Cultural calendar, November 27-December 4, 2003

THURSDAY, November 27
Swing swap:
The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society holds this weekly east coast swing practice session with recorded music. 7:30-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building auditorium, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Blessing of the Hounds:
At Grace Episcopal Church, prior to the Thanksgiving Day Hunt. Route 231, Cismont. 9:30am bagpipe prelude, 10am service. Afterwards see the foxhunt begin at a nearby farm. Ten miles from Charlottesville. No pets allowed on church grounds. 293-3549.

Hogwaller Ramblers at Outback Lodge:
Jamie Dyer and the rest of the Hogs lay out their singular bluegrass with an edge sound at Outback Lodge, tonight! $5, 10pm.

Jim Waive (country-folk) at the Blue Moon Diner. Free, 8pm (W)

Karaoke Night with DJ Wild Wes at Buffalo Wild Wings. Free, 9pm (W)

Chicken Head Blues Band at Dürty Nelly's. $4, 9pm. (W)

John D'earth and friends (freeform jazz) at Miller's. $4, 10pm. (W)

Game Night at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 5 pm. (W)

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Class at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 6:30pm. (W)

Kathy Olsen Trio (jazz) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. Free, 9:30pm. (W)

FRIDAY, November 28
Get festive:
Valley Green Gallery holds its annual holiday open house November 28, 10am-5pm. Artists demonstrate their talents to music provided by Virginia Schweninger, harpist, and Suzanne Morris on hammered dulcimer. Refreshments served. Rt. 151, Nellysford, 361-9316.

No Shame Theater: Up for a theatrical nightcap? Join performers at this alternative venue for original material by anyone about anything. The first 15 people who show up get a spot on stage. Or you can just watch the carryings on. $5 Live Arts UpStage, 123 E. Water St. 11pm. 977-4177.

The apocalyptic imagination:
Philosopher Michael Grosso dissects The Millennium Myth, which propagates malice with the words of messianic messages. 9/11 isn't the first or the last … gear up for a history-techno-apocalypse. Quest Bookshop. 617 W. Main St. 7pm. 295-3377.

Buy Nothing Day:
With a puppet parade and pageant down 29N, this demonstration starts at the corner of Greenbrier Road and Route 29 (where the Chiang House restaurant used to be), ending at the ALC Copies parking lot at Emmet and Barracks Road. Gather at 12:45pm; the parade starts at 1pm. There will also be a barter fair 2:30pm-5pm at ALC Copies parking lot. Bring clothes, books, whatever, to exchange.

Ski swap at Wintergreen:
The Wintergreen Volunteer Ski Patrol sponsors its annual "ski swap." Come to Wintergreen to buy or sell used skis, boots, snowboards, and ski clothing in good condition. A portion of each sale goes to support the non-profit Volunteer Ski Patrol. Doors open at 9am to receive consignments; the sale runs 10am-4pm in the middle level of Skyline Pavilion. 325-2200.

Charlottesville traditions:
A downtown community celebration. The Charlottesville Municipal Band plays holiday music at the Amphitheater. Mayor Maurice Cox pulls the switch to light up the Mall. Santa arrives on a fire engine and listens to children's wishes until 5pm. 961-5846.

Star struck:
The view is out of this world at Public Night at McCormick Observatory from 9-11pm (weather permitting). UVA's research telescopes on O-Hill will be pointed heavenward, and Astronomy Department staff and students will be on hand with a slide show and answers to starry questions. Free. McCormick Road. 924-7494.

Cat walk: Dr. Seuss fans can catch the Cat in the Hat as he makes a special appearance in the Barracks Road Holiday Parade. Details at Barnes & Noble. 9am. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Book it: Barnes & Noble's holiday book drive starts today. See Family feature.

Shenandoah Shakespeare:
Nathan Moore at Blackfriars Playhouse: Staunton native Nathan Moore's folk sounds sold out Blackfriars last Thanksgiving, and a repeat is extremely possible. Playing professionally for a decade, Moore gained prominence with his band, ThaMuseMeant, in the late '90s, which recently reformed. $15, 7:30pm.

Corey Harris at the Dew Drop Inn. No cover, 9:30pm.

Vernon Fisher ("romantic side of jazz") at Bashir's Taverna. No cover, 6:30pm. (W)

John D'earth and the Impossible Trio (jazz) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 7:30pm.

Fletcher Bridge at Mountain View Grill. $5, 9:30pm.

Monticello Road at Outback Lodge. $6, 9pm.

Quinton Parker (piano standards from the '30s-'50s) at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. No cover, 7pm.

Stoned Wheat Things at Starr Hill. $7, 9:30pm.

Poseur Bill, Devil Takes the Hindmost, and Euphoria at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10:30pm.

Duck Duck Grey Duck (one-man band from Portland, Oregon) at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 8pm.

SATURDAY, November 29
Much Ado about Nothing:
Shenandoah Shakespeare presents a spirited production of the Bard's lighthearted romantic comedy at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Knight of the Burning Pestle: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents Francis Beaumont's raucous Elizabethan farce at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Montpelier's Civil War history:
Special tour of Confederate winter encampment and freedman farm. Visitors should wear sturdy footwear. The tour is included in the Montpelier's $11 admission fee. 2pm at the Montpelier Visitor Center. 540-672-2728.

Wintergreen family hike: Join a Foundation naturalist for a hike along the Appalachian Trail to the Dripping Rock Overlook. 2pm. 325-7451.

Three and three:
Three pigs outsmart a silly wolf, and Goldilocks learns never to break into someone's house– in the Old Michie Theatre's latest puppet show offering. 11am, 2pm, and 4pm. $5. 221 East Water St. 977-3690.

