Cultural calendar, January 14-22, 2004

WEDNESDAY, January 14
PERFORMANCE
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.

FAMILY
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.

TUNES
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
ART
Art and fire water:
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., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

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

WALKABOUT
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 blueridgechi@aol.com.

Kucinich meeting: Supporters of Dennis Kucinich meet in the third floor meeting room of the downtown branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library to discuss organizing and fund raising for the upcoming primary. 7pm. 201 E. Market St. 235-8984.

TUNES
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 wunder-guy 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)

FRIDAY, January 16
ART
Recent work:
UVA's Fayerweather Gallery hosts an opening for artist Jonathan Durham's "Recent Sculpture." 5-7pm. Fayerweather Hall, Rugby Road. 924-6123.

FAMILY
Radio rhymesters:
Participants in the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library's Teen Poetry Contest will be on the air sharing their winning works on WTJU's "Sunset Road Show" at 6pm. FM 91.1. 979-7151, ext. 215.

Swimming against the tide: Old Michie Theatre presents a musical version of story of "The Little Mermaid" featuring a handsome prince, many merry mermaids, a witch, the king's musicians, and a kindly old grandmother. 7pm. $7.50. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690. oldmichie.com.

Star struck: The view is out of this world at Public Night at McCormick Observatory from 8-10pm (weather permitting). UVA's research telescopes on O-Hill will be pointed heavenward, and Astronomy Department staff and students will be on hand with a slide show and answers to starry questions. Free. McCormick Road. 924-7494. astro.virginia.edu.

PERFORMANCE
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.

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.

Top Dog/Underdog: Live Arts presents Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about sibling rivalry, three-card monte, and imitating Abe Lincoln. 8pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10-15. 977-4177 x100. See Peformance feature.

WORDS
House divided:
U.S. Representative David Price is at the Miller Center today. Price serves on the House appropriations committee, the Homeland Security Subcommittee, and the Veterans Affairs Housing committees. The title of his forum is "House Democrats under Republican Rule." 2201 Old Ivy Road. 11am. 924-0921.

Queen Noor: American-born Lisa Halaby recounts her journey from Princeton to Amman, where she became Queen Noor, wife of King Hussein of Jordan until his death in 1999 in her memoir, Leap of Faith. Discussed by Jean Newsom at Northside Library at noon. 973-7893. 300 Albemarle Square.

Lies and videotape: Carol Clover, that definitive word on Scandinavian legal celluloid, is back at the Forum for Contemporary Thought with a lecture entitled "Seeing Lying: Film, Law and Lie Detection." Clover is from U.C. Berkeley and is the author of Presentations, Scandinavian Studies and Men, Women and Chainsaws. 4pm, Minor Hall, UVA. virginia.edu/lectures/fct

TUNES
The Ronnie Johnson Band with Water Brothers at Dew Drop Inn:
Amble down 20 south to Scottsville and listen to some fine music in one of the most authentic Dew Drop Inns around. No cover. 9pm.

Duke Merrick Trio with Tom Proutt and Emily McCormick, John Rimel, and John Edwards at the Blue Rose Acoustic Guild: Temporarily moving to the Nelson Center in Lovingston for January and February, the Blue Ridge Acoustic Guild kicks things off right in 2004 with an evening of unplugged mastery. Featured performers the Duke Merrick Trio play Americana/country, and will be supported by Tom Proutt and Emily McCormick performing harmony laced folk, the pianist/songwriter John Rimel on(pianist/songwriter), and the guitarist/songwriter John Edwards. Donations accepted, 8pm.

Acoustic Blues Review: Honeyboy Rush ("blues, blues, blues") with Swang (country-blues) and the Banty Roosters at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books: It's a bluesy kind of evening at Rapunzel's in Lovingston, a short trip away that's always worth the gas. No cover, 7:30pm.

Tulsa Drone at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar: Richmond based band Tulsa Drone feature a handmade six-foot bass hammered dulcimer, making for a sound the group describes as "soundtrack-y, sinister, but also laced with pop and blues." I'm intrigued too. Join me there. Donations accepted, 9pm.

Carbon Leaf with Bluestring at Starr Hill. $10, 10pm.

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

Josh Mayo (pop) at Byers St. Bistro in Staunton. No cover, 10pm.

The Lilas (indie-rock/pop) with Sam Shaber at Gravity Lounge. $6, 8:30pm.

