FunStuff: Charlottesville events May 24 and beyond

Millions of steps
When you think of Irish dance, what comes to mind? The fast-tapping feet of Riverdance of course. And now, in its 17th year of touring in mammoth venues (like our biggie on Massie Road), Riverdance is on its farewell tour. So this could be your last chance to experience what 22 million people in over 350 venues across 40 countries have seen. It's Busby Berkeley meets Cecil B. DeMille with some of the best dancers in the world as they tell the story of Irish culture and immigration– through fast-paced, raucous dance.
–May 30, John Paul Jones Arena, 7:30pm, $31-62


Rock the JPA bizes
You've probably already heard about how the businesses near the closed-for-a-year Jefferson Park Avenue bridge have been harmed, right? Well, now's your chance to do something about it– and have fun in the process with the third monthly Cash Mob. Launched in February, Cash Mob Charlottesville is part of a grassroots national movement to make the cash registers ring at mom-and-pop businesses. This Saturday, the targets are that quintet of commerce huddled around the bridge: Wayside FasMart, Hoo’s Brew, Wayside Barber Shop, Dürty Nelly’s, and Wayside Deli. While the Saturday afternoon event is free, organizers urge attendees to make small purchases at each of the five businesses. The event kicks off with a 1pm march, and live music continues into the afternoon.
May 26, the businesses at the JPA Bridge, 1pm, sort of free

Is dreaming dangerous?
LiveArts is closing its spring season with a classic Russian melodrama. Ostensibly about circus, He Who Gets Slapped is an oversized production filled with "musical jokesters, lovesick lion-tamers, death-defying aerialists, and a handful of scam-artists all falling under the spell of an anonymous gentleman who arrives one day and demands to be made into a clown," according to the director's notes. Like much of what gets produced at LiveArts, there's something darker beneath the stilt-walkers, trapeze artists, and– naturally– the smile of those darn clowns (such as the ones shown here: Will Luckett, Kate Tooley, and Dan Sterlace). The play is staged most Wednesdays thru Sundays, and if you wanna talk back to the team after the show, attend the 2pm performance on Sunday, May 27.
thru June 9, LiveArts, various times, $14-$24.50

They have risen
Remember Ultravox, that techno-emo new wave band from the 1980s? That's who came to mind when checking out the eponymous album by Brighter Fires, a new project from Gopal Metro and Andy Deane, the duo who founded Bella Morte, the nationally-acclaimed act that put Charlottesville at the center of the goth map. They're also the guys who also put together The Dawning, the weekly goth-industrial dance party in the basement of the old Tokyo Rose restaurant. Now describing themselves as the vanguard of the modern dark rock scene, Brighter Fires readily concedes to strong influences from the 80s, 90s, and 00s. If you haven't already downloaded the new digital-only album at, you can get a taste Thursday night at the newest music venue in town (at the most ridiculously low cover charge we've seen), located in the National Linen Building at the corner of Mead and Market. Indie post-punkers Dead Fame and Stars and the Sea open the show.
May 24, Black Market Moto Saloon, 9pm, $3

Long in the truth
Thanks to the local library, Charlottesvillians can catch a rare public screening of the 2010 documentary that takes viewers on the ride of a lifetime, the Thoroughbred racing industry. It's a sport that created and destroyed fortunes, created and destroyed animals, and puts horses in such unusual places as Dubai (as shown here). The film, titled simply Thoroughbred, was produced by an award-winning filmmaker who lives in Charlottesville, Paul Wagner. "I hope that the film can help the sport reform itself and revitalize it a little bit for the future," Wagner told the Hook in an interview last year. The screening is at the main library at 201 East Market Street.
May 24, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, 7pm, free

Mr. handsome and friend
If the idea of a rock duo conjures visions of Simon & Garfunkel, then think again because there's a rock duo in town with a raw and energetic feel. It's as if half of a famous foursome in Liverpool's Cavern Club got a hold of the songs they'd eventually write on their much-later White Album. Called Red Rattles, the duo has a garagey, fuzzed out– but cutely vulnerable– vibe, not to mention the gal-drawing advantage of a square-jawed guitarist named Luke Nutting, once at the center of short-lived but revered bluegrass act called 6 Day Bender. His compatriot, playing the skins, is David "Davey" Jacobs; and their first full-length album gets released with a show at that new music venue across from the gravestone shop on Market Street on Friday night. The Firetrucks may open.
May 25, Black Market Moto Saloon, 9pm, $5


