Cultural calendar, June 24-July 1, 2004


Writes of Summer:
Young authors in grades 4-8 can learn the basics of creative writing in a one-session workshop presented by instructors from the Charlottesville Writing Center. 2-3:30pm. Free. Registration required. Space limited. Crozet Library. In the old train station on Three Notch'd Road. 823-4050.

Colorful Creations: Teens in grades 6-12 can sample the art of stained glass at Scottsville Library. Artist Ruth Richards leads the way. Materials provided. Safety glasses available for soldering. 2-4pm. Free. Registration required. Space limited. 330 Bird St. 286-3541.

Jogi and the Rainbow: Award-winning theater artist Joe Pipik of BackPack Puppets and his hand and rod puppets look for colors in a zany, fun-filled variety show for kids of all ages. 10:30am. Free. Scottsville Library at 10am. 330 Bird St. 286-3541. Also at Northside Library at 3pm. Free tickets are required, available at the information desk. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Tales for Tots: The five-and-under crowd can hear tales of trips and travels at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time where the booklist includes The Relatives Came by Cynthia Ryland and Strega Nona Takes a Vacation by Tomie dePaola. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

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.

Syringa: UVA's Heritage Repertory Theatre presents The Syringa Tree, the story of a young white girl growing up in the suburbs of Johannesburg of the 1960s, where apartheid colors everything. An Obie Award-winning one-woman show written by Pamela Gien and starring Sarah Dandridge. 7:30pm. Helms Theatre. Culbreth Road. $14-20. 924-3376.

Ragtime: The largest cast to put on a show at UVA's Heritage Repertory Theatre renders the classic musical Ragtime in real time. Experience life in the early 20th century through the archetypal affluent family, an immigrant Jew who makes it in America and a revolutionary piano player from Harlem. A Tony Award-winning show based on a novel by E.L. Doctorow. Opens tonight; 10 performances in all. 8pm. Culbreth Theatre, Culbreth Road. $14-20. 924-3376.

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 W. Rio Road. $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 enters its final 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. Live Arts DownStage, 123 E. Water St. $10-15. 977-4177x100.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Titania, Oberon, and that rascally Puck are at it again in this Shenandoah Shakespeare production of one of the bard's most loved and most hilarious comedies. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

Meet the Senator:
Republican John Chichester discusses "Investing in Virginia's Future" at the Miller Center, 5:30pm. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-0921.

Digestive Health Seminar:
Join Martha Jefferson gastroenterologist Cynthia Yoshida for a discussion of digestive disorders common to women and learn how to prevent colon cancer. No fee, but registration is required. 10-11:30am. Martha Jefferson Outpatient Care Center, 595 Peter Jefferson Parkway. 982-7009.

Highway Clean-up: Help the Wintergreen Nature Foundation clean up their mountain and give local animals a safer place to live. 10am. No fee. Meet at the Trillium House. 325-8169 or for info.

School Board: The Albemarle School Board meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month are open to the public. 6:30pm. Albemarle County Office Building, Room 241.

Meet the Peace Troubadour:
Stephan Smith is "like Chuck D channeling Woody Guthrie." Check him out at Starr Hill at 7:30pm, E. Main St.

The Orderlies with Blue Line Highway at Gravity Lounge:
With a sound reminiscent of '60s folk, The Orderlies combine with the blues heavy Blue Line Highway for a night of genre mixing at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

Travis Elliott at West Main: Elliott is making a name for himself around town, and all the cool kids are talking. See his pristine choice in covers and fine songwriting for yourself tonight. No cover, 10pm.

An Evening With Old Crow Medicine Show at Starr Hill: Traditional string band origins and a modern day edge haunt the bluegrass of Old Crow Medicine show. You can hear desperation and loneliness coupled with integrity and virtuosity in tracks from their recently released CD, O.C.M.S. $10/$8 advance, 9pm.

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

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

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

Heretics in the Lab, Terminal Ready, Dk Xiane (dark rock) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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)

Swang (swing, old-time and country-swing tunes) at Rapunzel's. Free, 8pm.

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

FRIDAY, June 25
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 Ethiopia. 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.

Fridays after 5:
The popular outdoor concert series is back for its 16th season. This week's act: the Skip Castro Band.

Post-Hysterectomy Workshop: The pros from Martha Jefferson Hospital teach a variety of strategies to help patients recover following a hysterectomy. 12:30-1:30pm. $10 fee, registration is required. Martha Jefferson Outpatient Care Center, 595 Peter Jefferson Parkway. 982-7009.

Information Session: The Outdoor Adventure Social Club offers a photo show and social hour. 8-10pm. Free if you RSVP. 420 E. Main St. #3. or 760-HIKE.

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 fee (children under 12 are free). Virginia Polo Center at Forest Lodge Farm on Old Lynchburg Road, south of town. 1082 Forest Lodge Lane. 977-7656 or

Prognosticator: John Fortier, executive director of the Continuity of Government Commission and the project manager of the Transition to Governing Project at the American Enterprise Institute, speaks on "Presidential Succession after 9/11." 11am. No fee. Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-7236.

