Cultural calendar, March 25-April 4, 2004

THURSDAY, March 25
Check the Attic:
Lark E. Mason Jr., an expert in Chinese art, presents a lecture about Asian art discoveries on the Antique Roadshow. 4pm. University of Virginia Art Museum. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592.

Tales for Tots:
The five-and-under crowd can enjoy stories of spring including Little Lamb and It's Not Easy Being a Bunny by Marilyn Sadler at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. Stickers and cookies are part of the fun. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Highlights include Clyde Edgerton and a host of southern talent, as well as a reading by Guatemalan author/screenwriter Arturo Arias. Schedule on line at

Exodus: In 1987, 2,000 evangelicals came en masse into the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. Fr. Peter Gillquist of Santa Barbara, a leader of the movement to orthodoxy, says the secret is out of the box. Gillquist speaks on "Finding the New Testament Church" at the Rotunda, UVA. 7pm. 974-6110.

Transformation: Sandy Solomon, transformational consultant, hosts a discussion on "the Work of Byron Katie." His book, Loving What Is, shows how to work through challenges and problems by asking four specific questions that will enable them to be seen in a different light, bringing clarity, peace, and freedom. 7pm. Quest Bookshop. 295-3377.

Breathe Out:
UVA sponsors a party in the "Hoozone" where folks can pick up a Blood Alcohol Concentration card to help them know when they've had too much to drink (before they find out from the police). Come for music, food, information&emdash; and the little card that could save a lot of hassle and maybe a life. 6-8pm. Newcomb Hall plaza, UVA. 924-1512.

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. Singles and couples welcome, no partner needed. 7-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building Auditorium, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Tartuffe: Shenandoah Shakespeare performs Moliere's comic masterpiece in the Blackfriars Theater. Tonight's performance includes Talk Back!, a free 30-minute Q&A with actors and directors after the show. Participants do not have to attend the 7:30pm show. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Mozaik at the Prism:
Acoustic group Mozaik is a multi-national conglomeration of sorts– nationalities and tricky last names abound. $25/$20 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)

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

Hobson's Choice at Jaberwoke. No cover, 9pm.

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

No Gods/No Monsters and Devil Takes the Hindmost (rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Robert Jospé (jazz) at Rapture. No cover, 7:30pm. (W)

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 (bluegrass mayhem) at Shebeen. No cover, 10pm. (W)

North Mississippi Allstars with Burnside Exploration at Starr Hill. $15/$12 advance, 9pm.

Mountain Music of the Blue Ridge at the Prism. Free, 4pm.

Double Lives: Spoken Word and Flute at the Prism. Free, 6pm.

FRIDAY, March 26
Country of the Heart: Anthropologists Deborah Bird Rose and Margy Daiyi discuss their book, Country of the Heart: An Indigenous Australian Homeland, a chronicle of the lives of members of the MakMak (White Eagle) clan in Australia's Northern Territory. 6pm. Free. Second Street Gallery, 123 E. Water St. 244-0234.

Who Am I?: In conjunction with the exhibition "Matriarchs and Magnolias: Jewish Women of the South-&endash; Agents of Change," Jill Hartz, Phyllis Leffler, Vanessa Ochs, Asher Biemann, and artists Jan Aronson and Linda Gissen participate in a panel discussion on identity. 4:30pm. Reception follows, 5:30-7:30pm. UVA Art Museum, Rugby Road. 924-3592.

Sleep with the Dinosaurs:
Fearless reptile lovers can spend a night with the dinosaurs at the Children's Museum of Richmond. 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. 6pm tonight-8:30am tomorrow. $29 for children, $10 for adults. Reservations required. 2626 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-474-7011.

Skin Deep: It's not the same old "Beauty and the Beast" at Old Michie Theatre. This live performance is set in rhymed couplets and staged as an audience participatory English pantomime. 7pm. $7.50. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

Storybook Dance: Young thespians ages 2-5 can climb on stage at the Virginia Discovery Museum as they sing and dance and bring the story of the "Three Little Pigs" to life. Come in costume if you like. 10:30-11:10am and 11:15-11:55. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Explore science, fiction, and science fiction, and don't miss a reading of The Known World with Edward P. Jones. Schedule on line at See Worfs feature.

Having a Baby?: The "mother of modern midwifery" and author of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth speaks about "trust in women's bodies during childbirth." Ina May Gaskin is at the Church of the Incarnation, 1465 Incarnation Drive, 7pm. Book signing follows. 978-4779.

Tibetan Sand Mandala: Lecture with Gankar Ripoche. Part of five-day series on Tibetan Sand Mandala for Peace and Compassion. Wesley Foundation Building, UVA. 7pm. $10 donation. Full schedule of events online at Registration required. 980-1752.

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.

Organ Recital: Distinguished major Ginny Chilton performs works by Cabezon, Frescobaldi, J.S. Bach, and others, accompanied by musicians from UVA's Department of Music. 8pm. Westminster Presbyterian Church, 190 Rugby Road. Free. 924-3984.

Much Ado about Nothing: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the final performances of the Bard's romantic comedy in the magnificent Blackfriars Theater. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Nine, the Musical: Catch Live Arts' new main stage production, a Tony-award winning musical fantasy on the life and work of Federico Fellini. 8pm. Closes April 3. 123 E. Water St. $10-15. 977-4177x100.

Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train: Catch this preview of Live Arts' new Down Stage production of Stephen Adly Guirgis' highly acclaimed drama of prison life. 8pm. Runs until April 10. Live Arts UpStage, 123 E. Water St. $7. 977-4177x100.

Sierra (country) at Charlie's:
Playing those country hits we all know and love, Sierra sound great, no lie. No cover, 9pm.

Hafla at Rapunzel's: Rapunzel's own belly dancing troupe Hafla returns to the stage of the packing shed, bringing rhythmic art and mid-drift shaking to light up a Friday night. No cover, 7:30pm.

The Strugglers at Tokyo Rose: Low-key mostly acoustic rock heralding to Will Oldham and Dave Berman. $5, 10pm.

Eli Cook and the Redhouse Blues Band at Dew Drop Inn. No cover, 9pm.

Lunchtime Series with Manisha Shahane (singer/songwriter) at Gravity Lounge. Free, midnight.

Willow Branch (traditional bluegrass) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Southern Funk Orchestra (jam) at Jaberwoke. No cover, 9pm.

Vernon Fisher ("romantic side of jazz") at Keswick Hall. No cover, 6:30pm. (W)

Josh Mayo featuring Modern Epic (pop) at Mountain View Grill. $5, 8pm.

Frontbutt (old school hip-hop) at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Kevin Burke at the Prism. $22/$18, 8pm.

Hafla at Rapunzel's. No cover, 7:30pm.

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

Robert Earl Keen with Jim Waive and Charley Bell at Starr Hill. $15, 9pm.

The Strugglers at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm. See Tunes feature.

SATURDAY, March 27
Botanical Sketching:
Lara Call Gastinger leads a workshop in creating detailed sketches leading to a finished pen and ink botanical drawing using dry brush techniques. 9am-3pm. Wintergreen. 434-325-7453.

Bead Basics: Guest instructor Stephen Beauch teachs "Wire Wrapped Cabochon" for the beginner. 10am-2pm. $35. 106 Fifth St. SE. To register or for information, 244-2905.

Form & Function: A silent art auction to benefit the Charlottesville Waldorf School. The Monticelli Quartet, a cello ensemble, opens until 8:15pm. The Jan Smith Band play classic country, folk, and old timey tunes until midnight. Sample gourmet hors d'oeuvres, desserts, and coffee while browsing 150 pieces of art, furniture, decor, gift certificates, handmade toys, textiles and more. Cash bar courtesy of Starr Hill Brewery and White Hall Vineyards. $30/single; $50/couple. 7:30pm. Former Live Arts space, 609 E. Market St. 823-6800.

More Gala-ing: The Arts Center In Orange has an annual gala celebration and silent auction, too. Dance to the zydeco band the Dixie Power Trio; enjoy food and wine and dramatic decorations; bid on kites, weathervanes, wind chimes, mobiles, garden sculpture, and a variety of two-dimensional art pieces about wind created by local artists for the gala theme of "Wind Art." 7-11pm. $40/single, $75/couple. 129 E. Main St., Orange. 540-672-7311.

Science Daze:
The forecast calls for fun with Weather Watchers at the Science Museum of Virginia. Aspiring meteorologists can explore the world's weather through hands-on workshops, demonstrations, exhibits, and IMAX and planetarium shows. 8:30am-5pm. $18 children. Adult chaperones $9. Registration required. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-864-1447.

Routes 'n Wings: Travel across bridges and through tunnels. Visit a miniature of the Virginia State Capitol and a Monument Avenue scene built with Legos. Watch as trains zip around scale model railroad layouts created by experts. Have a go at building your own model railroad layout. See local Boy Scout troops demonstrate railroading skills. Check out the world's fastest, highest-flying spy plane. Relive the early days of flight. It's all part of Wings 'n' Rails at the Virginia Aviation Museum. 9:30am-5pm. Included in the price of museum admission. 5701 Huntsman Road, Richmond. 804-236-3622.

Name Game: A tricky old troll finds his way into a miller's daughter's life in the Old Michie Theatre's latest marionette puppet show, "Rumplestiltskin." 11am, 2pm, and 4pm. $5. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

Signs of Life: Hub and Kate Knott of Living Earth School search for signs of wildlife activity along the trails at Ivy Creek Natural Area. Nature lovers of all ages can learn to read the story of animal life in the landscape. Meet at the barn. 9am. Free. Earlysville Road. 973-7772.

Skin deep: See Friday, March 26.

Book Works: Kids can make a book of their own with graphic artist Josef Berry in a hands-on bookbinding workshop at McGuffey Arts Center. 10am. Free. 201 Second St. SE.

Every "Body" Reads: The Play Partners Program at Children and Youth Services presents a story and activity time for parents and preschoolers with songs and activities based on the book "Head to Toe" by Eric Carle at Village Playhouse. 10:30am and 1pm. Free. 313 Second St. SE

Out with the Old: Oakley's Gently Used Books hosts the ninth annual Kids Book Swap. Little bookworms can bring in their outgrown books and trade for others. 11am-3pm. Free. York Place on the Downtown Mall.

Start the Rumpus: Fans of Max in his wolf suit can get wild with Miriam Rushfinn and Betty Neal from the Parent Center as they read the story and bring it to life at the Charlottesville Parking Center. 11:30am. Free. 110 Fifth St. NE.

Twist and Shout: Young twisters can help storyteller Barbara Spilman Lawson shake it up and sing it out with stories with a twist at the Virginia Discovery Museum. 2pm. Free. East end of the Downtown Mall.

