cultural calendar January 7-15, 2004

WEDNESDAY, January 7
Political meeting:
People interested in knowing more about Howard Dean or who would like to support his campaign meet at 7pm at the Gordon Avenue library off Rugby Road and at the Starr Hill Restaurant/Art Gallery on Main Street. Info: 296-3442 or

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

Fountainhead (organic jamming) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 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)

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

Plasmodium (experimental sounds and records) at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 8pm.

THURSDAY, January 8
Tales for tots: Mittens… wild animals… The five-and-under crowd can hear stories by Jan Brett at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. Stickers and cookies are also part of the fun. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Blue Ridge Chi:
A free introduction to T'ai Chi includes a demonstration of the T'ai Chi form and a free class where participants can learn the opening positions. 7:45pm. Monticello Event & Conference Center, 201 Monticello Ave. at Gleason Street. 823-8291 or

Dean Fields at Ashland Coffee & Tea:
"Really nice" would be a good description of roots-popper Dean Fields– the songs on his 2002 release, Imitations, are a showcase for his fine, slightly John Mayeresque voice. $5, 8pm.

"The Wonders of Bach" at University Center: A noncredit evening course offered by the UVA School of Continuing and Professional Studies and taught by UVA professor of music Donald Loach is "designed to increase understanding and enjoyment of Bach's musical forms and perfect skills as informed listeners of classical music." The Class runs six consecutive Tuesday nights. $110, 7-9pm. 982-2779.

Satisfaction Kick-Off Party: DJ Stroud spinning "commercial club, hip hop, retro dance" at Rapture. $3 or free if you come before 10pm.

Tom Proutt and Emily McCormick (rootsy bluegrass/folk) at Dr Ho's. No cover, 7:30pm.

The Victrolas at High Street Steak & Grill. No cover, 9pm.

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

Hard Rock Night: Oddzar at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Live Jazz with Robert Jospe at Rapture. Free, 8pm.

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

FRIDAY, January 9
Very big show:
Socialize and view works by over 70 artists as the Charlottesville/Albemarle District of Very Special Arts Virginia opens its annual show in the lobby of the Charlottesville Performing Arts Center. 6-8pm. 1400 Melbourne Road. 970-3265 or 296-3518.

Head south, young art lover: If you haven't met her here&emdash; or even if you have– head to Lexington for an artist's talk and reception honoring Charlottesville's Elizabeth Geiger, as her exhibit of paintings opens at the Williams School of Commerce at Washington & Lee University. 5:30-7pm. 540-458-8602.

New Lyric Theatre presents Gilbert & Sullivan's comic operetta about warring poets, smitten maidens, and frustrated dragoons, through January 17. 8pm. V. Earl Dickinson Theater, 500 College Drive. $13-15. 977-7478. See Performance feature.

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.

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

Dirk Powell Band with Foghorn Stringband at the Prism:
One of the groups featured in Cold Mountain, Dirk Powell Band returns to the Prism for another evening of traditional music. $22/$18 advance, 8pm.

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

Josh Mayo at the Clocktower in Staunton. No cover, 10pm.

Monticello Road (rootsy pop/rock) with Florez at Gravity Lounge. $6, 8pm.

Sierra (country-covers) at High St Steak & Grill. No cover, 9pm.

This Means You (rock) at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

After Dark: A NuWave DanceRock Party at Rapture. $3, 10:30pm.

Open Mic Night at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 8pm.

The Rock In Da House: Hyperviper (spazz-rock), Z.P.G (drone-metal), and 40 Boys (rock) at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10:30pm.

SATURDAY, January 10
Third time a charm:
Art-o-mat originator Clark Whittington brings his third Art-o-mat to town, this one to the Living Education Center for Ecology and the Arts. Enjoy snacks and meet Whittington from 5-7pm in the lobby of the Old Michie Building. 609 E. Market St. 971-3029.

