Cultural calendar, August 26-September 2, 2004

THURSDAY, August 26
Fly away:
Young explorers ages 4 and up and their parents can flock to Maymont for "Feathered Friends," a program that includes a hike to the aviary to meet some real live owls and painting a gourd birdhouse to take home. 10am. $20 per parent/child pair. Reservations required. 2201 Shields Lake Drive. 804-358-7166, ext. 333.

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 and modern dance for those at any skill level. Belly dance for beginners, 6-7pm; intermediate belly dance. Sexy pole dancing for beginners, 7-8pm; intermediates, 8-9pm; advanced, 9-10pm. 652 Rio Road W. Ten-lesson series $125. 975-4611.

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.

Matthew Willner solo at Starr Hill downstairs:
Willner's otherworldly accompaniments take the form of looped repeats of anything he plays, created live before your very eyes. Listen as the cacophony of sounds builds and builds. No cover, 10pm.

Songlines (rock) at West Main. No cover, 10pm.

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

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

Showcase and Falls Church (pop) at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

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

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

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

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)

FRIDAY, August 27
Fourth Friday:
"The Museum: Conditions and Spaces" opens today at the UVA Art Museum with a reception. 5:30-7:30pm. 155 Rugby Road.

Indigenous: The Kluge-Ruhe Collection kicks off the new exhibit, Indigenous, with a reception today, 5:30-7:30pm, featuring delicious finger food, Australian wine, and the best collection of Aboriginal art outside Australia. Peter Jefferson Place, Pantops Mountain. 244-0234.

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 Tahiti. Come in costume if you like. Sessions at 10:30, 11, and 11:30am. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Little wigglers: Kids who love getting down in the dirt can worm their way into nature at Maymont's "Wonderful World of Worms," a program about worms, composting, and decomposition. Participants will dish up some dirt pudding (yum!) and make a composting bin to take home. 10am. $20 per project. Materials provided. 2201 Shields Lake Drive. 804-358-7166, ext. 333.

Fridays After 5:
The popular outdoor concert series continues. This week's act is Monticello Road. It's free!

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

Staunton gala: The Staunton Music Festival hosts its gala dinner at El Capote, the grand 19th century home of a local family. Enjoy a festive chamber concert featuring works by Haydn and Beethoven, preceded by dinner and drinks and followed by a tasty dessert. $50. 540-885-7873.

Merchant of Venice: Money, love, justice, mercy and a pound of flesh &emdash; 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.

David Bailey with John Whitlow of Scuffletown and Martine Locke at Gravity Lounge:
Bailey just released his new album, HOPE, The Anthology. $11/$8, 8pm.

Quinton Parker at Rapunzel's: Resident jazz pianist Quinton Parker performs one last summer show at Rapunzel's before the onslaught of school. No cover, 8pm.

The Rusticators at Shebeen: Recently completed a cross country move to our beloved Staunton, this eclectic acoustic group plays styles ranging from "contemporary folk to rockin' California pop." No cover, 10:30pm.

Field machine, Folkskunde, VHS & the Babies at Tokyo Rose: Folkskunde's concise riff driven pop should go well with VHS & the Babies quirky version of the same genre. $5, 10pm.

Inner Space (jam) at Coupe de Ville's. No cover, 10pm.

Monticello Road (rock) at Friday's After 5. Free, 5:30pm.

David Bailey with Martine Locke at Gravity Lounge. $11/$8, 8pm.

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

Stone's Stew (jazz) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

Sundried Opossum at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Sumthing (funk experiment) at West Main. No cover, 10pm.

Jay Pun at Garden of Sheba. No cover, 10pm.

Peen (Ween cover band) at Orbit. No cover, 10:30.

SATURDAY, August 28
Tell me a story:
Little literati ages 5 and up can enjoy back to school stories during story time at Barnes & Noble. 11:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

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

Mountain biking: Join the Outdoor Adventure Social Club for an evening of mountain biking at Sherando Lake. 5pm. $5, plus membership fee. 760-HIKE or for info and registration.

