Wednesday, November 12, 2014

If you're going to the mountains...

No nature lover needs another excuse to visit the N.C. mountains in mid-November, even if the peak leaf weekends have passed. But if you're headed west, here are two arts events worth checking out. The first runs through early December in Boone; the second runs only this week in Tryon.

If you've never heard of Alsatian-born artist Carlo Demand, the two pictures above will show you the scope of his work: He illustrated for MAD Magazine (that's Alfred E. Neuman with ABBA) and was one of the greatest illustrators ever of aircraft, planes, dirigibles and other forms of moving machines. (When you see his work, you know he inspired the fantastical American artist Bruce McCall.)

Gastonia doctor Mark Moscowitz has mounted a retrospective of Demand's work at Appalachian State University's Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, where it runs through Dec. 5. Demand had an interesting life: This son of a French father and German mother was drafted into the German Army during World War II (when Alsace came under German control) but finished the war fighting for the French Army and the Allies. He retired from painting in 1991 and moved to the United States with his wife, dying here in 2000.

If music's more in your line, you'll want to be in Tryon for the opening of "The Joy of Bernadette" at Tryon Fine Arts Center. Writer-composer Sonja Karlsen relates the story of 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous, who saw an apparition in a grotto near Lourdes, France, in 1858.  The apparition came to her 18 times; one visit led to the discovery of a pure spring which has become known worldwide for alleged healing powers and miracles.

The musical will run at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. The 45-person cast, crew and orchestra mix performers from the Carolinas, New York, Florida and Europe. Karlsen has held readings of parts of the work elsewhere and recorded 10 songs from it, but this will be the world premiere of the full-length version.

I'm not familiar with either of these personally. But if I were headed to the mountains, I would check them out.