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From N.C. craft workshops to L.A. shows

ASHEVILLE, N.C., ARTISTS offer weekend workshops. Some of the country's best folk artists and craftsmen live in and around this western North Carolina city. From Feb. 6 through March 29, some of them will host weekend workshops that are open to artist wannabes and experienced amateurs alike in a program called Hands on Asheville. Mediums will include pottery, glass blowing, fiber, nature crafts and jewelry design. The workshops will range in cost from $17 to $165. Several two-day workshops are offered but most will be two to four hours and will include materials and the finished craft object. To accommodate participants, area hotels, inns and B&Bs will offer special rates and a late Sunday checkout. For information call 1-800-280-0005, or consult the city's Web site at (http://www.ashevillechamber.org/hands/htm).

- SAME-DAY LOS ANGELES THEATER TICKETS at half price. L.A. has more than 1,100 theatrical stage productions every year and 21 openings each week. A new ticket outlet, Times Tix, a same-day, half-price ticket outlet is modeled after those in New York and London. Purchase tickets in person, cash only, at Times Tix in the Beverly Center. The ticket office is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. For information call 310-659-3678.- AIRLINE BOARDING PROCEDURES may leave late-comers out in the cold. According to the February issue of Travel Holiday, in a race to log on-time departures, airlines have instituted new, and sometimes unforgiving, boarding procedures. An example is United Airlines, which has moved up the time required to claim an advance seat assignment from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. The airline could give your seat away if you haven't checked in at least 20 minutes before departure. The cutoff for international flights is 45 minutes. US Airways now closes Jetway doors two minutes early to get a jump on paperwork, but they'll open the door for you if you get there a minute later. Northwest closes its doors three or four minutes before scheduled departures and even pushes away from the gate early, reports the magazine.

- COLORADO CABINS AND LODGES Web site is (http://www.-coloradodirectory

.com).

- THE 1998 EDITION OF "Hostelling North America: The Official Guide to Hostels in Canada and the United States" is now available. The 400-page book gives details and has maps and photos of 217 hostels - 148 in the U.S. and 69 in Canada - that are affiliated with Hostelling International. The book also has detailed information about making reservations and includes toll-free numbers for many hostels. The properties offer inexpensive, dormitory-style accommodations for travelers of all ages, with separate quarters for males and females. Overnight rates average $12-$16 for members of Hostelling International. Non-members are welcome but pay a slightly higher rate. Order your copy of the book for $3 (free if you're a member) by contacting Hostelling North America, 733 15th St., NW, Suite 840, Washington, D.C. 20005, or calling 202-783-6161. The Web site is (http://www.hiayh.org).