Merchant of Venice: Money, love, justice, mercy, and a pound of flesh– this Shakespearean comedy has it all. Shenandoah Shakespeare's players will entertain and disturb, and leave you guessing who's the hero and who's the villain. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

Angels in America: See Thursday, June 24. Tonight's show is at 8pm.

Ragtime: See Thursday, June 24.

Syringa: See Thursday, June 24.

Jay Pun and Morwenna Lasko at Garden of Sheba:
A talented guitarist and songwriter, local Pun has been touring with blues/world music dynamo Corey Harris– check him out, if you like good music. $3, 8pm.

Southside Funk Brothers at West Main: Bringing the funk family to town beginning at 10pm. No cover.

Karmen, Sarah White, Robin Wynn, and Amanda French at the Gravity Lounge: These local songbirds trade tunes at the Gravity Lounge, post- Fridays after Five. $5, 8:30pm.

DJ's Quitelike and Kid Ellipsis at Station: A new bi-monthly (2nd and 4th Fridays) show at Station restaurant will feature different local and regional DJ's spinning drum-and-bass, old-school funk, and garage and two-step to an ample dance floor. This week, garage and two-step will be spun. Free, 10pm

DJ Malc D at Atomic Burrito. Free, 10:30pm.

Skip Castro at Friday's After Five on the Downtown Mall. Free, 6pm.

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

Wisher (pop/rock) at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Dj Stroud (house, hip-hop, top 40, classics) at Rapture. $6, 10pm.

All of 15 (indie) and the Screams at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

S.A.T. (featuring Brad Derrick and Scott Evans) and BITR (Bob Holub) (ambient electronica) at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. $3, 9pm.

Off the Wall:
Works in the Kluge-Ruhe Collection's current exhibit "Out of Country" will be used to inspire children ages 6-12 to use their creativity to make wall sculpture in a children's art program. 12:30-2pm. Free. Reservations required. Space is limited. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place. 244-0234.

Get the Scoop:
The Science Center of Virginia celebrates summer with the biggest party you've ever seen. Everyone is invited to settle back for a live concert by Grammy Award-winning Tom Chapin, meet a pig that paints, join in Kiddie Karaoke with DJ Smitty and Nard, shake hands with one of the Richmond Kickers, pet a bunny, and eat ice cream– lots of ice cream– at Scooper Bowl XII. Much, much more. 10am-5pm. $10. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Movie Madness: Gordon Avenue Library hosts Saturday Morning at the Movies with a festival of favorite films. Call or check the bulletin board for weekly titles. Preschoolers should be accompanied by a parent. No registration required. 11am. Free. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Nelson County Summer Festival:
Now in its twelfth year, this annual summer festival brings together entertainment for all ages. Live music (from Baaba Seth, the Terri Allard Band, the Seldom Scene, the Hackensaw Boys, and others), "Kids Fest" games and activities, rural living exhibits, wine tastings, regional artisans, food, drink, and more. 11am-6pm. $10 ($15 at the gate, children under 12 are free with an adult). 263-8098. See Family feature.

Lewis & Clark Garden Tour:
The Corps of Discovery brought back dozens of different plants after their tour of North America, many of which found their way into Monticello's gardens. Explore the plants discovered by the Corps of Discovery and learn how these plants were first encountered, who first cultivated them, and how they can be used in the garden today. 9:30am. $10 fee, registration required. Monticello's Tufton Farm. 984-9822.

West Virginia Adventure: Join the Outdoor Adventure Social Club for a weekend of whitewater rafting and hiking in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Depart 10am and return Sunday evening. $88 fee, plus membership. 760-HIKE or for info and registration.

Summer Dance Workshop: Nationally known choreographer and teacher Cornelius Carter visits DanceFit Movement Center for their annual dance workshop in modern and jazz dance and choreography. The course will close with a reception and studio performance by Experience Dance Theater and local dancers on Sunday. 9am-2:30pm. $75 fee for the whole weekend. 293-4914.

Golf Group: The Baby Boomers women's golf group meets monthly to play at area courses. This month they will be at Somerset golf club for a lesson, a round of golf, and a box lunch. 11am. $49.22 fee includes everything, and all levels are welcome. Contact Helene Taylor at 540-760-6280 or

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

Summer Cook Class: Learn how to create flavorful summertime dishes by picking the freshest produce from the Farmers' Market. More than a cooking class, it's a shopping/cooking experience! 6:30-9pm. $55 fee. The Seasonal Cook at Main Street Market. 295-9355.

Lamp Bead-Making: Studio Baboo guest instructor Lisa St. Martin offers a class on lampwork bead making. The two-day course is from 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday. $210 fee includes glass, use of torch, mandrels, and tools ($195 intermediate fee for use of torch only). 106 Fifth St. Downtown Mall. 244-2905.