Back to basics: Studio Baboo offers a class in bead stringing basics. Beginners can learn to make a necklace or bracelet. 10am-12:30pm at the studio. $25 (materials included). Come back later for a class in making custom earrings. 5:30-7:30pm. $25 fee includes materials. 106 Fifth St. Downtown Mall. 244-2905 or to register.

Dido and Aeneas:
Musicians perform a chamber concert of Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas, preceded by a Telemann concerto. 8pm; doors open an hour before for a conversation with the musicians. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $6-$14. 540-885-7873.

Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri at Gravity Lounge:
See the duo perform their rootsy pop (together and apart) and stare into each other's eyes. $10/$8 advance, 8:30pm.

Rock the Ballot with The Beetnix, Man Mountain Jr., Small Town Workers, and Songline at the Satellite Ballroom (next to Plan 9 on the Corner): Raising awareness of the importance of voting and advocating the Democratic ticket, locally and nationally, is the mission of the partisan Rock the Vote showcase. The Beetnix's intelligent hip-hop, Man Mountain Jr.'s funktastic shakin tunes, and Small Town Workers '70s rock vein are all reasons to come out, even if you're for Bush. $7, 8pm.

American Dumpster at Shebeen: "Junk yard folk" group American Dumpster are influenced by the best– Cast, Dylan, and Elvis– for an integrative sound of their diverse styles. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

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

Dreamcar (rock) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

Los Diabolos ("Boston Irish-Jewish folk-punk") at Shebeen. No cover, 10:30pm.

Acousteddon: Jim Wave band (10:00), Atsushi Miura (11:00), and B.C. (11:45) at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm

Snug at West Main. No cover, 10pm.

SUNDAY, August 29
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.

Festival finale: The Staunton Music Festival caps off its season of chamber performances with works by Brahms as well as Virginia composer John Hilliard. Chat with Hilliard an hour before the show. 4pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $6-$14. 540-885-7873.

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.

Fifth & Dice: Sepia, a new local performance company dedicated to enhancing black theater, holds auditions for an original play, Fifth & Dice, to be staged at Live Arts in November. Producers are seeking about 25 actors and actresses with diverse backgrounds as well as volunteers who can work on lighting and sound. 7pm. Studio 110, Dancefit Movement Center, 609 E. Market St. Call Edna-Jakki Miller or Bill James, 295-4774.

Farm days:
Experience 19th-century life in the Blue Ridge first-hand at Humpback Rocks' Farm Days exhibition. 1-4pm. No fee. 540-943-4716. See Walkabout feature.

Jefferson Parkway nature walk: Two hour, three-mile hike around Thomas Jefferson's mountain. 9:30am, weather permitting. No fee. Meet at Kemper Park at the base of Monticello Mountain. 984-9822.

Butterfly walk: Join Mike Scott for an end-of-summer stroll through the Ivy Creek Natural Area, spotting and identifying late-season butterflies. 1pm. No fee. Meet in the Education building. 973-7772 or

River trip: Join the Rivanna Conservation Society for a trip down the local river and a mini clean-up session. or 984-5678.

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

Tres Chicas with Las Gitanas (The Gypsy Chix) at Gravity Lounge. $10/$8, 8:30pm.

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

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

MONDAY, August 30
Election selection:
Interested in time travel, the Wild West, iambic pentameter, small town politics or love potions? Try out for Offstage Theatre's production of The Election, a new play by Joel Jones in this second round of auditions. Cold readings from the script. If you can sing a ditty or play a lick, let Offstage hear it. 6-8:30pm. Madison Room (3rd floor), Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, 201 E. Market St. 244-8432 or

Free belly dance: Girls and women ages 15 can receive three days of Egyptian belly dance instruction starting tonight with teacher Alexandra Bourque. (Next two courses are Wednesday, September 1 and Sunday, September 5.) Technique, 7pm; beginner II level, 8pm. ACAC Albemarle Square. No fee. Call 978-3800 to register, 249-4611 for more information, or visit

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

Greg Howard at Miller's. No cover, 10:30pm.

