Cultural calendar, June 10-17, 2004

Kids Day Out:
Daddy & Me (and Mommy too) celebrates Father's Day at Barracks Road Shopping Center. This month's kid-friendly activities encourage father/child bonding with story time, arts and crafts, and more. 10am-noon. Free. Barracks Road. 977-4583.

Tales for Tots: The five-and-under crowd can enjoy farm stories at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time where the booklist includes I Went Walking by Sue Williams and Ms. Wishy-Washy's Farm by Joy Cowley. 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. Singles and couples welcome, no partner needed. 7-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building Auditorium, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Exotic Dance: Get kinky at the Berkmar Ballroom with exotic fitness dancing for novices as well as the more, shall we say, experienced. Belly dance for beginners, 6-7pm; for intermediates, 7-8pm. Sexy pole dancing for beginners, 8-9pm; for intermediates, 9-10pm. 652 Rio Road W. $15 drop-in; eight-lesson series for $80-$100. 975-4611.

Angels in America: The season-ending Live Arts production of Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches begins its second week tonight. Billed as the "greatest play of our time," Tony Kushner's award-winning script peels open American culture in a phantasmagoric story about AIDS, social justice, and redemption. 7:30pm. Live Arts DownStage, 123 E. Water St. $10-15. 977-4177x100.

The Most Lamentable Comedy of Sir John Falstaff: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the world premier of an original adaptation on that most gluttonous of Shakespeare's characters, culled from choice scenes in Henry IV and a bit of Henry V. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-26. 540-885-5588.

Demonstration, March and Teach-In:
The Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice sponsors a march from the Federal Building on Main Street to the Central Place on the Downtown Mall where speakers and concerned citizens will be available for discussion and exploration of the current war in Iraq. 5-6pm. 456-6028.

Bird Walk: Join the Monticello Bird Club for an early morning bird walk at the Ivy Creek Natural Area, off Earlysville Road. Meet in the parking lot at 7:30am. Beginners welcome. 973-7425.

Book Group:
Greene County Library book group meets to discuss The Puzzle Bark Tree by Stephanie Gertler. 7pm. 985-5227. 222 Main St, Stanardsville.

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)

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

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

Satisfaction (dance party) at Rapture. $3/Ladies free, 10:30pm. (W)

Danny Beirne at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm. (W)

This Means You, Agents of the Sun, and Red Pill Down at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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

Satisfaction (dance party) at Rapture. $3/Ladies free, 10:30pm. (W)

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

Josh Mayo (acoustic pop) at Starr Hill's downstairs lounge. Free, 9:30pm.

Kait and Thom (modern jazz duo) at Tokyo Rose upstairs. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

FRIDAY, June 11
All American:
Join a discussion of Walter Isaacson's Benjamin Franklin: An American Life at Northside Library. Reviewed by Frederick Schmidt of PVCC. Albemarle Square. 12pm, 979-7151.

Tricky Dick: Hear a prize-winning disquisition on Richard Nixon at the Miller Center. David Greenberg's "Nixon's Shadow, The History of an Image" examines changing public perceptions of the former President. 2201 Old Ivy Road, 11am. 924-0921.

Storybook Dance:
Young thespians ages 2-5 can climb on stage at the Virginia Discovery Museum as they sing and dance and bring to life stories from different areas around the world. This week features Scotland. Come in costume if you like. Sessions at 10:30am, 11:00am, and 11:30am. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Out of this World: Today is the last chance for earthbound astronaut wannabes 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 at the Science Museum of Virginia. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Fridays After 5:
The popular outdoor concert series is back for its 16th season. This week's act: Wanda & the White Boys.

Working Women's Wellness: Too busy to take care of yourself? Join Women's Health Virginia for the 7th Annual Conference on Women's Health to learn about ways to blend life and health. 8:45am-4:15pm. $55 includes lunch, materials, and parking. Registration required. 220-4500 or

Polo Club: The Charlottesville Polo Club plays several times a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but the big event is still Friday night. 6:30 and 8pm. $4 (children under 12 free). Forest Lodge Farm 1082 Forest Lodge Lane off Old Lynchburg Road. 977-7656 or

Professional Golf: Pros from the Canadian Golf Association compete in the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship at Wintergreen's Stoney Creek Golf Course. Plenty of top-notch golf action, without the usual crowds! Through June 13. Free. 325-8255 or

James River Paddle: Join the Wintergreen Nature Foundation for a canoe trip on the James. 8am. $25 members ($30 non-members). Bring a lunch and plenty of water. 325-8169 or

The Most Lamentable Comedy of Sir John Falstaff: See Thursday, June 10.

Angels in America: See Thursday, June 10. Tonight's performance is at 8pm.

Ezra Hamilton at Atomic Burrito:
Hamilton has an ear for a good song, and a voice that could raise the dead. But, once raised, rather than eat the living, they would dance. No cover, 9pm.

Jackass Flats with Kate Lawton at Gravity Lounge: Traditional and original bluegrass tunes from a band composed of the chief bluegrass lineup: banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and the stand-up bass. They are also the 2002 VFMA Virginia State Bluegrass Champs. $5, 8:30pm.

Rule of Thump at Orbit: Hook music critics absolutely disagreed when they reviewed this band a few months apart– you can make up your own mind at Orbit tonight. No cover, 10:30pm.

George Turner and Peter Richardson at Bashir's. No cover, 6:30pm.

The Jump Off Hip Hop Dance Party at Garden of Sheba. 10-12 $5/after 12 $7, 10pm.

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

Sundried Opossum (jam) at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

DJ Almighty (hip-hop) at Rapture. $10, 10pm.

