• Josh Ritter is best known for his literary folk songs, but the multi-talented artist writes more than music. This week, he makes a stop in Asheville to promote his latest novel, Bright's Passage, at Malaprop's (55 Haywood St., 254-6734). Fans of his music, don't fret, the reading will also include a short acoustic set. For more on Ritter, check out Alli Marshall's recent interview with the artist, featured in this week's issue of the Xpress. 7 p.m. Free.
Friday, Oct. 7
• Learn about a variety of basket making traditions at Art Break, the Asheville Art Museum's lunchtime lecture series. Museum Curator Frank Thompson will discuss techniques associated with the Appalachian Mountains, the Cherokee and the Low Country of the Carolinas. 2 S. Pack Square, 253-3227. Noon. Free with museum admission.
• "Forty Fingers and a Missing Tooth are Asheville, North Carolina's premiere juggling troupe," reads the group's website. "OK, we're Asheville's only juggling troupe, but don't let that fool you! Sure, we could win your adoration with our our stunning good looks, charm and wit alone — but throw in some world-class object manipulation and you'll never think of love in the same way again." This weekend, Forty Fingers brings juggling to the masses with the first annual Smoky Mountain Juggling Festival, featuring performances, workshops and more. Held at the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center, 30 G W Carver Ave., and the Asheville Masonic Lodge, 80 Broadway St. Festival runs through Sunday. See website for full schedule of events. Free.
• In the mountains, falling leaves signal many things, one of them being a rise in bear sightings. Blue Ridge Park Rangers will explore these powerful and majestic creatures with song, play and dance during "Black Bears: Unplugged," a family-friendly presentation at Julian Price Park Amphitheater, MP 297. 6:30 p.m. Free.
• "Young in age and conception, Elephant Revival carries a fresh sense of creativity and inspiration that is felt by people of every generation," reads the band's bio. "The neo-acoustic quintet is on the cutting edge of an emerging new genre that is known as ‘Transcendental Folk' ... In performance, Elephant Revival reveals hidden treasures deep within a vast repertoire of original material and a few carefully selected traditionals. In one show, the quintet can be seen delving into Scottish/Celtic fiddle tunes, original folk pieces, traditional ballads, psychedelic country, indie rock, powerful reggae grooves, 40s/50s jazz standards and an occasional hip-hop beat amongst other styles." The band plays at One Stop Deli and Bar (55 College St., 255-7777). 10 p.m. $5.
• "Primarily focused on the artists of the Asheville region, Drone Valley has made a name for itself in providing the best forum for original underground artists and musicians for five years running," reads the local music festival's website. "Live painting and performance art is a staple of Drone Valleys of the past and so is true as this year's featured artists include live painting by Shalamar Blevins and Joshua Yanni." Featured performers include The Critters, Pleasures of the Ultraviolent, Grammer School and many more. Held Friday and Saturday at Altamont Brewing Company (1042 Haywood Road) and Westville Pub (777 Haywood Road). See website for times and full schedule.
Saturday, Oct. 8
• Celebrate fall with live music, local food, arts and crafts, wagon rides, molasses making, cider pressing and more at Big Ivy Heritage Day. Held at Big Ivy Historical Park (540 Dillingham Road in Barnardsville).
• Embrace your dark side with the spastic and often morbid art of butoh dance as Julie Becton Gillum performs at Pink Dog Creative (342 Depot St.) as part of an opening reception for NiceNasty, an exhibition of new works by Valeria Watson-Doost. 6 p.m. Free.
• Get up close and personal with real life wolfdogs as Full Moon Farm hosts its last "Howl-In" of the season, featuring tours of the facility and a potluck. Tours begin at 3 p.m. with potluck to follow at 5 p.m. $5. Call for directions: 664-9818.
• Feeling cheerful? Feeling blue? Either way, Now You See Them's quirky folk pop is sure to leave you better than it found you. The local trio brings its upbeat optimism and playful stage show to Highland Brewing Company (12 Old Charlotte Highway # H). 6 p.m. Free.
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