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, August 31
Albemarle County Fair:
The annual family-oriented fair opens today at the fairgrounds at North Garden and runs through September 5. Tonight's grand opening celebration features the new UVA Cavalier Marching Band. Food, live entertainment, carnival rides, contests, competitions, but no rain (we hope). Route 692. 293-6396 or for daily schedule and other details.

American Dumpster at the Station Restaurant. 8L30pm, no cover.

Karaoke Night (what you make of it) at Baja Bean. Free, 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)

$2 Tuesdays with Big Circle at Outback Lodge. No cover, 10pm. (W)

WEDNESDAY, September 1
Meet Jim:
Piedmont Virginia Community College presents an exhibition of pinhole photography by Mary Baldwin College art prof Jim Sconyers Jr. through September 24. An artist's reception happens today, 5-7pm. Earl V. Dickinson Building, 501 College Drive. 977-2001.

Free belly dance:
See Monday, August 30.

Tales for Tots:
The 5 and under crowd can hear stories about cows and farm animals at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Albemarle County Fair: See Tuesday, August 31.

Astronomy exhibit:
Larry Saunders with the Charlottesville Astronomy Society will discuss the history of the Constellations at 6:45pm in the McCormick Observatory. Afterward, stay for a chance to peek at the stars through the observatory's powerful telescope. No fee, and open to the public. 975-4231.

Free belly dance: See Monday, August 30.

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)

Ann Rabson with Joan Fenton at Gravity Lounge. $15/$12 advance, 7:30pm.

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

Travis Elliott (acoustic pop-rock) at Orbit. No cover, 10pm. (W)

Man Mountain Jr. at Outback Lodge. Free, 10pm.

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

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

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. (W)

Jim Waive at Atomic Burrito. No cover.

THURSDAY, September
Alliance dinner meeting:
Interfaith Gay Straight Alliance of Central Virginia, a faith-based group working for full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders and their families, meets the first Thursday of each month. 7pm. Westminster Presbyterian Church, Rugby Road. Brown bag supper at 6pm. 220-0970.

Albemarle County Fair:
See Tuesday, August 31.

The Stabones, VPR, Smash Casters at Tokyo Rose:
Hardcore punks, meaning both their attitude and their sound, arrive at the Rose- V.P.R is from D.C., and they just finished a leg of the Warped tour. $5, 10pm. See Tunes feature.

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)

Navel 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)

Open Mic Night at Kokopelli's Café in Crozet. No cover, 6:30pm sign-up.

Upcoming and Ongoing
Country dance night:
Couples and line dancing at Fry's Spring Beach Club. Dance lesson Wednesday 7-8pm, dancing 8-11pm. $7, students $4. (students $2 every fourth Wednesday). 2512 Jefferson Park Ave. 977-0491.

Walk on:
Master carver Norman Amos has achieved his goal of carving one example of every type of snake indigenous to Virginia. His extraordinary collection of carved snake canes is on display at the Virginia Discovery Museum through September 5. The exhibit is free, but those who wish to play in the museum's other areas are asked to pay admission. Located on the east end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

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.

G'Day, Mate!: The Virginia Discovery Museum goes to the ends of the earth to explore the island of Australia this summer. The 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.

Big Bones: China may be a world away, but through September 6 kids can play with replicas of ancient dinosaur skeletons right down the road at the Children's Museum of Richmond. Lots of hands-on exhibits. Most activities are free with museum admission. The museum is open 9:30am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday, noon-5pm on Sunday. Admission is $7. 2626 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-474-2667.

