Cultural Calendar, February 12-19, 2004

THURSDAY, February 12
Talkin' art:
View the paintings of Marla McNamara during an evening of fine art, healthy conversation, and good spirits at Bryson Hudock D.C.'s office. 6:30-8pm. 355 W. Rio Road, Suite 106. 963-4683.

Isak won't be there, sorry: The VMFA "Tour of the Month" features Judy Parker-Falozi's discussion entitled "Out of Africa." 2pm. Free. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Alluring apples: Shake the blues with a trip to Richmond for Art After Hours at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, this week featuring DC3, plus poetry by Patty Paine and a "Tempting Fruits" art tour. 6-9pm. $10. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Recent digs: Dig it! Dr. Pamela Garber lectures on "Recent Excavations at Ancient Idalion, Cyprus" in the VMFA auditorium at 8pm. Free. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Tales for tots:
The five-and-under crowd will be flying high at a special toddler story time at Barnes & Noble. Amanda Petrusich gets things off the ground as she reads Jane Yolen's The Emperor and the Kite. Then professional kite flyer Todd Hayman brings out his toys– all kinds of kites– and kids get to make one of their own to take home. It's a special event for the Virginia Discovery Museum's benefit book fair. Vouchers are available at the museum and during in-store events. They can also be down-loaded from the VDM website: 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

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.

OutYouth Valentine's Dance: Everyone ages 13-20 is invited to a LGBTQ-friendly dance at the Nook Restaurant. 8-11pm. Downtown Mall. Free. 985-6927.

Free Trade:
John O'Leary served as ambassador to Chile and was a leading advocate of the US-Chile Free Trade Agreement, the first such agreement between the US and a South American country. He's at the Miller Center today at 11am. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-0921.

Hungry revolution: A humanitarian catastrophe is evident in Haiti, a country whose revolution preceded our own. UVA's Robert Fatton, author of Haiti's Predatory Republic, discusses his subject tonight at the Holy Comforter Catholic Church, 208 E. Jefferson St. 7:30 pm Slideshow precedes. 296-7669. See Words feature.

21st Annual Central Virginia Landscape Management Seminar:
Topics include fruit growing, constant color in the landscape, and magnolias here and abroad. 8am-5pm. Albemarle County Office Building, McIntire Road. Info and prices: 263-4022 x103.

Corey Harris at Fuel:
The new "home grown vines" series starts off with a bang with the funk/rock/pop/world artist Corey Harris. 9:30pm.

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)

The Lilas (indie), Mark Rock of the Marzaks (intelli-pop) and The Naked Puritans (folky pop) at Gravity Lounge. $10, 8pm.

Paul Goes Richter (rock) at Jabberwocky. No cover, 10pm.

EMDUB ("multiethnic electronic fusion with an emphasis on composition and structure") at Michael's Bistro. $3, 10pm.

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

Left Foot Braking at Mountain View Grill. $5, 7:30pm.

Agents of the Sun, Running With Scissors, and Navel at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm. See Preview.

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

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

Jazz Mandolin Project at Starr Hill. $14/$12 advance, 10pm.

FRIDAY, February 13
Snap that wallabee!: Dr. Martyn Jolly, head of the photomedia workshop in the school of art at the Australian National University, Canberra, speaks at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. His lecture, "Contemporary Indigenous Photography in Australia," explores themes addressed by indigenous photographers, Tracey Moffat, Rea, Fiona Foley and others. 7pm. Reservations required. 244-0234.

Reception at UVA: The Fayerweather Gallery hosts an opening reception for its exhibition of new work by Francesca Fuchs. 5:30pm. Rugby Road. 924-6123.

Sleepy time stories:
Peter Jones and Jen Hoffman, hosts of WTJU's popular children's radio program, "Tell Us a Tale," take pajama-clad fans on a flight of fancy during a starry PJ party at Barnes & Noble. Star cookies and cakes from Chandlers Bakery will be orbiting, and kids can create their own constellation necklace in this special event for the Virginia Discovery Museum's benefit book fair. Vouchers are available at the museum and during in-store events. They can also be down-loaded from the VDM website: 7pm. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Daddy's little girl: Fathers, uncles, and grandfathers have the chance to treat their little sweethearts ages 5-11 to an evening of fun and luxury at a Father-Daughter Valentine's Dance at Carver Recreation Center. 6:30-8:30pm. $5/couple. Fourth St. NW. 970-3271.

Act up: Auditions for the 4-H "Share the Fun Talent Show" will be held tonight at the Virginia Extension office. Acts in the categories of vocal, instrumental, drama, variety, dance, or a combination are welcome. Call for details and to schedule an audition time. 6-9pm. 168 Spotnap Road. 984-0727.

The Last Session:
Richmond's Triangle Players present "a musical for people who don't like musicals," one that follows a fading pop star's last shot at greatness. 8pm. Fielden's Cabaret Theater, 2033 W. Broad St., 2nd floor, Richmond. $12-14. 804-346-8113.

Sing-a-ma-jig: The Virginia Gentlemen perform a night of love songs for their annual concert. 8pm. Old Cabell Hall. $5. 924-3984.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Shenandoah Shakespeare performs the Bard's comic masterpiece in the magnificent Blackfriars Theater. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Copenhagen: Live Arts presents a gripping production of Michael Frayn's international sensation, a philosophical detective story about a secret WWII meeting between two atomic physicists. 8pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $7. 977-4177x100.

Solo Flute Recital: Renowned flutist Gary Shocker performs a recital of pieces from the traditional repertoire, as well as original works. 8pm. Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. $5-15. 297-3409.

