Once the lights dim in the main auditorium at Camelot Cinemas, eyes can’t help but fixate on the glimmering digital images that flicker across the towering 60-foot screen. Nestled comfortably in reclining chairs, audience members dig into buckets of popcorn and gape at the latest blockbuster films while a THX-certified sound system croons a crystal-clear soundtrack. Theatergoers enjoy a similar experience in Camelot Cinemas’ other auditoriums, where they can laugh through cheerful romantic comedies, find the courage to watch petrifying horror flicks, and fight back sobs during the heartwarming premovie message about turning off your cell phone.
The 2011 Blues, Brews, and BBQ Festival nourishes audience members with a red-hot menu of living legends. Unstoppable at the age of 85, B.B. King extracts heart-bending notes from his famous six-string, Lucille, with the buttery ease and soulful virtuosity of a master sculptor whittling a balsa-wood action figure. Sharing the stellar show bill of musical immortals, fellow blues master Buddy Guy defies the laws of dexterity with his legendary and highly influential ax skills. Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues, Chris Watson Band, and other tunesmiths add their own aural ingredients to the melodious mix to help slather eardrums in raucous, 12-bar sauce. Lawn seaters are welcome to bring along lawn chairs and blankets to avoid having to sit on the grass like a common golf ball.
As they await the opening credits of The Goonies, The Birds, or perhaps the newest blockbuster release, moviegoers peruse a menu of hot wings, personalized pizzas, and oven-hot brownies topped with ice cream. Upon making a decision, the guest scrawls their chosen meal or snack onto an order card, and places that card in the designated spot on his or her table. A server stealthily delivers the requested soda, breadsticks, or honey chipotle wings while the film plays. Audience members can keep ordering food for the duration of the film, especially if an emotional scene demands an bowl of ice cream to catch stray tears. Just before the credits start to roll, the server silently deposits the check, and patrons digest as the tale winds to a close.
The Big E ? Entertainment Outlet combines the joys of a movie theater, bowling alley, indoor playground, and full arcade into one location. The full movie theater shows the latest releases on eight screens. The bowling alley hosts both league and public play, as well as dedicating every Friday and Saturday night to proper cosmic bowling events where they turn down the lights, turn up the music, and chuck bowling balls at the stars to try to knock them from the sky.
The FunE Business Playland and Arcade occupies the rest of the complex, combining an indoor playground with an arcade. Here, the playground features slides, climbing equipment, and a Ball-O-Sity Blast Center where kids can shoot foam balls from little cannons, running and playing in an environment designed specifically with safety in mind. They can also take the bumper cars for a spin. The arcade, on the other hand, challenges visitors with tandem vehicle racing, Guitar Hero, and other modern favorites, as well as classic installations such as ski ball. Like at any good arcade, the games dispense tickets based on performance, and electronic points can be exchanged for prizes including MP3 players, All-Terrain Vehicles, or an equal number of tickets in a different color.
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.
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).