Cultural Calendar, March 4-11, 2004

Start now: It's never to early to give your children an appreciation for art, so cart your kids to Richmond for VMFA's Young@Art program for ages 3-5. 10-11am. 2800 Grove Ave. 804-204-2704.

Northside Library celebrates the great doctor with stories, crafts, and other fun stuff. 4pm. Free, but registration required. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Seuss for tots: The five-and-under crowd celebrates Seuss at a Suessensational toddler story time at Barnes & Noble. Special party favors, birthday cookies, and stickers are part of the fun. 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.

Secret Agent:
Reconstructive surgery, terrorist cells and Cameron Diaz-&endash; all from the pen of a single fiction writer. Jennifer Egan reads from her works, Look at Me and The Invisible Circus. UVA Bookstore, 8pm. Emmet street. 924-3721.

Fiddle-dee-dee: Western Albemarle High School junior Ginny Reynolds presents her research on "Southern Women During the Civil War" in period costume. This event, part of a book fair for Western Albemarle High School, takes place at Barnes & Noble at 7pm. 984-0461.

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)

Jeff Romano and Justin Wolf (bluegrass) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

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

Oddzar and T.O.W at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Mike Marshall & Darol Anger at the Prism. $22/$18 advance, 8pm.

Robert Jospé (jazz percussionist) at Rapture. No cover, 7:30. (W). See Music Review.

Satisfaction: DJ Stroud (dance party) at Rapture. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

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

Hogwaller Ramblers at Shebeen. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Kait &Thom (modern jazz duo, piano and bass) at Tokyo Rose upstairs. No cover, 9pm.

Banty Rooster (old time/bluegrass) at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 9pm.

FRIDAY, March 5
Listen, don't look:
Don't feel like mingling at First Fridays? Head to Richmond to hear the Smithsonian's Dr. W. Richard West lecture on "Native America in the 21st Century: Out of the Mists and Beyond Myth," in the VMFA auditorium at 6pm. 2800 Grove Ave. 804-204-2704.

Star struck:
The view is out of this world at Public Night at McCormick Observatory from 9-11pm (weather permitting). UVA's research telescopes on O-Hill will be pointed heavenward, and Astronomy Department staff and students will be on hand with a slide show and answers to starry questions. Free. McCormick Road. 924-7494.

Follow the Swinging Donut Hole:
Eschew chocolate ice cream when you're depressed. Hypnotherapist Marie Beach discusses weaning yourself from "emotional eating." Beach is the author of Lighten Up, Lose Weight, a Ten Week Self-Hypnosis Program. Lecture at Quest Bookstore, 7pm. 295-3377.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane:
Four County Players presents Martin McDonagh's award-winning drama of life in the Irish countryside, and offers a traditional Irish pub one hour before and after each performance. Runs until March 21. 8pm. Barboursville Community Center, Rt. 33 and Community Center Lane, Barboursville. $10-12. 540-832-5355. See Performance feature.

Cello Pyrotechnics: Genius cellist Matt Haimovitz performs a solo show that summons up everybody from Pablo Casals to Jimi Hendrix. 8pm. The Prism Coffeehouse, 214 Rugby Rd. $15-18. 97-PRISM. See Performance feature.

First Friday Dance Performance: Miki Liszt Dance Company presents works by Krissy Pitts, Amanda Floyd, and Miki Liszt. 7pm. Studio 20, McGuffey Art Center, 201 Second St. NW. $4. 973-3744.

Choral masterworks: Indiana University of Pennsylvania Chamber Singers, a mixed chorus, present a concert with percussion under the direction of James Dearing. 8pm. Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church. 717 Rugby Road. $5. 882-3883.

No Shame Theatre: 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 11pm. Live Arts Up Stage Theater, 123 E. Water St. $5. 977-4177.

Contra Dance: Albemarle Chapter of the Country Dance & Song Society presents a contra dance featuring live traditional music from Uncle Henry's Favorites. The caller for the night will be Barb Kirchner. Free beginners workshop at 7:30pm, dance 8-11pm. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. $7, under 12 free. 295-1245.

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

Ahn Trio:
The superhot Korean-born sisters (among People's 50 Most Beautiful) perform works by contemporary composers. The group consists of twins on piano and cello and a younger sister on violin. 7:30pm. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. $6-17. 961-5376.

Josh Mayo featuring Modern Epic at Miller's:
Sweet acoustic pop songs from a man who knows how to write them– and a choice selection of covers. $3, 10pm.

John Rimel, Tom Proutt, and Emily McCormick at Mountain View Grill: Proutt and McCormick's sweet harmonies to bluegrass-tinged tunes split the bill with piano player Rimel's songwriting chops. $5, 8pm.

The Hackensaw Boys with Railroad Earth at Starr Hill: Charlottesville's favorite sons, the punk/bluegrass Hackensaw Boys, return to their birthplace for a sojourn after a busy year of hobnobbing with the bigwigs. Look for the Boys playing SXSW and the Monterey Peninsula Artist's Convention in the coming months, as well as the new CD. $12/$10 advance, 9:30pm. See Tunes feature.

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

The Chicken Heads Blues Band at the Dew Drop Inn. No cover, 9:30pm.

Catherine Carraway Quartet (jazz standards) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

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

Rule of Thump (jam) at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

Papashake and Sin City Revival at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

The Kruger Brothers at the Prism. $14/$12 advance, 8pm.

Bootycall: DJs Grendel and Sketchy (hip-hop spinning) at Rapture. No cover, 10:30pm.

