Cultural calendar, January 22-29, 2004

THURSDAY, January 22
Go, cat, go:
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 and gallery tours. 6-9pm. $10. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Far out: Alternative cinema has never been more alternative. Multimedia artist Matthew Barney's "The Cremaster Cycle" makes its Charlottesville premiere with the screening of Cremaster 1 & 2 at 7pm in the Newcomb Hall Theater at the University of Virginia. $5/$3 student. 982-5560.

Will Mr. Popper be there?:
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 too. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

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.

Josh Mayo featuring Modern Epic with Tricia Lopez (pop) at Gravity Lounge:
Pop musician Josh Mayo takes a little step up in his regular venue selection with this show at Gravity Lounge. Catchy tunes, sweet voice– no wonder the girls seem to dig him. [Mark Grabowski's Mushy Date Pick of the Week]. $5, 9pm.

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

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

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

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

Let It Die, Left Unsaid, the Epidemic (rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Thursday Night Dance Party: Satisfaction ("top 40 remixes, hip hop, retro dance…") at Rapture. No cover, 10pm. (W)

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

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

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

FRIDAY, January 23
Valley jammin':
Take a drive over the mountain to celebrate Staunton's Co-Art Gallery's sixth anniversary with a "Music Jam" by artists in the cooperative and others. 7pm. 22 W. Beverley St., Staunton. 540-886-0737.

Wilder and wilder: Matthew Barney's "The Cremaster Cycle" continues with Cremaster 3 at 7pm (note time change from original schedule) in the Newcomb Hall Theater at the University of Virginia. $5/$3 student. 982-5560.

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! 7:30pm. Omni Hotel. 540-832-1555 or

Managing 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 tonight to 9am on tomorrow 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.

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.

T-Bone 'N Weasel:
Los Angeles' African American Theatrical Ensemble presents Jon Klein's comedy about two ex-cons in backwoods South Carolina as part of Shenandoah Shakespeare's Commonwealth Theater Festival. 10pm. Blackfriars Playhouse. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $15. 540-885-5588. See Performance feature.

Prospect Dance Group: This ambitious Charlottesville-based dance company, co-directed by Dinah Gray, Peter Swendsen, and Ashley Thorndike, presents its first evening-length event, combining dance, music, and video. Reservations recommended. 8pm. Maxwell Blackbox Theater, V. Earl Dickinson Building, PVCC, 500 College Drive. $10. 242-8691.

Boston Marriage: Live Arts presents David Mamet's latest play, a quick-witted Wildean comedy about female lovers in turn-of-the-century America. 8pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10-15. 977-4177 x100.

The Trouble Begins at Eight: Members of Staunton's Shenandoah Shakespeare present a staged radio play adaptation of stories by Mark Twain as part of the Commonwealth Theater Festival. 8pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. Pay what you will. 540-885-5588. 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. Complete guidelines can be found under "How to No Shame" at $5, 11pm, Live Arts UpStage Theater, 123 E. Water St., 977-4177.

Baby Wants Candy: This Chicago-based improv comedy team performs as part of a week-long residency at UVA. The show includes the group's signature piece, The Musical, an entirely improvised musical. 8pm. Culbreth Theatre, 109 Culbreth Road. $5 general, free with UVA ID. 924-3376.

Shelley Hurt of the New School discusses the U.S. government's role in laying a market foundation for the agricultural biotechnology industry. Miller Center. Lunch served. Free event. 12pm. RSVP. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-4694.

Please speak slowly and clearly: Lyndon Johnson and JFK– what they really thought about Vietnam and the KKK. Join Miller Center Presidential Recordings experts Kent Germany and David Coleman for a forum on the politics of race and war. 11am 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-0921. See Words feature.

The Guarneri String Quartet with H. Borup and A. Leung at Cabell Hall:
With a program including Arriaga's Second String Quartet and Zoltan Kodaly's Second String Quartet, as well as a finale of Johannes Brahms' "String Sextet in B flat major" performed by the Guarneri Quartet, performance faculty member Hasse Borup on viola and Amy Leung on cello. $20 orchestra/$15 loge/balcony /$5 student. 8pm.

Paul Geremia at the Prism:
6/12 string guitar or piano, it doesn't matter, Geremia is a great musician. Now regularly appearing on "A Prairie Home Companion," Geremia will show Charlottesville why Keillor is a fan. $12/$10 advance, 8pm.

