Cultural calendar, July 15-22, 2004

THURSDAY, July 15
ART
Wake Up!:
Don't sleep through today's reception for Jennifer Van Winkle. She's putting the final touches on her exhibit, "Curtain of Commerce," before the party 5-7pm at the Arts Center in Orange. 672-7311.

FAMILY
Magic Pots, Recycled Bottles:
Puppeteer Kathleen Jacobs tells stories and shows kids how to turn ordinary objects into puppets and props at Scottsville Library at 10am. 330 Bird St. 286-3541. Also at Northside Library at 3pm. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

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 three 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: Will Whitten of Drum Call & Friends shows young drummers entering grades 6-12 how to craft a shekere, a West African percussion instrument made from a gourd, at Scottsville Library. Materials provided. 2-4pm. Free. Registration required. 330 Bird St. 286-3541.

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. Free. Registration required. Space limited. 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.

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.

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

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 Theatre, Culbreth Road. $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. 977-4177x100.

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. 977-4177x100.

WALKABOUT
Camp Jeep:
This annual festival brings together Jeep owners from all over the country for a weekend of Jeepin' activities, workshops, and more. 10am-6pm. Oak Ridge Estate. Fee (although you don't need to drive a Jeep to attend). 800-789-JEEP or jeep.com for info and registration details.

TUNES
Matthew Willner Solo (guitar, bass, loops and devices) downstairs at Starr Hill:
Watching Matthew Willner play, building layers of variously effected guitar, bass, and other sounds, is quite an experience. No cover, 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 (piano-man) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm. (W)

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

Tom Prasada-Rao and Cary Cooper as The Dreamsicles with Mary Gordon Hall and Mike Cvetanovich at Gravity Lounge. $10, 8pm.

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

33 West and Three Call Theory at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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

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

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

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

John Lee of Caveman (solo "tribal jazz") at West Main. No Cover, 10pm.

Rick Diamond (12-2pm) and Michael Dubvsky (6-8pm) at Veggie Heaven. No cover.

FRIDAY, July 16
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 India. 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.

World Beat: This is your last chance to 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. Film ends today. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727. smv.org.

Calling Teen Musicians: Northside Library and the Music Resource Center are teaming up to give teen musicians the chance to show off their talent. Vocalists, rappers, bands, and more can sign up for a spot in this showcase that will show the world what you've got. 6-9pm. Free. Registration is required. Northside Library, Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

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

WALKABOUT
Fridays After 5:
The popular outdoor concert series continues. This week's act is The Casuals.

Tennis Tournament: Take in some action-packed tennis at the Virginia Junior Tennis Classic. Match times TBA. No fee. At Snyder Tennis Center, located next to Memorial Gymnasium on Emmet Street. 924-3791 or virginia.edu/ims/jr-tennis-classic for info.

Open House: Come to the Pantops Clinic, meet new staff, and learn about the range of drug and alcohol treatment programs that they offer. 1-4pm. No fee. Joe McCluskey, 220-0080.

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

Camp Jeep: See Thursday, July 15.

PERFORMANCE
Fiddle Feet: Traditional music from the Morrison Brothers on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and drums will keep you moving at a contra dance hosted by the Albemarle Chapter of the Country Dance and Song Society. 8-11pm; beginner's workshop starts at 7:30pm. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. $7; under 12 dance for free. 973-4984.

True West: See Thursday, July 15. Tonight, chat with the cast and director after the 8pm show.

Broadway Bound: Fine young singers with the Ash Lawn Opera Festival flex their vocal cords to bring you your favorite show tunes in this week's installment of Music at Twilight. 8pm. Ash Lawn-Highland, off Route 795. $8-12. 293-4500.

Three Days of Rain: See Thursday, July 15. Tonight's show is at 7pm.

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. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

TUNES
The Casuals at Fridays After 5:
Combining pop with a little jam, Johnny Sportcoat and the Casuals was the big thing in town in the early '80s. Bob Girard, singer for the group, released Decline and Fall of John Q. Sportcoat last year, a live recording of the group's past numbers featuring some original Casuals members. Free! 6pm.

Jay Pun at Garden of Sheba: Alternate tuning wizard Jay Pun's sweet folk/funk songs are setting up a buzz around town– see him before it's too late (to spend less than $17.50 on tickets). $5, 8-10pm

The Hamiltons at Gravity Lounge: Ezra Hamilton of the late Belding Principle lends his guitar and exquisite vocals to the Hamiltons, a new group composed of Ben Jacobs on bass and (this summer) Jamal Milner on guitar, filling in for Joe Lawlor, who's out on tour. $5, 8pm.

