Cultural calendar, July 8-15, 2004

THURSDAY, July 8
FAMILY
Open Seas:
Kids of all ages can drift along with Ocean Encounters and see how sargassum, a floating seaweed community, is such an integral part of the ocean's chain of life. Meet some live animals, too. 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.

Writes of Summer: Young authors entering grades 4-5 can learn the basics of creative writing in a one-session workshop presented by instructors from the Charlottesville Writing Center. 2-3:30pm. Gordon Avenue Library, 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

PERFORMANCE
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.

Wonderful Summer: The Summer Theater Festival at Live Arts presents Richard Dresser's comedy Wonderful Life as one of four plays in repertory. The dark truths of a happy (or so it seems) family are unearthed. 7-10:30pm. Live Arts Upstage, 123 E. Water St. $8; $3 beer garden; buy tickets in person only. 977-4177x100.

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.

Syringa: UVA's Heritage Repertory Theatre presents its final week of 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.

The Most Lamentable Comedy of Sir John Falstaff: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the premier run of an original adaptation of 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.

TUNES
Rebecca Hall & Ken Anderson and Alvin Breeden and the Virginia Cutups at Gravity Lounge:
Folkie Hall likes to take things easy, with a sound that harks back to '60s peaceniks– her voice is beautiful, full, and flowing. $5, 7:30pm.

All of 15, Inside Voices, and Evenout at Outback Lodge: All of 15's post-hardcore/indie-pop sounds sound good, even to people who normally hate everything. Evenout sound like an '80s power ballad type band mated with a mid-'90s hit maker, and Inside Voices combine male and female vocalists with pop/rock results. $3, 10pm. See Tunes feature.

The Vulgar Bulgars 12:30-3:30pm and Andrew McAteer at Veggie Heaven, 6-8pm. No cover.

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)

Thompson/ D'earth and friends (freeform jazz) at Miller's. $4, 10pm. (W) See Music Review, page 36.

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)

Clarence Green at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

Sumthing (Darrell Rose on percussion, Houston Ross on bass, Charles Cowen on drums, and Matthew Willner on guitar and devices) at West Main. No cover, 10pm.

FRIDAY, July 9
FAMILY
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 Japan. 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.

Tails and Tales: Kids ages 5-10 and their parents can listen to fantastical fables about animals, then meet some of the legendary creatures who live at Maymont. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 3pm. $3per parent/child pair. Register at the Visitor Center today. 1700 Hampton St., Richmond. 804-358-7166, ext. 324.

WALKABOUT
Fridays after 5:
The popular outdoor concert series is back for its 16th season. This week's act: The Nighthawks.

Presidential Politics: John Fortier, executive director of the Continuity of Government Commission and project manager of the Transition to Governing Project at the American Enterprise Institute, presents a discussing entitled "Presidential Succession After 9/11." 11am. No fee. Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-4694.

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 mtnmule@comclin.net. See Walkabout feature.

PERFORMANCE
Syringa: See Thursday, July 8.

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

Driving Miss Daisy: UVA's Heritage Repertory Theatre stages the winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize. Tinged with humor and pathos, this play explores the evolving relationship between a stubborn Jewish matron and her loyal black chauffeur at the height of the civil-rights movement. 8pm. Culbreth Theatre, Culbreth Road. $14-20. 924-3376.

TUNES
Andy Waldeck & the C'villians, Duende, Brown Folk with Jay Pun at Starr Hill:
Chock full of folks who know how to write a bridge, the Songwriters Showcase is a good chance for you to check out the better original material our town has to offer. $5, 8pm.

Southern Funk Orchestra at West Main: Long instrumental solos with nary a mistake, Southern Funk Orchestra keep on keeping on– less funky that you'd think, but still an enjoyable evening. No cover, 10pm.

Steve Forbert with Nickeltown at Gravity Lounge. $18/$15, 8pm.

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

Snug (funk improv) at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

DJ Izm's House of Soul at Rapture. No cover, 10pm.

Open Mic Night at Rapunzel's. Free, 8pm.

Suppression and Hallelujah at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

Charlotte Hisey with George Turner at Veggie Heaven. Free, 12:30-2:30.

SATURDAY, July 10
ART
Open House:
Sculpture, paintings, blown glass, art, and pottery by local artists Jason Blair Roberson, Andrew Groner, Harriet Macky , Alp Isin, Marie Landragin, and others at 112 Monticello Road, 200 yards past Mas Tapas Bar. Park in lot next door. 1-6pm. 825-8120.

Scottsville Soiree: Join local artists Peg Redd of Fork Union, Page Coplan of Glen Allen, and Paul Charlton of Scottsville at a reception to celebrate the opening of their group show at Caffe Bocce in Scottsville. 3-5pm. 330 Valley St. 286-4422.

FAMILY
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.

Reptile Run-in: Kids ages 5 and up can slither into the secretive world of reptiles in a close encounter at Maymont's Nature Center that includes fun facts and an intimate glimpse of a captive snake. Children must be accompanied by an adult. $3. Register at the Visitor Center today. 1700 Hampton St., Richmond. 804-358-7166, ext. 324.

