FunStuff: Charlottesville events March 22 and beyond

Book fete
The Virginia Festival of the Book gets underway March 21, but there's still time to catch some bookish talks and readings, especially those off the beaten path. For instance, how has social media affected the literary world? Catch that discussion at Central Library on March 23 at 2pm. Or what about that guilty pleasure you have: reading romance novels. Head over to Barnes & Noble on March 24 at 12pm and 2pm to meet some of the best authors in the biz, including Virginia's own Deanna Raybourn (pictured here). Ever wonder how to pen a thriller? Find out how to keep readers hooked at the Albemarle County Office Building on March 23 at 8pm.
March 21-25, full schedule at




Mad Men
Yes, you could stay home and watch it on TV. But if you really want an evening filled with debauchery, adultery, jealousy, and corporate intrigue along with great food, prizes too, and, of course, retro style and if you're mad about Mad Men, the hit AMC TV series that chronicles the lives of high-powered ad execs in the 1960s, you won't want to miss this event at the Paramount Theater. First, there'll be a party and screening of last season's finale, followed by the live showing of the season premiere. The Whiskey Jar restaurant will serve up vintage cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and the best-dressed Mad Men-style guy and gal will get $100 gift certificates, respectively to Beecroft & Bull and Derriere de Soie.
March 25, Paramount Theater, 7pm doors, 9pm premiere, $15/$25vip


Bike festival
Hey, wanna go ride bikes? Head on over to the second annual Spring Mountain Bike Festival at McIntire Park. Sponsored by the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club, the event will include free guided trail rides in McIntire Park, exhibits by area bike store owners, and free on-site tune-ups. This Saturday event is for the whole family, and there will even be bike skill clinics for kids ages 6 to 16. You'll also get a chance to get your hands dirty, as everyone can volunteer to do some trail repairs in the park.
March 24, McIntire Park, 8am to 5pm, free


Film screening
Does mainstream media underrepresent women in positions of power and influence in America? Find out at this free screening of Miss Representation, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The 90-minute film explores the way women and girls are portrayed in popular culture, and how there's still a long way to go before there is true equality, especially in positions of power and influence. You'll see interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists, and academics including Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric (shown here), Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson, and Gloria Steinem.
March 30, Main Stage Theatre in the V. Earl Dickinson Building at PVCC, 12:30pm, free



Smart rockers
Miracles of Modern Science
, a bunch of former Princeton University students who crank out pop rock with a mandolin, violin, cello, standup bass, and drums, will play a benefit show for The Haven, our downtown way-station for the homeless inside a former church sanctuary. Miracles of Modern Science built a cult following on the Princeton campus and later graduated to New York City, where their live shows and dorm-grown EP got nods from Spin, Wired, and NPR's Morning Edition, which has aired several of their performances.
March 24, The Haven, 8pm, $10/$5 for students


Inside Obama's White House
Talk about a cool gig?  Former White House videographer Arun Chaudhary, the first person to ever hold that job— and the young man the New York Times dubbed the "ultimate fly on the wall" in the Obama White House— will lead an interactive discussion about his time following the President (whose photograph at left was snapped here in Charlottesville). “When people in 20 years see the work that I do, I hope they’ll have a greater understanding of what the president is like personally and what the presidency is like as an institution,” the 35-year-old Chaudhary told the Times. “I’m hoping these moments I’ve saved and put out will even have a richer and more historical flavor.”
March 28, UVA Rotunda Dome Room, 6pm, Free


West Main
Our link between the University and downtown is
West Main Street. How should it be developed? How do we respect its history (recognize Mel's in the photo?) while preparing for future development? Head on down to Zinc Restaurant for a public discussion and cool slide show from Trumble Photography, all sponsored by Charlottesville Tomorrow. There will be hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar, and plenty of information on past/current/future developments in the area.
March 29, Zinc Restaurant, 5:30-7pm, free


CLAW night
If you haven't been to a CLAW match, now's your chance. For some time now, the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers, a kind of absurd vaudevillian theater of the feminine, where wives, mothers, and professionals unleash their inner badasses, has been entertaining crowds and raising money for local women-initiated projects. And it happens at West Main's hip Blue Moon Diner (whose owner, Laura Galgano, is shown here.) As one wrestler puts it, "Women, who are always the responsible ones, the anchors for the dreamers, the nest-guardians, get a night to scream!" Music from Pantherburn, TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb, and DJ Western Front.
March 24, Blue Moon Diner, 7pm, $5 


Field a Wordplay team
is Charlottesville’s own live game show/fundraiser for folks who love words, vocabulary, pop culture, history, literature, testing how smart they are, and supporting Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle. And watch out— the crew from the Hook newsroom (see photo) were two-time winners until suffering an ignominious defeat last year. If you and your colleagues or friends are into trivia, crossword puzzles, or other memory and knowledge testing games, this event is for you. And food this year will be provided by Eppies. The event takes place April 11 at the Paramount Theater at 6pm, but the deadline to register your three-person team is March 26. Contact Sarah Gould-Stotts at to register or visit
March 26, Wordplay team entry deadline, minimum $500 per team. 


Sons of Bill
One of six free shows in Virginia the band Sons of Bill plans to do in celebration of the release of their third
album, Sirens (previewed in this issue of the Hook). The album comes courtesy of a Kickstarter campaign the band launched, and if you donated the band wants to make sure there's a seat for you. Simply email with the subject “Kickstarter/Paramount Theater” and include your name and Kickstarter information. "When we asked for your help in making this record, you all were overwhelmingly generous to us," said the band in a statement. "This is our chance to give back." But, of course, everyone who buys a $10 disc is welcome to show up. Later, there's a free after-party at the Jefferson Theater.
March 22, Paramount Theater, doors 7:30/show 9:15pm, free


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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

Mad Men is set in the 1960's isn't it?

Also Deanna Raybourn is a babe.

More information about the event featuring Obama's White House videographer can be found at the Center for Politics website at

Seating is limited. Contact for questions.