Cultural calendar, Septembre 2-9, 2004

THURSDAY, September 2
FAMILY AND WALKABOUT
Ferris Wheel, Food, Diving Ducks:
The Albemarle County Fair is in full swing at the fairgrounds in North Garden. Food, music, carnival rides, watermelon seed spitting, husband calling, fiddling, tractor pulls, but no rain (we hope). Rt. 692. 293-6396. avenue.org/fair .

WALKABOUT

AARP Meeting: The Albemarle-Charlottesville Chapter of the AARP holds their first fall meeting tonight at the Ponderosa Restaurant in Pantops Shopping Center. All are welcome. 11:30am. 828-5322 for info.

Interfaith Gay Straight Alliance of Central Virginia: Join the faith-based group as they work towards full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and their families. Meets the first Thursday of each month. 7pm. Westminster Presbyterian Church on Rugby Road, in the Rite 13 Room. 220-0970 for details.

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 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.

TUNES
Navel at Outback Lodge:
The first date of the 16 week Mid-Atlantic Rock Connection (MARC) showcase features Navel and Skinny, Blonde, and Good-looking. Part of the proceeds benefit VH1's Save the Music Foundation, which seeks to advance the cause of music education at public schools. $3, 10pm. See Tunes feature.

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

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)

FRIDAY, September 3
FAMILY
Ferris Wheel, Food, Diving Ducks:
See Thursday, September 2.

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. 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.

On the Frontier: The Frontier Culture Museum hosts a free First Fridays event designed to let folks see what the museum has to offer. Families can bring a picnic basket and lawn chairs and sup on the grounds, then wander down to the four historic farms for a living history presentation. Concessions are available. 6:30-8:30pm. Free. Rt. 250 west in Staunton. 540-332-7850, ext. 165. frontiermuseum.org.

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 Houserockers. It's free!

Labor Day Spectacular: Kick off the Labor Day weekend with an arts & crafts show, cookout, hayrides, and live music. 10am-5pm. Wintergreen Resort. Call 325-8180 or visit wintergreenresort.com. See Walkabout feature.

PERFORMANCE
Measure for Measure: Shenandoah Shakespeare Express brings this Shakespearean "problem play" exploring hedonism, arrogance and power to Piedmont Virginia Community College. 7:30pm. V. Earl Dickinson Building, off Route 20. $10-17. 961-5376.

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.

TUNES
Ezra Hamilton and Will Coles downstairs at Starr Hill:
Guitarist and X-treme vocalist Hamilton and percussionist Coles present their take on soul for your approval. No cover, 9pm.

"C-villain" Rock DJ Dance Night at Tokyo Rose: Yes, we should all shake that booty, in the locale of Tokyo Rose. Get in before 11; you can miss Star Trek this once. Free till 11pm/$2 after, 10pm.

The Houserockers with Davina Jackson, winner of C'ville Superstar at Fridays After Five on the Downtown Mall. Free, 5:30pm.

Nickeltown and Tom Proutt & Emily McCormick at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8:30pm.

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

Cannonball Coming (rock) at Orbit. $3, 10:30pm

This Means You at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Dj Bovay (hip-hop turntablist for the Beetnix) at Rapture. $6, 10pm.

SATURDAY, September 4
ART
Mystery Talk:
William Wylie, UVA art prof, presents a gallery talk about either the photography of Emmet Gowin, or the UVA Art Museum's current show, "The Abstract Beauty of Scarred Landscapes," or maybe some other topic. No one seems to know the subject. Go find out! 2pm. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592.

Bee There: The Artisans Center of Virginia features "Ancestors," sculptural ceramics by Bee Zwart, during September. Opening reception today, 2-4pm. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

FAMILY
Merriment in the Mountains:
Madison County hosts the 12th annual Taste of the Mountains Festival. Tours of the historic Kemper residence, reenactments, music and dancing, antique cars, home-made ice cream, arts and crafts, antiques, and special events just for kids. Free admission. Park in the high school lot on Rt. 29 and take a free shuttle into town. 540-948-4455.

