Get Out! events, shows, things to do

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world." –Jean-Luc Godard

It's a generalization, of course, but whereas American film tends to be all spectacle or plot, French film thrives on reflecting back to us the everyday passions and dramas of our lives. Indeed, in the hands of a French director, a dinner party, a short vacation, a jealous man, a depressed 11-year-old, or an unexpected guest can be the singular foundation on which an entire film is based. Who but a French film director could win five Oscars for a silent film in 2011, as Michel Hazanavicius did for his film The Artist?

Next week, you'll have the opportunity to explore the many layers of French film at the University of Virginia's French Film Festival, which will feature five very different French films and post-screening discussions with film studies scholars. Coffee and Belgian waffles will be served at the screening of Le hérisson (The Hedgehog), the 2009 film by director Mona Achache about a soul-searching 11-year old, and at the screening of Les hommes libres (Free Men), the 2011 film from Ismaël Ferroukhi about an unlikely friendship between an Algerian immigrant and a Jewish man in Paris during World War II, a veritable symposium of Arabic, French, and German scholars will delve into the deeper meanings of the film.

What's more, the festival will include Werner Herzog's 2010 documentary La grotte des rêves perdus (The Cave of Forgotten Dreams), about the Chauvet caves in the South of France, which feature the oldest visual narratives known to man. Finally, you'll get a chance to get into the head of one of France's greatest directors, Henri-Georges Clouzot, in a documentary about the production of his unfinished film L’enfer (The Inferno), in which the smoldering German actress Romy Schneider drives a man crazy with jealously. And the best part: it's all free.

February 21, City Council Chambers: Les femmes du sixième étage (The Women on the Sixth Floor), 7pm. (Preview)

February 22, City Council Chambers: Les hommes libres (Free Men), 7pm. (Preview)

February 23, Nau Auditorium: La grotte des rêves perdus (The Cave of Forgotten Dreams), 2pm. (Preview)

February 23, Nau Auditorium: L’enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot (Henri-George Clouzot’s Inferno), 7pm. (Preview)

February 24, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library: Le hérisson (The Hedgehog), 1pm. (Preview)




King of Pop Stop
We were awestruck when the

white-gloved, moonwalking Michael Jackson landed on earth in the early 1980s–on May 16, 1983 to be exact, at Motown's 25th Anniversary celebration, where his performance of "Billie Jean" was seen by more than 50 million viewers. Indeed, I remember sitting at a bar in Newport, Rhode Island, drinking beer with a bunch of Aussie sailors and townies (not your typical MJ fans) when the performance began on the big TV above the bar. The room went silent. Everyone just stared. After it was over, none of us were sure what we had just seen. Well, as history has shown, it was likely one of the greatest performances of all time. Of course, the man's life later drifted in strange, sad, and tragic directions, but at the height of his popularity he was literally the most exciting performer on the planet.

If you're too young to have experienced this, or old enough to remember it like I do, it could be a lot of fun to check out Who's Bad, the MJ Tribute Band playing at the Jefferson this week. A tribute band that formed even while Jackson was still alive, they have played venues around the world.


February 16, Jefferson Theater, 8pm, $15-$17


 Staunton Wine Festival
It wasn't that long ago that Virginia was a brand new wine region that was struggling to establish a reputation, but in 2012 the state was named one of the top 10 wine destinations by Wine Enthusiast. According to information from the Virginia Governor’s office, international sales of Virginia wine rose by nearly 400 percent in the fiscal year that ended June 30, and overall sales reached a record during the same period, increasing by 1.6 % from the previous 12-month period. In Staunton this weekend, the 3rd annual Winter Wine Festival will showcase some of the vineyards that have contributed to this extraordinary success. Plus, you know, you get to hang out in beautiful Staunton.

“Staunton is a great place to live, to work, and to play,” says Franks Strassler, executive director of the Historic Staunton Foundation, which is co-sponsoring the event along with the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. “This is an opportunity to visit historic Staunton and the beautiful  Stonewall Jackson Hotel and enjoy wines and ciders from all over Virginia.  A perfect Valentine’s getaway for the day or the weekend.”

Participating vineyards: Barren Ridge, Cedar Creek, Cross Keys, Democracy, DeVault, DuCard, Foggy Ridge Cider, Jefferson, Lazy Day, Lexington Valley, Little Washington, Lovingston, Mattaponi, Narmada, North Mountain, Rockbridge, Stanburn, Stone Mountain, and Wisteria Farm.  There will also be live music by Buddy Thomas, Brian Mesko, and others, plus snacks and gourmet chocolates from nearby Cocoa Mill. Call 540-885-7676 for more information. 
February 16, Stonewall Jackson Hotel, 12pm to 6pm, $15-$20


Flying Brothers

When a group of self-proclaimed lunatics come to town, thowing wild comedy, zany theatrics, juggling, and intellectual circus acts at us, how can we resist?