Max Collins (otherwordly guitar) at Shebeen. No cover, 11pm. (W)

Rock DJ night: Bootie Jam at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

Civil War Reenactors at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 9:30pm.

Images of Vietnam:
Meet photographer Georgia Barbour at a reception honoring the opening of her show, "Photographs of Vietnam" at Caffé Bocce. 3-5pm. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.

Take It Easy: C'ville Coffee hosts a reception to welcome photographer p. bower's [sic] "Friends, Flora, and Fauna: Meandering Along the Continuum." 2-4pm. 1301 Harris St. 817-2633.

No Squinting: Add sparkle to your life with a free stained glass seminar at Blue Ridge Glass and Craft 3:30-5pm. 1724 Allied Street. 293-2876.

Over the Mountain: Why not make your way to Waynesboro for the opening of the Innisfree Village's show at The Artisans Center of Virginia. 2-4pm. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

Double-Barreled: Feast! lays out a spread to welcome two photography shows "Pictures from Travels to South America" by Larry Dennis, and "Petals and Metal" by Holly Dennis. 4-6pm. Main Street Market Building, West Main St. 244-7800.

All in the Family:
Children ages 6-12 can learn about genealogy and create their own family trees using family photographs at a workshop at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. 12:30-2pm. Free. Reservations are required. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place. 244-0234.

Old Man and the Sea:
Old Michie Theatre presents a marionette rendition of the classic fairytale by the Brothers Grimm, "The Fisherman and His Wife." Hand-carved puppets from the Czech Republic tell the tale of the humble fisherman who catches a magical fish. 11am, 2pm, and 4pm. $5. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

Playtime: Award-winning physical education teacher Nancy Marcos tells parents why they should shoo the kids out the door at a free parenting workshop called "Go Outside and Play! Why Your Parents Were Right!" at Gordon Avenue Library. Sponsored by the Partnership for Children, Martha Jefferson Hospital, and UVA Health System. 10:30-noon. Free. Childcare available. 1500 Gordon Ave. 220-5437.

Surf 'n' Turf: Touch a live horseshoe crab or a nurse shark. Cuddle a bunny. Adopt a puppy or a kitten. Meet a dairy princess. See a painting pig. Sip a milkshake. Create insect art. Make some bird biscuits for your feathered friends. All this and more Virginia animal interests at the Science Museum of Virginia's Surf 'n' Turf celebration. 10am-4pm. Included with admission to exhibits. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Members of the Western Albemarle forensics team, along with their coach, Susan Hull, perform competition pieces including humorous dramatic interpretation, storytelling, and poetry readings. Barnes & Noble, 2pm. 984-0461.

Nebbiolo and Dionysus:
Taste the history of Horton Vineyards through vertical tastings of both Nebbiolo and Dionysus. All vintages produced from 1995 to that still in the barrel available. Chef Emeril Le Horton's chili and maybe a little lamb stew. 11am-5pm. $5/person includes glass. 6399 Spotswood Trail, Gordonsville. Route 29N 20 miles, right on Rt. 33 at Ruckersville for 8 miles. Winery is on the left. 800-829-4633.

Go Together: Wintergreen Winery reprises the popular wine and cheese pairing tonight. Taste samples of eight of Wintergreen's wines paired with compatible cheeses. Reservations required. $15/person includes glass and samplings. I-64 west to Exit 107, six miles west on Rt. 250, left on Route 151S 14 miles, Rt. on Route 644, winery is on the right. 434-361-2519.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane:
See Friday, March 5.

Dance, Dance, Dance: The Charlottesville Chapter US Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association hosts a March dance. Ballroom upstairs, swing and hustle downstairs. Free Salsa/Mambo lesson by Debbie Gardner. Lesson at 7:15pm; dancing at 8pm. Charlottesville Municipal Arts Center, Fifth street ext. & Harris Road. $8 members, $12 non-members, $5 students. Singles welcome! 974-7949.

Flamenco Dance Workshop: Kristi O'Brien leads a weekly workshop that runs until April 3. Call to register. 1-2pm. Dancenter, 380 Greenbrier Drive. $60. 296-7536.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Shenandoah Shakespeare performs the Bard's comic masterpiece in the magnificent Blackfriars Theater. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Audition Workshop: Get tips on auditioning and the unique audition process for Lattehouse VI. Improvise with this year's themes and read from scripts in consideration for the show. Come find out how to stand out! Auditions March 14-15. 1-3pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177x100.

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: Join acting coach and director Carol Pedersen to sharpen your acting tools and gear up for numerous summer acting possibilities now. Runs until April 24. Weekly drop-in session 10-11am, full session 10-1pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10 drop-in rate; $160 for full eight-week session. 977-4177x100.

Big Bill:
Acoustic Charlottesville presents David Tewksbury (singer/songwriter), Janoah (singer/songwriter), Tom Proutt & Emily McCormick (bluegrass/roots harmony), and the Slate Hill Boys & Friends (old-time/country) at the Live Arts Upstage. Each act has 30 minutes to perform. 3rd floor, 123 E. Water St. $5, 8pm.

The Marzaks, The Lilas, and The Naked Puritans at Gravity Lounge:
With those wacky Marzaks belting out their off-color acoustic numbers and The Lilas laying on the well-constructed rock, this is a show not to be missed. $12, 8pm.

The Kruger Brothers at the Prism: A Swedish bluegrass trio! Who would have thought? $14/$12 advance, 8pm.