He's ba-ack: The Cat in the Hat comes back for a special story time at Barnes & Noble. Kids of all ages can enjoy Dr. Seuss favorites, cookies, and stickers. 10am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Mall Santa: Santa arrives Downtown in an antique fire engine and takes his place at the Shops at April's Corner to listen to the wishes of kids of all ages. Free photos with the big guy. Parade at 1:30pm, photo opps until 5pm. Downtown Mall. 961-5846.

In training: Model trains run through animated landscapes. As far as the eye can see are tiny villages and cities with lifelike downtown streets. An N-scale version of Richmond's Broad Street Station is part of the scene at the 26th annual RF&P Model Railroad Show at the Science Museum of Virginia. 9:30pam-5pm. Included with the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Just deserters:
4,500 Confederates were encamped at Montpelier during the winter of 1863-1864, including 10 unhappy deserters who were executed there for their crime. Montpelier guide and Orange resident Jayne E. Blair reads and signs her book, Tragedy at Montpelier, the untold story, today at the estate. 1pm, Montpelier Museum Shop, Rt. 20, four miles south of Orange. Walking tour follows. 540-672-2728 x110.

Sierra at Bistro 151 in Nellysford:
Join Sierra for another evening of sweet country covers, including all your favorites. $3, 9pm.

David Sickmen with Lauren Hoffman at Gravity Lounge: This is a CD release show for The Hackensaw Boys' Dave Sickmen– sure to be a rollicking bluegrass-heavy good time. Lauren Hoffman of the Lilas adds her angsty pop/rock in support. $5, 8:30pm.

Dry Branch Fire Squad at the Prism: For the last 10 years, the Dry Branch Fire Squad's Ron Thomasson has been spinning his web of "early country, traditional gospel, and bluegrass" at the Prism's post-Thanksgiving festivities. He's bringing along some special guests from Colorado this year. $18/$15 advance, 8pm.

The Karma Bums CD Release party with Blues Lady Lori Strother and guitarist Miles Pearce at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books: I've seen the Karma Bums before, and their neo (or actually original) hippy-blues sounds are quite nice. Their long awaited CD release show will be supported by the always wonderful Blues Lady, Lori Strother. $5, 7:30pm.

The Dawning: DJ Night with DJ AudioRapture + DJ Xiane at Tokyo Rose: Get your (dark) groove thing on at the Dawning tonight, as the DJs spin tracks that will fill you with nostalgia&emdash;or maybe fear. $5, 10:30pm.

Josh Mayo at Miller's. $3, 10pm.

Skeleton's Ghost at Mountain View Grill. $5, 8pm.

The Guano Boys at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

The Fair Weather Bums (bluegrass) at Sheben. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

Spiral Gypsy ("Transient Meta-physical world groove") at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 8pm.

SUNDAY, November 30
Handle with care:
Handle with care: Montpelier curatorial staff demonstrate techniques for safeguarding treasures. 1pm-4.30pm, included with admission to the Montpelier Mansion. 540-672-2728.

Sunday night dance party:
The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society holds this weekly west coast swing practice session with recorded music. 7-9pm. Dance Center, 380 Greenbrier Drive. $3. 980-2744.

Sunday salsa: Charlottesville's Salsa Club sponsors a weekly opportunity to learn and practice salsa and other dances in a smoke-free nightclub atmosphere. A basic lesson (usually salsa) gets the evening started at 8pm. Complimentary water and sodas. The Outback Lodge, 917 Preston Ave. 8pm-midnight. $3-5. or 979-7211.

King Lear: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the Bard's monumental tragedy at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Teddy bear love:
The Community Children's Theatre presents Corduroy, a musical based on Don Freeman's popular book about a lonely teddy bear and the girl who adopts him. 2pm. Tickets $10, available at Whimsies and April's Corner. Charlottesville Performing Arts Center. 961-7862.

In training: See Saturday, November 29. Times today 11:30am-5pm.

The Hogwaller Ramblers (bluegrass mayhem) at Escafé. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Wave featuring Juliana Marquez ("Brazilian Jazz") at Gravity Lounge. $5, 7:30pm.

Medeski, Martin & Wood (jam) at Starr Hill. $20, 9pm.

MONDAY, December 1
Real world options:
Albemarle County and Charlottesville City Schools help students with disabilities figure out post-high school options in their Transitions Workshop. The college application process, documentation of disability, job training and placement, community resources, Q&A, and more. 6:30-8:30pm. Free. CHS Media Center, Melbourne Road. 244-3110, ext. 3234.

Just say no:
Anti-war activists today pick up a sign and march through the streets, but in the World Wars, conscientious objectors often toiled in work camps as alternative service. Sarah McConnell talks to CO's in the Shenandoah Valley and to the directors of a new documentary about the Civilian Public Service on With Good Reason tonight, 7pm, WMRA. See Words feature.

Take that, Red Baron: Before he was the nation's leading WWI ace, Eddie Rickenbacker was a race car driver and General Pershing's chauffer. Learn more about the Red Baron's chief foe at the Scottsville Library, when author Robert O'Conell reads from his new novel based on Rickenbacker's life. Bird Street, Scottsville, 7:30, 286-3541.

"Button Kick-Off" Party: Terri Allard, Darrel Rose, & The African Drum Festival and Mr. Magic at Plan 9 Albemarle Square: First Night Virginia kicks off its button selling season with a bang and a song. The buttons provide admission to Charlottesville's 22nd annual First Night Virginia, a "family and friend oriented, alcohol-free, safe alternative to ring in the New Year." No cover, 11am.

Open Mic Night with Charles Davis at Baja Bean. No cover, signup 8:30pm/9pm. (W)

Jackson Gibson at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Las Gitanas at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Max Collins (experimental acoustic) at Michael's Bistro. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Open Mic Night at Miller's. Free, 9:30 signup/10pm start. (W)

George Melvin (piano merriment) at South Street Brewery. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

Jim Ryan ("jazz and love songs") at Tokyo Rose upstairs. No cover, 9pm.

