FunStuff: Charlottesville events May 31 and beyond

Final First Friday at the Gallery
The accounting firm of Hampton and Everett has doubled as a gallery and opened its sweet office space at 107 5th Street SE for the past seven years, showing artists' works and selling them sans commission. But now they're moving, so this is the last chance to check out a First Friday reception at the Gallery. On display: bold colors by Anne Holland ("Crab Pickers" pictured) and Jenny Budd.
June 1, the Gallery at 5th and Water, 5:30 to 8pm, free


Artifacts owner Todd Hill started painting with friend Rollin Taylor. They added to each other's works and were so pleased with the results that they came up with an artistic entity called RTH using their combined initials. And RTH is launching a line of t-shirts with original designs that uses dye sublimated printing, which permeates the whole fabric, not just the surface. Their sale at the 111 4th Street NE shop kicks off with a First Fridays launch party, but Hill says it's an artistic rather than commercial endeavor.
June 1, Artifacts, 6 to 8pm, free





Indie folk?
When we hear a band described with the f-word, we sure don't expect to hear the rocking tunes of The Drowning Men, or titles like their album, Beheading of the Songbird. Yet the San Diego Reader describes their music as a blend of "folk and roots Americana with sing-along sea shanties and pirate chants, with side forays into Eastern European ethnic folk delivered with the rhythmic complexity of a Brecht-Weill opera." And they've toured with Flogging Molly. The Drowning Men have a new album, All of the Unknown, coming out in July, and they're playing with River City Extension.
June 1, The Southern, 8pm, $10 advance


Free fishin'
In case you haven't gotten your fishing license, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is offering a freebie for the weekend: go fish anywhere in the Commonwealth, except for those trout-stocked waters that require a special license. Sounds like fish for dinner.
June 1-3, your favorite fishing hole, free




United Nations of Comedy
Charlottesville must like Funnyman Skiba, because this is the second time the Washingtonian has been here in six months. He's host of the United Nations of Comedy series, which is based on the nutty idea that laughter can promote diversity and understanding. Skiba is a three-time all-star on BET's Comic View and cohosts the Raheem DeVaughn radio show.
June 2, Play On! Theater at Ix, 8pm and 9:30pm, $18







The British are coming
Charlottesville turns 250 years old this year, and the Virginia Festival of History is one part of the 50 celebratory activities planned throughout the year. The Festival of History, which began May 25, runs through June 3 and has 25 scholars lined up to talk about Charlottesville's wars, civil rights battles, architecture, religion, and culture, with an emphasis on living history. On Sunday, Court Square and Lee Park will be the scene of a reenactment of the British invasion of 1781. Music by the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Choir.
June 3, Lee Park, 10am-4pm, free


Best in show
Unlike the Westminster dog show, at Eastminster, you don't have to have a champion thoroughbred pooch. Prizes are awarded for best costume, best trick, best rescue, and best owner or celebrity look-a-like. Or maybe musical chairs is your canine's forte. This is the 25th Eastminster and donations go to the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA. Owners and observers can wear costumes, too. Registration begins at 4pm.
June 3, Keswick Hunt Club, 5pm, donations







It's a festival time of year, and the Festival of the Photograph kicks off June 6 with a chat with National Geographic underwater photographer David Doubilet, whose work already adorns the Downtown Mall trees. Free exhibits of photographers like Stanley Green are all over town (Green is at 306 E. Main Street). And Friday and Saturday nights at the nTelos Pavilion, the photographs of professionals and up-and-comers will be projected starting at 9pm.
June 6, David Doubilet at the Paramount, 7:30pm, $15



Woman sing
Since 1984, the Charlottesville Women's Choir has been singing songs of peace, social justice, and the environment– a cappella. Holly Near, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Annie Lennox are among the musicians they'll cover, along with a few traditional tunes. Proceeds from this Sunday afternoon concert at downtown's day-shelter go to Urban Agricultural Cooperative of Charlottesville, which helps subsidized housing residents with their gardening skills.
June 3, The Haven, 4:30pm, $5-15 suggested donation



Last transit of Venus
From Earth it will appear to be a tiny dot making its way across the surface of the sun. The transit of Venus is extraordinarily rare– a pair of them occur eight years apart, and then it's another hundred years before it happens again. (That means you and I won't be around to see the next one in December 2117.) JMU's John C. Wells Planetarium is making the most of the occasion, bringing out the telescopes and sun-safe glasses, and encouraging picnicking while Venus watching. Clouds don't cancel– the event moves inside for a webcast from Hawaii.
June 5, Astronomy Park in Harrisonburg, 6pm, free


Smooth things over
With this jazz ensemble, smooth is the name of the game, as jaunty keyboards and soft strings predominate, and we couldn't find any tracks that include vocals. Remember the opening theme of the classic television sitcom Taxi? That's what we thought of when hearing "Tailgating," one of the original compositions by the Larri Branch Agenda. Maybe you'll put them on your Saturday night agenda, when they'll play jazz standards and songs from their Labragenda release.
June 9, Fellini's #9, 10pm, $5


This week's "FunStuff" was compiled by Lisa Provence, 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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Perhaps the United Nations of Comedy should look into adding diversity to their comics? I can't be the only one who has noticed that they just keep bringing in the same 5 comics every few months. Not only do the same comics keep coming back, but the price of the shows keeps going up! Most headlining comics won't return to a big city until they've got a new hour long set ready to go, yet Skiba has been to Charlottesville at least 6 times in the past two years.

If people really love comedy and want to foster it in the community check out the open mic at Durty Nellies on June 12th, obviously not everybody is a pro, but they've got a few guys who are definitely on their way. I'm a regular at Nellies and was upset when I heard that I was going to have to give up my quiet Tuesday nights, but I have been pleasantly surprised and greatly entertained. For no charge!

Transit of Venus Free Viewing Event in Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Astronomy Department will be hosting a viewing event, weather permitting, at Darden Towe Park in Albemarle County. There will be 8 telescopes, with safe solar viewing filters, set up near the picnic shelter, 1445 Darden Towe Park, Charlottesville, VA 22901. The picnic shelter is located near the Dog Park and the Lewis and Clark Exploratory. The event will run from 6:00 p.m. until sunset. Astronomers will be on hand to explain the event and answer questions.