Look up: Get your face painted at a child-friendly opening for artist Vicki Havill at The Village Playhouse. Romp through the art, music, and refreshments from 10am-2pm. 313 Second St. in the Glass Building. 296-9390.

Nature nearby:
Naturalist Ann Mallek wanders into the woods looking for signs of life in the winter forest. The guided tour of the Melbourne Loop of the Rivanna Trail is sponsored by the Virginia Museum of Natural History at UVA. 2pm. Free. Park on Melbourne Road near Park St. 982-4605.

Two for one: Applause Unlimited presents dual puppet-shows: "Traveling Jack and Company," tales of colonial America, at 1pm, and the warm and engaging "Velveteen Rabbit" at 3pm. See one or both, it's up to you&emdash; and maybe the endurance of your children. Adults $8, children, $4 (all tickets sold at the door). Carysbrook Performing Arts Center, Route 15, Carysbrook. 434-842-1333.

Irish Music benefit concert:
Four County Players present an all-star line-up of Irish traditional musicians to benefit the company. A special Irish Pub before the concert includes Irish beer and traditional Irish food. Some tickets will be available at the door, but call early to reserve. Irish pub 6:30, concert 7:30pm. $8 adults/$6 children 12 and under. Barboursville Community Center, Route 678 off Highway 33, Barboursville. 540-832-5355.

Live Arts actor's LAB for adults: Work with acting coach and director Carol Pedersen in this weekly class to sharpen your acting tools and prepare for the season ahead. Join the one-hour drop-in session for an intense actor workout, or stay for the full session and put your skills to work. Drop-in weekly: 10-11am; full session, January 10-February 28: 10-1pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10 drop-in rate (10-11am), $160 for full eight-week session. 977-4177x100.

Patience: See Friday, January 9.

King Lear: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the Bard's monumental tragedy at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 4pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Atlantic Coast Pre-Season Instructional Camp:
Atlantic Coast Camps LLC hold their first pre-season Instructional Camp at Davenport Field, the University of Virginia baseball stadium. Hitting, pitching, and catching instruction will be offered from UVA coaching staff. For more information, contact assistant baseball coach James Molinari at 982-5129, or visit

Fred Boyce, Zan McLeod, and Danny Knicely at the Prism:
Banjo, guitar, mandolin, and fiddle duke it out in this quartet's original sound. Something not to be missed-&endash; you may not get another chance to hear them together for a long while. $12/$10 advance, 8pm.

King Wilkie at Miller's: The Bluegrass energy of King Wilkie has made the group well-known/liked locally– this might be one of the last Miller's shows, so why don't you come out and see them tonight? $5, 10pm. See Tunes feature.

Tom Proutt and Emily McCormick at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books: Guitarist/singer Tom Proutt and Emily McCormick perform harmony-filled (and really good) tracks from Proutt's new CD, Farm Jazz, and other selections at Rapunzel's tonight. Free, 8pm.

The Dawning: DJ night with DJ AudioRapture and DJ Radioactive at Tokyo Rose: The third-to-last Dawning show at Tokyo Rose– the club will no longer be featuring goth or punk acts. Come and show your support of the Charlottesville legend, and make a donation for the Dawning of the future. $5, 10:30pm.

Meade Skelton (alt country) CD release party. Bandito's Burrito Lounge 2905 Patterson Ave., Richmond. 804-354-9999. No cover, 10pm.

No Evil ("fuel-injected folk") at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Sierra (country-covers) at High Street Steak & Grill. No cover, 9pm.

Inner Space at Mountain View Grill. $5, 8:30pm.

Sundried Opossum with Jen Foster at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Fred Boyce, Zan McLeod and Danny Knicely at the Prism. $12/$10 advance, 8pm.

Straker (Chicago House) at Rapture. $3, 10:30pm.

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

SUNDAY, January 11
Down time:
Find out what kind of paintings sculptor David Breeden creates when it's too cold outside to sculpt. Meet him at the opening reception for his current exhibit at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church. 12:30pm. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

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.

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.