Peak Experience: Wintergreen Resort hosts a Labor Day Spectacular including an arts and crafts show, crafts to make, contests and games, music, chairlift rides, summer grilling, Ye Olde Fashioned Ice Cream Social, and more. Tonight hayrides, a teen center party, and a production of Shakespeare's comedy Two Gentlemen from Verona at the Evans Center. Fun starts at 10am. Rt. 664 in Nelson County. 325-8180.

Tell Me a Story: Little literati ages 5 and up can enjoy stories about boats and trucks during story time at Barnes & Noble. 11:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Ferris Wheel, Food, Diving Ducks: See Thursday, September 2. AlbemarleFamily hosts the Pet Contest today.

WALKABOUT
Holiday Bracelet:
Join Studio Baboo instructor Terri Gable as she teaches how to make sterling silver and Swarovski crystal bracelet styled like those found in expensive boutiques. 10-11:30am. $26 fee, materials included. Registration required. 106 Fifth St. Downtown Mall. 244-2905.

First Saturday Bird Walk: Spring migration is the highlight of the April bird walk at the Ivy Creek Natural Area, led by Bonnie Sexton of the Monticello Bird Club. Beginners welcome. Meet in the parking lot. 7:30am. Earlysville Road. 973-7772.

Charlottesville Women's Four-Miler Race: Come out to support the runners during this annual women's race sponsored by the Charlottesville Track Club. 293-6115 or ctc@avenue.org for course information. See Cover story.

Shenandoah's Future: Explore our local wilderness and learn more about the challenges of preserving it on this moderately strenuous five-mile hike through Shenandoah National Park. $35 fee, registration required. 540-999-3489 or nps.gov/shen/seminars.html.

Seed Saving Workshop: Learn how early-American gardeners saved seeds and got the most from their gardens. You'll examine the seed production cycle, then visit the gardens for a hands-on collecting demonstration led by Monticello's Flower Gardener, Allie Skaer, and Seed Gardener, Stephen Bromm. 9:30am. $10 fee., reservations required. Monticello Garden Shop. Call 984-9822 or visit monticello.org for info.

Wintergreen Harvest Celebration: Welcome the fall harvest with a day of music, grape stomping, hayrides, wine tastings, vineyard tours, and more, at the Wintergreen Winery. 10am-6pm. $5 fee includes souvenir glass. 361-2519 or wintergreenwinery.com. See Walkabout feature.

Harvest Open House: Join the Afton Mountain Winery as it says "so long" to summer with a day of grapes, wine, live music, and more. 10am-6pm. Fee. 540-456-8667 or aftonmountainvineyards.com for info.

Oakencroft Harvest Music Festival: Vineyard tours, wine tastings, live music, and light fare at Oakencroft Winery. 11am-5pm. Fee. 296-4188.

PERFORMANCE
The Most Lamentable Comedy of Sir John Falstaff:
Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the premier run of an original adaptation of that most gluttonous of Shakespeare's characters, culled from choice scenes in Henry IV and a bit of Henry V. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

Actors Lab: Acting coach Carol Pedersen helps participants sharpen their skills and gear up for coming auditions. Drop in from 10-11am every Saturday, or sign up for the next full session beginning Sept. 11. Full sessions run 10am-1pm. Rehearsal room A, Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10 drop-in; $160 for an eight-week session. 977-4177x100.

Merchant of Venice: Money, love, justice, mercy and a pound of flesh– this Shakespearean comedy has it all. Shenandoah Shakespeare's players will entertain and disturb, and leave you guessing who is hero and who is villain. 2pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

TUNES
Frontbutt: Last Show Ever at Outback Lodge:
How many rap covers has the group done over their career? Hundreds, at least. Come pay homage at their final show before they hang up the gangsta cred forever. $6, 10pm. See News story about the band.

The Red Hot Chilly Pickers at Rapunzel's: Old-time maniacs the Red Hot Chili Pickers ring in the fall with their rustic charm at Rapunzel's tonight. $5, 7:30pm.

Girlyman with Lis Harvey (folk) at Gravity Lounge: Check out this androgynous pop trio (two girls and a guy) and their energetic songs, tight harmonies, and a veteran stage presence that can't be beat! They've mastered The Art of Not Taking Oneself Too Seriously, and the audience goes nuts every time. $15/$12 advance. 8pm.