My Morning Jacket with Dr. Dog at Starr Hill: Some great southern-indie rock comes straight out of Kentucky for your listening pleasure– My Morning Jacket were great last time they came to town, and they are older and wiser now (the two tenets rock is based on). $12/$10 advance, 10pm. See Tunes feature.

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

Robin Wynn and Mark Goldstein with Tusker with Melissa McClain at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

John Figura (rockabilly, punk, and originals) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

The Blue Dogs at Outback Lodge. $8, 10pm.

After Dark: A NuWave DanceRock Party at Rapture. No cover, 10pm.

Quinton Parker (jazz piano) at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. Free, 7pm.

SATURDAY, January 24
Party on!:
Staunton's Co-Art Gallery, the largest artists' cooperative in the Shenandoah Valley, continues its sixth anniversary party with a meet-and-greet and art sale. 10am-5pm. 22 W. Beverley St., Staunton. 540-886-0737.

All good things must end: Matthew Barney's "The Cremaster Cycle" concludes with Cremaster 4 & 5 at 7pm in the Newcomb Hall Theater at the University of Virginia. $5/$3 student. 982-5560.

Gung hay fat choy:
It's the year of the monkey, and families can celebrate the Chinese New Year with stories, crafts, and culture at Scottsville Library. 11am. Free. 330 Bird St. 286-3541.

Monkey around: The Children's Museum of Richmond rings in the year of the monkey as they host a two-day celebration of the Chinese New Year. Visitors can enjoy demonstrations of Chinese cooking, calligraphy, paper cutting, and martial arts. The traditional Lion Dance will be performed by the UVA Chinese Student Association. 11am-3pm. Included with museum admission. 2626 W. Broad St. 804-474-7053.

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

Science sleuths: Needed: expert detectives who can use science to solve crime. Young gumshoes can explore the world of forensics as they gather clues and evidence in this all-day program that includes hands-on science workshops, demonstrations, exhibits, an IMAX® film, and planetarium show. $18 per child. For every six children, one adult chaperon is required. Required adults are $9. Additional adults are $18. Registration required. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-864-1447.

Getting a jump on the ball: Players up to age 12 can improve basic skills and understanding of the game at UVA's winter softball clinics. Group and individual instruction on pitching, catching, fielding, and hitting. $50 per session. At "the Cage" next to University Hall. 983-5737.

He ain't heavy: Brothers and sisters of children with disabilities have feelings that may go unrecognized. "Sibshops," a four-hour workshop sponsored by the PREP/Parent Resource Center and the state-supported Infant and Toddler Connection of the Blue Ridge, offers peer support to kids ages 8-13 and helps them learn more about their siblings' disabilities while having fun at the same time. 10am. Ivy Creek School, Lambs Lane. 975-9400, ext. 2342.

Swimming against the tide: See Friday, January 23.

T-Bone 'n Weasel:
See Friday, January 23. Today's show is at 7:30pm.

Tom Sawyer: Middletown's Wayside Theater present an adaptation of Mark Twain's classic novel as part of Shenandoah Shakespeare's Commonwealth Theater Festival. 11am. Blackfriars Playhouse. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $5-7. 540-885-5588. See Performance feature.

Baby Wants Candy: See Friday, January 23.

Boston Marriage: See Friday, January 23. Tonight's show is at 8.

String Quartet Master Class: The Guarneri Quartet will conduct a master class for UVA student chamber ensembles. 10am. Old Cabell Hall. Free. 924-3052.

4th Swing: The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society hosts a dance event featuring a mix of west coast swing, hustle, and other swing. Music by DJ Rockin' Robin. 8-11pm. Berkmar Ballroom, NE corner of Berkmar Drive and Rio Road West. $6-9. 980-2744.

Prospect Dance Group: See Friday, January 23.

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. 10pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $15. 540-885-5588. See Performance feature.

Dance Master Class: PVCC's master class series continues with an Intro to Flamenco Dance class taught by Kristi O'Brien. No previous experience necessary. 1:30-3:30pm. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. $10. 961-5378.

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. 3pm. Blackfriars Playhouse. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $15. 540-885-5588. See Performance feature.

Audition Workshop: Carol Pedersen offers tips and techniques for actors planning to audition for Live Arts' upcoming production of Stephen Adly Guirgis' Jesus Hopped the "A" Train. Come find out how to stand out. Auditions January 25-26. Performances March 26-April 10. Cast: four men (two African American or Hispanic; two not, 20s-50s), one woman (20s-30s). 1-3pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10-15 977-4177.

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. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10. 977-4177x100.