Nature nearby:
Naturalist Ann Mallek wanders into the woods looking for signs of life in the winter forest. The guided tour of the Melbourne Loop of the Rivanna Trail is sponsored by the Virginia Museum of Natural History at UVA. 2pm. Free. Park on Melbourne Road near Park St. 982-4605.

Atlantic Coast Pre-Season Instructional Camp:
See Saturday, January 10

Native American Flute Circle Meeting at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books:
Open to anyone interested in playing, learning about, or listening to Native American flute music. Free, 1pm.

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

The Zing Kings ("Appalachian fiddle" to "Cole Porter" to "Rock and Fusion") at Gravity Lounge. Free, 11-3pm.

Tarantino Night: Double Feature at Rapture. Free, 10:30pm.

Soulful Sundown: Alvin Breeden and the Virginia Cutups at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church. Rugby Road. Free, 7pm.

MONDAY, January 12
Between the lines:
Michelangelo wannabes ages 9-99 can practice the techniques and tricks of colored pencil drawing at Northside Library. The two-session class starts tonight (second session is Monday, January 26). Paper and other supplies provided, but participants must bring their own pencils. 7-8:30pm. Free. Registration required. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Book club:
Barnes & Noble African-American author book club kicks off the new year with Standing at the Scratch Line by Guy Johnson. Barracks Road Shopping Center, 984-0461, 7:30pm. See Words Feature.

Epic friendship: Newsweek's Jon Meacham discusses his new book chronicling the wartime relationship of FDR and Winston Churchill. Book signing to follow. Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Road.11am. 924-0921.

Special Olympics:
Now in its 26th year at Wintergreen. 9am to 5pm. Wintergreen Resort. 325-8165

Consider the possibilities: Fluvanna League of Women Voters meets in the new public safety building on Rte. 53 in Palmyra. Marvin Moss's topic is "Public Education Possibilities in Fluvanna County." 4:30pm.

Cabaret belly dance class:
Alexandra Bourque teaches the movements of belly dance from the Cabaret and Egyptian styles (plus a few others) as a way to get in shape. Open to all levels, ages 15 and up. 7-8pm. ACAC, 500 Albemarle Square. $10 members, $12 non-members. 249-4611.

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, January 13
Six easy steps:
Children, Youth, and Family Services offers "Six Easy Steps for Parenting," a six-week series of classes covering such topics as understanding your child, improving communication, handling challenging behaviors, and parental stress. The session runs tonight through February 17. $15. 296-4118, ext 235.

Special Olympics:
See Monday, January 12.

Josh Mayo at Wild Wing Café:
Tunesmith Josh Mayo throws out his singular pop concoctions-&endash; will you be there to catch them? I've heard they serve wings there. No cover. 10pm.

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

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

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

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

WEDNESDAY, January 14
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.

Cabaret belly dance class: See Monday, January 12.

Forest friends:
Nature guide Nicol Butters leads a program for kids 18-36 months and their caretakers at Ivy Creek Natural Area. See Family Feature.

More tales for tots: Corduroy and a bear that snores… The five-and-under crowd can hear stories about bears in the cold at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. Stickers and cookies are part of the fun, too. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

EMDUB (aka the Matthew Willner four) at Michael's Bistro.
$3, 10:30pm.Jeff Decker and Mike Rosensky Quartet (jazz) at Miller's. No cover, 9pm. (W)

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

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

THURSDAY, January 15
Worth a trip to Richmond:
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts present its popular Art After Hours, complete with a martini bar, music by The Soul Providers, a 20-minute tour of tropical landscapes, and an "Art Moment" with Margaret Ellen Mayo, curator of ancient art. 6-9pm. $10. 2800 Grove Ave. 804-204-2704.

Mt. Logan:
Shawn Stratton of the National Outdoor Wilderness School (NOLS) discusses and shows slides of his Mt. Logan expedition. Refreshments served. Free. 7:30pm. Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 977-4400.