Travis Elliot (pop) at the Virginian. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

TUESDAY, December 2
Live Arts Playwright's LAB:
This twice-monthly playwriting workshop is designed to give new and seasoned playwrights an environment to develop and refine original works. Meets the first and third Monday of every month. 6:30pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177 x100.

Live Arts Acting LAB: The new eight-week session of this weekly Tuesday-night class starts today. Instructor Carol Pederson allows actors to review the fundamentals of acting technique, brush up audition skills, and explore scenes from the plays in Live Arts' new season. Drop-in session from 7-8pm, full session from 7-10pm. The Attic, The Glass Building, Studio 208, 313 Second St. SE, Studio 208. $10 drop-in, $160 full session. 977-4177 x100.

Karaoke Night at Baja Bean. Free, 8pm. (W)

Jamie and Rolland (partial bluegrass mayhem) at the Blue Moon Diner. No cover, 8pm. (W)

Glen Mack at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Vernon Fisher (mellow jazz) at Sheben. No cover, 7pm. (W)

WEDNESDAY, December 3
No whistling, just talk:
Dr. David Park Curry, VMFA's curator of American Arts, presents a talk, "Uneasy Pieces: Portraits by Whistler," at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 6pm. $5. 2800 Grove Ave. Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Much Ado:
See Saturday, November 29. Today's show is at 10:30am.

Tartuffe: See Friday, November 21.

Country dance night: Couples and line dancing at Fry's Spring Beach Club. Dance lesson free with cover. Lesson 7pm, dancing 8-11pm. 2512 Jefferson Park Ave. $7 cover, $4 full-time students. 977-0491.

Hike the White Rock Falls:
Beautiful waterfalls and vistas on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Moderate to difficult. Bring lunch and water. $5 members, $7 non-members. 325-7451.

Little lit lovers:
The five-and-under crowd can taste the flavors of autumn– apples and pumpkins– at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. Stickers and cookies are part of the fun, too. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Tell me a story: Preschoolers get into the holiday spirit with stories, songs, finger plays, and crafts at Central Library. 11:30am. Free. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.

Michelle Malone and her Low Down Georgia Revue with Paul Curreri at Gravity Lounge:
Country-rocker Michelle Malone brings her all-out bluesy sound to Gravity Lounge, where the paint just might be peeling on Wednesday. $10, 7:30pm. See Tunes feature.

Leon Russell at the Prism: Piano player and songwriter Leon Russell appears with his seven-piece band for a special Prism show at the Dickinson Theatre at PVCC. $25/$20 advance, 7:30pm.

Benny Dodd (cover-man) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Plutonium at Michael's bistro. $3, 10pm.

Jeff Decker and Mike Rosensky Quartet (jazz) at Miller's. No cover, 9pm. (W)

Open Jam at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 7pm. (W)

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Class at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 6:30pm. (W)

7:30 Much Ado about Nothing

Clarence Green and the Chameleon Project at South Street Brewery. No cover, 10pm.

Mark Goldstein and Tusker (acoustic rock) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

THURSDAY, December 4
Court Square dancers:
This group of women who perform traditional English garland, stave, hankie, and ribbon dances holds its weekly practice session. Open to new female dancers and all musicians. Beginners most welcome. 7-8:45pm. McIntire Room, Jefferson Madison Library, Market St. between Second and Third streets. Free. 971-8863.

Swing swap: The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society holds this weekly east coast swing practice session with recorded music. 7:30-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Grapes of Wrath preview: Be the first to see Live Arts' first main stage show in its new space, an adaptation of Steinbeck's epic novel of struggling migrant workers in the '30s. 8pm. Live Arts Down Stage, 123 E. Water St. Free tonight. Call theater for ticket information. 977-4177. See Performance feature,

UVA New Music Ensemble Concert: Stephan Prock presents a concert of contemporary works by composers including Steve Reich, S. Fancher, Mario Davidovsky, Giancinto Scelsi, Mark Engebretson, and others. 8pm. Old Cabell Hall. Free. 924-3984.

Theology and ethics:
Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University Divinity School delivers a lecture entitled "Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Truth and Politics." Sponsored by the Forum on Contemporary Thought. Rotunda Dome Room, UVA. 3:30-5:15pm.

Albemarle: New Dominion Bookshop hosts launch and book signing of this season's coffee table must-have. 175 pages of lush photos and texts, all about the nation's loveliest of counties. Author Avery Chenoweth and photographer Robert Llewellyn will both be on hand. 5:30-7:30pm. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Beyond Albemarle: ASAP discusses national and global growth. Don't miss this first ever trip beyond county lines for the area's no-growth advocates. Jay Keller of the DC-based group Population Connection (formerly known as Zero Population Growth, or ZPG) is the featured speaker. 7:30pm, Westminster Presbyterian Library. Rugby Road, next door to the Prism. 974-6390.

Tell me a story:
See Wednesday, December 3. Today's session is for Toddlers. 10:30am.

The UVA New Music Ensemble Concert at Cabell Hall Auditorium:
Stephen Prock directs the New Music Ensemble's variety-based concert. Exploring the newest music by some of today's best regarded composers, the NME regularly performs tunes in genres from electronic to acoustic. This performance includes "Synchronism #1 for flute and tape" by Mario Davidovsky, "Ko Lho for flute and Saxophone" by Giancinto Scelsi, and "She Sings, She Screams for alto saxophone and tape" by Mark Engebretson, among other pieces. Free, 8pm.

Jim Waive (country-folk) at the Blue Moon Diner. Free, 8pm (W)

Karaoke Night with DJ Wild Wes at Buffalo Wild Wings. Free, 9pm (W)

Josh Mayo at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10:30pm

Chicken Head Blues Band at Dürty Nelly's. $4, 9pm. (W)

John D'earth and friends (freeform jazz) at Miller's. $4, 10pm. (W)

Game Night at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 5 pm. (W)

Middle Eastern Belly Dance Class at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 6:30pm. (W)

Virginia Coalition (rock) at Starr Hill. $10/$8 advance, 10pm.