Highlights include the Primitive Mind performance to raise donations for the Ghana Bookmobile and Trenchtown Reading Centre. Novelists Michael Ondaatje and Michael Chabon headline. Schedule on line at

Festival Reception: Authors' reception hosted by two writing couples, Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown, and Henry Wiencek and Donna Lucey, who greet guests and festival participants over wine and hors d'oeuvres. 6-8pm. Carr's Hill. $25/person. Call 924-3296 to reserve by credit card.

Run for Your Life:
UVA's Zeta Tau Alpha and New Balance sponsor the 10th Annual Run for Life 5K race today. Registration 8am, race begins at 10am. $15 race day. Race starts and finishes at Newcomb Hall Plaza behind University Bookstore. Register at Norwood's New Balance or online at 964-1616.

Site Out of Mind: See Friday, March 26. Today the symposium runs 10am-4pm.

Compassionate Communicating: The Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice sponsors a nonviolent communication workshop. Believing that violence is an expression of unmet needs, workshop leader Gregg Kendrick helps participants connect with others so that everyone's needs are met. 9am-5:30pm. $25-45. Bring your lunch; drinks provided. Lewis & Clark Square, 250 W. Main St., suite 110. 244-0714.

Plant the Vines: Gabriele Rausse, of the Monticello garden staff, offers a workshop on starting a vineyard. $10. 8:30am. Monticello. 984-9822.

Gone Fishing: The Duff Palmer Memorial Fly Fishing tournament, a "two-fly" format fly-fishing event that benefits the Thomas Jefferson chapter of Trout Unlimited happens today and tomorrow on the Moorman's River. Dinner/social tonight at King Family Vineyard. Registration and info available at the Albemarle Angler in Barracks Road. 990-4269.

CSDS Swing Dance:
Charlottesville Swing Dance Society offers an evening of swing dancing and a variety of other dances with DJs Debbie and Wesley Boz. Free beginner hustle lesson is included with admission. Singles and couples welcome. Lesson 7pm, dance 8-11pm. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. $6-12. 980-2744.

Tartuffe: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents its final performance of Moliere's comic masterpiece in the magnificent Blackfriars Theater. 2pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train: See Friday, March 26.

Nine, the Musical: See Friday, March 26.

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. 977-4177x100.

King Lear: Shenandoah Shakespeare performs the Bard's monumental tragedy in the magnificent Blackfriars Theater. 7:30pm. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Apollo and Hycinth:
Under the direction of Louisa Panou-Takahashi, the first opera Mozart wrote (when he was 11 years old!) comes alive in this program by the Opera Theatre. $10/$5 students, 8pm. 924-3984.. 8pm. Old Cabell Hall, UVA Central Grounds. $5-10. 924-3984.

The Terri Allard Group & Friends at PVCC:
Americana luminary Allard brings her mature folk to PVCC. $12/$10 advance/$8 PVCC students, 8pm. V. Earl Dickinson building main stage:

Hogwaller Ramblers at Rapunzel's: Those crazy Hogwaller Ramblers make their way out to Lovingston for a show sure to be energy-packed and bluegrass-spiked. $5, 7:30pm.

Meade Skelton at Plan 9, Albemarle Square: Country boy rocks out in support of his new disc, They Can't Keep Me Down. No cover, 1pm.

Sierra (country) at Charlie's. No cover, 9pm.

Robert Allen (accoustic) at Dew Drop Inn. No cover, 9pm.

Primitive Mind (acoustic mixer) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Junction at Jaberwoke. No cover, 9pm.

Vernon Fisher ("romantic side of jazz") at Keswick Hall. No cover, 6:30pm. (W)

Rule of Thump (groove-jam) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

Silent Diner at Outback Lodge. No cover, 10pm.

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

Robert Earl Keen with John Eddie at Starr Hill. $15, 9pm.

Pacific UV, The Out Circuit, Metropolitan at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

SUNDAY, March 28
Drawing on Books:
It's the last day for submissions of original designs for the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library's ninth annual logo contest. Artists in grades 6-12 can enter their work, which will be featured on the brochure for Cheap Thrills, the library's summer reading program for teens. Contest forms and details at local branches. 979-7151 x215.

Routes 'n Wings: See Saturday, March 27.

Skin Deep: See Friday, March 26. Time today 3pm.

Jazz Dinner:
Taste treats from chef John Brand's menu while listening to the cool sounds of live jazz. 6:30-9:30pm. Prices a la carte. Keswick Hall. 979-3440.

Gone Fishing: See Saturday, March 27.

It'll Be a Blast: CvilleIndymedia and People Allied for Clean Energy sponsor a Dr. Strangelove nuclear awareness fundraiser. Music by Stratton Salidis and Erica Olsen. Enjoy food, films, and fun&emdash; the good Doctor himself is slated to drop in– and learn about new nuclear reactors perhaps coming soon to a community near you. $5. 7pm. Old Michie Building, 609 E. Market St. 760-1297.

Ready to Go?: The Memorial Planning Society of the Piedmont holds a discussion and question and answer session with author Nancy Lawson, physician Richard Crampton, bioethicist John Fletcher, and law professor Walter Wadlington on the subject of "preparing your final farewell." Northside Library, Albemarle Square. 2-4pm. Free. 823-5693.