Spirit School: Learn how to access and share spiritual guidance guides using meditation techniques, energy field healing, intuitive abilities, and supervised practice sessions at the Spirit School's Batesville classroom. Class begins June 26. For information and to reserve space, call 540-987-9272 or visit

The Voice Project:
Live Arts hosts a taping of prison poetry by inmates of Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. Local readers will read the works aloud and the program will be taped for the prisoners' viewing. $10 ticket proceeds go directly to the FCCW's The Voice Project. Hosted by Streetlight Magazine and Live Arts. 7pm, Live Arts Upstairs, Water Street. 924-3377. See Performance feature.

The Most Lamentable Comedy of Sir John Falstaff:
Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the premier run 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. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

The Castrato Diaries: Countertenor John Carden and others will try to blow the roof off a local church with their baroque rock 'n roll based on music written for castrated male singers centuries ago. This is the debut performance for a group that aims to take its act across the country. 7:30pm. $10-15. Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. 977-0012.

Angels in America: See Thursday, June 24. Tonight's show is at 8pm.

Syringa: See Thursday, June 24. Shows today are at 2 and 7:30pm.

Ragtime: See Thursday, June 24.

Midsummer Night's Dream: See Thursday, June 24. Today's show is a matinee at 2.

T.O.W., NFC, and Sparky's Flaw at Outback Lodge:
"College pop" would be a good description for Sparky's Flaw– part Weezer, part jam– it's apparently what they're listening to these days. $6, 10pm.

Southern Funk Orchestra returns to West Main to jam your socks off. No cover, 10pm.

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

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

Hope Claiborne and Friends at Garden of Sheba. $10, 10pm.

CommonbonD with Kristin (folk) at Gravity Lounge. $12/$10 advance, 8pm.

Mining Vinyl Presents: Synthetic w/ Stroud, Chris Mocella, Dj Lost at Rapture. $3, 10pm.

The Mongrels (acoustic classic & modern rock) and Amy Ferebee (singer/songwriter) at Rapunzel's. $5, 8pm.

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

Radio nite life (Electro, disco, nu and no wave rock DJ dance party) featuring DJ-Cain Mark and DJ-Da Back toof at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

SUNDAY, June 27
Free Tours:
The special exhibitions and permanent collections of the UVA Art Museum are part of free tours that begin in the museum lobby at 2pm each Sunday through July. For August tour hours, call museum curator Andrea Douglas at 924-6322 or email

Moth Mayhem:
Join the Wintergreen Nature Foundation's David Adamski for an up-close look at the unseen world of moths. 6pm. $4 fee ($3 for Foundation members). Monocan Building at Stoney Creek. 325-8169 or for info.

Montpelier Formal Gardens: Tour the landscape arboretum at James Madison's estate and the two-acre Annie Rogers duPont formal garden. 2pm. Fee included in cost of admission. 672-2728 or for info.

Summer Dance Workshop: The DanceFit Movement Center's weekend workshop ends today. 10am-3:30pm. 293-4914. See June 26 for details.

Nelson County Summer Festival: The annual summer extravaganza continues today. 11am-6pm. $10 fee ($15 at the gate, children under 12 are free with an adult). 263-8098. See Family feature.

Merchant of Venice:
See Friday, June 25. Today's show is a matinee at 2.

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.

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

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

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

MONDAY, June 28
Marge on Georgia:
The Central Virginia Watercolor Guild meets to hear a presentation by Marge Balge Crozier on "20th Century Modern Art: Watercolors of Georgia O'Keefe, Charles Demuth, and Edward Hopper." 1pm. Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road.

See Thursday, June 24.

Ragtime: See Thursday, June 24.

Any Sign of Life?:
Join Bill Quandt, the vice provost for International Affairs at the University of Virginia and an expert on the Middle East and American foreign policy, for a discussion entitled "Is the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process Dead?" 11am. No fee. Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-7236.

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.

Books into Movies: Hollywood has adapted young adult literature into some great (and not so great) movies. This summer, the folks at Northside Library invite teens entering grades 7-10 to compare the two genres. Each week participants will read a book, then come to the library for a film screening and discussion. Snacks provided. 3:30-5:30pm. Free. Registration required. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Get Tested Now Benefit:
Naked Puritans, Karmen, Erica Olsen and more at Gravity Lounge: This is the first concert presented by the AIDS/HIV Services Group to promote National HIV Testing Day. In addition to the Naked Puritans (pop/rock), Karmen (folk), Erica Olsen, Mark Rock of the Marzaks (intelli-folk), Richelle Claiborne, Monie, Iron Lion, and Lyric Avenue, free and confidential AIDS testing will be offered at the concert. $15, 6pm.