Tell Me a Story: Little literati ages 5 and up can enjoy a visit with the Berenstain Bears during story time at Barnes & Noble. They'll read some favorites and serve up cookies, too. 11:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

WALKABOUT
Polo Match:
Join the Piedmont Polo Club (formerly Piedmont Women's Polo Club but now all-inclusive) for a night of polo action in the rolling hills of Albemarle County. 7pm. Polo Grounds Road, off Old Lynchburg Road. 296-3472 or lpa@aol.com. See Walkabout feature.

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 rivannatrails.org.

Ballroom Dance: Join the Charlottesville chapter of the US Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association for an open dance at the Charlottesville Municipal Arts Center. Lessons at 7:15, general dancing 8-10:30pm. $8 members, $12 non-members, $5 students. Fifth St. Extended and Harris Road. 974-7949 or avenue.org/usabda.

5k Run: Join the Fairview Swim and Tennis Club (and the Charlottesville Track Club) for the 7th Annual 5k Family Fun Run and raise money for breast cancer research in the process. 7:30am start. Registration forms at Fairview, Ragged Mountain Running Shop, or by emailing mccville@juno.com. 973-7946.

The Great Give-Away: Honor the Native American tradition of circulating things that are no longer needed at Unity Church's Circulation Day. Bring an item to give or exchange. 9am-noon. 2825 Hydraulic Road. 978-1062.

Perennial Plant Propagation: Explore the principles of seed sowing– timing, dormancy, scarification, soil mediums– and also review the fundamentals of asexual propagation with the gardening pros at Monticello. 9:30am. $10, registration required. Tufton Farm. 984-9822.

Boating Safety Course: Learn the ins and outs of safe boating from state certified instructors from Flotilla 88 of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. 8:30am-4:30pm. No fee. Lake Monticello Clubhouse. 591-0457.

Blue Ridge "Rideo": Take a traditional rodeo, add motorcycles, and you've got a "rideo." This one, co-sponsored by the Southern Cruisers Riding club Chapter 96, is a fundraiser for the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Company. Motorcycle poker run, 50-50 drawing, door prizes, bike wash, bands, motorcycle games, eats, vendors & more! 9am. 978-4495 or scrc-cville-va.org.

Outdoor Skills: Join the Outdoor Adventure Social Club for an overnight course with a focus on primitive living skills. Fee, plus membership. 760-HIKE or outdoorsocial.com for info and registration.

Environment Lecture: Join the Rivanna Conservation Society for their Second Saturdays lecture series. This month's speaker, Ann Regn, is an environmental educator working to develop "relevant watershed experience" training for Fluvanna Middle School students. Time TBA. At Scheier Natural Area. 589-7576 or rcs@avenue.org for details.

Viking Knit Wire Bracelet: Join instructor Shelly Jones at Studio Baboo and learn the ancient tradition of chain making. Students will use the centuries-old looping technique known as nailbinding to create a bracelet. 10am-4pm. $40 fee. 106 Fifth St. off the Downtown Mall. 244-2905.

PERFORMANCE
Syringa:
See Thursday, July 8. Today's 2 and 7:30pm performances are the last shows.

Driving Miss Daisy: See Friday, July 9. There are two shows today: 2 and 8pm.

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 is hero and who is villain. 2pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

Annie: The Ash Lawn Opera Festival kicks off tonight with this musical rendition of the world's most famous little redheaded orphan. Pine for tomorrow in the gardens of James Monroe as the nasty Ms. Hannigan tries to come between Annie and Daddy Warbucks. 8pm. Go early and attend a lecture, 7:15pm. Ash Lawn-Highland, off Route 795. $15-24. 293-4500. See Performance feature.

The Most Lamentable Comedy: See Thursday, July 8.

TUNES
Susan Greenbaum at Gravity Lounge:
Solid pop/folk songwriting (featuring nice bridges), slightly ethereal songs– that's Susan Greenbaum in sum. $5, 8:30pm.

Monroe Station at Rapunzel's: This bluegrass band combines a vocal wonder, a dobro master, and a state champion fiddler– what more could you ask for? $5, 8pm.

Fair Weather Bums at Shebeen: Every week Fair Weather Bums blow their audiences away with bluegrass mastery– I still haven't found my teeth from last Saturday. No cover, 11pm.

Justin Eppart at Veggie Heaven. No cover, 1-3pm.

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

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

Max Collins (otherworldly guitar) featuring Jounce at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

Year and a Day at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Mike Brie and DJ Bust (hip hop, funk, and disco) at Rapture. $10, 10pm.

Acoustigeddon: B.C., Jim Wave Band, and Atsushi Miura at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

The Jump Off with DJ Face at West Main. $10/ladies $5 before 11pm, 10pm.