Valentine Opera Ball: The McIntire Department of Music holds their annual fundraiser for the UVA opera program, featuring a Mediterranean buffet dinner, a Gilbert and Sullivan review performed by the University of Virginia Opera singers, and dancing to a live swing band led by trumpeter John D'earth and jazz vocalist Dawn Thompson. Black tie optional. 6pm cocktails, 7pm dinner, 8pm performance, 9pm dancing. Newcomb Hall Ballroom. $75 per person. 924-3984.

This year in Jerusalem:
Rabbi Ron Kronish, noted educator and lecturer, has lived in Jerusalem for 23 years. He speaks tonight on the role of inter-religious dialogue in the peace process. 8:15pm. Congregation Beth Israel. 295-6382.

Silent Auction:
Western Albemarle High School Warrior Baseball Club sponsors an auction to benefit the WAHS baseball teams and help complete the Warriors Baseball complex. Items on the block include sports and exercise equipment, home baked cakes, autographed baseball cards, computer, gift baskets, gift certificates. Opening bids accepted at 4:30pm; bidding ends at starting buzzer for varsity game third quarter. Western Albemarle HS, Room B102, 5941 Rockfish Gap Tpk., Crozet. 243-6699.

Satisfaction (dance party) at Rapture:
DJ Stroud lays down commercial club (including top 40 remixes), hip-hop, and club classics at Rapture every Thursday night. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

The Charlottesville Funk All-Stars at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

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

Flashback Friday with M&M Express (dance) at Buffalo Wild Wings. No cover, 9pm.

Sierra (country) at Charlie's Bar & Grill. $3, 9pm.

Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart with Jan Smith at Gravity Lounge. $12, 8pm.

Vaden Cox (lead guitar) and Adam Silvers (keys) of Monticello Road (root-rock/pop) perform as a duo at Miller's. $3, 10pm

Open Mic Night at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. No cover, 7:30pm.

Nothin' Fancy (bluegrass) with Special Ed and Short Bus at Starr Hill. $10/$8 advance, 10pm.

Flutist Gark Schocker solo recital (traditional tunes and originals) at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church. $15/$5 students, 8pm.

The Lilas (indie) and the Screams at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm. See Tunes feature.

The Vulgar Bulgars (high energy Klezmer music) at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 9-11pm.

SATURDAY, February 14
Sparkly: Participate in a three-dimensional stained glass workshop at the McGuffey Art Center. All skill levels welcome, including beginners. $60 plus materials. 10am-4pm. 201 Second St. NW. For information, call Mimi Tawes at 977-7858.

More and more: Can't get enough of those tiny little bits of sparkle? Join a free seminar at Blue Ridge Glass and Craft in the Tiffany Method of stained glass. 3:30-5pm. 1724 Allied Street. 293-2876.

Meet the mouse:
The Cookie Mouse costumed character comes around for a special story time at Barnes & Noble. His story, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff, will be read, of course. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Moon merriment: The Virginia Discovery Museum hosts a Festival of the Waning Moon at Barnes & Noble. Exhibits coordinator and devoted drama guy Steve Kohrherr leads participants in a special improvisational play about "How the Man Got in the Moon." Outreach coordinator Austen Johnson presents a collection of authentic moon rocks direct from NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). This is another event in the VDM benefit book fair. Vouchers are available at the museum and during in-store events. They can also be down-loaded from the VDM website: 11am-1pm. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Hearts and flowers: Young lovers can celebrate Valentine's Day at the Village Playhouse. Arts and crafts, music, and refreshments. 10am-noon. 313 Second St. SE. 296-9390.

Heart strings: Families can celebrate the season at Scottsville Library's Family Story/Craft time. Hear stories from the heart and make a beaded Valentine ornament. 11am. Free. 330 Bird St. 286-3541.

Sweets and treats: Loving families can get to the heart of the matter at Crozet Library. Start off with a wonderful story for all ages, sing some love songs, create a handmade Valentine, and finish up with a sweet treat. 10:30am. Free. Registration required. In the old train station on Three Notch'd Road. 823-4050.

Seeing stars: Is that new telescope you got for Christmas still sitting in its case? Astronomy director Ken Wilson from the Science Museum of Virginia helps amateur astronomers solve the mystery of operating their telescopes in his class "How to Use a Telescope." 8am-noon. $20. Registration required. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-864-1411.

Valentine's Day Dinner Dance:
Enjoy dancing and a candlelight dinner with your valentine while the Western Albemarle High School Jazz Band plays your favorite big band, swing, and jazz selections at the fourth annual Band Boosters Dinner Dance. Dinner catered by a local Charlottesville restaurant. 7pm. 5941 Rockfish Gap Tpk., Crozet. $50 couple, $25 per person, table for six: $150. 977-8816.

The Last Session: See Friday, February 13.

Sing-a-ma-jig: See Friday, February 13.

Tartuffe: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents a new production of Moliere's comic masterpiece in the Blackfriars Playhouse. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

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.

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

Live Arts Masque: The theater presents a night of dining, dancing, wine, and delights in a benefit Valentine's ball. 8pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $100. 977-4177.

Copenhagen: See Friday, February 13.

Master Class: Renowned flutist Gary Shocker offers two master classes as part of a weekend residency. 10am. Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. Free. 297-3409.

Audition workshop: Carol Pedersen offers tips and techniques for actors planning to audition for Live Arts' upcoming production of Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby. Come find out how to stand out. Auditions tomorrow and Monday. 1-3pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10-15. 977-4177.