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

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

EMDUB ("multiethnic electronic fusion with an emphasis on composition and structure") at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

Guano Boys (reggae) at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

After Dark: NuWave DanceRock Party at Rapture. No cover, 10:30pm.

Fair Weather Bums (bluegrass) at Shebeen. No cover, 11pm. (W)

An Evening with Steve Kimock Band at Starr Hill. $18/$15 advance, 9pm.

Bottom of the Hudson (indie), Coyote, and Folkskonde (riff-rock) at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

SUNDAY, March 7
Mall Art:
Albemarle County Fine Arts Festival features artwork from county students K-12 through March 21. Choral and instrumental performances from school orchestras are intermittently part of the fun. Fashion Square Mall. 973-9331.

Just So:
Kids of all ages can find out How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Leopard Got His Spots, How the Whale Got His Throat, and How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin in this musical version of four of Rudyard Kipling's classic Just So Stories. 1pm and 3pm. Reservations required. $5. Dickinson Theater, PVCC, 500 College Drive. 961-5376.

Surf 'n' Turf: See Saturday, March 6. Times today noon-4pm.

Nebbiolo and Dionysus:
See Saturday, March 6.

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 Beauty Queen of Leenane: See Friday, March 5. Today's show is a matinee at 2:30pm.

Midwinter Masterwork: The Virginia Consort presents Beethoven's Mass in C Major, with Judith Gary conducting. 3:30pm. Old Cabell Hall, UVA Central Grounds. ?. 979-1565.

King Lear: Shenandoah Shakespeare performs the Bard's monumental tragedy in the magnificent Blackfriars Theater. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

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

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

Wave featuring Juliana Marquez at Gravity Lounge. $5,7:30pm.

Irish Music Session at Shebeen. No cover, 3-6pm. (W)

MONDAY, March 8
Go Deep:
SeaDevil Divers, a local scuba diving club serving Charlottesville-Albemarle and the UVA communities, meets at 6:30pm at Rococo's Restaurant. All interested divers welcome. 2001 Commonwealth Drive. 975-5570.

Talk About It: Black women, white women, all women in dialogue hold their monthly meeting in the Madison Room at the Central Library downtown. Topic of discussion is Stephanie Wildman's "Privilege Revealed– How Invisible Preference Undermines America." 5:45-7:15pm. Open to all. 295-2612.

Local growth experts discuss community planning for an aging society. JABA's Gordon Walker, Citizen Planner's Harrison Rue, and UVA's Richard Lindsay are at the Miller Center at 11am. 2201 Old Ivy Road., 924-0921.

Musical Mondays:
Local children's singer/songwriter and music therapist Cathy Bollinger is at the Village Playhouse on Monday mornings for music class for munchkins and their parents. Registration for the six-week session ends today. Classes start March 15 and include educational songs, finger plays, and movement. Sessions for children up to age three at 10am, three-four-year-olds at 10:30am. $30 for the session. Pre-registration required. 313 Second St. SE. 296-9390.

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)

Peter Case (folk rock) at Gravity Lounge. $15/$12 advance, 8:30pm.

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, March 9
Slideshow Poet:
Andy Friedman, the "master of the slide projector" (The New Yorker) returns to town with his unique mix of poetry, storytelling, and slides. Friedman is joined by the Cary Hudson Duo. 10pm. Tokyo Rose, 2171 Ivy Road. $5. 295-ROSE. See Performance feature.

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)

Ember Swift at Gravity Lounge. $15/$12 advance, 8:30pm.

Freedom Funk Ensemble at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

Eli Cook (blues) at Garden of Sheeba. No cover, 8pm.

Tucker Box Tour:
Take a guided tour of current exhibitions followed by lunch in the gallery at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection. You can bring your own lunch or order one for $7. Program 12:15-1:30 pm. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place, off Route 250 E. at Pantops. Reservations required. Call 244-0234 to reserve a space.

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.

Tartuffe: Shenandoah Shakespeare offers a "signed performance" of Moliere's comic masterpiece in the magnificent Blackfriars Theater. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Much Ado about Nothing: See Saturday, March 6. Today's show is an early morning eye-opener at 10:30am!

Richmond Ballet:
"The State Ballet of Virginia" presents a performance designed to introduce children and young people to featured ballets, followed by a Q&A session at 7:30pm at PVCC. $5. Tickets at Spencer's 206, Plan 9 and at the door. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. 961-5203.

Garden Ready: Virginia Native Plant Society meets at Ivy Creek natural area. Katherine Smith discusses natural gardening and bio-friendly gardening. All interested gardeners welcome. 7:30pm. 293-8997.

Your Eyes (and Maybe More) are Very Heavy: Join Blue Ridge Hypnosis for a free and informative lecture on how to use your mind to create the life you want. Tonight's topic is weight loss. 7 pm, Gordon Avenue Library. Call 975-7575 to register.

Tales for Tots:
The five-and-under crowd can hear Caldecott Award winners like Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and Jane Yolan's Owl Moon at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. Stickers and cookies are part of the fun. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Wonderful Wednesday: Crafty kids ages five and up can visit various craft stations set up at Gordon Avenue Library and make their own little critters– penguins, rabbits, and bugs– to take home. 4pm. Free. Registration required. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

David Sickmen and Paul Curreri at Gravity Lounge:
Two local singer/songwriter lights present an evening of strumming and humming at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Denali, The Lilas, Laguardia, and Murder By Death at Tokyo Rose: Richmond's Denali blows through Charlottesville as part of their The Instinct tour, the group's second album. Local rock/poppers the Lilas will be supporting. $8, 9:30pm.