Murder skit corpses (formerly Poseur Bill) and Fire salmon at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

The Vulgar Burglars at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 9pm.

Antiques Appraisal Fair:
Bring your antiques, your collectibles, your furniture, silver, glass, china, and textiles; paper goods, fine art– anything older than you are– to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities' (APVA) "Antiques Roadshow"-style appraisal fair for a professional review. $15 fee per item for APVA members ($25 for non-members). 12-4pm. John Marshall House, 818 E. Marshall St., Richmond.

Put Up Your Dukes: Learn the basics of self defense against weapons like knives, sticks, and guns. Kyu-Na Jitsu School. 2211 Jefferson Park Ave. (behind Dürty Nelly's pub). 2-5pm. Free. 245-6947

Stargazin': Join the Wintergreen Nature Foundation for an evening under the stars– learning about the constellations, examining cloud belts and star formations, and listening to a discussion with NASA's Jeff Halverson. 7:30pm. $50 ($60 nonmembers). Registration required. 325-8169 or for info. See Walkabout feature.

Genealogy Meeting: The Central Virginia Genealogical Association holds its monthly meeting. 1:30pm. Northside Library. 973-7471 or

Trails Workday: Help the Rivanna Trails Foundation in its ongoing effort to build a trail network around Charlottesville, and get dirty in the process! 8:45am. Meet at the Melbourne Road trailhead. 923-9022 or

Birds in the Backyard: Learn how scientists monitor birds in Shenandoah National Park and how a local partnership is bringing peregrine falcons back to the area. $40, registration required. 540-999-3489 or

Pig Roast: Enjoy an authentic pig roast with all the trimmings: hay rides, live music, and wine tastings. Noon-5pm. $18 includes wine glass, reservations required. First Colony Winery.

Polo Match: Join the Piedmont Women's Polo Club for a night of polo action in the rolling hills of Albemarle County. 7pm. Polo Grounds Road, off Old Lynchburg Road. 977-POLO or

Professional Golf: See Friday, June 11.

Gone Fishin':
City kids ages 6-12 can don straw hats and spend a day in the country at Fishing Fair 2004. Sponsored by Charlottesville Parks and Recreation, the day includes prizes, pizza, t-shirts, and free CTS transportation to Mint Springs Park where only the kids are allowed to fish (adults can come along but not fish). Equipment provided. City residents only. Register at recreation centers or by phone by Thursday, June 10. Free. 970-3589.

Meet and Greet: Toot and Puddle visit Barnes & Noble for a special story time. Little literati can meet the lovable pair of pigs who star in books by Holly Hobbie. Cookies and stickers are part of the fun. 10am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Latin Groove:
Studio 206 Belmont presents a new weekly class. Learn salsa, samba, merengue, and other Latin forms of dance in an exercise setting. Dress comfortably for a great workout. 11:15am. Studio 206 Belmont, 505 Monticello Road. $12 drop-in; 5-class card for $45. 973-2065.

Angels in America: See Thursday, June 10. Tonight's show is at 8pm.

The Most Lamentable Comedy of Sir John Falstaff: See Thursday, June 10.

Devon Sproule and The Strugglers at Gravity Lounge:
Sproule's sweet rootsy folk is paired with the Strugglers one-man folk enrapture– check them out. $5, 8:30pm.

Fair Weather Bums at Sheben: Every week the Fair Weather Bums blow everyone away– bluegrass perfection, utterly brilliant. No cover, 11pm. (W)

Victor Cabas (blues) at Basic Necessities. No cover, 6:30pm. (W)

Populist Dancing at Club Rio. $10, 9pm. (W)

Righteous ("conscious, roots, hip hop, spoken word" at Garden of Sheba. $5, 10pm.

In Tenebris at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Moseley Rose at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm.

Blast!! A Mostly '80s Dance Party with Egghed23 at Rapture. $5, 10pm.

Eargasm (rock DJ dance night) at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

SUNDAY, June 13
Professional Golf:
See Friday, June 11.

Ice Cream and Auction: Scottsville Presbyterian Church hosts an afternoon of fun and fundraising under the Farmer's Market Tent in downtown Scottsville. Ice cream, good friends, and live auction action! 2-5pm. $5 adults ($2.50 kids under 12). 286-2162.

Montpelier Encampment: Take a guided walking tour of the 1863-64 winter encampment of the Confederate South Carolina Brigade, and then stroll over to the nearby historic Gilmore Farm. 2pm. Fee included in price of regular admission. 540-672-2728 or

Buy, Nibble, Listen:
Scottsville Presbyterian Church is having a party and everyone is invited to join the fun. Silent and live auctions, an appearance by WVIR-TV news anchor Beth Duffy, yummy sweets from Hot Cakes, carriage and pony rides and– back by popular demand– live gospel music from the Chestnut Grove Baptist Choir. 2-5pm. $5 adults, $2.50 children under 12. Under the Farmer's Market tent in downtown Scottsville. 286-2162.

Filling the Void: Today is the last chance to see Stella the 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. Included in the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Sunday Salsa:
The Charlottesville 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 8. DJ'd music is 80 percent salsa mixed with other Latin styles. Complimentary water and sodas. The Outback Lodge, 917 Preston Ave. 8pm-12am. $5 (members $3). 979-7211.

Angels in America: See Thursday, June 10. Today's performance is a matinee at 2pm.

The Most Lamentable Comedy of Sir John Falstaff: See Thursday, June 10. Today's show is a matinee at 2pm.