Flute Concert: Angela Kelley directs a flute choir performance including members of the Albemarle High School flute choir, the Western Albemarle High School flute choir, and the Youth Orchestra of Charlottesville and Albemarle Junior and Senior flute choirs. 3pm. Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. Free. 297-3409.

Devon Sproule & Paul Curreri at Gravity Lounge:
A Valentine's Day swooner, the erudite Paul Curreri and Devon Sproule bring another of their solo/duet performances to the Gravity Lounge. Included in the admission price will be the second of their homemade duet CDs, exclusive to this show. $20, 8:30pm.

The Cana Ramblers at the Prism: A family bluegrass affair, the Ramblers are headed up by 12-year-old guitarist Will Jones and 13-year-old sis Laura Leigh on mandolin. Throw in older sister Ashlet on bass, and banjo by Rick Allred, and you have a rollicking good time. $12/$10 advance, 8pm.

Seventh Annual Erotic Poetry Festival at Rapture: Get turned on by verse and iambic pentameter. The first hour will be open-mic for whoever wants to get a little dirty, the second features readers Natalia Ayala, Steve Moore, and Richelle Claiborne. No cover, 6pm. Contact Amanda French, 984-2920.

Gary Schocker at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church: Master Flutist Schocker hosts two master classes, followed at 3pm by area students giving a flute choir performance. No cover, 10am.

Sierra (country) at Charlie's Bar & Grill. $3, 9pm.

Alvin Breeden and the Virginia Cutups, M.D. Mallory and Charlottesville Grass at Albemarle High School auditorium. $7, 7pm.

Barling and Collins (cello-pop darlings: Cynical Valentines Day show) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

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

Sexxy (dance party) with After Dark, DJ Izm, and the Bucktoof DJz at Rapture. $5, after the Erotic Poetry Fest.

Deer Creek Boys (traditional bluegrass wonders) at Rapunzel's Coffee & Books. $5, 7:30pm.

Donna the Buffalo with Jim Lauderdale at Starr Hill. $14/$12, 10pm.

Lori Derr and George Turner (jazz) at Veritas Vinyards. $5, 6-10pm.

Big Circle at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

SUNDAY, February 15
No Robert Redford, either, alas:
If you missed it Thursday, you have another chance to catch the VMFA "Tour of the Month" featuring Judy Parker-Falozi's discussion entitled "Out of Africa." 3pm. Free. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

The Corner:
Local author and historian Coy Barefoot discusses his research into the Corner district. His book, The Corner: A History of Student Life at the University of Virginia was a Wall Street Journal bestseller. Lecture and slide show presented by the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. 2pm. St. Paul's Memorial Church, 1700 University Ave. 296-1492.

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.

The Last Session: See Friday, February 13. Today's show is at 4pm.

Copenhagen: See Friday, February 13. Today's show is a matinee at 2.

Stories and songs for grownups: Live Arts' co-founder Michael Parent is back in town for a one-night-only solo show combining music and storytelling. 8pm. Live Arts' Up Stage, 123 E. Water St. $10. 977-4177.

Audition notice: Offstage Theatre announces auditions for the annual Barhoppers Series. Barhoppers will perform at Orbit March 21-23 and Rapture March 28-30 and April 4-6. The auditions will take place in the Red Shed behind the McGuffey Arts Center. 2pm. Just bring yourself. 201 Second St. NW. 531-0158.

Improv Lab &endash; 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.

King Golden Banshee (traditional Irish music) at Dürty Nelly's. No cover, 6:30-9:30pm.

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

The Zing Kings (everything and more) at Gravity Lounge. Free, 11am-2pm. (W)

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

Barling & Collins (cello-pop darlings) at Miller's. No cover, 10:30. (W)

Tainted Love: Movies for unusual lovers at Rapture. No cover, 8pm.

MONDAY, February 16
Pvt. Wars:
Offstage Theater presents a riotous and poignant comedy by James McLure, in which a trio of Vietnam veterans wage their own private wars in the day room of a veterans' hospital. Runs through February 25. Seating, dinner, and drinks starting at 6:30pm, show at 8pm. R2 at Rapture, 103 E. Main St. $8. 531-0158.

Playwright's Lab: Live Arts hosts this twice-monthly workshop that gives local playwrights the opportunity to develop new work. Meets the first and third Monday of every month. 6:30pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100.

Nature explorers:
Nature lovers ages 6-11 can take a closer look at animal armor and weapons used by critters to catch their prey at the Virginia Museum of Natural History's nature club. 4pm. $4. Registration required. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605.

You are cordially invited: To celebrate the anniversary of their wedding in 1786, President James Monroe (portrayed by Dennis Bigelow) and Mrs. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe (portrayed by Cynthia Alling) will be receiving visitors at their home, Ash Lawn-Highland. As visitors tour their historic estate, the couple will welcome guests and share memories of their 44 years together during our nation's formative years. Guests will also have an opportunity to learn about the art of paper quilling demonstrated by Russell Hubert. 11:30am-4pm. Included in the price of admission. 1000 James Monroe Parkway.

Introduction to Reiki:
Find out about this Oriental healing modality in a free lecture/demonstration. Body and Soul Day Spa. 1313 Churchville Ave., Staunton. 361-1969.

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)

Tristan Kromer at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Sam Fisher (former lead singer of Weekend Excursion- rock/pop/soul) at Miller's. $3, 9:30pm.

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, February 17
Go find out what it is…:
Turntablist and multimedia artist Christian Marclay gives an artist's talk in Campbell Hall 158 at 3:30pm. University of Virginia. 924-3592.