Jackass Flats, will be at Mountain View Grill. $3, 10pm.

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

Rogan Brothers with Spencer Lathrop at Outback Lodge. No cover, 10pm.

Blowoff with Bob Mould and Richard Morel at Rapture. $10, 10pm.

Roland White Band (bluegrass) at the Prism. $18/$15 advance, 8pm.

SATURDAY, January 17
FAMILY
Singing the dream:
Charlottesville's community Martin Luther King Jr. Day choral concert happens today. See Family feature.

The better to see you with: A grandma, a little girl, and a not too, too scary wolf dance onto the stage in the Old Michie Theatre's latest marionette puppet show, "Little Red Riding Hood." 11am, 2pm, and 4pm. $5. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690. oldmichie.com.

More wolf tales: The award-winning Charlottesville High School orchestra and some of their friends perform the children's classic symphonic tale, "Peter and the Wolf." Afterward, children are invited to come up on stage to meet the musicians and even play their instruments. 3pm. $5 children, $10 adults. Performing Arts Center, Melbourne Road. 245-2726.

Swimming against the tide: See Friday, January 16.

PERFORMANCE
Swing dance:
Charlottesville Swing Dance Society offers an evening of Swing Dancing and a variety of other dances with music by DJ Michael Smith. A free East Coast Swing (Jitter-bug) lesson is included with admission. Lesson 8-9pm, dance 9pm-midnight. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. $12 adults, $6 students, $9 members. 980-2744.

Patience: Today at 2 and 8pm is your last chance to catch the New Lyric Theatre's presentation of Gilbert & Sullivan's comic operetta about warring poets, smitten maidens, and frustrated dragoons. V. Earl Dickinson Theater, 500 College Drive. $13-15. 977-7478.

Much Ado about Nothing: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents a spirited production of the Bard's lighthearted romantic comedy at the Blackfriars Playhouse. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Audition Notice: Four County Players announces auditions for its upcoming production of Martin McDonagh's Beauty Queen of Leenane. The darkly comic, award-winning Irish play will be directed by 4CP and Live Arts co-founder Francine Smith. The cast requires two women, one between the ages of 35 and 50, the other 50 plus; and two men between the ages of 25 and 45. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Irish accents are required for the production. Performances run March 5-21. 2pm. Barboursville Community Center, Route 678 off Highway 33, Barboursville. 977-1414.

Top Dog/Underdog: See Friday, January 16.

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.

WALKABOUT
Wintergreen sinter sports clinic:
A public awareness campaign to educate people on the health benefits of snow sports. Featuring free snowshoe demonstrations, trials and guided snowshoe tours. 10am-4pm. Free. 325-8054.

TUNES
Stickey Nickel at Dürty Nelly's:
Tom Feldman's Stickey Nickel is a one-man band without all the bells and whistles. Blues guitar, Feldman's worn voice, and a hi-hat and bass drum are all you need to make your evening right. $3, 10pm.

Frontbutt at Outback Lodge: Old-School rap is Frontbutt's cup o' tea, and the group is quite good at what they do… in a meta sort of a way, that is. Join the hilarity at Outback Lodge, this Saturday night. $6, 10pm.

The Dawning: End of the World Celebration with Silent Muse, DJ JU5T1CE, DJ KI-9 at Tokyo Rose: One of the last few Dawning shows to happen at the Rose, the rock group Silent Muse will perform at around 12, followed by dancing, dark style. $5, 10:30pm.

Corey Harris (soul, blues, funk, world, etc., etc., etc.) at the Prism. $18/$15 advance, 8pm.

Brady Earnhart (smart-folk) and Nickeltown (quirk-folk) with Erica Olsen at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Rule of Thump at Orbit. No cover, 10pm.

Dance Party: Synthetic at Rapture. No cover, 10pm.

Hogwaller Ramblers (unplugged show &endash; bluegrass mayhem) at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. $5, 7:30pm.

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

SUNDAY, January 18
ART
Tour of the month:
Join docent Sue Hodder at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for the Tour of the Month: "Ancient Connections: The Art of China and Egypt." 3pm. Free. 2800 Grove Ave. Richmond. 804-204-2704.

PERFORMANCE
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. cvillesalsaclub.com or 979-7211.

Chamber Music Concert: The Virginia Chamber Music Foundation presents violinists Meesun Hong and Timothy Summers, cellist Raphael Bell, and pianist Mimi Solomon in a concert of Mozart, Kodaly, and Schumann. 3pm. Old Cabell Hall, UVA Central Grounds. $12 general, $5 students. 295-5395.