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

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

D.I.Y. (groove) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm.

Two Red Shoes (bluesy rock) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

The Red Hot Chilly Pickers (old-time) at the Nellysford Farmers Market. Free, 10am-12am.

Smoove: Scotty B (aka Mountain Rasta), Audio Rapture, and Egghed23 at Rapture. $5, 10pm.

"Get Some" DJ Dance Night at Tokyo Rose. Free til 11pm/$2 after, 10pm.

SUNDAY, September 5
FAMILY
Walk On:
Master carver Norman Amos has achieved his goal of carving one example of every type of snake indigenous to Virginia. Today is the last day visitors to the Virginia Discovery Museum can see his extraordinary collection of carved snake canes on display there. This one is not just for kids. 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.

G'Day, Mate!: Today is also the last day to explore the island of Australia in the Virginia Discovery Museum's Back Gallery exhibit "Outback & Down Under." Visitors can 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.

Peak Experience: See Saturday, September 4. Today's activities include a talent show (call to register), mountain top scavenger hunt, and a night hike.

Ferris Wheel, Food, Diving Ducks: See Thursday, September 2.

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.

Midsummer Night's Dream: See Friday, September 3. Today's show is at 2pm.

Free Belly Dance: Girls and women ages 15 and up are invited to enroll in three free days of Egyptian belly dance instruction for free with teacher Alexandra Bourque. Technique, 7pm; beginner II level, 8pm. ACAC Albemarle Square. Call 978-3800 to register, or studiobijoux.com.

Contra Dance Night: The Avant Gardeners play tradition music on fiddle, piano, and drums whilst you get jiggy with it. Ben Allbrandt calls. Beginners workshop starts a half hour early. 8-11pm. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. $7; under 12 free. 973-4984 or contracorners.com.

WALKABOUT
Montebello Community Market:
Check out the crafts, local artists, fresh produce, and more at this Labor Day tradition. 10am-5pm. 540-377-5754 or nelsoncounty.com.

Big Woods Walk: James Madison's Montpelier hosts a guided spring tour of the 200-acre old growth Landmark Forest today at 2pm. The two-hour tour meets at the Montpelier Visitor Center on Route 20. $9, $5 children 6-14. Reservations required: 24-hour line, 540-672-2728.

Wintergreen Harvest Celebration: Continues today. See Saturday, September 4, and Walkabout feature, page 44. 10am-6pm. 361-2519 or wintergreenwinery.com.

Oakencroft Harvest Music Festival: Continues today. See Saturday, September 4. 11am-5pm. Fee. 296-4188.

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

Allison Tartalia and Anna Wolfe (folk) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

Rhythm on the River: Vassar Clements and Uncle Henry's Favorites at Dorrier Park in Scottsville. Free, 5:30pm.

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

The Red Hot Chilly Pickers (old-time) at Wintergreen Winery. Free, 12:30-3pm.

MONDAY, September 6
PERFORMANCE
Playwrights Lab:
This safe and inspirational forum to read and discuss your working scripts starts back up again after a summer hiatus. Open to playwrights of all experience levels who seek to revise existing manuscripts or develop new material. Meets on the first and third Mondays of the month. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100.

WALKABOUT AND FAMILY
James River Fishing Jamboree:
It's still Monday, why not get up early and go fishing? This annual Labor Day event brings together fish fans of all ages for a day on the James River. 6am start. Admission fee benefits the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department. See Family feature.

Wintergreen Harvest Celebration: Continues today. See Saturday, September 4, and Walkabout feature, page 44. 10am-6pm. Call 361-2519 or wintergreenwinery.com.

Oakencroft Harvest Music Festival: Continues today. See Saturday, September 4. 11am-5pm. Fee. 296-4188.

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

The Pones (alt. country) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

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

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

TUESDAY, September 7
TUNES
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)

Peyton and Andy at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

SNUG at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

WEDNESDAY, September 8
FAMILY
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.

WALKABOUT
Sierra Club Meeting:
The Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club meets tonight to discuss threats to central Virginia's environment. 7:30pm. No fee; open to the public. St. Mark's Lutheran Church at Alderman and Ivy roads. 973-0373.

