Artistic touch: no shortage of galleries in Charlottesville

Fralin Museum of Art, 155 Rugby Road- Formerly the UVA Art Museum and before that, the Bayly. Fralin is giving his Ashcan School collection to UVA's flagship art palace, which mixes archival holdings with traveling presentations— with as many as three shows at any given time. Tu-Sun, noon-5pm. 924-3592.

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, 400 Worrell Dr.- The name pretty much says it: Charlottesville's own little outback for Aboriginal artwork. Free guided tour on Saturdays at 10:30am. Tu-Sat, 10am-4pm / Sun 1-5pm. 244-0234.

Piedmont Virginia Community College Galleries, College Dr.- During the academic year, the North and South Galleries of the V. Earl Dickinson Building serve up imaginative group exhibitions as well as showcases of noteworthy individual artists. Always worth the trip up the hill! When school is in session, Mon-Fri, 7:30am-10pm. In the summer, Mon-Th, 8am-6pm. 961-5381.

The Second Street Gallery, 115 2nd St. SE.- With its move to the City Center for the Arts, SSG added the Dové Gallery, suitable for installations and video projects, to its main exhibition space. Cutting-edge contemporary art by regional, national, and international artists comes in monthly doses. Tu-Sat, 11am-6pm. 977-7284.

McGuffey Art Center, 201 Second St. NW- Located in the building once housed McGuffey Elementary School, the classrooms now serve as studios for local artists. A nonprofit for over 30 years, McGuffey offers rotating shows in its main gallery, as well as in the upstairs and downstairs halls. It also hosts the annual "Charlottesville in 2D" and high school students' art shows (both not to be missed). Tu-Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun 1-5pm. 295-7973.

Les Yeux du Monde, 841 Wolf Trap Road- This gallery leans toward sophisticated single-artist shows, with an occasional group event. A favorite exhibit space for regional artists and UVA art faculty, Les Yeux du Monde is located in a striking W.C. Clark–designed building with spectacular views both inside and out. Th–Sun, 1-5pm. 973-5566.

UVA Ruffin Hall Galleries, 179 Culbreth Road- Ruffin Hall is the home to UVA's McIntire School of Art. The third floor houses a formal gallery with rotating shows curated by Art faculty members, and the ground floor offers the "RuffStuff" Gallery, a more informal space for students with special projects.  Student art work also hangs in the halls and classrooms are open with works-in-progress. Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm. 924-6123.

The Niche in the Fine Arts Library, Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library on Bayly Dr.- A large, flat-screen monitor, an Apple computer, headphones, and comfy chairs make for a small gallery screening experimental film and video works by artists from across the country. Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm. 924-6938.

The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, 209 Monticello Road- The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative not only offers rotating exhibits in its flexible gallery space, it also sponsors and collaborates on numerous community projects that use the arts to educate and get people involved. Plus, it offers film screenings, poetry readings, and music performances. Wed-Sat, 12-3pm. 984-5669.

The Garage, located on 1st St. between Market and Jefferson Streets. Although itty-bitty, this art space located in a refurbished garage features some of the most cutting-edge shows in the 'ville. Hours by appointment.

Chroma Projects Art Laboratory, 418 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall- Located in an old flower shop, Chroma Projects offers monthly exhibitions in its front space, as well as a warren of nooks showcasing individual artists. Owner and curator Deborah McCleod's eye for contemporary work is always interesting. Wed–Sat, 11am-5pm. 202-0269.

Warm Springs Gallery, 103 Third St. NE- This well-curated venue features beautifully executed, if somewhat traditional, work by national and international artists. Monthly shows generally pair a sculptor or object-maker with a painter. Th–Sat, 11am-5pm. 245-0800.

WVTF and Radio IQ Studio, 216 W. Water St.- Overseen by the New City Arts organization, this small venue showcases single-artist exhibitions that rotate on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, apart from the First Friday opening, an appointment must be made to visit the shows.

Angelo, 220 E. Main St.- A fine jewelry store with an artistic bent that displays always-interesting art exhibits on a bi-monthly basis. Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm. 971-9256.

Elmaleh Gallery at the UVA School of Architecture. Campbell Hall, Rugby Road - The architecture school's tiny gem of a display space on the second floor of Campbell Hall. Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. 924-3715.

Dean's Gallery at the UVA School of Architecture. Campbell Hall, Rugby Road - Another space in the architecture school that offers rotating shows. Be forewarned: the gallery literally extends into the Dean's office. Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. 924-3715.

Mudhouse, 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall- Students and other local artists find plenty of hang-space for work that resonates with the coffeeshop's eclectic crowd. Mon-Thurs, 6:30am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 6:30am-11pm; Sun 7am-7pm. 984-6833.

C&O Gallery, 515 E. Water St.- Tiny but classy gallery next to the tiny but classy restaurant. Showcases local artists. Available for private parties. All week 9am-10pm or by appointment. 971-7044.

