Cultural calendar, December 18-25, 2003

THURSDAY, December 18
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.

Visions of sugarplums:
The Moscow Ballet performs the traditional holiday favorite Nutcracker Ballet featuring local kids at the Charlottesville Performing Arts Center. 7:30pm. Melbourne Road. 961-7862.

Away in the manger: The Charlottesville Waldorf School presents The Shepherds' Play, a spirited medieval version of the nativity story. This family-friendly musical, filled with a sense of wonder and reverence, has become a not-to-be missed holiday tradition. 7pm. Donations accepted. 1408 Crozet Ave. 823-6800.

Frontier lights: The holidays of the past are illuminated on the four historic farms at the Frontier Culture Museum in their annual Lantern Tours. Costumed interpreters perform vignettes about the heritage of 1720s Germany, 1730s Northern Ireland, 1690s England, and 1850s Shenandoah Valley. Tours leave every 30 minutes from 5:30-8pm. Advance tickets required. $12 adults, $8 children. Rt. 250 west in Staunton. 540-332-7850.

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.

More Middle Earth: Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and the Ring of Power also appear in Staunton at ShenanArts. 7:30pm. 717 Quicks Mill Road. 540-248-1868.

Caroling at the Central Place:
The Buford Middle School Players invite you to join in a holiday caroling event. Turn back the clock with us to a simpler time when friends and neighbors joined together during the holidays to carol through the streets. 5-7pm. 977-1812.

Holly Trolley tours: Enjoy a free "Tour of Holiday Lights." Visit Downtown shops, restaurants, and entertainment sites. Limited seating– first come, first seated. Trolley leaves at 6, 7, and 8pm, but you can sign up starting at 5pm (no earlier) at April's Corner on the Mall. 295-9073.

Singles holiday dinner: Singles of all ages get a chance to wish other singles a happy, happy. Call 961-3164 for location, time, cost, and to reserve your spot for dinner.

Jan Smith Band with Kathryn Mostow at Gravity Lounge:
Jan Smith's sweet voice and pop hooks, spiced with a little rootsy flavor, make for one of the better acts in Charlottesville. Performing with the group is the acoustic sound of Kathryn Mostow. $5, 8pm.

R2: $3 Thursday's: Interzone DJs Xiane, AudioRapture, and Rift Electronica, EBM, Downtempo, Trip-Hop, Darkwave at Rapture: Dance the night away at R2, Rapture's new motion-oriented event. Every Thursday the door costs just $3, but the friends you'll make there are sure to be priceless. 9pm.

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)EMDUB (aka Matthew Willner 4) at Michael's Bistro. $3, 10pm.

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

Vindollo Jazz at Mountain View Grill. $4, 7pm.

In Tenebris, Heretics In The Lab, and Terminal Ready (rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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)

Booty Jam-Rock dance party benefit for human rights at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10:30pm.

FRIDAY, December 19
Blow it yourself:
Add something special to the tree this year with a glass ornament you blow yourself at the McGuffey Art Center. 10am-5pm today. Sunday, 12-5pm. Make reservations if you're bringing a group of 10 or more. Otherwise, first come, first served. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Last-ditch: Did Iraq try to reach a last-minute settlement? New York Times investigative reporter James Risen examines paths taken and not on the road to Saddam in a spider hole. The Miller Center. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-0921. 11am.

Caroling at the Central Place:
See Thursday, December 18.

Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas at Wintergreen: Holiday craft workshops, horse drawn carriage rides, Santa on the slopes, holiday family activities, gingerbread house contest. Christmas eve and Christmas day dinners and New Year's Eve celebrations. Call for tickets and information: 325-8180.

Ash Lawn &endash;Highland: Tour President James Monroe's house by candlelight. 7-9pm. $12, $11, and $6. Reservations recommended. 293-9539.

More Middle Earth:
See Thursday, December 18.

McCormick Observatory public night:
The Leander McCormick Observatory of the Department of Astronomy at UVA is open to the public on the first and third Friday of every month, 7-9pm. Weather permitting, visitors view the moon, planets, and other celestial objects through the 26-inch McCormick refractor, once the second largest telescope in the world, and other small telescopes. Free, but donations are accepted. 924-7494.

