Cultural calendar, December 4-11, 2003

Cultural calendar, December 4-11, 2003

THURSDAY, December 4
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.

Tellington-Touch for Dogs and Cats:
Sandy Rakowitz demonstrates gentle massage for your pets' health and performance and to relieve fear, shyness, and behavior problems. 6pm-8pm at Animal Connection, 1701E Allied St. 296-7048.

Tell me a story:
Toddlers 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.

Theology and ethics:
Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University Divinity School speaks about "Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Truth and Politics." Sponsored by the Forum on Contemporary Thought. Rotunda Dome Room, UVA. 3:30-5:15pm. for more info.

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

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 D.C.-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.

Kucinich for Pres: All you need to know. Madison Room, Central Library, Market St. 7pm. Sign up to attend at or contact Peter Markush at Regular Kucinich meet-ups are the first Thursdays of the month.

The UVA New Music Ensemble Concert at Cabell Hall Auditorium:
Stephen Prock directs the New Music Ensemble. Exploring the newest music by some of today's best regarded composers, the NME regularly performs tunes of 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 (acoustic-pop) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10:30pm

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

Ben Krakauer & Matt Wyatt at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Michael Mulvaney's Mammie West Band (rock & blues) at Jabberwocky. No cover, 11pm.

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

Navel and Eve To Adam (hard rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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

After Dark: House/Funk/NuWave/Rock at Rapture. $10, 9pm.

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)

FRIDAY, December 5
About Down Under:
Anthropologist Tim Rowse, Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University, speaks on "Aboriginal Respectability" at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. Rowse is the author of Nugget: A Reforming Life and Indigenous Futures. Call 244-0234 to make a reservation.

Tour of Richmond:
Travel with the Wintergreen Nature Foundation to visit the Governor's Mansion, the Capitol. St. John's Episcopal Church, and Shockoe Slip while it's decked out for the holidays. Bring money for lunch at the Tobacco Company. Register by Friday, December 5. $15 members and $20 non-members. 325-7451.

Leander McCormick Observatory:
Weather permitting, visitors will be able to view the moon, planets, and other celestial objects through the historic 26-inch McCormick Refractor and other small telescopes. Visitors can also attend lectures, audio-visual programs, and view exhibits in the small museum. There is no charge for admission, but donations are accepted. O-Hill. McCormick Road. 924-7494.

Giving kids a lift:
A festive atmosphere prevails at the Kids Lift Foundation's 14th annual Toy Lift with food, entertainment, and on-site media broadcasts. Volunteers will be collecting donations of new, unwrapped toys and books for needy kids ages newborn-13 all day in Lowe's parking lot. Rt. 29 north. 245-9597.

Middle Earth adventure:
Bilbo Baggins and friends set out in search of treasure from the dragon in the Four County Players' dramatization of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Hobbit. 7:30pm. $12 adults, $10 seniors and students, $8 children. Barboursville Community Center off Rt. 33 on Rt. 678. 540-832-5355. See Performance feature.

The Vulgar Bulgars: This ensemble presents a concert of down home klezmer music. 8pm. Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, 414 E. Market St. Free. 293-9947.

Grapes of Wrath: Live Arts presents the first main stage show in its new space, an adaptation of John Steinbeck's epic novel of struggling migrant workers in the '30s. Runs until December 20. Bring canned goods or other non-perishable food items to donate to the Thomas Jefferson Area Food Bank. Live Arts Down Stage, 123 E. Water St. 8pm. $10-15. 977-4177.

Contra dance: The Albemarle Chapter of the Country Dance & Song Society presents a contra dance featuring live traditional music with Bill Wellington on fiddle and Lynn Mackey on piano. The caller for the night will be Jim Morrison. Dance 8pm-11pm; free beginners workshop at 7:30. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth Street Extended. $7, under 12 free. 295-1245.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: Live Arts opens their first season at their new space with a LATTE production of Tom Stoppard's comic fantasy on Hamlet, through December 13. Live Arts Up Stage, 123 E. Water St. 8pm. $7. 977-4177.

King Lear: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the Bard's monumental tragedy at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

PVCC Chorus Holiday Concert:
Under the direction of Jeff Suling, the chorus rings in the holidays with a concert featuring familiar seasonal carols and songs, as well as Renaissance works and music from the Celtic, Hebrew, and African-American traditions. 7:30pm. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. Free. 245-2671.

Virginia Gentlemen Christmas Concert: UVA's oldest a cappella group presents its Christmas concert. The proceeds support Holiday Sharing, an organization that collects and distributes food and toys to underprivileged families in the Charlottesville area. Bring a toy to the concert and receive $5 off the Virginia Gentlemen's 50th Anniversary CD. 9:30pm. Old Cabell Hall. $5. 924-3984.