Kathy Olsen Trio (jazz) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. Free, 9:30pm. (W)

Adam to Eve and Navel at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Upcoming and Ongoing:
Call for submissions:
The Center of the Book invites entries for the Letters for Literature state and national contests. Children in grades 4-12 are invited to write a personal letter to the author of their favorite book, telling how that book has made an impact. Entries must be postmarked December 6 and mailed to the Virginia Center for the Book at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Info: Susan Coleman, 924-3296.

Video diary:
Teens learn the art of filmmaking using digital video technology in this filmmaking seminar Wednesdays 4:30-6:30pm, January 21-May 5. Take digital video cameras home and capture the people, places, and things that fill your life. Direct and edit your own short film. Beginners to academy-award winners welcome. $250 plus $25 materials. Scholarships available. Deadline for applications: December 15. Light House studio in City Center for Contemporary Arts, 121 Water St. 293-6992 or for application and information.

Celebrate diversity: The Children's Museum of Richmond's holiday exhibit "Our Community, Our World in Celebration" highlights a number of cultural festivals and traditions from around the world. Interactive displays, crafts, demonstrations, games, and toys introduce the sights, tastes, and sounds of Hanukkah, Diwali, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Ramadan, and Eid. Through January 25. Included with the price of admission: $7. 2626 W. Broad St., Richmond. 474-7013.

Pass it on: AlbemarleKids encourages local children and family volunteers to share their stories in the third annual "I Volunteer Student Essay & Art Contest." Kids are invited to express their thoughts and feelings about the volunteer projects they're involved in this holiday season. Deadline is December 20. Send to Check for details.

Measuring up: The Virginia Discovery Museum takes a Magical Measurement History Tour in their latest back gallery exhibit. Kids can explore the tools, units, and reasoning behind the evolution of measuring. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Discovering plants and animals: The Virginia Museum of Natural History at UVA offers another Lewis and Clark exploration. Visitors can learn about the plants and animals that the Corps of Discovery encountered on their historic journey in the exhibit "Natural History Pioneers: The Flora and Fauna of the Lewis and Clark Expedition" through December 11. Free. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605.

Seeing stars: Visitors can learn how cultures around the world celebrate the season of light at the Science Museum of Virginia's holiday celebration "Joy From the World: Starlight, Starbright!" through January 1. Holiday displays, traditional dancing and singing, arts and crafts. And Carpenter Science Theatre Company's storytellers entertain children of all ages with 10-15 minute stories about stars and star patterns from many cultures, places, and times. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Star search: Two centuries ago, Lewis and Clark didn't have GPS. They and other explorers used the stars to navigate uncharted lands and waterways. The Science Museum of Virginia gives modern travelers the chance to "Follow That Star!" in their new multimedia Planetarium show now through January 11. Included in the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

IMAX is huge!: The five-story IMAX screen at the Science Museum of Virginia has a plethora of offerings this fall. Extreme offers a glimpse into the unique relationship between nature and humanity including athletes involved in big wave surfing, ice climbing, skiing, snowboarding, windsurfing, and rock climbing.

Body works: If you like to know how things work from the inside out, you'll love the film on the inner workings of The Human Body.

Westward ho!: Fans of Lewis and Clark can join the great adventurers and the Corps of Discovery on their grueling two-year trek across the continent in Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West. Call or see website for schedules and costs. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Basketball for senior citizens:
Charlottesville Parks and Recreation offers basketball for players 55 and up at the Downtown Recreation Center during November, December, January, and February. Mondays, 10-11:30am. 800 E. Market St. 970-3264.

Christmas trees at Ash Lawn: From November 28 to December 24, tree cutting is permitted from 11am to 4pm daily at the home of James Monroe. A donation to help preserve the historic presidential home is requested. Check in at the Gift Shop for directions to the cutting fields. Bring a saw and a rope to tie the tree to your vehicle. Route 53, Thomas Jefferson Parkway beyond Monticello. 293-9539. See Walkabout feature.

Holiday Market: Mark the holiday season at the Holiday City Market at Central Place on the Downtown Mall, 10am-5pm, November 28-29 and every December weekend until Christmas. Browse through handmade gifts, toys, jewelry, baked goods, decorations, wreaths, and fresh greenery. 970-3271.

The following vineyards and wineries host open houses, tastings, and sometimes tours.

Horton Vineyards: November 28- 30; December 6-7. 11am-5pm. $5 per person includes glass. 6399 Spotswood Trail, Gordonsville. 540-832-7440

Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery: November 29-December 7. Batesville Road, Afton. 540-456-8400. 10am-5.30pm. Free.

Oakencroft Winery: November 29-39. 11am-5pm. $8 includes a wine glass. Off Barracks Road. 296-4188.

Wintergreen Winery: November 28-30. 10am-5pm. Wintergreen Winery, Route 664, Wintergreen. No fee. 361-2519.

Burnley Vineyards: November 28-30 and December 6-7. 11am-5pm. Free. Barboursville. 540-832-2828

Rogers Ford Winery: November 28-30. 11am-5pm. Free. Sumerduck. 540-439-3707.

Prince Michel: November 29. 11am-5pm. Free. Leon. 540-547-3707

Rebec Vineyards: November 29 (and every weekend through December 21). 11am-5pm. Free. Amherst. 804-946-5198.

Villa Appalaccia: November 29, December 6, 13. Free. Noon-4pm. Floyd. 540-593-3100

Peaks of Otter Winery: November 29-30, December 6-7, 13-14. Free. Bedford. 540-586-3707

Oasis: Through December. Free. Hume. 800-304-7656.

Separation support group for lesbians and gay men: If you have experienced a break and need a safe place to cope with your loss. Meets Thursdays 7pm-8.30pm. 978 2195.