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

Audition notice: See Saturday, January 17. Today's try-outs are at 7pm.

FAMILY
Living the dream:
Charlottesville's community commemoration of Martin Luther King Day happens today. See Family feature.

Measuring up: This is your last chance to take a Magical Measurement History Tour at the Virginia Discovery Museum. 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. vadm.org.

Swimming against the tide: See Friday, January 16. Time today is 3pm.

TUNES
Caveman ("tribal jazz") at Garden of Sheba:
Instrumental music for those who feel vocals are a required element to their listening experience, Caveman keep things interesting (with no chemicals required). $5, 7pm. See Music Review.

We're About 9 with Tom Proutt and Emily McCormick (harmony laced folk-rock) at Gravity Lounge: The sweet emotional sound of We're About 9 is a little learned, and features guitar, drums, mandolin, and some male/female vocal work. Did I mention it's really folky? $5, 8:30pm.

Chamber Music: Featuring Meesun Hong and Mimi Solomon at Old Cabell Hall: Mozart, Kodaly, and Schumann make an appearance in spirit form for this chamber music performance. Mozart's "Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major" opens, followed by Kodaly's "Duo for Violin and Cello, and then Schmann's "Piano Quartet in E-flat. $12/$5 students, 3pm. Call 295-5395.

Wrinkle Neck Mules and Meanflower at Starr Hill. $5, 9pm.

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

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

The Zing Kings (eclectic genre-hoppers) at Gravity Lounge. Free, 11am-2pm.

Terry Gilliam Night: Double Feature (pinnacle of wit) at Rapture. No cover. 7pm.

MONDAY, January 19
FAMILY
Free the people:
Ash Lawn Highland celebrates Martin Luther King Day with "Freedom For All" tours. Visitors can meet three historic character interpreters who discuss the progression of African-American freedom from the time of James Monroe through Reconstruction. 1-4:30pm. $9 adults, $8 seniors and local residents, $5 children. 1000 James Monroe Parkway. 293-9539. ashlawnhighland.org. See Walkabout feature.

Eat or be eaten: Adventurous types can step into a dog-eat-dog world and find out "Who's for Dinner?" at a new exhibit opening today at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Taxidermied specimens, puppets, and interactive activities help explorers learn about the unusual ways animals hunt for their food and protect themselves from predators. Monday-Thursday 10am-4pm. Free. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605. virginia.edu/vmnh-uva.

Behind the black mask: Nature lovers ages 6-11 can learn about the clever disguises animals use to fool their predators or sneak up on their prey in a "Fun-shop" at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. 1-3pm. $4. Registration required. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605. virginia.edu/vmnh-uva.

Radio rhymesters: See Friday, January 16. Time today is 11pm.

WORDS
Book club:
Barnes & Noble Mystery Book Club kicks off the New Year with a discussion of The Horse You Came in On by Martha Grimes. Barracks Road Shopping Center, 984-0461, 7:30pm.

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

TUNES
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)

Matthew Willner solo on guitar, bass, synths, loops, and devices at Michael's Bistro. $3, 10pm.

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 20
PERFORMANCE
Poetry Lounge:
Fresh from their one-year anniversary, the Poetry Lounge is hotter than ever. Poets are invited to read with or without a jazz band, and everyone else is invited to snap their fingers. 9pm. Live Arts UpStage, 123 E. Water St. $3. 249-8812.

WORDS
Missing kashrut:
Local author Lauren Winner follows up on her acclaimed memoir/confession Girl Meets God with Mudhouse Sabbath, an examination of 11 spiritual practices perfected in Judaism and applicable to Christianity. Reading at Barnes & Noble, 7pm, 984-0461. Event is part of the book fair for the recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. See Words feature.

FAMILY AND WALKABOUT
Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration:
Old Cabell Hall. 7:30pm. Free 924-3984. See Family feature.

TUNES
Karaoke Night (what you make of it) 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)

George Turner (jazz guitar) at Orbit. No cover, 8pm.

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

Josh Mayo (pop) at Wild Wing Café. No cover, 10pm.

WEDNESDAY, January 21
ART
Meet and appreciate:
Meet Nelson County photographer Stephanie Gross at an artist's reception at the Piedmont Virginia Community College Gallery. 5-7pm. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Road off Route 20 south. 961-5203.

