Asheville in the News

Yay! We made the Wall Street Journal!

Is it good or bad, though?

Asheville, N.C. Debates: How Weird is Too Weird?
Topless Rally Raises Eyebrows, Questions

This city has made a name for itself as a tourist and retirement haven, known for its arts festivals, spiritual retreats and welcoming culture.

But a topless rally here Sunday prompted even locals who want to “Keep Asheville Weird” to question if weird is a sustainable economic model, especially in a downturn.

“Being strange is one of the things we have in our favor, that people feel comfortable here,” said Patti Best, who sells her paintings in downtown galleries. But Ms. Best said she worries about blurring the line between being accepting and being offensive. “Asheville has a lot of attraction for families, and they aren’t going to come to a place that’s veering so far out of the mainstream,” she said.


sheville was among a number of cities hosting Go Topless Day rallies on Sunday, the anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution’s 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The Go Topless Day event was founded in 2007 by the Raelian spiritual movement, which believes human beings were created perfect by extraterrestrial scientists. Their slogan: “Free your breasts, free your mind.” Still, most of the woman participating here and in other places across the country are not adherents of the Raelian movement.


David Roat shrugged as they passed by the busy corner where he was writing custom limericks. “Look,” he said, pointing. “You’ve got a cat over there who’s juggling a pipe wrench, a bowling ball and a knife. There’s a guy in a nun’s suit riding around on a tall bike. That’s Asheville.”

(bolding is mine)

source: Wall Street Journal

comic about the rally: Mountain XPress comic
Photos of the participants: NSFW!! Photos of GoTopless
Another rally being held at the same time: A Different Kind of Protest

We moved here in 1990. That year we attended Bele Chere, a cool event downtown. We went with Lorna’s parents and got separated from them. We decided to just sit and watch the people go by for a while. And boy howdee did we see some people. If there has ever been a fashion fad, it walked by (bell bottoms; plaid pants; spiked, colored hair…). If there was ever a kink that can be displayed in public, it went by (woman wearing leather shorts so small they were molded to her butt, with leather boots higher than her knees, a leather vest with nothing underneath, was ‘walking’ a man wearing a a leash attached to his leather spiked collar, leather pants molded to his genitalia, and boots up to his knees). It was strange. And we fell in love with this place.