Many stories lurk throughout Asheville, whether behind the Vaudevillian jazz-folk played by buskers around Pritchard Park, the colorful businesses decorated with funky, hand-made crafts or the laughter echoing from a patio as locals enjoy delicious beer.
Photos by Larisa Karr.
Dalsa “Dusty” Taylor, artist and musician
Are you from Asheville originally?
“I was born and raised right here on Broadway.”
What inspires you to dress?
“I love old clothes. The older they are, the better. I’ve got a 1932 dress that has big, puffy sleeves and was made in the USA. I also have a hat that goes with it, a coat and the shoes. This is an old pocketbook. That’s also from 1932 made in the USA. Did you ever see ‘I Love Lucy?’ That’s the pocketbook she wore over her head when she tried to do that act. And this is an old parasol – you can take the top off and you open it up and it’s pink. That’ll make a pretty picture.”
What’s your style?
“Just the way I am. I’m an artist and I play the harmonica and am just learning to play the guitar.”
What kind of music do you play?
“Any kind, I play any kind. I love it. I was named after an instrument, the dulcimer. My real name is Dulca.”
How does music influence the way your dress?
“When I’m dancing!”
What kind of art do you do?
“People and things that I see like mountains. I paint. I love crafts, flower arrangement and even make furniture. I’m working on a table now. The top of the table is going to be made out of stained glass.
“I’m a beautiful old woman and tomorrow’s my birthday! I’m celebrating it now, or trying to. I love to dress different from others. I don’t like blue jeans.”
Jess McCuan, editor of Asheville Scene webzine
Which part of New York City did you live in?
“Various little neighborhoods in Brooklyn the most. I went to Columbia, so I lived in the West Side for a bit before moving to Brooklyn.”
Tell me about your personal sense of style.
“I definitely do vintage, right down to the haircut. Asheville has great ‘20s architecture, and it’s just a perfect place to dress in vintage clothes, I think, ‘20s and ‘30s in particular. I found this jacket at the Screen Door, which is actually an antique shop on the East Side and I usually go to thrift shops and Hip Replacements. They have all new clothes for women, but its vintage inspired for sure.”
What inspired you to become a journalist?
“I’ve been a journalist since I was a teenager. I worked for my hometown newspaper, the Southeast Missourian, when I was 16 and it’s been a combination of newspapers and magazines ever since. It’s for people who are perpetually curious and that’s really exciting for me.”
If you had to describe your style in three words, what would you say?
“An Asheville version of flapper. That’s probably too many words, but mainly brave colors, big patterns; I have a lot of loud dresses. I just roll ‘em out right after the other. Three words? Modern. Asheville. Flapper.”
Thoughts on your outfit?
“The back is really the kicker. The sunglasses are from Hip Replacements, and they’re just for fun as they don’t do very much, but they really make a whole look.”