Travis Elliott (pop) at Atomic Burrito. No cover, 10pm.

Mystic Vibrations (live reggae) at Garden of Sheba. $5, 10pm.

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

Cannonball Coming at Orbit. $3, 10pm.

Brainbell Janglers at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Synthetic with Stroud, Bake, and DJ Lost at Rapture. $3, 10pm.

Kurt Crandall backed up by Fulton and the Fulltones (blues) at Shebeen. No cover, 10:30pm.

BN Whitlow at Starr Hill's Cocktail Lounge. Free, 9:30pm.

CD Release Party: Devil Takes the Hindmost and the Screams at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

Dinah Pehrson Band (blues) at West Main. No Cover, 10pm.

Charlotte Hisey (12-2pm) and Andrew McAteer (6-8pm) at Veggie Heaven. No cover.

SATURDAY, July 17
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.

Poetry Corner: Special guest Michelle Allaire comes to the Virginia Discovery Museum to spin snake stories and poems. The talented poets from the museum's Poetry Club join her to read their original poems. 11-11:45am. Included with museum admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

British Invasion: The Spitfire defended the skies of England during the Battle of Great Britain and symbolized the British people's struggle against the Nazis. Now the RAF's most famous fighter comes to Richmond along with three other British aircraft and score of Triumph automobiles in an exhibit "The British are Coming! The British are Coming!" opening today at the Virginia Aviation Museum. 9:30am-1:30pm. Included in the price of admission. 5701 Huntsman Road, Richmond International Airport. 804-236-3622. vam.smv.org.

Maymont Mammals: Young explorers ages five and up can discover the similarities and differences between some of the 80 mammals at Maymont during a program "Bunnies, Bats, & Bears." Kids will meet a rabbit from the Children's Farm, feel otter fur, examine a raccoon skull and bobcat teeth, study bats, and take an outdoor hike to see the bears. 3pm. $6 per parent/child pair. Register at the Visitor Desk on the day of the program. 2201 Shields Lake Drive. 804-358-7166, ext. 324.

Tell Me a Story: Little literati ages five and up can enjoy animal stories 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.

Don't be Afraid!: Join other women to learn ways to protect yourself including intuition, awareness, assertiveness, effective confrontation, and basic close-contact physical self defense. $25. Noon. Yoga Center, 1117A E. Market St. 823-2558.

Bastille Feast: Jefferson's love of good food and French culture is well known, hence the Jefferson Winery's annual food and wine extravaganza (a.k.a. Fete de la Bastille) emphasizing the French Independence Day celebration. 6:30pm. Fee, and reservations required. 977-3042 or jeffersonvineyards.com for info.

Virginia Winemaker Dinner: Prince Michel winemaker Brad Hansen and three other Virginia wine pros team up to pair their best local wines with a selection of gourmet cuisine. 5-9pm. Fee, reservations required. 800-800-WINE or info@princemichel.com.

Tennis Tournament: See Friday, July 16.

Not What You Think: Studio Baboo instructor Louise Smith offers a class in Basic Peyote. You will make a pair of elegant, tailored earrings while learning one of the most versatile off-loom stitches. 10-2pm . $35. Downtown Mall. To register or for information, call 434-244-2905. studiobaboo.com.

Local Fauna: Botanist Tim Williams leads a walk through the summer landscape at Ivy Creek Natural Area, explaining the various flowers and ferns found there. 9am. No fee. Meet at the Ivy Creek barn, off Earlysville Road. 973-7772.

West Virginia Adventure: Spend the weekend hiking, caving, swimming, and stargazing with the Outdoor Adventure Social Club in the wild and wooly mountains of West Virginia. Depart 9am Saturday and return Sunday evening. Fee, plus membership. 760-HIKE or outdoorsocial.com for info.

Garden Insects Workshop: Learn about helpful insects and how to introduce them into your garden. You'll also learn techniques to remove the destructive pests decimating your okra, watch an introductory slide lecture, and take a tour through Monticello's kitchen garden. 9:30am. $10, registration required. 984-9822 or monticello.org.