Talk the talk: Join in the conversation with English as Second Language learners as they interact with native English speakers at the Dialogue Café. In the Adult Learning Center at 1000 Preston Ave. Thursdays 11:30am-1pm. 245-2815.

Historic Downtown Charlottesville: Walking tours are given by the Albemarle County Historical Society. $3. Meet at the McIntire Building, 200 Second St. Saturdays 10am. 296-1492.

Seminar on Stained Glass: Every Saturday, geared to the beginner but open to anyone. Call by Friday to reserve a spot. Blue Ridge Glass &Craft, McIntire Business Park at 1724 Allied St. Free. 3:30-5pm. 293 2876.

Settling down: Midday Meditation, Tuesdays 12:15-12.45pm and Thursdays, 12:15-1:15pm. Free, but donations are accepted. Gesher Center, 1824 University Circle. 970-7836.

Habitat for Humanity: Volunteers with a yen to build or paint for a good cause needed for projects in the area. 293-9066.

Richmond Canal cruises: Take historically narrated tours along the James River and Kanawha Canal. Fridays and Saturdays, noon until 6pm and Sundays, noon to 5pm, Private charters available. November 1-December 7. 804-649-2800.

Monticello events:
Framing the West:
"Thomas Jefferson and the Lewis and Clark Expedition" features a recreation of Jefferson's "Indian Hall" and objects on loan from other institutions. Included in price of general admission. Through December 31. 984 9822.

Thomas Jefferson and the Origins of American Political Parties: Rare printed materials illustrating early U.S. politics are on exhibit at the Jefferson Library. 9am to 4:30pm. Free. 984-7540.

RVCC (Rockfish Valley Community Center) events
Nelson needlers:
Gatherings of artists who knit, sew, craft, etc. Mondays 1:30-3:30pm in the Conference Room. Amy Childs, 361-9147.

Old Time jam session: Guitars, mandolins, banjos, fiddles, hammer dulcimers, and more join together to make music. All skill levels are welcome to this gathering of musicians Friday nights 7:30-11pm. Becky Cohen, 823-6365.

Dances of Universal Peace: The second Friday of each month 7:30-9:30pm in Room 15. Marc Chanin, 361-1222. The Center is located at 190 Rockfish School Lane, off Route 151 between Afton and Nellysford behind the Rockfish Valley Ruritan Park. 361-0100.

Canine Companions for Independence: The national nonprofit organization that trains assistance dogs for people with physical and developmental disabilities is looking for people interested in becoming volunteer puppy raisers. 800-572-BARK or

Families anonymous: A free, self-help fellowship for anyone concerned with the destructive behavior of loved ones (emotional problems, drugs, or alcohol, etc.) meets at 7pm each Monday at Aldersgate Methodist Church,1500 E. Rio Road behind Fashion Square Mall, rear lower level entrance. 923-7929.

Narcotics anonymous: Meets daily. Call for information and meeting place: 434-979-8298.

The University of Virginia Library swings with the exhibit "Portraits of the Golden Age of Jazz: Photographs by William P. Gottlieb," along with other items related to the Harlem Renaissance, through March 5. McGregor Room, Alderman Library. 924-3025

The Second Street Gallery inaugurates its brand, spanking new space with "30 Years: Three Decades of New Art," featuring recent works by 55 artists from SSG's past. Through February 1. City Center for Contemporary Arts, corner of Second St. SE and E. Water St. 977-7284.

Dan Finnegan's "Good Pots for Good Food" exhibit of gas-and wood-fired pottery runs through December 3 at the PVCC Gallery. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. 961-5203.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church is showing "Once Upon a Time in Europe," acrylic paintings by Angela Corriveau. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

Karen Whitehill presents her provocative and humorous collages, "Hymn to Her," at the Mudhouse. (Jesus never looked so good.) W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

UVA's Fayerweather Gallery presents "Aunspaugh, 1984-2003," an exhibit of works by past and present Aunspaugh Fellows. Through November 26. Rugby Road. 924-6123.

L'étoile Restaurant displays paintings by local artists Barry Gordon and Malcolm Hughes. Gordon's abstract works feature interiors and everyday objects; Hughes portrays landscapes in the Impressionist style. Through the end of January. 817 W. Main St. (across from the Amtrak Station). 979-7957.

Take a stroll through the 57 acres of Virginia's first-ever Sculpture Park, located on the grounds of Baker-Butler Elementary School. 2740 Proffit Road. 974-7777x1402.

Paintings by Gloria Mitchell are on display at The Artful Lodger, 1807 Seminole Trail. 970-1900.

"Recent Works by The Virginia Stone Carvers Guild," an exhibition of sculptures by eight artists runs through January 9 at the ArtSpace gallery on the third floor of Newcomb Hall. 924-4164. See Art Feature.

The C&O Gallery shows Cynthia Burke's exotic oil paintings of animals through November 30 (25 percent of sales benefit The Wildlife Center of Virginia). Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Art Upstairs displays Sandra Offut's oil and watercolor exhibition, "Recent Works" through November 29. The gallery will then present its members' work in a group show December 2-27. Opening reception, December 5, 5:30-9pm. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

"Believe it to Leaver," a series of Polaroid self-portraits by Rob Tarbell, exploring the artist's recent "marital downsizing," is on display through November 29 at City Centro Café. 323 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 996-2655.

"Art and the Natural World," an exhibit featuring science themes, is on display at the Science and Engineering Library's new reading room. The exhibit is a highlight of the library's grand opening in Clark Hall, and will be up through the academic year. The exhibit features work by UVA art faculty. 924-3628.

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection displays "Kulam Kannga (Beginning): New Work from the Lockhart River Art Gang," plus "Photographs of Lockhart River" by Kerry Trapnell through January 24. 400 Peter Jefferson Place, off Rt. 250 east at Pantops. 244-0234.

"Fluid Emotion," an exhibit of gigantic paintings by Jamie McLendon, is on display at Gravity Lounge. 103 S. First St. 977-5590.