Formed in 1973, the Flying Karamazov Brothers got their start as street artists in Santa Cruz, California. Their name is a riff on the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel The Brothers Karamazov, and they do things that poke fun at the novel. The group (they are not real brothers) has toured the world and appeared in the film The Jewel of the Nile, the sequel to Romancing the Stone. They also appeared as the Flying Sandos Brothers in an episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Friars Club." In the late 1980s, they even performed a unique adaptation of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors at Lincoln Center, and have shared the stage with The Who and the Grateful Dead. More recently, with the help of the MIT Media Lab, the group has incorporated an array of technology into their act, including clubs, gloves, and other props with sensors hooked up to computers that allow for spectacular choreography.
February 17, Paramount Theater, 7pm, $24.50-$34.50

Clay Witt, In Thunder, Lightning or in Rain
By Rosamond Casey

Throughout this month at the Second Street Gallery the mixed media artist Clay Witt can be found working in the Dové Gallery surrounded by bones, books, small vials of minerals, ocean detritus, Islamic calligraphy, copperplate etchings, pencil drawings, blocks of wax and gold leaf.  Here in this pop-up studio we get a look at the artist in situ with his palette of precious objects and we can see how he reverse engineers these materials into primordial splendor.

The main gallery features creations made from his laboratory of minerals and elemental substances (lapis lazuli, mica, sodium carbonate and sulfur). He builds careful layers of pigment, clay, wax, gold leaf, then grinds them away to receive new layers and deposits, always leaving tracks like a fossil records the events that have come before. Sometimes he lets a starburst of raised gold have the last word in the final stratum, barely concealing within its wingspan the submerged shape of a solitary animal.

Witt seems to be telling a story in these paintings, and the

action often unfurls along the same coordinates as a stage, where ground, sky, stage left and right are fixed accordingly. This spatial organization primes us for allegory and meaning.

Forest animals, giraffes, lions, bears, and elephants, and in one case a group of octopi in a roiling sea, appear in these works in puzzling and evocative ways. They are almost always shown in profile rather stiffly like Egyptian figures heading for action but incapable of achieving it. These pictographic representations of the animal kingdom are relatively small next to the voluminous atmospheres the artist has rendered – passive witnesses seemingly indifferent to, overcome by or complicit in the environmental upheaval that breaks around them.


The layering of ancient detritus, minerals, and stardust so expertly handled by the man in the room behind the velvet ropes, determines how the story unfolds.

Because not all the works have creatures in them, we are left to wonder about the role they play. When these ancient clouds burst from the ground without the animals there to absorb the moment (because they are absent or concealed), we tend to lose reference to scale. This absence can alter the gaze of the viewer, bringing us up close and inviting us to visually excavate the forms from these exquisite surfaces in search of the mystery.

The effect is different when the beasts are waiting there, like witnesses to their own creation story. One becomes, like them, a more passive witness to the beauty. And if you read "apocalypse" instead of "genesis" in some of these paintings, you are left to marvel at the gentle forbearance of these beasts.

Witt’s background as printmaker, painter, calligrapher, stylist, and traveler propel these beautiful paintings. He has styled a world with a calligrapher’s precision and the exaltation of a seeker.
At Second Street Gallery through February 23


Old 97s at The Jefferson. $18-$20
Country Wide Love (Bacon Lovers Dinner) at Blue Moon Diner
Jimmy Stelling and Friends at Fellini’s #9
Last Call Gospel Choir at Whiskey Jar
Olivarez Trio at Horse and Hound

The Black Heart Valentine Club, Luchadora at The Southern $5.
TR3 featuring Tim Reynolds at The Jefferson. $15-$17
Straight No Chaser at JPJ Arena. $29-$45
Blue Step at Wild Wolf
Eli Cook at Blue Mountain Brewery
Bick Lick Brass Band at Fellini’s #9. $5
Welcome to Hoonah at Whiskey Jar
A Brief View of the Hudson at Para Coffee. $5
The Seedz at Tavern on The James

Chamomile and Whiskey, Moby and the Dicks, King Golden Banshee at The Southern. $8-$10
Who’s Bad—The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute at The Jefferson. $15-$17
Rascal Flatts at JPJ Arena. $24.75-$54.75
Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra at Old Cabell Hall. $10-$38
Yankee Dixie at Wild Wolf
Dennis Thorne at Devils Backbone
Luchadora at Fellini’s #9. $5
The Porch Cats at Whiskey Jar
Honey Island Swamp Band at Garth Newel Music Center

Jonathan Richman at The Southern $13-$15
Gary Randall at Devils Backbone
Tony Bruno at Devils Backbone
Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra at Monticello High School $10-$38
Hogwaller Ramblers at Fellini’s #9

Mountains at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar
Dane Alderson and Friends, DJ Williams at Rapture/R2
Jason Ring at Blue Moon Diner
Iron Lion at Wild Wolf
Jazz Collective #9 at Fellini’s #9
Erik the Red at Whiskey Jar

Black Francis (aka Frank Black of The Pixies), Reid Paley at The Southern $17-$20
Owen and His Checkered Past at Blue Moon Diner
Travis Elliot at Fellini’s #9
Ragged Mountain String Band at Whiskey Jar
Mercutio at Boylan Heights

Ginger and the Castaways, Larissa and the Lusiotonics at Rapture/R2
Koda Kerle and Friends at South Street Brewery
Jim Waive at Blue Moon Diner
Zoogma at The Jefferson. $12-$14
Tokyo String Quartet at The Paramount. $24.50-$39.50
Chris Leva Duo at Wild Wolf
Danny Barrale at Fellini’s #9
Olivarez Trio at Whiskey Jar