FunStuff: Charlottesville events October 18 and beyond
Nizer in 4D
What's that old saying about a prophet not finding honor in his hometown? Well, the Downtown Mall's biggest theater is giving props to Albemarle's own world-famous one-man juggling and comedy sensation, Mark Nizer. "The impossible is possible, the improbable is probable," says Nizer who has brought his unique wit and multi-media performances to both the the Kennedy and Lincoln Centers. At the Paramount, he's got new tricks around his sleeves including a 4D format, live heart-rate monitoring, MIDI gloves, and the Nizer BeltCam. This 90-minute, Thursday-night show benefits Crozet Arts.
October 25, Paramount Theater, 7pm, $10-20
When your latest book gets a 1.5 million-copy printing, you know you're doing something right. The upcoming legal thriller from John Grisham is called The Racketeer, about the murder of a federal judge and the imprisoned lawyer who knows whodunit– and why. We haven't heard of any personal appearances from the Albemarle-based novelist, but the Downtown Mall's most venerable bookstore is arranging for him to sign and personalize copies if you'll call 295-2552 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (And they'll sell them of course.)
October 23, New Dominion Bookshop, all hours, $28.95
You don't have to be a music aficionado to hear the similarity between Milo Greene and their better-known friends, the Fleet Foxes. They both have that jangly guitar, harmony-filled Laurel Canyon sound that's the rage these days. You almost feel like riding a Schwinn Sting-Ray when they're playing, say, "1957" or "Don't You Give Up on Me." And unlike the Fleet Foxes, who are playing at larger venues, Milo Greene is coming to one of downtown's most intimate clubs for a Saturday-night stand-up show. Bonus: the female vocalist, Marlana Sheetz, has a voice like Sarah McLachlan's.
October 20, The Southern, doors at 8 and show at 9pm, $10
Whale of a time?
Wow, this is quite the week for quirky, jangly, indie music (see above). Only this band, Orca Team, doesn't even pretend to be cutting-edge. But it's quite a likable sound, like a meeting of Roy Orbison and Brian Wilson up at Cielo Drive. (Hey, just don't pick up that hitchhiker named Manson– he's up to no good.) Orca Team has a sweet little EP called Kissing Cousins whose surf- and reverb-infused sound brings to mind the The Ventures (only with indecipherable words), though they may actually prefer references to The Flamingos, Dusty Springfield, Jan & Dean, and The Smiths.) Denver-based Flashbulb Fires opens the Monday-night show at Charlottesville's smallest and– thanks to a recent driving mishap by an errant granny– most-damaged venue.
October 22, The Garage, 8pm, $5 donation
Two tense weeks
If you're old enough to read the Hook, you're old enough to shudder at the words "Cuban Missle Crisis." For 13 days in October, 50 years ago, the world's two superpowers were locked in a confrontation testing the limits of "mutual assured destruction," which until that time seemed merely theoretical. Now, the Center for Politics (the place that Larry Sabato runs) has assembled some top academics on the topic "On the Brink of Nuclear Destruction." Among the panelists at this Thursday night event are Sergei Khruschev, son of the Soviet premier whose flinch under the steely determination of JFK and defense secretary Robert McNamara (shown here) may have cost him his job. Other key panelists are CIA chief historian David Robarge, UVA's Allen Lynch, UNC's Timothy McKeown, and Kennedy biographer Richard Reeves. Must preregister at hoosonline.virginia.edu/cubanmissilecrisis
October 18, UVA's Wilson Hall, 7:30pm, free
50 years of Fairview
Charlottesville's winningest swim club has ambitious plans to bring together 50 years of swimmers for a Sunday brunch reunion celebrating the legacy of coaches Ralph Law and JJ Bean. Anyone who has ever swum with these two celebrated coaches is invited to attend the Fairview Gators Reunion, which includes the opportunity to catch up with generations of Fairview swimmers. Among the activities is a call for old photos, a 50-meter race for a shot at a pool record, a family relay, and a "pumpkin push race." Tickets to the pool-side brunch will will help launch the $1.5-million campaign to replace the Gatordome at this Belvedere-area institution.
October 21, Fairview Swim Club, 10:00am-12:30pm, $15
Edgy AND funny?
How many times have you worried that theater companies were fixated on classics or fluffy crowd-pleasers? Now, downtown's leading theatric troupe tackles some material that won last year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. It's the Virginia premiere of Clybourne Park, a play that explores how race in America has changed– or not changed. Partly an homage to A Raisin in the Sun, it's set in a Chicago house bought in 1959 by a black family and, 50 years later, by a white family. "This is an important play for Charlottesville," says the director, Betsy Tucker. "It is funny and it is edgy." (Here we see Brandon Lee as Albert, and Ray Nedzel as Russ.)
thru November 10, LiveArts, various times, $20-25
My bloody Paramount
You just don't get a lot of chances to see this horror classic on the big screen, so buy your ticket to see local celebrity Sissy Spacek in her most blood-spattered role. Carrie, the supernatural 1976 high school revenge film by Brian DePalma, is a picture that helped launch the career not only of our hometown Oscar winner but also the careers of John Travolta, Nancy Allen, and Amy Irving. Rated R for lots of blood and naked gals in the locker room during the opening credits. If you miss it, the Paramount (which played The Shining earlier this month) is bloodying your Halloween night with The Excorcist.
October 21, The Paramount, 2pm, $6
A spirited Downtown
Like a haunted house for adults, the Spirit Walk happens every October, and this weekend is the one to thrill history buffs and anyone else who enjoys a hearty brew of ghouls, history, and walking around downtown Charlottesville. This year the lantern-carrying guides will make their nocturnal rounds of such ghostly haunts as Maplewood Cemetery and infamous downtown murder sites. Tours start at various points, but tickets are purchased at the Historical Society's building, which faces Lee Park beside the main library. Call 296-1492 for precise times and tickets.
October 19-21, McIntire Building, 6-9pm, $8-12
The Jeff at 100
How do you celebrate 100 continuous years of entertaining the socks off Charlottesville? With a free show starring Sons of Bill, of course. Six months after the deadly maiden voyage of the the RMS Titantic, an ambitious project launched in Charlottesville, the Jefferson Theater, which opened its rich walnut doors on October 21, 1912. The big show that night was a play (as movies were still soundless and rock music hadn't been invented yet). Sons of Bill didn't invent friendly Mellancamp/Petty-styled Americana, but they perfected it. And they're a Charlottesville original with a new album this year called Sirens. For tickets to this Sunday-night fandango, you're supposed to register online at jeffersontheater.com. Openers: The Invisible Hand & RayLand Baxter
October 21, Jefferson Theater, doors at 6pm, free