Beat from the street (Oct. 18, 2016)

Many stories lurk throughout Asheville, whether they are 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 and tourists alike enjoy delicious beer. 

Anthony “Taterjuice” Jason Morrow, 39, street performer/comedian, originally from Mississippi

Anthony "Taterjuice" Jason Morrow would rather be blind than deaf. Photo by Catherine Pigg. 

How would you describe your style?
“Dirty hippie from Mississippi smokin’ marijuana like a Woodstock hippie.”

That’s awesome. Is that your life motto?
“No, it’s just a song that me and my friend made up.”

Nice. So if you were to say a life motto that you have, what would it be and why?
“God’s got this. I tell you, you know what my life motto is? I’m gonna be sooooo famous! How’s that?”

Good, yeah. You’ll get there. So if you were to describe a few things that inspire you creatively, what would you say they would be and why?
“Music, art because I like the eyes and I like the ears.”

Okay. You like sensory perception.
“Yes. I’m music-inspired, so get that on there. Life.”

You would probably choose to be blind as opposed to deaf, right?
“Yes. That’s a hard choice, but yes.”

Yeah. If you were to describe one thing you like about Asheville and dislike about Asheville, what would it be?
“Blue-lipsticked women.”

Oh. OK. Alright.
“No, about Asheville? The people. Not the cops. What do I dislike? Is that the next question?

“Eric Stewart.”

Ah, ok. Is he a cop?

So if you were to describe yourself in three words, which three words would you choose and why?
“Can it be the same word?”

“Awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome.”

Jordan Sisk Johnson, 25, cook, originally from Baltimore

What would you say inspires you creatively?
“Hm, that’s a good one, the people that I run into on a daily basis, really, the human interaction.”

Yeah, that’s awesome. Do you have a daily motto or a saying that you live by?
“Take care of yourself.”

If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.
“Everything else is just going to crumble the more you try to take care of everything else, knowing that you’re not actually taking care of yourself and not just physically or healthwise. Take care of your wants and your needs. It sounds selfish, but really, it is. But you can’t help anybody unless you’re selfish with your own spiritual growth.”

It’s kind of like what the Dalai Lama says, strive to be kind to yourself and then you can spread kindness to other people. If you were to say one thing you liked about Asheville and disliked about Asheville, what would it be and why?
“Both answers would be the people. But it’d be the different types of people. The people that are the Ashe-villains, I like to call them, I love the people that are actually either from here or came here just because they heard of the greatness that Asheville actually does bring.”

“At the same token, the tourists come and sometimes you get these Chads and Susies.”

Yeah, Ashleys.
“Yeah, exactly. They’re cool but they don’t come for — ”

— the same reason.
“Yeah, they don’t come for a spiritual reason. They come to see us and the drum circle. You know what I mean? They hear about the drum circle and they hear about Beer City USA and all that stuff, so.”

They want to be on board with the freak train, but they’re not.

So if you were to describe yourself in three words, which three words would you choose and why?
“Loving, because I’d give anything to anybody, anything they’d actually need. Cool as fuck. I don’t know, loyal, just because if you take care of me, I’ll always take care of someone and understanding because I’ve been through a lot of shit and people suck sometimes.”

Yeah, that’s so true.
“It’s just how it goes, so you gotta know when to fight those battles and when to just love somebody for who they are and what they’re going through.”

The original version of these interviews was published in The Blue Banner.