Jerry O'Dell's paintings and stained glass creations are on view at Blue Ridge Glass & Crafts. 1724 Allied St. 293-2876.

The McGuffey Art Center presents its Annual Holiday Group Show presenting the work of McGuffey's artists, who work in painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber art, calligraphy, mixed media, stained glass, hot glass, sculpture, photography, cabinetry, marbling, ceramics and book arts. Something catch your eye? Get instant gratification from being able to carry out whatever you buy. Through December 28. Opening reception, December 5, 5:30-7:30pm. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Galerie LaParlière is showing recent oil paintings of Elizabeth Congdon through the end of November. Beginning December 1, the gallery presents "Impressionist Bouquets," new works by French artist Maryvonne LaParlière. Also through January, "Angels on Wood," frescoes. 414 E. Jefferson St. 245-1365.

Mountain Air Gallery, Etc. showcases the work of Norfolk artist Cara Mayo (oil and acrylic) and local painter Lavely Miller (oils) through December. 107 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 244-3393 or

Valley Green Gallery holds its annual holiday open house November 28, 10am-5pm. Artists demonstrate their talents to music provided by Virginia Schweninger, harpist, and Suzanne Morris on hammered dulcimer. Refreshments served. Rt. 151, Nellysford, 361-9316.

PVCC Pottery Club holds a sale Saturday, December 6, 9am-1pm, in the Dickinson Building Commons. The hand-built and hand-thrown high fire stoneware by PVCC students is priced to fit any holiday shopping budget. Cash sales only. 500 College Drive. 973-4628.

Although the title "Tart and Art" might call up something lascivious in your fevered mind, this exhibition of oil paintings by Vidu Palta at the Bozart Gallery examines the dynamism between pastries, tea cups, and art books. Through November 30. 211 W. Main St. 296-4669.

In November, Transient Crafters presents a group show, "At the Table," featuring table-themed works by 20-25 artists. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

At the University of Virginia Art Museum, "The Moon Has No Home: Japanese Color Woodblock Prints from the Collection," opens November 22 and runs through March 7. "Steam Power: Railroad Photographs of O. Winston Link," runs through December 21. The museum also features Pierre Huyghe's video installation, "Third Memory" through November 30. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

Les Yeux du Monde at Dot 2 Dot presents painter Lincoln Perry's "The Music of Time" through November 29. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

Rick Moore's "Thoughts from my Summer," a series of abstract watercolors are on display at C-ville Coffee Co. through November 30.1301 Harris St. 817-2633.


Marcus Alan Vincent exhibits "Sojourn in a Dream" at the Williams School Library at Washington and Lee University through December 31. Lexington. 540-458-8602.

Richard Robinson and Larry Volk show their unique views of the Italian culture and landscape in "Robinson and Volk: Fotografie dell'Italia" at The Arts Center In Orange through January 3. 1250 East Main St, Orange. 540-672-7311.

Sunspots Studios in Staunton offer live glassblowing demonstrations every day by master glassblower Phillip Nolley and art glass artist Minh Martin, both in residence. Corner of Lewis and Middlebrook streets in downtown Staunton, across from the train station. 540-885-0678.

Combining "the detritus of everyday life" with examinations of machines and nature, "Object to Image: Recent Photographs of Pam Fox" is on view at The Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum at Hampden-Sydney College through December 12. Hampden-Sydney. 434-223-6134.

Lynchburg College's Daura Gallery, features "Poster Design: The Power of Pattern" and "The Seasons: Monotypes by Joellyn Duesberry, Poems by Pattiann Roger," through December 17. Lynchburg. 434-544-8343.

"Extremely real, extremely warped," that's the word on Robert Lazzarini's sculptures. The artist's distorted realism of is on view through January 4 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Also showing are "Generations: African-American Art in the VMFA Collection" (through November 30) and "The New VMFA: Collecting for the Future" (through January 4). 2800 Grove Ave. Richmond. 804-204-2704.

At Caffé Bocce, "New Views, New Landscapes," an exhibit by Meg West, is on view through November 30. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.

Chiseled features: Stone Carvers Guild rocks out

You know those kitschy chairs lining the walkway to Atlantic Futon? You know, the ones that look like hands, their palms waiting to cup your ass&emdash; the kind of furniture you'd expect to find in a 19-year-old stoner's apartment ("Dude, check out my chair&emdash; it looks like a hand…").

Well, if that's your first reaction to Jeff Thurston's large marble sculpture that stands (or, rather, waves) at the center of the Virginia Stone Carvers Guild's exhibition at UVA's ArtSpace gallery, don't be deterred.

The show consists of recent work by eight Guild members: Mike Firkaly, Al Francis, Bob Kretsinger, Chris MacAndrew, Thurston, Kathy Troyer, Susanna Williams, and Suzanne Yeaman. That the Guild is open to anyone interested in stone carving is apparent in the range of skill levels and aesthetic approaches represented.

Personally, I've never been drawn to exaggerated, cartoonish figures (a crush once crashed because the guy's artwork, depicting big-brained robed figures, reminded me of what might appear on the cover of Science Fiction Today), so Mike Firkaly's pieces don't do much for me. And Kathy Troyer's totem-like animals seem precious, if precisely carved.

That said, Suzanne Yeaman's abstract sculptures are spellbinding, their graceful shapes and polished surfaces flowing with organic ease. Yeaman's translucent alabaster "Shell" sits next to a window, allowing the outside light to illuminate veins at its seemingly paper-thin center, giving the impression of delicate living tissue.

Al Francis' sculptures also pulse with fluid life. His use of curvilinear cavities is reminiscent of Barbara Hepworth's work. Be sure to walk around Francis' marble "Earth Mother" because the reverse side reflects how the artist works with the stone's natural color to add dimension to his forms. Here a lapis-like blue deepens the shadows surrounding an interior sphere and evokes movement.