Not a wolf: Dr. Joyce Hill Stoner lectures on "Whistler through the Eyes of his Women" (clue: it's about the artist, not a construction worker) at 6pm at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. $5. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-1405.

PERFORMANCE
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey presents an exuberant adaptation of the Bard's comic masterpiece as part of Shenandoah Shakespeare's Commonwealth Theater Festival. Blackfriars Playhouse. 3pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Stretch Marks: Lexington's Theatre at Lime Kiln presents Martha King DeSilva's one-woman show about romantic misadventure as part of Shenandoah Shakespeare's Commonwealth Theater Festival. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

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.

Weird Sisters: The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival presents a one-woman show about Susanna Shakespeare's efforts to publish her father's works as part of Shenandoah Shakespeare's Commonwealth Theater Festival. 3pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

WALKABOUT
Learn Personal Finance and Investing Techniques:
Lingle, a DKAdvisors company, offers games to help you learn. 4pm at 1112 E. High St. Suite A. The event is open to business owners and real estate investors. 977-1638.

Wine tasting: Artistic Imports, a gourmet food and gift shop in Waynesboro, sponsors a tasting of Virginia spirits and chocolates. 5-7pm. Afterward, amble down the street for dinner at South River Grill and music by Jimmy O. 7:30-10pm. Tasting is free, fee for dinner and entertainment. I-64 to exit 94 by the Holiday Inn. 540-943-3505.

FAMILY
More tales for tots:
The five-and-under crowd can hear stories about penguins galore at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. Stickers and cookies are part of the fun. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

WORDS
As the bird spies:
Local mystery scribe Andy Straka discusses the craft of mystery writing, hosted by the Charlottesville Chapter of the Virginia Writers' Club. Discussion and book signing at Barnes & Noble, 7pm, 984-0461. Event is part of the book fair for the recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

TUNES
The Red Hot Chilly Pickers at Dr. Ho's. No cover, 7-9:30pm.

Lua at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Jim Davies at Michael's Bistro. $3, 10pm.

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

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

Rogan Brothers with Spencer Lathrop at South Street Brewery. No cover, 10pm.

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

Stop the Future Series: Plasmodium at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. $3, 9pm. (W)

Jim Davies (acoustic rock and blues) at the Virginian. No cover, 10pm. (W)

THURSDAY, January 22
ART
Stop by late:
This week's Art After Hours at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts features hep-cat music by the Pete Anderson Jazz Ensemble, plus poetry by Claudia Emerson along with gallery tours. 6-9pm. $10. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

WALKABOUT
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 sue@tjped.com.

WORDS
Albemarle:
Barnes & Noble hosts author Avery Chenoweth and photographer Robert Llewellyn for a discussion and signing of their beautiful photo essay, Albemarle, published by University of Virginia Press. Barracks Road Shopping Center, 984-0461, 3pm and 7pm. Event is part of the book fair for the recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

PERFORMANCE
Boston Marriage:
Catch this preview of David Mamet's latest play, a quick-witted Wildean comedy about female lovers in turn-of-the-century America. 100 free tickets available. Call box office for information. 8pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177 x100. See Performance feature.

Weird Sister: See Wednesday, January 21. Today's show is at 10pm.

Shakespeare's Women of Character: Sister's Trousers Dance Company offers an evening of modern dance based on texts from Shakespeare's plays as part of Shenandoah Shakespeare's Commonwealth Theater Festival. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

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.

FAMILY
More tales for tots:
See Wednesday, January 14.

TUNES
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)

Josh Mayo featuring Modern Epic with Tricia Lopez (pop) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 9pm.

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

Thursday Night Dance Party: Satisfaction (dance) at Rapture. No cover, 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)

Upcoming and Ongoing:
WORDS
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 VABook.org.

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 cvillewrites.org.

Pray to win: The Free Poetry Contest invites submissions of religious poetry (one per person) to compete for a grand prize of $1,000 and other prizes totaling $5,000. Deadline for entries February 14. Enter poems of 21 lines or fewer on a religious theme to Free Poetry Contest, 103 N. Wood Ave., PMB 70, Linden, N.J. 07036 or enter on-line at www.rainbowpoets.com.