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

Matt Curreri featuring Joanie Mendenhall with Haley Glennie-Smith at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

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

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

TUESDAY, June 29
Get on the Bus:
Join The Arts Center In Orange for a bus trip to The National Gallery of Art in Washington. Explore exhibitions of Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya and the Cubist Paintings of Diego Rivera. The Mayan exhibit features over 130 master works in stone sculptures, ceramics, and masks. The 20 exhibited works of Rivera, express themes of identity and place in a time of political upheaval in both Europe and Mexico. $30 per person does not include lunch. Riders board the bus in front of The Arts Center at 7:30am, leave Orange by 8am and return by 5pm. The bus will also pick up passengers in Culpeper. For more information or to register, 540-672-7311.

Midsummer Night's Dream:
See Thursday, June 24. Tonight is a family night show at 6:30pm.

Syringa: See Thursday, June 24.

Ragtime: See Thursday, June 24.

Reel Time:
Regal Cinema offers a summer full of free movies for kids. This week's shows are Stuart Little 2 (G) and Rugrats: The Movie (PG). 10am. Seminole Square (behind Kmart). 980-3333.

Drum Call: Will Whitten and his friends host an interactive African drumming workshop at Gordon Avenue Library for teens going into grades 6-12. Drums will be provided, but bring your own if you have one. 2-3pm. Free. Registration required. Space limited. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Rhythm, Rhyme, and Harmony: Barbara Martin and Mac Walter promise to have the whole family movin' and groovin' in a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, ear-pleasing good time at Central Library. 10:30am. Free. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.

Planning Hearing:
The Albemarle Planning Commission hosts a public hearing on the Rural Areas section of the new Comprehensive Plan for the county. 6pm. Albemarle County Office Building, Room 241. For info, contact Joan McDowell at

Mindful Meditation: Join UVA's Department of Family Medicine for a guided meditation session. All are welcome, no experience necessary. 12:15-12:45pm. Free. Hospital Chapel. 924-1190 or

Strike Up the Band:
The Charlottesville Municipal Band performs a program from marches and orchestral pieces to Broadway show tunes and patriotic ditties. East end of the Downtown Mall in the amphitheater. Free admission, and free parking available in Lexis lot behind the stage area. 295-9850.

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 (rock) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

Katie Grove Band with Todd Schlabach at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

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

$2 Tuesdays w/ Big Circle at Outback Lodge. $2(!), 10pm. (W)

See Thursday, June 24.

Ragtime: See Thursday, June 24.

More Tales for Tots:
The five-and-under crowd can hear Independence Day stories at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time where the booklist includes The Starry, Stripy Blanket by Ellen Kirk and My Red, White, and Blue Day by Karen Robbins. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Reel Time: See Tuesday, June 29.

Rhythm, Rhyme, and Harmony: See Tuesday, June 29. Today's program is at Crozet Library at 10am. In the old train station on Three Notch'd Rd. 823-4050. Also at Gordon Avenue Library at 3pm. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Hike Jones Run Falls:
Join the Wintergreen Nature Foundation's Jack Hilliard for a hike around the Jones Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park. 9am. $15 fee ($10 for Foundation members), bring a packed lunch and plenty of water. 325-8169 or for info.

Alzheimer's Safety: A demonstration and training program for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's. 10am-2pm. Free and includes lunch, but registration is required. Greene County Library in Stanardsville. Contact Emily at 817-5254.

Dream Discussion: Delve into the mysterious realm of dreams with certified Rolfer Dr. Len Worley, this time with a focus on understanding our deepest, animal instincts. 7:30-9pm. $75 fee for five weeks. At Mind, Body, Spirit, 923-D Preston Ave, next to Integral Yoga. 293-3271 or

Benny Dodd at Coupe DeVille's:
Playing the bass, Dodd belts out cover numbers that do justice to the original, backed by solid drums and some pretty phenomenal guitar. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Country Dance Night at Fry Spring Beach Club: This could be a fun time, whether as a lark or due to a true love of line dancing. Why not take somebody special tonight? $7/$4 students, lessons 7-8pm, dancing 8-11pm. (W)

Laptopalooza at Rapture: Charlottesville is one stop on a seven city tour for this group of eight artists– all using Ableton Live, the real time production software. Our own's Ryan Hughes (Rule of Thump) is performing his solo electronica project under the name Quandry. $3, 9pm. See Tunes feature.

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)

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)

Ryegrass Rollers (bluegrass) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

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

Travis Elliott at Orbit. No cover, 10pm. (W)

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

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

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

Modern Epic (pop/rock) at South Street Brewery. Free, 9pm.

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

Luminescent Orchestrii ("gypsy-punk five piece") at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 9pm.

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

Greene Summer:
Greene County Library kicks off its first book discussion group with Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer, an African-Appalachian triptych. 222 Main St., Stanardsville, 985-5227.7pm.

Designer T-Shirts:
Scottsville Library invites teens entering grades 6-12 to celebrate summer by designing their own t-shirt for the 4th of July holiday. Shirts, paint, decorations, and stenciling provided. 2-4pm. Free. Registration required. Space limited. 330 Bird St. 286-3541.