In-the-Round with Terri Allard, Jan Smith, and Joia Wood:
All three roots loving singer/songwriters take the stage at Gravity Lounge, each performing their own originals in a head-to-head competition where only the victor will survive! Sorry, got carried away, but with Allard's nationally known country-rock sound, Smith's clever pop-folk hooks, and a rare performance by folk-popper Joia Woods, tonight should be a good show. $10, 8:30pm.

Stone's Stew Jazz Music at Miller's: If only we knew what kind of music Stone's Stew Jazz Music played, we could ruminate on them a bit. Too bad. Hailing from Richmond, the act is getting national recognition, so why not come out and solve the mystery of the unknown genre yourself? $3, 10pm.

Tishamingo at Outback Lodge: Rock and roll lives at the Outback Lodge tonight, when Tallahassee, Florida band Tishamingo takes the stage. Blues based, '60s and '70s style thumping, tonight. $6, 10pm.

John Carlini Quartet at the Prism: This jazz quartet includes jazz-banjo player Pat Cloud and mandolinist Don Sternberg, making their first appearance in Charlottesville. $18/$15 advance, 8pm.

The Dawning: End of the World Show at Tokyo Rose: The last Dawning show ever at the TR, this night features all of the staff DJs giving the discs a spin, and dancing into the night. Support it! $5, 10:30pm.

Foster's Branch ("3 part harmony, pedal steel, folk rock") at Mountain View Grill. $5, 8pm.

Biscuit at Orbit. No cover, 10pm.

DJ Frank Rivera at Rapture. No cover, 10pm.

Proffitt and Sandige (country-blues) at Rapunzel's Coffee and Books. $5, 7:30pm.

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

Cross Canadian Ragweed with Slingblade at Starr Hill. $10/$8 advance, 10pm.

SUNDAY, January 25
All good things:
It's the last day to participate in Staunton's Co-Art Gallery's meet-and-greet and art sale in celebration of its sixth anniversary. 1-5pm. 22 W. Beverley St., Staunton. 540-886-0737.

Test your endurance: Cycle through Matthew Barney's entire "Cremaster Cycle" (or catch the installments you missed). Cremaster 1 & 2, 1pm. Cremaster 3, 4pm. Cremaster 4 & 5, 8pm. All screenings take place in the Newcomb Hall Theater at the University of Virginia. $5/$3 student. 982-5560.

Improv Lab and Fundamentals:
Join Live Arts' resident improv expert, Rush Howell, as he brings his immense improvisation and teaching experience from Second City, Improv Olympic, and Annoyance Theater to Live Arts. This class covers the basic principles of scene work and group interaction and focuses on the critical concepts of agreement, relationships, and truth in improv. Sundays until February 29, 3-5pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $50 Live Arts Members, $65 General. Ages 16 and up. 977-4177.

Stretch Marks: See Saturday, January 25. Today's show is at 3pm.

Midsummer Night's Dream: See Saturday, January 24. Today's show is at 7:30pm.

Top Dog/Underdog: Live Arts presents Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about sibling rivalry, three-card monte, and imitating Abe Lincoln. 7pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10-15. 977-4177 x100.

Boston Marriage: See Friday, January 23. Today's show is a matinee at 2pm.

Audition Notice: Come audition for Live Arts' upcoming production of Stephen Adly Guirgis' Jesus Hopped the "A" Train, a drama of prison life. Cast: four men (two African-American or Hispanic; two not, 20s-50s), one woman (20s-30s). Performances March 26-April 10. 7pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177.

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.

Bravo brass:
Five world-class musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra introduce young audiences to the brass family of instruments and play music through the ages from baroque to ragtime in a Kinderkonzert at the Charlottesville Performing Arts Center. Brought to town by the Community Children's Theatre. 2pm. $10. 961-7862.

Getting a jump on the ball: See Saturday, January 24.

Monkey around: See Saturday, January 24. Times today are noon-4pm.

Swimming against the tide: See Friday, January 23. Today's show is at 3pm.

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

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

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

Jazz vocalist Catherine Carraway at Keswick Hall. Reservations recommended, 6:30 -10pm.

Usual Suspect Night: Double Feature (movie * 2) at Rapture. No cover, 8pm.

Dark Star Orchestra (Grateful Dead redux) at Starr Hill. $20, 8pm.

MONDAY, January 26
The Central Virginia Watercolor Guild holds its monthly meeting. Members and newcomers are invited to bring in unframed work for a critique by John Ruseau. 1pm. Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. 979-4291.