Caregiver Wellness Series: "Balancing Act: A Wellness Path for Caregivers" provides caregivers with the knowledge and confidence they need to care for themselves while caring for others. Topics include stress reduction, nutrition, fitness, and family negotiations. 5:30-7pm on four consecutive Thursdays beginning tonight. Free. JABA, 674 Hillsdale Drive.

WORDS
Ancient Wisdom:
Vanessa Ochs finds modern meaning in stories of women in ancient Israel. Hear her re-imagine the Bible at Barnes & Noble, Barracks Road Shopping Center, at 7pm. 984-0461. See Words feature.

Outrageous: Expect some zingers from Hendrik Hertzberg, former Carter administration staffer and now senior editor of The New Yorker, speaking on "Politics: Observations & Arguments, 1996-2004" at the Miller Center this morning. Of Richard Gephardt, for instance, Hertzberg wrote that he expected him to "reach under his chin and peel back that immobile, monochromatic, oddly smooth face to reveal the lizard underneath." 11am. 2201 Old Ivy Road, 924-7236, millercenter.virginia.edu.

TUNES
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 (old-time) at Dr. Ho's. Free, 7-9pm.

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

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

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

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

SUMTHING ("Matthew Willner's psychedelic funk jam") with Darrell Rose, Houston Ross, and Charles Cowen at Rapture. $3, 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)

Zoso (Zep covers) at Starr Hill. $10/$8 advance, 8pm.

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)

THURSDAY, September 9
WALKABOUT
World Day of Prayer:
Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists gather for an evening of interfaith prayer, meditation, and chanting to commemorate the 11th annual World Day of Prayer sponsored by Silent Unity, an international and transdenominational prayer ministry, hosted by Unity Churches. 7pm. Senior Center, Pepsi Place off Greenbrier Drive and Route 29. 978-1062.

PERFORMANCE
Flute Heaven:
Jazz flutist Galen Razzaq comes to Piedmont Virginia Community College. Razzaq has performed on Broadway and at more 150 colleges and universities across the United States and often combines his performances with thoughtful lectures. 7:30pm. V. Earl Dickinson Building, off Route 20. $10-17. 961-5376.

The Consul: Local actors and musicians stage Gian-Carlo Menotti's award-winning opera, The Consul, a story of one woman's perseverance in the face of a bureaucratic nightmare. The show begins tonight with three more performances this month. 8pm. Gravity Lounge, 103 S. First St., off the Downtown Mall. $12-15. 977-5590. See Performance feature.

WORDS
Terror War:
You heard the New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg at the Miller Center yesterday, today you can motor down to Hampden-Sydney College to her his fellow writer Seymour Hersh speak as part of a symposium on "The War on Terror." 7:30pm. Crawley Forum, Hampden-Sydney. 434-223-6000

Family Matters: Novelist and UVA creative writing professor Christopher Tilghman shares his new novel, Roads of the Heart, a father-son saga of end-of-life reconciliations, at New Dominion Bookshop today at 5:30pm. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Should God Vote? Barry Lynn, lawyer, minister, and executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, has strong opinions on the place of religion in U.S. politics. He talks at UVA's Old Cabell Hall about drawing the line between moral discourse and partisan politicking. 7pm. Free. 974-4582.

FAMILY
Kids Day Out:
Mommy & Me (and Daddy too) celebrates the performing arts at Barracks Road Shopping Center. Performance opportunities (and photo ops) abound. Stories, arts and crafts, and more. 10am-noon. Free. Barracks Road. 977-4583.

Teen Challenge: Children, Youth, and Family Services offers "Surviving the Teen Years," a series of six classes for parents of teens. Find out why kids act out or withdraw, how to improve communication and respect, problem solving approaches, and how to handle some common behavioral difficulties. Six Thursdays starting tonight from 6-7:30pm. $15 per family. 296-4118, ext. 257.

TUNES
Galen Razzaq at PVCC:
Jazz flutist Razzaq performs on the main stage of the Dickinson Building. Tickets at Plan 9 or Spencer's 206, and at 961-5376. $17 adults / $10 seniors and students, 7:30pm.

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)

Reggae Thursdays: Soldiers of Jah Army at Garden of Sheba. $7, 10p.m.