December sky: This year's winter solstice is Monday, December 22, at 2:04am. Tonight you can find out about the first day of winter when Science Museum of Virginia astronomer Ken Wilson presents the live interactive planetarium show LiveSky in the IMAX dome and planetarium at 6pm. Later, members of the Richmond Astronomical Society set up their telescopes on the front lawn to get a closer look at the December sky at 8pm. Free. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Frontier lights: See Thursday, December 18.

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. $12 adults, $10 seniors and students, $8 children. Barboursville Community Center off Rt. 33 on Rt. 678. 540-832-5355.

Grapes of Wrath: Live Arts presents the first main stage production in its new home, Frank Galati's Tony Award-winning adaptation of John Steinbeck's epic novel. Directed by Betsy Tucker. Ends 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. $10-15. 977-4177.

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

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 Up Stage, 123 E. Water St. 11pm. 977-4177.

Contra dance: Albemarle Chapter of the Country Dance and Song Society presents a contra dance featuring live traditional music from The Avant Gardners. The caller will be Denise Lair. Free beginners workshop at 7:30pm, dance 8-11pm. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. $7, under 12 free. 295-1245.

Open Mic night at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books:
It's another open mic night at Rapunzel's, where (almost) any kind of expression is welcome-&endash; from music to poetry to madcap tales of woe. Free, 7:30pm.

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

T'AIN'T at Garden of Sheba. No cover, 8pm.

Robbie Schaefer with Jeff Romano at Gravity Lounge. $12/$10 advance, 8pm.

Meanflower at Mountain View Grill. $5, 9pm.

William Walter & Co. (acoustic rock) at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

Big Fast Car (rock) with Evenout (D.C.) and No Gods No Monsters at Outback Lodge. $6 door, 10pm.

SATURDAY, December 20
Grapes of Wrath:
See Friday, December 19.

Christmas Carol: See Friday, December 20. Today's shows are at 2 and 7:30pm.

Middle Earth adventure: See Thursday, December 18.

Treaty party:
Today is the 200th anniversary of the formal transfer of the Louisiana Purchase. As ambassador to France, James Monroe played a pivotal role in negotiating and signing the treaty. Ash Lawn-Highland hosts a celebration of this historic event, and the former president, portrayed by Dennis Bigelow, will be on hand to chat. 1-4pm. Included in the price of admission. The house is open daily 11am-5pm. (Closed Christmas Day and New Years Day.) $9 adults, $5 children ages 6 to 11. 1000 James Monroe Parkway (Rt. 795). 293-9539.

Caroling at the Central Place:
Noon-5pm. See Thursday, December 18.

Pass it on:
Today is the deadline for the AlbemarleKids "I Volunteer Student Essay and Art Contest." Kids are invited to creatively express their thoughts and feelings about the volunteer projects they are involved with this winter season. Send to Check for details.

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 and 2 and 4pm. $5. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

Keep warm: Mangham Wool and Mohair Farm hosts a Country Christmas Fair on the farm. Folks can wander among the animals– sheep and goats– enjoy some hot cider and cookies, and shop for warm woolies including socks, hand knit sweaters, blankets, hats, and yarn. Noon-5pm. 901 Hammocks Gap Road off Rt. 20 north. 973-2222.

Frontier lights: See Thursday, December 18.

Middle Earth adventure: See Friday, December 19.

More Middle Earth: See Thursday, December 18.

Zephyrus holiday concert:
Charlottesville's early-music vocal ensemble presents a concert of Medieval, Renaissance, and modern music for Christmas. The program includes chants, beautiful motets, and festive Christmas songs. 8pm. First Presbyterian Church, 500 Park St. $8-12. 293-5339.

The Marzaks and the Lilas at Gravity Lounge:
The twisted acoustic-pop of the Marzaks comes swinging into the Gravity Lounge this Saturday night. The show will feature a mix of old members (the complete lineup of their debut release, Superhuman) and recent recruits. The power-folk trio that is the Lilas will be also performing. $10, 8:30pm.

Second annual Christmas Party: Tigerlily, The Hogwaller Ramblers, Eli Cook, Jeff Romano, Paul Curreri and Devon Sproule, The Pones, The Karma Bums, Los Cranios, Deja Moo, Shaheen Alikhan, Mary Gordon Hall and Blue O'Connor and more at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. If you've ever wondered what almost anyone in town really sounds like (as I am supposedly a totally unreliable source) you can find out tonight, at Rapunzel's second annual Christmas Party. It's going to be a howler. $5, 7:30pm.