…Then Jive at the Jeff: djTRIO presents a live music and video performance by Christian Marclay, Marina Rosenfeld, and Toshio Kajiwara. 8pm. Jefferson Theater, Downtown Mall. 924-3592.

Pvt. Wars:
See Monday, February 16.

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

Copenhagen: See Friday, February 13. Today 's show is at 7:30pm.

Audition Notice: Four County players hold auditions for Meredith Wilson's The Music Man. Seeking men and women of all ages and children eight years and up. Show runs April 30-May 23. Bring two copies of your music. 7pm. Barboursville Community Center, Barboursville. 540-832-5677.

Director's Round Table: Join Live Arts Artistic Director John Gibson for the first of these monthly seminars and a look into what directors do. Discussion format, free of charge, and open to those with previous directing experience. 7pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177.

Warm and woolly:
Lost your mittens? Little kittens ages 8-12 can make a new pair at Northside Library's mitten-making workshop. 4:30-6:30pm. Free. Registration required. Albemarle Square. 973-7893. See Family feature.

Coyotes in the County:
Wildlife biologist Ron Hughes will be at the Ivy Creek Natural Area to discuss the increasing population of coyotes in Albemarle. Meet in the Education Building. Free. Earlysville Road. 10am. 973-7772

Working With Your Unconscious Mind: Lecture-demonstration at Ivy Commons Chiropractic. 4422 Ivy Commons, Route 250 W. 7pm. Free. 293-2779.

De-Stress Lunch Break: Noon-1:30pm. Rockfish Valley Community Center, Rt. 635 Afton. Registration 361-1969.

WWII, Why We Won:
British historian Jeremy Black is a major player in the "military revolution" debate that has dominated modern military and political history for a decade. Author of over 50 books, he speaks tonight at the UVA bookstore at 5:30pm. Book signing to follow. 982-5252.

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)

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

SNUG ("Matthew Willner's funk party in the style of P- funk and James Brown") at Michael 's Bistro. $3, 10pm. (W)

Michael Mulvaney (blues) at Miller's. $3, 9:30pm.

George Turner at Orbit. No cover, 10pm.

WEDNESDAY, February 18
Tucker Box tour:
Enjoy a guided tour of the current exhibition at the Kluge-Ruhe collection followed by lunch in the gallery. Bring your own lunch or order one for $7. Program 12:15 -1:30pm. Reservations required. Call 244-0234 to reserve a space.

Get ready!: The VMFA Outreach Program presents "Lights, Camera, Action: Science at Work in Impressionist Art," a discussion by Jeffrey W. Allison especially designed to help teachers. 4:15pm. Piedmont Council of the Arts. Charlottesville High School. 296-3518.

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.

Pvt. Wars: See Monday, February 16.

Copenhagen: See Friday, February 13. Tonight's show is at 8pm.

Audition notice: See Tuesday, February 17.

Masquerade mania:
Kids five and up can explore the history and mystery of masks at Gordon Avenue Library. Stories, refreshments, and the chance to have a ball making a unique and festive disguise. 4pm. Free. Registration required. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Forest friends: Nature guide Nicol Butters leads a program for kids 18-36 months and their caretakers at Ivy Creek Natural Area. This month, the class will explore animals in winter through interactive activities and a walk on the trails. 10am. Free. Meet at the Education Building. Earlysville Road. 973-7772.

Candid camera: Local teen photographers show off their work and sign copies of their book Our View: Charlottesville & Albemarle: A Teen Photography Competition at Barnes & Noble. The contest that produced this book was held during May 2003 and included 178 students from 10 area high schools. The Charlottesville Chapter of the Virginia Writer's Club hosts the event. 7pm. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Young Eyes:
Teens from 10 area high schools show us our community through their eyes. The winners of last year's "Our View" competition gather at Barnes & Noble to sign and discuss the resulting folio. Frank and Merry Tommasson and Renee Grisham of the Oakwood Foundation host. 7pm, Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-0461.

Basic Spirals:
Learn to make jewelry at Studio Baboo. 244-2905. $35. 10am-1pm. 106 Fifth St.

Too groggy to eat: Discover the power of hypnosis to help with weight loss. Gordon Avenue Library. 7pm. Free. Call 975-7575 to register.

The Hamiltons at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Cheesy Trivia with M&M Express at Buffalo Wild Wings. No cover, 8:30pm. (W)

Las Gitanas at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

The Mike Rosensky Jeff Decker Quartet (jazz) at Miller's. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

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

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

The Chameleon Project at South Street Brewery. No cover, 10pm.

Wheat with Hey Mercedes at Starr Hill. $10/$8 advance, 9pm.

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, February19
Get funky with your neighbors as the VMFA Art After Hours presents music by Neighborliness, plus poetry by Catherine Neuhardt Minor, and a "Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!" art tour. 6-9pm. $10. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Reading the movies:
The Center for Christian Study presents Drew Trotter speaking on "Movies in America: What the Five Academy Award Nominees for Best Picture Tell Us About Ourselves." Free admission. 7-8:30 p.m. 128 Chancellor St. 817-1050.

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.

Copenhagen: See Friday, February 13. Tonight's show is at 7:30pm.

Les Blancs: Clinton Johnston directs Lorraine Hansberry's epic about the perils of colonialism in modern Africa. 8pm. Culbreth Theater, 109 Culbreth Road. $7-12. 924-3376. See Performance feature.

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)

DJ Malc D at Orbit. No cover, 8pm.

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

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

Addison Groove Project with Lloyd Dobbler Effect at Starr Hill. $10/$8 advance, 9pm.

