All posts tagged: Dolly Parton

Graffiti, Stencils, and Quickie Weddings: Dispatch From Asheville N.C.

Graffiti, Stencils, and Quickie Weddings: Dispatch From Asheville N.C.

“Are you the minister?”

“I am not that, sir,” he answered, “I’m the vacuumer.” Our short tour ends abruptly as the loud whir of the cleaning machine rises to meet the southern-fried rock classic on the sound system here at Fleetwood’s in Asheville, North Carolina. Ours, and his, is a quick sweep through this small city of 90,000 in the Blue Ridge Mountains known for its progressive ideas, punk squats, Thomas Wolfe, and a harmonious alliance between sanctioned murals, organic street art, and graffiti.

Getting the chapel in shape (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

En route through town to the edge of the French Broad River, which flows 218 miles northeast from Rosman, NC up to Knoxville, Tennessee, we see the signposts of hippie/skater/crafter/artist community along the two laneway. Here’s a coffee shop, there’s an art gallery, over there is a radical bookstore with Black Lives Matter signs in the old plate glass windows.

Asheville bookstore signs in the window (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Here at Fleetwoods’, you can rummage around vintage ceramics and fur-collared coats, and belly up to the small bar, and of course, get married. Advertising itself out front as a Rock N Roll Wedding Chapel and Bar, they are happy if you come to shop, drink, and get married – after passing the motorcycles, banana seat bicycles, and long thin cat laying in the sun near the side door.

Asheville’s Fleetwoods: Rock N Roll Wedding Chapel and Bar. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)
Asheville welcome cat (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

On one clothing rack near the gold velvet chapel, there is a wide selection of used wedding dresses to rent for the occasion.

“Usually there’s a few a month,” says the friendly vacuumer. “Sometimes there’s a few a day. In fact, we got one coming up at 2 pm if you want to see it.” It’s certainly tempting, and the porcelain rooster on the bar points to the cocktail sign, where you can order an Electric Chair, Witch’s Tit, Starry Eyes, or, most appropriate, a glass of Love Potion, made of champagne, cranberry juice, blood orange bitters, and a CBD sugar cube.

Cash bar for the weddings. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)
Asheville weddings in a hurry (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

As sweet as that entreaty is, we hit the road and head for the hippies down by the river. We find old converted factories that now house artist studios, and galleries, and cleverly named eateries. It’s not as pretentious as it sounds – it’s actually a warm and welcoming vibe. We head for the railroad tracks and get lost wherever the graffiti gods lead us. We’re happy to find some splendid examples of style writing, some smart social critiques, and a number of political stencils with an attitude. Here are some of the findings, or as some here might say, “the pickens”, which were not slim!

Till death do us part in Asheville (photo © Steven P. Harrington)
Louie Valentine (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Louie Valentine (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Louie Valentine (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Louie Valentine (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ian The Painter (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ian The Painter and Ishmael. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Aspect, Melto, Ishmael, and Creed. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Various artists (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Various artists (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Spagnola (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Spagnola (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Spagnola (photo © Jaime Rojo)
GWG (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Various artists (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gus Cutty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gus Cutty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gus Cutty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gus Cutty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gus Cutty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
DS (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 03.21.21

BSA Images Of The Week: 03.21.21

Nowruz Mubarak! Happy Persian New Year to all the New York neighbors who celebrate it. Also, Happy Spring! Did you think it would never arrive? Already the birds are chirping in the trees, and the crocus is popping up from beneath the garbage and dog crap. That guy who lives downstairs named Manny and his brother are washing their car on the curb while blasting a mix from Marley Marl & Red Alert at top volume for the block to enjoy. All the while, there is a colorful parade of young bucks and shorties who are strutting around the neighborhood with big eyes and a burning flame of hope in their hearts.

Another reason Brooklyn is feeling hopeful is the announcement Friday by Chuck Schumer saying that New York is to get 1.6 million COVID shots every week thanks to a ‘vaccine supercharge.’ One year after the sounds of ambulances filled the air and refrigerator trucks became mobile morgues on Brooklyn streets, people are eagerly running to pharmacies and Yankee Stadium and Citi Field to get the shot.

New Yorkers are also taking to the streets to protest Anti-Asian discrimination and violence locally and nationally. Many point to Trump’s use of the term “Chinese Virus” repeatedly in the last year as a direct causal relationship to increased acts of prejudice. But once again, New Yorkers know how to re-enforce the message: “United we stand, divided we fall.” As a New Yorker and as a person, it makes you feel proud.

Finally, street art is popping off in all kinds of stylistic and thematic directions this week – from the secular American saint, Dolly Parton, posed as a vaccine nurse by SacSix, to Sticker Maul’s Priority Mail collages, to Winston Tseng’s subtle and damning phone booth campaign of Walmart and McDonald’s workers who represent our formerly middle-class neighbors who are paid so little that they actually qualify for food stamps.

So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: Almost Over Keep Smiling, City Kitty, D7606, Damien Mitchell, Ethan Minsker, Invader, LET, Matt Siren, Mort Art, NET, Rambo, Raw Raffle, Royce Bannon, SacSix, Sara Lynne Leo, Sticker Maul, Tram, Voxx Romana, and Winston Tseng.

SacSix (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Damien Mitchell (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Winston Tseng (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sara Lynne-Leo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Almost Over Keep Smiling (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tram (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Invader (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sticker Maul (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sticker Maul (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mort Art (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A Cat called LET (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ethan Minsker (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Matt Siren . Royce Bannon (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Raw Raffe (photo © Jaime Rojo)
City Kitty. Vox Romana. D7606 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Daniel Mastrion (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Manhattan, NYC. March 2021.(photo © Jaime Rojo)
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