Betty Gone Bad (rock originals and covers) at Bistro 151 in Nellysford. No cover, 9:30pm.

Dirty Weasels at Mountain View Grill. $5, 9pm.

TOW (rock) at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Rapunzel's Christmas Party: Tigerlily, The Hogwaller Ramblers, Eli Cook, Jeff Romano, Paul Curreri and Devon Sproule, The Pones, The Karma Bums, Los Cranios, Deja Moo, Shaheen Alikhan, Mary Gordon Hall and Blue O'Connor and more at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. $5, 7:30pm. See Tunes feature.

Sierra (country covers) at the Rockfish Valley Fire Department Christmas Party. $10 (BYOB), 8pm.

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

The Dawning: DJ Xiane + DJ Rift at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10:30pm.

SUNDAY, December 21
Hot cakes and art:
Head over to a reception for Mary Atkinson's exhibit at Hotcakes today 4-6pm. Barracks Road Shopping Center.

How the Madisons lived: Montpelier opens two new exhibits of Madison furniture and furnishings today featuring treasures from the Madisons' collections. "Public Places, Private Spaces" presents vignettes of two Madison rooms– a re-creation of the Madisons' 1824 dining room and the Dolley Madison Bedchamber, a representation of the private chamber which Dolley used as a bedroom and sitting room. Included with regular admission to Montpelier. Daily through March 31, 9:30am-4:30pm. (Montpelier is closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.) Route 20, four miles southwest of Orange. 540-672-2728 ext. 110 or

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.

Christmas Carol: See Friday, December 19. Today's shows are at 2 and 7:30pm.

Middle Earth adventure: See Thursday, December 18.

International holiday:
The Science Museum of Virginia celebrates "Joy from the World" with David Ross on the bagpipes from 2-3pm, winter solstice demonstrations at 1pm and 3pm. Included in the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Keep warm: See Saturday, December 20.

Frontier lights: See Thursday, December 18.

Middle Earth adventure: See Friday, December 19. Time is 2:30pm today.

More Middle Earth: See Thursday, December 18. Today's show is at 3pm.

Zephyrus Holiday Concert:
Charlottesville's early-music vocal ensemble presents a concert of Medieval, Renaissance, and modern music for Christmas. The program will include chants, beautiful motets, and festive Christmas songs. 3:30pm. St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Owensville Road (Rt. 678) off Rt. 250 W., Ivy. $8-12. 293-5339.

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

The Zing Kings at Gravity Lounge. Free, 11am.

Old School Freight Train with Fair Weather Bums (old time good time) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

MONDAY, December 22
Giant Menorah lighting and community Chanukah celebration:
Join Chabad of Charlottesville at 5pm at Central Place on the Downtown Mall for a Chanukah celebration for folks of all ages. Sing the "Dreidel Song" and "Rock of Ages" and feast on traditional holiday treats like potato latkes with all the trimmings– and jelly doughnuts. 293-5994. See Walkabout Feature.

He's a mean one:
That cuddly as a cactus, old Grinch is back to try to wipe out Christmas again. Eat popcorn and watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Gordon Avenue Library. 3pm. Free. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Frontier lights: See Thursday, December 18.

More Middle Earth: See Thursday, December 18. Time today is 3pm.

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)

Jim Ryan (jazz bass and love songs) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. Free, 9pm. (W)

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

TUESDAY, December 23
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.

Christmas Carol: See Friday, December 19. Today's show is at 7:30pm.

Frontier lights:
See Thursday, December 18.

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)

Max Collins at Orbit. No cover, 10pm.

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

WEDNESDAY, December 24
Christmas Carol:
See Friday, December 19. Today's show is a matinee at 2pm.

Peggy's Pinch:
Come and see one of Wintergreen's secret spots and hike to the Lower Shamokin waterfalls. This moderate hike is approximately three miles. Bring lunch and plenty of water. $3 members; $5 non-members. 10.30am. 325-7453.

