FunStuff: Charlottesville events February 16 and beyond
Black and white
Obama may be the first African American president, but he's far from the only black man– or woman– to occupy the White House. Historian Clarence Lusane, program director for Comparative and Regional Studies at American University and author of The Black History of the White House, traces the history of race relations in America's most famous residence from the slaves who toiled for past presidents to the high level advisors who have claimed increasingly prominent roles in leading a country still divided over race.
February 17, The Miller Center, 11am, free
Pour some sugar
The big hair, the tight pants, the over-the-top ballads of love and desire. If you miss the '80s– or missed the '80s– the Aquanett concert promises time travel to an era when there was nothing funny about a man with a perm, and women knew that shoulder pads weren't just for football players. And as a bonus, opening act Superunknown will take you back (or forward, as the case may be) to the '90s, when the grunge scene smothered leather and lace in flannel and ennui. Smells like Teen Spirit, indeed.
February 18, The Jefferson Theater, 8pm, $10/$12
It might be winter, but in the jungle-like greenhouse of the new Glass House Winery in Free Union, you'll feel like you've stepped out of Central Virginia and into the tropics. Sunday afternoons bring the chance to sip wine and listen to live music in as close to an outdoor setting as possible this time of year. Thanks to winery co-owner Michelle Sanders, you can indulge your sweet tooth, too, with her artisan chocolates in flavors like Earl Grey, red wine cream, and salted caramel. So come out to eat, drink and be merry– really, you can do it all at Glass House. Just don't throw stones.
February 19, Glass House Winery, 2:15-5pm
The cryptic gaze of the Mona Lisa. The hidden meaning of The Last Supper. The anatomical sketches. Nearly five centuries after his death, Leonardo da Vinci remains one of the most fascinating figures in history, and the National Gallery, London has gathered eight of the master's 15 fragile paintings from museums around the world. But you don't have to jet across the pond to take a gander. "Leonardo Live," an HD presentation of the exhibition "Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan," will take you there, and a panel discussion by three UVA professors following the screening will help put it all in perspective. And then, bestselling author Dan Brown will show up to crack the code once and for all. (Not really.)
February 19, The Paramount, 2pm, $10-14
God and science
Some would argue that science precludes the existence of a creator, and at the very least, it's hard to imagine, say, Richard Dawkins and Pat Roberts agreeing on anything. But Oxford mathematician John Lennox points out that religion and science might be able to co-exist without undermining the other. Since we're all headed for the abyss no matter what we believe, it might be wise to hear him out, and now's your chance.
February 20, Old Cabell Hall, 8pm, free
You take your vitamins, eat your veggies and exercise. But are you laughing enough? This week, you can go out for a few drinks and claim it's for your health– and maybe even get an extra ab workout! "What the Yuck!" is an open-mic comedy roundtable put on by comic Jim F'n Zarling (pictured right) that invites you to laugh to your heart's content. Think you're funny? You can test out your own material by arriving before 8:30 to sign up for your own five minutes of fame– or infamy– and hope that this time at least, they are laughing at you.
February 21, The Southern, 9pm, free
Nowadays, making romantic matches is predominantly the domain of websites that attempt to pair us off based on algorhythms and the lies we tell about ourselves online. Back in Tevye's time, it was the old crone down the street who did the matchmaking, and– just a guess– she had a better success rate than match.com. Revisit the classic musical that'll have you singing along, and bring the kids so they, too, can find themselves humming "If I were a rich man" and "Tradition!" 25 years after they last saw Fiddler on the Roof. Seriously, those sungs get stuck.
February 21, John Paul Jones Arena, $35-55
When you think of Cuba, your first thought might be cigars, Fidel Castro, and refugees in precariously small boats, but the tiny country lying just 90 miles off the coast of Florida has something to teach its giant neighbor about surviving and thriving past the easy availability of petroleum. Head to Staunton for a night of film and fine Cuban-inspired fare (using local ingredients) as the nonprofit Transition Staunton Augusta presents the documentary film The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. Among the lessons: the importance of developing alternative transportation as oil diminishes and the need to increase small scale organic farming. (Reservations suggested 540-213-8777)
February 21, Mockingbird Cafe, 5:30pm, free
Tucked away in the Frank Ix complex off Monticello Avenue, Alhamraa Moroccan restaurant isn't a place you stumble upon easily, but it has plenty of appeal– especially when Fire in the Belly dance troupe and Toma Que Toma flamenco band perform an evening of live music and dance. You might even find your own hips shaking.
February 23, Alhamraa, 7pm, $5 cover
What was your favorite film of 2011? But more importantly, what do you think Angelina Jolie is going to wear on the red carpet? And even more importantly, what are you going to wear on the red carpet? Yup, that's right– if you enjoy watching the Oscars at home, chances are you'll enjoy it even more after donning your new Zac Posen gown, grabbing your fave Dior diamond earrings and limo-ing it down to the Paramount to take in the big event on the big screen with a big group of friends. Best book hair and make-up now!
February 26, The Paramount, 7pm, $45
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 email@example.com.