BozArt, 211 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall- A collective and a retail space, which merged with Art Upstairs in early 2011, Bozart splits the difference between local art and craftwork. Group and individual member exhibits rotate on a monthly basis. Wed-Th, 3-9pm; Fri-Sat, noon-9pm; Sun, 1-4pm. 296-3919.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road- In addition to spiritual duties, the TJMCUU (that's Unitarian Universalist) displays art. Openings usually fall on the second Sunday of the month and follow morning services. Any other day of the month, call ahead for a viewing appointment. 293-8179.

Café Cubano, 112 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall-  This coffeeshop/restaurant offers plenty of wallspace for local artists' exhibits. Sun-Wed, 6:30am-5pm; Th-Sat, 6:30am-7pm. 971-8743.

C'ville Arts, 118 E. Main on the Downtown Mall- Also an artisans' cooperative featuring dozens of local artists, it frequently invites featured artists in for hands-on sessions. Mon-Th, 10am-6pm; Fri, 10am-9pm; Sat, 10am-8pm; and Sun, noon-6pm. 972-9500.

C'ville Coffee, 1301 Harris St.- Yet another café where you can get your caffeine and visual fixes in one fell swoop. Features a small play area for kiddies. Community-oriented art changes monthly. Mon-Th, 7:30am-9pm; Fri, 7:30am-5pm; Sat, 8:30am-5pm; Sun, 9:30am-8pm. 817-2633.

Firefish Gallery, 108 Second St. NW -Local hand-made items in their retail store, resident artists working in open spaces, and a concept of making art accessible, approachable, and affordable.

Telegraph, 110 Fourth St. NE. - Focusing primarily on high quality prints, Telegraph's goal is to present the works of emerging artists in contemporary, illustrative, narrative, and pop art fields in an accessible and affordable format. 244-3210.

CitySpace, 100 5th St. NE. - A city-owned meeting space managed by Piedmont Council for the Arts, on behalf of the City of Charlottesville. 971-2787.

The Garden, 1500 Jefferson Park Ave. - An art gallery located within Eunoia, a creative collegiate ministry at UVA. They host art shows for students during the school year and for local artists during the summer. 977-8743.

The Honeycomb, 310 E. Market St. - Hair salon by day and art venue by night. 977-0616.

BON, 100 W. South St. - An opening for creative events of all kinds. They offer fine coffees, teas and food. 244-3786.

->>For other museums in this area, see our Attractions section and our Kids Stuff section.

OTHER MISCELLANEOUS VENUES- The following host sporadic shows that change unpredictably. Call first.

Eloise, 505 W. Main St. 295-3905.

Speak! Language Center, 313 Second St. SE, Suite 109 (in the Glass Building). 245-8255.

Spring Street, 107 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 975-1200.

The New Dominion Book Shop, 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Fellini's #9, 200 Market St. 979-4279

Martha Jefferson Hospital, 500 Martha Jefferson Dr., 982-7000

Sidetracks Music, 216 Water St., 295-3080

WriterHouse, 508 Dale Ave., 296-1922

Main Street Annex, 230 W Main St., 817-2400

A must know
For art lovers, the place to be is First Fridays, held on the first Friday of every month. Area galleries, including the art epicenter–McGuffey Art Center– throw open their doors with welcoming smiles and a little wine and cheese.

Live Theater and Dance
Ash Lawn Opera Festival. This long-running festival performs opera and musical theater in English in the historic Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall. Performances run from the first of July to mid-August, and generally include two major works, a music-at-twilight series, and pre-concert lectures. The 2013 schedule includes La Boheme and Carousel. $11-65. 293-4500.

American Shakespeare Center. Watch the best of the bard and more in the Shenandoah Valley's re-creation of the original Blackfriars Playhouse. In addition to the current series of plays (All's Well That Ends Well, Return to the Forbidden Planet, and Romeo and Juliet), the fall-winter 2013 schedule will also include She Stoops to Conquer and Troilus and Cressida. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-37. 540-851-1733.

Four County Players. Anticipating its 41st season, Four County Players is the oldest continuously operating community theater in Central Virginia. 4CP produces several shows throughout the year and holds a Summer Theater Camp. Upcoming productions include Godspell and A.R. Gurney's The Fourth Wall. All shows take place in the Barboursville Community Center, 5256 Governor Barbour St. $12-16. 540-832-5355.

Gorilla Theatre Productions. An up-and-coming local theatre company, GTP performs between four and six shows a year, varying from children to adult shows. This company is not just for youth, but all ages with a training focus. Past shows include Antigone, Macbeth, and (more recently) The Misanthrope. Currently Miss Julie will be running August 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, and 11, and will be performed at The Director's Studio, 1726 suite 2B Harris Ct, McIntire Plaza. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults. They can be contacted at:

Hamner Theater. Nelson County's performing arts center since 2005 offers a season of three to five plays, monthly music, drama, or dance, improv and playwrighting workshops, and anticipate their 2nd annual Winery Shakespeare Tour. Located at the Rockfish Valley Community Center off Hwy 151 between Afton and Nellysford at 190 Rockfish School Lane. 434-361-1999

Live Arts.  This community theater group is held in its custom-built, architecturally distinguished arts complex off the Mall on Water Street. Since 1990, Live Arts has presented over 200 shows ranging from new interpretations of classics to avant garde performance art. A professional staff works with volunteers to produce a full main-stage season, educational programs, and smaller experimental works. Upcoming: Legally Blonde: The Musical. Tickets $20-$25. 123 E. Water St. 977-4177.