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

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)

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

THURSDAY, December 25
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 Band with Kathryn Mostow at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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)

Upcoming and Ongoing:
One in ten:
VABook is sponsoring a comic poetry contest. Ten lines or fewer to make the grade. Make former poet laureate and funny-man George Garrett belly-laugh to take the prize. Deadline February 10. Details on the website.

Something different:
Beginning January 4, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church shows the abstract relief acrylic paintings of David Breeden, more famously known about town for his sculpture. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

Seeking artists: Charlottesville in 2 Dimensions is receiving artwork in any medium from any age artist depicting scenes of Charlottesville, on Friday, January 31, 1-5pm at McGuffey Art Center. $500 Best in Show Award + age appropriate awards. $10 per entry. All work submitted will be displayed. Information and application at Show at McGuffey is February 3-29, 2004.

Book it:
Barnes & Noble's holiday book drive is on now through December 24. Books purchased for this program receive a 10 percent discount. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

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.

Seeing stars: The Science Museum of Virginia celebrates "Joy From the World: Starlight, Starbright!" through January 1. See Family feature.

Celebrate diversity: The Children's Museum of Richmond's holiday exhibit "Our Community, Our World in Celebration" highlights cultural festivals and traditions from around the world. See Family feature.

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.

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.

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.

Button Kick-Off: First Night buttons are the price of admission and are $12 per adult and $6 for children 4-12. Children ages three and under are free. Buttons available at Timberlakes Drug Store, Spenser's 206, Plan 9 (both), Blue Ridge Mountain Sports (Barracks Road Shopping Center), and Dippin Dots (Fashion Square Mall).

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.

Framing the West at Monticello:
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. Free. 984-7540

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.

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 "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. See Art feature.

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 through December. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

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

CODG opens its new space with a group show. Among the artists featured is 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 abstract/geometric paintings and Matisse- and Picasso-influenced portraits are on view at the architectural firm of Stoneking/Von Storch. Fifth and Water streets, second floor. 295-4204.

Galerie LaParlière is showing "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

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 the end of 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.

Paintings by local artists Barry Gordon and Malcolm Hughes are on view at L'étoile Restaurant. 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 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.

Art Upstairs presents its 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 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 with cash and carry. 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. 296-4669.

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents "Our View," an exhibit of area high school students' award-winning photographs focusing on hometown life, 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.

Martha Jefferson Hospital presents "3 Views of Landscape," featuring work by Robert Llewellyn, Scott Smith, and Barbara Southworth, through March 1. 459 Locust Ave. 982-7000.

The John Ruseau Watercolor Gallery features paintings by John Ruseau, along with art and objects from the Connecticut-based Mystic Seaport Museum. York Place on the Downtown Mall. 977-0627.


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.

"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 the month of December. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.

All that jazz: Gottlieb's swingin' photos

Call to mind an image of Louis Armstrong. Got it? Is he looking directly at you, neck and cheeks inflated beneath a beaded brow, huge fingers flared above his trumpet's keys, the horn extending forward and to the left? Then what you're imagining is actually a re-creation of one of William P. Gottlieb's portraits of Armstrong.

That iconic image is just one of the 60 photographs included in "Portraits from the Golden Age of Jazz: Photographs by William P. Gottlieb," currently on display at the University of Virginia Library's Special Collections.

From 1938-48, Gottlieb worked as a jazz reporter, first for The Washington Post and later for Down Beat magazine. Amazingly, he began taking photos only when the Post decided that sending a photographer out with him was too expensive. Equipped with an awkward Speed Graphic camera and short on cash, Gottlieb frequently restricted himself to only two or three black and white exposures.

But what exposures they are. Gottlieb's insider familiarity with the musicians of the day enabled him to evoke the spark of their individual personalities. And all the Golden Age of Jazz luminaries shine through his lens: Charlie "Bird" Parker, Billie Holliday, Stan Kenton, Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, on and on.

Gottlieb clearly staged most of his photographs, attending to lighting, camera placement, and composition. But he also had that elusive talent for knowing exactly when to snap the shutter to reveal the vitality of the moment. The musicians live and breathe within his frames.

Here Billie Holliday, anguished and beautiful, throws her head back as she sings, light gleaming off her hair, tiny lines at the bridge of her nose indicating her emotional intensity. There gaunt drummer Dave Tough, cigarette dangling from the middle of his lips, looks wistfully to his left while practicing in a stark, cinderblock basement.