Virginia Glee Club: Frank Albinder leads the Club in its 63rd Annual Christmas Concert, featuring seasonal music. Old Cabell Hall, UVA Central Grounds. 7pm. $5-12. 924-3984.

Jake Armerding with Greg Liszt on banjo at the Prism:
From the age of 14, Jake Armerding has been playing bluegrass, so by now you'd suspect he'd be pretty good. This multi-instrumentalist (mandolin, guitar, and fiddle) on Compass records brings along Charlottesvillian Greg Liszt for a little banjo action, so chances are there's going to be a ruckus. $14/$12 advance, 8pm.

David Rovics at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church: Inspirational singer/songwriter David Rovics has shared the stage with Amy Goodman, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and many others, and plays songs "of social and political significance." Suggested donation $7, 8pm. 717 Rugby Road.

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

Danny Schmidt with Erica Olsen (singer/songwriter) at Gravity Lounge. $6, 8:30pm.

William Walter & Co. at (acoustic-rock) Jabberwocky. No cover, 11pm.

EMDUB ("multi-ethnic electronic fusion") at Miller's. $3, 10pm.

Sundried Opossum (jamtastic) at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

DJ Mike Brie: Old & New School Hip Hop with DJ Bust at Rapture. $10, 9pm.

SATURDAY, December 6
Pottering around:
The PVCC Pottery Club puts their wares on sale today from 9am to 1pm in the Dickinson Building Commons. The hand built and hand thrown highfire stoneware is all made by PVCC students and all priced to fit holiday shopping budgets (cash sales only). 500 College Drive. 973-4628.

Do I hear…?: Bid to better the University of Virginia Art Museum at "Inside Out," the Young Friends of the Museum's eighth annual holiday art auction. 5:30-8:30pm. 155 Rugby Road. 243-8874.

Crafty idea: Drive to the country to "Christmas in Free Union: A Craft Boutique," featuring work by Nancy Ross, George Bentley, and Sharon Duvall, among others. Snack and shop 10-4pm today and tomorrow at the Free Union Country School, 4220 Free Union Road. 973-6846.

Not St. Nick: Go east to visit the Nichols Galleries' Holiday Open House, where Frederick Nichols will be giving tours of his printmaking workshop and studio. In addition, the Nichols Gallery Annex across the street opens its exhibition of small works by 20 regional artists, including Ron Boehmer, Philip Koch, Maruta Racenis, and Priscilla Whitlock. 11am-5pm today and tomorrow. Barboursville. 540-832-3565.

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.

Tartuffe: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents a new production of Moliere's comic masterpiece in the Blackfriars Playhouse. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Grapes of Wrath: See Friday, December 5.

Ballroom dance: Charlottesville's United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association (USABDA) sponsors a Winter Wonderland dance featuring ballroom, Latin, and swing tunes. Attend the beginner's samba lesson at 7pm and then dance until late into the night. Special performances by the UVA Ballroom Club. 7pm. UVA Alumni Hall, 211 Emmet St. $5-12. 974-7949.

Douglas Hamby Master Class: PVCC continues its ambitious dance season with a master class by Douglas Hamby. The afternoon includes Merce Cunningham-based instruction and ends with the class "making some dance." 1:30-3:30. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. $10. 961-5376.

The Hobbit: See Friday, December 5.

Virginia Glee Club: See Friday, December 5. There are two concerts today, at 7 and 9:30pm.

Audition workshop: Clinton Johnson and Mary Elizabeth Forbes lead a workshop for Live Arts' upcoming auditions (on December 14) for Nine, the musical. The cast includes one man (30s- 40s), 16 women (all ages), and one boy (age 9). "Come find out how to stand out." 1-3pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10-15. 977-4177.

Newcomb Hall Artisans' Bazaar:
Over two dozen local artisans offer handcrafted goods made locally. 10:30am-6pm. 924-3286.

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 E. Water St. 977-3690.

Santa skates: The jolly old elf dons skates and takes to the ice this afternoon at the Charlottesville Ice Park. As you're whizzing by, maybe you can tell him if you've been naughty or nice. All ages welcome. 1:30-3:30pm. West end of the Downtown Mall. 817-4423.

Party time: Kids 12 and under can visit with Santa at a Christmas Craft Party at Carver Recreation Center. Free photos with the big guy and the chance to make fun crafts. 1:30-4pm. Free. 223 Fourth St. NW. 970-3271.