SUNDAY, July 11
ART
Moon Masks:
Join artist Christian Breeden for the opening of his show of lunar carnival masks, 11:30am. The show will be up through August 11, Sunday-Friday 9am-4pm, at the the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

WORDS
Party On:
Amble down Main Street from Christian Breeden's show to join the editors in celebrating publication of the third issue of Streetlight literary magazine at the Gravity Lounge at 2pm. Simple refreshments and a cash bar keep the fun going into Sunday afternoon. Mary Gordon Hall, Tom Prout, and Emily McCormick provide live music. See Words feature.

WALKABOUT
Say No to Nukes:
Community meeting to discuss the health and safety issues associated with nuclear reactors planned for North Anna. 5pm. Living Education Center, 609 E. Market St. 409-8392.

Blackberry Picking: Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery opens its doors to the public for blackberry picking and wine tasting. 1-6pm. No fee. 2800 Berry Hill Road, Nellysford. 361-1266.

Civil War Encampment: Montpelier offers a guided walking tour of the 1863-64 winter encampment of the Confederate South Carolina Brigade and the Gilmore Farm, the home built in 1872 by George Gilmore, a freedman born a slave at Montpelier circa 1810. 2pm. Tour included in regular admission. 540-672-2728 or montpelier.org.

Many Paths to God: Unity Church hosts an eight-week series, "Many Paths, One Presence," exploring the common themes underlying all religions. Each week through August 15, a different religion will be featured during the church's Sunday morning worship service. Today is Native American spirituality with the Reverend Patricia Gulino Lansky, Eva Marie Ireland, and music by Jim Gagnon. Services are held at the Senior Center, 1180 Pepsi Place, at 10:30am. 978-1062.

PERFORMANCE
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. cvillesalsaclub.com.

Annie: See Saturday, July 10, and Performance feature, page 33. Tonight's performance (no lecture) is at 8pm.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: See Friday, July 7. Today's show is a matinee at 2pm.

TUNES
Brady Earnhart with Malcolm Holcombe at Gravity Lounge: Earnhart brings his literate folk/pop back to town for another round of impressing the masses. $8, 8pm.

The Hogwaller Ramblers (bluegrass mayhem) at Escafé. No cover, 10pm. (W). See Facetime in this week's issue.

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

Native American Flute Circle Meeting at Rapunzel's. No cover, 1pm.

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

American Dumpster (original rock with Christian Breeden) at Southern Culture. No cover, 9:30pm.

MONDAY, July 12
WALKABOUT
Marilyn and Tony and God:
The Center for Christian Study presents a viewing and discussion of the movie Some Like It Hot. No fee. 1530 Rugby Ave. 817-1050. studycenter.net.

Scuba Club: Explore Grand Cayman and the Florida Keys with diver and photographer Eric Gibson at the monthly meeting of the Sea Devil Divers. 6:30pm. Free. Rococo's Restaurant. 975-5570 or SeaDevilDivers.com.

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. 5:45-7:15pm. Madison Room at the Central Library. 295-2612.

Country Cookout: Celebrate the summer with a country cookout and dancing at Shenandoah Vineyards. 6:30-11pm. Dress is casual, but reservations are required. 540-984-8699.

PERFORMANCE
Jigsaw Dancing:
Advanced beginners are invited to attend weekly workshops at the McGuffey Art Center's Studio 20. Learn modern techniques, floor barre, jazz, historical dance, and more. Selections change each week. One modern and one novelty class held daily, 2-4pm. McGuffey Art Center, 201 Second St. NW. $25/week. 973-3744.

FAMILY
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. village-playhouse.com.

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.

Try it Out: Girl Scouts of Virginia invites girls ages 5-6 who are not currently enrolled in scouting to try their Daisies program through a series of five sample sessions. Today's program is Fairy Fun. 10am-noon. $5 per session plus a one-time $10 registration fee. 380 Greenbrier Drive. 296-5156, press 4 then 3.

Writes of Summer: See Thursday, July 8. Today's program for kids entering grades 6-10. 2-4pm. Central Library. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.

TUNES
Rose Purdy noon-2pm and Grasping at Laws 5:30-7:30pm at Veggie Heaven. 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, July 14
PERFORMANCE
Syringa:
See Thursday, July 1.

WALKABOUT
It's a Snap:
The Charlottesville camera club meets to discuss successes and tips– this month with a focus on photographing insects. Visitors welcome. 6:30pm. Turtle Creek Club House, 100 Turtle Creek Road. 973-4856.

FAMILY
Comic Belief:
Local artist Jen Sorensen introduces young artists entering grades 6-12 to the cool world of cartooning at a one-day workshop at Gordon Avenue Library. 2-3pm. Free. Registration required. Space limited. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Magic Pots, Recycled Bottles: Puppeteer Kathleen Jacobs tells stories and shows kids how to turn ordinary objects into puppets and props at Central Library. 10:30am. Free. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.

Reel Time: Regal Cinema offers a summer of free movies for kids. This week's shows are Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (G) and Cat in the Hat (PG). 10am. Seminole Square (behind K-mart). 980-3333.