Paul Curreri at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist: Paul Curreri at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist: Awesome folk/country player Curreri has the chops, the voice, and the songs– now all he needs is the fans. Can you do your part? No cover, 7pm.

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

Neuronimo (acoustic music) and Kate McDonnell at Gravity Lounge. $8, 8pm.

B.C. (cello-pop darlings) at Miller's. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

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

MONDAY, June 14
Chamber Music Workshop:
Take an intensive five-day workshop on chamber music. UVA instructors use small ensembles to focus on what lies "beyond the notes." Week culminates with a public concert. Open to high school and college students as well as adult amateurs. Cellists especially encouraged to apply. Required: three years on an instrument, one year of orchestral experience and a teacher's recommendation. 9-4:30pm, lunch provided. A short course also held nightly, 7-9pm. Old Cabell Hall. $400; $100 for the short course. 924-6492.

Women's Discussion:
"Black women, White women, All Women In Dialogue" hold the monthly meeting to discuss Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America by Stephanie Wildman. All are welcome, even if you haven't read the book. 5:45-7:45pm. Madison Room at the Central Library. 295-2612.

Scuba Club: Experience the undersea world with Joe Marcinko, a scuba instructor and trip leader, at the monthly meeting of the SeaDevil Divers. Marcinko will show photos taken on recent dives off the North Carolina coast. 6:30pm. Free. Rococo's Restaurant. 975-5570 or

Medical Planning: Learn about the options when planning for future medical care. 5:30-7pm. No fee, but registration is required. Martha Jefferson Hospital, 459 Locust Ave. 982-7009.

Heart Healthy Shopping: Take a walk through the supermarket with a Martha Jefferson nutritionist and learn how to buy heart healthy foods. 6:30-8pm. No fee, but registration is required. Giant Food at Seminole Square. 982-7009.

Musical Mondays:
Local children's singer/songwriter and music therapist Cathy Bollinger will be at the Village Playhouse on Monday mornings for music class for munchkins and their parents. Classes start today and include educational songs, finger plays, and movement. Sessions for 1- and 2-year-olds at 10am, 3- and 4-year-olds at 10:30am. $30 for the session. Pre-registration required. 313 Second St. SE. 296-9390.

It Takes a Village: Story time comes to the Village Playhouse as two talented mom volunteers tell tales to tots every Monday morning. Kids can bring their own favorite stories too. Treats and stickers are part of the fun too. 11-11:30am. Included in the price of admission. 313 Second St. SE. 296-9390.

American Dumpster on the terrace at Southern Culture. 10pm. No cover.

Open Mic Night with Charles Davis at Baja Bean. No cover, signup 8:30pm/9pm. (W)

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

Travis Elliot (pop) and John Figura at the Virginian. No cover, 10pm. (W)

TUESDAY, June 15
Youth Media Festival:
Catch a stunning group of short films by local and international youth including the world premiere of Sahar: Before the Sun by Sahar Adish, Joe Babarsky, Sanja Jovanovic, and Luke Tilghman. The film documents one local refugee's struggle to continue education under Taliban rule in Afghanistan and her quest for a higher education since her family moved to Charlottesville. 6 and 8 pm shows. $10. Live Arts building. Water Street. 293.6992

Chamber Music Workshop:
See Monday, June 14.

Breast Cancer Understanding:
Learn strategies to deal with and recover from breast cancer surgery. 1:30-2:45pm. No fee, but registration is required. Martha Jefferson Outpatient Care Center, 575 Peter Jefferson Parkway. 982-7009.

Shopping for Diabetes: Learn how to select foods and keep blood sugars under control with a Martha Jefferson Registered Dietician as your guide. 9-10:30am. No fee, but registration is required. Giant Food in Seminole Square. 982-7009.

The Morrison Brothers Band at Gravity Lounge:
Traditional and original music from "Virginia hoedowns to Irish Jigs"– just two types of music played by this multi-faceted group. $5, 8pm.

Tuesday Songwriters Night: John Rimel at the Clock Tower Tavern in Staunton. No cover, 8:30pm.

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)

Jimmy O at the Lazy Parrot Grill (Pantops shopping center). No cover, 8pm. (W)

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.

Chamber Music Workshop: See Monday, June 14.

Bloomin' Good Time: Join Central Virginia's James Joyce lovers for public readings from Ulysses in honor of the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday. King Golden Banshee cap off the night with Irish tunes. Read for free. Buffet dinner 5-7pm. $10. Gravity Lounge, 103 S. First St. RSVP to Eileen Fogarty at 589-3244 or Marie Moriarty at 974-6649. See Performance feature.

Angels in America: See Thursday, June 10. Tonight's performance is at 8pm.

Too Cool for School:
A love-letter to the beats is how some have described Sam Kashner's memoir When I was Cool. Kashner reads from his tribute to Jack, Bill, Greg and the others at Barnes & Noble, 7pm. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-0461. See Words feature.

More Tales for Tots:
The five-and-under crowd can hear special dad stories at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time where the booklist includes My Dad by Anthony Browne and Daddy's Lullaby by Tony Bradman. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Meadow Restoration:
Join David Carr, Director of the Wintergreen Nature Foundation, at Blandy Experimental Farm, Virginia's State Arboretum, as he discusses the process of restoring a meadow with a focus on the work that's being done at Blandy. 8am. $10 fee ($15 nonmembers). Bring a lunch and plenty of water. 325-8169 or for info.

Bateau Night: The traveling history exhibit/town festival stops in Scottsville with its cargo of food, crafts, entertainment, and demonstrations. Tour the bateau boat and learn about its history on the James River. 5-8pm. No fee. At the Public Boat Landing in Scottsville. 286-9267 or

King Golden Banshee at Gravity Lounge:
Traditional Irish band King Golden Banshee bring some of the old county to Gravity Lounge- and you just might find some Pogues in there, too. $5, 8pm.