Bring on da anguish (and joy)
Downtown's most richly decorated Victorian gothic church will soon resound with baroque sounds including the voice of a guest artist from the Washington-based Great Noise Ensemble. She is mezzo-soprano Tracy Cowart, who joins the Charlottesville baroque ensemble known as Three Notch'd Road in a night of "Joy & Anguish." They'll perform vocal and instrumental masterworks by Vivaldi and Handel in a Friday-night concert whose tickets, available at the door, are free for students. So grab a student and sit down under the Tiffany window to hear Handel’s famous Water Music and recorder player Anne Timberlake crank out Vivaldi’s famous concerto, La notte.
May 25, Christ Episcopal Church, 7:30pm, 0-$15







Bring on da Elmo
You know, it's just not every day that the real Elmo comes to your town. But Elmo wasn't satisfied with just one day in Charlottesville. He's decided to perform two days in a row. And get this, he'll do two shows each day. With friends! Yes, it's “1-2-3 Imagine!”– a high-energy musical designed to transport your small one to far away places. For instance, Elmo dances in the African rainforest. And his Muppet pal Ernie captains the high seas, and Ernie's uni-browed and pin-headed roommate Bert meets an octopus who has the blues. "It’s a story of adventure and fun that teaches children they can be anyone, do anything, and go anywhere with the power of imagination." And it's coming to the big arena on Saturday and Sunday.
May 26 & 27, John Paul Jones Arena, various times, $15-52


Meet Gabriele Rausse
The man who quietly consulted on the creation of some of Central Virginia's top wineries including Barboursville, Trump, and his own private label, Gabriele Rausse is the star of the upcoming Saturday Open House at Tufton, aka the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at Monticello. In a county where so many wine-tastings are priced like a meal, Tufton is offering up the man who has been called "the father of Virginia wine" at no cost. Of course, organizers may limit your quantity so that you can pay attention to the other names on the card: Peggy Cornett, who'll lead tours of the heirloom rose collection as well as beekeeper Paul Legrand. (Tufton is on the left side of Milton Road about two miles past Monticello.)
May 26, Tufton Farm, 10am-4pm (wine tasting 1-3pm), free


Get Steeled
The Valley's latest contribution to the Americana scene is coming over the mountain to Charlottesville's premiere indie club for a sit-down show exploring the territories "between blues and bluegrass, old-time sing-alongs and foot-stompin' fiddle tunes." It's The Steel Wheels, whose lyrical skill has won praise from such diverse sources as NPR and Blue Ridge Outdoors, the latter which called them "Shenandoah Valley's newest, and brightest, songwriting force." Coming off an impressive festival circuit that's taken them from Floydfest to Atlanta Dogwood, their Thursday night Charlottesville show is billed as a CD release party for their latest, Lay Down, Lay Low. Opener: The Honey Dewdrops.
May 24, The Southern, 7pm doors/8pm show, $15


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

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American Idol finals tonight here and on TV -
10 local singers com

10 finalists compete tonight at Paramount 6pm

The Teetotallers perform Tuesday, May 29th at 7:00 p.m. at Cville Coffee Stage Cafe in Charlottesville
$20 at the door
Three Masters of Traditional Irish Music coming to Charlottesville
Three of the world’s most accomplished players of Irish traditional music - Martin Hayes (fiddle),John Doyle (guitar) and Kevin Crawford(flute/whistle) - will bring the “pure drop” toC'ville Coffee (1301 Harris St. Charlottesville, VA) on Tuesday, May 29th, 7:00 p.m. The trio performs under the name the Teetotallers.

This exciting group of virtuosos began by chance when Hayes, Doyle and Crawford found themselves on stage together at the 2010 Sebastopol Celtic Festival in California. The chemistry clicked at that informal session and a new side project, the Teetotallers, was born. With an Ireland tour under their belts, this trad supergroup has worked out a show that will feature melodic, Clare-style instrumental tunes (courtesy of Hayes and Crawford) and a distinctive group of songs chosen by John Doyle. Look for an album later this year.

The performance on Tuesday is presented by Harvest Shelter Foundation, Blue Ridge Irish Music School and Culture Ireland.
Tickets are $20 at the door.