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

Gentlemen, Start your Engines!: The pressure. The teamwork. The danger. The speed. The fans. The groundbreaking IMAX® film NASCAR: The IMAX Experience thrusts you into the driver's seat to experience a visceral journey inside America's most popular spectator sport at the Science Museum of Virginia. Runs through September 17. Call or see website for schedule and cost. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

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) now through September. $85 fee for the paperweight workshop ($150 for the advanced class). 202 S. Lewis St. in Staunton near the old train station. 540-885-0678 or for info and reservations.

NAACP Meeting: The local chapter of the NAACP meets on the second Monday of each month. 7pm. Tonsler Park Community Center; Cherry Avenue near Fifth Street. 293-4044.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scottsville Farmers Market: Miss the Charlottesville market on Saturday? Head down the road to Scottsville for all sorts of fresh vegetables, fruits, crafts, and baked goods, served up May through October. 4-7pm. Located off Valley Street in Scottsville. 286-2505.

The Second Street Gallery is temporarily dark. Stay tuned for Sharon Shapiro's upcoming September show. City Center for Contemporary Arts, corner of Second and Water streets. 977-7284.

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents a yearlong exhibition, "Jefferson In and Out," exploring "the world influences that shaped Thomas Jefferson's cultural interests." On August 27, the museum welcomes a new exhibit, "The Museum: Conditions and Spaces," offering both a visual and physical experience, with a Fourth Friday opening 5:30-7:30pm. The exhibit is on view through October 17. Three other new shows, "The Odyssey: Watercolors by Karen Shea," "Paradise Lost: Photographs by Sally Mann," and "Emmit Gowin Photographs" open September 1 and run through October 17. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

Piedmont Virginia Community College presents an exhibition of pinhole photography by Mary Baldwin College art prof Jim Sconyers, Jr. through September 24. An artist's reception happens Wednesday, September 1, 5-7pm. Earl V. Dickinson Building, 501 College Drive. 977-2001.

Recent works by Glenn Bangley are on view at Café Cubano during the month of August. 112 W, Main St. in York Place on the Downtown Mall. 971-8743.

Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association members Barbara Ryan and Randy Sights Baskerville have work on view on the second floor of the Albemarle County Office Building through August. Corner of Preston Ave. and McIntire Road.

The Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art features "Twice Born: Marsupials in Aboriginal Art," through November 6. Also on view through November 27: "Indigenous: Selected Works from the Kluge Ruhe Collection."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.

Nature Visionary Art presents "29 Works by Henri Thezume, Cap Haitian Master," during the month of August. 110 Fourth St. 296-8482. See Art feature.

The Gallery @ 5th & Water displays the oil paintings of Jean R. Sampson through August 30. Located in the foyer of the architectural firm of Stoneking/Von Storch and the accounting firm of Henderson and Everett. 107 Fifth St. 979-9825.

During August, CODG presents a solo exhibition of fingertip oil paintings by Harrisonburg artist Jack Brandt. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

During August, the C&O Gallery shows "A Passion for Color," paintings by Nick Martori intended "to evoke a feeling of nostalgia." Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

For the month of August, Sage Moon Gallery features "Garden Varieties" watercolors by Holly Macaulay. 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. 501 E. Jefferson Court Sq. 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 Laughing Lion Gallery presents "C-Ville Dancers Part 2: Small Portraits" by Terrence Pratt during the month of August. 103 E. Water St. in the Commerce Building (above London's). 984-4000.

During August, the Mudhouse shows work by Sanjay Vora. 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

View James May's watercolor and acrylic landscapes, inspired by the artist's travels, at Art Upstairs through August. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

Transient Crafters displays "Recent Musings in Watercolor," an exhibition of paintings by Leslie Allyn, through the month of August 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

During August, Bozart Gallery features its annual members' show. 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.

Mountain Air Gallery, Etc. presents Joyce Lynn's "Realism and Impressionism" during August. 107 and 111 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 244-3393.