Pedro the Lion with John Vanderslice at Starr Hill: Pedro's new album, Achilles Heel, was just released, and is a headphone delight– slow songs make for a sleepy show, so you probably shouldn't have too much beer at the concert. $12, 8pm. See Tunes feature.

Benny Dodd at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Kathy Compton at the Blue Moon Diner. No cover, 8pm. (W)

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

Benny Dodd (rock covers) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Open Mic Night at Dew Drop Inn. No cover, 7;30pm. (W)

Country Dance Night (couples and line) at Fry Spring Beach Club. $7/$4 students, lessons 7-8pm, dancing 8-11pm. (W)

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

Freedom One Ensemble at Orbit. N o cover, 10:30pm.

Jamal Millner and Friends at Outback Lodge. No cover, 10pm.

Latin Dance Party with Danza Latina's M.I.B. at Rapture. Free, 9pm.

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

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

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)

Tucker Box Tour:
Enjoy a guided tour of the current exhibition at the Kluge-Ruhe collection, followed by lunch in the gallery. You may bring your own lunch or purchase one for $7. 12:15-1:30pm. Reservations required. Peter Jefferson Place on Pantops Mountain. 244-0234.

UVA philosophy professor Michael Grosso discusses his book Experiencing the Next World Now. Barnes & Noble, Barracks Road Shopping Center, 984-0461. 7pm.

ACAC holds an open house to show off their mind-body spa services. Albemarle Square facility open all day, spa demos, samples, and mind-body classes 9-noon and 4-7pm. Child care available for $1. Every Thursday in June. 978-3800.

More Tales for Tots:
See Wednesday, June 16.

Swing Swap:
The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society hosts this weekly evening of swing dancing. The first hour focuses on East Coast Swing and the second hour on West Coast Swing, but the DJ takes requests. Singles and couples welcome, no partner needed. 7-9pm. Albemarle County Office Building Auditorium, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

Chamber Music Workshop: See Monday, June 14.

The Most Lamentable Comedy of Sir John Falstaff: See Thursday, June 10.

Exotic Dance: See Thursday, June 10.

Angels in America: See Thursday, June 10.

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)

Danny Beirne at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm. (W)

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

Last Train Home with Jan Smith at Gravity Lounge. $8, 8:30pm.

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

William Walter: Special early duo show at Orbit. No cover, 7pm.

Psyopus, Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza, and Lex Vegas at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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

Satisfaction with Noel Sanger (dance party) at Rapture. $3/Ladies free, 10:30pm. (W)

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

Kait and Thom (modern jazz duo) at Tokyo Rose upstairs. No cover, 9:30pm. (W)

Upcoming and Ongoing
Cville Writes:
The Charlottesville Writing Center is ready to register aspiring writers for summer courses. New offerings include three weekend workshops as well as longer workshops in fiction and multi-genre writing. Some courses require early material submissions. Get the details online at or at 293-3702.

Or this: Freelance writer and St. Anne's man Paul Evans offers a six-day adult writing workshop. Thursdays June 17 &endash; July 22 from 2-4pm. $240. Call Paul Evans, 540-967-2364 or email for details.

Book for Tape: GiGi Books, an educational children's book and audiobook publisher in Leesburg, Virginia is looking for fresh material. Pay $5 to enter your original children's story and you could win $250 and your name in the library catalog. Details online at

Poetry Prize: The Bards of Burbank, one of America's foremost poetry societies, is offering a $1,000 grand prize for poetry. It's open to "anyone who has ever written a poem," and the deadline is June 12. Any subject or style, 21 lines or fewer. Submit to: Free Poetry Contest, 2219 W. Olive Ave. #250, Burbank, CA 91506.

Dialogue Café: Charlottesville's popular international forum has expanded hours. Adult English language learners and native speakers can now gather Tuesdays, 9-11am, Wednesdays, 6-8pm, and Thursdays 10:30-12pm. Adult Learning Center, 1000 Preston Ave., across from Washington Park. 245-2815.

Hike with Palette:
The Fluvanna Heritage Trail Foundation will hold its fifth annual show in October and invites artists from Fluvanna and surrounding counties to submit works depicting "Trial Experience: scenes, sites, and people." For more information, contact Martha K. Rossi, 434-589-6545.

Planet Art 2004: McGuffey Art Center announces a Festival of Creativity for Children June 15-30– free workshops taught by McGuffey artists in painting, collage, ceramics, stained glass mosaics, and dance. For information and registration, call 295-7973 or see

ArtInPlace Quest: Seeking artists to submit monumental work to be placed around the City of Charlottesville for display from October to the following September. $1300 stipend offered for each successful entrant. Deadline for Application, July 1. Information:

Aboriginal Art Tours: Learn about the current exhibits at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum on the free, weekly guided tour. Offered every Saturday morning at 10:30am. Call 244-0234 or visit for info.

Art in Life:
The American Collage exhibit is the backdrop for this summer's arts programs for rising 4th-12th graders at the UVA Art Museum. The first of three two-week sessions begins July 5. Students will work with professional artists and performers bring art alive in everyday life through movement, story, and creative exploration. 9am-4pm. Tuition is $405 for members, $445 for non-members. Scholarships are available. 155 Rugby Rd. 243-5534.


Nelson County's Farmer's Market: Itâs an old-fashioned farmer's market under the tent in Nellysford. Stoll among the live music, local crafts, plants, flowers and fresh produce. 8am-noon every Saturday until September.