ART
The Boys & Girls Club of Charlottesville/Albemarle
seeks artists and crafters to conduct workshops and demonstrations with youth ages 6-18. Resulting artwork will be displayed at the Spring 2004 Exhibition. Contact Janel Turk, 466-8343 or j_e_turk@hotmail.com.

FAMILY
Mourning:
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.

If you build it: On the first weekday on which there is significant snowfall and city schools are closed, snow bunnies can win prizes for artistic creations sculpted from the icy white stuff in the Charlottesville Recreation and Leisure Services' annual Snow Sculpture Contest. Call the Rec office before noon to check on the date and register. Must be within the city limits. Free. 970-3260.

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. smv.org.

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. c-mor.org.

WALKABOUT
Call for pleas:
501 C3 organizations (and you know who you are) interested in applying for 2005 Party Parade funds must submit proposals by February 2. Call Brenda Frizzell for details. 245-0321.

Viva Las Vegas Casino Night: UVA Children's Medical Center benefits from money raised when you play blackjack, roulette, craps, and so on, for fabulous prizes, lots of fun, and an appearance by Elvis himself! January 23, 7:30pm. Omni Hotel. 540-832-1555 or Dominiondigital.com/CMCVegasNight/

Montpelier: 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.

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 cci.org

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.

ART LIST
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.

Paintings and prints by Jessie Coles and Leora Sheridan are on display at C-Ville Coffee, 1301 Harris St., through January 30.

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. laparliere.com.

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.

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.

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.

Beginning January 17, the University of Virginia Art Museum displays "Ink/Stone: The Art of Stephen Addiss, Mark Fletcher, Wonsook Kim," an exhibition by three artists who infuse their work with Asian sensibilities, through February 29. Also on display, "The Moon Has No Home: Japanese Color Woodblock Prints from the Collection" runs 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.

Radar

The Fluvanna County Community Center presents the stained glass work of Michelle Gamage and the pottery of Fei Putnam. Fork Union. Highway 15. 34-842-3150 or comcen@ntelos.net.

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

Eclecticism rules the space at The Arts Center In Orange as it presents "Collectors of Orange," an exhibit of art on loan from local private collections. Through January 28. 1250 E. Main St., Orange. 540-672-7311.

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

FEATURES/FEATURES/FEATURES
ART
Arty or art? Cremaster Cycle tests limits
BY LAURA PARSONS ART @READTHEHOOK.COM
Controversy in the art world, is there anything quite so juicy? Take the case of sculptor/performance artist Matthew Barney. On the one hand, New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman describes Barney as "the most important American artist of his generation." On the other, Christian Viveros-Fauné of the New York Press vilifies Barney as "the current emperor of gussied-up post-boredom art."

Decide for yourself when Barney's five-part cinematic extravaganza "The Cremaster Cycle" screens at UVA's Newcomb Theater over four days, starting January 22 (so uncap the pen and block off that chunk on your calendars right now).

What exactly is the cremaster? Although images of Clive Barker's Pinhead or Wes Craven's Freddy Krueger may flash to mind, it turns out the cremaster, is, in fact, the little male muscle that controls whether the testicles shrink up into the body or descend in full glory. Really.

In published interviews, Barney says the cremaster serves more as an organizing principle for the five films and less as a means to understand them. Produced and released out of sequence over eight years, beginning with Cremaster 4 in 1994, the series grapples with issues of gender identification and undifferentiation as well as power struggles of mythic proportions.

Geographically, the series moves from west to east. The musical Cremaster 1 (1995) takes place at blue-Astroturfed Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho (where in real life Barney was a hometown high school football hero). Above the field float two blimps, in which a blonde bombshell choreographs the dancing girls below by arranging grapes. The western-themed Cremaster 2 (1999) takes place in Utah and makes connections among Gary Gilmore's execution, Houdini, and bees (yes).

Cremaster 3 (2002), which runs a whopping three hours and two minutes, centers on the construction of New York's Chrysler Building. In a memorable moment, sculptor Richard Serra, playing the Architect, hurls Vaseline down a spiral ramp, reminiscent of Serra's 1960s-era molten lead "Splash" series (a Barney favorite).

Cremaster 4 (1994) moves to the Isle of Man where fairies and motorcycles collide in mythmaking. Finally, Cremaster 5 (1997) presents a lyric opera, starring Ursula Andress, set in Budapest.

Barney's sculptures, drawings, and fascination for Vaseline figure prominently throughout, and sense-making narrative never interferes with image creation. After all, the installments of The Cremaster Cycle aren't just art films; they're art films.