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

Open Mic Night at the Dew Drop Inn. No cover, 7:30pm.

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

Jamal Milner and Friends at Outback Lodge. Free, 10pm.

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

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

Max Collins (otherwordly guitar) at South Street Brewery. No cover, 10pm.

Kathy Olsen Trio (jazz) upstairs at Tokyo Rose. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

The Diamonds (bass, guitar, drums) at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 9pm.

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

THURSDAY, March 11
She'll Make it Quick:
Artist Susan Bacik discusses her current exhibition, "State of the Union: A Brief Survey of Love," at Les Yeux du Monde @ dot 2 dot. 6-8pm. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

Worship in Richmond: Join the VMFA's Tour of the Month, "Goddesses," led by docent Kay Davidson. 2pm. Meet in the lobby. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Who are You?: Enjoy a stellar lecture by UVA art historian Dorothy Wong when she speaks on "Emblems of Identity: Buddhists Steles of Sixth-Century China" at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 8pm. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-204-2704.

Tales for Tots:
See Wednesday, March 10.

Planning Session:
Come discuss reading selections for the next six months of the newly formed Greene County Friends of the Library Book Discussion Group. 7pm, 985-5227. 222 Main St., Stanardsville.

Extraordinary in Every Way: So say critics of Ray McNiece, man of many arts. McNiece reads from his poetry, sings from his songbook, and generally looks fabulous tonight at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar on the Downtown Mall. 8:30pm. 293-9947.

Succession Planning:
Family owned business owners can hear Gary Hoffman, a certified financial planner, talk about "Business Succession Planning" at a seminar today sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. 9am-noon. $25. Board Room, Chamber Office, Fifth and Market streets. 295-3144.

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.

Richmond Ballet: Tonight's full-length program at PVCC features "Concerto Barocco," choreographed by Balanchine, "Echoing Past," choreographed by Stoner Winslett, and "Djangology," choreographed by Val Caniparoli. 7:30pm. $17 adults, $12 seniors, $6 students. V. Earl Dickinson Building, PVCC, 500 College Drive. 961-5203.

Mike Marshall & Darol Anger at the Prism:
Alumni of the David Grisman Quintet, the pair's acoustic music performances are considered first-rate by lovers of the genre. $22/$18 advance, 8pm.

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)

Navel (hard rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Satisfaction (dance party) at Rapture. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

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

Hogwaller Ramblers at Shebeen. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Iron Lion (hip-hop/reggae) at Garden of Sheeba. $3, 10pm.

Upcoming and Ongoing
Spring break fun:
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.

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.

Moving heaven and earth: Kids aren't the only things in constant motion. At the Virginia Discovery Museum the earth and its movement is the subject of the Back Gallery exhibit that explores Patterns, Cycles, and Change. Kids can move the planets, create a rainstorm, and journey through the seasons through May 16. 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.

Filling the void: Stella is a black hole. Stella bats her lilac eyelashes and reminisces about her glory days as a giant star, how she explodes and becomes a black hole, and about the mysteries she still keeps to herself in the Science Museum of Virginia's multimedia planetarium show Black Holes now through June 13. Included in the price of admission.

Ka-ching: 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.

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.

Test your limits:
Blue Ridge School offers guided day and overnight, rock climbing, caving, canoeing/kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking trips. Primitive living skills workshops and high and low ropes course team building. Contact Bert Jacobs. 985-2811.

Focus Career Path Workshops: New series of discussions include personal presentation, career assessment, marketing yourself, interviewing strategies, networking skills and body language evaluations. Tuesday evenings, 7-8.30pm. Focus Women's Resource Center. Rugby Road. 293-2222 ext. 19.

Focus Women's and Men's Divorce Support Group. Tuesdays at 7pm. Focus Women's Resource Center. Rugby Road. 296 5300 or 293-2222.

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

Bingo Game: 7pm every Thursday at Gordonsville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, 10271 Gordonsville Ave. (Route. 231) 540-832-2439

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.

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 Second Street Gallery presents two shows running through May 1. In the Main Gallery, view the language-inspired art of Kay Rosen's "New Word Order" (including "Blurred," a 37-foot-long site-specific piece), and in the Dové Gallery, experience "You Kill Me," an installation investigating the nature of romance, by D'nell Larson. City Center for Contemporary Arts, corner of Second and E. Water streets. 977-7284.

Mountain Air Gallery exhibits "Jeannette Caruth's Impressions of Renoir's Expressions." 107 E. Main on the Downtown Mall. 244-3393.

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents "Exploring Identity: Work by Southern Jewish Women Artists," featuring pieces by Jan Aronson, Marcia R. Cohen, Johanna Drucker, Linda Gissen, and Alyssa C. Salomon, March 6-April 25. Also on view: "American Collage," including work by Andy Warhol, Adja Yunkers, and Robert Motherwell, among others, through August 24. The Graphics Gallery features "Waking Dreams: Book Art and 'Literary Art' from the Collection," on view through April 4. "The Moon Has No Home: Japanese Color Woodblock Prints from the Collection" runs through March 7. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

The Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art presents "Family Business: Kinship in Australian Aboriginal Art" through June 5. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place. 244-0234.

New Dominion Bookshop displays Nancy K. Bass's "Landscapes with Cows" through March 31. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

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

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

The PVCC Gallery shows paintings by Kathy Craig and Eugenia Rausse through March 17. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. 961-5203. See Art feature.