Puppets and more: Charlottesville Waldorf School's Holiday Bazaar takes place at the school's main campus in Crozet today, 10am-4pm. Admission is free. The puppet play is presented at 11am, noon, and 2pm. Tickets are required and can be purchased at the door. Children's activities and food carry a nominal fee. 1408 Crozet Ave. 823-6800. See Family feature.

Holiday house: Kids ages four and up can sample the goodies as they create their own edible gingerbread house at the Virginia Discovery Museum. 10:30-11:15am. $5 members, $7 non-members. Reservations required. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Off to see the wizard: Dorothy and her friends venture off to the land of Oz in the Jefferson Youth Theatre's latest production of The Wizard of Oz at Burnley-Moran School. 5pm. $6. Rt. 250 Bypass near Free Bridge. 249-2803.

Middle Earth adventure: See Friday, December 5.

Patriot Games:
The Miller Center lines up experts for a half-day conference on the impact of the Patriot Act on civil liberties. Featuring UVA's Charles McCurdy, law professor John Yoo of the American Enterprise Institute, Oren Gross of Michigan, and Kenneth Starr, ultimate defender of civil liberties. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 9-1pm. 924-0921.

On the Mezzanine: New Dominion hosts signings all day. Rebecca Frischkorn and Reuben Rainey, co-authors of Half My World: The Anne Spencer Garden, A History and Guide begin at 10:30am, followed by Beverly Van Hook (Juliet's Ghost) at 1pm and Sam Abell (Through the Lens) at 3:30pm. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Acoustic Charlottesville:
Kathy Compton, Ralph Rush, John Rimel, and Stephen and Ursula Goadhouse at the new Live Arts Upstage: The best in the softer side of the guitar comes out of the woodwork, and it's now at the new Live Arts space-&endash; luxurious, clean, and acoustically out of sight. $5, 8pm.

Phatback Boogaloo at Bistro 151 in Nellysford: A multi-media band– or wait, I guess mono-media-&endash; music, but they've got multi-genre stylings– jazz, Latin, funk and swing. No cover, 9:30pm.

T'AIN'T at Orbit: Composed of Chris Leva, Johnny Gilmore, Houston Ross, and guitarist Pete Davis, T'ain't weave "interstellar heavy groove improvisations." I really don't think T'ain't's a word, but I'll look it up… Nope, but good try, gentlemen. No cover, 10pm.

Darrel Rose and Matthew Willner perform duets at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar: Rose plays "a vaiety of percussion instruments including djembe, sabar, berimbau, and balafon," and Willner shines on "guitar, bass, guitar synthesizers, loops, and devices." This should be a sonic journey, to say the least. No cover, 9pm.

5-String Femmes featuring Devon Sproule, Erica Olsen, Amanda French, Catherine Carraway, Sarah White, Meghan Gillespie, Richelle Clayborne, Jen, Chris & Juliet from Claire Quilty at Gravity Lounge. $12/$10, 8:30pm.

Wonderjack (rock originals and covers) at Jabberwocky. No cover, 11pm.

Benefit for Tibet Freedom: 6 Local Bands at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Johnny Cunningham and Susan McKeown with Aidan Brennan at the Prism. $22/$18 advance, 8pm.

DJ Stroud: House/Breaks/Trance with Omar at Rapture. $10, 9pm.

TigerLily (harmonious folk) at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. $5, 8pm.

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

The Dawning: Terminal Ready and DJ Rite Bastard (dark dancing) at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10:30pm.

SUNDAY, December 7
Crafty idea:
See Saturday, December 6.

Not St. Nick: See Saturday, December 6.

Ultimate Frisbee:
Blue Ridge Ultimate hosts its annual Ultimate (frisbee) winter league December 7-February 21. $20 registration. Info: Steven, 760-2959 or

Newcomb Hall Artisans' Bazaar: See Saturday, December 6.

Knight of the Burning Pestle:
Shenandoah Shakespeare presents Francis Beaumont's raucous Elizabethan farce at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: See Friday, December 5. Today's show is at 2pm.

The Hobbit: See Friday, December 5. Today's performance is at 2:30pm.

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.

International holiday:
The Science Museum of Virginia celebrates "Joy from the World" in a special way today. Visitors can create their own constellation, learn about star patterns, find out how to make Polish ornaments, buy some yummy Italian cookies, enjoy Scottish Country Dancers at 1pm, or take a class to learn how to decorate Ukrainian Pysanky Eggs from 1-4pm. The class costs $17 and registration is required. Everything else is included in the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Holidays past: Christmas is Victorian at Maymont where visitors can tour the lavishly decorated historic home of James and Salley Dooley, take a festive carriage ride, visit with Father Christmas, enjoy a Beatrix Potter puppet show, and, of course, search for gifts in the Maymont Holiday Shop. Noon-5pm. Fees for activities. 1700 Hampton St., Richmond. 804-358-7166, ext. 310.