Network: Central Virginia international trade network group meets for a panel discussion featuring international leaders sharing tips from their careers and answering questions from the audience. $15 includes breakfast. 8am. Omni Hotel. West end of the Downtown Mall. Sue Friedman. 979-5610 or

See Friday, January 9.

Swing swap: The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society hosts this weekly Thursday-night swing dancing session, with an hour of East Coast Swing, an hour of West Coast Swing, and a DJ taking requests. 7-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building Auditorium, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Acting studio for teens - monologue study: Designed for teens, this weekly workshop focuses on actors' vocal production and physical movement, skills that are put to practical use in work with monologues. Students explore language, character, and physicality. Amanda McRaven. Runs until February 19. 5-7pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $60 Live Arts members/$75 general. 977-4177x100.

More tales for tots:
See Wednesday, January 14.

The Rachel Leyco Band with Peter Markush at Gravity Lounge:
Rising stars The Rachel Leyco Band's original pop/rock/alternative sounds are sure to delight the child in all of us, and local wünderguy Peter Markush, of the Marzaks will be folking it up, too. $3, 8:30pm.

Rory Block at Ashland Coffee & Tea. $15, 7pm.

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

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

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

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

All of Fifteen with Andrenokrome at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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

Live Jazz with Robert Jospé at Rapture. No cover, 8pm.

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

Cville Writes: Charlottesville Writing Center is accepting registration for the winter session. Eight classes are scheduled to begin the week of January 26, including screenwriting with local filmmaker Alexandria Searls, and a section on children's books. Class and registration information at 293-3702 or at

Get out there:
ArtInPlace is seeking artists who work in two dimensions in any medium to submit work for the show, "Views of Charlottesville." Submit work ready for hanging at McGuffey on January 31, 1-5pm. Application and information:

Hospice of the Piedmont offers "Journeys through the Seasons," a free bereavement camp for children and teens (8-14) who are affected by the serious illness or death of a loved one. The winter overnight takes place from 6pm on January 23 to 9am on January 24 at ACAC's Adventure Central. Activities include art therapy, games, a movie, pizza, breakfast, and a closing ceremony. Participation is free. For more information and an application, call 817-6931.

Horse sense: The herds thunder across the screen in a really big way in the IMAX film Young Black Stallion at the Science Museum of Virginia. Visitors can join the adventures of a girl named Neera and the wild horse she calls Shetan in Walt Disney Pictures' first dramatic movie made specifically for the giant screen. Through March 13. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

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. Through January 18. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

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.

Special guided tours of the Montpelier mansion, including rooms not regularly open to the public. These spaces provide further insights into the Madison era at Montpelier. Offered at 10 and 11am, and 1, 2, and 3pm. Included with regular Montpelier admission; second floor is not wheelchair-accessible. Tours are offered on first-come, first-served basis; visitors should sign up when they arrive at the mansion. 540-672-7365.

Monticello events:

"Feast of Reason: The Enlightenment of Jefferson's Monticello." Thomas Jefferson's deep involvement with this influential school of thought is explored on these extended tours of the house. Included in price of general admission. 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 weekdays. 984-7540.

Winter recreation classes: Adult classes are offered in Beekeeping, Fencing, Waltz, American and Latin Ballroom Dance, Sign Language, Handbuilding, Potter's Wheel, Creative Writing, Beading Workshops and Swimming. Prices range from $30 to $180. Charlottesville Recreation and Leisure Services. 970-3260.

UVA Personal Enrichment Classes: Classes in everything from French to Chinese history begin the week of January 26. Call 982 5313. See Walkabout Feature.

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 7-8.30pm. 978-2195.

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

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 urgently needed. 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

Charlottesville/Albemarle Chapter of 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 at 1500 Rio Road E. behind the Fashion Square Mall, rear lower level entrance. 923-7929.

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

Help with re-entry: Virginia NeuroCare Inc. seeks volunteers to provide re-entry services to people with acquired brain injuries. Help operate a used book store. Former Kincaid building on the Downtown Mall and on E. High Street near Juvenile Court. 220-4596.