At the C&O Gallery, view Nancy Galloway's exhibition of new pastels, "Images Within and Without," through March. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Experience "We," Greg Antrim Kelly's interactive multi-media art installation, at the Old Michie Building through March 29. 609 E. Market St. 249-9819 or

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

During March, view photographer p. bower's [sic] "Friends, Flora, and Fauna: Meandering Along the Continuum" at C'ville Coffee. Opening reception, March 6, 2-4pm. 1301 Harris St. 817-2633.

Enjoy the artwork of Sam Shaban during March at Higher Grounds. 112 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-8743.

Feast! presents two photography shows in one, "Pictures from Travels to South America" by Larry Dennis, and "Petals and Metal" by Holly Dennis, during March. Opening reception, March 6, 4-6pm. Main Street Market Building. Main street. 244-7800.

CODG presents "Gloaming," an exhibition of Lisa Stoessel's paintings and drawings, as well as Corin Hunter's photography. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

View the Central Virginia Watercolor Guild's 2004 Members Exhibition, featuring 67 paintings by 33 members, at the Albemarle County Courthouse through April 30. McIntire Road. 296-8484.

The Dave Moore Studio features works by Dave Moore and several Richmond artists. Hours vary, so call first. 414 E. Main St. (under The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar). 825-1870.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers shows acrylic paintings by Maiya Ruys through March 31. The exhibit area is located in the back of the store near the poetry section. 1035A Emmet St., Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-0461

Through March 28, Les Yeux du Monde@dot2Dot presents Susan Bacik's "State of the Union: A Brief Survey of Love" in its downstairs gallery. Upstairs view Stanley Woodward's "Spring Flowers" through April 30. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

View the silkscreen prints and stencil works of Steven Townsend at Vespa Charlottesville during March. 900 Preston Ave. 466-9236.

Andrew Hersey displays a new series of photographs entitled "Eleven Bedrooms" at the Mudhouse in March. 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

Catch paintings by local artists Barry Gordon and Malcolm Hughes at L'étoile Restaurant. 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.

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

During March, Judith K. Townsend's "Strange Attractions," a series of watercolors inspired by physics and mathematics, is on view at Art Upstairs. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association is exhibiting the work of Betty Brubach, Blake Hurt, Phyllis Frame, Amy Howard, Coy Roy, Judith Ely, and Karen Jaegerman Collins on the upper level mezzanine of the Charlottesville Airport through May 2. 295-2486.

The McGuffey Art Center presents Alan O'Neal's "Nexus," an exhibition of large color abstractions, as well as "A Rabbit, a Bee, and a Place called Seeonee," a show celebrating the Virginia Festival of the Book, with work by book artists Robin Braun, Frank Riccio, Rose Csorba, and Bob Anderson. In addition, fourth- and fifth-year UVA students present a group show on the theme "Collage." 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Transient Crafters displays "Angora: From Bunnies to Skien," a series of stuffed rabbits spun and knit by Jackie Fields, during March. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

Whole Foods Market offers a team member art show, showcasing the artistic talent of employees of the local store. Check out the café area of the market in Shopper's World. 973-4900.

The Bozart Gallery presents "God's Love," a series of all-new, abstract non-objective paintings in acrylics by Delmon Brown Hall IV, through March 28. 211 W. Main St. 296-4669.

Selected landscapes by Richard Crozier are on view at Hotcakes through May 2. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 295-6037.

Martha Jefferson Hospital presents a show entitled "The Creative Process" through June 4. In the second floor Surgery Lounge, view "Flowers and Still Lifes," oil paintings by Vidu Palta during the month of March. 459 Locust Ave. 982-7000.


Youth Art Month, featuring the work of 400 students representing 40 schools, opens Sunday, March 7, at the Staunton Augusta Art Center in Gypsy Hill Park, Staunton, with a reception for the students. 540-885-2028.

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, through July 11. Beginning March 5, the VMFA Studio School hosts a retrospective of Thomas C. Gordon Jr.'s work, through April 2. Richmond. 2800 Grove Ave. 804-924-2704.

The Artisans Center of Virginia hosts a show of crafts made at Innisfree Village, a community of mentally disabled adults. March 1-31. Opening reception, March 6, 2-4pm. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

The Front Street Gallery presents "Natural Bridges," drawings and paintings by Jim Langer, from February 29-April 30. 773 Front Street, Lovingston. 434-263-8526.

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

From March 6-27, Caffé Bocce displays Georgia Barbour's "Photographs of Vietnam." Opening reception, March 6, 3-5pm. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.


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,

First Fridays List

The C&O Gallery hosts an opening for "Images Within and Without," an exhibition of pastels by Nancy Galloway. 5-7pm. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Second Street Gallery opens two shows: "New Word Order" by Kay Rosen in the Main Gallery, and D'nell Larson's "You Kill Me" in the Dové Gallery. 6-8pm. The artists will discuss their work at 6:30pm. City Center for Contemporary Arts, corner of Second and Water streets. 977-7284.

Marian Aubry Fine Art and Antiques Gallery hosts a reception for their current show, 6-9pm. 400 E. Water St., Suite B. 974-1474

The Dave Moore Studio invites guests to party around artists at work or to sling a brush themselves. There's the possibility of large-scale collaborations… 7pm-"until." 414 E. Main St. (under The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar). 825-1870.