Learn to run: Women of all ages and athletic abilities are invited to join the Charlottesville Track Club for the annual Women's 4-Miler Training Program. Practice sessions will be held Saturday mornings at the UVA track (across from University Hall) for 12 weeks starting June 19. 7:45am each week. $15 fee for the entire program. Info at Ragged Mountain Running Shop or via Joan Esposito, Program Director, at 951-5137.

Scottsville Farmers Market: Miss the Charlottesville market on Saturday? Head down the road to Scottsville for all sorts of fresh vegetables, fruits, crafts, and baked goods, served up May through October. Thursdays, 4pm-dusk. Located off Valley Street in Scottsville. 286-9267.

Focusing on Help: UVA Macular Degeneration Support Group meets the third Monday of each month. Education, resources, and networking with peers. Refreshments provided. 1:30-3pm Charlottesville Senior Center, Pepsi Place. No charge. 924-1941

Pets, Pets, Pets: The Paws to Adopt pet adoption center is open Saturdays. With pets from several area shelters, the center is committed to "brining the animals to the people." Noon-4pm. All Things Pawssible Dog Training Center. 706 Henry Ave. 973-4321.

Downtown Tours: The Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society offers walking tours of historic downtown Charlottesville every Saturday at 10am. Tours leave from the McIntire Building across from Lee Park and cover over 250 years of community history in one hour. $3 suggested donation. 296-1492.

Bocce and Brunch: Every Sunday through June, the Spruce Creek Gallery in Nellysford hosts the popular "Brunch and Bocce." Enjoy a catered brunch, and then try to figure out what this bocce thing is all about. Reservations required. 361-1859.

Visit Montpelier: Montpelier offers two outdoor walking tours each Saturday, one focusing on the plantation's slave community, and another on the more recent duPont estate. Afterwards, go behind the scenes and see rooms that are not regularly open to the public and areas of the house that are under renovation. Offered every half-hour from 10:30am-4pm. Visit for more info.

Monticello Gardens and Grounds: This guided tour explores the flower and vegetable gardens, grove, and orchards around Jefferson's home. Tours begin on the west lawn hourly at :15 after the hour starting at 9:15am. Fee included in price of general admission. 984-9822.

Michie Tavern Tours: Experience living history at the original eighteenth-century Tavern building &endash; dance to a colonial reel, taste tavern punch, and write with a quill pen. The Tavern museum also features a special exhibit on the history of Virginia wines. 11:30am-3:30pm daily. Tours are free to local residents. 977-1234.

Ferry the James: The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society is offering rides on the Hatton Ferry, one of the last poled ferries still in operation in the U.S., across the James River now through October 17. No fee. Open weekends from 9am-5pm. Located near Scottsville on Route 625. 296-1492.

Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department has discount admission tickets for Kings Dominion, Water Country, and Busch Gardens for sale. You don't need to be a county resident to purchase these tickets, which will be available through the summer while supplies last. Third floor of the County Office Building. 401 McIntire Road. 296-5844.

Act up: Old Michie Theatre offers Summer Theatre School where fun, learning, and self-expression are key. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes for different age groups and levels of ability starting June 14. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

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.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!: The pressure. The teamwork. The danger. The speed. The fans. The groundbreaking IMAX® film NASCAR: The IMAX Experience thrusts you into the driver's seat to experience a visceral journey inside America's most popular spectator sport at the Science Museum of Virginia. Runs through September 17. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 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.

The Second Street Gallery's summer exhibition, "Altered Interiors," features three melancholic, site-specific installations by Boston artist Chris Gentile in the Main Gallery, and a "more organic" installation by Richmonder Heide Trepanier in the Dove Gallery. SSG's interiors will remain altered through August 14. City Center for Contemporary Arts, corner of Second and Water streets. 977-7284.

Vanity Salon and Gallery features the photography of Scott Wilson through June. 1112 E. High St. 977-3332.

The University of Virginia Art Museum is showing "A Short History of Decay: Sculptures by James Welty," which runs through August 8. Also on view: "A Taste for Grace: Italian Prints from the 15th through 18th Centuries," continuing through August 15, and "American Collage," including work by Andy Warhol, Adja Yunkers, and Robert Motherwell, among others, through August 24. Plus, go large with "Super-Size It," a photography exhibition on display through August 15. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association's annual all-member exhibit is at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Mezzanine Gallery until August 2. CAAA member paintings by Barbara Ryan and Randy Sights Baskerville are also on the second floor of the Albemarle County Office Building through August.

On June 11, the Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art opens "Out of Country," which runs through August 14. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place. 244-0234.

"Dark Times," an exhibition of mixed-media work by Loes van Riel is on view at Angelo through June 30. 220 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-9256.

Ann Benner displays her oil pastels and watercolors at the Blue Moon Diner during June. 512 W. Main St. 296-3294.

In June, Sage Moon Gallery presents "Mostly Ladies," an exhibition of work by Jacqueline Peters. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

At the C&O Gallery, view "Expressions," a group show by Wilma Bradbeer, Nancy Galloway, Teresa Miller, Karen Whitehill, and Carol Ziemer, through June 27. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

During June, painter Monty Montgomery's exhibition, "Organic Noise," hangs at Spencer's 206. 218 Water St. W. 295-3080.

Nature Visionary Art features a show by Bernard Schatz (aka L-15) through August 1. 110 Fourth St. 296-8482.

The Gallery @ 5th & Water displays the watercolor and pastel works of Christine Schmiel Rich. Located in the foyer of the architectural firm of Stoneking/Von Storch. Fifth and Water streets. 295-4204.