 Paramount Theater. Between Second and Third streets on the Downtown Mall, this 1931 movie theater has been remade into a first-rate venue for concerts, plays, films, opera, and more. Check their calendar frequently for up-to-date listings of all their offerings. $19-$100. 979-1922

Piedmont Virginia Community College. PVCC mounts main-stage and chamber theater productions during the year, as well as a children's theater series. Dance, theater, music, and free movies are just some of the highlights of their ambitious production calendar. 501 College Drive. 961-5376

Play On! Sadly, Play On! is no longer located at IX theatre. However, they are actively looking for a new space in order to continue into their 8th season. If you would like to donate, click here.

UVA Drama Department. Besides offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in performance and theater design, the UVA Drama Department mounts four main-stage productions each academic year and several additional smaller productions, often student-directed. UVA's theaters include the 600-seat Culbreth, with its proscenium stage, the flexible Helms Theatre with 160-200 seats, and the brand new Ruth Caplin Theatre, with 300 seats and featuring vomitorium, passageways through which actors enter and exit the stage. The department recently closed its 2012-2013 season with You Can't Take it With You. 924-3376.

Bent Theater Improv. Bent Theatre presents live improv comedy at various venues across Virginia— and they'll perform at your event. 466-6235.

Dinner theater?
Charlottesville doesn't have a permanent one, and the closest, seating 450 people, is the
Riverside, about an hour away in Fredericksburg. $37-58 includes dinner and the show, which typically runs 2-2.5 hours.This year's lineup includes Legally Blonde: The Musical, Ring of Fire, and Les Miserables. Reservations required. 540-370-4300.

A little farther away
The Barter Theatre in Abingdon: With The Barter Theatre’s diverse offering of 21 shows, patrons can be swept away by the triumphant music and wrenching plot of the iconic Les Misérables or seduced by the steamy scenes in A Streetcar Named Desire. Children have the opportunity to experience the adventures of the Ingalls family in Little House on the Prairie. Though The Barter Theatre no longer accepts livestock and vegetables as payment as it did when it first opened its doors during the Great Depression (thereby earning its namesake), the spirit of affordable theater lives on as ticket prices range from $13-37 depending on the performance. Rich in history and talent, The Barter Theatre is a cultural and artistic mecca in Abingdon, Virginia that draws students, children and adults alike. Comprised of Barter Theatre, which seats 506, Barter Stage II with an intimate 167-patron capacity and a gourmet café, both avid theatergoers and first timers will find something to their liking. In addition to The Barter Theatre, Abingdon is home to numerous shops and boutiques, restaurants, galleries and outdoor activities perfect for a summer outing. There's plenty to see and do once you get there, and it's about a four-hour drive from Charlottesville. Call 276-628-3991.

Making the scene

"I'm not a fan of 'scenes' becoming more important than the music itself," said local guitarist Rick Olivarez in our


2013 music issue, "where people go to see and be seen and have no care about the art being created.

"I don't think I would be too thrilled if there was a so-called 'Charlottesville music scene,'" he says. "Just look what happened to the Seattle, Chapel Hill, and Austin scenes. In the end, I think it's probably best to just go out and support some live music."

Indeed, on any given night in this town there are plenty of music "scenes" to check out. Just keep it real, People!

So, who's hot?
Heavies weigh in on who to listen to

While jazz trumpeter John D'earth says he "does jazz" he also has an interest in seeing musicians of different persuasions simply playing together, especially young student musicians. As far as acts to watch, D'earth says he's more focused on individual musicians, but he does want to mention a quartet of "extremely gifted teenagers." That would be pianist/saxophonist Garen Dorsey, pianist/trumpeter Austin Patterson, bassist Kevin Eichenburger, and drummer/composer Daniel Richardson.

Other acts that capture D'earth's imagination:  "Rick Olivarez Trio; the Mike Rosensky/Jeff Decker Quartet Wednesdays at Miller's, anything pianist Hod O'Brien does (he's a national treasure), anything Art Wheeler does (he's an intergalactic treasure), a new band called Quiet Fire, led by bassist Dhara Goradia, [for which D'earth plays], singer/songwriter Peyton Tochterman, and singer/songwriter Genna Matthews."

"But, of course, we have a ton of gifted singer/songwriters," says D'earth. "Apologies to all the awesome players and writers I forgot to mention."

"There's a few bands I've worked with recently who I feel are going for the gold," says promoter Jayon Falsini. "Some names that come to mind are the Southern Belles, a Zappa-esque jam rock act who host a monthly residency at Rapture." Falsini calls them an "incredible band" who know how to write great original tunes.