Sedamentreous and Chalkline Beauty at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Upcoming and Ongoing
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

The Arts Center In Orange is seeking exhibits for their growing Satellite Gallery program that currently includes Not the Same Old Grind, a coffee shop on Church St., and The Virginia National Bank on Main St. Please send no more than five slides (two-dimensional work only) and an artist bio to The Arts Center In Orange Satellite Gallery Program; 129 E. Main St., Box 13, Orange 22960. 540-672-7311,

Move that heavenly body:
The Virginia Discovery Museum gets moving with its latest back gallery exhibit. "The Earth in Motion" explores the movements of our solar system and how they affects life here on Earth. Kids can move the planets, create a rainstorm, and journey through the seasons. Free with museum admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

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.

Spring fling: While school's on break, nature lovers ages 6-9 can learn about predators and prey and endangered species at the Virginia Museum of Natural History's nature camp. Participants can collect specimens and examine them under the microscope, play outdoor games, make crafts from nature, and enjoy other hands-on activities. April 5-8 from 9am-noon. $105. Registration required. 104 Emmet St. 982-4605.

Moving heaven and earth: The Virginia Discovery Museum gets moving with its latest back gallery exhibit. "The Earth in Motion" explores the movements of our solar system and how it affects life here on Earth. Kids can move the planets, create a rainstorm, and journey through the seasons. Free with museum admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Martian chronicles: The Virginia Discovery Museum gets into the Mars mania with a new display in the Discovery Corner. Maps, globes, artifacts, and new NASA images let earth-bound explorers probe the Red Planet. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

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:

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.

Ka-ching: So what is money and how does it work? Enterprising folks can enter the vibrant city of Moneyville and embark on an exciting hands-on tour through a money factory and an anti-counterfeiting forensics lab at the Science Museum of Virginia. Runs through April 25. Included with the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Blizzard business: 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.

Garden plot rentals:
City residents may rent a plot from February 9, or February 2 if they held one last year. Plots will be open to everyone beginning February 23. 970-3592, $30 city residents, $50 non-residents. See Walkabout feature.

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

FOCUS Women's and Men's Divorce Support Group: Tuesdays at 7pm. call 296 5300 or 293-2222.

The Fresh Air Fund: Volunteer committee members and host families needed to support two-week summer vacations for children from New York City's underprivileged communities. 977-8284.

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.

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 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 in the McGregor Room of Alderman Library. 924-3025.

The Second Street Gallery presents two shows during February. In the Main Gallery, view the sketchbooks and mixed media paintings of "The Collector's Plan: Recent Work by Suzanne Stryk," and in the Dové Gallery, experience "Trickery: A Meditation," an installation by Beatrix Ost. City Center for Contemporary Arts, corner of Second and E. Water streets. 977-7284.

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents "American Collage," featuring work by Andy Warhol, Adja Yunkers, and Robert Motherwell, among others, 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, is on view through February 29. The Graphics Gallery features "Waking Dreams: Book Art and 'Literary Art' from the Collection," on view through 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. "The Moon Has No Home: Japanese Color Woodblock Prints from the Collection" runs through March 7. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

New Dominion Bookshop displays Christian Peri's paintings in oil through February 29. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Spencer's 206 shows painter Edward Thomas's recent work. W. Water St. 295-2080.

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

The University of Virginia Health System presents "Studies in Light and Texture: Tuscany to Provence," paintings by Paul Dettenmaier, in the Main Hospital Lobby, through March 12. 924-0211.

UVA's Fayerweather Gallery presents new work by Francesca Fuchs through March 5. Rugby Road. 924-6123.

The PVCC Gallery shows paintings by Kathy Craig and Eugenia Rausse through March 17. V. Earl Dickinson Building, Piedmont Virginia Community College. 961-5203.

At the C&O Gallery, painter Barry Gordon's "Perspectives" is on display through February. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

The work of architect James Garrison, founder of Garrison Architects, New York, is on display in Campbell Hall's Elmaleh Gallery through March 1. University of Virginia. 982-2921.

Nature Visionary Art presents "GrumsDay Realities and Other Tales," works by John Lancaster III. 110 Fourth St. 296-8482.

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

Go lightly boutique displays the oil paintings of local newcomer Beth Herman through February. 101 W. Water St. 244-7400.

The Dave Moore Studio features a dark-themed "Dead of Winter Show." Hours vary, so call first. 414 E. Main St. (under The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar). 825-1870.

David Cochrane's abstract/geometric paintings and Matisse- and Picasso-influenced portraits are on view at the architectural firm of Stoneking/Von Storch. Also on display are photographs by Sarah Hormel-Everett and paintings by Priscilla Whitlock. Fifth and Water streets. 295-4204.

Veggie Heaven shows painter Gina Loher's "Still Life with Artichokes" exhibit through February 29. 923 Preston Ave. 296-9739

Through March 28, Les Yeux du Monde@dot2Dot presents Susan Bacik's "State of the Union: A Brief Survey of Love." 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.

At the The Village Playhouse, Maria Lennik's acrylics, Rob Bossi's pen and inks, and Tara Reid's batiks are on view through February. 313 Second St. in the Glass Building. 296-9390.

Monty Montgomery shows his pop-art-reminiscent paintings at Mudhouse in February. 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. 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.

View recent sculpture by Jonathan Durham at the old Nature Gallery space. Water street, behind the Jefferson Theater. 924-6123.

In February, Lindsay Michie Eades displays her oil paintings of England and Ireland in an exhibition entitled "Landscapes" 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.

Jerry O'Dell's paintings and stained glass creations are on view at Blue Ridge Glass & Crafts. 1724 Allied St. 293-2876.