During June, CODG presents nature photography by Barbara Davis, plus new acrylic and oil paintings by Ben Gathwright and Jeremy Dunn. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

New Dominion Bookshop offers Alan Kindler's "Still Life in Pastel" in its Mezzanine Gallery during June. 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-2552.

New work by members of the Central Virginia Watercolor Guild, featuring watercolors, oils, pastels, and mixed media is on view at the Albemarle County Office Building through July 31. McIntire Road. 296-8484.

The Dave Moore Studio features a "Post-Flood/Back to the Basics of Studio" show during June. Hours vary, so call first. 414 E. Main St. (under The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar). 825-1870.

Bill Weaver's recent paintings are on display during June at Main Street Market's Feast Gallery. 416 W. Main St. 296-8521.

Through June 26, Les Yeux du Monde@dot2dot presents recent sculpture by James Welty, an exhibition in conjunction with Welty's show at the University of Virginia Art Museum. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

On June 13, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church opens a 3D retrospective of assemblages by Gigi Payne, which will run through July 4. An artist's reception is scheduled for June 13, 11:30am. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

Carol Ross presents a series of b&w and sepia-toned archival photographs, "Souls of our Feet: Exhibit II of the Nostalgia Collection" during June at the Mudhouse. 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833. See Art feature.

Stop in at L'étoile Restaurant to see work 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.

This month view "Adventures in Technicolor," oil paintings by Julie Farrell, at Art Upstairs. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

Through June 27, The McGuffey Art Center presents an exhibition of new paintings by Pamela Reynolds, plus a retrospective of work by the late Ted Turner, whose pieces will be displayed alongside those of his late wife, Sally Turner. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Transient Crafters is hosting "Virginia Landscapes in Oil," impressionistic paintings by Joe Wilson, through June. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

Bozart Gallery presents "Starlets of Star Trek," paintings by Karen Whitehill, during June. 211 W. Main St. 296-3919.

Martha Jefferson Hospital is the site of an exhibition of paintings by Richard Crozier and his students, entitled "Charlottesville in Paint" through September 3. 459 Locust Ave. 982-7000.


Sun's Traces Gallery displays baskets by Charlotte LaRoy (featured in The Fiber Arts Design Book), as well as clay works by Paula Brown-Steedly, handmade paper by Rebecca Humphrey, and weaving by Barbara Gentry and Pat Hoover. Barboursville. 540-832-7044.

The Ed Jaffe Gallery features paintings and marble sculptures by Ed Jaffe, plus abstract photographs by Marc Jaffe. 108 W. Main St., Orange. 540-672-2400.

Staunton's Middlebrook Gallery offers contemporary art and fine crafts, including sculpture by Ken Smith. 5 Middlebrook Ave. 540-885-9955.

The Artisans Center of Virginia presents "Pots for Daily Use," an exhibition of ceramics by Nan Rothwell, during June. Opening reception, Saturday, June 5, 2-4pm. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

Caffé Bocce displays "Roy-Rossi Reflections II" paintings by Coy Roy and the late Al Rossi. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.

In touch: Ross's sole-ful photos
Like photographer Carol Ross, as a child I spent almost every minute of every summer barefoot. I knew my world through my feet: squishing warm tar between my toes, resting my foot on the fur of our sleeping dog, skittering across the blazing concrete at the local pool… all of us share similar memories.

That common ground is the touchstone for Ross's exhibition, "Souls of Our Feet: Exhibit II of the Nostalgia Collection," currently on view at the Mudhouse. The 14 black-and-white and sepia-toned images gently spur viewers to recollect tactile sensations, even as Ross's careful compositions encourage deeper personal responses.

"When I'm shooting," she says, "I'm always looking for that connected, spiritual element. What connects us– that's my goal as an artist."

Like Alfred Stiegletz in his portraits of Georgia O'Keefe's hands, Ross frees the body part– in this case, feet– from its subjective ownership to create an accessible language of experience and beauty. Unlike Stiegletz, she adds touches of context, drawing our attention to the exquisite nature of our most mundane moments, times when it seems nothing special is happening.

In "Wet," three sets of feet, shot shin-down from the side, dangle in the clear water of a swimming pool, their toes just breaking the surface. Admiring the formal aspects of the photograph– how Ross has split the image down the middle via the shadow cast by the pool's wall, how the watery light refraction subtly curves the ankles and elongates the feet, how the radiating ripples play across the horizontal stripes created by each leg's shadow– I was overwhelmed with the memory of water moving over and under my feet as I used to sit poolside with friends during "adult swim."

"Cracked," one of Ross's strongest images, is almost heartbreaking in its evocative, detailed layers. Shot from above, a woman's bare feet extend from a fluttering dark floral hem to stand on fractured stone slabs divided by rough veins of gravel. Her big toes' chipped nail polish mirrors the rocks' jagged edges. The floating edge of her dress reflects the subtle surface of the stone and balances the line of a slab in the upper right corner. Her feet straddle two different fragments, with her left toes edging into the pebbled trough between. Here is sensation. Here is familiarity. Here is mystery.

Through her observant eye, Ross reveals that feet, too, can provide windows to our collective soul.

A follow-up to "Exposed: Exhibit I of the Nostalgia Collection," which hung at C'ville Coffee last August, Carol Ross's "Souls of Our Feet: Exhibit II of the Nostalgia Collection" is on display through June at the Mudhouse. 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

Naker brunch: When the beat slowed
Was there ever a more nebbish beatnik than Sam Kashner?

Kashner was the kind of kid who won reprieve from gym because of his asthma, read Flaubert, and was once dismissed from a game-show studio audience for "looking too sad."