Falsini also mentions Double Faces, a Gogo band he works with over at the Main Street Annex regularly.
"They've been working hard and growing their repertoire and getting a lot of love from their hometown," says Falsini.

He also says that Erin Lunsford and the Smokey Bandits is a name you might start seeing around more often, one with a "wonderfully soulful female lead."

"There's actually a lot of really great female singers who've popped up locally," says Falsini, mentioning Larissa Moore and Brianna Litman. "I could go on and on. This city, heck this whole region is flush with talent. Don't even get me started about Richmond and the surrounding counties."

"For sure The Invisible Hand," say Rick Olivarez, "Adam Smith's song writing is so, so creative and he references bands like The Kinks while at the same time has his own thing going on, very, very cool!"

Olivarez says he'd also mention Borrowed Beams Of Light,  "because again, so creative and that's really the most important thing."

And lastly, Olivarez singles out Corsair, who began playing together in 2007 in C-ville's annual Black Sabbath Halloween tribute band, Mass Sabbath.

"Just because they rock so hard," says Olivarez.

Check out these great music venues:

The Jefferson Theater: Now in its centennial year of entertaining Charlottesville, the Jeff plays host to some of the hottest acts to roll through town. With slanted floor for sweet sight-lines, plus two bars and two balconies, the renovated-in-2009 Jeff has become a local favorite. 110 East Main St. 245-4980.

Rapture: Rapturians usually prefer DJs to live musicians, but if a band really means business, they'll be able to work their way into the back room. Downtown Mall. 303 E. Main St. 293-9526.

John Paul Jones Arena: In addition to being the toast of the sports world, UVA's 16,000-seat arena brings the legends to town for oversize shows (Red Hot Chili Peppers, DMB, Elton John, Kenny Chesney, and Mama Mia) to draw fans from all over the state. Budget a few extra minutes to drive away once the show's over. 295 Massie Road, near Barracks Road. 883-JPJ-TIXS.

Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar: Two years before you heard about them, your favorite indie rock and experimental bands probably performed in this cozy, hookah smoke-filled establishment. 414 E. Main St. Downtown Mall. 293-9947.

nTelos Wireless Pavilion: The biggest shows of the summer, without exception, are always at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion, the large outdoor amphitheater at the east end of the Mall. Recent standouts include Bonnie Raitt and Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. Downtown Mall. 434-245-4910.

The Paramount Theater: If you want to impress your parents next time they visit, take them here to see the likes of Joan Baez, Peter Frampton, and– most recently– Kris Kristofferson in the classiest venue in town. 215 E. Main St. Downtown Mall. 979-1922.

Bashir's Taverna: Another eatery that dips its toe into the venue game only casually, but it's the place to go if you want to see any of the local jazz guitar wizards take the spotlight– or some exotic belly dancers take the stage. 507 E. Main St. Downtown Mall. 923-0927.

Coupe DeVille's: This Corner establishment is a clear student favorite, where locals will often cut their teeth alongside bands on shoestring tours. 9 Elliewood Ave. 977-3966.

The Pigeon Hole: Like nearby Coupe's, this place is small, but it opts for more modern music on its terrace facing Elliewood Avenue. (Even if the Old-timers still call it Martha's.) On the Corner. 977-4711

Fellini's #9: An award-winning historic restoration made this old house one of the most eclectic little music venues in town. Anchored Sundays by the Hogwaller Ramblers. 201 W. Market St. 979-4279.

Old Cabell Hall: As expected, UVA is the nexus of Charlottesville's academic musicians; but touring artists, such as A Fine Frenzy two years ago, may appear. The Lawn. 924-3984. 

The Southern: Home of quirky rock, acoustic folk, and a wild array of local and touring artists. 103 First St. NE. Downtown Mall. 977-5590.

Miller's: Tourists know that the helmsman of Dave Matthews Band may have been launched from this downtown institution, but the main attraction remains the Wednesday and Thursday night jazz. Downtown Mall. 971-8511.

The Garage: Hands-down the smallest musical venue in Charlottesville and maybe the world. An old garage perched facing the western side of Lee Park, it really blossomed this year with recent performances by Hello Rocco and Love Banshee.

More classical listings

Ash Lawn Opera : When the weather gets warm, you can cool off inside the Paramount Theater (2012 was the 4th season inside) with the professionals who perform opera and musical theater. 293-4500

Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival : Annual series of five chamber music concerts featuring musicians of international stature. September 9-23, at Old Cabell Hall and the Paramount. 295-5395.

Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra : Performs in Cabell Hall and the Monticello High School Auditorium September through April. Tickets to individual concerts via the UVA Box Office. All seats reserved. 434.924.3376

McIntire Department of Music: Concerts throughout the academic year from talented students and renowned local musicians including one of our faves, jazz-playin' Free Bridge Quintet. Old Cabell Hall. 434-924-3376

The Municipal Band of Charlottesville : Doing everything from folk and opera to classical and big band for over 80 years, it's the official band of Charlottesville. Every summer, these guys and gals come out of nowhere to make the Downtown Mall pulse with excitement. 295-9850

Oratorio Society of Charlottesville-Albemarle : Setting the standard for choral excellence. Performs throughout the year at beautiful and iconic venues: the Paramount, Old Cabell Hall, the First Presbyterian Church. 295-4385.

Tuesday Evening Concert Series: 
Internationally renowned musicians give performances in Old Cabell Hall. The 2012-13 season seven acts include the Salzburg Chamber Soloists and the Pavel Haas Quartet. Shows begin at 8pm. $5-33. 244-9505

The Virginia Consort: A choral group that performs nearly year round at various locations in the area. 244-8444

Zephyrus: The early music vocal ensemble performs music from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods in area churches. 434-227-4685



Jefferson-Madison Regional Library
Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society
PVCC Library
UVA Libraries

Other cool book stuff:
Book Sellers
Book Dealers
Virginia Festival of the Book
Literacy Programs
Bookish Education

Virginia Festival of the Book, 145 Ednam Drive- This annual five-day festival of more than 100 seminars, readings, and panels for authors, publishers, and illustrators attracts over 22,000 visitors. Held in March. Reach Nancy Damon for more information: 924-7548.

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library- The local public library system comprises the main library downtown as well as seven additional outposts to push back ignorance. Central branch is located at 201 E. Market St. by Lee Park; Gordon Avenue just where you'd expect; Northside at Albemarle Square Shopping Center. Other branches are in outlying communities (Crozet, Scottsville, Louisa, Greene, Nelson). The new 18,000 square foot Crozet branch is currently under construction and is hoping to open its doors late this September. The new building will include a community meeting room, a tourism center, and new computers. Descendant of the Albemarle Library Society founded in 1823 by Thomas Jefferson and others, today the JMRL maintains an impressive inventory not only of books, but also of videos and books on tape as well as a thorough roster of reading programs for kids and adults.  979-7151

Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society- The small spot (in a swanky building) for local history and genealogy. You're asked to sign in. 200 Second St. NE (downtown by Lee Park). 296-1492

PVCC Library- The Jessup Library serves the local community college located on Route 20 South near the I-64 interchange. 961-5308

University of Virginia Libraries- Any Virginia resident and other folks at least 16 years of age can borrow books and other materials from UVA's libraries for up to 30 days. UVA's online catalogue is called Virgo, and it's pretty sweet. 

  • Alderman- The stately brick library at the corner of University  Avenue and McCormick Road houses most of the humanities collection. 924-3021
  • Business- The Camp Library at the Darden School is home to the business collections of the university and is located in the Darden complex off Massie Road. 924-7321
  • Clemons- Named for the man who served as university librarian from 1927 to 1950, this multi-story brick building cattycorner to Alderman features ample study space and large multimedia collections. 924-3684
  • Education- Located across the Emmet Street pedestrian bridge from Brown College and accessible by car through McCormick Road, the Education library serves all the learning information needs of the Curry School. 924-7040
  • Fine Arts- The Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library is named for the architect who rescued Thomas Jefferson from architectural obscurity in the early 20th century. It's located in the art/architecture complex on Carr's Hill. 924-6938
  • Law Library- The Arthur J. Morris Law Library boasts 890,000+ volumes on North Grounds. 924-3384
  • Medical Library- The Claude Moore Health Sciences Library houses UVA's medical collections. 924-5444
  • Music Library- All the melodius records (in all senses of the word) at UVA live in the Music Library on the bottom two levels of Old Cabell Hall. 924-7041
  • Science and Engineering- The Brown Science and Engineering Library (in Clark Hall) has it all: astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. 924-3628
  • Special Collections- Researchers go giddy at the thought of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library both below and above McCormick Road. 243-1776


Barnes & Noble, Barracks Road Shopping Center- Standard B&N fare, service, and inventory complete with Starbucks. 984-0461

Blue Whale Books, Downtown Mall- Classy glass display cases and subdued lighting entice Downtown Mall browsers. Used and rare books with a wide variety of prints and antiquarian maps. 296-4646

Daedalus Bookshop, Fourth St. NE, off the Downtown Mall- Charlottesville's own "Strand"- Biggest and oldest used bookstore in town with up to 120,000 titles in all genres. Three floors of warrens and crannies offer kitsch, treasures, and preoccupations to fill hours. 293-7595

Green Valley Book Fair, I-81 just south of Harrisonburg at exit 240- No longer an occasional event, this sprawling indoor/outdoor outlet was named "Best Bookstore on the East Coast" by Attaché magazine, and features over 500,000 new books with 60-90 percent off retail prices. Open for two-week intervals throughout the year, 9am-7pm daily. 800-385-0099

