Busker of the day – Teso McDonald

© John Gellman

If you’ve seen Teso McDonald busking, more often than not you had to look up, because he was likely playing in a tree. But no more. Teso tells me that since a recent conversation with one of Asheville’s finest, he has been grounded. He did make it up to my fifth floor Flatiron Studio for a portrait.

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Midnight at Funaholics Unanimous

© John Gellman

For those who ask, what was Transformus like, it was a humongous theme party centered on art, sensuality, freedom, fun, and fire, not necessarily in that order. This is a surrealistic view of what it was like with a little impressionism tossed in. If you can’t hear the electronic dance music, at least you should be able to feel the heat. I’m pretty sure this campsite was called Funaholics Unanimous. (If not, please let me know and I’ll update.) Located in the Valhalla neighborhood, this was one of the livelier dance and drinking spots at the festival.

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Psychedelic burn at Transformus

© John Gellman

This was the scene for the climactic burn at Transformus Saturday night. Set out in the woods near Asheville, Transformus is a regional Burning Man festival. If you can’t make it to the desert playa out west, Asheville is a pretty good alternative. Thousands of people gathered at the burn field next to a lake to witness the huge central effigy go up in flames. Imagine sitting down at the table for dinner and burning the rather large centerpiece to cinders. Let’s just say it was a bit surreal. Then it was back to the biggest party I have ever been a part of. This thing goes nonstop from Thursday afternoon through Sunday evening. Absolutely spectacular fun. Most of the men are hippies, the women are good looking, and the booze is free and free flowing. Did I mention there are lots of naked people walking around? And lots of fire. This is not a party to be missed.

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Is this the coolest place in Asheville?

© John Gellman

I’m taking a break from my busker portrait series today to post a pic of Ryan Mcredmond skateboarding at one of the coolest spots I’ve found in town. A friend took me to a location in the old run down warehouse district near the French Broad River. There are nearly a dozen warehouses all completely painted by local artists with a skate park at one end. You can’t see this place from the road. I’ve driven by countless times, and had no clue it was there. Like Arnold says in the movies, I’ll be back.

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Busker of the day – Chris Rodrigues

© John Gellman

Chris posed for me at the corner of Wall Street and Battery Park Avenue, just outside my Flatiron Studios.

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Playing to a captive audience

© John Gellman

There’s no telling who will stroll by to listen when you play on the sidewalks of Asheville, as the Fly By Night Rounders found out Sunday at dusk in front of the Flatiron. Long time fan, Rowan, seems to be enjoying the show.

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Busking on a bench

© John Gellman

Musician Ryan Torregrossa, who was passing through Asheville for the first time, stopped to busk for a while on a Pack Square bench last night. He sat down and started playing on an empty bench that didn’t remain empty for very long. Ryan quickly gained two companions, one of whom kept a beat with a bean bag, and the other who pitched in with improvisational vocals.

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Busker of the day – Vaden Landers

© John Gellman

Vaden Landers can usually be found busking in Asheville as a member of the Fly By Night Rounders with Abby the Spoon Lady and Chris Rodrigues. He is the lead vocalist for the group and is equally comfortable on guitar or banjo. A while back, Vaden and a group of buskers were eating and drinking alfresco outside one of the downtown restaurants and he noticed me walking by. He yelled in my direction, “Hey, you wanna join our gang?” I did, and we have been friends ever since.

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