Musical Mondays:
Local children's singer/songwriter and music therapist Cathy Bollinger will be at the Village Playhouse on Monday mornings for music class for munchkins and their parents. The six-week session starts today and includes educational songs, finger plays, and movement. Sessions for children up to age three at 10am, three to four-year-olds at 10:30am. $30 for the session. Pre-registration required. 313 Second St. SE. 296-9390.

Mitten magic: Have you turned a favorite wool sweater into a disaster by throwing it in the dryer? The folks at Scottsville Library will help kids ages 13-18 turn this problem into soft and toasty mittens to wear this winter. 5-6:30pm. Free. Registration is required. 330 Bird St. 286-3541.

Into the woods: Junior Naturalists 4-H Club gets started again for the spring for outdoor lovers ages 7-12. This hands-on nature club co-sponsored with the Virginia Cooperative Extension meets every other Monday starting tonight through April in the Education Building at Ivy Creek Natural Area. 4-5:30pm. Free. Earlysville Road. 973-7772.

Alzheimer's information:
A panel of physicians, elder care attorneys, financial planners, and assisted living facility administrators answer questions and concerns about this devastating disease. Informational tables as well as private consultations with the experts are part of the day's events. Free and open to the public. 2-4pm at the Senior Center, 1180 Pepsi Place. 974-7756.

Audition notice:
See Sunday, January 25.

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)

Emergency Music Theatre with Stratton Salidis (eclectic singer/songwriter) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Greg Howard at Miller's. $3, 9pm.

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)

Dark Star Orchestra (Grateful Dead redux) at Starr Hill. $20, 8pm.

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 27
Top Dog/Underdog:
See Sunday, January 25. Tonight's show is at 7:30pm.

Black Broadway: PVCC presents a celebration of the songs, stories, and spirit of the great black musicals, featuring actors Monica Patton and C.E. Smith from hit Broadway shows Ragtime and The Full Monty. 7:30pm. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. $6-17. 961-5376.

Ladies' Night:
Women's book club discusses Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours at Barnes & Noble, Barracks Road Shopping Center, 984-0461. 7pm.

Nature time:
Nature lovers ages three to five are invited to the Virginia Museum of Natural History for stories and nature activities. This week's fun focuses on camouflage, mimicry, and other strategies animals use to sneak up on their prey or hide from predators. 10:30am. $4. Registration required. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605.

The fun of art: Young artists ages three to six can work with paint, clay, and collage at the Village Playhouse with an internationally experienced art educator. Classes are seven weeks long, and the first lesson is free. 10-11am. $180 (includes drop-off care, supplies, materials, and instruction). Pre-registration required. 313 Second St. SE. 296-9390.

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)

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

Banty Rooster (bluegrass) at Miller's. $3, 9pm.

EMDUB at Orbit. No cover, 8pm. See Music Review.

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

WEDNESDAY, January 28
Set it free:
Let your inner artist out by participating in Rosamond Casey's eight-week course "Exploring Mixed Media," which begins today at the McGuffey Art Center. Choose your class: 10am-12:30pm or 6:30-9pm. $200. 201 Second St. NW. 293-8733.

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.

Boston Marriage: See Friday, January 23. Tonight's show is at 8.

Wit's End &endash; A One-Act Showcase: University Wits, a company of Mary Baldwin College MFAs, present a free performance of four one-act plays as part of Shenandoah Shakespeare's Commonwealth Theater Festival. 10pm. Blackfriars Playhouse. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. Free. 540-885-5588. See Performance feature, page 31.

T-Bone 'n Weasel: See Friday, January 23. Today's show is a matinee at 3pm.

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. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $15. 540-885-5588. See Performance feature.

Wine tasting:
Artistic Imports, a gourmet food and gift shop in Waynesboro, sponsors a tasting of Shenandoah Vineyards spirits. Taste wine from the oldest winery in the valley, 5-7pm, and then amble down the street to South River for dinner and Jimmy O's live entertainment. 7:30-10pm. Tasting is free, fee for dinner and entertainment. I-64 to exit 94 by the Holiday Inn. 540-943-3505.

More tales for tots:
The five-and-under crowd can hear stories about frogs and toads 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.

Nature time: See Tuesday, January 27. Time today is 1:30pm.

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.

Vyktoria Keating (folk) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

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

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

EMDUB at South Street Brewery. No cover, 10pm. See Music Review.

Kathy Olsen Trio (jazz) 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 29
All the finer things:
Shake the blues with a trip to Richmond for Art After Hours at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, this week featuring the Michael Clark Blues Band, plus poetry by Darren Morris and an "All Dolled Up" art tour. 6-9pm. $10. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

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.