Colorful Creations: See Thursday, June 24. Today's program from 2-4pm at Crozet Library. In the old train station on Three Notch'd Road. 823-4050.

More Tales for Tots: See Wednesday, June 30.

Rhythm, Rhyme, and Harmony: See Tuesday, June 29. Today's program at Scottsville Library at 10am. 330 Bird St. 286-3541. Also at Northside Library at 3pm. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

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.

Merchant of Venice: See Friday, June 25. Tonight's show is at 7:30pm.

Syringa: See Thursday, June 24.

Ragtime: See Thursday, June 24.

Peter Markush and Leo the Cello ("improvised melodic solo cello music") at Gravity Lounge:
Part of the Marzaks, that fun-loving bundle of folk wit, put on a different sort of show at Gravity Lounge over the lunch hour. Free, 12-1pm.

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 (piano-man) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm. (W)

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

Modern Groove Syndicate (jam) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

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

Modern Epic (pop/rock) at West Main. Free, 10pm.

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

Upcoming and Ongoing
11 Years and Painting:
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association is accepting 1 or 2 original works for its Eleventh Annual Juried Art Show for area artists at Seven Oaks Art Gallery from July 10 through September 25. Linda Carey, who has taught at the Columbus College of Art and Design and is currently on the faculty of the College of William and Mary, will serve as judge. Work must be original, not done under supervision, and not previously entered in a Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association (CAAA) juried show. Work must be submitted in oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, collage or mixed media (no photographs). Work must be suitably framed and ready to hang with a maximum size of 36" X 36" (which includes the frame). Non-refundable entry fees $5 for CAAA members who have paid their 2004 dues; $15 for non-members. Cash prizes. Deadline for receipt of application and entry fee is July 5. Applications may be obtained at the Studio Art Shop or from Cindy Haney, 326 Copper Hill Drive, Charlottesville 22902. 295-8315.

Keep Entering: The entry deadline for slides and fees the Central Virginia Watercolor Guild's 13th Annual Exhibition is July 1. The Exhibition will hang at the McGuffey Art Center beginning September 3. 296-8484.

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 to 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 Road. 243-5534.

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 $250.00 and your name in … the library catalog. Details for entering the children's book writing contest are online at A total of four winners will be published. Deadline for submissions is August 1.

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.

Antarctic Adventure:
"Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful …" The year is 1914 and explorer Ernest Shackleton uses this recruitment poster to lure 27 ordinary men for the adventure of their lives: an attempt to be the first human beings to cross Antarctica. The Science Museum of Virginia details the inglorious expedition in super size with the IMAX film Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure opening today and running through September 17. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Slice of Pi: Larry, Curly, and Moe need chains for their tire, but they can't understand Sir Cumfrence who speaks in iambic diameter about pie…er, pi. Visitors to the Science Museum of Virginia's Carpenter Theatre can watch these knuckleheads act up as they try to find the solution to this measurement dilemma. Performances at noon and 3pm. Storytelling in the theatre at 1pm and 2pm. Through July 31. Included in the price of exhibit admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

G'Day, Mate!:
The Virginia Discovery Museum goes to the ends of the earth to explore the island of Australia this summer. The new Back Gallery exhibit "Outback & Down Under"invites visitors to bounce like a kangaroo, create Aboriginal rock art, discover the secrets of the bush country, and more. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Amusements: 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 Rd. 296-5844.

Roots and Wings: The Living Earth School brings kids closer to the earth with their summer residential youth camps. Three programs &emdash; Earth Roots (ages 8-11), Ancient Ways (advanced camp for ages 8-13), and Wilderness Quest (8-day backpacking trek for ages 12 and up) &emdash; are designed to help children get back to their roots and learn the philosophy of living close to the earth. These camps teach survival skills and much more. They are personal growth oriented, educational, and down right fun. Enrollment limited and fills fast, so register as soon as possible. Applications available on-line. 258 Rocky Bottom Lane, Afton. 540-456-7339.

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.

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.

Blast from the Past: The Science Museum of Virginia invites kids of all ages to come and play with their toys at the new exhibit Kid Stuff: Great Toys from Our Childhood on display though September 6. Included in the price of exhibit admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

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.

Parkway Nature Walks:
Monticello is offering guided walking tours of the Thomas Jefferson Parkway, the linear park along the Route 53 entrance to Jefferson's estate, every Sunday morning now through the end of November. 9:30am. No fee. Meet at Kemper Park at the base of the Parkway, a quarter-mile east of the intersection of Route 53 and Route 20. 984-9822.

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.

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. 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 fifteen minutes after the hour starting at 9:15am. Fee included in price of general admission. 984-9822.

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.

Michie Tavern Tours: Experience living history at the original eighteenth-century Tavern building: 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.

