FunStuff: Charlottesville events March 15 and beyond

Funny stuff
Times may be tough, and gas prices may be high, but that's no reason to stop laughing. This week, Bent Theatre Improv comedy troupe gives you plenty of opportunity to do just that with two performances. On Wednesday, they'll be yucking it up family-friendly-style (they rate it PG-13); on Friday, they'll do it again, but leave the kiddies home for this one cuz with a self-imposed R-rating, things could get bawdy.
March 14, Para Coffee, 7pm, free; March 16, The Bridge, 8pm, pay what you will







Flippin' out
Cirque du Soleil may be the best known acrobatic act around, but it doesn't have the lock on eye-popping feats of balance and flexibility. The Golden Dragon Acrobats have won praise from high places, including the New York Times, which wrote, "It’s not often you can see a man— the remarkable Liu Yongpu— balancing upside down on one hand atop a half-dozen stacked chairs placed frighteningly close to the front of the stage, or watch Yang Yingying contort her body into leg-splitting poses while holding candelabras on the soles of her feet and in the palms of her hands." All we can say is, kids: don't try this at home.
March 17, 7pm, Paramount Theater, $24.50-39.50




Irish fun
Spend the afternoon scouring fields for four-leaf clovers and finding pots of gold at the end of rainbows, but once you're done with all that, head over to C'ville Coffee for an evening of Irish music and dance from the Blue Ridge Irish Music School. And with all the shiny gold nuggets you've pocketed earlier in the day, surely you'll be able to bid in the BRIMS silent auction held the same night to benefit the school. Just watch out for leprechauns!
March 17, C'Ville Coffee, $5-10, under 8 free






More St. Patty's fun
The green good times get started early on St. Patrick's Day at McGrady's with brunch starting at 8am (Guinness pancakes, anyone?) followed by face painting at 1pm and live music starting at 4pm with Billy Caldwell, Albemarle Pipe and Drum, Brian Chandler, and a 10pm performance by hard-rocking cover band Full Plate.
March 17, all day, McGrady's Irish Pub, no cover








Flavorful evening
He may be best known as the head judge on the Bravo network show Top Chef, and now's your chance to marinate in the culinary brilliance of Tom Colicchio in person. The author of three cookbooks, owner of multiple restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Dallas, and recipient of a lengthy list of awards, including the 2010 James Beard Foundation's "Outstanding Chef" award, Colicchio speaks at the Paramount and then ends the evening at the Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar, partying and signing books with whomever has shelled out for a VIP pass.
March 18, the Paramount, 8pm, $44.50-99.50 VIP







Jonathan Haidt Civility engineer?
When Rush Limbaugh opens his mouth, it might seem unlikely that anything civil will emerge, but UVA professor, author, and happiness expert Jonathan Haidt suggests it's possible that political discourse doesn't need to be ugly. Whether you agree with him or not, it's safe to assume he won't be calling you or anyone else a "slut" during this Miller Center Forum event titled, appropriately, "Civility in American Politics: How to Get (Some of) it Back." And if you don't call him any nasty names, he might even sign a copy of his book for ya!
March 19, 5:30pm, Miller Center, free








Kimya Dawson Beyond Juno
Fans of The Moldy Peaches have known of Kimya Dawson for years, but the hit movie Juno brought her childlike voice and simple-but-deep lyrics to the masses, as she provided most of the songs for the Grammy-winning soundtrack. Her sometimes-almost-off-key voice may not be everyone's cup of tea, but she's not short of avid fans. "With Dawson, there's no cool posing," says a review on NPR. "She is the anti-rock star, with her heart on her sleeve, and her daughter on her hip."
March 20, Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, 9pm, $10-12




Rockin' Rufus
Elton John has famously called Rufus Wainwright the "greatest singer-songwriter on the planet," and you can judge for yourself. Son of folk-singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and the late Kate McGarrigal, Wainwright has a genre all his own— "popera" some have called it— and his over-the-top theatrics, versatile voice, and moving lyrics ensure an entertaining performance.
March 21, 8pm, The Jefferson Theater, $45-49






Inuit art Chillin' lecture
The forbidding cold of the Earth's two poles (never mind the lack of Starbucks or Target) may deter most people from visiting, but this week you can see what you've missed when renowned arctic anthropologist Stephen Loring of the Smithsonian Instititution speaks at UVA. In his lecture, Loring will explore how man-made and natural objects collected by explorers to the Arctic, including Charles Darwin and members of Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Antarctica expedition "reflect as much on notions of humanity as they do on scientific discourse." Reception and Q&A to follow.
March 22, 4pm, UVA's Brooks Hall, free







Kiddie authors
Whether your kids are bookworms or they'd prefer hours on the Xbox to snuggling up with a novel, the chance to meet the authors of some of the best modern children's literature is not to be missed. This meet-n-greet-n-eat dessert reception is your chance to find out what inspires authors including National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine (Mockingbird) and Cybils Award winner Tom Angleberger (The Strange Case of Origami Yoda) and to come away with an autographed copy or two.
March 23, 6:30pm, Charlottesville Catholic School, $5 per person suggested donation



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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Harrisonburg, VA—March 26.

Acclaimed writer Eleanor Henderson returns to James Madison University to read from her work in Transitions in Warren Hall from 2:00-3:30 p.m., Monday March 26. Professor Henderson taught at James Madison University from 2006-2010, in the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication (WRTC), while completing her first novel.

That book, Ten Thousand Saints, made The New York Times’ short list of the year’s ten best books.

Eleanor Henderson received her MFA from the University of Virginia while working on the Virginia Quarterly Review as chair of the fiction board. She has also been a contributing editor of Poets & Writers. Another piece of Henderson’s writing, “The Farms,” was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2009.

While at JMU, Professor Henderson developed new courses in personal narrative and popular writing, along with teaching GWRTC 103. Some of Eleanor Henderson’s students won prizes for their own writing in the annual Madison Writing Awards, which recognize excellence in student writing.

Presented by The Friendly City Reading Series, an informal reception for Professor Henderson will follow the reading. Copies of Ten Thousand Saints will be available for purchase in Transitions on the afternoon of the reading. The reading is free and open to the public.

For Media Outlets. Professor Henderson can be available for interviews. Contact Heather Comfort, WRTC Friendly City Reading Series committee chair:

For anyone with kids, don't forget that this week in March is time for the Lollipop Shop consignment sale. The entire former Whole Foods store is filled to the brim with everything for your kids, including clothes, shoes, toys, books, strollers, furniture and much more. The sale runs for ONE WEEK ONLY (March 17-25), and is located in Shopper's World (on Rt. 29N across from Fashion Square Mall.) More info at and