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.

T-Bone 'n Weasel: See Friday, January 23. Tonight the show is at 10pm.

Moliere Than Thou: The Illinois-based company Moliere for the People brings the French master of farce back to life as part of Shenandoah Shakespeare's Commonwealth Theater Festival. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse. 10 S. Market St., Staunton.$15. 540-885-5588. See Performance feature.

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.

Top Dog/Underdog: See Sunday, January 25. Tonight's show is at 7:30.

The fun of art:
See Tuesday, January 27. Time today 3-4pm.

More tales for tots: See Wednesday, January 28.

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)

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

T.O.W. and Sake (rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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

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

The Clarks (rock) and Ari Hest (singer/songwriter) with Stephen Kellogg at Starr Hill. $12/$10 advance, 9:30pm.

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 next wseek, including screenwriting with local filmmaker Alexandria Searls, and a section on children's books. Class and registration information at 293-3702 or at

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

Treehouse Book Arts offers "Exploring Mixed Media," an eight-week adult course focused on manifesting conceptual thought in external form, beginning January 28. $200. Limit 10 students. Wednesdays, 10am-12:30pm, or 6:30pm-9pm. The McGuffey Art Center. 293-8733.

Get the date right: The Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice invites artists working in any medium to submit works themed "February 21, 2004" for display during an evening of art and music. Deadline for consideration is February 13. 456-6028 or

Live Arts Scriptshops:
Calling all teen actors and writers to join forces in a series of workshops featuring improvisations and writing exercises designed to sharpen acting skills and develop new works for LATTEHOUSE VI. Tuesdays, February 3-March 2 5-7pm. $60 members/$75 general. Scholarship opportunities available. 123 E. Water St. 977-4177.

LATTEHOUSE VI Script Competition: Submit the best of your best writing for use in Live Arts' LATTEHOUSE VI. LATTEHOUSE is the hottest performance ticket for teens in the area, and clever and skilled writing is needed to challenge the actors and air the voices of Charlottesville teens. This year's theme, "Game That Tune/Script that Song," will be an exploration of pop music past and present. Submit scripts, scenes, or monologues based on the title or lyrics of any song from any musical genre. Take any title and shake it, twist it, spoof it, or run it off in a new direction. Submit scripts electronically to or drop them by Live Arts' office at 123 E. Water St. 10-6pm daily, Monday through Friday. Final script deadline Friday, March 5. 977-4177.

Write a winner:
WHTJ Charlottesville PBS invites creative types in grades kindergarten through third grade to participate in the annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers & Illustrators Contest. The deadline is March 1 for kids to submit original stories they write and illustrate to this local contest. Free. Call for entry forms and guidelines: 295-7671, or get them on-line:

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 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. Open Monday-Thursday 10am-4pm. Free. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605.

World beat:
Discover how rhythm and movement link different cultures, locations, and musical traditions in the new IMAX film "Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey" at the Science Museum of Virginia. Two long-time Stomp performers guide visitors through grand landscapes and cultural celebrations in Brazil, South Africa, Spain, England, Japan, India, the United States, and various countries in Africa to learn how people from around the world experience music and dance. Runs through July 16. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

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.

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.

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

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.

On January 23, the University of Virginia Art Museum opens "American Collage," featuring work by Andy Warhol, Adja Yunkers, and Robert Motherwell, among others, which runs through August 24. In association with this exhibit, multimedia artist Christian Marclay's "Telephones," a collage of edited film clips of telephone conversations ranging from Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder to Kevin Smith's Clerks, will be on view January 23-February 29. The Graphics Gallery features "Waking Dreams: Book Art and 'Literary Art' from the Collection," January 23-April 4. Also on display through February 29, "Ink/Stone: The Art of Stephen Addiss, Mark Fletcher, Wonsook Kim," an exhibition by three artists who infuse their work with Asian sensibilities. Plus "The Moon Has No Home: Japanese Color Woodblock Prints from the Collection" runs through March 7. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

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. See Art feature.

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.

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.


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

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

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.

Out of the box: Gross all over the map
"This is not a 'retrospective' in the usual sense," photographer Stephanie Gross writes in the artist's statement accompanying her show at Piedmont Virginia Community College, "although the variety of images and span of time over which they were made might suggest one."

Or not.

Frankly, without the two enormous signs emblazoned "Stephanie Gross: Light of Day," it would be hard to guess that one photographer was the source of the 100+ images currently on display in the North and South Galleries of the V. Earl Dickinson Building. The work rambles back and forth across color architectural photographs, intimate black-and-white-portraits, ethnographic explorations, vacation snapshots, and nature images. The sole unifying principle seems to be the un-matted, plexiglass-covered presentation.