Heartwood Books, 5 Elliewood Ave., near The Corner- One of the few Antiquarian Bookstores Association of America rare book dealers. Next door to the collectors shop is a general used bookstore, which, while not strictly scholarly, leans towards the tastes of the university. 295-7083

New Dominion Bookshop, Downtown Mall- Oldest independent seller in Virginia–been here since 1924. Small but elegant, making great use of limited shelf space and attractive mezzanine complete with a small art gallery for special events. Excellent selection of local authors. 295-2552

Oakley's Gently Used Books, York Place on the Downtown Mall- Over 9,000 hand-selected used books and a few new books of local interest. Specializing in science fiction and children's books. 977-3313

Quest Bookshop, 619 W. Main St.- Charlottesville's premiere bookshop for new-age, spiritual texts, and guidebooks. Crystals, candles, and incense, too. 295-3377

Read it Again, Sam, Downtown Mall- General used books with a wall exclusively for mysteries and a huge art section make this a valuable addition to Downtown Mall used book emporia. 977-9844

Shenanigans, North Wing, Barracks Road Shopping Center- Toy store with nice selection of children's books. Not bargains, but great for mix-n-match gifts. 295-4797

Student Book Store, 1515 University Ave. on the Corner- All things Wahoo. Cards, caps, even chairs emblazoned with Cavalier logo. But some real books are mixed in with the textbooks and UVA merchandise. 293-5900

UVA Bookstore, Central Grounds Parking Garage top floor- Also heavily skewed toward good ol' UVA, but with a respectable inventory of other subjects. Good for picking up textbooks and anthologies. 924-3721 

The Book Broker, 114 Bollingwood Road- Buys and sells books, maps, and ephemera of Virginia. Also conducts appraisals. Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America member. Call for appointment. 296-2194

Clover Hill Books, P.O. Box 8372- Mail order firm specializing in 20th-century British and American literature, poetry, literary criticism, and biography about 20th-century writers. 973-1506

Franklin Gilliam Rare Books, 218 South St.- ABAA member for serious collectors. Mon-Sat Noon-6pm; calling ahead is strongly suggested. 979-2512

Buteo Books, Shipman- Family-owned bookstore with one of the largest selections of ornithology titles in the world. Friendly owners cater to beginning and expert birders, as well as serious students of ornithology both in-person and on-line. 800-722-2460 or 263-8671

Atlas Comics, 1750 Rio Hill Center- Everything comic books from Marvel and D.C. to Japanese manga and lesser known graphic novels– more than 75,000 new and back-issue comics in stock. 974-7512

Book Buddies- One-on-one volunteer program in Charlottesville and Albemarle schools to ensure all first- and second-graders learn to read. 245-2400 ask for Book Buddies Director.

Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle- Provides free confidential tutoring sessions for adults in basic literacy and English as a second language. Funded by state and local government as well as individual donors and area organizations. 977-3838


University of Virginia Press, 210 Sprigg Lane- Previously the University Press of Virginia, the publishing house has opted for the new moniker to better reflect its "close relationship to its host institution." Easy to see where there might have been some confusion. 924-3361

The Hypocrite Press, Specializing in books about "the underground subculture of Downtown Charlottesville," these folks mostly publish fiction, but their anthology of film reviews from the Advocate: High Cheekbones, Pouty Lips, Tight Jeans, earned a nomination for a Library of Virginia Award for nonfiction. Info:


Meridian is a semiannual lit mag put out by UVA's MFA program, the distinguished Virginia Quarterly Review is published here, and then there's the Hook's own annual fiction contest, judged for the last several years by local best-selling author John Grisham. And VQR is the UVA literary magazine very much in the news. 

Charlottesville Writing Center, PO Box 5608, 22905- Nonprofit writing instruction at evening and weekend workshops, enrolling 250 people yearly. Summer camp for kids, tutoring, editing, manuscript review. 293-3702

Rare Book School, 114 Alderman Library, UVA- Independent nonprofit school at UVA. Offers courses in cataloging, bookbinding, illustration, etc. Publishing arm is called Book Arts Press. 924-8851

WriterHouse: Launched in the spring of 2008, WriterHouse offers aspiring writers a space to collaborate, bounce ideas, and pen the novel, short story, article or poem of your dream. The organization also offers writing workshops, hosts speakers and readings, and provides a gathering space for the local writing community to come together. 296-1922


Consistently ranked among the top five writing programs in the country, and one of only five such programs to be chosen to award an annual $10,000 Henfield Prize to one of its graduates, the UVA Creative Writing program tends to attract some great writers to town for readings and special events, most of which are open to the public. Of course, faculty members like Rita Dove, Ann Beattie, John Casey, and Christopher Tilghman also help to put us on the literary map. Email the department at to find out more about literary events.


Going to the movies in Charlottesville changed big-time in late 2012-2013, as the grandly-named Regal Stonefield Stadium 14 and IMAX Theater opened up in the Shops at Stonefield at the intersection of Route 29 and Hydraulic Road. Boasting 14 stadium-style theaters, two IMAX ones, and covered parking and elevator access to a lavish lobby, this theater has really changed the local movie going landscape. Indeed, it forced the Downtown Regal to start showing only art and independent. And as for the old Regal Seminole Theater, well, that theater was demolished this year and a hotel is being built in its place. 