RAF Reminiscences: Ron Dick, a former pilot with Britain's Royal Air Force, shares his memories of a lifetime spent in the skies over Europe. 7pm. No fee. 5701 Huntsman Road, next to Richmond International Airport. 804-236-3622 or vam.smv.org for info.

PERFORMANCE
Serious Swing:
The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society returns this month with an extended night of swinging and other dance numbers. Singles and partners welcome. Gary Davenport teaches the country two-step lesson for beginners, 8-9pm; dance with DJ Michael Smith, 9-12pm. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. $6-12. 980-2744.

The Most Lamentable Comedy: See Thursday, July 15. Today's show is at 2pm.

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. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. 7:30pm. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

Anton in Show Business: See Thursday, July 15.

True West: See Thursday, July 15. Today there are two shows, at 2 and 8pm.

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. Ash Lawn-Highland, off Route 795. (Go early and attend a free lecture at 7:15pm.) $15-24. 293-4500.

Three Days of Rain: See Thursday, July 15.

TUNES
The Jan Smith Band at Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery:
Picnic baskets welcome for this performance of one of Charlottesville's most enjoyable acts. $7 admission plus a wine glass; children under 12 free. $7, 4-8pm.

X-Porn Stars at Outback Lodge: Still alive and kicking, the funk-happy wacked-out soul that makes up X-Porn Stars is frighteningly great. $6, 10pm.

Arrested Development at Starr Hill: A decade ago songs like "Tennessee" and "Mr. Wendle" made the hip-hop/world group Arrested Development a household name. Last summer's Starr Hill performance lingered in legend long after the band left town– why not make a memory of your own this year? $18/$16, 9pm.

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

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

Sal Milione and Neuronimo at Live Arts. No cover, 8pm.

Heather Berry and the Virginia Carolina band (old time and bluegrass). $5, 8pm.

African Show Boyz at Shebeen. No cover, 8/10pm.

Radio nite life: Rock Dj night at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

Clarence Green and the Chameleon Project ("soulful grooves") at West Main. 10pm, No Cover.

Justin Eppard at Veggie Heaven. 1-3pm. No cover.

SUNDAY, July 18
WALKABOUT
Holistic Dog Care:
Join internationally known trainer Wendy Volhard for a day focused on holistic care for your dog: nutrition, supplements, kinesiology, homeopathy, and Chinese medicine. 9am-4pm. $75 fee includes lunch and all materials. The Animal Connection. 1701 E. Allied St. 296-7048.

Glass-Blowing Workshop: Try your hand at glass blowing with a one-day class at Sunspot Studios in Staunton. You'll get to watch a master in action, and then jump in to create a paperweight of your own. 9am and 12:30pm sessions (the later class delves into more advanced techniques). $85 for the paperweight workshop ($150 for the advanced class). 202 S. Lewis St. in Staunton near the old train station. Caroline Sheridan, 540-885-0678 or cbsheridan@designsincopper.com for info and reservations.

Butterfly Walk and Count: Mike Scott leads this annual butterfly walk at the Ivy Creek Natural Area. Learn more about local butterfly species and participate in the National Butterfly Association's count. 1pm. No fee. Meet in the Education Building at Ivy Creek. 973-7772. See Walkabout feature.

Plantation Community Weekend: The Mulberry Row experience continues today. 10am-5pm. Fee included in general admission. 984-9822.

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.

Common Themes: Unity Church in Charlottesville hosts an eight-week World Religions series, "Many Paths, One Presence" exploring the common themes underlying all religions. This week's topic is "practical Christianity" with special guest Richard Mekdeci. 10:30am. Senior Center, 1180 Pepsi Place. 978-1062.

Tennis Tournament: See Friday, July 16.

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.

Merchant of Venice: See Friday, July 16. Today's show is a matinee at 2pm.

Annie: See Saturday, July 17.

Sappho and Phao: Shenandoah Shakespeare's Bring 'Em Back Alive educational series presents John Lyly's opus. Scripts in hand, regional actors come together to perform this lesser-known Renaissance play about a common ferryman who falls for a royal beauty. Enjoy refreshments with the actors at intermission. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. Free. 540-885-5588. See Performance feature.

TUNES
B.C. at Miller's: Having released their first CD in God knows how long, "Puberty and Justice for All," B.C. have finally grabbed hold of the ethereal and have something concrete to show for their song-smithing prowess. Check them out– and the CD. No cover, 10:30pm. (W)

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

Kevin Welch at Gravity Lounge. $12/$10 advance, 8pm.