The McGuffey Art Center presents "From Here to Here," recent autobiographical paintings by Brit transplant Steve Taylor. Also on view this month, "Mutability," a show of work using alternative processes by photographer Fleming Lunsford and other members The International Photography Institute. On the second floor, see how others view your neighborhood when ArtinPlace presents "C2D: Views of the City," a juried show of two-dimensional art, hung according to the neighborhood depicted. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973. See Art feature.

Transient Crafters displays "Panoramic Painting: A View from Afar," oils by Meg West during February. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

The Bozart Gallery features the oils and pastels of Betty Brubach through the end of February. 211 W. Main St. 296-4669.

It's wild and woolly (not to mention surreal) in a mammoth kind of way at Hot Cakes, which is displaying the paintings of Mary Atkinson through March 2. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 295-6037.

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

Martha Jefferson Hospital presents "3 Views of Landscape," featuring work by Robert Llewellyn, Scott Smith, and Barbara Southworth through March 1. In the second floor Surgery Lounge, view "Flowers and Still Lifes," oil paintings by Vidu Palta through March. 459 Locust Ave. 982-7000.


The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts presents "Best Friends: Portraits of Sydney and Francis Lewis," a series of portraits by a range of artists, including Chuck Close and Andy Warhol. February 18-July 11. Richmond. 2800 Grove Ave. 804-924-2704.

In celebration of Black History Month, The Arts Center In Orange presents "Core Visions: Influential and Emerging Black Artists in Virginia" an exhibition of works by 16 African-American artists. Also on display, "Orange County African Americans in Service to our Nation." Both shows run through February. 129 E. Main St, Orange. 540-672-7311,

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

The Shannon Farm Community Center presents painter Christopher Mason's exhibition, "Celebration in Color," through February. Call for directions and a viewing appointment. Nelson County. 434-361-0083.

The Fluvanna County Community Center presents the stained glass work of Michelle Gamage and the pottery of Fei Putnam. Highway 15. Fork Union. 434-842-3150 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.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association is exhibiting the work of seven of its members on the upper level mezzanine of the Charlottesville Airport from February 3 until May 2. The exhibitors are Betty Brubach, Blake Hurt, Phyllis Frame, Amy Howard, Coy Roy, Judith Ely, and Karen Jaegerman Collins.

During February at Caffé Bocce, Anne DeLaTour Hopper and Sean Flaherty display "Classic and Romantic Realism," an exhibition of traditional-style paintings. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.

Hampden Sydney's Atkinson Museum presents "Catch & Release," an exhibition of recent landscapes by Beverly Rhoads, Associate Professor of Art and Chair of the Visual Arts Program at Lynchburg College, featuring images inspired by Briery Creek Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, coastal Maine, and the Florida Gulf Coast. The exhibit continues through April 30. Hampden-Sydney. 434-223-6000.


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

The Arts Center In Orange is seeking exhibits for their growing Satellite Gallery program that currently includes Not the Same Old Grind, a coffee shop on Church St., and The Virginia National Bank on Main St. Please send no more than five slides (two-dimensional work only) and an artist bio to The Arts Center In Orange Satellite Gallery Program; 129 E. Main St., Box 13, Orange 22960. 540-672-7311,

Our town: Local views on view

It wasn't your average art opening. Kids roamed everywhere, bumping and jostling their way through the crowded gallery. Mayor Maurice Cox stood on top of a bench, shouting to be heard as he announced winners in the juried competition. And rather than quietly applauding, the crowd repeatedly erupted in appreciative hoots and hollers.

The McGuffey Art Center was never so alive as when opened its "C2D: Views of the City" exhibition on February 6. The show invited Charlottesville residents, both children and adults, to submit artwork expressing their impressions of different locations around town.

The show's organizers then hung the 96 resulting works– 60 by adults, 11 by high schools, 25 by children– in four groups according to the neighborhoods depicted: Alumni/Venable, Recreation/Clark, Fry's Spring/Tonsler, and Walker/Carver.

Local art scene luminaries Dean Dass, Lynn Rushton, and Priscilla Whitlock judged the show and awarded certificates to children and high school students for each of the neighborhoods, and prizes to adults for the entire show.

And the art? Ranging across a wide variety of media, from photographs to crayon drawings to collages to oils, the quality of the work on view is uniformly high. But more than that, the show is– and here's a word I get to use all too rarely when it comes to art– fun. Lots of fun.

Not only is it fun to recognize the locations the artists have chosen, but it's also fun to compare the way different artists have interpreted the same scene. For instance, high school student Nathan Hord's photograph, "Masking the Rebirth" captures the murals along the plywood wall enclosing the Paramount Theater construction project. Just below it hangs third grader Logan Hall's mixed-media view of the same location, entitled "The Ancient Theater."

Among the adult entries, Best in Show winner Jessie Coles' pastel on paper bag, "Winter Day on the Downtown Mall," pulls the viewer in, past a central red hydrant, with energized strokes of color heading off in all directions.

Another standout is Judges' Choice recipient Tom Tartaglino's large oil painting "Crossing at Night," which offers a dark yet luminous view of Water Street from outside the Glass Building. But my personal favorite is Honorable Mention winner John Hughes' bird's-eye vertical oil "Water Street," in which a car's roof carries the eye upward to the old train station.

As Mayor Cox said from his bench-top perch, "It's wonderful to see the same old places through the eye of the artist, through the eye of a child."

The McGuffey Art Center shows "C2D: Views of the City" through February. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973. For more information, visit

Haiti in crisis: Another round of big eaters?