Carmike 6 Theatres

1803 Seminole Trail

973-4294 (recording),  973-5972 (office)

In the early '90s, the Carmike 6 was our favorite multiplex, but time has not been kind to the theaters hidden behind Albemarle Square and Pier One. 

Among regular moviegoers, the Carmike experience generates the worst reviews: long lines to see blockbuster movies with only one ticket seller working, lights that don't dim completely when the movie starts, creating a glare for those unfortunate to sit underneath, some sprung chairs that make it necessary to find a new seat, and a management seemingly unsympathetic to the complaints of its customers. 

And then there was the collapsed ceiling that drenched some moviegoers catching Avatar.

A theater employee informs us those issues have been corrected and that there's new management. And the digital projection looks crisp, crisp, crisp. Another attraction: to battle the new Stonefield Theater, Carmike has been offering $1 movie deals.

A tip: Buy tickets early.

Regal Downtown Mall 6

200 West Main Street

979-7669 (recording), 979-7857 (manager)

Its understated brick facade belies the fact that this multiplex injected lots of life into the Downtown Mall and helped make it the happening place it is today. Before the Regal opened in 1996, there was no 2nd Street crossing on the Downtown Mall, and no throngs of people flocking to the mall, which was pretty much a ghost town after 5pm.

Newest of the area theaters, the Regal Downtown also threatened Charlottesville's oldest art house, Vinegar Hill, when it began showing indie movies. Ironically, after the Regal Stonefield opened, Regal announced that the Downtown theater would be showing only art house and indie movies.

Parking can be problematic, but the theater does validate parking from the Water Street and Market Street garages. Another problem is that sound sometimes bleeds from adjacent theaters.    

The bathrooms are wonderfully plentiful and clean. If only there were hand-drying options besides the blowers, it would get the Hook's top seal of approval.

Regal Crown Club members get discount movies and food.

A tip: Get there early during in the weeks before the Academy Awards because people will be lined up to catch the nominees.

Regal Stonefield Stadium 14 and IMAX Theater

1954 Swanson Drive 


After months of anticipation, this mega theater opened at the Shops at Stonefield (a development that went up after years of anticipation) at the intersection of Route 29 and Hydraulic Road. It has 14 stadium-style theaters, two with IMAX, and a concessions stand that not only features popcorn and candy, but a bunch of fast-food meals as well. It's really made going to the movie in Charlottesville an experience again. Plus, there are some great restaurant nearby, like Travinia Italian Kitchen and Burtons. Dinner and a movie anyone?

Tip: Buy your tickets at the self-serve kiosk and head right into the movie!

Vinegar Hill

220 West Market Street

977-4911 (recording), 977-8458 (manager) 

In 2008, Vinegar Hill Theatre nearly bit the dust. Founded in 1975 by the once-married couple, Chief Gordon and Ann Porotti, who also opened the legendary Fellini's in its first incarnation, it has just one screen– and it's a small one– and a small theater. Such factors have made it increasingly harder to compete with the more robust Regal a block away. Despite its utilitarian accoutrements, the theater is the sentimental favorite of local diehard movie fans.

A couple of years ago, Adam Greenbaum, who owns the Visulite in Staunton, swooped in to save Vinegar Hill, and scored Slumdog Millionaire. However, Vinegar Hill's days may be number, as Camino, the restaurant in the same building has closed, and Greenbaum has put the building up for sale.

Restrooms offer two stalls, but they're clean and when the crowds are small, you don't wait.

A tip: Get the popcorn since it has real butter.

Movies shot in Central Virginia

The epic historical drama Lincoln might be the most recent occasion when Hollywood has come knocking on our area's door, but it's hardly the first. Check out all the cinematic history (some parts of it more forgettable than others) that dots our landscape.

Virginia - (1941) - Starring Fred MacMurray, best known as the dad in My Three Sons, this melodrama was set at Monticola, a Howardsville-area mansion. Here, we find a southern belle who must choose between impoverished southerner Stonewall Elliot (MacMurray) and– egads– a Yankee industrialist.

Giant - (1956) - Texas rancher Rock Hudson visits a Maryland farm to buy a horse. What he finds is the owner's daughter, the lovely Elizabeth Taylor. It happened at Belmont, a cushy Keswick-area farm that plays a big part in what would turn out to be the final film in the short career of James Dean.

The Four Seasons - (1981) - Alan Alda and Carol Burnett headline this "romantic" comedy with extensive shooting at Pantops, which was owned at the time by the Worrell publishing family. It's now home to the Kluge-Ruhe Museum of Aboriginal Art. Nominated for four Golden Globes.

