FunStuff: Charlottesville events April 26 and beyond
"She is impressive," says Charlottesville-based evolutionary psychiatrist Andy Thomson, speaking of Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, a University of California-Davis-based researcher who is one of the world’s foremost experts on mothering and the mother-child relationship. Her works includeMother Nature and Mothers and Others, the latter of which is gaining her a visit and an award at UVA on Thursday in McKim Hall, a building along Hospital Drive.
April 26th, Leonard Sandridge Auditorium, 4pm, free
Art and theater
Downtowners know all about First Fridays, but what about Final Fridays, the collection of arts events UVA organizes in the area now fondly called the John & Betsy Casteen Arts Grounds, which serves as the site of the academic year's final Final Friday. Offerings include an open house by visiting Iranian artist Samira Abbassay, whose work deals with women, war, and identity. You can visit her in her studio in room 323 of Ruffin Hall (just out of view on the left in this picture) and check out student art on all three floors of the same building along with wine and appetizers. (Afterwards, if tickets are available, you can catch the 8pm, $15 show of the University Singers presenting Mendelssohn's "Elijah" with orchestra and soloists in Old Cabell Hall or the 8pm, $14 performance by the drama department of Romeo & Julietby you-know-who in Culbreth Theatre.)
April 27, Arts Grounds, 5:30-7:30pm, free
Beleza at Bashir's
Here comes a chance to check out the funkalicious sounds of Beleza, the Charlottesville-based group that fuses samba, soul, and blues into one festive mix that the Hook's own Stephanie Marie Garcia has called "deliciously exotic." And they're coming to you this Friday at an exotic local eatery, the well-known Downtown Mall institution called Bashir's Taverna. The core of the group is husband-and-wife Humberto and Madeline Sales. With Loren Oppenheimer doing percussion on the tabla.
April 27, Bashir's Taverna, 7pm, no cover
Get down on it
Everybody loves a cool disco party, and The Groove Train is one of the hottest exemplars of this style on the East Coast. This Philadelphia-based seven-piece act has the hairstyles, the showmanship, and– most of all– the music to pull off a Friday night freak-out at the Jeff. But did you know that the opening band is a dance-party legend in its own right? We know this because we've hired them, The Soul Transit Authority (shown here), to play our company party a couple of times, and their mix of jazz and soul is not over-the-top like the main event, but that just may be alright, right?
April 27, Jefferson Theater, 8pm, $12-$15
85 singers strong
The magnificent theater-in-the-round that is Old Cabell Hall will be the site where 85 singers from across the University of Virginia will converge to perform a rendition of Mendelssohn's "Elijah." And that's not all. The University Singers, as they're called, will be joined by a full orchestra and a pack of soloists who include Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions winner Christina Pier with baritone Mark Owen Davis in the role of Elijah. The Friday-night performance will be directed by UVA faculty conductor Michael Slon (shown here), who notes that critics hail this as one of the greatest oratorios ever written.
April 27, Old Cabell Hall, 8pm, $0-$15
What better way to introduce yourself and a new generation to the wonder of Thomas Jefferson’s ideas on gardening than by visiting the open house at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants? It's a Monticello-owned institute, and it's been in the news a lot recently since Peter Hatch, Monticello’s longtime director of gardens and grounds, announced that he will soon be stepping down. Fortunately, Hatch will be on hand for this event and signing copies of his new book, A Rich Spot of Earth. There will be a free workshop called "Buds, Bugs, and Buddies," in addition to an array of hard-to-find heirloom and native plants up for sale, along with garden tours and other workshops.
April 28, 1293 Milton Road, 10am-4pm, free
It's been said that softball is America's #1 participatory sport, but Charlottesvillians have the chance to check out some near-pros in the form of the UVA women's softball team, which has become a force in recent years under the tutelage of coach (and UVA grad) Eileen Schmidt. In addition to reaching its first-ever NCAA tournament, the team has become a conference contender thanks to such players as the .281-averaging sophomore Erica Cipolloni, shown here. This weekend presents three opportunities for action against NC State: a doubleheader on Saturday and a next-day capper. To get to the field in what UVA calls "The Park," you just drive past UVA Law and the JAG School, and you can't miss it. And there's no charge for admission– just like the games between the good ole boys at McIntire Park.
April 28 & 29, The Park, noon and 2pm Saturday & noon Sunday, free
Okay, so all the dogwood flowers have already bloomed and wilted due to the spate of warm weather last month. But don't forget that theDogwood Festival Carnival lives on. With the Albemarle County Fair opting for a more low-key, no-ride approach this summer, this may be your younguns' only chance to ride the rides and make friends with the carnies. The Festival has already begun, but it doesn't end until Sunday the 29th, which just happens to be– along withApril 24 and 26– an "armband day" when those rides so pricy when purchased à la carte can be enjoyed in unlimited fashion for just $20. The event opens at 6pm on weekdays and 1pm on Saturday and Sunday.
April 29 (and before), McIntire Park, until 11pm Mon-Sat and 7pm Sunday, free to walk
Getting cozy with Trigiani
Best-selling author (who grew up in the Virginia community of Big Stone Gap) Adriana Trigianicomes to town for a talk and reception that will let you rub elbows with the author of such books as Big Cherry Holler, Milk Glass Moon, andHome to Big Stone Gap. But it's her latest, The Shoemaker’s Wife, released just three weeks ago, that brings her to Charlottesville. A sprawling, epic tale 25 years in the making, the new novel is based on her own grandparents’ story of passion and perseverance, and it's why the heritage-celebrating nonprofit called The Journey Through Hallowed Ground brings her here. Advance reservations required for this wine-and-hors d’oeuvres Wednesday-evening event.
May 2, Alumni Hall, 6pm, $60
"CSI has nothing on Charlottesville," says Rob Craighurst, who enters his sixth year of taking visitors on a tragical history tour of downtown, as he recounts tales of murders and murderers– including the biggest one of all, the 1904 murder of the mayor's wife. The two-hour walk through history by Tell Me About It Tours allows citizens to put on their Sherlock Holmes hats and decide whether justice was served. The tours happen Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays beginning May 3 and continuing, rain or shine, through October.
May 3 (start), York Place, 8pm, $15 or less
This week's "FunStuff" was compiled by Hawes Spencer, 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.