"They are the pictures in the boxes," Gross writes, which perhaps explains the exhibit's all-over-the-map character. "For me these are the pictures made between projects and jobs. Often without specific intention."

Spanning the artistic career of the former Daily Progress photographer, the images reveal Gross's willingness to experiment with different styles and approaches. Edward Steichen echoes in a silver gelatin print of a robed gypsy begging beside weighty columns in Rome. And there are traces of Ray Metzker in several nature studies.

Unfortunately, "Light of Day" is difficult to view– but that has nothing to do with its content. The stacked-and-clustered image arrangement appears haphazard, although a closer look reveals small groups with internal coherence. The numbers on the exhibition list are absent from the walls, making it tricky to identify what's what. Nor is there any reference to chronology or timeframe, so insight into how Gross has evolved as an artist is lost.

Gross's photographs, nevertheless, are consistently competent in execution and occasionally brilliant in effect. Some of her strongest images depict relationships.

Peculiarly arresting is an 8x10 black and white photo of a young girl dressed in rumpled satin– looking like a cemetery cherub– standing in a dirt yard, resting her right hand on a dog's head. A larger color image provides a close-up of a wizened Chinese nun tenderly pressing a hare-lipped orphan to her cheek, her lined and freckled skin contrasting with the baby's smooth pinkness.

Finally, a black and white 11x14 print of an infant with its tiny limbs interlaced between its parents' loving hands, is one of the most beautiful in the show.

Gross refers to the exhibit's photos as "archival." Finding the jewels within requires some digging.

Stephanie Gross' "The Light of Day" is on view through February 11 in the North and South Galleries of the V. Earl Dickinson Building at Piedmont Virginia Community College. 961-5203.

Together again: Listening to LBJ, JFK unguarded
The past decade has brought to light more scenes from the inner sanctum of the Presidency than a marathon West Wing weekend on Bravo, and a dedicated crew at UVA's Miller Center is in large part responsible.

Beginning with the installation of an RCA Continuous-Film Recording Device in the Oval Office in 1940, about 5,000 hours worth of conversation were secretly recorded by six different presidents, the last of whom gave the practice a bad name and an abrupt end.

With the exception of a few transcripts released to facilitate impeachment hearings and assassination theories, most of the tapes remained secret until 1995. Since then, the trickle has become a flood-&endash; equal parts historic revelation, unintelligible digression, and late-night vacuum cleaners (presidents are as forgetful as they are discreet).

Over at the Miller Center, a stalwart team of transcribers and scholars have had had their ear to the grindstone for over five years.

"Other scholars are transcribing, of course," says David Coleman, who heads up the John F. Kennedy project. "But because we have more resources, we can be comprehensive. Rather than state the raw transcript, we add annotation and essays … we are getting this arcane material out to the public to use it."

With three volumes of Kennedy transcripts already in print, Coleman is now working on an interpretive volume looking at the foreign policies of both Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson during the escalation of war in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Coleman's colleague Kent Germany is slogging through 1964, in preparation for a volume titled Crisis of Victory: Race, Lyndon Johnson and the White House Recordings. The crisis refers to the civil disorder following the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Act, and Johnson's dilemma in handling white violence without further antagonizing the leadership of the South.

"It's not too much of a stretch to see Johnson is dealing with domestic terrorism," says Germany, referring to the murders of civil rights activists in Mississippi and Alabama in 1964-65. "It's disconcerting to see the behavior of American citizens that has to be dealt with by the President."

What comes across in the tapes is not the final resolution for an executive decree, but the personal steps of policy making. It's history writ small– and occasionally ungrammatically.

Says Coleman, "It's hard to overemphasize that aspect of hearing history."

Particularly when the vacuum cleaners are silenced.

David Coleman and Kent Germany share excerpts of presidential tapes from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations at the Miller Center on Friday, January 23 at 11am. They will discuss the themes of their forthcoming volumes on Vietnam and the civil rights movement, as well as set the record straight on whether LBJ said he was awaited by "a pack of bastards" or the Pakistani ambassador… ah the fickle nature of the dictabelt.

Paste it up: Put your future in a collage

Just when you thought it was safe to open a newspaper without hearing about New Year's Resolutions, a "Goals Party" on Sunday, January 25 offers one last chance to start 2004 on the right track.

Or so promises its host, political-consultant-turned-success-coach Michelle Prosser.

