FunStuff: Charlottesville events July 19 and beyond
Some really Bent musicals
Wanna support the struggling economy of Louisa County while laughing and eating? The Charlottesville-based improv troupe known as The Bent Theatre will perform their special "bent" interpretations of two American musical classics: Dirty Dancing on Friday and Grease on Saturday. The weekend fun happens at Earlyhouse, a private recreational park at 3998 Yanceyville Road in our favorite earthquake-challenged county. Doors open at 6:15, and dinner– for an extra $10– is available before the show. Reservations recommended by calling 540-967-5550
July 20 & 21, Earlyhouse, 7:30, $10
SNL on steroids?
Boy, those folks at Bent Theatre are busy. In addition to a pair of musicals out in Louisa, they've slated a madcap Saturday Night Live or Second City-esque night. "Comedy Under the Bridge" mixes classic New York-style stand-up, skits, and some R-rated hijinx at the arts collaborative located at 209 Monticello Road on the Belmont side of the Belmont Bridge. The admission fee is just a suggested donation, so pay what you can– or what you think it's worth.
July 20, The Bridge, 8pm, $10
Free late-night Cook-ing
The youthful virtuoso blues guitarist is playing the Amtrak station. Well, actually he's playing at Wild Wing Café, but you know this railroad complex on West Main Street, and you should know Eli Cook, who has performed at the Kennedy Center and opened for Johnny Winter and B.B. King. With a fast-fingered style that often has him in front of a band, Cook will perform solo at this late-night event which– despite all of Cook's talent– carries no cover charge. (If you can't make this show, you can drive down to Nellysford the prior night or down to Lexington's Lime Kiln Theater the following night to get your Eli Cook fix.)
July 21, Wild Wing Café, 10pm, free
'Bark' like an Aboriginal
Got an artistic child who loves Australia? Well, here's an hour-and-a-half Saturday afternoon event just perfect for such a child who is six to 11 years old. It's a hands-on event that begins with a story-telling of the Aboriginal creation myth– the Rainbow Serpent perhaps?– and then moves on to a dot-painting workshop using real tree bark. (Reservations are required by calling 434-244-0234 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.) Bring a smock.
July 21, Kluge-Ruhe Museum, 1pm, free
How does Wintergreen sound? Every summer, amid the mountain splendor and the the chairlifts, the folks at Wintergreen erect a big white tent right on the grassy slopes as a home for the resort's Summer Music Festival. Upcoming to this so-called "Evans Center" are young artists from Ash Lawn Opera who will perform music and dance, what they're calling “Mozart’s Magical Mystery Tour,” an evening of arias and scenes from Mozart operas. Thanks to the tent, this Thursday-night event happens rain or shine. Special low price for kids 10-17 is $10, and those under 10 are free.
July 19, Wintergreen's Evans Center, 7:30 pm, $20
Since Albemarle's annual ag fair doesn't start until August, you can start getting your fair fix up in Orange. Starting next Thursday the 26th of July and running through that Saturday the 28th, the Orange County Fair links farmers, craftspeople, cooks, and gardeners. And don't forget the entertainment. Events includ a bubble gum blowing contest and at least two stomach-busting eating events: one for pizza and one for watermelon. And then there's the animal hog show, the K-9 demo from the local Sheriff's office, a pet costume contest, and the annual Mister and Miss Beauty Pageant. Live entertainment courtesy of the Orange Cloggers and more. The fun happens about 40 minutes northeast of Charlottesville behind the old Montpelier visitor center on U.S. 20.
July 26-28, Montpelier Station, various times, $6-8 adults and zero-$4 kids
Thunder in the mountains
What's your theory about the rioting at Woodstock 1999? We blame the searing sun and the $4 bottled water. That's what's so great about FloydFest: trees, lots of glorious trees. Oh, and nearly 100 bands headlined this year by the likes of Michael Franti, Alison Krauss, Jackson Browne, and Leftover Salmon. What started ten years ago as a Blue Ridge Parkway-area jamband extravaganza has become a regional powerhouse, a Lollapalooza Lite if you will. In past years, you could catch future superstars (such as the shown-here Charlottesville-based Hackensaw Boys). This year, you can instead check out Ricky Skaggs, Dawes, Drive-By Truckers, Brandi Carlile, and dozens more. About three hours southwest of Charlottesville.
July 26-29, various times, south of the Town of Floyd, $70-210
Oh, oh, oh Bama
Grab a clay head of the American president growing a rich head of chia, and take it to Washington around the time of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on universal healthcare, and what do you get? You get "Oh, oh, oh Bama," a non-partisan photographic exhibition that depicts that chia head turning up in all the key places. Our protagonist here is New York-born, Charlottesville-based photographer Robin Macklin. "Some see incompetence where others see bold steps," says the artist. "Others just see a chia pet that was photographed by a crazy guy. It's all good." This exhibition launches on a Friday in the little gallery on Second Street NW across from Fellini's restaurant.
July 20, Firefish Gallery, 5pm, free
Martin over the mountain
With songs like "I'm an Old Woman," she's Charlottesville's blackest white lady. But if you wanna catch jazz and blues singer Barbara Martin next Thursday night, you're gonna have to drive over Afton Mountain to the music hall in downtown Staunton. There, she's part of the Mockingbird's "jazz night" which also includes Liz Barnes on piano, Brian Mesko on guitar, Bob Bowen on bass, and Forrest Young on drums. When they're done, host Brian Mesko opens up the stage at 123 West Beverley Street to bold sit-ins. "Bring your instrument and your jazz/blues chops," he says.
July 26, Mockingbird Roots Hall, 7-10 pm, free
Trouble in river city
So which show, launched in 1957, won five Tony Awards including Best Musical, ran for 1,375 performances, and then went on to see a couple of popular revivals? Why, it was The Music Man, and this trouble-in-river-city musical is coming to the downtown's ritziest theater for five performances from opening night listed below until Tuesday August 7. Starring artists from New York's Metropolitan Opera, the story takes place in 1912, the year that gave us the Titantic, the Jefferson Theater, and a little town in Iowa bamboozled by a fast-talking stranger.
July 29, Paramount Theater, various times, $11-54
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 or information and a good photo to email@example.com.