The Charlottesville/Albemarle District of Very Special Arts of Virginia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to artists with disabilities, presents its annual art show in the lobby of the Charlottesville Performing Arts Center through March 8. 1400 Melbourne Road. 970-3265 or 296-3518.

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.

New Dominion Bookshop displays Marion Reynolds' "Paintings from Belmont Avenue" on its mezzanine, through January 30. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

View a career-spanning exhibit of work by Nelson County photographer Stephanie Gross at the PVCC Gallery through February 11. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. 961-5203.

At the C&O Gallery, John Wade's photographs of southern Tuscany fill the gallery with "a landscape from another planet." Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Shake off the chill with a visit to Angelo Jewelry, where Ann Therese Verkerke's "Hot Flashes&emdash; Tropical Images in Oil" is on display through February 29. 220 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-9256.

Through January, CODG presents photographs by Richmond's Aimee Wade, prints and paintings by Gracey Sessoms, and new work by CODG artists in the members' gallery. 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.

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

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church shows the abstract relief acrylic paintings of sculptor David Breeden. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

View Vicki Havill's painting and batiks at The Village Playhouse through January. 313 Second St. in the Glass Building. 296-9390.

Mike George shows his minimally colored acrylics at Mudhouse in January. 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 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.

In January, Christine Rich displays her watercolor exhibition entitled "Architectural Fragments" at Art Upstairs. 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.

The McGuffey Art Center presents Frederic Crist's "The Pillar Series," an exhibition of forged metal abstractions of controlled chaos, through January. Also on view, McGuffey's New Members Group Show. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973. See Art Feature.

It's wild and woolly (not to mention surreal) in a mammoth kind of way at Hotcakes, where the paintings of Mary Atkinson can be seen through February 1. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 295-6037.

Bozart Gallery presents Pamela Reynolds' textural paintings during January. 211 West Main St. 296-4669.

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents "The Moon Has No Home: Japanese Color Woodblock Prints from the Collection" through March 7. 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.


Charlottesville artist Elizabeth Geiger displays her paintings at the Williams School of Commerce at Washington and Lee University. Lexington. 540-458-8602.

Caffé Bocce shows wall hangings by Charlottesville quilt artist Kate Karsen through January. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.

Forging ahead: Crist's creations stack up

There you sit at your desk, talking on the phone, absentmindedly balancing the paperclip holder on top of the stapler. Or maybe you're waiting for a friend at a diner, and you pass the time standing the saltshaker on top of the ketchup bottle on top of the napkin dispenser.

Humans seem to share a subconscious urge to stack things, which may explain the gut-level attraction of sculptor Frederic Crist's "The Pillar Series, 2000-2004," on display through February 2 at the McGuffey Art Center.

At first glance, Crist's abstract vertical creations of forged steel and naval brass, ranging in height from 5" to 64", seem composed of hard-angled discrete blocks, precariously balanced. But a closer examination of each sculpture reveals many– if not all– of its elements are actually fused. From one angle, the segments might unify along a serpentine spine; from another they may appear to melt into and over each other like syrup-soaked slabs of French toast.

"They have a sort of dance or gesture to them that's whimsical," says Crist.

The Waynesboro-based artist explains that he started creating the pillars on a small scale four years ago by heating metal and cutting into it with a hacksaw. Later, as he moved to larger pieces, he began using a buzz-saw to slice and twist. Recently, thanks to a grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Crist spent time at an industrial forge in Cleveland, Ohio, which allowed him to bump up the size of the constructions again.

The hunky results of the Ohio trip are some of the most compelling in the McGuffey show. "Twisted Pillar #4" (labeled "23" in the series) consists of just a few heavy matte plates that seem to collapse into each other in a lopsided-yet-graceful way on one side while appearing to emerge from a gleaming vine-like spine on the other.

In addition to the exhibition's 25 sculptures, Crist also displays a series of "Digital Pillar Drawings," glossy images of his works that have been manipulated in Photoshop.

