The Underdog Dance Party! Thursday, 2/27, 7-10 P.M.

outside front


NEW VENUE!! New jam: 13th floor
Does your vision or outlook need an upgrade? Come early and feast your senses with the gorgeous historic room and the 13-floor views from the east and west balconies!
1 Battle Square, downtown Asheville – right across from the north entrance to the
Grove Arcade (parking suggestions)
The beautiful and historic 13-floor Roof Garden penthouse party room.

E.W. Grove partied in this room! So can you!
No alcohol in the Roof Garden party space. Alcohol is encouraged in Majo’s apartment – especially if you leave just one beer behind. An Imperial Stout will make you huge points (no Social Security checks until March 3), but a $2 Steel Reserve Triple Export from the gas station/convenience store on Merrimon is all this working-class kid needs to be happy. Smoking out by the sidewalk. Look for Diana.
Diana, the Queen of Battery Park Apartments, prefers not to have her photo on Facebook – but is cool with this one. And you will recognize little Pancho with her. (Only service dogs allowed in the Roof Garden.) If Pancho barks when you approach, she is probably saying “Come reassure me you are not a problem to Diana. If you approach gently and speak sweetly to me, I will certainly let you love on me.” Social Security checks don’t come for another week: underdog Diana is running out of smokes. Don’t ask her for one, give her one – or a pack! (Native full-flavor 100’s from Up In Smoke by the Office Depot next to Ingles on Tunnel Rd. American Spirit knock-offs that claim no additives and cost $3.50 instead of $7.) Linger and chat with Diana – she is awesome, my Soul Friend. If it’s cold out, she may mostly be inside, but – even though she doesn’t like crowds – maybe I can get her to come to the after-party.

7-8 p.m.: family friendly, community networking and displaced workers marketplace – goods and services, give them some business. Classic Westgate buskers and community musicians.

8-11 Storytelling Dance Party: adult language and some steamy music

Featuring the Asheville dance party debut of DJ Majo WOW! (“weird old whiteguy”)
Billboard says, “DJ Majo WOW! rocks the mic like no other fat, 73-year-old middle-class white man outside of New York City!”
Rolling Stone says, “Majo WOW! is actually kind of cool and funky – in his own little 73-year-old fat middle class white guy way.”
White Hip Hop Music Magazine: “This cat has got moves! He’s like a little fat old white Michael Jackson!”

resist big smile
DJ Majo WOW!

There is no charge for this party, but free-will love offerings for the people of Earth Fare Westgate (many of whom are starting to wonder how they will pay the rent) can be mailed to Elizabeth Keel, CPA, H&R Tax Advisors, 204 Executive Park, Asheville, NC 28801.  Write the check to Dusty Brown.   

Don’t think of yourself as a dancer? Not a problem. DJ Majo (a lifetime passionate dancer and – in another life – a clinical psychologist and personal growth facilitator) is going to be teaching everyone some tricks for accessing your own unique authentic way of spontaneously moving your body – AKA “dancing”.

Help build the playlist for the dance party: leave a Comment with your favorite revolutionary dance song – or personal empowerment song, or song that makes you feel happy and optimistic about life, or just a song you have always wanted to dance to with your friends.

Can’t make it to the party Thursday night? It will be live-streamed. And you can order your gorgeous professionally-shot video of this amazing evening (and support all displaced workers getting a free video memory of this night-to-remember) by sending a check for $20, written to Dusty Brown and sent to Elizabeth Keel, CPA, H&R Tax Advisors, 204 Executive Park, Asheville, NC 28801. Include your email address – video will come to your email inbox.

Service dogs only allowed in the Roof Garden. Hang out with Panchita at the after-party in Apt. 503. Password is “I gotta Imperial Stout fer ya, DJ Majo WOW!'” (Social Security checks don’t come until the 3rd.)

A Majo Productions event

Real Life in the CheckOut Line

“Helping life happen in a grocery store.”

Majo Madden, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and Fortune 500 Organization Development management consultant, worked for four years as a cashier at Earth Fare Asheville Westgate store. This store was the flagship store, the first of 40-some stores across the southeast. Because of the unique nature of Asheville, NC – and that unique nature of that particular store – “the hippy store” – Majo’s 20 hours or so per week behind that cash register, with those co-workers and those customers, lit him up as a writer and as a person. This is their story.

Majo’s personal blog: “Waking up”

Sherry Lynn Clark and Toni

Benefit for the laid-off workers of Earth Fare – Dance Party February 27, 7-11 p.m. at THE BLOCK off biltmore

DON’T SCREW WITH EARTH FARE! – press release

“Pretty little girl”

pretty girl with hair

These days, when – at the cash register – I tell a little girl that she’s pretty, I always follow that by saying this:

“One day here, when i told a little girl she was pretty, her mama said, ‘You know what we say, honey, when some nice person says you are pretty.’  And then in unison, very powerfully, they said ‘I’m pretty, I’m smart, and I’m strong – huh!’”

The little girl I am speaking to at this point will almost always say, “I’m smart!” or “I’m strong.”  And I will say something like, “Boy, you really are, aren’t you!”  And the mother (or father) will usually beam with delight at their daughter.

“You guys are great together!” Families

After my first four days back at Earth Fare, after a year away, I have been very keenly reminded that my greatest satisfaction in this job comes from validating people – affirming them.  And, while I really love doing this with individuals – especially if they seem lonely or depressed or like they could really use a shot in the arm – the greatest challenge and satisfaction comes from validating couples and families.  Here I will describe two families.

