts grace, fitness, and newfound skill.
Cracker brings their signature brand of irony and irreverence to a performance of their 1993 platinum album release, Kerosene Hat, which produced three radio hits including ‘90s alt-rock jam “Low.” The band’s power-pop-punk tunes have been bopping heads for more than 15 years and over the course of eight albums—making the musicians veterans of the rock scene. The indie-rock showcase includes a performance from Camper van Beethoven, a band that shares a lead singer and a backstage bathroom with Cracker.
As the resident company at New York’s 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center, Doug Varone and Dancers strive to tell emotionally resonant stories through original, technically complex modern dance pieces. During "Lux," the graceful, athletic bodies of the troupe's eight dancers, including Waynesville native and Carolina Day School graduate Erin Owen, overleap imaginary potholes and fire hydrants to the music of renowned Candyman II composer Philip Glass. Spectators slotted into the Diana Wortham Theatre's 500 comfortable seats can also squint at the footnotes of "Chapters From a Broken Novel," which intertwines several short-story vignettes, or wave farewell to "Boats Leaving." Those seeking extra background and insight into the routines can attend a 7 p.m. pre-show discussion free to ticket-holders and left-footed ballerinas.
Cinebarre combines a slate of first-run movies with a courteous, alcohol-enhanced atmosphere and crave-worthy kitchen concoctions. The menu features items with movie-inspired names, allowing cinephiles to pick a dish that aligns with their preferred genre or favorite Bill Paxton performance. Take teeth to the made-from-scratch pizza playground with the Chicken Run, topped with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce ($13). The Blue Velvet Burger––ground in-house––piles a juicy half-pounder with blue cheese, buffalo hot sauce, burger toppings, and a kick of chipotle mayo ($10). Appetizers, such as Some Like It Hot Wings ($9) and Lord of the Onion Rings ($7), make arduous journeys to melt into a copious selection of wine and local craft beers, as well as mixed drinks, including the Lolita Margarita ($6).