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

MONDAY, July 19
WALKABOUT
Military Law:
Brigadier General Scott C. Black, commandant of the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, discusses the role of defense counsel and what military lawyers assigned to defend unpopular detainees owe to their clients. 11am. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-0921.

Don't be Afraid!: See Saturday, July 17.

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.

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

Matthew Willner solo (guitar, bass, loops and devices) at Miller's. No cover, 9pm.

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)

Rose Purdy (12-2pm) and Grasping at Laws (5:30-7:30pm) at Veggie Heaven. No cover.

TUESDAY, July 20
PERFORMANCE
Snoopy:
Charles Schulz's famous beagle– and World War I flying ace– takes center stage in this musical based on the comic strip Peanuts. Fun for the whole family. Heritage Repertory Theatre opens the show this week for 20 performances. 7:30pm. Helms Theatre, Culbreth Road. $14-20. 924-3376.

Anton in Show Business: See Thursday, July 15.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: See Saturday, July 17. Tonight's 6:30pm show is a family night special.

Director's Round Table: Join Live Arts artistic director John Gibson for a monthly chat about what directors do anyway. A free-wheeling exploration of the nature of creativity through the art, craft, science and myth of directing. Recommended for adults with prior directing experience. 7-10pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100.

WALKABOUT
Needlepoint Club:
The Piedmont Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild meets monthly; beginners and advanced stitchers welcome. 1:30 pm. Northside Library. Gretchen Janesak, 985-6474.

FAMILY
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.

Switcheroo: Teens in grades 6-12 can make a beautiful polymer clay light switch cover to light up their rooms or give as a unique and personal gift in a workshop at Gordon Avenue Library. 1-3pm. Free. Registration required. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Let's Make a Circus: Jeanne Wall (aka "Lulu") of BackPack Puppets presents a one-woman interactive variety show featuring juggling, magic, rope tricks, and amazing feats of balance at Central Library. 10:30am. Free. Central Library. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.

Writes of Summer: See Thursday, July 15. Today's program at Northside Library, Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Date Night: The Science Museum of Virginia gives mom and dad the chance to spend some quality time alone with TGIF on Friday, July 23, but today is the deadline for the required pre-registration. Thank Goodness It's Friday and Fun lets little ones ages 4-12 enjoy an evening of science fun under the care of museum staff that includes dinner, an IMAX movie, and organized activities. 6-10pm. $20. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-864-1544. smv.org.

Try it Out: Girl Scouts of Virginia invites girls ages 5-6 who are not currently enrolled in scouting to try on their Daisies program for size through a series of five sample sessions. Today's program is It's a Bug's Life. 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 Monday, July 12. Today's program for kids entering 4-5 grades. 2-3:30pm. Northside Library, Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

TUNES
Old School Freight Train at West Main:
Old time music played by a younger set, Old School Freight Train could be renamed Team Virtuosos– the band contains some of the greatest instrumentalists in town. No cover, 10pm.

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)

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)

Cheick Hamala Diabate at Garden of Sheba. $10, 10pm.

The Extracurricular Funk do eclectic avante garde/funk over dinner at Hamsa's Garden, no cover, 5:30-8:00"

WEDNESDAY, July 21
PERFORMANCE
Three Days of Rain:
See Thursday, July 15. Tonight's show is at 7pm.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: See Saturday, July 17.

Snoopy: See Tuesday, July 20.

FAMILY
Tales for Tots:
The five and under crowd can hear food and picnic stories at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time where the reading list includes The Stray Dog by Marc Simont and Too Market by Anne Miranda. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Reel Time: See Tuesday, July 20.

Let's Make a Circus: See Tuesday, July 20. 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.

FAMILY AND WALKABOUT
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 paper quilling with Russell Hubert (participants take home a hand-made greeting card). 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.

WALKABOUT
Sailing Club:
Yacht racing in central Virginia? That's right; all of the excitement of the America's Cup, only smaller. The Blue Ridge Sailing Club meets weekly to race their radio-controlled model yachts on Wintergreen's Lake Monocan, and the regattas are free and open to the public. Evenings. Call Dan Butterfield at 361-1357 for details about each week's race.

Ride to Work Day: Join thousands of motorcyclists across the county for "bikers commute" to demonstrate this useful and efficient form of transportation. 974-7069 for local info.

Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century: Join Dr. Chad Moutray, Chief Economist of the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, for a discussion of modern entrepreneurship. Noon. No fee, but registration is required. At the UVA Darden School, Classroom 40. 924-4065 or bowlingl@darden.virginia.edu.

Blackberry Picking: See Sunday, July 18.

Winemaker's Dinner: Metro chef/owner Vincent Derquenne teams up with winemaker Michael Shaps to prepare a gourmet wine dinner in the King Family Vineyards' barrel room. 7pm. $75/person. Reservations required. 823-7800 or kingfamilyvineyards.com.

TUNES
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)

The Red Hot Chilly Pickers at Dr. Ho's. No cover, 7-9pm.

Country Dance Night (couples and line) at Fry's Spring Beach Club. $7/$4 students, lessons 7-8pm, dancing 8-11pm. 977-0491 (W)

Benvolio at Gravity Lounge. $5, 7pm.

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

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

Funk Faction ("hip hop/funk/horns/harmonies and general booty-shaking grooves") 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)

Karaoke Night at West Main. No Cover, 10pm.

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

THURSDAY, July 22
FAMILY
Writes of Summer:
See Thursday, July 15. Today's program for kids entering 6-10 grades. 2-4pm.

Let's Make a Circus: See Tuesday, July 20. Today's program at Scottsville Library at 10am. 330 Bird St. 286-3541. Also at Northside Library at 3pm. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

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.

Jar the Floor: An "explosion of matriarchal energy," according to Live Arts. Four generations of women gather to celebrate the 90th birthday of the eldest in their clan in this Cheryl L. West play, one of four in repertory this summer. 9pm. Live Arts Upstage, 123 E. Water St. $8; $3 beer garden. 977-4177x100.

Merchant of Venice: See Friday, July 16.

Snoopy: See Tuesday, July 20.

TUNES
Stabones, Weapons of Choice, and Shakedowns at Outback Lodge:
The Stabones' party-punk tunes play well with the UTS (bus-drivers) crowd, and any lovers of a good jump-tastic time. $6, 10pm.

Peen at Atomic Burrito. No cover, 10pm.

Thanks!

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)

Scuffletown and The Taters at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

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)

North Mississippi Allstars at Starr Hill. $15/$12, 10pm.

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

Snug (funk) at West Main. No Cover, 10pm.

Rick Diamond 12-2pm and Michael Dubovsky (6-8pm) at Veggie Heaven. No cover.

Upcoming and Ongoing
ART
New McGuffey Hours:
McGuffey is now open one extra hour per day, five days a week– Tuesdays through Saturdays until 6pm. Closed Monday, Sunday 1-5pm. Now you can stop by after work! 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973 mcguffeyartcenter.com.

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.

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.

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.

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

Streamwatch Water Monitoring: Join John Murphy of the Rivanna Conservation Society for a trip to assess watershed health at several sites along the Rivanna River. Contact the RCS for info and to find other certified monitors in your area. 589-7576 or rcs@avenue.org

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 July, 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.

During July, the C&O Gallery shows "More than Sculpture," a variety of work by David and Christian Breeden. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

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. See Art feature.

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.

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.

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.

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

Spruce Creek Gallery offers fine art and distinctive crafts including new paintings by Junko Ono Rothwell. Rte 151 in Nellysford. 361-1859.

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.

During the month of July local artists Peg Redd of Fork Union, Page Coplan of Glen Allen and Paul Charlton of Scottsville display their artwork at Caffe Bocce. 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
Brush off: Alford's economics of painting
BY LAURA PARSONS ART@READTHEHOOK.COM
How many brushstrokes does it take to convey meaning? How little delineation is needed to elicit recognition? And to what extent can the surface underlying a painting participate in the painted image?

These are three challenges that seem to fuel the artistic imagination of Lucy Alford, whose "Red Clay, Pale Sky: oils on wood from Nelson Co., Virginia," is currently on view at the New Dominion Bookshop. Although a current of personal attachment runs through the show, Alford's subject matter varies, ranging from landscapes to figures to object studies. What the 28 paintings share is the artist's interest in experimenting with technique.

Perhaps the most minimal painting on display, "three" presents a faint purplish-black wash, almost like spilled grape juice, outlining three nude figures on vertically grained wood. A few deftly placed white strokes suggest ribs, breasts, heads, and the division between legs. Alford takes advantage of the wood's grain to imbue the painting with a sense of movement and life.