"People write too many resolutions that are too big, and they end up feeling like a failure by February," Prosser says. Instead, she suggests identifying no more than three goals that can be broken down to manageable, measurable steps. And instead of lists, she makes collages.

Her own began seven years ago. After years of fertility treatments, she became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter who died of heart failure.

Still desperate to have children, Prosser nevertheless knew she wanted to travel, although she didn't really care where. She made a collage that showed, among many other things, St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, a pair of blue booties, and a little girl.

"I'd been a very hard-driven career woman, and I was used to running over obstacles and making things happen," she says. "I didn't get it that sometimes you've got to just let go and let them happen."

That attitude changed after her daughter died. Prosser continued the fertility treatments and began to explore adoption. "But I also accepted that there were opportunities I hadn't seen because I'd been so focused on what I didn't have," she says. Making a collage made this fact clearer for her, she says, because each picture contains possibilities beyond those she's identified.

Eleven months after she made the collage, she was standing in front of St. Basil's cathedral, about to pick up her adopted baby girl, and pregnant with her first son. Two years ago, she gave birth to her second daughter.

Prosser's philosophy is that making a collage unleashes both creativity and subconscious desires in a way that a list cannot, and, perhaps more importantly, that it takes a little bit of control out of the equation.

Her party, now in its second year, starts with a brief ice-breaker, after which participants write an action plan for the things they most want to work on. Then they review the preceding year and think about what they want the year ahead to look like. Finally they comb through magazines to find images of what they want to achieve, and which can be used to make the collages.

As a former political consultant, Prosser says that she is no stranger to, or enemy of, more traditional ways of planning or organizing the future. The trick, she says, is to focus on what you have, do what you can, and leave room for possibilities you hadn't considered.

Michelle Prosser's Goals Party is on Sunday, January 25, 1-4pm at Body, Mind, Spirit on Preston Avenue, near Integral Yoga. $19. Please bring scissors and your favorite magazines. Snacks and art supplies will be provided. RSVP to Michelle Prosser 244-2695.

A one and a two: Parents in tunes with tots


Four-year-old Julia marches on tippy-toes as she strikes a miniature cymbal she holds in one hand with a rubber mallet she holds in the other. She and the other three- to five-year-olds in this Kindermusik class think they're just having a good time. Researchers, however, tell us what's really happening is that millions of tiny neurons are resonating in her brain causing little Julia to think better, gain self esteem, and develop more creativity.

"[Kindermusik] uses music as a tool to promote a child's development… physical, social, emotional, cognitive, language… all areas," said Melissa DiGrazio, a local certified Kindermusik teacher who has been a fan of this program for almost six years.

This internationally recognized, award-winning, trademarked music and movement curriculum is taught by certified teachers for children from birth to seven and their parents. "Kindermusik believes every child is musical," claims the Kindermusik International website, "and that parents are children's most important teachers."

For example, in DiGrazio's class for kids 18-months to three years and their parent or caregiver, kids learn coordination through songs that have them pat their head and hop on one foot. They learn to share and clean up by helping the teacher distribute and collect the rhythm instruments. Kids have a chance for self-expression during a free dance segment. And they gain social skills by singing a hello song in which everyone goes around the circle and says his or her name.

Children as young as newborns can benefit from the focused attention of having their parent or caregivers sing to them, rock them in their lap, and gently massage their skin. Once they get to be around three years old, kids are developmentally ready to do the class without their significant adult present. Teachers do more storytelling and pretend play, and start to introduce information about composers and music history. The oldest group of young students, ages five to seven, explore multicultural musical traditions, learn something of the musical symbols, and get to play recorders, dulcimers, and glockenspiel.

"Kindermusik is very popular around here," says Jennifer Hamilton, another local teacher and mother of two.

Hamilton doesn't even try to be the teacher for her own girls. She enjoys being the parent in the class she takes with her 10-month-old.

"I love the one-on-one bonding time," she said, "and to see her squeals of delight when she finds out she can do something new."

Humming, whistling, singing, clapping, shaking egg shakers or their booty… it's all another way kids can get smarter while they think they're just having a great time.

Melissa DiGrazio can be reached at 589-4661 or Jennifer Hamilton is at 975-9906 or A number of other certified Kindermusik teachers can be found on the AlbemarleFamily (formerly AlbemarleKids) website. More information about Kindermusik is available at

Festive: Shen Shakes' nine-day blowout


While spearing cheese cubes with toothpicks recently, I found myself standing next to a nice white-haired man who seemed to know an awful lot about Shenandoah Shakespeare. Even for someone who was on the board of directors. I told him I admired all the company was doing to make Staunton the Shakespeare capital of Virginia, if not the whole east coast.