La Galleria now features the work of the late Al Rossi in addition to other local artists. 1919 Commonwealth Drive (next to Rococo's). 293-7003.

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.


On September 1, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts opens "Selections: 20th Century Latin American Art in the VMFA Collection." 200 N. Broad St., Richmond. 804-340-1400.

The Artisans Center of Virginia hosts its first "Artisan Members Exhibition" through September 2. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

Through September 4, The Arts Center in Orange features a mixed-media installation of toy-based objects, "Spielzug/Zeitgeist," by Jennifer Van Winkle. 129 E. Main St., Orange. 540-672-7311.

Madison's Sevenoaks Pathwork Center hosts the Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Associations 11th annual "Juried Art Show" through September 25. Winners include Chris Rudasill, J.M. Henry, and Douglas Williams. 403 Pathwork Way, Madison. 434-295-2486.

The Beverley Street Studio School Gallery in Staunton presents "Printmaking from the Center," featuring work by Doris Anne Miller, Elaine Hurst, Anne Sills, Barbara Phillips, and Astrid Heimer Tuttle, through September 1. 222 W. Beverley St., Staunton. 540-886-8636.

Sun's Traces Gallery displays quilting by Patricia Hoke, nature photography by Evelyn Eades, as well as turned wood pieces by Dick Wexelblat and clay works by Paula Brown-Steedly. 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.

Abstract memories: Vora scratches the surface
By Laura Parsons
Unpatriotic confession: Grandma Moses leaves me cold. I find her flat landscapes filled with simply rendered people going about everyday life the artistic equivalent of chicken McNuggets– easy to consume but hardly a satisfying meal.

Unfortunately, Grandma Moses sprang to mind when I viewed Nature Visionary Art's current exhibition of Henri Thezume's Cap Haitian paintings. Just as Moses' folk art illustrates down-home America, Thezume's depicts daily Haitian life.

But the more time I spent with Thezume's work, the more I noticed contrasts with Moses' idealistic outlook.

In keeping with the Cap Haitian tradition, Thezume's paintings are all interiors, the walls painted in the blues and salmon-y pinks common to the tropics. Greens are relegated to the lush Haitian landscape glimpsed through open windows.

Unlike Moses, Thezume doesn't fluff up imagined carefree days of a bygone era. Instead, his works, commissioned from 1980-82, depict un-romanticized mundane moments– visiting the doctor, chopping meat in a fly-ridden butcher shop, or shopping at a half-empty store.

Always the composition is vertically divided in thirds, the top providing a detailed account of the ceiling; the middle, the walls of the room; and the bottom, the floor (often patterned). Thezume peoples his interiors with no fewer than four characters– usually more– often showing their faces in profile. Brightly patterned textiles, seen in women's dresses, curtains, and hospital bedclothes, break up an otherwise almost dull palette.

Disturbingly, the most vibrant work on view is "Police Bureau," where sunny mustard-colored walls enclose a policeman whipping a shirtless prisoner on the left. In the center, two handcuffed men plead their case before officers in bright blue shirts, standing beneath a wall of billy clubs. (Not exactly Grandma Moses fare.)

Although the paintings appear straightforward, there is subtle commentary within their frames. The three paintings in which Thezume includes white figures reflect the uneven power relationships in Haiti's politics, religion, and economy. "Presidents Award" shows three diminutive white men in suits beneath a U.S. flag on the left while larger figures– a Haitian leader, his wife, military officers, and businessmen– crowd the right. In "First Communion" white priests place wafers on congregants' tongues.

But Thezume's wryest painting is "Art Market," in which white tourists flood a shop of mass-produced arts and crafts. Within the piece, idealized landscape paintings hang next to a door, where a bearded traveler stands smiling, his back turned to the real Haiti waiting outside.

Henri Thezume's Cap Haitian paintings are on view at Nature Visionary Art through the end of August. 110 Fourth St. 296-8482.