Do the Math:
Streetlight Magazine Reading Series features novelists Charlotte Morgan and Ursula Maria Mandel and essayist Riggin Waugh. It adds up to Elvis, Kafka, and witty lesbians. Open mic to follow. Gravity Lounge, Downtown Mall. 4pm.

Barhoppers 2004:
Offstage Theater presents its highly popular annual festival of bar-themed plays performed in bars, including works by local playwrights Joel Jones, Sean Harvey, and Stephen Boykewich. Runs through April 6. 7:30pm. Rapture, 303 E. Main St. $8. 531-0158. See Performance feature.

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.

Nine, the Musical: See Friday, March 26. Today's show is a matinee at 2.

Much Ado about Nothing: See Friday, March 26. Today's show is a matinee at 2pm.

Improv Lab II: Live Arts' resident expert Rush Howell leads this intermediate-level weekly Sunday afternoon workshop in long-form improv. Class runs until May 2. 3-5pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $50 members, $65 general. 977-4177x100.

Clarinet Recital: Distinguished major Luke Ward performs works by Poulenc, Muczynski, and Desportes, accompanied by pianist Guanqiao Tong. 3:30pm. Old Cabell Hall, UVA. Free. 924-3984.

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

Girlyman (folk) with Brady Earnhart (intelligent folk/rock) at Gravity Lounge. $12, 8pm.

Barling and Collins (intelligent cello-pop) at Miller's. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

MONDAY, March 29
LiveArts Playwright's LAB:
This twice-monthly playwriting workshop is designed to give new and seasoned playwrights an environment to develop and refine original works. Meets the first and third Monday of every month. 6:30pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177 x100.

Barhoppers 2004: See Sunday, March 28, and Performance feature.

Family Council:
If you have a loved one in a nursing home and are interested in discussing the creation of a Piedmont Area Regional Family Council, come to this meeting at the Legal Aid Justice Center. 6pm. 1000 Preston Ave. 977-0553 x105.

Meet Barry Lopez:
Reading and discussion followed by reception and book signing. Free. 8pm. Senior Center, Pepsi Place. Sponsored by Ivy Creek Foundation. 973-7772. See Walkabout feature.

Modernizing Medicare:
Robert D. Reischauer, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and nationally recognized expert on the federal budget, Medicare, and Social Security, is at the Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Road, 11am. 924-0921.

Danny Schmidt with Joia Wood at Gravity Lounge: Smart-folkie Schmidt is back! Lyrical mastery and guitar virtuosity-&endash; as well as the soulful folkie Wood, she of well-written songs and powerful pipes, who will be aiding Schmidt in his quest for a little harmony. $5, 7pm.

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)

George Melvin (piano merriment) at South Street Brewery. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

Animal Colective, White Magic, and Gulf Coast Army (indie jammin') at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

Travis Elliot (pop) at the Virginian. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

TUESDAY, March 30
People Like Us:
London-based audio/video collagist People Like Us (aka Vicki Bennett) presents a live mix of discarded LP's, radio broadcasts, TV commercials, and other audio and video detritus. 7pm. $7.50, free to Film Society members. Vinegar Hill Theater. 977.4911.

Green Thumb Fun:
Little gardeners can dig up some fun at a parent-child, hands-on gardening class the Village Playhouse. 3:30-4pm. Registration required. 313 Second St. SE. 296-9390.

Lieutenant Gov:
Tim Kaine overviews the 2004 legislative session at the Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Road, 5pm. 924-0921.

Peace in the Mid-East: Robyn Lundy, national speaker from the Tikkun Community, talks about the Geneva Accords and what people in the U.S. can do to advance the peace process. Free, 7pm. Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. 293-9820.

Forum on Homelessness:
A half-day workshop to produce an action agenda with working groups and on-going activities bringing together citizens, community leaders, service providers, student volunteers, agencies of state and local government, churches, and others whose life or work touches the homeless. 9am-1pm, First Presbyterian Church, 500 Park St. 979-7310 x440.

Home Buyer Seminar:
Designed to assist potential new homeowners in planning and preparing for the buying process. Free credit report for all participants. 7-8:30pm. Real Estate III. 500 Faulconer Drive. 466-5662.

Tuesday Evening Concert Series:
Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Santiago Rodriguez presents a recital of Russian and Spanish works by Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Falla, Albeniz, Granados, and Moszkowski. 8pm. $10-24, $5 student rush tickets one hour prior to show. 924-3984.

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)

Garnet Rogers at Gravity Lounge. $15/$12 advance, 8pm.

SNUG (funk improv) at Michael's Bistro. $3, 10pm. (W)

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; students $2 every fourth Wednesday through May. 977-0491.

Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train: See Friday, March 26. Tonight is a pay-what-you-will night.

Nine, the Musical: See Friday, March 26. Today's show is at 8pm and is pay-what-you-will.

The Real Thing:
The Center for Christian Study presents another talk in the Faith & Life lecture series, "Vampires, Cyborgs, and Angels: Human Embodiment in Popular Culture." $25. Students free. 7:30pm. 128 Chancellor St. 817-1050.

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

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

Open Mic Night at Dew Drop Inn. No cover, 8pm. (W)

Sparky's Flaw at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

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

The Hamiltons at Outback Lodge. No cover, 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)

Josh Mayo featuring Modern Epic (pop) at South Street Brewery. No cover, 10pm.

Galactic at Starr Hill. $20, 8pm.

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

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

The George Turner Trio (Latin jazz) at Zocalo. No cover, 9pm.

See Friday, March 26. Tonight's show is at 7:30pm. C'est vrai!