Is Barney's work, as Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector says, "an epic saga" or, in Viveros-Fauné's words, "idiotic drivel"? You be the judge.

Matthew Barney's "The Cremaster Series" screens January 22-25 at UVA's Newcomb Theater. On January 22, Cremaster 1 and 2 show at 7pm. On January 23, Cremaster 3 begins at 6p.m. On January 24, Cremaster 4 and 5 show at 7pm. On January 25, Cremaster 1 and 2 show at 1pm, Cremaster 3 at 4pm, and Cremaster 4 and 5 at 8pm. $5 adult/$3 student. Advance tickets are available at Plan 9 and the Gravity Lounge.

WORDS
Practicing: Winner reflects on Jewish rituals
BY ELIZABETH KIEM WORDS@READTHEHOOK.OM
Ours is a bi-traditional home where the Christmas tree vies with the menorah. So far, the menorah wins in the eyes of my four-year-old son, primarily because it makes its appearance first, but also because he seems to have a soft spot for daily (or nightly) ritual. Lighting the candles and singing the prayer was the most anticipated moment of the holidays. Until, of course, Christmas Eve collided with the fourth day of Chanukah.

Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren Winner tells of another five-year-old Henry, one who insisted that his mother make an advent wreath because he wanted "something like Chanukah." And why shouldn't he? Winner asks. Why shouldn't we all have a little candle-lighting, even if it comes in the form of a faith we have moved away from?

Winner is a local girl who grew up in the Charlottesville synagogue, converted to Orthodox Judaism when she went away to college, met Jesus on her own terms, embraced him, and then wrote a critically acclaimed book about it– Girl Meets God.

In her memoir, Winner isn't shy about proclaiming her devotion to Christ, which she does with an unaffected, jazzy sort of "Ohmigod, I'm sooo in love" flourish. If Girl Meets God is a love story, Mudhouse Sabbath is a wallow among an ex-boyfriend's love letters. Both are written with the lucidity of a woman who subjects her relationships to intense theological and spiritual scrutiny.

"Practice is to Judaism what belief is to Christianity," writes Winner in the first of many pithy acknowledgements to the respective strengths of both religions. Where belief is strong, she suggests, there is only good to be gained by new attention to practice.

From the sanctity of Sabbath to the sanctioned steps of mourning, from the purpose of keeping kosher to the rationale of a marriage contract, Winner acknowledges the pros of living by a spiritual handbook: "Your faith might come and go, but your practice ought not waver."

As a Christian (as the title suggests), Winner no longer adheres to the strict laws of Orthodox Judaism. But she sees in the commands of the Torah inspiration for her own devotional lifestyle. She honors the Sabbath with contemplation over coffee; she welcomes her God to her home with candle-lighting; she is attentive to foods and keeps a seasonal diet, even if she relishes the return of shellfish to her life.

The bottom line, writes Winner, is that there are some things "that Jews do better." It's her hope that believers of all faiths will strive to replicate these practices. It's a nobler effort than merely asking Christmas to like Chanukah-&endash; or asking a beau to wear a rival's letter jacket.

Lauren Winner reads from Mudhouse Sabbath Tuesday, January 20 at 7pm. The event is part of Barnes & Noble's book fair for the recording for the blind and dyslexic. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-0461.

WALKABOUT
Enlivening: History makers tell of freedom
BY SOPHIA COUDENHOVE WALKABOUT@READTHEHOOK.COM
To commemorate Martin Luther King Day, Ash-Lawn Highland, the present incarnation of President James Monroe's plantation, is conducting special "Freedom for All" tours featuring characters playing the roles of Monroe, the Rev. John E. Massey (who owned the estate during the Civil War and Reconstruction) and Sam Washington, a fictional African-American contemporary of Massey's, discussing race in their day.

"What we're talking about is a journey," said Dennis Bigelow, who portrays America's fifth president. "Monroe and Massey had a predisposition to making a change." They weren't heroes, Bigelow says, but they lived in a period of transition, much of which they themselves instigated.

Bigelow, a teacher at Piedmont Virginia Community College, assumes the first person in relating the president's views. "Thomas Jefferson and I thought that eventually slavery would work itself out," he says. "But in 1820, I realized that the Union could be torn asunder over slavery."

And he believed that the passage of the Missouri Compromise, which banned slavery in the new western territories, would help maintain the Union.