Hometown pride: Locals nuzzle literary stardom

We've done it again. Authors with Charlottesville connections have made a significant showing among the nominees for the 7th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards.

Among nonfiction finalists, the home team ruled. Edward L. Ayers– UVA's dean of arts & sciences, chaired professor of history, named Virginia's top professor– racked up another accolade with the nomination of his new Civil War book, In the Presence of Mine Enemies. Norfolk Virginian-Pilot writer Margaret Edds– last year a fellow in residence at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities– is up for a prize with An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington, Jr. Suzanne Lebsock, a 1977 UVA history PhD (now a chaired professor at Rutgers), snagged a nomination for A Murder in Virginia, her study of an 1895 Lunenburg County murder with social and racial ramifications.

Three local poets are finalists. Debra Nystrom's Torn Sky is a collection of poems about the Dakotas but touched up, one imagines, here in Charlottesville, since Nystrom is a UVA creative writing prof. She's up against previous award-winner R. T. Smith, for Brightwood, and Eliot Khalil Wilson, for The Saint of Letting Small Fish Go By.

In fiction, the book links to our fair city are tangential. Edward P. Jones, whose his first novel The Known World (about antebellum black slave ownership) won a Pulitzer, earned a UVA MFA in creative writing. Richard Bausch, dear friend of and occasional teacher in that UVA program, is nominated yet again, this time for The Stories of Richard Bausch. His novel Hello to the Cannibals won first place in fiction last year. T. R. Pearson, best known for his 1985 novel, A Short History of a Small Place, was tapped for True Cross, in which he retrains his eye for rural detail in and south of Roanoke.

Topping the list of Charlottesville stars with neither competition, debate, nor tangent, George Garrett will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than 30 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, his five years of UVA teaching in the 1960s plus another 16 up to 2000, and his genial advocacy of writing and literature as Virginia's poet laureate from 2002 to 2004.

Stay tuned in mid-October for the announcement of the winners.

Visit the Library of Virginia online at or in Richmond at 800 E. Broad St. 804-692-3592.

Speed demons: Fastrax puts kids in cars

There's a lot of attention being paid to cars around our house these days. My son just turned 16 and will soon have a license to drive. It's a scary thing, especially since this guy is so competitive: he always wants to be the first one off the starting line and the first to cross the finish line. Coming around some of those curves on these lonely county back roads, I sometimes I have to close my eyes when he's driving.

So just to keep my sanity and give both my kids an automotive adventure that will leave them in one piece at the end of it all, we decided to head over to the track in Waynesboro.

No, we didn't go to East Side Speedway where real racers put big engines to the test every weekend. We went to Fastrax where speed demons in all shapes and sizes (plenty of Mustang Sallies show up here too) can get their adrenaline fix behind the wheel of a motorized go-kart on two predefined, but nevertheless thrilling, paved tracks.

For $5 a pop, racers can take a five-minute spin in a vehicle with all the horsepower of a good-sized lawnmower at a top speed of 19 mph. Little drivers shorter than 56 inches can take a kiddie car out on the figure-8 or oval tracks for just $3 (these go 5 mph). And stunt car drivers 16 years or older can climb aboard a winged sprint car that offers a bigger test of skill on the oval track where "Grandma's secret recipe" slicks the curves, making it a real challenge for lead-foot drivers. Fastrax even has a special car with hand controls for drivers with physical challenges.

When the Christmas tree turns red and drivers have to pull in for a pit stop, there are still lots of things to keep them busy at this roadside tourist attraction. Outside, there's an 18-hole miniature golf course and a climbing, curving, round-about tube maze. Inside the corrugated metal building, players can enjoy batting practice, play pool or air hockey, or test their skill in a room full of arcade games.

It may not be the sort of big league excitement East Side offers experienced racers, but it's an easy alternative when kids of any age have a need for speed.