In perhaps the only auspicious news from Haiti this year, the opposition group once known as the Cannibal Army has renamed themselves the Gonaives Resistance Front.

It's a less alarming moniker, but experts will tell you that the original name is perhaps more fitting.

This is not to say that opposition groups, whether resisting, protesting, or torching, are necessarily human flesh eaters. Nor is it an etymological comment on the origins of the term Caribbean. It is to say that for two centuries, Haiti has charted a course from liberation to devastation, and that its people are right to take their depredation personally, even literally.

In January 1804, Haitian slaves under the leadership of Toussaint L'Ouverture defeated their French masters at the battle of Vertiers and declared themselves independent. By strict assessment, theirs was the first completely free country in America.

Today, civil unrest led by armed gangs has killed more than 40 people in four months, and at least one major city is controlled by militants calling for the President's resignation. In addition to being the poorest country in the western hemisphere, leading the region in AIDS, malnutrition, and infant mortality, Haiti is the poster child for what political scientists term "predatory government."

Which brings us to the cannibals.

Every culture has its crass appellation for the privileged. In Haiti, the people in power are known as the grands mangeurs, "the big eaters." The tried and tested politics for the republic has long been termed la politique du ventre, "politics of the stomach."

"In a country where malnourishment and hunger are a permanent predicament for the vast majority, the conquest of public office is a meal ticket to corpulence, a sign of growing status and privilege," writes UVA professor Robert Fatton Jr., in his 2002 book, Haiti's Predatory Republic, which he concludes with the slimmest of hopes for Haiti's future, noting only that they "continue to struggle."

The struggle is violent again. The erstwhile Cannibal Army wants to oust President Jean Bertrand Aristide, the messianic priest who rode to power campaigning for "peace in the mind, peace in the belly." They say he's corrupt. They say he murdered their leader. They also say he's fatter now than when he threw out the despotic Duvaliers, yesteryear's grands mangeurs, and this may be his greatest sin.

Every nation paints its fat cats fat-&endash; in Haiti, it's easy to feel that the new bulk of your leaders is coming off your very own bones.

Robert Fatton Jr., chair of UVA political science department, discusses Haiti's Predatory Republic at Holy Comforter Catholic Church, 208 E. Jefferson St., 7:30 pm. Event begins with a slideshow of recent trips to Haiti. 296-7669 for more information.

Watch it grow: Plots make gardeners of us all

Love someone enough to plant seeds with them&emdash;not necessarily of the human variety? How about giving them a garden plot for Valentine's Day?

Don't love anyone? No problem. Get your own plot and savor the peace of not having to argue about what to plant where.

Charlottesville Parks and Recreation has 60 plots at the Fairgrounds– behind Bodo's and the English Inn off Route 29– and 30 at Azalea Park. The city is renting them to residents for $30. Out-of-towners have to pay an extra $20 and wait until February 29 to sign up for one.

Once you have your 30-square-foot piece of land, it's yours to do with what you will until the end of the October. The City tills the land in early February, preparing it for the newest batch of tenants.

"We don't limit what people do, as long as it's legal," said Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Division Manager Pat Plocek. "If someone just wants to grow a bunch of flowers, that's fine-&endash; as long as it's not some invasive plant that takes over the whole garden."

In past years, one group has rented plots to plant maples, dogwoods, and sycamores that were later transplanted to re-vegetate streams.

But for the less dedicated, nine months can be a long commitment for a project that needs regular, if not constant attention. Don't garden plots generate enormous enthusiasm in early spring, only to fall into neglect in the dry heat of July? Plocek insists not, even though the gardens have no source of water.

"Occasionally people start and then realize how much work it is, and how much easier it is to go to the grocery store," he says. But on the whole, he adds, people stay faithful to their patch and seek help from fellow renters if they're having trouble. In summer they bring canisters of water or haul buckets from a nearby stream.

The arrangement takes you right back to the garden plot's medieval origins. But with or without water, the beauty of the Virginia kitchen garden is that it has three seasons so you can garden almost all year round and get a huge variety of fruits and vegetables.

Monticello head gardener Peter Hatch recommends the Field Pea, a tenderer version of the black-eyed pea, which is good for the soil, unpopular with pests, and loves the heat.

Dry your crop, and you have the makings of next year's Valentine's Day dinner.

Garden plots are already available for city residents. Everyone else can rent one beginning February 23. Call Patty Stulting at 970-3592.

Story time: Wee ones get the book habit

Winter hibernation is the perfect time to curl up with wee ones and read a good book. But if the kids (or their parents) are going a bit stir crazy being stuck in the house all day, Jefferson Madison Regional Libraries offer an escape plan: story time.

It's the most popular time of year for this program at all JMRL libraries. Read aloud sessions for both toddlers (ages 2-3) and preschoolers (ages 3-5) happen every morning (except Sunday) at one branch or another. Central Library even has a session for babies ages six months to two years called "Mother Goose Time."

"You can't start too young," says Central's children's librarian Karen Gillespie. "Parents and caregivers are there too, and it gives us the chance to show them how they can do this with their kids at home."

Story time lasts about half an hour, with library staff reading several picture books that usually focus on a theme&emdash; say, bears in winter. Between stories, kids get to play like little cubs with finger plays, songs, and movement activities. At Central Library, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and other fairy and folk tales spring to life with a flannel-board story to wind up the session.

Monday morning Mother Goose Time at Central is offered in two sessions so the stories can fit the age range. Babes-in-arms who aren't walking yet attend Group One at 10am. Those who are already running around come for Group Two at 11am. Attention spans being what they are, the stories in these sessions last only about 15 minutes. For the second half, the staff pulls out a basket of hand-made toys, little ones get to have a field day, and parents have the rare opportunity to chat with other adults.