Writes of Summer: See Monday, July 12. Today's program for kids entering 4-5 grades. 2-3:30pm. Northside Library, Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

TUNES
Tim Burnett and Friends at Veggie Heaven. 5:30-7:30pm. No cover.

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)

Grasping At Laws ("eclectoplasmacoustic folk'n rock") at Dr. Ho's. No cover, 7pm.

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 with Big Circle at Outback Lodge. $2(!), 10pm. (W)

Stockholm Syndrome: Featuring Dave Schools, Jerry Joseph, Eric McFadden, Wally Ingram, & Danny Dziuk at Starr Hill. $15, 8pm.

WEDNESDAY, July 15
ART
Tucker Box Tour:
Enjoy a guided tour of the current exhibitions followed by lunch in the gallery. Bring your own lunch or order one for $7. Program is from 12:15 - 1:30 pm. Reservations are required. Please call 434/244-0234 to reserve a space. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place, off Route 250 East at Pantops.

PERFORMANCE
A Midsummer Night's Dream:
See Friday, July 9.

Wonderful Summer: See Thursday, July 8.

FAMILY
Crafty:
Ash Lawn-Highland hosts a new summer series of Wednesday workshops in which modern folks of all ages can learn early American crafts. This week's focus is lantern making with Russell Hubert (participants take home a hand-punched lantern). 1pm or 3pm. General admission plus $2, includes a guided tour of the Monroe home. Reservations are recommended. 1000 James Monroe Parkway (Rt. 795). 293-9539. ashlawnhighland.org.

Try it Out: See Monday, July 12. Today's program is Cinderella and Prints Charming.

Shekere Shakedown: Will Whitten of Drum Call & Friends shows young drummers entering grades 6-12 how to make their own shekere, a West African percussion gourd instrument, at Northside Library. Materials provided. 2-4pm. Free. Registration required. Space limited. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Tales for Tots: The 5 and under crowd can hear moon and sky stories at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time where the reading list includes Henry and Mudge Under the Yellow Moon by Cynthia Rylant and Your Cloud by Joe Troiano. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Magic Pots, Recycled Bottles: See Tuesday, July 13. Today's program is at Crozet Library at 10am. In the old train station on Three Notch'd Road. 823-4050. Also at Gordon Avenue Library at 3pm. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Reel Time: See Tuesday, July 13.

TUNES
Bob Branigan at Veggie Heaven. 5:30-7:30pm. No cover.

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)

Flasbulb Diary at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

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

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

Robert Jospé's Inner Rhythm at Rapture. No cover, 10pm.

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

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

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)

THURSDAY, July 15
FAMILY
Science of Spin:
Think you know yo-yos? That yo-yo guy, Dick Stohr, says there's more to it than meets the eye. He'll show kids entering grades 3 and up the ropes in a cool and captivating demonstration of the clever device at Crozet Library. 11am-noon. Free. In the old train station on Three Notch'd Road. 823-4050.

Shekere Shakedown: See Wednesday, July 14. Today's program at Scottsville Library. 330 Bird St. 286-3541.

Magic Pots, Recycled Bottles: See Tuesday, July 13. Today's program at Scottsville Library at 10am. 330 Bird St. 286-3541. Also at Northside Library at 3pm. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Writes of Summer: See Thursday, July 8.

PERFORMANCE
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.

The Most Lamentable Comedy: See Thursday, July 8.

Anton in Show Business: This Jane Martin play about three actresses and their zany production of Chekhov's Three Sisters is sure to delight as the first of two shows in tonight's edition of the Live Arts Summer Theater Festival. 7pm. Live Arts Upstage, 123 E. Water St. $8; $3 beer garden; buy tickets in person only. 977-4177x100.

True West: In this dark comedy by Sam Shepard, two estranged brothers– a drifter and a writer– come together to work on a screenplay, discovering they're more alike than they would like. UVA's Heritage Repertory Theatre introduces the first of six performances tonight. Mature audiences recommended. 8pm. Culbreth Theater. $14-20. 924-3376.

Three Days of Rain: Lives Arts calls this "a 90s rewind into the 60s." This Richard Greenberg play about a son unraveling the mystery that was his father anchors tonight's Summer Theater doubleheader. 9pm. Live Arts Upstage, 123 E. Water St. $8; $3 beer garden; buy tickets in person only. 977-4177x100.

TUNES
Greg Allen and Friends noon-2pm and Andrew McAteer 5:30-7:30pm at Veggie Heaven. No cover.

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)

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

33 West 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)

Matthew Willner solo (guitar, bass, loops and devices) downstairs at Starr Hill. No cover, 9pm.

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

Upcoming and Ongoing
PERFORMANCE
Live Arts Playwright's Lab:
Playwrights can find a safe and inspirational place to hone their writing skills, develop new material, and revise working manuscripts. Open to all levels of experience. Meets every first and third Mondays of the month, 6:30-9:30pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100.

WORDS
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 gigiaudiobooks.com/contest.htm. 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.

