FunStuff: Charlottesville events January 19 and beyond

Belt it out
If you think karaoke means following a bouncing ball over computer-screen lyrics as canned musical accompaniment blares, think again. Thanks to the rocking (and very patient) back-up band Retrospective Collective, every Thursday, aspiring professional singers– and those who just enjoy belting it out in the car or the shower– bring their rock-star fantasies to life.
January 19, Fellini's, 10pm, free


Belmont talent
You can't throw a stone in Belmont without hitting an artist (and we certainly don't recommend you try...) but if you want a sense of just how talent-dense the neighborhood really is, check out this group show at the gallery located at 100 Second St. NW off the Downtown Mall (aka the Hook building), featuring an array of media from well known Belmont dwellers including photographer Peter Krebs, painter John Tripple (whose work is pictured here), and artist Fenella Belle. The work goes up earlier, but the First Friday reception is February 6.
January 20-February 29, Firefish Gallery, free.


Political thrills and chills
When two-term Florida Governor and 18-year veteran of the U.S. Senate Bob Graham comes to the Miller Center on Saturday, he'll have plenty to share. The man who President Obama appointed to co-chair the commission on  the BP oil spill and to chair the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has also turned novelis, with the recent release of his political thriller Keys to the Kingdom. Following a forum, Senator Graham will sign copies of his book.
January 20, Miller Center, 5:30pm, free





Feeling a little soft around the middle after the holidays? Check out the Superfit games this weekend for some major motivation. Sponsored by Crossfit Charlottesville and benefiting the Boys and Girls Club, located at 1008 Cherry Avenue, the event will bring more than 200 athletes from around the country to compete in jaw-dropping feats of strength, speed, and agility. And with competitors ranging in age from 18 to 60, you might find your excuses for not exercising slipping away.
January 20-21, Boys and Girls Club, 9am-5pm, $10/under 16 free


Live from the Met
With music from Baroque masters including Vivaldi and Handel and a story that combines two of Shakespeare's tales (A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest), The Enchanted Island  is the latest high-definition performance piped in to the Paramount from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The Huffington Post calls it an "extravaganza, both musically and visually," and the Met general manager gushes to the New York Times of its "faster dramatic rhythm tailored to modern attention spans." Might that be enough to draw in operaphobes? A pre-show lecture by 16th and 17th century music expert, UVA professor Bonnie Gordon, precedes the performance.
January 21, The Paramount, lecture at 12:15 and performance at 1pm, $18-24


Strung along
What happens when big hair metal music of the 1980s meets the mandolin and banjo? You get Love Canon, a five-piece, conservatory-trained string band doing acoustic covers of '80s hits from Journey, A-ha, Whitesnake and more.
January 25, The Jefferson Theater, doors at 8pm, free









Grisham's graces
Many authors have dreamed of a John Grisham endorsement for their work; Corban Addison was the first one to receive it for an unpublished manuscript, which Grisham praised as "beautiful in its story and also important in its message." Now published, A Walk Across the Sun tells a story of two Indian sisters who are sold into sexual slavery. Addison traveled to sites around the world researching the book, which is set in India, France, and the United States and explores the horrifying subject of global human trafficking. Grisham will offer a pre-reading author introduction.
January 26, New Dominion Bookshop, 5:30pm, free





Elvis and Egypt!
Hit the road to Richmond before the end of January and see two exhibits at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for the price of one. "Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb" features more than 100 artifacts on loan from the British Museum. Once you've paid the $15 admission, you'll be free to peruse another big draw: "Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer," featuring 56 shots of Presley in 1956, just before he became King of Rock.
Two-for-one through January with "Elvis" exhibit to March 18 and "Mummy" to March 11),  VMFA, Richmond, $15


Dutch drumming
Dutch drumming sensation Hans Bennink is a jazz master whose performances are a blend of musical showmanship and humor. He doesn't limit himself to the drumset either– in past performances, Bennink's made use of the floor, walls, even a fire alarm to add depth to the beats he produces. This performance is part of his 70th birthday world tour.
January 27th, 8pm, UVA's Brooks Hall, $5-10



Miranda's right!
Country music darling Miranda Lambert got a shot at fame when she finished third on the TV talent search show Nashville Star in 2003, and her career's soared since then. Now married to fellow country crooner Blake Shelton, Lambert saw her first three albums go platinum, and her latest– Four the Record– is well on its way.
January 27, John Paul Jones Arena, $27.75 - $51.75


This week's "FunStuff" was compiled by Courteney Stuart, and next week's "FunStuff" will be compiled by another newsroom staffer. To get your event considered, send a press release to

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