Fastrax is open Monday-Friday 4-9pm, Saturday noon-10pm, Sunday 1-9pm. The racing season runs from March through October. Located at the Rt. 340 exit of I-64 (exit 94) behind the Super 8 Motel, 1110 Red Top Orchard Road. 540-949-5278.

On the farm: Mountain life at Humpback Rocks
Brick-lined streets, alfresco dining, laid-back afternoons– life in central Virginia has always been like that, right? Well, no. While these qualities are hallmarks of Albemarle that some folks may imagine have existed since Jefferson's day, we're actually living in a very different Charlottesville than our predecessors did. In fact, as recently as a century ago, life in the Virginia foothills was hard, defined by the daily struggle for survival.

Need some proof? Visit the Humpback Rocks Visitor's Center Sunday, August 29. That's when the Blue Ridge mountain farm will be presenting its Farm Days celebration of Appalachian culture and history. Designed to offer a peek into the life of an average 19th-century farming family, the day (just one, despite the event's name) will be packed with hands-on workshops, demonstrations, and entertainment for the whole family.

"Our goal is to offer a number of activities representative of life on an Appalachian farm in the 1890s," explains John Stockman, an Interpretive Ranger at Humpback Rocks and a specialist on early mountain life.

"We'll have a gentleman making deerskin moccasins, a chair-caning demonstration, hand-weaving on an 1830s loom, and all sorts of hands-on activities so people can get involved," Stockman says. And, best of all, it's all free.

Rangers and actors in costume will demonstrate time-honored Virginia skills like quilting, basket making, needlework, butter churning, and more, inviting visitors to try for themselves. A group of local musicians will provide traditional music.

Farm Days is a good chance to tick that Charlottesville-rite-of-passage hike up to Humpback Rocks off your personal to-do list. The trudge is worth it too, especially for that moment when you first take in the peak's amazing view of the Piedmont. (A word of warning about the hike: Although it's only about a mile up to the top, it is a very strenuous climb. Be prepared to spend at least an hour on the trip, and wear sturdy shoes that can handle a little scrambling over roots and rocks.)

"Come on up, go for a hike, bring a picnic lunch, see the garden, and learn a little about what life was like in the 1890s," Stockman says. "If the weather stays nice for us, it should be a great day. Our hope is that this can become an annual event for communities on both sides of the mountain."

Activities happen at the Humpback Rock's farm 1-4pm Sunday, August 29. All events are free. From Charlottesville, take I-64 west to Afton and exit onto the Parkway heading south. The sign for Humpback Rocks is about five minutes up the road at milepost 5.8. 540-943-5716.

New again: Measure reflects '70s hedonism

An artist with a populist streak, William Shakespeare would probably be making movies, not plays, if he were alive today.

Even the bard has to pay the bills, right? So amid the blockbusting Hamlet and Lear, films of his lesser known works– let's say Measure for Measure– would be the sort that kept him happy, produced on a shoestring, released independently, screened in art house theaters, and worthy of critical, if not popular, acclaim.

And, if it had a director like Shenandoah Shakespeare's Fred Nelson, it might be embellished with disco-era vibes: recollections of Studio 54, flared suits, big hair. That's exactly what the Staunton theater company plans to do when it brings its traveling troupe to Piedmont Virginia Community College next week for a performance of Measure for Measure on the main stage of the V. Earl Dickinson Building.

Ever faithful to the bard's language as well as his theatrical conditions– small casts, intimate spaces, universal lighting– the folks at Shenandoah Shakespeare like to have some fun with all the other stuff. Last year, the cast of King Lear donned dark glasses and business suits and talked on cell phones.

Opting for a 1970s theme in Measure for Measure, where hedonism itself is the central dilemma, seems particularly apt.