Les Yeux du Monde@dot2Dot opens Stanley Woodward's "Spring Flowers" with a reception 5:30-7:30pm. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

Mountain Air Gallery hosts a reception for Jeannette Caruth to celebrate the opening of her impressions of Renoir's expressions. 5:30-8-30pm. 107 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 244-3393.

CODG hosts an opening for "Glaoming," a joint show of works by Lisa Stoessel and Corin Hunter. 6pm until "whenever."112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

Transient Crafters welcomes the spinning and bunny-crafting of Jackie Fields with a reception, 6-9pm. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

The McGuffey Art Center hosts an opening for painter Alan O'Neal's "Nexus," as well as for "A Rabbit, a Bee, and a Place called Seeonee," a show celebrating the Virginia Festival of the Book, with work by book artists Robin Braun, Frank Riccio, Rose Csorba, and Bob Anderson. In addition, celebrate fourth- and fifth-year UVA students' group show on the theme "Collage." 5:30-7:30pm. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

The Bozart Gallery opens its exhibition of acrylics by Delmon Brown Hall IV with a reception from 6-9pm. 211 W. Main on the Downtown Mall. 296-3919.

Art Upstairs holds an artist's reception for painter Judith K. Townsend, whose watercolor exhibition, "Strange Attractions," is on view. 5:30-9pm. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

Mudhouse opens photographer Andrew Hersey's "Eleven Bedrooms" show with a reception from 6-8pm. W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

Vespa Charlottesville welcomes the silkscreen prints and stencil works of Steven Townsend with a reception beginning at 5:30pm. 900 Preston Ave. 466-9236.

Meet Sam Shaban at a reception at Higher Grounds. 6-9pm. 112 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-8743.

"We," an installation by Greg Antrim Kelly, opens at the Old Michie Building, Meet the artist at a reception, 6-8pm. 609 E. Market St. 249-9819 or

The Central Virginia Watercolor Guild celebrates the opening of its 2004 Members Exhibition with a reception at the Albemarle County Courthouse. McIntire Road. 296-8484.

Domestic Arts Craig and Rausse go home

"Write what you know" is a standard bit of advice repeated like a mantra by every would-be author. Artists Kathleen Craig and Eugenia Rausse appear to have taken a similar recommendation to heart: Paint what you know.

Craig's and Rausse's recent oils, currently on display at Piedmont Virginia Community College's V. Earl Dickinson Building, revel in examining the mundane, overlooked objects that litter everyday life.

Hanging in the North Gallery, Craig's still lifes feature milk cartons, crushed cola cans, paper cups, and empty plastic bottles. Craig carefully arranges her unlikely subjects to create dynamic relationships, enlivened by confident brush strokes that push color in surprising directions.

The artist's trust of her brush and sense of palette lead to consistently persuasive results, made doubly interesting by the ordinariness of the objects. Standing nose-to-canvas with Craig's "Still Life of Coke Cans on Blue Bookcase" makes plain the painter's fine-tuned instinct; a brush-tip-long stipple of gunmetal gray seems to float in space at the center of the painting. But as you step back, that jolt of gray exactly captures the shadow cast by one crushed Coke can on another.

Craig often invests her compositions with subtle humor. In "Still Life of Milk Cartons and Unmarked Cups," a royal blue rubber basin sits on its side at the rear of a yellow tabletop. A large milk carton, blue roofed and ringed with a blazing yellow band, stands in front of the basin. Atop a similar carton lying prone, a small cream carton, its spout open, appears to be talking to the larger upright container, while a ragtag queue of paper cups, some upturned, some down, appears to be waiting in line for an audience with the big carton.

In the South Gallery, Rausse's paintings investigate reflection and refraction via stainless steel sinks, wine glasses, and metal kettles. Although she often works with a more vibrant palette than does Craig, Rausse's over-attentive concern with line and literalness produces less convincing images.

But in the few paintings where she lets go and is freer with her brush, the results are spectacular. Rausse's "The Knight and the Fox Grapes" pulses with color as a metallic vase in the foreground transforms its overflowing blue-flowering vines, a nearby rust-and-white chess set, and an orange tablecloth into a riotous kaleidoscope of swirling reflection.

Rausse and Craig both studied painting at PVCC and so with this exhibition, they bring home their visions of home, taking the familiar down unfamiliar paths.

Recent paintings by Kathleen Craig and Eugenia Rausse are on view in the North and South Galleries of the V. Earl Dickinson Building at Piedmont Virginia Community College through March 17. 961-4202.

Then and now: Jennifer Egan's eerie fiction

Jennifer Egan writes a lot of cover stories for the New York Times Magazine. You may have spent a Sunday afternoon exploring the sweetly sad demise of young love in contemporary society, with Egan as your host.

Egan takes her fictional inspiration directly from the non-fiction world she ably introduces us to. Most (let's make that many, to err on the side of caution) of her stories are about lithe young women, all long hair and peasant blouses, lost on the streets of Haight-Ashbury or Tuscany, searching for drugs and friendship, themselves the object of a search for a wayward daughter, niece, or sister.

Throwback songs from the '70s figure prominently in these stories, as do today's Hollywood stars. They are stories about the cast of characters that appear in a magazine exposé on upper middle class juvenile slumming, drugs of the new millennium, Boomers as Grandparents, or innovative dating.

Egan's most recent book, Look At Me, is a faithful convergence of the writer's reliable fictional and non-fictional tableaux. It deals with subjects easily catalogued by regular journalistic attention: modeling, reconstructive surgery, and a consumer culture driven by image.