Later he became the kind of young man who enrolled in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, founded by Allan Ginsburg and featuring faculty appearances by William Burroughs and Peter Orlovsky, only to find himself "scared of the Beats" and reduced to sending Ginsberg's laundry home to Long Island because he didn't know how to work the washing machines in the school's Boulder, Colorado dorms.

In the end, Kashner would evolve into the type of poet whose best-selling collection, Driving at Night, owed its success to the fact that an Iowa driving school had ordered 6,000 copies on the false assumption that it was a learner's manual. But he also wrote an account of his mid-'70s education among the aging, addled idols of the Beat Generation: In When I Was Cool, Kashner has achieved his lifelong dream of "burn[ing] like a roman candle, or at least a shabbas candle."

In the parlance of the aspiring writer's ancestors, Sam Kashner was a beatnikchik.

As a memoir, When I Was Cool is a triumph. Kashner displays a deft hand as he weaves personal history into counter-culture tell-all. His voice, innately self-deprecating, is never forced, and his reverence for Ginsburg and company survives the most sordid and pathetic revelations he puts to page.

As an insider's account of a particular moment in Beat time, Kashner's book is informative and entertaining. Still, as with any non-fiction treatment of the zany adventures of a unique clique of characters, When I Was Cool requires a reader whose interest in the cast can sustain him through the less zany moments.

It would be interesting to compare When I Was Cool with the journals and poems the young Kashner wrote while working toward his Jack Kerouac School certificate. The older material would probably confirm the affability, enthusiasm, and trepidation of the young writer (signs that he would never embody the requisite weariness of a real "beatnik") as well as the unique weirdness of his tutors.

But the best time to tell a coming-of-age story is well after the age has passed.

Sam Kashner reads from "When I Was Cool" on Wednesday, June 16, at Barnes & Noble. 7pm. 984-0461. Barracks Road Shopping Center.

Sit tight: Experiencing the outback at home

So you'd like to take the family to Australia this summer, but you're thinking the expense… and that 27-hour plane ride… are a bit too much. Don't despair. The Virginia Discovery Museum has just the exhibit for you. All summer long, the Back Gallery space features "Outback and Down Under: G'day from Australia," where, in just one room, visitors can experience many of the particular and peculiar sights, sounds–and yes, the smells– of the smallest continent.

Displays include the sounds of wild Australia where young explorers need only push a button (what could be more fun for a 3-year-old?) to hear a growling wombat, a clucking kangaroo, a laughing kookaburra, and a Tasmanian devil that sounds just like the Looney Toons cartoon character. Close by is a garden of smells where little sniffers can try to guess the scents of tea tree, sandalwood, cypress, eucalyptus, and barbecue sauce. Yum.

"Farming is important," notes a sign above the fenced-in garden plot where corn, beets, potatoes, and onions "grow." Indeed, 5-year-old Marlena and her 2-year-old sister, Cecelia, thought this display was the most important as they harvested the crops, carried them to their make-shift kitchen in baskets, prepared a meal, and served up a treat in their own land of make-believe that, well, maybe could have been in the southern hemisphere.

Other opportunities for imagination abound. In the outback section, puppets can play before a backdrop of Ayers Rock, considered the largest monolith in the world. Fuzzy kangaroo costumes with big, sturdy tails are also available for those who really want to jump in. Another mural of the shell-shaped Sydney Opera House sets the stage for more dramatic performances.

Dingo Bingo offers an intellectual challenge or just a chance to spin the blocks and see pictures of Australian natives such as emus, platypuses, and an echidna, a rodent-like critter with a ve-ery long nose. A slate-lined cave shows examples of ancient cave paintings and lets kids do their own drawing on the walls. And the display at the magnetic wall describes Aboriginal dreaming stories and provides traditional symbols so kids can dream up their own creation myths.

Such an exhibit in Charlottesville would certainly be incomplete without some assistance from the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection. Original artworks on loan from the Collection can be seen throughout the exhibit. Artifacts from the Collection are also on display, including highly decorated examples of a didgeridoo, two different kinds of boomerangs, a spear thrower, a carving of a goanna lizard, and a dilly bag.

So, mates, if you're looking for a little escape (or a little tease to push you into actually plunking down the plastic for those plane tickets), you might enjoy a visit to Outback and Down Under this summer.

Outback and Down Under is on display at the Virginia Discovery Museum through September 5. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Star school: Night sky ups and downs
As 16th-century mathematician Nicolas Copernicus, a free thinker and the father of modern astronomy, once said: "Let no one expect anything of certainty from astronomy, lest if anyone take as true that which has been constructed for another use, he go away a bigger fool than when he came to it."

True, the "heavenly science" didn't turn out as badly for Copernicus as it did for his followers, many of whom were labeled enemies of the state for believing that the Earth orbited the sun. But his impression of astronomy as a confusing, imprecise pastime has lived on, especially among those whose main exposure to planetary study occurred in a seventh grade science classroom.

The Wintergreen Nature Foundation, as part of an ongoing series, is hoping to change that perception by hosting "An Evening with the Stars," a hands-on stargazing experience. Saturday evening's session features class time with astronomy researcher Dr. Jeffrey Halverson, a hike to the top of Wintergreen Mountain, and several hours of guided observation from an overlook atop the Blue Ridge– all intended to showcase astronomy as an accessible, engrossing, real-world science.

"Dr. Halverson is an absolutely wonderful instructor, truly one of the top astronomy teachers in the area," says Wintergreen Nature Foundation spokesperson Amy Mitchell. "It's an intense session, and he covers some complex stuff, but in the end most people come out with a better understanding of astronomy and what it's all about."

