Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back Home Again
ALWAYS, there are so many things to say—along the line of hello, what’s up, and what’s going on. After all, this is, what I call, the “(re)birthing” issue of The Indie. The Indie is back! Technically, this is the 8th year, on and off, of The Indie (in Asheville)—following a 4-year respite since we relocated to Western North Carolina from New York City in 2001.
We left town in the fall of 2007, at the onset of the economic downturn—took a 3-month chill-out time in Las Vegas, and then moved to Los Angeles county until late summer of 2009, when I decided to head back to the mountains. I did attempt to resurrect The Indie in Long Beach in 2008 but it didn’t really take off beyond a few page proofs and aggressive publicity by way of Traveling Bonfires shows and gigs.
Like a prodigal lover eager to stoke my restless heart with familiar, sweet ache again—I decided to “come home” to Asheville, the quintessential barrio of my American odyssey. As expected, stuff and things changed, and continues to do so. Asheville, the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, is the largest city in Western NC, and continues to grow. When I left almost four years ago, the city’s population was a wee bit below 80,000, based on US Census Bureau estimates. Judging by the traffic jam that I got stuck with on my first night in town, right after my arrival from LA in late August 2009, indeed—a lot changed.
When I first got to the mountains in the winter of 1999, Tunnel Road leading to College Street was a virtual ghost town—but that’s compared with West 23rd and 8th in midtown Manhattan where I was living prior to WNC. But on this particular drive, Patton Av towards Pritchard Park in downtown was comparable to freeway US-101 North leading to Echo Park in Central LA.
But that’s not really the story here. Asheville is now the Beer Capital of the entire U S of A, for two consecutive years. This city that reminds me of the mountain city, Baguio City, located in the north of the Philippines where I spent most of my childhood, has always been a party destination—but, beer capital?
While the inebriated tag kind of jibes with other rankings, to wit—voted as one of "The 50 Most Alive Places To Be" (Modern Maturity) and "New Freak Capital of the U.S." (Rolling Stone Magazine), contradictions scream: “New Age Mecca" (CBS News' Eye On America) and "most vegetarian-friendly" small city in America by PETA. It’s hard to situate intoxications to the max with “healthy living.” I can cite more contradictions, but then—aren’t these contradictions the same reasons why I allowed myself to crashland here a decade ago?
I digress… this is just a 4-pager kick off issue. As I said, there are so many things to say…
I will save those in the next 100 issues of The Indie. Meanwhile, read on and see you in the streets.

--Pasckie Pascua

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