Several artists intentionally offset areas of manipulation with raw, broken rock surfaces. In Susanna Williams' "Emerging," the right side of a woman's face appears to grow out of rough rose alabaster. Veins in the polished stone naturally follow the contours of the classically carved visage, adding to the effect.

But the most unusual piece in the Guild show is "Bones" by Jeff Thurston (he of "The Hand"). The artist redeems himself with this arrangement of eight freestanding pieces. Head and tail elements punctuate three pairs of tortured-yet-graceful ribs rising up out of the carpet, like a long-buried relic that the sands of Newcomb Hall have just blown away to reveal.

"Recent Works by The Virginia Stone Carvers Guild" runs through January 9 at the ArtSpace gallery on the third floor of Newcomb Hall at the University of Virginia. 924-4164. To learn more about the Guild, visit

Conscientious: Objectors worked for peace

Anti-war activists today can just pick up a banner and log-on to find out where to meet. They have their principles, of course, along with varying levels of commitment. But how many of them would credit God for their passion?

During the Vietnam War, antagonism toward the military campaign became widespread enough for "conscientious objector" to become a household term, spanning classes, faiths, and races. But three American communities– Quakers, Mennonites, and the members of the Church of the Brethren– trace their pacifist traditions back to the Civil War, and are still collectively referred to as the Peace Churches.

A strict adherence to non-violence is a keystone of their faith. The Mennonites and the Brethren still have large populations in the Shenandoah Valley and are the subjects of a new documentary to be aired on public television next month and spotlighted on public radio's With Good Reason this week.

The story resurfaced first in the minds of two Harrisonburg middle school students. Elizabeth Barge and Elizabeth Hawk, both Mennonites, chose a topic for the history fair that, while obscure to their schoolmates, was a very real part of their family history.

"So few people are informed about different choices it's amazing to me," says Hawk. "I've grown up always knowing that there's a difference to war, an alternative."

The girls produced an oral history about their grandfathers, who, along with 12,000 other CO's, opted out of military enlistment in WWII, serving in the Civilian Public Service instead. Some dug ditches in southwest Virginia, others were on fire patrol in Montana, and many were interred in work camps and subjected to ridicule or worse.

Despite the stigma and occasional abuse, the CPS was a huge boon to the Mennonites of Virginia, who had used evasion tactics during the first World War and who, during the Civil War, often fled their homes rather than risk persecution at the hands of local Confederates and unimpressed Yankees.

Moreover, the CPS camps allowed many young men a chance to experience a world beyond their insular community. Elizabeth Barge says her grandfather credits the CPS camps for deepening his faith in God and his religion. One CPS veteran featured in the program underscores the relevance of the word "conscientious."

"There was a kind of motivation here. [We] were just conscientious by nature. And there was work to do, there were people to help."

Philosopher Bill O'Meara of JMU and history professor Albert Keim of Eastern Mennonite University directed the documentary "Conscientious Objectors in the Shenandoah Valley." They can be heard on With Good Reason Monday, December 1, at 7pm on WMRA, and Wednesday December 3 at 7:30pm on WVTF.

Choppers: Cut your own tree this year

Need a tree? Decided to get back to nature this year and chop your own?

Ash Lawn Highland is offering Virginia cedars and pines from November 28 through December 23. Bring a saw and a piece of rope, and the tree of your choice is yours for the price of a voluntary contribution.

"You come to the shop, and we point the way to the field for you. That's where our involvement starts and stops," said K.K. Pearson, Ash Lawn's education coordinator.

When Ash Lawn belonged to President James Monroe, it had a working saw mill so the house could be heated and its inhabitants fed.

While the tradition of inviting the public to chop Christmas trees on the farm may not date back to the 19th century, it does go back at least 25 years and has become an annual tradition for many families. And while Virginia sells between one and two million Christmas trees each year, trees at Ash Lawn differ from commercial farm stock in that they have never been pruned or shaped.

Those seeking more manicured, triangular specimens may visit one of more than 125 farms across the state, where, for the most part, owners relish the sight of families who make cutting an annual tradition.

"It's the most pleasurable part of the business to me," said Sue Bostic, owner of Joe's Trees in Craig County. "It takes t10 years to grow a tree to a sellable height, and when you put 10 years of your life into something, you like to see someone smile at the end."

The advantage of choosing your own tree, says Bostic&emdash;who's also president of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers' Association– is that you know you're getting the tree you really like, and one that, being fresh, will last until Christmas. Fresh-cut trees have the additional advantage of being less likely to burn than an old, dry one.

Not surprisingly, the Virginia Tree Growers' Association is quick to point out that the tree, used as a symbol of life, is a tradition that began well before Christianity, dating back to an Egyptian practice of adorning homes with green palm branches on the shortest day of the year to celebrate life's triumph over death.

But the first recorded reference to a Christmas tree as we know it hails from 16th century Germany, where families decorated fir trees with colored paper, fruits, and sweets. The tradition came to America via Hessian mercenaries paid to fight in the Revolutionary war.

To find out where else you can cut a Christmas tree, see To rent a saw, try United Rentals at 1745 Avon St. (977-8196) or Rentex at 1141 River Road (955-5915).

Buddies: Buy a book for an eager reader


It's Thursday morning, and Barnes & Noble's community relations manager Michelle Allaire is about to leave the store to go over to Venable Elementary School to read with a first grader. She's a Book Buddy, a trained tutor in this one-on-one reading instruction program that serves 120 first- and second-grade students who need a little extra help learning to read and write.

"Working with my Book Buddy just makes my day," Allaire says. "It's such a successful program. You work with the same child for the whole academic year, and you can really see the improvement."

Each year, Barnes & Noble chooses a local non-profit literacy organization as beneficiary of their annual holiday book drive. Last year, this beneficiary was Book Buddies, a community supported, volunteer-staffed program of the Charlottesville City Schools in collaboration with UVA's McGuffey Reading Center.

