When it comes to being hip in Asheville, I'm as stale as it gets: My favorite beer (the local beverage of choice) is whiskey, I enjoy the musical stylings of Scandanavian bands as much as I like swimming in a sea of broken glass, and my only tattoo is slightly smaller than a quarter. And as if that weren't enough to send the cool kids running, I own a home and have a kid. I'm about as unhip as it gets.
Nonetheless, my job as a bartender at a music venue allows me the opportunity to observe trending styles, and helps keep me in the know. So here's what's trending right now in Asheville.
5) STYLE. Last week at the Angel Olsen show, where all the cool kids were, the hot new looks were in effect: The female forerunners of style were heavily riffing on the little alien girl character from Stranger Things - shaved head, oversized limp clothing, and a glazed, befuddled look on their faces which showed their proud devotion to the feel-good binger of the summer. Honestly, I should have seen this coming, it seems so obvious. Props to you, trendy ladies. Runner-up look for the gals is still longtime favorite the Rusty Push Mower, in which your hair is styled as if your head were recently run over by a rusty push mower: A little clip here, a little chop there, a whole lot there -oops! Looks great, now let's go out!
Less obvious, and quite frankly down right confusing, were the guys trends. Surprisingly, what's hot with the guys right now is a look that previously only existed in Robert Zemeckis' 1989 blockbuster Back to The Future Part 2: When Michael J. Fox's character Marty McFly travels into the future he dresses like a dope. Now, dudes are drawing inspiration from that dopey look, and also dressing like dopes. The irony hurts my brain to think about. Runner up for the guys: The Gutter, based on John Favreau's character of the same name from the 1994 flop PCU.
4) BEER. For the beer enthusiast, tracking the release of seasonal brews from all of Asheville's 10,076 breweries can be a daunting task. But fear ye not -here's the inside word on this season's most coveted brews. This October, instead of the predictable and played-out Octoberfest, seek out the South Slope Cilantro Sour (be sure to ask for extra cilantro), a beer that makes you think you're eating a taco when in fact you're really drinking beer. Spicy and delicious! What's that you say, you had tacos for lunch at one of our 14,564 taco establishments? I should have guessed. Well then, I suggest the P.I.G. I.P.A., a heady brew infused with bacon that goes down smooth and greasy and has a burnt, deep fried porky finish. What's more, it's an IPA -the proprietary eponymous heir set to replace Budweiser in the beer world- so rest assured that you'll fit right in. Now go get wasted!
3) OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. This time of year the Blue Ridge Parkway and our inspiring waterfalls are flooded with tourists, making it difficult to find any peace and quiet in the great outdoors. For those looking for the hot new 'off the beaten path' nature experience, I would recommend the outdoor paths and water features in the stunning Asheville Outlet Mall area - the leaves on the evenly-manicured trees are reaching peak color, and you might even win a car! As an added bonus there are many opportunities for shelter, should you encounter a freak thunderstorm or even the outer bands of a hurricane. And as if it couldn't get any better, these trails are also well lit at night, when the air is brisk and lurkers abound. If you see me out there in the darkness be sure to say hello!
2) SHOPPING. Asheville is a great place to shop for people of all ages, but here's an insider's tip for the old folks. The discernible and slightly-nutty older shopper will want to visit the Tobacco Barn, where he can purchase flimsy wooden crates built sixty years ago for only ninety-five dollars or discover pieces of broken carnival rides for three hundred and change. That's a steal, folks. Insider's tip: Don't forget to look out back where they keep the good stuff: cracked toilets, banged-up high school lockers from 1964, damaged street signs and the like. Afterwards, should you have plans for a big night on the town and forgot to pack your formal wear, no worries! Drop into one of our Goodwill Stores for an 80's cocktail dress, slightly stained. You'll look great at the table with Marty McFly.
1) HOP A TRAIN. Why wait for a trend when you can be a certified trendsetter yourself? If you're bored with the above options - been there, done that, took a picture and posted it on Facebook to the tune of seventeen likes, and now you're really looking for something different and exciting - an authentic old school experience that will make you the envy of all your friends, allow me to hook you up: My man B-Dog from B-Dog Train Tours will, for a small fee, put your ass on a boxcar and ship you out, just like a real hobo! Wave goodbye to Asheville through the picturesque window of an open boxcar door (just don't let the lawman see you) and suddenly you're Minnesota bound! Or you might end up in Tulsa! Who knows! Who cares? The possibilities are endless! Included in this deal is an assortment pack of Toast Chee Crackers and a blue Gatorade, ride at your own risk.
That's it, folks. Go out and enjoy the 2016 fall season, and until next time, happy drinking!