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

Rule of Thump (jam) at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

T.O.W., Oddzar, and Sixty Cycle at Outback Lodge. $5, 10pm. See Tunes feature, page 48.

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)

The Sharp Shooters and the Smash Casters at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

Upcoming and Ongoing
WORDS
Return to a Classic:
Dust off your college copy of George Eliot's Middlemarch and start reading, so you're ready to participate in New Dominion's monthly book discussions, starting up again on September 18. Charlottesville author Mariflo Stephens leads talks on a different book each month on Saturday mornings at New Dominion Bookshop, 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

FAMILY
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.

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
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 cbsheridan@designsincopper.com 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 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.

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 first Main Gallery exhibition of the 2004-5 season is "It's Not the Heat, It's the Humidity: New Work by Sharon Shapiro," featuring 109 paintings by the local artist. The Dove Gallery features "Type A: Spittakes and Selected Videos," by the New York duo of Adam Ames and Andrew Bordin, known collectively as Type A. Both shows run through September 25. 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." Also on view: "The Museum: Conditions and Spaces," plus three other shows, "The Odyssey: Watercolors by Karen Shea," "Paradise Lost: Photographs by Sally Mann," and "Emmit Gowin Photographs," all of which run through October 17. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592.

Piedmont Virginia Community College presents an exhibition of pinhole photography by Mary Baldwin College art prof Jim Sconyers Jr. through September 24. Earl V. Dickinson Building, 501 College Drive. 977-2001. See Art feature.

The McGuffey Art Center presents two September shows: "2," prints by Russell U. Richards, and the 13th Annual Exhibition of the Central Virginia Watercolor Guild, juried by Mary Baldwin emeritus prof. Mary Echols. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Venture into Belmont to view New Art Across the Bridge featuring paintings, photographs, and movies by Greg Kelly, Max Fenton, Jon Sheridan, Aaron Farrington, and Zack Worrell. The show runs through September. 209 Monticello Road (across the street from Spudnuts). 984-5669.

During September, Hook photographer Lincoln Ross Barbour shows his latest work, "Les moments d'en vols," photographs from a recent trip to France, at Fusion. 412 E. Main St. 242-4091.

Angelo presents "Interpretations," acrylic paintings by Talia Lanyi, through October 30. 220 E. Main St. 971-9256.

Through September, the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar features "Chain Action," a show of photography by Emily Pitti and installation work by Zap McConell. 414 E. Main St. 825-9545.

New Dominion Bookshop displays watercolor landscapes by Nick Barlow through September 30 in its mezzanine gallery. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

During September, the Charlottesville Astronomical Society presents "Jewels of the Night," an exhibition of over 75 photos of deep space objects, at the Northside Library. Albemarle Square. 975-4231.

Paintings by Bill Weaver are on view at Café Cubano during September. 112 W, Main St. in York Place on the Downtown Mall. 971-8743.

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."400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place. 244-0234.

During September, Les Yeux du Monde presents paintings by Russ Warren and artwork by Herb Jackson. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

Nature Visionary Art presents "Temptation, Inspiration, Revelation," artwork by C.M. and Grace Kelly Laster, during September. 110 Fourth St. 296-8482.

In September, The Gallery @ 5th & Water displays stoneware pieces by Janice Arone in the foyer of the architectural firm of Stoneking von Storch and the accounting firm of Henderson and Everett. Also on view in Stoneking von Storch's office is "Portugal in a Month #1," photography by Andy Acquaro. 107 Fifth St. 979-9825.

CODG presents a solo exhibition, "Layers of Definition," paintings by 15-year-old Farmville phenom Lara Mossler, through September 28. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

For the month of September, the C&O Gallery displays "IXTATAN," photographs of Guatemala by Tom Cogill. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Sage Moon Gallery features oils by Nancy Wallace during September. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

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.

The Laughing Lion Gallery presents "Summer Fun: Baseball Girls" by Terrence Pratt during September. 103 E. Water St. in the Commerce Building (above London's). 984-4000.

Through September 27, the Mudhouse shows "Think Collection," digital montages by photographer Stacy Evans. 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

View Alice Cannon's watercolor exhibition, "Assertions of the Forgotten," at Art Upstairs during September. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

Transient Crafters displays "The Grace and Power of Earthstones," jewelry by Claire MacIlvaine, through September 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

During September, Bozart Gallery offers David Swanson's new work in ceramics, "Feats of Clay."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.