Released the same week of the September 11 attacks, the book picked up significant press reaction, thanks to an ex-boyfriend character (another standard in Egan fiction, generally with the physique of a high school quarterback). This one stands out from Egan's previous literary ex-boyfriends not because of a sub-standard body type, but because he is ostensibly an Arab militant, waiting for a signal to launch an attack on America.

Egan's journalistic sounding of pop culture lent Look At Me more than one eerie prognosis. When the main character, a model who has been disfigured in a car accident, tries to recapture her adoring public by selling her story on-line, Egan again "scoops" the story of a true phenomenon-&endash; one perhaps as frightening as domestic terrorism. I'm talking, of course, about reality TV.

Egan responded to questions about her prescient story device, saying "I've made my peace with the fact that my whacko invention – an Internet service that packages "ordinary" people's lives for public consumption– could easily happen in our present culture."

She should know. Her gift is the ability to turn an "ordinary" story-&endash; of lost youth, lost beauty (lost body tone for the high school boys), and good times gone bad– into a cover-story … and vice versa.

Jennifer Egan is the author of Look At Me, The Invisible Circus, and numerous short stories. She reads from recent work at the UVA Bookstore, above the parking garage on Emmet street. 8pm, Thursday, March 4. 924-3721.

Toss 'em: Join up to play Ultimate Frisbee

If you think Frisbee is just a few kids and a dog with a bandana around its neck scampering over the Lawn after a little flying disc, think again.

The Charlottesville Ultimate Disc Organization (CUDO) is here to tell you that there's a lot more to the sport than that. Currently Charlottesville is home to a whole gaggle of die-hard "ultimate Frisbee" players who belong to organized summer and winter leagues. They meet regularly at Darden Towe Park for official games.

In addition, the organization hosts pick-up games at the park at noon on Saturday and Sunday.

Now, to foster the sport in Charlottesville, and to increase playing time to year-round, "ultimate" aficionados are holding their first open call for new players.

What exactly happens in an Ultimate game? Two seven-player teams take the field with the object of scoring 17 points before the other team can. A team scores when a team member catches the Frisbee while standing in the end zone. No running with the Frisbee is allowed. It's strictly a "catch and pass" game.

It's also non-contact and non-refereed. Steven Braden, an organizer of the new teams, describes the game as "self-refereed."

"Generally, good spirits govern," Braden says. "The spirit of the game is the underlying principle."

Much like ping-pong, the games are untimed: They go on 'til one team scores 17 points. When one reaches nine points, the teams take a break&emdash; short in winter and longer in summer. "When it's cold," Braden says, "we want to get right back to the action!"

Who should answer the open call? "We're trying to get anyone who's interested," says devoted player Allison Hill. "People who've never played before ['never-evers' she calls them], people who want to improve their skills, pros&emdash; we welcome everyone."

In addition to signing people up, these meetings will cover rules and strategies of the game, as well as coaching in throwing and catching.

If the Ultimate Disc Organization sounds like a group of people you might like to hang out with, doing a fun activity you might enjoy, email to get the scoop.

Open call for players interested in forming new Ultimate Disc teams happen at the end of the month. Call 760-2959 for more information.

So Big!: Dinosaurs roam in Richmond


Over 150 million years ago, the land we now know as China was covered by dense forests and populated by creatures bigger than school buses. These Jurassic monsters, excavated nearly a century ago but rarely seen outside China, are roaming the halls at the Children's Museum of Richmond in a new exhibit of Dinosaurs of China opening March 13.

The Chinese call these creatures "kong long." At CMoR they just call them enormous. Skeletal forms of 17-foot-long carnivores with sharp teeth and vicious claws such as Monolophosaurus and Dilophosaurus peer down at visitors. The plant-eater Bellusaurus also wanders through, along with the tiny feathered Caudipteryx.

Intrepid young explorers will really dig this exhibit…with chisels, brushes, goggles– all the gear of a real paleontologist– in the giant dig pit where they can uncover recreated fossil remains of dinosaur bones. There's also a nest of 65 million-year-old dino eggs that are (a little!) bigger than the average grocery store egg. The exhibit offers lots of other hands-on and creative activities and the sights and sounds of China, too.

Dinosaur enthusiasts can get a sneak peek at the exhibit and have dinner with its creator, the world-renown "Dino" Don Lessem on Friday, March 12. Lessem is a dinosaur expert who has written more than 20 books on the subject, hosted NOVA and Discovery Channel documentaries, and served as a consultant to Steven Spielberg during the making of the movie Jurassic Park. He'll lead a preview tour of the exhibit and talk about its development.

Dino Don also hosts a Big Dinosaur Show on opening day. Families can join the expert for a personal view of the exhibit, learn something about what dinosaurs ate and what is and is not a dinosaur, and hear the latest news about dinosaur discoveries.

Those who are really fearless can spend a night with the dinosaurs on March 26-27. This Dinomania Overnight Program promises to be a fun-filled opportunity to learn more about these amazing creatures, what the world was like for them, and some of the latest discoveries in the field of paleontology.

China may be a world away, but for the next six months, kids can play with these ancient specimens right down the road in our neighbor's back yard.