FAMILY
Golf Classes:
Charlottesville Recreation and Leisure Services offerings golf classes on Tuesday evenings beginning August 3 at Meadowcreek Golf Course. The classes run for 4 weeks on Tuesdays. 5-6:30pm $50 City residents, $75 Albemarle residents. 970-3264.
For Families Only:
Monticello offers tours designed especially for children ages 6-11 and their families. The tours include touchable objects and a child-friendly focus. On the hour from 10am-3pm daily through August 15. Included in the price of admission. Register at the ticket office. Thomas Jefferson Parkway (Rt. 53). 984-9822.

Please Touch: Monticello's Hands-on learning Center, located in the Monticello Visitors Center, gives kids the chance to play like it was 1804. Colonial-era games, writing with quill pens, and handling a mastodon tooth are just some of the interactive exhibits accessible to young explorers. Free. Open daily through August 1. 10am-4pm Tuesday through Sunday, 1-4pm on Mondays. Rt. 20 south of town. 984-9853.

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. smv.org.

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. smv.org.

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.

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. virginia.edu/vmnh-uva.

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. c-mor.org.

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. smv.org.

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. smv.org.

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. smv.org.

WALKABOUT
Mindfulness Meditation:
Tuesdays 12:15-12:45pm. UVA Hospital Chapel. Meditation practice with guidance. Free. No experience necessary. 924-1190.

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. montpelier.org 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. Nelsoncounty.org.

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.

ART LIST
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 Dové Gallery. SSG's interiors will remain altered through August 14. City Center for Contemporary Arts, corner of Second and E. Water streets. 977-7284.

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents "A Short History of Decay: Sculptures by James Welty" 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 hangs at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Mezzanine Gallery until August 2. Paintings by CAAA members 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.

"Built," an exhibition of gouache and mixed-media paintings by Miriam Tobias, is on view at Angelo through August 31. 220 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-9256.

View "Works on Paper" by Nicole Fortescue at C'ville Coffee through July 31. 1301 Harris St. 971-8588.

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

The Gallery @ 5th & Water displays the oil paintings of Lindsay Michie Eades through July 31. Located in the foyer of the architectural firm of Stoneking/Von Storch. 107 Fifth St. 979-9825.

During June, CODG presents "Diversity's Closet," an exhibition of acrylic paintings by Monty Montgomery, mixed-media work by Garth Fry, found-object art by Sera Davis, and photography by Vicky Baker. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

New Dominion Bookshop offers Lucy Alford's "Red Clay, Pale Sky," oils on wood from Nelson County, in its Mezzanine Gallery during the month of July. 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-2552.

During July, Sage Moon Gallery features "Nature Visions," watercolors by Sharon Hauff. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

Meg West's exhibit, "Summer Paintings in Western Albemarle," is on display through August 31 at Jarman's Gap restaurant in Crozet. 5790 Three Notched Road. 823-4626.

New work by members of the Central Virginia Watercolor Guild, featuring watercolors, oils, pastels, and mixed media is on display at the Albemarle County Courthouse through July 31. 501 E. Jefferson Court Square. 296-8484.

"Dreamscapes," a collection of new oil paintings by Leslie Allyn, hangs at Ombra's Café in Crozet through August 31. 5773 The Square. 823-5332.

The Dave Moore Studio features a final "Farewell to the Studio" show during July. Hours vary, so call first, but get down there because Dave's moving on to new digs. 414 E. Main St. (under The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar). 825-1870.

Through August 15, 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. See Art Feature.

Beginning July 11, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church displays lunar carnival masks created by Christian Breeden. The show runs through August 1. An opening reception happens July 11 at 11:30am. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

Mountain Air Gallery, Etc. presents artwork by Caro Mayo, Ann McCartney, and Jack Brandt during July. 107 and 111 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 244-3393.

During July, the Mudhouse shows "Slightly Imperfect," 213 assemblages of Fats Click. W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

L'étoile Restaurant displays paintings by local artists Barry Gordon and Malcolm Hughes. Gordon's abstract works feature interiors and everyday objects; Hughes portrays landscapes in the Impressionist style. 817 W. Main St. (across from the Amtrak Station). 979-7957.

During July, view "Here, There and Everywhere," watercolors, gouaches, and collages by Mary Wirth, at Art Upstairs. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

Through August 16, The McGuffey Art Center presents its annual Summer Group Show, featuring work by renting and associate members. Check out (and buy!) painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber art, calligraphy, mixed media, stained glass, hot glass, sculpture, photography, furniture, marbling, ceramics, and book arts. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Transient Crafters displays the glasswork of Kimberly Larkin through July. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

Bozart Gallery presents "Sky High," watercolors and acrylics by Mercedes Lopez, during July. 211 W. Main St. 296-3919.

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

Radar

The Artisans Center of Virginia presents an exhibition of water bird decoys crafted by John Owen, during July. Opening reception, Saturday, July 3, 2-4pm. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

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

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.

Caffé Bocce displays "Roy-Rossi Reflections II" paintings by Coy Roy and the late Al Rossi. Also on view: paintings by the inimitable Dave Moore. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-4422.