Lincoln - (2012) - The Academy Award-winning film starring Daniel Day Lewis (who won for Best Actor) and directed by Steven Spielberg, was shot at locations in Petersburg, Fredericksburg, and Richmond, Virginia. In addition, casting director Erica Arvold, who has her office in downtown Charlottesville, was charged with gathering extras for the film about our 16th President. Overall, Spielberg's production company, DreamWorks, pumped about $64 million into the Virginia economy.

Mutants in Paradise - (1984) - This film seems to have started and ended the career of its writer/director Scott Apostoulo. "This film makes Attack of the Killer Tomatoes look like Citizen Kane," writes one IMDB reviewer. It does, however, feature the film debut of boxing's former Lightweight Champion of the World, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini.

Morgan Stewart's Coming Home - (1987) - This dull (directed by Alan Smithee) knock-off of Ferris Bueller's Day Off takes place in Washington, D.C., but is actually filmed in Charlottesville. Whatever it lacks in artistic quality, it may be worth finding in the bargain bin because it probably shows more local scenes and extras than all the other pictures on this list.

Toy Soldiers - (1991) - Albemarle County's own Miller School plays "The Regis School," an academy of misfits and rebels shunned from America's elite prep schools who put their bad behavior to use when terrorists take the school hostage. Cinema's two greatest drill seargents Louis Gossett, Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman) and R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) share screen time with the boy who would be Sam in Lord of the Rings, Sean Astin.

True Colors - (1991) - John Cusack and James Spader play two UVA Law students who pour booze on themselves at Macadoo's and go dancing at Trax. Even the Hook (which didn't exist then) has a tangential role. Our delivery driver lent his yellow Volvo to a scene filmed outside Trax.

A Kiss Before Dying - (1991) - Matt Dillon, Sean Young, and an ordinary house near the Korner restaurant served as key elements in this critically panned psycho killer story.

Sommersby - (1993) - They poured dirt on the streets of Lexington for this post-Bellum drama starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster.

Major Payne - (1995) - After a critically acclaimed performance in Toy Soldiers, Miller School gets cast again, this time as the home of a JROTC program under the direction of hard-boiled Marine Benson Payne (Damon Wayans). Live grenades plus cute kids equals hilarity!

Hush - (1998) - The working title was Kilronan, the screen name given to Rocklands, the Orange County spread then operating as an inn (now a private residence). This dud of a film stars an up-and-coming actress named Gwyneth Paltrow playing daughter to abusive mom played by former local Jessica Lange.

Mickey - (2004) - Written and financed by John Grisham and partially shot at his Cove Creek Park baseball complex in Covesville, this boy-and-his-dad baseball picture was directed by another prominent Albemarlean: Hugh Wilson, the creator of WKRP in Cincinnati. Alas, despite starring Harry Connick Jr. and opening in about a dozen southern cities, it went quietly to DVD shelves.

War of the Worlds - (2005) - Supposedly set in New England, but they can't fool us. The spotlight shines once again on Lexington in one of this Tom Cruise blockbuster's most dramatic scenes.

Swedish Auto - (2006) - Western Albemarle/UVA grad Derek Sieg wrote and directed this tale of a voyeuristic mechanic, most of which was filmed on West Main. Stars January Jones before her Mad Men acclaim, Lukas Haas, and Mel's.

Live from the Hook - (2006) - The definitive documentary on the Charlottesville music scene of the '80s follows local legends Bob Girard of Johnny Sportcoat and Charlie Pastorfield of Skip Castro Band, and is a who's who of musicians then– Indecision– and now– Dave Matthews Band.

Evan Almighty - (2007) - Directed by UVA alum Tom Shadyac, this sequel to the Jim Carrey vehicle Bruce Almighty reprises Steve Carell's role as a weatherman who gets the call from God (Morgan Freeman) to build an ark. Shooting in Crozet's Old Trail neighborhood wrapped in June 2006, and included a menagerie of animals, a 200-foot-long ark, and plenty of locals appearing as extras. That its nationwide reception was tepid didn't dim the enthusiasm of locals.

Food, Inc - (2009) - Local farmer Joel Salatin was included in this documentary about the dangers of corporate farming in the U.S. While Salatin and his farming techinques and philosophies were well-known in Central Virginia, the Shenandoah-based farmer raised the bar and helped to spread the idea of the local food movement to the masses.

World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements - (2010) - Following Charlottesville teacher John Hunter, this documentary explores the transformation of students into citizens. Hunter's students participated in the "World Peace Game," which stimulates political, economic, and social challenges and allows the students an opportunity to witness and create global interconnectedness. The film, directed by UVA grad Chris Farina, premiered at the South-By-Southwest festival.

The Parking Lot Movie - (2010) - "It's not just a parking lot. It's a battle with humanity." Strong words for a documentary about Charlottesville's Corner Parking lot. But the film, shot and produced in three years, meshes drunken or unruly parkers with larger themes of awareness, justice, and community. Directed and produced by UVA grad Mehan Eckman and Christopher Hlad, the film has garnered rave reviews and premiered at the South-By-Southwest festival.