Gottlieb sometimes stepped up the drama by disclosing relationships between the musicians. In one image, a feather-hatted Ella Fitzgerald stands center stage, eyes shut, seemingly oblivious to everything but her song. Over her left shoulder, bandleader Dizzy Gillespie leans back to gaze at her in rapt, half-lidded admiration, while over her right shoulder, in the shadowy background, Fitzgerald's bass-playing future husband, Ray Brown, glowers at Gillespie.

Complementing Gottlieb's photographs are original album covers from WTJU's library, plus a display case containing items related to the Harlem Renaissance. There Langston Hughes' manuscript, "Motto," reads: "I play it cool./and dig all the jive./That's the reason/I stay alive./My motto,/as I live and learn,/ is dig&emdash;/and be dug in return."

Dig these Gottlieb photographs.

"Portraits from the Golden Age of Jazz: Photographs by William P. Gottlieb" is on display at the University of Virginia Library's Special Collections, located on the second floor of Alderman Library. The exhibit runs through March 5. Call Special Collections for holiday hours or more information. 924-3025.

VQR turns 80: New look, old debate

The winter 2004 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review is a felicitous blend of respect and revolution. A glance at the glossy color makeover attests to editor Ted Genoways' eagerness to change the stolid face of the octogenarian journal; a look at the edition's title confirms that this new blood knows whence it flows.

VQR volume 80, #1 is entitled A Dream Deferred: Integrated Education in America. A smart marketing choice of themes in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, it is also a tribute to Genoways' predecessor, Staige Blackford, a champion of the civil rights movement who ran the Review for over a quarter of a century before his untimely death last summer.

During Blackford's tenure, VQR subscriptions peaked at about 5,000. Genoways says they've slipped back to about 3,500, a common phenomenon in the cyclical life of a literary review. It's time, he says, for a major marketing campaign, and his strategy is simple: Give readers the best writing money can buy.

If that means paying $100 a printed page and $5 per line of poetry, as the VQR now offers, so be it.

"There's really no place paying that much today," Genoways claims, adding, "there is no upper limit," on what he's willing to pay for the right piece.

To be sure, VQR has never had much difficulty attracting literary luminaries. H.L. Mencken, William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Robert Penn Warren, and Eleanor Roosevelt have all left their mark. The current issue features Toni Morrison's series of fictional monologues inspired by photographs of the black children who pioneered integration.

Guggenheim Fellow and National Book Award finalist Kevin Young wrote a series of poems to accompany a retrospective of Harlem Renaissance artist Romare Bearden now exhibited at the National Gallery. Both poems and paintings can be found in the new VQR, as befits the Review's dismissal of the old "gray page" typeset.

Superior remuneration, color art, sophisticated design… you know where this revamp is going, don't you?

"Our goal is to have the largest literary site on the web," Genoways says. That's where.

A decade's worth of back issues (75,000 pages) are on-line now, and Genoways hopes to have another 50 years archived for surfing in the next six months. Who says it's not your father's VQR? It's your grandfather's, too.

The Virginia Quarterly Review is available in bookstores around town and can be sampled at Also out this week is the Fall/Winter edition of Meridian, the literary sampler founded by VQR's Ted Genoways and edited by The Hook's own Stephen Boykewich– featuring Seamus Heaney and Edmund White.

All together now: Menorah lighting all-inclusive

Channa Meyer and her husband, Rabbi Shlomo Meyer, arrived in Charlottesville two years ago to teach classes on Judaism and organize holiday programs, women's programs, and "any Jewish service that people should need."

Among the only Orthodox Jews in town, they brought with them Chabad, a worldwide movement devoted to these causes.

"I don't like to use the word 'missionary'" Channa Meyer says. "We're not trying to convert anyone-&endash; we would teach [non-Jews] if they asked us, but that's not our goal. I prefer the term 'Lamplighter.'"

It's appropriate, then, that the Meyers will be lighting a giant Menorah and leading Chanukah celebrations as part of the "Downtown for the Holidays" celebrations on the Downtown Mall. In Charlottesville, where Meyer says there are 500 Jewish families and 1,500 Jewish students, it seems particularly important to share the celebrations with the rest of the community.