Monroe faced the question of how to treat slavery as far back as 1778, when he almost took command of a battalion of slaves due to be freed after the Revolutionary War. But the plan fell apart, Bigelow said, because of furor among South Carolina plantation owners.

As president, his answer was to help offer free passage for black people to the newly founded African state of Liberia (whose capital today is still named Monrovia in his honor). Later, in 1829, as president of the Virginia Constitutional Convention, he wanted to advance a plan to abolish slavery, but the subject was again considered too provocative.

The story continues in the Victorian part of the house, completed by the Reverend Massey in 1882, 20 years after he bought Ash Lawn. Massey was what his re-enactor Stan Popin describes as a "real southerner"&emdash; a supporter of the Confederacy who was dismayed at Lee's surrender.

As a pastor, he refused to become involved in government or state issues. But when illness rendered him unable to continue his ministerial duties, he became an attorney, and his work opened education to blacks with the founding of what is now Virginia State University. He was also one of the last people to see abolitionist John Brown alive. Brown had come to Virginia disguised as a doctor studying and treating an ailment he claimed was more prevalent among blacks than whites. In fact, he was recruiting black men for his army. Just before Brown died, Massey visited him in jail, although there are no known accounts of the meeting.

Then comes Sam Washington-&endash; a composite character made of information available from historic documents. Washington will be played by Ash Lawn-Highland crafter and interpreter Russell Hubert. In his role, he'll explore the fate of Thomas Jefferson's declaration that all men are created equal, and he'll discuss the seeds of equality that Monroe and Massey helped to plant.

Ash Lawn-Highland offers "Freedom For All" tours of the house 1-4:30pm January 19. The former home of President James Monroe is open daily 11am-5pm. Tours are $9 adults. $8 seniors, AAA members, and locals. $5 children 6-11.

FAMILY
Celebrating MLK: Two days honor hero's life
BY LINDA KOBERT FAMILY@READTHEHOOK.COM

Over the holidays, my kids and I made a trip up to Washington, D.C. We visited some museums, gawked through the iron gates at the White House, wandered over to the Vietnam War Memorial, and while we were at it went up to see the Lincoln Memorial. As we came down the first tier of steps on that monument, my son asked, "Isn't this the place where Martin Luther King gave the 'I Have a Dream' speech?"

It was indeed. Standing there on the spot marked by a plaque in the concrete, I looked out over the reflecting pool, drained now because of construction work, and looking at the Washington Monument in the distance I remembered the images I've seen of the sea of people that filled that space on August 28, 1963.

Forty years later, the day set aside to celebrate the life of this man, who so eloquently extolled his dream of dignity for all people, doesn't have to be just another day off from school. The Charlottesville Community Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration helps remind us all that the dream is still alive.

The commemoration happens over two days this weekend. Saturday's program features a choral concert at First Baptist Church. Church choirs of all races and denominations from around the area come together in a Community Mass Choir to create "an absolutely wonderful musical experience," according to Mary Jane King, a member of the MLK planning committee. A youth choir and children's choir will also perform. This year, members of the audience can join in the merriment as music director Jonathan Spivey leads a sing-along of songs from the Civil Rights movement.

Sunday's event at the Performing Arts Center features a keynote address on "Living the Dream" by nationally recognized minister and scholar Dr. Robert Michael Franklin. The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Award will be presented to a member of the greater Charlottesville community who has demonstrated Dr. King's commitment to the civil rights of all people and to improving understanding between peoples of different races and ethnic backgrounds. The community children's choir and mass choir will perform at this event as well.

This celebration has been inspiring local folks for 20 years. "It always reinforces my desire to work for social justice and equality," Mary Jane King said. "We've still got a long way to go."

The Martin Luther King Jr. choral concert takes place Saturday, January 17 at 6pm at First Baptist Church, 735 Park St. The commemorative celebration happens Sunday, January 18 at 3pm at the Charlottesville Performing Arts Center, Melbourne Road. An offering will be taken at both programs to benefit the Project Discovery program of the Monticello Community Action Agency. 961-5203.

PERFORMANCE
Twosome: Revolving views of intimacy
BY STEPHEN BOYKEWICH PERFORMANCE@READTHEHOOK.COM
I'll tell you what I would have done if I had been running Live Arts this season. I would have started with a show as grand and magnificent as the theater's new home, an American epic, something with dozens of characters and the whole country as a canvas. Then I would have followed it with a bold pairing of shows in rotating repertory.