Elsewhere Alford uses her surface's unpainted negative space to create a positive, as with the tree looming on the left of "wayside: late afternoon." Occasionally, the wood's color serves as an additional pigment in her palette, such as the dirt tan of tilled furrows between a garden's plant-filled rows in "Grieg Farm: first heat."

Even when she fully obscures her basic surface, Alford continues to play with weight and line in her brushstrokes. In "fenceline, Augusta," a vertical stroke representing the first fencepost in the foreground is thick with white paint, adding three-dimensional relief to the image. But as the fence recedes into the distance, the paint weight on Alford's brush diminishes, too.

One of the most engaging works on display, the tiny "cows, some," demonstrates how a tiny bit of visual information can provoke a response in the viewer. A few short, horizontal, black-brown strokes become cows grazing on a hill created from a swath of rust red sandwiched between a washed-out strip of sky above and a field of unmown hay below, where white horizontal sweeps of the brush produce windblown fronds in the foreground.

Different from her other paintings, Alford's "nightroad home" provides information via small flashes of color within a dark square of varied blacks. An arc of white marks the road's edge; miniscule strokes of yellow and white yield a caution sign reflecting headlights; and two brushes of red become the taillights of a distant car.

With focused minimal effort, Alford distills her world into its essential, sentimental elements.

The New Dominion Bookshop displays Lucy Alford's "Red Clay, Pale Sky: oils on wood of Nelson Co., Virginia" on its mezzanine level through the end of July. 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-2552.

WORDS
Then and now: War's sad, compelling power
By SUSAN TYLER HITCHCOCK WORDS@READTHEHOOK.COM

War– the topic that never grows old.

We read and write, analyze and debate, learn– and return with fascination to learn more. We have war novels and war chronicles, war memoirs and war documentaries, war rationales and war scandals. The human imagination seems to want war. Some idealists would say that, in studying war, we learn how to transcend it. Realists would say it's just an inevitable, unfortunate manifestation of human nature.

Whatever the causes, it's the human impact that will be considered on Thursday, July 22, as three Civil War experts come together at Barnes & Noble for a panel discussion and book signing on the U.S. Civil War. Charlottesville author and historian Rick Britton moderates the discussion between two recently published authors: Gary W. Gallagher, UVA's John L. Nau III Professor of History; and Lyman Richard Comey, chronicler of his own ancestor's Civil War past.

Gallagher has written, edited, and contributed to dozens of books on the Civil War, including studies of Robert E. Lee and battlefield analyses. His current book, The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862, brings to eight the number of essay collections he has edited for the University of North Carolina Press on the war's important military campaigns. Essays in the current volume focus especially on how actions during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign established Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's reputation as a soldier and Confederate hero.

Comey, a retired high school principal, has studied a wealth of written material by his great-grandfather's cousin, Henry Newton Comey, a Union soldier. As a new graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy in 1861, Henry Comey answered President Lincoln's call in response to the South's attack on Fort Sumter. He enlisted in the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry and rose to the rank of captain in 1864, keeping journals and writing letters along the way and summing it all up in a memoir after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. From these sources, Lyman Comey has compiled his book, A Legacy of Valor.

It's impossible to get a similar vantage point on the war in Iraq. We have no big-picture battlefield analyses, no years-long collections of letters, journals and memoirs. We do have thoughtful journalists like George Packer, Baghdad correspondent for The New Yorker. Packer has been filing news and analysis from the center of action since the war began. He will have been back from Iraq only two days when UVA's Miller Center hosts him on the morning of Friday, July 23, on "War after the War: What Washington Doesn't See in Iraq."

Two chances to reflect on– and perhaps gain some understanding of– the perplexing dilemma of war.

Gallagher, Comey, and Britton talk on Civil War history at Barnes & Noble on Thursday, July 22, at 7pm. Barracks Road Shopping Center, 984-0461.

Packer speaks on the Iraq war at the Miller Center on Friday, July 23, at 11am. 2201 Old Ivy Road, 924-7236.

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

On a sultry summer evening, women in billowing bustled gowns and men in breeches and waistcoats may be seen gliding around an outdoor dance floor to the strains of live period music. Even Mr. Jefferson from Charlottesville might have been among the guests enjoying an English country dance at the Orange County estate of his friends Mr. and Mrs. Madison around the year 1770.

Modern folks are cordially invited to attend a Colonial Performance and Barbecue at Montpelier, the Madisons' home on Sunday, July 18. The Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Society will present "The Pleasure of Providence," an evening of enchanting 18th century-style entertainment.