Story time is always free and, at most branches, it's not necessary to sign up ahead of time. Registration is required at Gordon Avenue, however, and suggested at Crozet. Those who want to get their stories at Northside&emdash; perhaps the busiest branch of the bunch&emdash; will have to enter their name in a lottery, which is drawn three weeks before the start of each season's first session. Don't let this intimidate you, though; Northside librarian Margaret Gillette says most families get into one session or another.

Program brochures listing story times and other events are available at all Jefferson-Madison Regional Libraries and on the website: Call or visit your local branch for information on days and times. Central Library is at 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3. Crozet Library is in the old train station on Three Notch'd Road. 823-4050. Gordon Avenue Library is at 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544. Northside Library is in Albemarle Square Shopping Center. 973-7893.

Perilous: Les Blancs tackles colonialism
Love is all about unexpected discoveries. Think of the way you meet the right person only once you stop looking. Think of how happy couples keep surprising each other after decades together. Think of that sweetest, most enduring love song of our time: Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady."

Director Clinton Johnston just made this kind of discovery.

Not the one from the Aerosmith song&emdash; as far as I know. But one that led to UVA Drama Department's new main stage production: Lorraine Hansberry's little-known Les Blancs.

"I was looking for a play that would be grand enough for Culbreth Theater," says Johnston, an MFA candidate in directing. "I was also looking for something with significant parts for non-white actors. There are a lot in them in the department, and not a whole lot of significant parts for them."

He turned to the works of Hansberry, whom he knew, as most people do, as the author of A Raisin in the Sun. His first unexpected discovery was that her second play, The Sign in Sydney Brustein's Window, has a nearly all-white cast. This was a particularly bold move for Hansberry, whose Raisin had been a nationwide sensation in 1959 for bringing, as James Baldwin said, "the truth of black people's lives" to the Broadway stage.

Then Johnston found Les Blancs, which he hadn't know existed. The play was another surprise from Hansberry, who shifted her focus from modern America to the perils of colonialism in Africa.

"It's this kind of move that makes me mourn her early death," Johnston says. "She was not only an intelligent artist, but a daring one. I shake my head and think what more could she have given."

Hansberry hadn't yet finished Les Blancs when she succumbed to cancer at the age of 34. Her ex-husband, Robert Nemiroff, completed the play. Though it's still not as well-known as Raisin, it has received several prominent productions recently by directors who, like Johnston, found it had everything they were looking for.

As an avid director of community theater and former host of Live Arts' No Shame series, Johnston is used to working on a shoestring. This may be why he hasn't crowded the stage with dancers and drummers the way some productions have.

"I'd say we have a grand conceptual scale," Johnston says. "We have a dancer. It's as large as we thought it needed to be."

So: an epic about colonial Africa on the heels of Valentine's Day?

Think of it as another chance for an unexpected discovery.

Les Blancs opens February 19 and runs February 20-21, and 25-28. All shows at 8pm. Tickets are $12 adults, $7 students/children, $10 seniors. Culbreth Theatre, 109 Culbreth Road. 924-3376.

Back to the fold: Sort of a new kid in town

Lauren Hoffman is the type of person who'd likely be quite intriguing to have a drink with. I say this because the last decade or so of Hoffman's life has been a bit of a roller coaster ride through the capitalist driven world of the major label music biz.

She was signed to Virgin Records for a six-album deal in the summer of 1996 (when she was 19), released her first album (Megiddo) the next, played the Lilith Fair Tour, only to be eventually let go from her contract because of the perception that her second album was not commercial enough. Hoffman retained the masters to that album and received a going away present in the form of an advance check from Virgin. Reading Hoffman's bio gives one the sense of a woman who has lived more in her short life than normal time/space rules would allow.

After a "burn-out" in 2000, Hoffman took two years away from the musical inner demons, but by the fall of 2002 she was back at work co-writing and singing a song with the "French avant-rock band" Polagirl, singing backing vocals and harmonies for local goth stars Bella Morte, and co-writing and singing a song on David Lowery's recent solo record.

2003 saw Hoffman coming back to Charlottesville to form the Lilas, which are, by the account of my own personal eyes and ears, one of the most explosive new acts in our little town, combining a knack for pop with high-volume live virtuosity. Featuring Hoffman on electric guitar, Karmen Buttler on acoustic guitar, Julie Kotowski on bass, and Stuart Gunter on drums, the quartet of tartish-pop has quickly become a favorite of many in the local music circuit (including myself).

The Lilas debut EP, Out of the Sky, Into the Sea, features four tracks (though the fourth is an acoustic version of the title track), which– while revealing Hoffman's astute ability for melody and song construction– do not exactly capture the musical blitzkrieg of the group's live shows.

"Out of the Sky, Into the Sea" starts off the EP, an acoustic/electric roamer. "Don't want to go where they are cruel and cold, turning me into stone making me dry/ Give me this warmth a sunbeam to live in a window to look out of" Hoffman begins, as plucked distorted electric notes haunt the right side of your head.

"Something Better than This," the next track on the EP is more up-tempo, but is still quite a way away from the version I've heard live. The best song on Out of the Sky… is track three, "The Solipsist," slowly building from 4/4 verse of spatial depth which Hoffman punctuates with breathy vocals to a disco triplet chorus where pop lights the air.

While I'm a big fan of the Lilas' live sound, recording wise, I'd give them one piece of advice: Turn it up.

The Lilas and The Screams at Tokyo Rose Friday, February 13. $5, 10pm.