It's Allaire's job to coordinate this book drive, and after attending last year's celebration in which children were presented with their books, and seeing how proud the kids were of their ability to read them, she was so moved she decided she had to sign up.

Barnes & Noble is continuing their holiday book drive tradition, and once again the Book Buddies program has been chosen as the recipient of books donated by generous customers.

"The response last year was overwhelming," Allaire says. "We collected over 450 books. That's the most books we've ever received."

This year's drive begins November 28 and runs through December 24. Customers are invited to select a gift tag from the basket at the display at the front of the store. The tag will identify a Book Buddies child by first name and age, and the donor can choose a book appropriate for that individual. Purchases made for the book drive receive a 10 percent discount. Donations are left at the store and will be gift wrapped by folks from non-profit community organizations providing this service to customers throughout the holiday season.

Barnes & Noble's holiday book drive takes place November 28-December 24. Books purchased for this program receive a 10 percent discount. The store is in Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598. For information about Book Buddies, contact Eleanor Kett at 245-2667.

Wrathful: Steinbeck opus opens season

Karl Marx said that there's no way to know what life will be like in the Communist paradise, but it will be much, much better than the way it is now. Trust him. You have his personal guarantee.

And by the way, he has a few can't-lose investment opportunities you might want to jump on.

Even though the revolution never quite got off the ground here, Marx sounded awfully convincing in 1930s America. His critique of capitalism fueled a generation of literary malcontents like Upton Sinclair, Clifford Odets, and John Steinbeck, whose Grapes of Wrath has been the high school-English torture tool of choice ever since.

For all the local kids still struggling to get through the Cliff's Notes outline, Live Arts comes to the rescue. Their main stage season-opener is an adaptation of Steinbeck's epic novel by Frank Galati, the artistic director of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater. The original production was directed by Gary Sinese&emdash; a Steppenwolf company member better known for his big-screen smirking&emdash; and once it hit the road, it claimed the 1990 Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Direction.

Behind the wheel of Live Arts' production is local luminary Betsy Tucker, whose most recent directing credits include a lively Love's Labour's Lost at Barboursville Vineyards and a superb mounting of Charles Mee's Big Love at UVA last spring. Given the size and significance of the show for Live Arts&emdash; it's the first major production in their lavish new home on Water Street&emdash; you might expect to see a cast of Live Arts all-stars.

Au contraire, says Tucker: "Most people in this show haven't been in previous Live Arts productions. A lot of people came out for auditions because they were Steinbeck freaks."

Not that this is a reason to go in with low expectations.

"There are a lot of talented people in Charlottesville," Tucker says.

But isn't there a certain irony in opening your first season in a new multi-million dollar theater complex with a tale of poverty in the dustbowl?

"It is an epic theater space," says Live Arts' Artistic Director John Gibson. "It demands bold performances and sweeping stories."

Ah, but why this sweeping story?

"It's an American classic, a tale of community. It contains some of the most powerful archetypes of our time, and it's an ensemble piece. All of those things are true to who we are," he says.

And, ironies aside, Gibson adds, "Stories about social justice and the divides between rich and poor are always relevant, never more so than now."

Marx would agree.

Grapes of Wrath previews on December 4 and runs until December 20. Call box office for information on free preview tickets. 8pm. Performances at Live Arts UpStage, 123 E. Water St. Tickets $10-15. 977-4177.

Subterranean stomp: Malone kicks it at Gravity Lounge

A rockin' version of country-blues runs deep on Michelle Malone's latest venture, Stompin' Ground, the performer's eighth studio release. Sounding something like a female-fronted Led Zeppelin (though without Jimmy Page's predilection for the riff), Stomping Ground has a certain pretty-toughness running through it, matching Malone's sweet vocals (reminiscent of Sheryl Crow) with classic-rock and classic-blues instrumentation.

If this album had been released in 1968, it would probably still be in rotation today, its fans floating somewhere between Janis Joplin's blues and the Stones' rock.

An Atlanta native, Malone got her start down the musical path after meeting the Indigo Girls' Emily Saliers and Amy Ray at Agnes Scott College. The two encouraged her to take her flowering talent further, and she released New Experience, her debut album, in 1988. Along with coming out with solo albums seemingly every year or so since 1995, Malone found time to form two bands, Drag the River and Band de Soleil, both of which also released recordings.

Stompin' Ground is Malone's first album on Daemon Records, Ray's Atlanta-based label. The disc begins with "Lafayette," probably the most classical of the classic-sounding tunes on it. Beginning with some free-style slide guitar, the song's heavy acoustic guitar quickly brings order to the chaos, heralding the entrance of Malone herself.

"Well the fresh brown river runs long and deep, down from the black mountain snow / And every time I get downhearted, That's where my mind will go," Malone sings with melodic simplicity and a seeming disregard for current navel-bearing, hip-thrusting, innuendo-laden popular music.

And instead of a heap of vocal overdubs and everything else modern choruses have to give them extra impact (I'm looking in your direction, catchy keyboard parts), the only thing that signifies the chorus of "Lafayette" (other than Malone's change in melody, of course), is the addition of clapping. About a minute into the track, the drums roll in, and their spare and selective usage only lengthen the Zep shadow.

"2 Horns and 2 Wings" is a rousing 2/4 blues number that separates itself from the average I-IV-V flock (the traditional blues progression) by the its energy-&endash; the song seems to almost overload your neural net with its sense of utter devotion to the rock.

Other highlights on Stomping Ground include a bluesy "Preacher's Daughter," and a country "Cyprus Inn," but the whole run of the album makes for a good listen. Fresh off a west-coast tour with the Indigo Girls, Malone will be at Gravity Lounge December 3 &endash; your chance to get a good dose of something a little more serious than pop/rock in a sensational subterranean space.

Michelle Malone and her Low Down Georgia Revue perform at Gravity Lounge December 3. $10, 7:30pm.