Plantation Community Tours: These guided walking tours visit Mulberry Row and other plantation-related sites near the mountaintop and focus on the African-American community at Monticello and the economic operation of the plantation. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and leaves on the hour from 10am to 3pm from in front of the Monticello Museum Shop.

Nelson County's Farmer's Market: It's 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.

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. 4-7pm. Located off Valley Street in Scottsville. 286-2505.

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. See Art feature.

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.

The Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art features "Out of Country," 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.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church features a 3D retrospective of assemblages by Gigi Payne, through July 4. 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.

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.

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. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

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.

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

Pasty collage: Bits and pieces fail to satisfy

You know the experience: You've saved a tantalizing book or movie for just the right moment, savoring the anticipation, dangling it like a carrot in front of your nose. But when you finally settle in with it, you end up thinking (a la Peggy Lee), "Is that all there is?"

Unfortunately, that was my reaction to "American Collage," currently on view at the University of Virginia Art Museum, featuring work from the Phillips Collection as well as from the museum's own trove.

Because I've spent a lifetime doing my own cutting and pasting (words, images, video), I set "American Collage" aside like a jewel whose facets I anticipated admiring. But when I finally took a good look, I discovered its sparkle to be a bit lackluster.

I probably expected too much. The 15 pieces that make up the surprisingly small show are all by American artists, as the name "American Collage" suggests&emdash;so no Kurt Schwitters, no Max Ernst, no Jean Arp. The show's range is also limited, covering only the 1920s-1960s&emdash;so no work from the past 40 years when digital imagery began to exert influence. Plus, the curators stretched the concept of collage to include pieces like Louise Nevelson's sculptural assemblage, "Open Zag #2," and loosely related offshoots, such as Andy Warhol's pop art re-creations of juice and ketchup cartons.

Arranged chronologically, the exhibition begins with Arthur's Dove's moody 1925 "Gone Fishin'," combining curved and radiating segments of a bamboo fly rod with scraps of denim and wood against a murky, pond-like background. Nearby, Alexander Calder's whimsical "Only, Only Bird" (1951) hovers on wings cut from coffee cans.

Although I'm a longtime Joseph Cornell fan, I still have to wonder why a full four of the exhibition's 15 pieces are his. A personal favorite, Cornell's 1965 "Sister Shade (Urchin Series)" presents a tinted photograph of a swampy forest, against which Cornell has pasted two languorous women on the left, tossing dice beneath the trees. On the right, he's added a wide-eyed urchin, shirt off his shoulder, beneath two umbrellas pasted into the canopy of leaves.

But Cornell's work leads to another "American Collage" gripe: its presentation. Housed in a small makeshift room, the exhibition displays Cornell's three-dimensional pieces in plexiglass cases butted up against the wall, preventing a full view of the objects. Even more annoying, the too-sensitive motion detector below Calder's bird regularly emits eardrum-piercing shrieks.

If this show is a diamond, it's definitely in the rough.

"American Collage" is on display at the University of Virginia Art Museum through August 22. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

Cuba or bust! Caravan flauts embargo

As we lumber through week four of Grieving for the Gipper (when in hell will the flags go back up?) I suggest we examine another legacy of the Reagan era: a consistent anti-humanitarian U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, and in particular, the four-decade old embargo against Cuba.

Throughout the 1980s, the Reagan administration adopted a conviction that anything going on down in the lower Americas was part of a zero-sum game, which the U.S. could win only if a lot of other people were losing in a significantly large-scale and bloody fashion.

This appalling obsession was on display in Guatemala, where we propped up dictators, in El Salvador, where we financed death squads, and in Grenada where we valiantly rescued some medical students and gave Gary Trudeau a field day. The Iran-Contra scheme was the crown jewel of Reagan's turpitude, but the most lasting legacy has proved to be the pointless embargo of Cuba.

Of course Reagan isn't responsible for instituting the embargo– that was JFK. And he's not the kook who persists in punishing an impoverished nation that poses no threat to us, and with whom we have not been at war since the Bay of Pigs (we leave that honor to his successors).

What Reagan did do was revive the embargo from the natural death it experienced under Jimmy Carter, and slam shut the doors. Americans have been jumping hoops and laying over in Cancun or Montreal to get to Cuba ever since.

But every year, a determined band of Cuba-bound embargo foes meet on the Texas-Mexico boundary for a showy display of illegal border crossing. They make their way along a dozen routes through the U.S. from Canada, generating public awareness of the failed policy and collecting much needed humanitarian aid to deliver to Cuba.

This year, as in years past, the "Friendshipment Caravan" passes through Charlottesville, picking up 500 pounds of medical instruments, a few hundred dollars in donations, and a good dinner.

"Someone came up with an ambulance to send, but it wasn't in good enough shape," said Mike Johnson, who solicited the New York-based organization Pastors for Peace to make the Charlottesville stop on their way south. Johnson expects a half-dozen of the Caravan's 200-plus participants to make the case to Charlottesville for dropping the embargo and travel ban.