You might say the play lies just east of schizophrenic. Technically speaking, Measure is a comedy since it ends in marriage rather than death. But its "two hours' traffic" is more seedy than laughable. Teeming with brothels and illicit trysts, Vienna is left temporarily in the hands of a deputy duke whose moralistic rule is matched only by his hypocrisy. Would-be nun Isabella must sell her body if she's to save her brother, Claudio– sell it, that is, to the very man who sentenced Claudio to death. All the while the real duke, creeping around as a friar, watches with downcast eyes.

Of the four weddings that could bring Measure to a close, two involve grooms who say they'd rather die than marry their brides. Some comedy.

"There's a lot of what-would-you-do questions in this play, and nobody is spotless. That's what I love about it," says Joyce Peifer, the play's assistant director. "I think Shakespeare is snubbing his nose at the establishment, at the standard of what a comedy should be."

At PVCC, Peifer says, the troupe has to make some adjustments to approximate the feel of Shenandoah's Blackfriars Playhouse. But she says the Charlottesville venue, the first stop on a tour that will take its players across Virginia, the Midwest and Canada, is "fabulous" nonetheless.

The 500 seats at Dickinson are angled sharply, so no one is too far from the actors. And the stage itself is large enough to accommodate extra seats for audience members who want to brave the action up close.

PVCC spokeswoman Mary Jane King says Shenandoah Shakespeare's annual visits to the college usually draw a student-heavy crowd. But who knows? Maybe this year's show will summon all those Saturday Night Fever fans out of hiding.

Shenandoah Shakespeare Express performs Measure for Measure at PVCC Friday, September 3. 7:30pm. V. Earl Dickinson Building, off Route 20. $10-17. 961-5376.

Rumbling below: Local boys make good... noise
"Shushhh… hear that?"

"No, what?"

"I think someone's down in the basement…"

"Oh, my God, what are we going to do?"

"Shushhh… I think there are punks down there. Okay, maybe more hardcore punks than old fashioned, mohawk sporting, chain gang lovin', God save the queen gutter punks, but its still got that energy. I'm going to go check it out."

"Be careful, honey."

"I know, I know, I've got my bat, enjoy your sushi."

That's right folks, it's time for another fun filled evening of power chords and improper diction at the Tokyo Rose, primo venue for witty conversation about existential crises.

With the coming of that teeming mass known as "the students," Charlottesville's show quotient ratchets up, and kicking off the coming event-filled season is a show by DC-based V.P.R., the Goones, and local nobodies-to-somebodies, the Stabones.

V.P.R. has been in existence for two years, and has had, according to their band history, an extensive lineup: "many of Washington, D.C.'s most talented players have played for V.P.R including performers of United 121, BHG, Iron Cross, Bar Fight, and Wake Up Cold."

The group's current lineup includes Shawn "Fahker" on vocals, Jeff Berman on guitar, Chris Suspect on bass, and Geoff Bender on drums.

On V.P.R's latest album, 2004's Aural Assault (Squirrel Heart Records), the group mystically fits 15 tracks of bone-shaking, guttural groaning frenzy into just under 20 minutes (only one contains no music, the rest are just really short numbers). The under-45 second "Tramatized," starts off this high velocity tirade right– awash in a quick bass drum/snare/bass drum/snare… repeat, repeat, repeat beat, power chords played with a rapidity that calls to mind the lead work of '80s masters and "Fahker's" throaty snarl. The track lays out all that is to come on Aural Assault.

Local party group the Stabones have accompanied V.P.R. on their first couple of shows. I witnessed their live show a few months back and was much impressed by their ability to stir up a crowd of like minded individuals. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones' vibe on their selection of originals and choice covers (such as classic Misfit's tunes) make for one fine evening. If you like noise, that is.

A mere $5 gets you entrance to an evening of revelry seldom seen in Charlottesville (though incidences seem to be on the rise)– make sure you get their in a timely manner, to fully appreciate the anarchy.

V.P.R, the Goones, and the Stabones at Tokyo Rose, September 2. $5, 10pm.