FunStuff: Charlottesville events September 20 and beyond

The dancing symphony
What if there were a symphony orchestra that offered season tickets for as little as $18 and offered thoughtful pre-concert talks by a noted scholar? Well, there is, and it's billing its fall season, five pairs of masterworks concerts, as "an extended dance party." Announcing its 2012-13 offerings, the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra has adopted dance as the theme with works running the gamut from Beethoven's 7th (which Wagner called "the apotheosis of the dance"), to Swan Lake, to Bernstein's hip-swinging West Side Story. The pre-concert talks, by UVA music professor Richard Will, take place at Monticello High School for the MHS symphony events, and Minor Hall for the symphonies at sumptuous Old Cabell (with free parking at the Central Grounds Garage). The data listed below are just for the opening weekend. Tickets can be purchased through the UVA Arts Box Office, via 434-924-3376, in person, afternoons in the lobby of the Drama Building, or online.
September 28 & 30, Old Cabell and MHS, 8pm Friday and 3:30pm Sunday, $10-38



The free symphony
If the idea of a dancing symphony (see above) isn't enough, how about a free one? For the fourth consecutive year, the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra will give a free concert in the historic amphitheater right in the heart of UVA Grounds. Called Symphony Under the Stars, this is a Saturday night pops concert that happens under the baton of Music Director Kate Tamarkin (shown here). The event gets a boost from The University Programs Council which hopes locals and students will make this tradition, "a wonderful opportunity to come together and enjoy talented musicians under the autumn stars.” Picnics are welcome, but booze is verboten on Grounds. The rain date is the same time on the following day, Sunday.
September 22, McIntire Amphitheater, 8pm, free



Let the battle begin
If the well-known bands around town have you feeling droopy, here's a chance to tap some Friday night energy from relative unknowns. Join local celeb emcees Teri Allard (public tv host and singer-songwriter) and Brad Savage (the ubiquitous and enthusiastic program director of 106.1 The Corner) as these groups take the stage at the town's most historic theater. Yes, it's a Battle of the Bands featuring up-and-comers including Durty Weasels, Elliewood, Road Work Ahead, and What It Is. The event benefits Building Goodness Foundation, which builds houses from Appalachia to Haiti.
September 21, Jefferson Theater, 8pm, $5


Funny gal
Remember when you couldn't name a single stand-up comedienne? (And, yes, we do love that spelling.) Margaret Cho has bucked this trend, parlaying her own bisexuality and her obsession with gay men into comedic gold, and becoming the best-known stand-up comedienne since the heyday of Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg. Now, the legendary Cho is coming to Charlottesville's only 100-year-old theater for a Wednesday night bash. Given that this is her so-called "Mother" tour, it's a safe bet that we'll hear from "Mommy" and the trauma of growing up as an oddity in an Asian-American household.
September 26, Jefferson Theater, 7pm doors, $25-27


UnStriped and undaunted
The undisputed king of the stripped-down garage band sound and a man whose guitar work has landed him on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time, Jack White, is coming to downtown Charlottesville. Best known as the more crucial half of the now-defunct duo The White Stripes, he has scads of non-Stripes creds including production work for Loretta Lynn's 2004 hit album Van Lear Rose. White has been an in-demand collaborator, but his punk-blues stylings will probably be front and center at this early (7pm start time) Thursday night show.
September 27, nTelos Wireless Pavilion, 6pm doors, $45


Spike it
Ever since they put that sand court along heavily-traveled University Avenue a couple of years back, the UVA women's volleyball team has achieved some real local prominence. But that's not where they actually play their matches; that happens indoors at the old historic gym along Emmet Street. So far, this season has been a mixed bag of wins and losses, but the serious action– i.e. conference matches– start this weekend with matchups against Miami on Friday and then Florida State on Saturday. (That's Tori Janowski, shown here, going up for the spike.) With tickets this cheap, you might wanna check it out.
September 21 & 22, Memorial Gym, 7pm, $4-5


Help a kid
Nobody should have bone cancer, and it goes without saying that hearts broke all over this community when they learned that now 10-year-old Alyssa (shown here with little sister Lexie) was suffering from the dreaded disease. To help the girl's family with expenses related to treatment, Mooreland Baptist Church is holding a benefit breakfast and yard sale on Saturday. The church is located at 2255 Taylors Gap Road (Route 710) in the southern Albemarle community of North Garden.
September 22, Mooreland Baptist Church, 8am-1pm, donations


Blue in Batesville (CANCELED)
For years, you've been hearing her name around town, and maybe you heard her during the 20 years she had a show on WTJU radio. And maybe you've heard that she's hearing-impaired, or "profoundly deaf" as she bluntly puts it in her online bio. So how can somebody like that make soulful music? Ever hear of Beethoven? Anyway, now's your chance to check out folkie singer-songwriter Blue O'Connell and the country store in downtown Batesville now called Plank Road Exchange– and there's no cost. For this relaxed Saturday evening show, she'll be accompanied by Sandy Goodson on guitar, flute, and vocals.
September 22, Plank Road Exchange, Batesville, 6:30pm, free (CANCELED)


Happy country
Imagine the lucid vocals of 1970s supergroup America, backed by a sunny, optimistic country– sometimes banjo-driven– sound. And you have some idea of the bright sounds of Frontier Ruckus, which comes to the downtown's intimate concert hall for a mostly standing-up Tuesday night show. Tip: try to get them to play their cover of "Save Your Heart For Me" by 1960s icons Gary Lewis & the Playboys. Doors open at 8pm.
September 25, The Southern, 9pm, $10


Face-painting etc.
The folks at the internationally renowned Child Development Labs– a part of the UVA psychology department– are holding their 4th annual Family Fun Day on Saturday. Featuring free food, live music, door prizes, face-painting, and tours of the facility, this event is an effort to reach out to parents and children who might want to eventually participate in their research.
September 22, 1023 Millmont Street (behind Barracks Road Shopping Center), 9am-2pm, free

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Join the Charlottesville chapter of Birth Matters Virginia, and hundreds of other groups around the world, as we participate in the international debut of the new birth documentary, "Freedom for Birth."

This special event is FREE! and will take place at Random Row Books, Thursday September 20th, 2012 at 7 pm.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Freedom For Birth is a 60 minute campaigning documentary featuring a Who's Who of leading birth experts and international Human Rights lawyers all calling for radical change to the world's maternity systems.

Additional information about Freedom For Birth can be found on the website:

We just received word that, due to a family illness, the Saturday night concert by Blue O'Connell at Plank Road Exchange has been canceled and replaced with a concert by Blue Locomotive which has been described as "gypsy jazz and swing blues."--hawes spencer