The Dialogue National Tour in Asheville, NC
David Mitchell (Superintendent of Cultural Arts for Asheville) has given us a warm reception and helped organize our visit here. We were very excited to visit Asheville today... and the day started out fine, until around 2pm, when we were struck by a thunderstorm and strong wind gusts up to 50 MPH! Needless to say, the Dialogue Project was blown down and the tent over our information table almost took off like a box kite!
There were a handful of hearty Asheville citizens who were holding onto the screens while friends were reading them. Even when all the screens were blown down, people continued reading them on the ground. Thank you Asheville for staying true... we will need to visit again under better weather conditions next time! :-)
Once at the plaza we set up just in time for a drenching thundershower - but safely under the fold out tent we brought. There's only good spirits and equanimity. The sun emerges and we dry out, but some of the screens are a mess.
Though a bit chilly in the shade, the great people I talk to warm me. Like Dierdre, a young, slender strawberry blond who was a delight to talk to. She lived in front of the Piazza Garibaldi on Via Garibaldi in Turin for three months while studying art. We enjoyed a profound connection over Mike, who is a descendant of that famous General Garibaldi, and Mike's unique artistic montage designed to bring people together.
After a quick revelation of lunch at Salsa's, a little hole in the wall serving Mexican-Caribbean fusion, I return and settle in at the table. Right after Mike and Blake leave for Salsa's after my rave reviews, the fiercest wind storm struck! Bret pushes down what screens aren't blown down, then disappears. The film crew heads across the street to film me unsuccessfully holding down the fort.
I will never forget talking to three customers when the darn canopy takes off, straight up and sideways! With all my might, I'm hanging onto one of the corner support poles and still talking with them like nothing else is happening. How exhilarating it is, trying to keep it all together and do my job too!
Just as the canopy is about to levitate to 300 feet with me dangling by one pole, Bret returns and my customers vaporize to let us deal with nature. He and I grapple with the canopy, and the film crew comes to the rescue; together, we take it down, then chase down business cards and other flying objects.
Thank God Mike and Blake show up. Mike orders us to tear down, but neither Bret nor I want to. But Mike is done. We strip the site clean, head to the hotel to regroup, then find a lush spot to film our apres-installation commentary as the wind drops, the sky's turns blue, and everything is hush puppy perfect. It was a long day and tomorrow we're heading for DC - another long, 500 mile endurance drive.
The local TV news stations came down to do short stories on Dialogue, as well as the local paper: Asheville Citizen Times.