Off to see the wizard: See Saturday, December 6.

Middle Earth adventure: See Friday, December 5. Time today: 2:30pm.

Girlyman with The Naked Puritans and Flashbulb Diary Trio at Gravity Lounge: I'm usually pretty tolerant, but man-o-man, I'm not a fan of Girlyman. $8, 7:30pm. See Tunes feature.

King Golden Banshee (live Irish music) at Dürty Nelly's Pub. No cover, 6:30pm.

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

The Zing Kings at the Gravity Lounge. No cover, 11am-2pm.

MONDAY, December 8
The Vulgar Bulgars:
This ensemble presents a concert of down-home klezmer music. 8pm. Gravity Lounge, 103 S. First St. $5. 977-5590.

Audition: PVCC holds auditions for its winter production of Gary Owen's Drowned World, the prize-winning hit of the Edinburgh Theater Festival. Cast: two men and two women. The play runs February 19-22. Maxwell Theater, V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. 7-9pm. 961-5387.

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)

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)

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

TUESDAY, December 9
Audition notice:
See Monday, December 8. Today's auditions are 4:30-6:30pm.

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.

Messiah Sing-In:
Donald Loach leads the 36th annual Messiah Sing-In, which offers community members a chance to perform selections from Handel's masterpiece alongside musicians from around the city. 8pm. Old Cabell Hall. $5. 924-3984.

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)

EMDUB ("multi-ethnic electronic fusion") at Orbit. $3, 10pm.

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

WEDNESDAY, December 10
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.

Grapes of Wrath: See Friday, December 5. Tonight is pay-what-you-can night.

A Christmas Carol: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the annual staging of Dickens' classic, featuring actors from the Excellent Motion Troupe, teenage actors from Shenandoah Shakespeare's Young Company Theatre Camp, and children from the local community. Runs through December 28. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. 10:30am and 7:30pm. $10-26. 540-851-1733.

Tour of Richmond:
See Friday, December 5.

Tell me a story:
See Thursday, December 4. Today's session is for preschoolers. 10:30am.

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

Kris Delmhorst and Mark Erelli at Gravity Lounge. $12/$10, 8:30pm.

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)

Monticello Road (folky pop/rock) at South Street. No cover, 10pm.

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

THURSDAY, December 11
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: See Friday, December 5. Today's show is at 7:30pm.

A Christmas Carol: See Wednesday, December 10. Today's performance is at 10:30am.

Peace on Earth:
Join members of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice as they rally for peace at various locations today. 4-5pm, pro-peace, anti-war demonstration outside the Federal building on McIntire Road near the Omni. 5-5:15pm deliver pro-peace petitions to Congressman Virgil Goode's office. 5:15-6pm, candlelight vigil at the Central Place downtown. 293-9818.

Tell me a story:
See Thursday, December 4.

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)

Jan Smith (pop-folk) and Robert Donnan at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

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

Garon: Discotek at Rapture. $10, 9pm.

Inner Space (sonic adventurers) at Mountain View Grill. $5, 8pm.

Sedamentreous (hard rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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

Jim Gagnon's Dreamtime Project at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 8pm.

Upcoming and Ongoing:
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.

On the frontier: Modern folks can visit families of the past on the four historic farms at the Frontier Culture Museum. Costumed interpreters talk about holiday traditions of Old World Europe through December. 10am-4pm. $8 adults, $7.50 seniors, $4 children 6-12. Rt. 250 west in Staunton. 540-332-7850.

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 is offering basketball for seniors 55 and up at the Downtown Recreation Center, 800 East Market Street for the months of November, December, January and February. The program will be held Mondays from 10-11.30am. 970-3264.

Cut your own Christmas tree at Ash Lawn: To December 24. Cutting is permitted from 11am to 4pm daily. A donation, which will be used 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. 293-9539.

Holiday market: Mark the holiday season at the Holiday City Market at Central Place on the Downtown Mall, Fridays and Saturdays, 10am-5pm, December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 & 20. Browse through handmade gifts, toys, jewelry, baked goods, decorations, wreaths and fresh greenery. Sponsored by Charlottesville Recreation & Leisure Services. Info: 970-3271.

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.