Other

The Fluvanna Heritage Trail Foundation holds 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, 589-6545.

FEATURES/FEATURES/FEATURES
ART
Visual transport: Wide-eyed over Welty
BY LAURA PARSONS ART@READTHEHOOK.COM

I like art that holds my eye. Okay, I know that's a laughably simplistic, obvious, and unsophisticated thing to say, but throwing aside all intellectual pretensions, it is the bottom line.

Yes, I can recognize an artist's mastery of technique or his or her position within the context of art history. But if the work itself doesn't move me, if it doesn't make me want to keep looking, then on a purely personal level, it flops (e.g., the paintings of current art world darling John Currin).

Fortunately, with James Welty's abstract sculptures– on exhibit through mid-August at both the University of Virginia Art Museum and Les Yeux du Monde– my wandering eye is not an issue (in fact, it's more of a wondering eye). Viewing "Recent Sculpture," the Les Yeux du Monde show, I found myself transfixed by Welty's hypnotic amalgamation and recombination of elements.

Simultaneously organic and industrial, the 11 copper pieces floating on the gallery's walls resemble metallicized hunks dredged from the ocean floor, where giant clams, sea flora, and barnacles have accreted over and fused with cast-off propellers, tin cans, fishing reels, and riveted hulls.

Manipulating heat to make the surface more malleable (repousse-ing half-domes here, peeling back edges there), Welty draws forth luminous colors from the copper– a dazzling gamut of blues, reds, purples, and oranges.

Welty infuses his work with a sly sense of humor. Lest viewers feel too sentimental about the seemingly natural elements, the artist yanks them back to an awareness that it's all manmade, placing struts and coils in unexpected places, like within tenderly split-open seedpods. What at first may look like a propeller, on second glance appears to be a fluted flower and, on third, an unidentifiable creature with ear-like orifices on its skin. The undersides of the pieces also offer surprises, like crinkled little tubes or other funny thingamabobs corresponding to bits of drama playing out above.

The largest sculpture in the show, "Anecdote of the Jar" (2004), presents a 7 x 5-foot undulating propeller-like surface, abundantly piled with discrete bits and pieces, all revolving around a pistil-like pod rising elegantly from its center. Yet just to the left, an abandoned can rests upside down, as much a part of the harmonious whole as the rest of the assemblage.

The more I looked at Welty's fascinating work, the more I saw. The more I saw, the more I looked. The more I looked, the more I smiled.

In conjunction with the University of Virginia Art Museum's exhibition of James Welty's sculpture, "A Short History of Decay," Les Yeux du Monde presents Welty's "Recent Sculpture," on display through August 15. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

WORDS
Home brew: Streetlight here, there, everywhere
By SUSAN TYLER HITCHCOCK WORDS@READTHEHOOK.COM

There are reasons why we call Charlottesville a writers' town, with a book festival that has lasted a decade while most fizzle after two or three years.

It's not just the likes of John Grisham, Rita Dove, Anne Beattie. It's the deep, rich under layer of lesser-known yet masterful working writers; the frequent readings, poetry lounges, and book events all year round; the maze of bookstores; the writers' groups and book clubs galore; the impressive indigenous literary publications.

Take, for example, Streetlight: A Journal of Art & Literature, the magazine spawned two years ago by the Charlottesville Writing Center and distributed free at local stores. Streetlight's third annual issue just hit the stands. Editors and contributors invite all to join them for a celebration at Gravity Lounge on Sunday, July 11, at 2pm.

Declared to be "dedicated to publishing the best creative writing and art work from Charlottesville, Virginia, and surrounding areas," this issue shows how far our influence stretches. Part of the fun of it is to read a poem, short story, or essay, admire a painting or a photograph, then turn to the back and ask, so what connects this artist to Charlottesville?

Some we recognize with pride: Charlotte Matthews, poet, teacher at Tandem and PVCC, and recent finalist in a national poetry competition; Sharon Leiter, writer of poetry and prose, broadly published and locally honored; Dick Harrington, PVCC mainstay and Nelson County scribe; Michelle Allaire, B&N PR maven, describing books from that vantage point.

Others we welcome into the fold: Ellen Goldstein, born and raised here, now returning in verse; Cornelia Morrow, just graduating from St. Anne's; Rachel Horsley, prizewinning poet publishing fiction here for the first time. Some write from further afield: Richmond, Fredericksburg, Baltimore, Vermont.

Photographers whose names we know from local papers show the art through which they view the world. Contributors' names are too many to cite, but their abundance makes it clear that this journal, and this town, are a nexus where good art happens.

Some pieces mirror our world, referring to Free Union or the now-incinerated Chiang House. Others carry us away, to Michigan for the Womyn's Music Festival (with a wry twist), to New York or Havana, to Vietnam, ca. 1969.

Streetlight is no Virginia Quarterly Review– but VQR just celebrated its 75th anniversary, and Streetlight just turned three. A babe in the woods: Give it time.