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. Singles and couples welcome, no partner needed. 7-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building Auditorium, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train: See Friday, March 26.

More Tales for Tots:
See Wednesday, March 31.

"Images of the Sacred Feminine":
Jalaja Bonheim shows slides of goddesses from around the world and discusses their significance for contemporary men and women. The free event is followed by a weekend workshop, "Men, Women, and the Sacred Feminine" April 2 &endash;4. Ssevenoaks Pathwork Center, Stanardsville. To register, or for more information, 540-948-6544 or

ASAP: At this monthly meeting of Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population, ZPG's Jay Keller speaks about population issues and their impact on our community. 7:30pm. Westminster Presbyterian Church library. 190 Rugby Road. 974-6390.


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)

Benefit for Navel: Big Fast Car (rock), Small Town Workers (playing Helmet covers), Andy Waldeck (pop) and No Gods No Monsters (rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Bill Cole and William Parker (modern jazz) at the Prism. $14/$12, 8pm.

Robert Jospé (jazz) at Rapture. No cover, 7:30pm. (W)

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

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

Man Mountain Jr. with Max Collins at Starr Hill. $8/$6, 9pm.

Desert Fathers, and Riddle of Steel at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10:30pm.

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

Cult Upcoming and ongoing

Upcoming and Ongoing
"Mapping the Dark":
Rosamund Casey offers an eight-week class for arty types interested in exploring mixed media with the goal of matching an inner state with an external form. The class includes three-dimensional problem solving and lessons in thinking about art. 10am-12:30pm, and 6:30pm-9pm on Tuesdays, April 13-June1. $200. 293-8733. Register now.

Submit!: The Arts Center in Orange seeks exhibits for a growing Satellite Gallery program that currently includes Not the Same Old Grind, a coffee shop on Church street, and The Virginia National Bank on Main street. 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,

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.

Out of this World: The Science Museum of Virginia offers earthbound astronaut wannabes the chance to vicariously climb into a space capsule the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and blast off into the great unknown with the IMAX film Space Station showing now through June 11. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

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.

Big Bones: China may be a world away, but now through September 6 kids can play with replicas of ancient dinosaur skeletons right down the road at the Children's Museum of Richmond. Lots of hands-on exhibits. Most activities are free with museum admission. 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.

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. 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.

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.

Unclutter Your Life:
The one everyone waits for&emdash; the SPCA rummage sale takes place April 17-May 2, 11am-7pm. Donations being accepted through March 28, 9:30am-6:30pm, Ivy Industries Building, 111 Monticello Ave. 244-3647.

Run for Your Life: UVA's Zeta Tau Alpha and New Balance sponsor the 10th Annual Run for Life 5K race Saturday, March 27. Registration 8am, race begins at 10am. $12 in advance; $15 race day. Race starts and finishes at Newcomb Hall Plaza behind University Bookstore. Register at Norwood's New Balance or online at 964-1616.

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.

Single Mothers' Support Group: Safe environment for women dealing with the challenges of raising children on their own. Facilitated by Deborah Frazer, LCSW. Nominal fee required, negotiable according to the needs of group participants. Pre-registration interview required. Child care available. 6:30-8pm. Focus Women's Center. Grady avenue. 293-2222.

Women in Change: Support group allows women experiencing personal issues of transition to meet in a supportive and confidential setting, facilitated by Betsy Cochran, LPC. 7-8:30pm. Fee and pre-registration interview required. Focus Women's Center. Grady avenue. 293-2222.

Come into the Library:
Ash Lawn-Highland exhibits rarely seen selections from James Monroe's collection of 3,000 late 18th- and early 19th-century French and English volumes. Open daily through April 30, 10am-6pm. 293-9539.

Salon Art: Vanity Salon and Gallery features the photography of Amy Wade and the paintings of Monty Montgomery. 1112 E. High St. 977-3332.

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. 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 Water street. 977-7284. See Art feature.

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents Carrie Mae Weems' "The Jefferson Suite" through May 23. Also on view: "Exploring Identity: Work by Southern Jewish Women Artists," featuring pieces by Jan Aronson, Marcia R. Cohen, Johanna Drucker, Linda Gissen, and Alyssa C. Salomon, through April 25, plus "American Collage," including work by Andy Warhol, Adja Yunkers, and Robert Motherwell, among others, through August 24. And in celebration of the Virginia Festival of the Book, the Graphics Gallery features "Waking Dreams: Book Art and 'Literary Art' from the Collection" through April 4. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

Filmmaking artist Michele Smith's work, including a "film carpet" of outtakes, is on view in the Virginia Film Festival's new Festival Lounge through April 1. 617 W. Main St., Second Floor. 982-5560.

The Renaissance School opens its fifth annual student art show on March 26. 406 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-1952,

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.

"Dalgliesh Unramed," a show of pastel and oil paintings by Betsy Dalgliesh, is on view at Angelo through April 30. 220 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-9256.

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 through the end of March. W. Water St. 295-2080.

The PVCC Gallery presents its annual student exhibition through April 21. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 500 College Drive. 961-5203.

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 "New Work from Alabama" by painter Michael Banks through March 26. 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. 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.

FE.! presents two photography shows in one, "Pictures from Travels to South America" by Larry Dennis, and "Petals and Metal" by Holly Dennis, during March. Main Street Market Building, W. Main St. 244-7800.

During March, 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.