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 reception at Les Yeux du Monde@dot2Dot for Beatrix Ost's "Intimacy: 15 Minutes of Drawing," happens 5:30-7:30pm. Music by Cathy Bollinger and Marcie Slaughter. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

The Mudhouse hosts an open house for digital artist Paul Troy. Several pieces of the artist's furniture will also be on display at the opening. 6-8pm. W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

The C&O Gallery opens its exhibition of Elaine Futhey's photography with goodies to sip and chomp, 5:30-7:30pm. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Cilli Original Designs Gallery celebrates its grand opening with a reception for photographer Billy Hunt, who recently shot the "Hot Moms of C'ville" calendar (hmmm). Festivities begin at 7pm. No word on whether the moms will be in evidence. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

Stoneking/Von Storch Architects hosts a soiree for David Cochrane's paintings 5:30-8pm. Fifth and Water streets, second floor. 295-4204.

The McGuffy Art Center throws one of its gala receptions&emdash;maybe with a Yuletide theme?– celebrating its annual Holiday Open House. Like something? Hand over the cash and carry it away. But nab some chips and salsa on your way out, 5:30-7:30pm. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Meet artist Mary Ellen Larkins at Transient Crafters 6-9pm. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

The BozArt Gallery opens its All Member Show with a doozy little fest, 6-9pm. 211 W. Main on the Downtown Mall. 296-3919.

Art Upstairs celebrates the season with an opening reception for its holiday group show, 5:30-9pm. 316 E. Main St., above the Hardware Store on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

Burrow into the Gravity Lounge and meet Polly Mikulski at the reception for her current show, 5-8pm. 103 S. First St. 977-5590.

Nineteen businesses along Water Street unveil "Windows on Water," holiday-themed window displays created by local artists. Special treats await your Water Street stroll, 5:30-8pm.

The John Ruseau Watercolor Gallery hosts an opening reception for its current exhibit of art and objects from the Connecticut's Mystic Seaport Museum. 6-10pm. York Place on the Downtown Mall. 977-0627,

The University of Virginia Library swings with "Portraits of the Golden Age of Jazz: Photographs by William P. Gottlieb," on display, 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.

The C&O Gallery presents the photography of Elaine Futhey. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Transient Crafters displays "Glimmering Glass," kiln-fired jewelry, plates, and more by Mary Ellen Larkins, through December. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

Cilli Original Designs Gallery opens its new space with the work of photographer Billy Hunt, who recently shot the "Hot Moms of C'ville" calendar. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

David Cochrane's paintings, featuring abstract/geometric pieces and portraits influenced by Matisse and Picasso, are on view at the architectural firm of Stoneking/Von Storch. Fifth and Water streets, second floor. 295-4204.

Beatrix Ost explores what contributes to the formation of identity in "Intimacy: 15 Minutes of Drawing," on display at Les Yeux du Monde@dot2Dot through January. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

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

The Mudhouse presents digital artist Paul Troy's "Persons, Things & Other Objects" through December 28. W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

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 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 Rd. 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.

Art Upstairs presents members' work in a holiday group show through December 27. 316 E. Main St., above the Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

"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.

Holiday cheer getting to you? Sober up by taking in "Portraits of the Human Condition," recent work by Polly Mikulski, on display at the Gravity Lounge through December. 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 with the work of McGuffey artists working 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. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

During December, the Bozart Gallery presents an All Member Show, featuring a wide range of styles and media. 211 W. Main St. 296-4669.

Galerie LaParlière is showing 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

The University of Virginia Art Museum opens "Our View," an exhibit of area high school students' award-winning photographs focusing on hometown life. The show runs through December 21. Also "The Moon Has No Home: Japanese Color Woodblock Prints from the Collection" runs through March 7. And "Steam Power: Railroad Photographs of O. Winston Link," runs through December 21. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952. See Art feature.


The Nichols Gallery Annex displays small works by 20 regional artists, including Ron Boehmer, Philip Koch, Maruta Racenis, and Priscilla Whitlock, through January 4. Barboursville. 540-832-3565.

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.

Al Rossi's watercolors of Fluvanna area scenes are on display at the Carysbrook Library through December. Highway 15. Fluvanna. 434-842-2230.

The Fluvanna Art Association's Annual Show runs through the end of December at the Fluvanna County Community Center in Fork Union. Highway 15. 34-842-3150 or

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 is on view through January 4 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. While there, check out "The New VMFA: Collecting for the Future," which runs through January 4. 2800 Grove Ave. Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Marc Charette presents his landscape photography at Caffé Bocce during December. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422

Edo ed: The floating world of Japanese prints

It's one of those late fall Sunday afternoons we live for: brilliantly sunny and unexpectedly warm– an ideal day for a hike or an al fresco brunch. But I'm headed indoors.