"I drop out the backgrounds," he explains, "so I can see the piece as itself rather than its environment."

Interesting on their own, the mirroring and rearrangement within the "drawings" enable Crist to experiment with directions for future forging. Several of his newest pieces, such as "Steel and Brass Pillars #1 and #2"(12 and13), mix metals, orientation, and scale within single pieces.

As for his obsession with stacking blocks, Crist says, "It keeps feeding me."

Frederic Crist's "The Pillar Series, 2000-2004" runs through February 2 in the main gallery of the McGuffey Art Center. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Monkey see… : It's 2004! Join a book club

2004 is the Chinese year of the monkey. A full year of "nutty energy and charm to burn," say some predictors, who are, I'm pretty sure, not Chinese. The United Nations says it's the year of rice, and a lesser-known international group has designated (and trademarked) this the year of the father. Me, I'm here to declare 2004 the year of the joiner.

Get thee to a book club, dear reader.

Since that fateful Sunday in 1878 when a Methodist minister in Chautauqua, New York, handed out a reading list to his congregation, the notion that literature is best when shared has taken firm root in America.

The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle may be the longest-running book club, but its total enrollment over 125 years represents only a fraction of a percentage point of the total audience for a single installment of Oprah's mighty read-a-long, which put three novels on the top-10 list last year, resurrecting East of Eden from an 11th grader's homework assignment to a best-seller.

No. I'm not encouraging you to watch Oprah. Or become a Methodist. I am encouraging you to lend your numbers (and good reading suggestions) to the many local public book groups, and for goodness sake, come up with some better discussion questions than those offered in the back of three-fifths of the new paperbacks out today.

Here's what Charlottesville has to offer in the way of public book groups in this, the first month of the year of the joiner:

Barnes & Noble hosts three monthly book clubs: January's selections are Standing at the Scratch Line by Guy Johnson, The Horse You Came in On by Martha Grimes, and a combined reading of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and its extraordinary spin-off, The Hours by Michael Cunningham.

The Gordon Avenue Library Book Club held its first meeting last week, but you can still get in on the second half of the discussion of The Great Gatsby-&endash; a novel that holds up well under points made more than once.

Don't put it off. If you wait another year, it will be that much harder to beat the record of Faye Weinberg and Flo Towbin of Denver who have held weekly sessions for 62 years. Worse, you'll be giving indirect support to the charlatans who would have 2004 become "the year of free online dance music."

As if we didn't have enough monkeys already.

Barnes & Noble African American Authors club discusses Standing at the Scratch Line on Monday, January 12, at 7:30pm. The mystery club reads The Horse You Came In On January 19, at 7:30pm. The Hours and Mrs. Dalloway are the selections for January 27 at 7pm. 984-0461. Gordon Ave. Book Club meets Friday January 16 to discuss The Great Gatsby. 296-5544.

Matter of courses: China, pasta, Monticello, etc…

"Yes it's great to live in a university town," you tell your friends, and they nod and enthuse about the great cultural opportunities this must provide. Then you realize that while an institution of higher learning is a nice thing to have in town, unless you work or study there it mostly just means you're surrounded by lots of people who all seem to be younger, better looking, and intellectually more stimulated than you are.

What to do? A "personal enrichment" course. The University of Virginia's School of Continuing and Professional Studies is now enrolling adult students for classes beginning the week of January 26. With subjects spanning the humanities, science and the natural world, personal finance, computing, and languages, even the best-educated can find something they don't already know.

You don't get any credit, but you do get good professors, and the going is light when it comes to exams, term papers, time, and relatively speaking, cost.

The program offers a broad range of classes, and pleasure seems to play a huge role in all of them.

"(Let's eat) the Italian way!" features a different kind of pasta and a side dish every week, with guidance from the teacher (and indirectly his mother, grandmother, and extended Italian family, all of whom have shaped his recipes) but promises to leave a certain "margin of fantasy" as well.

