FunStuff: Charlottesville events July 26 and beyond

Don't raze my mountain
The secret to tales of environmental heroism is to make nonfiction read like a novel, much as Truman Capote did with In Cold Blood. And that, apparently, is what non-practicing lawyer Jay Leutze does, despite the unwieldy title, with Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail, his tale of how a mining company tried to take down Bluevelt Mountain in North Carolina. "Even Jay Leutze could not possibly make these people up," raves writer Lee Smith. Southern Environmental Law Center is part of the story.
July 26, New Dominion Bookshop, 5:30pm, free


Garage bands
Okay, we're quite intrigued at how bands are going to perform at that tiny Charlottesville landmark, the Garage across from Lee Park, without awakening the dead. Insert Hill & Wood funeral joke here. Local bluesy-rock musician Melissa Hansen, a Greene music teacher who's just recorded her EP, Innocence and Arsenic, will host a night of music featuring piano-driven New York recording artist Chris Merritt, and Brooklyn-based indie pop band The Mommyheads, who have just released the single, "Medicine Show," about which a New York reviewer says the group "reveal[s] a glow that swirls around their haunting ruminations on the limits of words."
July 27, the Garage, 8-10pm, free


Get your belly dance on
People complain that there aren't that many places to dance in Charlottesville. Alexandra Dance Studio is looking to remedy that with a belly dance hafla– that means party, in belly dance parlance, with performance, drumming– and dancing. This family-friendly event is on the Downtown Mall at 109 2nd Street SE above The Box restaurant. Wear bangles.
July 28, Alexandra Dance Studio, 7pm, $5









Upright citizen
We remember Joel Jones as the zany thespian who staged one-act plays in bars like Miller's. Now back from a seven-year hiatus in New York, where he studied improv, sketch comedy, and storytelling with such groups as the Upright Citizens Brigade, Jones is ready to tell all to those who want to write sketch comedy in a one-day seminar at 508 Dale Avenue behind Bodo's.
July 28, WriterHouse, 9am-1pm, $55-$60


Hillbilly jazz, redneck blues
That's how Bluzonia describes its take on American Roots music, combining Chicago and Delta blues with jazz, swing, and country. They've got a lead singer, Doug Hedstrum, who has been known to play the guitar behind his head. Drummer John Stubblefield makes his own drums, and harmonica player/vocalist "Blind Dave" Connolly has a disability in his name. Authentic music at the former Batesville Store– savor it with gourmet eats.
July 28, Plank Road Exchange, 6:30-9pm, free



Me and Bobby McGee
We'll concede that the word "legend" is way overused, but nonetheless, it's a fitting adjective for Kris Kristofferson, who's been so embedded into the American consciousness for more than 40 years, you may know his work and not know it's him. The three-time Grammy winner has been writing country hits like "Help Me Make It Through the Night" since the '70s. He's performed with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings as the Highwaymen. And he's made more than 70 films, including the first film starring Dave Matthews as well as A Star is Born. Legendary.
July 30, Paramount Theater, 8pm, $29.50-$75



Float like a butterfly
What could motivate a family outing in the middle of a hot day in July? How about a butterfly walk at Ivy Creek Natural Area? Mike Scott is the lepidoptera man, with over 30 years studying and cataloging the winged creatures, and well over a decade of leading butterfly walks at Ivy Creek Natural Area. Meet at the Education Center to hone your identification skills, check out Scott's impressive display, and then hit the trails to experience the full b-fly season.
July 29, Ivy Creek Natural Area, 1pm, free

Dark and quirky
Philadelphia's Dr. Dog is known for its rootsy rhythms, but with its latest album, Be the Void, there's an edgier element to their slide guitar. "This record comes from our pushing toward a rawer, more powerful, somewhat jittery competence,” explains guitarist-vocalist Scott McMicken. “We drew a lot of inspiration from soul music and the Rolling Stones and the Velvet Underground—music that’s got its roots in live expression rather than that studio-perfected sort of vibe.” With Borrowed Beams of Light.
July 31, Jefferson Theater, 9pm, $18-$20


Last comic standing
Play On! has been hosting the United Nations of Comedy series this summer, and the latest coming is Korean bad girl Esther Ku, who was a finalist in Howard Stern's Hottest Funniest Chick Contest on Sirius and has been called the Asian Sarah Silverman. Fasten your seatbelts, it promises to be a funny, bumpy ride.
August 4, Play On!, 8pm and 9:30pm, $18






Mindful summer movies
Sure, we love mindless summer blockbusters, but after a few of those, how about some meatier, more thought-provoking film, like the Dialogue on Race's summer documentary series? They're screening a 56-minute episode, "In Sickness and in Wealth," from the PBS series, Unnatural Causes: is inequality making us sick?–  Does your socio-economic status affect your healthcare? Discussion follows the film. Did we mention free popcorn?
August 2, City Council chambers, 6:30pm, free


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 and photo to

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Join the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society on August 4th, 2012 from 6-9pm for "And the Rest Is History," a fun evening out for young singles! Taste wines from Barboursville Vineyards, Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery, Gabriele Rausse Winery, and more! Indulge in hors d'oeuvres from Horse & Hound Gastropub and barbecue from The Whiskey Jar. Enter to win a Gearhart's Chocolates raffle prize! Plus, enjoy a hilarious performance by the Bent Theatre improv troupe. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit ACHS, a non-profit organization. Tickets are $20 each, available online or by phone; limited quantity will be sold at the door. Must be 21 or over to attend. 200 2nd St. NE, Charlottesville. 434-296-1492.

The Basement Brigade, a local Charlottesville theatre company, presents "Sacrificial Comedy". An evening of original sketch comedy, music, and Improv, August 2nd and 3rd at Play On! Theatre. Shows start at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $7. For more information about the show or reservations send an email to!

Friday Fun at New Dominion Bookshop! Join author Lise Stoessel for a presentation and signing of her new book, Living Happily Ever After - Separately, as featured in this recent Hook article: This Friday, July 27th, 5:30 pm. Register at the door for a free drawing for a Splendora's gift card!

The Pollocks will be performing August 4, 2012 from 6:30 - 9 pm at Plank Road Exchange (formerly The Batesville Store), 6624 Plank Road - 434-823-2001.
No cover charge. Gourmet sandwiches, beer, and wine available.