Halverson, assistant professor of geography at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, leads participants on a guided tour of the heavens, showing off the sweeping Milky Way, several nearby galaxies, colorful binary stars, Jupiter's cloud and moon belts, and a variety of massive star clusters.

Astronomy buffs as well as novice peepers will have the opportunity to experience the stars first hand through the powerful lenses of giant binoculars and a large-aperture telescope furnished for the workshop. Halverson will also explain the meaning of the zodiac, ecliptic, zenith, and show folks how to determine their location on the globe by referencing the height of Polaris, the North Star. With any luck, participants will even get a chance to see two simultaneous comets, a rare event that's been forecast for the season.

"It's a great opportunity to come out to the mountains and immerse yourself in the stars," Mitchell promises.

The Wintergreen Nature Foundation's Field Studies Institutes are open to all ages, though the heady subject matter is best suited for older teens and adults. The organization hosts workshops year-round, so be sure to ask about upcoming offerings. $50 members ($60 nonmembers) covers all materials for the session. Registration required. 325-8169,, or

Yes, oh yes: Joyceans meet for annual read

Once scorned for all that saucy language, James Joyce's Ulysses today inspires performers as well as English majors with tangled soliloquies and dazzling minutiae. Thousands gather each year for marathon readings (and imbibing).

Next Wednesday, millions around the world will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, Joyce fans' celebration of Leopold Bloom's epic pub-crawl across Dublin on June 16, 1904. In Ireland, where they've been partying for five months, 10,000 bloomers will be treated to a free breakfast of grilled kidney.


The buffet should be somewhat more appetizing at one local Bloomsday bash. Over here, the Irish-American Society of Central Virginia has organized a four-hour Joyce slam at the Gravity Lounge. Any and all are invited to don frocks and bowties and bowlers, if they dare, and read their favorite excerpts from Ulysses.

Molly Bloom, Joyce's answer to Homer's Penelope, has some of my favorite lines: "I loved rousing that dog in the hotel rrrsssst awokwokawok his eyes shut and a bird flying below us he was shy all the same I liked him like that …"

This stuff was meant for the stage.

One local Joyce devotee, Heartwood Books owner Paul Collinge, has fond memories of bygone Bloomfests.

"We did it at O'Neill's one time," he said. "I think we got through about 15 minutes of reading, and the rest of the night was talking and drinking. In four hours, they might be able to get through a few chapters."

Or not. With its profusion of styles, esoteric allusions, and, er, creative punctuation, Ulysses has confused generations of people. But really, his tale follows the most basic storyline on earth, a day in the life of a regular guy.

I thought it fitting, then, to begin my stint as the Hook's performance editor with a nod to Joyce, whom one scholar has called, with nothing but tenderness, a serial con artist. Joyce once famously chuckled that critics would spend hundreds of years trying to unravel his masterpiece, and so far he's been right.

"The thought of Ulysses," he said, "is very simple. It is only the method which is difficult."

Such is true of most great art, which is probably why I've tended to admire performers from a safe distance; I may be the only Cuban who can't dance, can't sing, can't play. So, I admit, writing this column itself will be something of a performance, a bit of improv, a little standing on my head. Should be fun.

Concept break: Headphones and rainy days

I hated Achilles Heel, the new album from melody ridden rock group Pedro the Lion, when I first heard it about a month and a half ago. Whereas the group's last effort, 2002's Control (Jade Tree) was a concept album of sorts– songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist David Bazan spinning a yarn about a cheating couple that ends in murder– Achilles Heel lacked any kind of lyrical unity, and even more damning for a pop group, the hooks appeared to be MIA.

I was, you must understand, listening to the album in my car, where occurs most of my music appreciation in these days of few seconds to spare, and Achilles Heel is not a top-down-wind-in-your-hair-Summer-of-'69-I-can't-drive-55- Hey Ya type of album. It's almost uniformly slow, only getting up to a moderate rock tempo occasionally, and dynamically we are not talking here about the quiet-loud of a band like the Pixies.

But sitting down to write this article, listening to the album on my headphones, I got it. Whereas it's no Control, it is a sweet and enjoyable album, albeit a sleepy-time one. You just need to give it the right environment and it will prosper.

If you were to go to the center of Pedro the Lion universe, dodging its numerous orbiting part-time members, you would find chief architect Bazan. Forming the band in 1995, Bazan used a name from a children's book he was considering writing. Their debut album in 1998, It's Hard to Find a Friend, laid out the basic model for Pedro the Lion's sound over the next six years– guitar-heavy slow pop songs where relationships are the source material for Bazan's lyrical mastery. Bazan's Christian leanings are apparent on each of his albums, but instead of being confirmations of faith, his songs rather question beliefs and the status quo of the average churchgoer.

Achilles Heel lacks the standout tracks that appear on each of the previous Pedro albums– the aforementioned "When They Really..." and "Rapture" from Control are but two of them– so the album has little chance to immediately grab you (although track 6, "Keep Swinging" is a harmony-heavy bass-centric new direction for the band). But give it some time; it's a good spin for rainy afternoons at home, reading glossy rock rags.

Headphone albums are great, but how the album translates to a live show is the question. Having seen the band perform at this year's MACRoCK in Harrisonburg, I would have to say the translation is questionable. Of course, more than two months of performing Achilles Heel day in and day out have no doubt changed the group's approach in some ways, and Pedro the Lion is a band worth taking a chance on.

Pedro the Lion performs with John Vanderslice at Starr Hill, June 16. $12, 8pm.