"What am I doing?" I think, pulling open the door to the University of Virginia Art Museum. "I'm going to be the only one here."

Wrong. There on the second floor I find a standing-room-only crowd, buzzing with excitement. The occasion? The opening of "The Moon Has No Home," an exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints.

Three years in the making, "The Moon Has No Home" showcases 60 images from the museum's collection of prints from the popular art movement known as Ukoy-e, "pictures of the floating world." Across the walls, actors and courtesans engage in melodramatic scenes that would have been familiar to the theater-going, gossip-loving commoners who endured Japan's turbulent Edo period, 1615-1868.

"This is one of the best displays I've seen," remarks Japanese art expert Sandy Kita, who curated the show with UVA's Stephen Margulies (whom Kita referred to as his "co-conspirator"). Noting that there are 300,000 Japanese prints in the U.S., Kita adds, "If you want to study the Japanese print, you don't do it in Japan. You do it here."

Each elaborately detailed image is unique, the result of a coordinated effort among the artist, block carvers, and a "rubber" who controlled the way the pigments transferred to the paper. Puddling the ink might yield an edgeless lake; incorporating the woodblock's grain could add dimension to a mountain.

The exhibit leads the viewer through an introduction to the art form, demonstrating quality issues by comparing a copy with an original print and explaining aspects of the rubber's technique. The show then explores the social situations that fostered Ukoy-e and points out the subtly subversive humor contained in many of the prints.

The show culminates in an anteroom, which curator Stephen Margulies reverently calls "the altar," dedicated to the passionate images of 19th-century master printer Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

On a wall by itself is Yoshitoshi's image of Lady Chiyo, an 18th-century poet best known for her haiku about the moon's reflection in a pail of water. But her bucket has fallen to the ground. The spilled water can no longer contain the moonlight, an allegory for how Japan's political upheaval changed society and overwhelmed Buddhist tradition.

"She is," Margulies says, "the existential summing up of this show." And well worth coming inside to see.

"The Moon Has No Name" remains on view through March 7 at The University of Virginia Art Museum. A symposium on Japanese woodblock prints, featuring presentations by Sebastian Izzard, Sandy Kita, Herman Ooms, and Timon Screech, will take place February 6-7. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592.

Dynamic duo: Collaborators bring Albemarle to life

Avery Chenoweth didn't want to write about Thomas Jefferson. Early in his collaboration with photographer Robert Llewellyn he suggested they "avoid the shrine." Inured to the local personality cult and the omnipresent image of that idyll on the mountain, the co-authors resolved to focus on the other 749 farms and 7,000 roads of the county to fill the pages of their new folio Albemarle

But Jefferson wouldn't stay away.

Omnipresent as the Rivanna, Jefferson's life– and, yes, landscaping efforts– have molded the county in more ways than a perfunctory nod to Monticello and the gardens of the Lawn pavilions can encompass. Reading an account of 10-year-old Jefferson witnessing a Monacan Indian procession to their burial grounds, Chenoweth had an epiphany.

"Historians deal with this episode in a sentence. They sail right over it," he says with some indignation. "But whoa … stop the presses! Of all kids who could have been there to see this and to turn that image into an appreciation of what was here before, well…" he (almost) concludes.

The kid, as they say, stays in the picture: An aerial view of Monticello (p.88) represents his legacy as the father of archaeology.

Each chapter of Albemarle features a new romance-&endash; from cultivation as the new Eden (here we're reminded that Cain, thrown out of the Garden for slaying his free-range brother, became a developer) to the enduring portrait of geographically defined leisure (spot the cell-phone user among the otherwise timeless fox hunters and their mounts).

And Jefferson does make way for Edgar Allen Poe, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lady Bird Johnson, all of whom contributed generously to the local landscape's modern identity.

Chenoweth's text is a maelstrom of erudite enthusiasm, a blitzkrieg of philosophical insights and associations that generally hit their target. Llewellyn's astounding photographs provide a soothing continuum, a reminder that the book's subject is as simple as the triple line of a Blue Ridge vista.

A collection of 100 color photographs framed in 175 pages of reflection, Albemarle is more than a high-end picture book, though it's sure to look magnificent on many a holiday coffee table. It's a true collaboration, for which Chenoweth and Llewellyn spent a full year on the ramble, the note-taker patiently waiting for the right light, just as the man with the camera lent a constant ear to the developing storyline.

Llewellyn's photographs are superb, and Chenoweth's essay is provocative; the two together represent nothing short of a new genre of art book.