Dinosaurs of China is on display March 13-September 6. Most activities are free with museum admission. Dino Don's Big Dinosaur Show happens at 11am and 2pm on March 13. Reservations are required for the behind-the-scenes event on March 12 from 6-10pm. Cost is $40 and includes dinner. Call 804-474-7031. Reservations are also required for the Dinomania Overnight. Cost is $29 for children, $10 for adults. Call 804-474-7011 for this one. The museum is open 9:30am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday, noon-5pm on Sunday. Admission is $7. 2626 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-474-2667.

Eat, drink…: Irish drama and more

I'm only a quarter Irish, but I believe that gives me the right to make some irresponsible generalizations. Ireland needs to treat its writers better. What other conclusion can be drawn from the fact that every one of its most talented progeny leaves the place running at the first opportunity? Especially given that it's an island?

Take Oscar Wilde. Or George Bernard Shaw. Joyce barely set foot in his native land after the age of 20. Beckett couldn't even stand to write in English. And it's getting worse. The latest Irish sensation, playwright Martin McDonagh, has outdone all his alienated compatriots. He isn't even Irish.

The young author of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, which opens in a Four County Players production March 5, was born and raised in South London, the son of Irish parents. Somehow this hasn't stopped him from establishing himself as the leading voice in Irish theater, an international success for his Leenane Trilogy, of which Beauty Queen was the first installment.

Call it the luck of the…never mind.

Adding to the irony, McDonagh's Ireland isn't modern Dublin, which in corners looks as cosmopolitan as London. Beauty Queen, like other McDonagh plays, is set in Connemara, a rugged, sparsely populated region on the west coast where many residents still speak Irish. And if they don't, you can't understand them anyway.

Beauty Queen is a classic well-made play: four actors, one location, family struggles, jokes about chamber pots. The drama springs from the strained relationship between dowdy, middle-aged Maureen Folan and the invalid mother she cares for. Maureen gets a shot at romance with the town hunk– that's a relative term in a town of 14 people– and her mother does all she can to interfere. Think of it as a cautionary tale about living at home for too long. It's funny at first, and plenty dark later. Leave the kids at home.

For Guinness drinkers, 4CP is offering an extra enticement: Irish food, drink, and music an hour before and after every show. Dinner theater at its best.

* * *

I would be remiss not to mention two other distinguished acts hitting town this week: cellist Mark Haimovitz at the Prism Coffeehouse March 5, and slideshow poet Andy Friedman at Tokyo Rose on March 9. Brothers in genre-bending, Haimovitz plays Jimi Hendrix's "Star-Spangled Banner"– sirens, rockets, and all– on a cello, while Friedman plays country blues on a slide projector. Something tells me these guys didn't color inside the lines.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane runs Fridays through Sundays March 5-21. Friday and Saturday shows at 8pm, Sundays at 2:30pm. Food, drink, and music one hour before and after each performance. Barboursville Community Center, Rt. 33 and Community Center Lane, Barboursville. Tickets $10-12. 540-832-5355.

Get there early: Railroad Earth chug into town


For a bluegrass band, playing the same bill with those local heroes the Hackensaw Boys must be a bit trying. Barreling out of the starter's gate with their seven-man onslaught of pre-modern-era waveforms laced with a certain punk energy, the group sounds– live and on recordings (which are recorded live)– like an old-time cyclone, clearing the deadwood away for a new era of good times.

Railroad Earth, a band from up there (Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey), will be supporting the Hacks on March 5 at Starr Hill, and though neither band will eclipse the other, I thought it might be nice to shine the spotlight on another great modern-day bluegrass group that happens to be gracing Charlottesville with its brief presence.

Made up of (only!) five members– acoustic guitarist and lead vocalist Todd Sheaffer, violinist/guitarist Tim Carbone, mandolinist/guitarist John Skehan, guitarist/mandolinist/banjo player (and more) Andy Goessling, drummer Carey Harmon, and bassist Johnny Grubb, the group formed two years ago from what might be called a bluegrass draft of sorts.

Sheaffer was the primary songwriter and founding member of folk-rock group From Good Homes, who have released four albums since 1994– two on RCA records. Carbone and Goessling are both founding members of the constant tourers and folk group The Blue Sparks from Hell; Skehan is a session musician who has been put to much use in his home locale; and Harmon has been the drummer for The Hour and the Bobby Syvarth Band.

On Bird in a House, Railroad Earth's 2002 release (the group's new album is waiting for release) the group's five members combine virtuoso performances with some more than solid songwriting to make a sound that crosses genres like they were totally illusionary.

The album begins with "Drag Him Down" a rootsy pop tune never lacking for choice injections of instrumental nuggets. In his Dylanesque voice, Sheaffer begins, "The scene you saw was horrifying, people screaming, people crying, took a look and then turned around, running for higher ground." Straightaway the group bursts out the surprisingly catchy chorus, a background vocals-heavy "Fire trying to drag him down" series of repetitions, before slipping into a banjo-heavy instrumental segue.

The disc's title track is a slower number, where Sheaffer's high mildly strained vocals put a nice cap on an altogether well constructed pop tune. But the next track, "Like a Buddha," is where the group really shines. Sounding like a cross between Paul Simon's Graceland and a one-hit wonder from the '80s (but rootsy, very rootsy) the galloping song just seems to have fallen from the sky– all its parts, from complex mandolin lines to simple violin riff– fit together in the way that great numbers do.

You've seen the Hackensaw Boys– what, you haven't? And you call yourself a Charlottesville insider? Well, go see them on March 5, but show up early. Railroad Earth is worth it.

The Hackensaw Boys with Railroad Earth perform at Starr Hill, March 5. $12/$10 advance, 9:30pm.