As long as you're at Whole Foods Market buying groceries, take time to enjoy the employee art in the café area. 1416 Seminole Trail. 973-4900.

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.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church presents an exhibition of stained glass and mosaics by Alison Jarvis Watkins. 717 Rugby Road. 295-4083.

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.

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.

Paintings by Gloria Mitchell are on display at The Artful Lodger, 1807 Seminole Trail. 970-1900.

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.

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 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.

Sculptor Jonathan Durham's exhibition "Cyrus (the Younger): Zero-Degree Monumentality in Cinema Space" is on view in the former Nature Gallery space. Water street, behind the Jefferson Theater. 924-6123.

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

Selected landscapes by Richard Crozier will be 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.


On March 26, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts opens "Bonjour, Monsieur Corbet! The Bruyas Collection from the Musee Fabre, Montpelier," and "Van Gogh and Gauguin: An Artistic Dialogue in the South of France," both of which run through June 13. Also on view: "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. The VMFA Studio School hosts a retrospective of Thomas C. Gordon Jr.'s work, through April 2. 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond. 804-924-2704.

Ombra's Café displays "Recent Still Lifes," oils by painter Vidu Palta, through April. 5773 The Square, Crozet. 296-4669.

The Nichols Gallery Annex in Barboursville shows "Hands On Printmakers," a display of mono-prints, etchings, and serigraphs by Ed Bordett, Frank Hobbs, David Freed, Fred Nichols, Tucker Hill, Akemi Ohira, and Carlysle Vicenti, through April 25. 540-832-3565.

The Artisans Center of Virginia hosts a show of crafts made at Innisfree Village, a community of mentally disabled adults, through March 31. 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, through 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.

Through March 27, Caffé Bocce displays Georgia Barbour's "Photographs of Vietnam." 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 street, and the Virginia National Bank on Main street. 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,

The Orange County Fair Board is accepting submissions for its contest to design the Fair's poster. Drop off entries at the The Arts Center In Orange, 129 E. Main St., by 12pm, April 21. For specific details and guidelines, contact Terry Travers, 540-672-7856.

The Central Virginia Watercolor Guild has spots available for its April 26&endash;29 workshop led by artist Domenic DiStefano at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. Limited to 25 participants. Registration deadline: Tuesday, March 30. 295-7260 or

Blurred lines: Rosen's graphic language

Back in 1998 when President Clinton uttered, "It all depends on what the meaning of 'is' is"&emdash; thus sending Republicans into a linguistic tizzy&emdash; I imagine conceptual artist Kay Rosen taking the statement at face value and smiling. Given her fondness for verbal doubling, irony, and popular culture (both Elvis and Aunt Bea figure in her work), it's almost surprising Rosen hasn't yet turned "is is" into art.

After all, Rosen built her international reputation by visually altering words in playful ways that lead viewers to reconsider how a sequence of symbols generates meaning. A mini-retrospective of Rosen's work, "New Word Order," is currently spelled out&emdash; literally&emdash; on the walls of Second Street Gallery.

Coming out of the pop art movement's embrace of the mundane, which saw Andy Warhol celebrating soup cans and Roy Lichtenstein elevating comic strips, Rosen has taken text as her canvas for the past 30 years. Most of her pieces consist of letters of one color painted starkly against a contrasting background, the fonts carefully selected and precisely arranged.

Often, the title of a piece coaxes the observer to get the joke. For instance, "Phantom Limb" presents a disembodied white "p" hanging above and stage right of a white "b," their shapes creating a vertical mirror. Once the viewer reads Rosen's title, it becomes clear each lonely, stemmed letter is the remnant of a word lost to the black background.

Working with a different sort of symbolic language, in "Deaf" Rosen creates a collage of four bass-clef notes snipped out of a Wallace and Winning Speed Drills book. Arranged in a silent square, they spell out d-e-a-f on the musical scale.

Rosen visited Charlottesville to install "New Word Order" and added yet another linguistic dimension by hanging the 15 pieces on the gallery's west wall in alphabetical order.

She also created two new pieces for the Second Street show. Inspired by Jefferson's gardens, Rosen's "Like Trees" consists of four small U.S. maps sprouting color-coded pushpins to indicate where trees of a color-related variety, such as red maple or yellow birch, grow.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the site-specific, 37-foot-long "Blurred," which runs along the gallery's north and east walls. According to Second Street's director, Leah Stoddard, it's Rosen's first corner piece. The six-foot tall blue B-L-U meets the red R-E-D in a violet "R" that angles through the middle. And, yes, all political overtones are completely intentional.

Kay Rosen's "New Word Order" is on view at Second Street Gallery through May 1. A free catalog of the exhibition will be available in April.

Digging ghosts: Forensics and fictional genocide

In the late 1990s the Sri Lankan-born novelist Michael Ondaatje traveled to his birthplace to research the death squads that had terrorized the country throughout the 1980s and current efforts to reconstruct those crimes.

A war-torn teardrop in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka was by no means alone in that decade as a theater for government-supported civilian massacres. In Guatemala, a determined effort to eradicate the indigenous Maya wiped out 200,000 civilians, displaced 1.5 million peasants, and was known, simply, as "La Violencia."

In 1997 Ondaatje followed up on this second source, meeting with members of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation. Among them was Victoria Sanford, an anthropologist and academic who has devoted much of her career to airing, and then healing, the societal wounds of genocide.