University of Virginia Press launches Albemarle, A Story of Landscape and American Identity, at New Dominion Bookshop on December 4 at 5:30pm. Chenoweth and Llewellyn will be on hand to autograph. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Let it snow: Man-made or real, bring it on!

Remember when you thought winter started with the first snow? These days it's the first snow machine that claims the honor, and at Wintergreen it was switched on the day after Thanksgiving. The event was even heralded with a competition on the resort's website offering a pair of lift tickets to the person who came closest to guessing the date. What's next? A crocus machine to bring on Spring?

Snow machines have been around for many years, but their impact has been so dramatic that resorts are using them more and more every year. Wintergreen– which, temperatures-permitting, will open on December 5– is now using them on all its slopes, after first instituting them last year.

Of course, that was the year of the Big Snow, when natural precipitation made it seem inconceivable that there would be a need for anything else. But at Wintergreen they were making snow even while the real stuff was falling from the sky. Apparently you need an enormous base if you want skiing to last until March, and the fake stuff is controllable, so that you can make it as dry and as light as you like. (If you must know: Man-made snow particles, like their natural counterparts, are made of air and water but the machine can control the ratio.)

When they've made the snow, they make the moguls, for those who prefer a bit more of a challenge. A machine– apparently resembling a mini snowplow with appendages– forms them in strategically located spots, then grooms them to create the texture of corduroy to make them easier to ski on. The appendages pat and mould the moguls like sandcastles on the beach.

A similar scenario takes place at Massanutten, the area's second ski resort, which is smaller and a little farther afield. Serious skiers praise Snowshoe Mountain and Canaan Valley in West Virginia, which are steeper and a little more challenging, and are also blessed with more reliable (natural) snow.

Of course this is increasingly true the farther West you go, since snow storms tend to lose steam as they head east. But with or without snow machines, the weathermen are predicting an even whiter season than last.

Most of these resorts offer snow-boarding, snow-shoeing and (for those who refuse to participate in any sort of skiing at all) snow tubing. And if you prefer to stay on horizontal terrain, the Blue Ridge Parkway is said to be ideal for cross country skiing. A good place to start is at Reeds Gap on Route 664.

The following websites provide details on times, prices, and directions:; (Massanutten);, Temperatures permitting, most resorts hope to open in early December.

Family time: Tales for kids, goodies for all

Our family's copy of The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales is tattered and dog-eared. For years we would pull it out at bedtime and randomly find a story or two to lull the little ones into dreamland. Even now that my boys are big, we occasionally refer to it to recall old favorites or just to see what changes Disney has made to the original.

The folks at the Charlottesville Waldorf School know how special these archetypal tales are; they're a constant in the Waldorf curriculum for young children. Now kids from far and wide can have the chance to experience the magic of this enchantment as teachers present a marionette puppet play of one of the Grimms' best-loved holiday tales, "The Elves and the Shoemaker."

The performance is just one of a number of special treats in store for those who visit the school's holiday bazaar this weekend. Many organizations host an annual fundraising event like this, but few offer families the chance to come together for some good, old-fashioned, down-to-earth fun.

In addition to the puppet play, kids can get crafty with candle dipping, woodworking, cookie decorating, beading, and sand art. Little ones with little budgets can also sneak into the Secret Garden&emdash; no grown-ups allowed&emdash; to buy little hand-made gifts for family members.

For adults, there are vendors&emdash; more than 20 of them&emdash; selling unique hand-made gift items including carved wooden toys, dolls, jewelry, jams and jellies, and much more. Grown-ups can also indulge their creative spirit, making holiday wreaths and centerpieces out of fresh greenery.

Local musicians and entertainers perform throughout the day. Featured artists include Allodola, Central Virginia's only traditional Italian folk band, and Michael McConkey and Chris McQuale.

Lunch includes a variety of homemade delights served 11am-2pm. A selection of gourmet desserts, coffee, and tea will also be available throughout the day at the International Café.

Family time is so important, especially around the holidays. And with the combination of imaginative children's activities and unique, high quality crafts for sale, CWS's Holiday Bazaar is one of the best family fairs around.

Charlottesville Waldorf School's Holiday Bazaar takes place at the school's main campus in Crozet on Saturday, December 6, 10am-4pm. Admission is free. The puppet play is presented at 11am, noon, and 2pm. Tickets are required and can be purchased at the door. Children's activities and food carry a nominal fee. 1408 Crozet Ave. 823-6800.

Where are we? 4CP bring Bilbo to life

What visitor can forget the charms of rural Barboursville? Green and pleasantly sheltered, its houses set into the hills, its townspeople cheerful and modest, given to pipe smoking, eating six meals a day, and going without shoes, thanks to their furry, leather-soled feet.