Readings and special music to celebrate Streetlight No. 3 start at 2pm on Sunday, July 11, at Gravity Lounge, 103 S. First St., 977-5590.

FAMILY
Low-key: But high-fun teen party
BY LINDA KOBERT FAMILY@READTHEHOOK.COM

My son just turned 16, and of course he wanted to celebrate this milestone with his friends. Now I'll admit I've never been a big-time party mama. I've never bought into the idea of birthday parties for kids that rival weddings and bar mitzvahs and require a professional party planner to pull them off.

The closest we've ever gotten to the "theme" sort of celebration was the year we took the neighborhood to the soccer field to play a pick-up game and brought along a cake from the grocery store that was decorated with a little plastic player and a goal instead of frosting flowers.

When my guys were little, it was easy enough to invite a bunch of their friends over, toss them a few balloons, turn on the garden hose, and serve some otherwise illicit snacks. Now that they're teenagers, it's not so easy. "Bor-ring" has entered their vocabulary, ratcheting up a notch or two the demand for serious entertainment.

If I had girls, it would be so much easier. One mother I know took her 15-year-old daughter and a mini-van full of girlfriends to make the rounds of area thrift shops in search of vintage clothing. What could be more fun for teenage girls than trying on costumes, parading around in a new identity in front of their friends, and coming home with a bunch of new clothes for very little money?

Another mother, for her daughter's 14th birthday, invited friends over for a slumber party, brought out a box of beads, and let the kids go at it making necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and sparkly adornments of all kinds.

It took us a long time to come up with this year's idea for my son, but it was incredibly simple. We took 10 teenagers&emdash; boys and girls&emdash; on a hike up the south-fork trail in Sugar Hollow to the Blue Hole swimming area. The kids had the best time paddling around in the icy mountain water, taking turns jumping off the 15-foot boulder into the very deep hollow carved out of the rock by the waterfall, and doing what teens enjoy best: just hanging out.

We brought along a picnic lunch for everyone: a variety of different sandwiches– ordered from the deli– and chips, fruit, and cupcakes for the candles.

As we stood in the parking area afterward waiting for parents to pick everyone up, the kids were making plans for getting together to do it again in a few weeks. Moms and dads were even asking if they could come along next time too.

This adventure turned out to be one of our most successful&emdash; and least stressful&emdash; birthday parties ever. And the best part of all is you don't have to be a teenager or wait until birthday time rolls around to have this kind of fun.

Sugar Hollow Reservoir is in White Hall. Take Barracks Road/Garth Road to White Hall. Where the road turns right at Garrison's Store, stay straight onto Sugar Hollow Road. Follow this for 4 miles, go past the dam down a dirt road that widens into an informal parking area at the bottom of the hill. The south fork trail is a wide path that starts directly across the river from the parking area.

WALKABOUT
Pony up: Playing or watching, polo rocks
By TIM SPRINKLE WALKABOUT@READTHEHOOK.COM
The sport of polo sometimes seems to have a split personality. One the one hand, it's a centuries-old pastime of royalty and high-society. But on the other hand, it's a rough-and-tumble game not unlike hockey, played at dangerously high speeds with hooves and mallets flying.

Fortunately, our area is a great place for anyone interested in learning more about both sides of the sport. Not only do aspiring players have several active clubs and instructors to choose from, but spectators can take in live polo action several times a week thanks to the range of local games and traveling regional teams.

"When you show horses, you have to hang around all day waiting to spend a few minutes out on the course," says Piedmont Polo Club (PPC) president Lani Peppers-Angle. "But with polo, you're in constant motion, always changing direction and following the game. I don't have the patience to sit through shows any more, but this is really a whole lot of fun!"

The PPC plays "arena polo"– a small-scale version of the traditional sport– this one in a dirt-surface arena about the size of a football field. Teams of three gallop around after what looks like a small soccer ball for seven and a half minutes before changing horses and heading back out for another chukka (polo-speak for a "quarter").

The large ball and enclosed play area (the arena looks like a giant hockey rink surrounded by a four-foot wall) are popular with beginning players, but even experts can appreciate the tight, fast-paced game and arena's year-round appeal.

And unlike the kind of high-society grass polo that you often see in movies (the divot-stomping scene in Pretty Woman, for example), the arena game is an intense and spectator-friendly variety that focuses more on the sport and less on the social scene.

"It makes for a fun family evening," Peppers-Angle says, "and it's beautiful to sit out there and watch the moon rise. Plus, it's incredibly affordable; where else can you take the whole family out for a night at $3 apiece?"

Founded in 1988 as an all-female organization, the PPC now has some 15 regular members of both sexes that meet to play every Saturday night throughout the summer months. They also host teams from out of town for invitational matches several times a year.

The PPC plays Saturdays at 7pm at the Virginia Polo Center in Albemarle (at Forest Lodge Farm on Old Lynchburg Road, south of town). Matches are open to the public (admission is $3 for adults, free for children under 10.) Dress is casual, and tailgate picnics are welcome. For more information, contact Lani Peppers-Angle at lpa@aol.com. Another option is the Charlottesville Polo Club. They sponsor several weekly games, both arena- and grass-based, at the Virginia Polo Center indoor/outdoor venue. Call 977-7656 or email mtnmule@comclin.net for information about their activities.