"Jefferson and Monticello" brings in nine experts, from Daniel P. Jordan, President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, to Monticello's Director of Gardens and Grounds, the highly entertaining Peter Hatch. Best of all, it culminates in a private tour of the mansion, including parts of the house not often seen by the public, and a beautiful spring cocktail party on the Monticello lawn, where class participation peaks.

Students come from all ages and walks of life-&endash; at last semester's Short Story Writer's Workshop, the age range spanned a good 60 years and included mothers, students, a pizza deliverer, and a concrete vendor. The esoteric mix was particularly valuable since the class involves group discussion of a story and is limited to 15 students.

Other classes include "Ancient Wisdom Teachings: Applications to Everyday Life" which explores whether there is a right way to live and how we can achieve happiness.

"The Theater Experience" shadows a Live Arts production of the Broadway hit Nine, and "Organic Gardening" teaches what's healthy for the earth and for your family. More academic classes include "Art Nouveau in Europe," a visual tour and thematic study of turn-of-the-twentieth-century European capitals, and "Twentieth Century China."

And if these are still not serious enough for you, both the University of Virginia and Piedmont Virginia Community College offer regular credit courses for non-degree students.

The University of Virginia's Personal Enrichment Classes start January 26. To get a class schedule and/or register, go to or call 982-5313. The Community Scholar program also offers regular credit courses for non-degree students: or 982-4789.

Woods walks: Toddlers take to the trails

The unusually mild weather over the holidays afforded my boys and me the chance to get out into the woods a bit without feeling like arctic explorers. As we wandered through the sleeping landscape, I was struck by how winter reveals secrets normally hidden from our view.

With the leaves gone from the trees and the lush green of summer melted into the brown earth, we discovered things we never would have seen before: the clean white skeleton of a long-dead deer, its bones lying in near-perfect anatomical approximation, and the rusted remains of an old fence line marking the edge of the property.

But even if it were snowing, the folks at Ivy Creek Natural Area would be tramping through the woods too. Volunteer guides know there is lots to learn in every season as they lead groups of kids and adults on explorations through the 215 acres of wildness along the Rivanna Reservoir.

This week, Ivy Creek guide Nicol Butters invites little nature lovers ages 18-36 months out for her monthly foray called "Forest Friends." Butters, a former preschool teacher, starts things off in the Education Building with a Waldorf-style puppet play featuring soft sculpted table puppets that take the young imagination into the living places of some furry and other woodland friends.

This theme of animal homes continues as she conducts kids and their adult companions through a series of fun activities including songs, finger play, and a look at some pictures to help explorers learn about the places where animals live. Best of all are the touchable former homes like a paper wasp hive or a mud dauber's nest.

Then they hit the trails in search of animal homes in their natural setting: squirrel and bird nests no longer hidden in the branches of the oaks, poplars, and birches; a hole in the side of the hill that's the perfect place for a groundhog to sleep through the winter; the shelter of brambles where a family of deer spent the night.

There's no telling what mysteries will be revealed in this winter wander in one of the most accessible woodland sanctuaries around.

The Forest Friends nature program takes place at Ivy Creek Natural Area on Wednesday, January 14, at 10am. The program is free, and registration is not required. Meet in the Education Building and dress for the weather. Ivy Creek is located on Earlysville Road. 973-7772.

Patience: Where G&S aesthetic shines

With the relatives gone, the hangovers faded, and the once-uncountable cookies now a sad pile of crumbs, it's time for some New Year's soul-searching. No matter how many plays you see, no matter how many benefit dinners you drop $100 a plate on, you still find theater people a little nuts, don't you? They're still just a hop, skip, and jump from the folks who play tambourines and hand out flowers at the airport.

Don't feel bad. That's not just how most of the world thinks about theater people– it's how most of the theater world thinks about Gilbert & Sullivan people.

It should come as no surprise that Charlottesville has its own Gilbert & Sullivan theater. For one thing, you'd be hard pressed to find a kind of theater we don't have. (I've heard rumors a Balinese puppet troupe is going to buy the old IGA building.) For another, you can overturn a rock in most backyards and find a chorus of millipedes rehearsing The Mikado.