Ondaatje finished Anil's Ghost three years later. It tells the story of a young forensic anthropologist who returns to her native Sri Lanka, armed only with a well-preserved skeleton she calls "Sailor," to level charges of government-sponsored crimes against humanity.

Sanford, a former fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the author of a new book reconstructing "La Violencia," is circumspect about her role as a model for the fictional Anil. Whatever Anil's debt is to Sanford, local readers certainly owe her this: It was Sanford's invitation that brings the celebrated Ondaatje to the Virginia Festival of the Book on March 28.

"Perhaps [what] is most compelling for me is the way in which Anil is as marked by the memory of particular moments of her field research as survivors are marked by particular moments of their own survival," wrote Sanford in a recent email from Guatemala, where she continues her work recording survivor testimonies.

When it comes to forensic versus testimonial evidence, says Sanford, "both are legitimate, both are accurate and both are necessary… We need all forms of truth if we are ever going to be able to prevent genocide and also come to terms with the ease with which human beings can commit atrocities."

Sanford's non-fiction Buried Secrets, with its relentless patterns of systematic brutality (aka, the "phenomenology of terror"), is about as far from the fictional dreamscape of Anil's Ghost as two treatments of controversial exhumations can be. What they share is an acknowledgment to the father of forensic anthropology, Dr. Clyde Snow, who stated "the bones don't lie."

Victoria Sanford discusses genocidal massacres of Guatemala at the UVA Bookstore on Friday, March 26, at 6pm. She appears with Michael Ondaatje at Newcomb Hall Ballroom at 4pm, Saturday, March 27. Tickets available one hour prior to event. More information on line at

It's natural: Barry Lopez visits Brown

Like true bibliophiles, Charlottesville readers no sooner turn the last page of the Virginia Festival of the Book than the students of UVA's Brown College open another volume–their own mini symposium, this one on the environment.

For the last several years, the residential college with a special interest in environmental issues has sponsored the visit of a prominent nature writer to live among them and address members of the community. This year, National Book Award-winner Barry Lopez is the first of two coming to town under the auspices of the Visiting Environmental Writers and Scholars program.

Lopez often writes about the relationships between human culture and nature. A loosely connected trilogy of short stories established his reputation in the field: Desert Notes in 1976, River Notes in 1979, and Field Notes in 1994.

Although a Californian by birth, the 56-year-old Lopez, hailed as a "master nature writer" by the New York Times, has been a resident of Oregon for the last 30 years. He won the National Book Award in 1986 for Arctic Dreams, his adventure story/meditation on the art of exploration.

During his visit to Charlottesville, Lopez will present a reading and discussion, "The Process of Non-Fiction," at the Senior Center on Monday, March 29. On Tuesday, March 30, his talk, "The Fiction Writer and Social Responsibility" takes place in the Rotunda Dome Room, followed by a reception and book signing.

University of Minnesota professor Daniel Philippon, the second speaker in the series, no doubt will win the students' (and other local listeners') hearts with his topic: "Poe in the Ragged Mountains: Environmental History and Romantic Aesthetics," which he delivers on Sunday, April 4 at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area off Fontaine Avenue.

On Monday, April 5, he addresses ""Rewilding A Sand County Almanac: What Literary History Can Tell Us about Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic" in Jefferson Hall, Hotel C, of the West Range.

Author of Conserving Words: How American Nature Writers Shaped the Environmental Movement, Philippon was the first Sara Shallenberger Brown Fellow in Environmental Literature at Brown College while working on his PhD in English.

So here's a chance not only to hear about nature, but&emdash; after Philippon's talk at Ragged Mountain&emdash;to get out in it and find out what the writers are talking about.

Lopez's talk at the Senior Center on Pepsi Place and his March 30 talk in the Rotunda Dome Room are at 8pm. Philippon's talk on April 4 is 2pm at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area off Fontaine Avenue. His Monday talk in Jefferson Hall is at 1pm. 924-7859.

Looking up: Scopes scan the stars


Something cosmic is happening in Covesville. On April 9, hundreds of people will wind their way up a steep unlit dirt road to the top of Fan Mountain where they will stand in line for a chance to view heavenly bodies through the giant telescopes at UVA's primary research observatory.

Twice each year, UVA's astronomy department opens this facility on the darker side of town&emdash; where light pollution from the city is significantly reduced&emdash; so ordinary stargazers can get a great view of the night sky through the 31- and 40-inch reflector telescopes.

Dozens of volunteers will be there to show visitors around the facility as well as around the universe. Faculty members, undergrads, and graduate students will offer guided tours, and members of the Charlottesville Astronomical Society will have their personal telescopes&emdash; some rivaling the professional scopes&emdash; set up and ready for celestial viewing.

There's a catch, however. The event can accommodate only 400 participants. Free tickets are issued on a first-come/first-served basis to those who send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the UVA astronomy department&emdash; but they're all gone now.

"It's very popular," says astronomy professor Ed Murphy. "We routinely run out of tickets three or four weeks in advance."

I'm telling you this in March so those who want to participate in this other-worldly experience can plan now to get their SASE in the mail in September for tickets to the October viewing session (the date is not confirmed yet). Go to your calendar now and make a note in September.

In the meantime, UVA's McCormick Observatory in town is open for public viewing on the first and third Fridays of every month. This too is free and offers the opportunity to get behind the historic 26-inch Alvan Clark refractor telescope to see what's going on up there. Since Saturn is having a close encounter with earth these days, it will probably be in the spotlight at McCormick's Public Night on April 2. Two other smaller telescopes will also be available during these events.