Read this post at my grocery store blog, Real Life in the Checkout Line,

“I love you guys” – validating couples

Why do I have such an especially great time validating couples?  I think it’s really my specialty.  Maybe it’s because they have something I want – a happy, successful partnership – and focusing on what they are doing right gets me closer to my own goal.  I dunno.

See this post at my grocery store blog, Real Life in the Checkout Line

Soul Friends, a story by Majo

About Battery Park Apartment’s icon Diana Buchanan

Open mic sponsored by Interweave (mixed abilities performance troupe featuring Amanda, Rylin and some non Battery Park Apartments folks)

Next Tuesday night, July 9, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Battery Park Apartments,1 Battle Square, Asheville
13th floor Roof Garden

No one will be turned away! Donations accepted but not required

6:15 – open mic sign-up

6:30-7 – special guest band featuring Caesar Williams from the Vanderbilt, Garry Byrne from our building and Eric Nelson

7-7:30 – “family friendly” material

Early in the show (7:30?) – Soul Friends Majo’s 15-minute story

on the “ersatz family”: me (Majo), our Diana Buchanan (who you are so familiar with from hanging out with her posse in front of the building, making sure the tobacco companies don’t go belly up) and my precious little white dog Toni – to whom Diana became “Mama”. 

Diana (“Mama”) and Toni

If you know Diana or have any clue what a complex, rich and wonderful character she is, you’re gonna wanna see this. Even if you feel like you already know Diana, you will come away knowing her in new ways – and be a richer person for it.  The story has humor, it’s got conflict, it’s got pathos and death – it’s got everything. (7:30-8 latest, if you skip the opening acts and we don’t start early.)

Interweave invites all performance levels to perform:

song, dance, music, drumming, spoken word, rap, hip-hop, poetry, stories, comedy, magic, performance art, improv, dance or music jam


enter through the front door, located to the left of the Pinball Museum

at the north end of the Grove Arcade

Near St. Lawrence Basilica and the U.S. Cellular Center


if you need handicapped access or have any questions, email

LBGTQ friendly – open to all ages, genders and races

donations are used to support Interweave

for more info about what we do, please email us

no alcohol, drugs or smoking allowed

John’s work

John –

In my head just now, I was having a fantasy conversation with no one in particular – maybe never anyone – about some topic that’s on my mind. I do this sometime when I feel less pressure around tasks, to do’s. Today I have a long afternoon and evening with nothing scheduled, in a good mood and happy to piddle.

The topic today is “My friend John and his relationship to work.” Hopefully at least enough of it will ring true – it would be a great conversation sometime, maybe on a hike, what hit the mark and (inevitably) what did not…and what’s missing.

Here goes:

My friend John’s current work – a highway flagger for paving jobs – is by no means his long-term aspiration.

He would like to get back into the building trades. He has pawned his tools when he was broke, but would never let go of them. He is a natural handyman and construction pro. He seems sometimes like a wizard. It seems like there is nothing he can’t do. He has a passion for fixing things, for making them work. When, out of the corner of his eye, he saw that one of my blinds wasn’t closing correctly, it continually distracted him from our conversation. “Do you mind if I fix that?” “Thanks – that would have haunted me all night.” If a friend has some kind of light construction or fixit need, he springs into action – he loves it. It’s a passion for him. It seems there is nothing that completely stumps him.

His life mission is to help people, to “facilitate” – to make things work better for them.

He has not given up on a long-term dream to work in the forest service – maybe construction. At 52, that possibility may be slipping away. It would take a big push, which could happen, but not until after the current spate of infections and other health challenges.

Highway flagging may seem like an unlikely vocation – and passion! – for someone of so much talent and education. (But my Ph.D. does not spoil grocery store cashiering as a vocation for me.) John’s capacity to turn this work into something creative and satisfying is admirable to say the least.

  • John applies his mission to help, to “facilitate” here – in ways that a less resourceful and motivated person would never accomplish. John has a vision that highway closures create stress and even some measure of pain for people – and his mission is to help this inconvenience be light for them. Where some other flaggers regard the lines of motorists as ignorant assholes to be dispatched – processed through with minimal expenditure of effort – to John they are customers, basically good people in pain.
  • John uses this work as a context to express his creativity. He dances his job. As much as the work allows, he stays in motion. He is always finding new and interesting ways to express information. How much relevant information can he feasibly impart?
    • what the project is
    • what’s happening up ahead
    • any feasible bypasses
  • he really is trying to make their day
  • John uses this job as a background to express his love of nature
    • he uses his camera to get interesting/educational/accurate pictures of nature
    • he has a circle of Facebook friends who are back and forth with each other with beautiful nature photos and the quest to identify interesting/beautiful/rare insects/plants/flowers
  • John has a huge work ethic and takes satisfaction from living it out.
    • Even if the day is rainy and there is not likely to be work on his particular paving project, he reports to the staffing office at 6 a.m.
      • Many of the workers don’t have cars, some of them may be staffing indoor jobs, some may need a ride to work if they are to get to work
        • many have families to support – John gets satisfaction from trying to make sure they get work if they can and he gets paid for transporting them and this establishes him as a go-to resource for the staffing service.
    • No matter how different his co-workers, he finds ways to like and respect them
      • even if they are uneducated and irresponsible
      • they have a family, they get paid on Friday, and Monday they are broke – can’t afford cigarettes even on a week where bad weather is predicted – no income.
      • He finds them interesting and creative where are there overlaps on their musical tastes
      • Their nihilism, dark humor and love of practical jokes may converge
Caddis fly?

In short

  • How can I help people?
  • How can I see and reflect what’s good in people?
  • How can I express myself and find the opportunity for creativity, dark humor, nihilism, music and anarchy in situations where if I did not work hard and stretch myself I might just succumb to helplessness and depression?