Ambitious, I know, but that's the way I am.

So how did they start the season? With a Tony Award-winning adaptation of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, followed by Suzan-Lori Parks' Top Dog/Underdog and David Mamet's Boston Marriage in rotating rep.

I guess great minds think alike.

While it's still too early to tell whether Live Arts is changing the shape of community theater, their new season is certainly pushing the envelope. The pair of plays that will be sharing their main stage for the next four weeks are bound to challenge not only the skills of Live Arts' artists, but the sensibilities of Charlottesville theatergoers&emdash; which is exactly the way it should be.

Opening this weekend is the 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning Top Dog/Underdog, the story of two brothers whose longtime rivalry turns dangerous when they spend a little too much quality time in a one-room New York apartment. The older brother, Lincoln, is (go figure) a Lincoln impersonator, and his younger brother Booth (that's right) is a petty thief and aspiring three-card monte dealer.

The name games are stock-in-trade for Suzan-Lori Parks, whose plays often use American historical and literary icons as the departure point for a bewildering journey through modern America.

Opening next weekend is Boston Marriage, the story of two turn-of-the-century female lovers whose romance turns dangerous when they get a little too good at making barbed comments. Playwright David Mamet is best known as the virtuoso of clashing male egos and four-letter words who gave us Glengarry Glen Ross, but he's tried every conceivable genre in recent years. This quick-witted Wildean comedy is further proof of his range.

The two plays make a fascinating pair. Superficially they're worlds apart, but both are intense, intimate, highly original explorations of the perils of dispossession.

Hats off to Live Arts for good matchmaking.

Top Dog/Underdog previews Thursday, January 15, and shows January 16-17 at 8pm. Through February 6. Boston Marriage previews Thursday, January 22, opens January 23, and runs until February 7. $10-15. Wednesdays are Pay-What-You-Can. Live Arts Down Stage, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177x100.

TUNES
Tribal rock: Ode to morning afters
BY MARK GRABOWSKI TUNES@READTHEHOOK.COM

Possessing one's own personal soundtrack, a musical backing to follow you around through your day-to-day existence, is a topic that has occurred independently to literally tens of thousands of drunken teenagers throughout this great nation. But lack of originality should never stop the thought processes of anyone, let alone someone who makes big bucks to gush neurons onto the very paper you now hold in your sweaty little hands.

It's Sunday morning, I was up gallivanting late last night, and the music of Caveman, an instrumental jazz/rock/psychedelic band from New York, is my current personal soundtrack, pretty much directly coinciding with the way I feel.

Since coming together in New York in the summer of 2001, Caveman has kept its original lineup of John Lee on guitar, John Buck on bass, Tim Keiper on drums, and Brian Marsella on organ and melodica. Lee, Buck, and Marsella all studied jazz at the New School University in New York, and have various illustrious jazz-related bragging points to peddle around town. (A sampler: Lee has toured Switzerland with the Keeleaf Aura Quartet and toured Israel with free jazzer Danny Zamir; Marsella toured France with the jazz quintet the Flail.).

The group released their debut album, Before the World, in the winter of 2002 and they're planning to record their second CD at the end of a current winter tour that finds them making their way through our little town.

Before the World begins with "The Call," a jittery, winding track where vibrato and wow bar-laced guitar and jazz drumming are sometimes interspersed with groans and cries of band members- the overall feeling is one of utter lunacy.

This Caveman song coincides with my current feeling of losing touch with time and space.

Moving on, I recognize "Grand Canyon," as a noticeably calmer track, where more traditional jazz chords act almost as one with Marsella's organ, sounding a little like some Nintendo game from 1988 (you would be in the cloud level here). This song also coincides with my now calm and more collected state-&endash; perhaps the worst is over.

"Delta Caveman" with its organ intro and guitar/organ round style is a tribal excursion into time changes. It psychedelia ushers in the new age of "worse." Shifting keys and tempos, the song's discombobulated nature is enough to make a straight-edger feel a mite tipsy– not the best thing to play for those looking to have a good "trip," but for those looking for some great modern blues/rock, this is the ticket.

Caveman's sound tilts from the trained to the primitive, sometimes passing from one to the other in the same song. With bursts of translucence followed by incoherence, it'll remind you of all those morning afters you've tried so hard to forget.

Caveman perform at Garden of Sheba, January 18. $5, 7pm.