This event happens on the front lawn of the mansion with James Madison's neoclassical temple as a period backdrop for this play-within-a-play that entertains as it teaches about the sort of theater, music, dance, and humor that might have occurred in Madison's day.

Visitors are welcome to come early and spread their blankets on the grassy lawn to enjoy a picnic supper in this bucolic setting. Barbecue suppers will be available for purchase on the grounds, or folks can bring their own.

The Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Society is a community theater group formed four years ago with a mission to preserve and portray Central Virginia's rich colonial heritage. They have presented programs throughout the area at schools, camps, and historical sites.

Fastidiously accurate in their visual and verbal representation of the period, the 27 costumed performers– in character– circulate among and chat with noshing guests prior to the performance. Afterward, they entertain questions about 18th century theater and culture.

"The combination of the setting and the performance makes this great entertainment for the whole family," says education director Beth Taylor.

Kids can feel free to get up and dance along if they like, Taylor assured. Audience participation is also on the agenda.

The Colonial Performance and Barbecue at Montpelier takes place rain or shine on Sunday, July 18. Grounds will be open for picnicking at 6:30pm. Performance starts at 7:30pm. $5 admission, free for children under 6 and Friends of Montpelier. Barbecue suppers $8. Reservations requested for performance and supper 540-672-2728, option 6. Route 20, four miles south of the town of Orange. 540-672-2728, ext. 411.

WALKABOUT
Pony up: Playing or watching, polo rocks
By TIM SPRINKLE WALKABOUT@READTHEHOOK.COM
Ever wonder how many blades of grass are in your yard? How many bristles in your toothbrush? At first glance, the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) "Butterfly Count" seems like the same sort of impossible mission&endash; volunteers in hundreds of locations all over the U.S. heading out to tally up all the winged insects they can find. But upon closer inspection, you can see that there's actually a method and behind this annual ritual.

According to the NABA, participants "select a count area with a 15-mile diameter and conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle." After all the locations have sent in their results, the NABA pools the data into a comprehensive annual report that provides a snapshot of the North American butterfly population. Researchers use the report to keep tabs on species' movements from year to year, and compare results to see how the butterfly population responds to new situations– from changes in weather patterns to increased human encroachment.

The NABA count, now in its 30th year, happens all over the country, but Charlottesville butterfly enthusiasts need only travel as far as the Ivy Creek Natural Area to participate on Sunday, July 18. An extension of their monthly "Butterfly Walks," the local event is designed to be an educational workshop for butterfly fans of all ages, old pros and novices alike.

"It's a learning experience," says Dede Smith with Ivy Creek, "but it's also a lot of fun. We do participate in the national program, but the main focus for us is to show people how the survey is done and what this information is used for. Plus, it's a great way to get out and see all kinds of different local butterflies."

Mike Scott, an amateur lepidopterist (butterfly expert) who has led the Ivy Creek butterfly count for several years, starts off the morning with an identification workshop featuring a display of native Virginia species from his personal collection. That way, everyone knows what to look for and how to record their sightings. Then he leads the group around the "Red Trail" at Ivy Creek for the count itself. The same route is used every year since it takes participants through several different butterfly habitats&endash; fields, forest, water– and maintains count consistency from year to year.

As for potential butterfly counters, Smith has only one piece of advice: "Hope for a hot, sunny day," she says, "because that's what brings them out."

The Sunday, July 18 event is open to everyone, no experience needed. For additional information on the 1pm event, contact Dede Smith with the Ivy Creek Foundation at 973-7772 or visit avenue.org/icf.

PERFORMANCE
Also wrotes: Get to know other dramatists
BY ROBERT ARMENGOL PERFORMANCE@READTHEHOOK.COM

I know, I know. The word "educational" doesn't exactly propel throngs of couch potatoes out of their Barcaloungers and into theaters. But even Michael Moore, with his bad hair and scorched-earth tactics, can persuade huge audiences to catch up on all the news they've missed. Why not Shenandoah Shakespeare?

The Staunton theater company is known for its stunning barebones performances of classics like The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream (both playing this summer). But the company also wants to help theatergoers catch up on all those other Elizabethan playwrights they've never heard of.

At the Blackfriars Playhouse on Sunday, July 18, Shenandoah Shakespeare will present this season's first installment of Bring 'Em Back Alive, a five-play series that's part entertainment, part discovery, part theatrical incubator.