"This is for everybody," Meyer says. "Chanukah is about religious freedom, not just for Jews but for everyone." The holiday commemorates the week when the Greeks defiled the holy oil in the temple, but the Jews found what they thought was enough to last a day. Instead, it lasted eight, and today Chanukah represents the triumph of good over evil and the power of determination and prayer.

This year the holiday begins on Friday, December 19, and continues until December 27. As the Meyers light the Menorah, more than 2,500 other Chabad movements will be doing the same thing all over the world.

In Charlottesville, Chanukah will also be celebrated at Temple Beth Israel, which was formed in 1860 and is one of the oldest continuously used synagogues in the South. Jews had been settling in the region since the earliest days of colonialism, and while their numbers were initially tiny, by the 19th century several households and businesses had been established here.

As the Albemarle Historical Society has documented, these early families became known as people of culture and prominence. They included Michael Israel, after whom Israel's Gap and Israel's Mountain are named, and Isaiah and David Isaacs, who sold real estate and ran a store on Main Street, respectively.

David Isaacs lived in a long term common law marriage with Nancy West, a talented young mulatto businesswoman. They could not marry since Virginia law forbade it because she wasn't white, and Jewish law forbade it because she wasn't Jewish.

In 1826 the couple was taken to court on charges of fornication, but the charges were dropped on the grounds that their relationship was as man and wife, sharing room and board. They went on to raise seven children, who were acknowledged by Isaacs in his will, and who grew up as part of the freed black community.

Their improbable relationship shows the relative tolerance of Charlottesville at the time, and is a fitting early example of the spirit embodied in Chabad.

The Giant Menorah Lighting and Community Chanukah Celebration takes place 5pm Monday, December 22, at Central Place on the Downtown Mall. 293-5994.

Let it shine: Festivals highlight holiday exhibits

December is the darkest time of the year, but the world over, people of all cultures have developed celebrations that rejoice in the gift of light. Fortunately we don't have to drag our kids all over the globe to experience this variety of light-filled festivities. An easy trip east on I-64 leads to two side-by-side museums aglow with activities, events, and displays of the many variations of winter holiday revelry.

The Children's Museum of Richmond has chosen six of the world's traditions to highlight in "Our Community, Our World in Celebration." The interactive exhibit features miniature houses decorated to reflect the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, Hindu Diwali, Muslim Ramadan and Eid, Winter Solstice, African American Kwanzaa, and Christmas.

Demonstrations and art activities continuing through January 25 bring visitors closer to an understanding of the different celebrations. Kwanzaa events this weekend, for example, get kids and their families involved in making candles and playing the traditional game of Mancala with beans and little cups. A performance on Sunday afternoon lets folks feel the rhythms of an African healing dance and traditional instruments. The Winter Solstice is also highlighted this weekend.

Next door, the Science Museum of Virginia celebrates "Joy from the World" with exhibits and events representing over 20 different traditions. Local cultural organizations such as St. James Armenian Church, the Polish American Society, and the Ukrainian Cultural Association have decorated evergreen trees to reflect their holiday traditions. A tree guide, available at the admission desk, details the background and meaning of the traditions represented.

Joy from the World celebrations, together with all the usual exhibits and IMAX films, sparkle throughout the museum now through January 1. The Carpenter Science Theatre presents a series of dramatic stories about stars and star patterns from a variety of cultures, places, and times. The planetarium show "First Star I See Tonight" highlights the solstice sky. Fa-la-la-la Fun is a scavenger hunt that encourages visitors to search the galleries and discover all the treasures they hold.

These holiday exhibits give families a shining excuse for getting out of town during the kids' winter break to see how others celebrate the season.

A schedule of special events is listed on each museum's website. Most activities are included in the price of general admission. C-MoR is closed December 24 and 25. SMV is closed December 25 only. SMV is located in the former train station at 2500 W. Broad St., C-MoR right next door. Turn right off the Boulevard exit from I-64 to Broad St. C-MoR's toll-free number is 877-295-2667. SMV's number is 800-659-1727.

God bless us! It's Tiny Tim again&emdash; in Staunton

Some stories never get old. The Odyssey, say. The Gospel According to John. The first Rocky. And every December, you can count on A Christmas Carol, a tale so deeply moving, so ever-fresh, that no matter how many of the 200-odd film and television versions you've seen, no matter how many of the numberless stagings you've sat through, you can't wait to see it again, and again, and again.