They don't have to convince me; I can live with hypocrisy and Ollie North as a lionized douche bag … but I can't live much longer without the Malecón.

The 15th Annual US-Cuban Friendshipment Caravan is hosted by the CCPJ on Sunday, June 27 at the Thomas Jefferson Unitarian-Universalist Church, 717 Rugby Road at 6pm. Dinner will be followed by several speaking presentations. Free and open to the public. Donations welcome. More information from Mike Johnson, 984-7442.

So much to do: Nelson County hums with fun

Nelson County is rockin' this weekend with the 12th annual Nelson County Summer Festival. A generous mix of laid-back, country-style fun and lively entertainment, this fair has something for everyone.

Let's start with the little ones. First off, if they're under 12, they get in free. Then they can go hang out at the Kid's Fest tent where the folks from North Branch School have all kinds of fun just waiting to happen. We're not talking construction paper and Popsicle sticks here. Kids can dive into boxes of beads to make their own jewelry, grab a Tom Sawyer hat, and slap some of their own painted designs on that white-washed fence, weave their way through the obstacle course, play games with a giant colorful parachute, and more. Ponies will be making the rounds looking for riders, and the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative is offering fearless fliers a ride up in their cherry picker.

Rural Living tents show off Nelson County's pride with entertaining and educational displays of farm life including everything from soap-making demonstrations to honey bees and shitake mushrooms. Visitors can meet fiber artists spinning wool into yarn, stroke the coats of goats and Angora rabbits, even meet "Ranger," the porcine star of the television show Animal Planet.

And if you thought those ponies were big, just wander over and take a hay ride on a wagon pulled by a team of the biggest Percheron draft horses you've ever seen.

The Marketplace features the works of local artisans for sale. Seven award-winning vineyards give adults the chance to see how good Virginia wine really is. And the food court offers a spread that includes everything from fine dining to just plain good eatin'. New this year is the addition of Starr Hill Brewery with our own local brew.

There's a lot of music in those hills, too, and this year, by popular demand (and some special arm twisting), Baaba Seth is back for a reunion gig. The all-female group Tiger Lily, the Jan Smith Band, Terri Allard and her band, the Seldom Scene, and the Hackensaw Boys round out the slate of first-rate local musicians who will take the stage with some of the best gospel, bluegrass, folk, country, old-time, Americana around.

This is one you won't want to miss.

The Nelson County Summer Festival happens June 26-27 from 11am-6pm. $10 in advance, $15 at the gate. Some activities, food, and drinks have an additional fee. All proceeds benefit the scholarship fund for Nelson County students. Oak Ridge Estate is south of Lovingston off Rt. 29 on Rt. 653. For more information, including ticket outlets and schedules, see the website:, or call the Nelson County visitor center at 800-282-8223.

Easy going: Polin' on the river
In the late 1870s Albemarle County was, as now, undergoing a period of rapid growth. The Civil War was over, the local economy was expanding, and people were on the move. Unfortunately, as now, the region's infrastructure was still a few years behind the boom, so workable bridges in central Virginia were in short supply.

It was a fortunate time for James A. Brown to move into his new rental property on the James River. He recognized the growing need for transportation and decided to open a ferry that would connect the town of Scottsville with the various farms and towns on the other side of the river.

Brown's ferry filled a need, and the business soon flourished, eventually expanding to include a general store, a post office, and a train station (most of which has been restored to the 19th-century appearance). It passed down through relatives and various owners until 1940, when the Virginia Department of Highways inherited the ferry and took over operations.

Today, the Hatton Ferry is one of only two remaining poled ferries in the country. It's an artifact of another time, a snapshot of daily life in Albemarle during the 19th-century. Best of all, it's a living history museum that you can walk right up to and explore for yourself just as residents did more than a century ago.

"It's quite an experience," Margaret O'Bryant, spokesperson for the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, which operates the Hatton Ferry in partnership with VDOT and Albemarle County.

"You look at the river at that point from the shore, and it doesn't seem that big, but once you're out there in the middle, it looks a whole lot bigger. You get a real sense of the force and the power of the James when you're on the water."

The ferry can accommodate up to two vehicles (and a larger number of foot passengers). And while there's plenty to explore on the south side of the James in Buckingham County, many folks just hop aboard for the ride across and back.

"It's in a lovely section of the county, and the ferry is an old and historic way to go," O'Bryant says, "so it's a great way to spend an afternoon. It harks back to the days before there were many real bridges in the area, and this was how many people traveled."

The Hatton Ferry is located on the banks of the James River in Scottsville. Take Route 20 south to Route 625 just west of Scottsville (follow signs from town). Saturday and Sunday from 9am-5pm. Free. There's no set schedule; operators just ferry folks across as they arrive. For additional info and a detailed history of the ferry, visit or call the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society at 296-1492.