Human enthusiasts, at least in Charlottesville, do their rehearsing with the New Lyric Theatre. For each of the last four years, New Lyric has staged an operetta by the legendary writing-composing team that you'll know by name whether or not you've memorized the libretto: The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, and The Gondoliers. The obsession continues with their 2004 offering, Patience, which opens this Thursday at PVCC's V. Earl Dickinson Theater.

There are worse artists to be obsessed with. By any measure, G&S are one of the great partnerships in the history of the stage. Both were London-born: William Gilbert was a successful playwright and humorist, Arthur Sullivan a talented composer who studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Leipzig Conservatory.

Their 1875 collaboration, Trial by Jury, set the London theater world on fire, leading to a 21-year partnership and over a dozen operettas.

Patience takes on the "aesthetic craze" of the late 19th-century, when dangerous radicals combined the writing of poetry with the wearing of velvet jackets and long moustaches. The operetta follows the romantic follies of two such dandies, an over-earnest milkmaid, a group of fickle maidens, and a frustrated band of dragoons.

The cast offers plenty of room for our local enthusiasts: New Lyric's production, directed by UVA's Gweneth West, includes 26 actors, as well as a 16-piece orchestra under the baton of New Lyric founder and music director Greg Harris.

Plus, once you've seen the show, you'll recognize what those tambourine guys are singing.

Patience opens January 8 and runs Thursdays through Saturdays until January 17. Performances at 8pm with an additional matinee at 2pm on January 17. $15 adults, $13 students, seniors and children. V. Earl Dickinson Theater, 500 College Drive, off Route 20 South. 977-7178.

Meet your betters: The kids have gone acoustic

It's always amusing to me when I– in my day-to-day existence of keggers and body shots, witty conversation and The Trial– chance to meet people who turn out to be really accomplished in their field of expertise: running into and then having a drink with the World Champion Scrabble player Joel Wapnick. Accidentally hitting on the married Canadian curling Olympic bronze medallist, Kelley Law. Seeing the Toei Animation Co. of Japan, creators of such classics as Voltron, hitting on your girlfriend at a bar last night, after you got back from the bathroom.

All right, I'm making those three up, but my point is valid-&endash; I happened to meet some members of local bluegrassers King Wilkie the other night through mutual friends.

Then I listened to their debut, True Songs, the next day and was impressed by the art/life dichotomy once again– even if you're the world's greatest classically trained pianist, chances are you sometimes drink too much and make an ass of yourself. Virtuosity will not save you from wearing a lampshade on your head.

Attending a bluegrass festival while college students in Ohio led guitarist Ted Pitney and mandolinist Reid Burgess to resolve to start a bluegrass band upon graduation. After moving to Charlottesville, the two put together King Wilkie (named after Bill Monroe's horse), and the group began playing gigs in 2002. In the current lineup, John McDonald on rhythm guitar, Abe Spear on banjo, Nick Reeb on fiddle, and Drew Breakey on upright bass join Pitney and Burgess.

True Songs is, to use a music journalist's classic term, "bitchin." The album rides heavy with classics from bluegrass creator Monroe, as well as interpretations of other well-known tunes.

Beginning with Monroe's "Goodbye Old Pal," banjo, rhythm guitar, mandolin, and bass tightly introduce the album, precursors to Burgess and McDonald's tight harmonies. The traditional tune "In the Pines," made famous(er) by Nirvana's Unplugged performance in 1994, is included here, the latter a noticeably more upbeat version when compared to the former subtext-heavy waltz.

True Songs was recorded live, so the quality of the music on it will not dim under the bright lights. Reid's original tune "It's Been a Long Time" is no slouch either, a rabble-rousing good time, featuring a blitzkrieg of banjo twiddling behind a strong melody and some solid lyrics.

King Wilkie perform at Miller's, January 10. $5, 10pm.