Admit it: There are nights you can feel your fingers closing around Tiny Tim's little tubercular neck.

Shake it off. It's Christmas. And don't give up hope. Shenandoah Shakespeare just did the impossible. I don't mean making Staunton hip, though they've actually done that, too. I'm talking about their bringing A Christmas Carol back to life. The theater's adaptation of Dickens' shopworn classic is consistently funny and inventive, and even at times surprising. It's a story about second chances, after all.

You have to wonder whether Dickens felt anything special while he was scratching away at his "ghostly little book" in the final weeks of 1843. Even with his imagination, could he have anticipated the phenomenon that would start with a stage version the very next year, and eventually give rise to everything from a 1910 silent film directed by Thomas Edison to the animated musical Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol?

And if so, would he have thrown it in the fire?

The brisk, light-hearted stage adaptation by Excellent Motion, Shenandoah Shakespeare's touring company, will make you glad he didn't. The company is in residence in Staunton this month after half a season crossing America. Their Carol shares many of the qualities of the resident company's repertoire: dynamic staging, simple sets and props, cross-casting, and so intimate an embrace of the audience that you may be literally pulled onto the stage.

The show is directed by Excellent Motion touring manager Dennis Henry, and features particularly strong performances by Benjamin Curns as the Narrator and Christopher Seiler as Scrooge, playful musical interludes, and– as an extra lure for local audiences– a handful of teenage actors from Shenandoah Shakespeare's Young Company Theatre Camp, and a rotating cast of community children who help fill out the Cratchit family.

If you really want to watch Michael Caine weave drunkenly among a cast of Muppets again this year (notice how convincing he is, yelling, "Spirits! Spirits!"), that's your choice. My recommendation is that you give the VCR a rest and head 30 miles west. Either way, I hope you enjoy your holiday. And, to quote everybody's favorite Christmas invalid: God bless us, every one.

Cough, cough.

A Christmas Carol is performed Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through Sundays through December 28. $10-26. See Performance Calendar for individual show listings. Blackfriars Theater, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. 540-851-1733.

Holiday excess: The makings of a scene

Producing an ethnography of holiday parties is a topic that has not, to my knowledge, ever been a pursuit of some young/brash anthropologist, and that seems a little queer to me. Interviews, the backbone of field work, wouldn't be much of a problem– people would spill their guts to you with only the slightest prodding (thanks to too much 'nog), and participant-observational engagement would also be easy (look around, then have some 'nog).

In fact, the only problem I can see in studying this wide-open topic would be the trouble acquiring long-term engagement in the field– anthropologists consider anything less than a year of constant immersion to be tomfoolery. But of course, this fault in research could be remedied by just going to a lot of those parties, with the same general group of people (and building up a tolerance for 'nog).

Rapunzel's second annual holiday party might be a good place for an interested researcher to start, though the fieldwork might suffer from 'nog deficiency. According to Rapunzel's Bob Taylor (and my own feeling after music editing for a while) the party is probably the biggest show that the Lovingston venue has ever had, and with 12 confirmed acts "and many more" (or so says the press release), it just might induce an acoustic-singer/songwriter overdose (symptoms of which include bobbing to the beat and rhythmic finger tapping).

Seeing the 12 also will give you a good summary of Charlottesville's acoustic scene– bluegrass and country-folk are the main ingredients on display Saturday– but where each group takes these similar ingredients will make for a diverse time. Tigerlily play acoustic-folk with perfect womanly harmonies; the Hogs' Escafé bluegrass and energy Sundays are the stuff of legend; Paul Curreri and Devon Sproule sing love-laced duets as the former picks with the skill of another age; the Karma Bums will make you feel like you are at a '60s love-in; and those are just the ones I've seen perform before. So many more await my (and more importantly your) virgin ears.

Come to Rapunzel's this Saturday night– no nog, but plenty of good time.

Second annual Christmas Party: Tigerlily, The Hogwaller Ramblers, Eli Cook, Jeff Romano, Paul Curreri and Devon Sproule, The Pones, The Karma Bums, Los Cranios, Deja Moo, Shaheen Alikhan, Mary Gordon Hall and Blue O'Connor. Route 29 south in Lovingston, in the packing shed. $5, 7:30pm.