PERFORMANCE
Chin up! Annie opens Ash Lawn festival

BY ROBERT ARMENGOL PERFORMANCE@READTHEHOOK.COM

My earliest memory of Little Orphan Annie comes from a dinner theater somewhere in Northern Virginia, where my grandparents took me many moons ago. I'm grateful they wanted to introduce their young grandson to the arts, but I have to admit it all more or less flew over my head.

The food was good, but that urchin with the fiery hair, the booming voice, and all this talk of the sun coming out– it seemed excessive and contrived to me. At age 9 or 10, with nothing more than memorizing multiplication tables to worry about, what did I know about hope?

Hope is an outlook for trying times.

That helps to explain why the original Annie, hero of Harold Gray's right-wing comic strip, was so hugely popular during the Great Depression and the 1940s. When Annie and her mutt, Sandy, weren't foiling the plans of greedy aristocrats and labor agitators, they helped sink Nazi submarines.

Softened around the political edges, Annie lost none of her spunk when she made it to Broadway in the Charles Strouse musical in 1977, during that other era of high gas prices. Perhaps a dose of Annie's strong-headed optimism, if not the conservative agenda she subtly pushed, is exactly what we need these days.

The folks at the Ash Lawn Opera Festival seem to think so. They've chosen the classic musical to open their season, to be augmented later this summer by Rossini's The Barber of Seville. Annie starts this week and will run for 14 performances in July and August. Barber opens July 24 for 10 performances. Nick Olcott directs both shows.

The story line of Annie is practically etched into the American subconscious. Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, that big rich guy with a gentle heart, tries to rescue Annie from a dismal life in the city orphanage– but will the nasty Ms. Hannigan and her schemes get in the way?

Rebecca Rizzo, an adult actress, plays Annie, but 11 local girls from age 4 to 12 will back her up as the other orphans. Festival artistic director Judy Walker says the local talent came out of the woodwork when auditions were held last spring.

"It's really fun," says 12-year-old Samantha Centerbar, who portrays the spicy Pepper with a maturity beyond her years. "My character is very bitter because of the orphan life. She's kind of cranky, I guess. But then gradually she becomes closer to Annie. She gets nicer."

It's hard, after all, not to warm up to that little redhead.

Performances of Annie are scheduled for July 10, 11, 17, 18, 25, 27, 29 and 31; August 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 and 14. All shows at 8pm. Free lectures before the first two Saturday shows start at 7:15pm. Ash Lawn-Highland, off Route 795. $15-24. 293-4500.

TUNES
Heading high: All of 15 could be big
BY MARK GRABOWSKI TUNES@READTHEHOOK.COM

With a slight hardcore vibe on top of pop songwriting and a penchant for the old new wave, All of 15 just might become the local band to break Charlottesville's velvety bounds and burst into the stratosphere of the national consciousness.

It seems, though, that when I print something like "gonna be bigger than the Beatles," the band in question has a bad habit of promptly breaking up. But, in spite of qualms about my god-like powers, I'm still going to fill you in on their splendid sounds.

Formed in Charlottesville in 1998, All of 15 is a trio composed of Jim Franck on bass guitar and vocals, Colten Noakes on guitar and vocals, and Jay Nottingham on drums.

After releasing their first album, 2001's Away Game on Glass Tube Records, the group played extensively in DC and Richmond, also making it out to the Midwest a couple of times. 2002 saw the release of the four-song Bang! EP, a disc which is noticeably more loose and playful then the previous release.

Bang! begins with "Suffocation in the Year 2001," a space tune, part new wave and part hardcore, in the melodic vein of a group like Helmet. Beginning with "Ignition sequence has started, 5-4-3-2-1," sampled from a rocket launch, the group kicks in immediately following the countdown with their instruments on stun.

"I'm floating toward the ceiling/ mission control hasn't done too much lately/ they're flying plastic airplanes through the windows of plastic machinery." The song's catchy verse is a little let down by its chorus ("Why don't you try harder?" I can imagine the verse saying), a group shouter, but it's still fine and not really that big a deal.

Noakes has a straining voice that, although not always precise, is endearing in its foibles.

The group's July 8 show at Outback Lodge will be the last time you can see the group until mid-August– they're taking time off from performing to go in the studio and record a new album, and the live tracks available on the group's website (allof15.com) bode well for their future.

"Orange Dust" is a staccato-driven pop nugget, whose vocal melody fits in the off-beats, moving your head in a tick-tock fashion as the song marches along. Moving from quiet verse to distorted screamed chorus, "Suffocation" is also a nice evolution for the group from their one mode songs of the past. See them now, see them in a month– it doesn't matter to me. Just check them out.

All of 15, Inside Voices, and Evenout perform Thursday, July 8, at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.