Inside stories: Inmates dramatize their lives

As though we hadn't lost enough of our so-called innocence, the photos that emerged in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal over the past months remind Americans we've hardly cornered the market on human rights.

Naked inmates piled in pyramids, lashed to leashes, forced to masturbate– this is not pleasant stuff. But such abuses, a few wise critics have pointed out, are not terribly unusual in prisons, where the system is often designed to strip people of their selfhood.

Even when the torture isn't physical it has the power to destroy. And several recent reports suggest that prisons in the United States, which jails a staggering proportion of its population, have their own share of problems.

But there is, amid the misery, still reason to hope that prisons can be places for reflection and redemption. A group of local artists is trying to bring that hope to women at Fluvanna County's maximum security prison in weekly workshops designed to teach them to write for themselves and for the stage.

Those local artists will perform monologues and poems from the Voice Project at Live Arts Saturday, June 26, to raise money and awareness for the program, now in its second year. Last year inmates staged their own work right in the prison, but since the authors can't take their show on the road, project organizers say this weekend's reading on their behalf will give those voices the opportunity to reach a wider audience.

One performer, the accomplished poet Margaret Szumowski, will read from the work of inmates as well as her book I Want This World (Tupelo Press, 2001), part of which explores her own experience as a hostage in Uganda under Idi Amin.

Amanda McRaven, who teaches the class of around eight female inmates, says her students tend to write about being "locked up," about traumas and abuses of the past, about their own children.

"They don't write a lot of light and fluffy poetry," McRaven said. "A lot of them have really strong voices, but they've never learned to use their voice creatively. Our goal is simple: to give voices to women who never had them before."

The Voice Project also seeks to break down stereotypes about the incarcerated.

The inmates at Fluvanna are not saints. They've stolen, sold drugs, murdered. But they also bear witness to American society. They represent every race and socioeconomic background. Some never finished high school. Some have college degrees.

Erin George is serving a life sentence for murder. In a written statement about the Voice Project, she says inmates are unfairly perceived as "a rabble of amoral monsters" draining the public coffers.

"We are mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends," George says. "We are victims and victimizers. But whatever other category we fall into, we are human beings. ... The Voice Project is our chance to be heard."

Local poets and actresses perform original monologues by women jailed at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. All proceeds benefit Offstage Theatre's Voice Project, an ongoing effort to bring performance and poetry to the lives of female prison inmates. Homemade goodies will be served. 7pm. Live Arts UpStage, 123 E. Water St. $10. 825-8738.

Capitalism Rulz! Down with L.A.P (T.O.P)

Thank goodness for Ryan Hughes. The bassist for the jamish (it's kind of like Amish, but with longer guitar solos) local act Rule of Thump, the young man also has his own solo electronica project under the moniker Quandry.

This summer, seven different artists from around the North American continent will be participating in a traveling show of sorts: seven performances, one at each of the participant's hometowns, and– thanks to Hughes– Charlottesville will be one such locale.

Yes, the show (titled Laptopalooza) is a PR stunt of sorts, a traveling commercial for Ableton Live, the real-time music production tool that all the artists will be using. But even if capitalism is driving the way, the concert is worth holding back your socialist bile for and checking out.

The publicity CD for Laptopalooza begins with three tracks from Hughes' Quandry, which I instantly enjoyed more than the musicians' previous work I've been privy to. Simple looped drums start off the "Those Mornings" shortly before a live audience and some digital delayed subtle electric guitar make their appearance.

A female voice (sounding a lot like Diana Ross) begins to speak to the audience. "Thank you, thank you so much... I'm very sure there are those of you in the audience who are like myself... and that you have what I have come to call... those mornings" the Ross double speaks, a line cut up and repeated over and over during the track as the guitar parts float and cascade around the stereo spectrum.

"Harmonic" reminds me a bit of the song "Within You" by David Bowie ("Everything I've done, I've done for you I move the stars for no one") from the 1989 cult classic Labyrinth– something about the sliding bass line and atmospheric guitar background. The track breathes space and a sense of loneliness, as if Hughes was overlooking some cliff somewhere and trying to make the final decision.

Three tracks from the hip-hop artist Rahlo's blackSoil project are included next, and they are some of the catchiest examples of that genre I've ever heard. From the three cut-up guitar background guitar notes that lead the song's melodic undertones, to its "Everybody, everybody want to rhyme yo/ Everybody want to shine so" doubled chorus vocals, this thing breathes "hit" like Brittany Spears on her first single.

Cosmosuave is the project from producer/composer Brian Featherstone, and his two tracks included here, "Recycled Trax" and "SlashNburn," both seem throwbacks to older techno sounds, but it's easy to see how the artist's performance will get the dance floor at Rapture bumping.

Seven artists, seven different sounds, $3– seems like an economically sound evening to me.

Laptopalooza at Rapture: Quandry, Cosmosuave, blackSoil project, and others perform at Rapture, June 30. $3, 9pm.