Hold on. I may be confusing it with someplace else.

If on your last trip to the local vineyard the town didn't make you think of the Hobbit Shire, you won't be able to shake the connection after the next Four County Players show. Barboursville's long-lived community theater brings Middle Earth to Central Virginia this month with an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's first book, the tale of Bilbo Baggins' adventures with Gandalf, Thorin, and company as they try to reclaim a horde of gold from Smaug the Dragon.

No word on whether you need to wear shoes in the theater.

Tolkein was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford throughout his career, and though he wrote The Hobbit with his own four kids in mind, this was no lazy off-hours diversion. He spent years inventing the history, mythology, and languages of Middle Earth before starting on the novel.

The back-work paid off: The Hobbit's success upon publication in 1937 (W.H. Auden called it "one of the best children's stories of this century") led to the greater success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy– the inspiration for hundreds of authors in the fantasy genre, and thousands of dungeon-masters in suburban basements.

Four County Players may be best known for its annual summer Shakespeare productions amid the ruins of Governor James Barbour's mansion, but the company offers a full season during the rest of the year as well. The current season began with Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, and will continue next spring with The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Music Man.

The present production is well-timed. Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings adaptations have made Tolkein's work more popular than ever– in spite of the fact that the most compelling actor in them is a computer-generated cross between a salamander and a heroin junkie. The cast of 4CP's Hobbit is 100 percent human: 17 area kids and two adults from five counties, which is a good indicator of how many local Tolkein-ites wanted to be part of the show.

Director Tricia Belan, who works frequently with 4CP, acknowledges the enthusiasm of her young cast. "[They] took the show and ran with it," she says.

Which leaves only one troubling question. If Barboursville's the Shire, does that make us Mordor?

The Hobbit opens December 5 and runs though December 12. Friday and Saturday shows at 7:30pm, Sunday shows at 2:30pm. Barboursville Community Center, Route 678 off Highway 33, Barboursville. $8-12; group rates available. 540-832-5355.

Upping the anti: Girlyman brings on the zzzs

If I got anything out of the modern folk trio Girlyman's debut album, Remember Who I Am, it's the inclination that I will name my first-born, if it's a girl (and if my future wife, wherever she may be [shout out to the future], agrees), "Viola." Or possibly "Violet." No, I like the former better, really.

(This, of course, skips over the part about the whirlwind romance ending in marriage, then long conversations about the balancing of children and work, our mutual decision to purposefully "hey-hey," the pregnancy, the list goes on and on. I'm tired already, who else needs a drink?)

The point of this little diatribe, besides providing something for you to read in the car on your way to work, is that really I'd rather talk about side issues like something as irrelevant as a song title than talk about Girlyman. I'm not "anti," as the kids are saying these days (think of it as a one word term for the phrase, "against [whatever topic we are discussing]"), the band just doesn't make me care about them.

But in case you're not quite as jaded as I am to the wild pop-folk sounds storming the nation, let me ruminate on the band a bit. Then if you want to, go to, check out their songs online, and make up your own mind. Or don't, whatever.

Girlyman formed in 2002, after, in the apocalyptic words of a press release, "housing complications" forced its component parts, Doris Muramatsu, Tammy Greenstein, and Nate Borofsky into one apartment. Real World 2 style hijinks undoubtedly resulted, but in between the food fights and late-night confessions, the three found that their voices were well suited for a "soprano-alto-tenor" singing configuration, and a year later they started their musical troupe.

Remember Who I Am starts out with the aforementioned "Viola," a soft song written by Borofsky, who also takes lead vocals on the tune for the first verse, his high sweet voice singing "Viola, I swear I miss you / You were the wisest girl I knew" while shimmering acoustic guitar has his back. Bongos come in for the separate verse, and the group's three-part harmonies make their first appearance. They're nice, but I'm not going to quit my job and start a barber-shop quartet because of them.

"Say Goodbye" by Muramatsu is kind of a… sorry, I keep getting distracted by cars passing by. It's an okay contemporary folk song with a line about smoking in it, a timeless pop-music topic, but it doesn't make me feel anything. In fact, the whole album kind of has this numbing effect on my senses, turning my usual razor-sharp brain to… I could come up with a good analogy here, but I've been Girlyman-ified.

Good or bad music is meant to be passed on, though for different reasons– the former to let other people in on a good thing, the latter to get it the hell away from you. Thank goodness it's almost the holidays!

Girlyman perform with The Naked Puritans and Flashbulb Diary Trio at Gravity Lounge, December 7. $8, 7:30pm.