FunStuff: Charlottesville events November 15 and beyond
The jangly guitars are tempting us to suggest that this band has a sort of Laurel Canyon sound. However, with a leader who resembles the young Cheech Marin and his singing style nerdier than Napoleon Dynamite (if Napoleon were a singer), Darwin Deez is creating its own sound. Retro-nerd lyrics include anthropomorphic odes to DNA and radar detectors. Opening this Friday-night event are Hollerado and Dwight Howard Johnson.
Nov 16, The Southern, doors 8pm, $10-12
Their string of hits began in 1965 with the chart-topping "My Girl" and continued the next year with "Get Ready" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." The Temptations would go on to arguably become the most successful Motown group ever. They also went on to create a sort of psychedelic soul with such hits as "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and "I Know I'm Losing You." Today, nearing a half-century of touring, they may not jump and dance as quickly as one sees in the old films, but the soulful crooning and harmonizing will still hold the spotlight at this Sunday-night concert.
Nov 18, Paramount Theater, 8pm, $39.50-54.50
Take a Chance
Always-hip director Doug Grissom (shown here) has chosen a play penned by one of his former students at UVA, a now Brooklyn-based man who today is a video producer for Entertainment Weekly. The playwright is Jason Averett, and the venue is the Maxwell, the black box theater at Piedmont Virginia Community College's V. Earl Dickinson Theater. If you've ever been to college and dealt with missing laundry, misplaced romance, and mistaken identity, you should be able to relate to this comedy, entitled Chance. (Please note that while the price is easy on the wallet, you'll be very disappointed if you show up late because latecomers will not be seated.)
Nov 15-18, Maxwell Theater, 7:30pm (except 2:30 Sun), $5
If you're a jazz aficionado, then you're probably already familiar with the music of baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams. Even though he was cut down by cancer at the tender age of 55, his piercingly raw style of fast-paced hard bop lives on; and some of the mainstays of the Charlottesville jazz scene are getting together for a special night celebrating his music. There'll be discussion and playing at this Thursday night event just off McIntire Road. Music by Jeff Decker, Stephanie Nakasian, and Hod O'Brien; and Adams biographer Gary Carner will speak. (Free bonus: Carner will join jazz master John D'earth's class at 3:30pm in room B-12 in Old Cabell Hall.)
Nov 15, C'ville Coffee, 8pm, $10
Velveteen from velvet seats
With all the hubbub surrounding the opening of the new cinemaplex along Hydraulic Road, it's nice to know that there's still a chance for magical happenings for kids of the live action variety. Downtown's most luxurious performance site, the Paramount, has invited a touring group called Enchantment Theatre Company to bring to life a classic tale of love and devotion, The Velveteen Rabbit, for a single Friday-night musical show with life-sized puppets and an original score. (From its velvet seats to its atmospheric architecture, the setting of the Paramount is as magical as the topic, and this show happens at a bedtime-friendly hour.)
Nov 16, Paramount Theater, 6pm, $8.50-16.50
They're the toast of Lynchburg. Having racked up multiple awards, this mother-daughter artist team is coming to Charlottesville for an exhibition specializing in their floral paintings, and it happens Friday evening at the only mountain-top art gallery in the Charlottesville area, located at 841 Wolf Trap (just off Stony Point Road). While the exhibition, entitled "Florilegia" (which combines Latin words for "flower" and "gathering") runs through the end of the year, this opening reception may be your only chance to see Anne Adams Robertson Massie and her daughter, Annie Harris Massie, together with their art (including the daughter's "Cosmos Cut from the Garden," shown here)
Nov 16, Les Yeux du Monde, 5:30-7:30pm, free
Psinging through Psalms
With an open Bible and open piano, Julie Bernstein found her God– not to mention some Christian-oriented music– by pouring through the Psalms and other Biblical passages. Now releasing her sophomore album, entitled Awaken Me, she's giving a free CD-release concert at a charismatic church (located at 329 Riverside Drive in the Woolen Mills neighborhood). She possesses a lively pair of piano hands which offer hints of the contemporary Christian sound popularized by Amy Grant in the late-1980s. As for her voice, this too recalls Amy Grant, though with hints of Margo Timmons of Cowboy Junkies fame. While Bernstein asserts that the new album is mostly unplugged, she promises that this Friday night concert won't be.
Nov 16, Christ Community Church, 8pm, free
Jazz in Brooks
You've driven by Brooks Hall a thousand times, that funky Victorian science building in front of the UVA Rotunda on University Avenue. Well, this is your big chance to go inside and hear some of Richmond's finest jazz players do their thing. The band is called BopNation which includes a VCU prof, a saxophonist who has backed Aretha Franklin and The Temptations (the Motown super group who are playing Charlottesville the following evening), and a leader/drummer with a recent Grammy nomination, Kip Williams. They'll play classic fusion jazz as well as their own originals. Tickets to this Saturday-night event are available at the door only.
Nov 17, Brooks Hall, 8pm, $5-12
If you wanna prepare for the big Saturday-night screening of My Fool Heart [see story], one way to do your homework is by heading out to Blue Moon Diner any Wednesday night to see the protagonist, Jim Waive, performing solo at Charlottesville's classic diner on West Main Street. With lyrics plaintive yet never whiny and a voice smoky yet never gravelly, the locally-based Waive packs a lucid punch: straight up, guitar-based country music. He's there this Wednesday and pretty much every Wednesday– until Hollywood or Nashville steal him away.
Nov 14, Blue Moon Diner, 8pm, free
Return of the writer
For years, this author was one of the brightest lights in the University of Virginia creative writing program. Recently lured away to Columbia, Deborah Eisenberg returns to UVA to read some of her fiction. So what better way to spend a Friday night than hearing from the author of Twilight of the Superheroes, All Around Atlantis, and Under the 82nd Airborne? Her reading happens inside a classic structure on Central Grounds, built as a dining hall and recently repurposed for UVA's leadership school.
Nov 16, Garrett Hall, 7pm, free