I can think of at least three great reasons to give it a whirl:

First, you get to see the playmaking process in action as the actors, scripts in hand, develop a character they've known for barely half a day. Cast members meet the director at noon, go over the script for the first time, divvy up the parts, and put a show together by 7:30. If you want, you can go early and watch them rehearse. If you don't like what you see, or you have some pointers on stage presence, you can let the performers know as you mingle with them over a cup of joe at intermission.

Second, you can help set the record straight: William Shakespeare was not the only late 16th-century theatrical hotshot. He was one of several poets and playwrights vying for her majesty QE I's good graces. Bring 'Em Back Alive aims to resurrect some of those other writers.

This weekend's show features John Lyly's Sappho and Phao. Shakespeare's elder by a decade, Lyly is said to have had an important influence on the bard. He operated the original Blackfriars, which began as a boys choir in a monastery. His plays mix Greek mythology with contemporary themes like prohibition and desire. In Sappho, Venus and Cupid make cameo appearances to usher along the love between a man and a woman divided by social status. Ring any bells?

Shemina Keshvani Lloyd, director of educational programs for Shenandoah Shakespeare, says some of the plays first performed for Bring 'Em Back Alive are later produced as part of the troupe's regular season.

"It's a like a focus group," she says. "This is an opportunity for us to explore a piece and see if an audience responds to it. We really believe our stage can be used not only as a place of entertainment but a laboratory for theater."

What about that last reason for going? It's the best of all: While most Blackfriars productions cost as much as $28, this one is free.

Actors from around Central Virginia come together to perform Sappho and Phao on Sunday, July 18. Enjoy refreshments with the cast at intermission. Other plays in the Bring 'Em Back Alive series: A Chaste Mail in Cheapside by Thomas Middleton, Oct. 17; The Devil Is An Ass by Ben Jonson, Nov. 21; and Broken Heart by John Ford, Feb. 20. All shows at 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. Free. 540-885-5588.

TUNES
Pun intended: New kid in town
BY MARK GRABOWSKI TUNES@READTHEHOOK.COM

Most commonly used for Celtic and older country tunes, the DADGAD guitar tuning, invented by Davey Graham in the early 1960s, is probably the most commonly used of all alternative tunings. For non-guitarists out there, alternative tunings (instead of the usual EADGBE) can sometimes make more difficult chord structures easier to play, and give the sound produced a different feel.

Take your guitars out and follow along:

Step 1. Match the note on the 7th fret of the 6th string with the open 5th string

Step 2. Match the open 2nd string with the 2nd fret of the 3rd string

Step 3. Match the 1st string with the 5th fret of the 2nd string

Strumming all the strings with your right hand (without touching them with your left) produces a D-suspended-fourth chord, and you are one step further to becoming local guitar virtuoso and songwriter Jay Pun.

A Charlottesville native, Pun studied under finger-style guitarist Pierre Bensusan in France (Bensusan is a stringent DADGAD practitioner) before attending Boston's famous Berklee College of Music. There the tuning became his principal means of expression, influencing his sonic direction and songwriting.

Pun and Johnny Gilmore, drummer for Corey Harris and the 5X5, have recently begun performing as a duo around town under the name Brown Folk, but Pun's solo performances have been garnering attention as well. Four mostly solo (plus violin by Morwenna Lasko, who commonly performs with Pun live) acoustic performances are available on Pun's website (jaypun.com), making it possible to check out the show before you go.

"Take In Some Time" does not really show off Pun's fearsome guitar abilities; rather, it's a slow modern folk song, where Pun's relaxed singing style and general breezy feel only slightly suggest his axe-wielding capabilities.

"Bok Choy" is where Pun's true talents shine. In the instrumental (except for Pun's quiet beat-boxing in the background), Pun is free to weave expressive guitar lines and chords together, with sections at points harking back to the Middle Ages. "Sunshine" provides a good amalgam of the two previous tunes– ringing chords combine with short picked passages as Pun's sweet (and at times almost falsetto) "We can let the night fall away, we can stay awake and this time we'll say..." floats gracefully on top of the complicated background.

Pun has a lot of interesting friends– beside Johnny Gilmore, he's been known to play bass with Corey Harris. You just never know who's going to show up at Garden of Sheba on Friday.

Jay Pun performs at Garden of Sheba, July 16. $5, 8pm.