FunStuff: Charlottesville events July 12 and beyond
Getting wet isn't the only way to cool off this summer. Why not go underground? The Shenandoah Caverns, about 90 minutes north up I-81, descends 150 feet down into caves where beautiful limestone formations emit a white light, and water flowing down through iron and magnesium deposits creates colored light displays. The best part, though, is that it's 54 degrees– nature's year-round cooling and heating system. (You may even want to bring a jacket.) Discovered in 1884 by some curious local teens, the caverns have been open since 1922. It's an easy place to explore, too, as the tour accommodates wheel chairs and strollers. There's even an elevator.
Year-round, Shenandoah Caverns, $10-$22
All Nite Jazz Jam Benefit
Famed local musician George Melvin died April 15, 2010. Following his death, Fellini's #9 and the Cville Jazz Society set up an Educational Fund in his name. Every Wednesday, Fellini's has kids, some as young as 5, come in and perform and they get into the scholarship fund. If they end up wanting to go to school for music, they get money from the fund. Recently, 28 kids from Walker Middle School played at Fellini's. This will be the third annual All Nite Jazz Jam. They've also got Melvin's beloved B3 Organ (now restored to her old glory) that he used to lug all around town to play, and some great musicians lined up to play her.
July 21, Fellini's #9, 3pm to 3am, $10
Pittsburgh’s own Rusted Root comes to the Jeff with their blend of bluegrass-rock and world beat. Now in its 20th year, Rusted Root has sold 3 million albums worldwide and have toured with the likes of Santana, The Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, The Allman Brothers Band, and with the Jimmy Page/Robert Plant reunion tour. They've also decided to reach out to their fan base for support for a new album, called the Fortunate Freaks Unite! campaign. “Rusted Root is a state of mind shared and explored by many people– we are a community that supports one another," says founder and lead vocalist Michael Glabicki. Chamomile & Whiskey will open.
July 18, Jefferson Theater, 8pm, $20-$22
Even though you might not know the name Ed Roseberry, chances are that one of his photographs is burned in your memory. From photos of college life at UVA, to celebrities and historic events, Roseberry's camera has been capturing the visual history of Charlottesville for more than 60 years. On Friday, July 13, there's a reception for Roseberry at CitySpace on the Downtown Mall, where an exhibit of his photos, curated by local photog Steve Trumbull, will be on display. A few years ago, Roseberry estimated that he had taken over 180,000 photos of life in Charlottesville and around the University. Indeed, the Hook has used his photos on occasion, including images of Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and a reluctant Montgomery Clift when they were in town during the filming of Giant.
July 13, CitySpace, 5pm, Free
Fab four wine dinner
Afton's Veritas Vineyard & Winery, whose award-winning wine was featured at a State Department dinner earlier this year, attended by VP Joe Biden (seen here with Veritas Vineyards owner Andrew Hodson), England's PM David Cameron, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Colin Powell among others, will be hosting a fun wine, food, and music event with Beatle's cover band Abbey Road. Now, if you haven't heard Abbey Road and you're a Fab Four fan, it's worth going just to see all those famous tunes played in a beautiful mountain setting. But there will also be a big food buffet, and of course, plenty of wine. So get ready to twist and shout– and feast.
July 14, Veritas Vineyard & Winery, 7pm, $15,$35,$60
Whole lot of Wilco
Wilco, the love child of the 90s alternative country group Uncle Tupelo, comes to the Pavilion, bringing with them over 20 years of unpredictability. Since front man Jeff Tweedy began including alt rock and even pop into the original band's sound, they've become what Rolling Stone has described as "one of America's most consistently interesting bands" and "America's foremost rock impressionists." The band's eighth studio album, The Whole Love, was released last September, under their own label. Don't expect too many oldies, as Tweedy says the band took time off from touring to record this last album so they could "forget how to play all the old songs."
July 19, Ntelos Wireless Pavilion, 8pm, $45
Life on the Downtown Mall isn't all about sipping lattes and martinis and discussing the noise ordinance and the homelessness problem. Sometimes its about wearing your best jeans and boots, summoning your inner cowboy or cowgirl, and making some noise at a gosh darn hoedown. To heck with urban style. Head on over to the Jefferson Theater for the HitKicker Hoedown Country 99.7 Dance Party. You could learn how to line dance, and if you haven't ridden a mechanical bull, well, now is your chance. All the Country 99.7 radio personalities will be on hand, and the best part is for you cowgirls: you get in for free.
July 14, Jefferson Theater, 8pm, $5
LiveArts takes on the immensely popular Hairspray, the musical based on the 1988 John Waters film, featuring strong-willed rotund teen Tracy Turnblad, her dreams to dance on a local variety show, and her ensuing efforts to get African-Americans barred from the show save for one day a month, full admittance to the program. The musical, which opened on Broadway in 2002 and won eight Tony Awards, ran for an amazing eight years. With a wacky story line, and a mother role played in drag, the musical features plenty of rhythm and blues and get-on-your-feet 60's dance tunes. Definitely an entertaining take on the turbulent 1960s America.
July 13-August 4, LiveArts, varying times, $20
Opera lite for kids
While taking your kids to the opera might not be tops on your list this summer, the Paramount Theater is making it doable with an hour-long intro to Mozart’s The Magic Flute they're calling the Magic Piccolo. It's basically excerpts from the masterpiece, complete with costumed characters, interactive narration, behind-the-scenes glimpses of how a performance is put together, how the singers can sing so high, and souvenir gifts to take home. Kids will get to know princess Pamina and prince Tamino with his magic flute, the Queen of the Night, and the bird catcher Papageno– plus they'll see other kids playing wild animals.
July 15, Paramount Theater, 4pm, $11-30
Down at the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative people from Charlottesville have been telling stories, true ones from their own lives. This is a unique storytelling initiative brought to you by playwright Joel Jones and producer, director, and performer Jennifer Jones. This is the first of monthly Big Blue Door Jam story sessions that will be held at the Bridge every third Thursday. The theme for the show is "Best Friends Forever" and will feature a line-up of special story-tellers from the area. And judges will select the favorites. At the show, you'll be able to sign up to tell a story or be a judge for the August jam. Two times a year, there will be a Big Blue Door Slam, featuring the best of the judges picks.
July 19, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, 8pm, $5
This week's "FunStuff" was compiled by Dave McNair, and next week's "FunStuff" will be compiled by another newsroom staffer. To get your event considered, send a press release and photo to email@example.com.