Murphy points out that a fantastic array of the visible planets will be available for viewers' pleasure on the evening of March 29 and for about a week before and after that date. Just after sunset, one can look to the west to find Mercury close to the horizon. Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter line up on an elliptic across the sky to the eastern edge. Binoculars will improve the view.

So don't despair. A universe of possibilities is out there for folks who want to see and learn about the wonders of the night sky. Some of these just require a longer wait than others.

For tickets to the October event, send an SASE no later than September to: Fan Mountain Public Night, P.O. Box 3818, Charlottesville 22903-0818. The latest astronomy info is available at UVA's astronomy website: The department's phone number is 924-7494.

Hop to it!: Offstage takes to the pubs

It was 1989, and revolution was in the air. Chinese students were standing down tanks in Tienanmen Square. Communist regimes were crumbling all over Eastern Europe. And three Charlottesville playwrights conceived of a plan to bring local theater alive in a way no theater had been since the days when Shakespeare's groundlings spat at his villains and cheered through the battle scenes: Let the audience drink during the show.

Seems obvious now, doesn't it?

With the sole great insight shared by undergraduates the world over&emdash; that everything sounds like fun when you're drunk&emdash; Offstage Theater was born. Their first show was called Chug, and admission was a six pack. You kept it and drank it during the show. Soon after came Barhoppers, a night of short plays that took the idea to its logical destination. Local playwrights wrote plays about bars, local actors (including a young Dave Matthews) performed them in bars, and local audiences took it all in&emdash; along with a couple of pints.

Fifteen years later the series is still going strong. Barhoppers 2004, which opened last week and runs at Rapture through April 10, features six short plays populated by cowboys, flappers, dating-show hosts, spike-haired robots, sheepish saxophonists, and a handful of more conventional characters. Like bartenders. The inevitable alehouse theme of unhappy love runs through all six, but as they say in the infomercials, that's where the similarity ends.

Offstage's Artistic Director Chris Patrick took advantage of connections at the Greensboro Playwrights' Forum to put out a nationwide call for scripts this year. He and other board members including UVA's Betsy Tucker and Doug Grissom chose from a pool of 40 submissions, some of which came from as far away as California. "We've built up quite a reputation," Patrick says. "It's really something people look forward to."

Most of the pieces that made the final cut are by local or Charlottesville-affiliated playwrights. One notable exception is a scene from Sophie Treadwell's 1928 expressionist drama, Machinal, which is a sharp contrast to the rapid-fire comedy of Tim Van Dyck's Domo Arigoto or Joel Jones' Big Fish, Little Fish. Patrick wanted the balance.

"The audiences love the comedy," he says, "but giving a little more gravity always helps."

Barhoppers is the last show of the season for Offstage, but Patrick already has plans to build on the series' success with a new site-specific series next season: bedroom plays performed in furniture stores. They've got the playwrights. They've got the audience.

All they need is a furniture store with a liquor license.

Barhoppers runs Sundays through Tuesdays until April 6. All shows at 7:30pm at Rapture, 303 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. Tickets $8. 531-0158.

Country lines: Down and out brings 'em out

The Strugglers' Randy Bickford has a voice that screams, quietly, of late-night bar loneliness and smoking for the sake of smoking while driving, and while a piano player and a drummer will be performing with him on this tour, Bickford is the Strugglers, from stock to muzzle.

His generally acoustic recordings might suggest the Silver Jews' Dave Berman or Will Oldham to some, and with a generally down-beat country-tinged writing style, the comparison would be a fair one. But even with discernable similarities, Bickford is an artist in his own right, his songs low-key personal odes to the time before Paxil.

"She can match all the violence your pretty eyes could affect" begins the verse of "Goodness Gracious" from 2002's Acuarela EP– lyrics are the most important element in the singer/songwriter field, slightly above how things sound in total analysis, and Bickford is no slouch in this department. Although there are a few penned hiccups along the way through 2001's Done By The Strugglers and 2003's The New Room ("You're the one I thought I would surely wed /You were my love you were my best friend"&endash; youch), the latter album also contains some pretty exemplary lines&endash; "The light and I turned down to the point I can barely make out / All of these wooden kisses we for some reason continue to allow."

"Goodness Gracious" begins with the song's chorus, and immediately Bickford's voice, which seems to oscillate between strong and paper thin within verse lines, makes its sky-covering presence known. Acoustic guitar and Bickford populate the song until the first verse begins, when soft drums, bass, electric guitar, and steel guitar chime in with their contributions. Bickford's voice is still the focal point of the number, placed forward in the mix like some omnipotent god of old raining rule down on its musical followers.

The Strugglers' latest album, 2003's The New Room, is a nice development in sound from the earlier Acuarela EP– though Bickford's voice has seemingly increased in its thinness, something about the sound of it, doubled as it is on the newer recordings, is more grabbing. Skating the thin line between morose and upbeat pop– "Right-handed," with its slow piano and even slower drums is a fine example of this idea– The New Room also includes songs like the piano-driven "Recovering" which would sound at home on the Nuggets set (the 1986 compilation of '60s garage rock one-hit-wonders), with seemingly more of Bickford's singing in harmony as the song progresses.

Low-key, but definitely not of low-value– the Strugglers: the makings of a fine evening.

The Strugglers perform at Tokyo Rose March 26. $5, 10pm.