"If not the world," he said, eyes gleaming.

I've never heard a theater-loving philanthropist sound more like a James Bond villain.

Any company that's put on Macbeth more than once must know about the perils of ambition. But Shenandoah Shakespeare hasn't let that slow them down. Since the construction of their spectacular replica of the 1614 Blackfriars Theater in 2001, Staunton's number one company just keeps getting bigger– and better. Just weeks ago they hosted the annual Shakespeare Theatre Association of America conference, with NEA chair Dana Gioia as keynote speaker. Their long-term master plan includes the construction of a second historically accurate Shakespeare theater.

What's their secret? As the name suggests, Shenandoah Shakespeare's production schedule is dominated by Hamlet, Othello, & Co., with the odd bit of Wilde or Shaw thrown in to keep things interesting. But the flexibility, imagination, and irreverence with which they treat the classics is what pulls the audience in and leaves the critics crooning.

The theater offers plenty of proof of its range over the next nine days with the Commonwealth Performance Festival, which assembles companies from across the nation to perform everything from a one-woman play about Shakespeare's daughter to a comedy about a pair of ex-cons in backwoods South Carolina starring Ashton Kutcher and Jamie Foxx. Or will when the screen version hits.

Nine companies are in residence for the festival, among them African American Theatrical Ensemble, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Theatre at Lime Kiln, and Wayside Theatre. In February, Shen Shakes' excellent resident company gets back to work.


If you prefer to stay in town this weekend, make sure you catch the first evening-length show by Prospect Dance Group. This ambitious young Charlottesville dance company has already been awarded a home at the McGuffey Art Center, and their early offerings have created quite a buzz. Their fusion of dance, music, and video lights up the PVCC stage this weekend. Check it out.

The Commonwealth Theatre Festival runs daily, with 2-4 shows a day, until February 1. See Performance Calendar for individual show listings. All shows at the Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. Tickets Free-$15. 540-885-5588.

Prospect Dance Group performs on January 23 and 24 at 8pm in the Maxwell Blackbox Theater, V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. Reservations are recommended. $10. 242-8691.

Two's the charm: My Morning Jacket fits our town well

When last we left our heroes (My Morning Jacket), the group had played a phenomenal show at Starr Hill, spewing out their psychedelic southern-rock/indie-rock until late into the May night. After their final encore, when all the cheers had died away, the last t-shirt had been sold, and the last cigarette had been smoked, the band boarded a bus and left with a wave, a silent tear, and an unspoken promise to return, one day, when the tides (of consumerism) were right.

With last September's release of It Still Moves, the faceless music execs have found it in their hearts to let My Morning Jacket see the light of day for another national tour, and towns across the country are preparing to get rocked and rolled all over again.

Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, My Morning Jacket is dominated by singer/songwriter Jim James, who, along with guitarist Johnny Quaid, bassist Two-Tone Tommy, keyboardist Danny Cash, and drummer Patrick Hallahan (who replaced previous drummer J. Glenn after the band's first album), has been devising and recording hauntingly beautiful songs since the group's 1999 debut, The Tennasee Fire.

More or less a pop songwriter, James has, through planning or happenstance, chosen a mélange of country-rock and the psychedelic as his sonic backdrop, something along the lines of Neil Young crossed with a post-Barrett Pink Floyd.

It Still Moves finds the group moving beyond their Darla indie-beginnings into the wider world of the ATO/RCA label, but this doesn't entail a major overhaul of the group's already spot-on sound. Everything you've loved in the past about My Morning Jacket's albums (or if you're not familiar with the group, it would be "Everything you would have loved had you bothered to scrurry out from under your big rock and explore your local record store") is on It Still Moves– Mr. Olympus-worthy melodies, enchanting sparseness, and a sound like the group is playing live from inside an echo chamber. On track after track, the album lives and breathes a kind of other-wordly passion, something great from a time forgot but easily relevant to the musical landscape of today.

If you've heard the album, you already know what songs are great ("Mahgeetah" and "Easy Morning Rebel," among many others), and if you haven't you should pick up a copy, or "find" one around somewhere.

Tomorrow night at Starr Hill will be the second installment of the Charlottesville My Morning Jacket story– come and see for yourself the reason for all the gushing.

My Morning Jacket with Dr. Dog at Starr Hill, January 23. $12/$10 advance, 10pm.


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