In September, La Galeria features "The Art of the Photograph," nature photography by Mary Porter, 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, Malcolm Hughes, and Christian Peri. 817 W. Main St. (across from the Amtrak Station). 979-7957.

Radar

Through October, Orange County High School art teacher Lee Nixon has an ongoing art exhibition at the Albemarle County Office Building second floor lobby,401 McIntire Road. Mondays-Fridays, 8am-5pm.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts displays "Selections: 20th Century Latin American Art in the VMFA Collection" through March 13. 200 N. Broad St., Richmond. 804-340-1400.

The Artisans Center of Virginia features "Ancestors" sculptural ceramics by Bee Zwart, during September. Opening reception, September 4, 2-4pm. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

Madison's Sevenoaks Pathwork Center hosts the Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association's 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.

Caffe Bocce presents paintings by Brigitte Turquois-Freeman during September. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 434-286-4422.

Sweet Briar College offers paintings by Nancy Witt in its Babcock Gallery, and "Out of the Darkness," photography by Carrie Cann, in the Babcock Fine Art Center Lobby through October 17. In the Benedict Art Gallery, photographs by Brad Hamilton are on display through October 24. Sweet Briar. 434-381-6248.

Sun's Traces Gallery displays quilting by Patricia Hoke, nature photography by Evelyn Eades, 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.

Other

Art Upstairs has published a new gallery guide mapping 22 venues in downtown Charlottesville. The brochure is available at Art Upstairs and at the other galleries listed, as well as at many hotels and restaurants.

FIRST FRIDAY OPENINGS

Second Street Gallery celebrates the opening of "It's Not the Heat, It's the Humidity: New Work by Sharon Shapiro" in its Main Gallery, and "Type A: Spittakes and Selected Videos," in its Dove Gallery. 6-8pm. Artists' talks at 6:30pm. Corner of Second and Water streets. 977-7284.

Nature Visionary Art opens "Temptation, Inspiration, Revelation," artwork by C.M. and Grace Kelly Laster, with a reception, 5-9pm. 110 Fourth St. 296-8482.

Fusion welcomes "Les moments d'en vols," recent photography by Lincoln Ross Barbour, with an opening 5-8pm. 412 E. Main St. 242-4091.

CODG hosts an opening for "Layers of Definition," paintings by Lara Mossler, 5-9pm. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

Transient Crafters welcomes Clair McIlvaine of Cantique Jewelry and her exhibition "The Grace and Power of Earthstones" with an artist's reception. 6-9pm. 118 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

The McGuffey Art Center hosts an opening for "2," prints by Russell U. Richards, and for the 13th Annual Exhibition of The Virginia Watercolor Guild. 5:30-7:30pm. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar celebrates "Chain Action," a show featuring photography by Emily Pitti and installation work by Zap McConell, with an opening, 6pm-midnight. 414 E. Main St. 825-9545.

C&O Gallery opens "IXTATAN," photographs of Guatemala by Tom Cogill, with a reception, 5-7pm. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Enjoy "Feats of Clay," new ceramic work by David Swanson, at Bozart Gallery. 6-9pm. 211 W. Main on the Downtown Mall. 296-3919.

Art Upstairs holds an artist's reception for painter Alice Cannon's "Assertions of the Forgotten." 5:30-9pm. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

The Laughing Lion Gallery opens "Summer Fun: Baseball Girls" by Terrence Pratt, with music by the SwingKats Jazz Duo. 6:30-7:30. 103 E. Water St. in the Commerce Building (above London's). 984-4000.

Meet Russ Warren and Herb Jackson. 6-9pm, at Les Yeux du Monde. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

Mudhouse opens "Think Collection," digital montages by photographer Stacy Evans. 6-8pm. W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

L'étoile Restaurant celebrates paintings by local artists Barry Gordon, Malcolm Hughes, and Christian Peri with a reception from 5 to 7pm. 817 W. Main St. (across from the Amtrak Station). 979-7957.

New Art Across the Bridge welcomes the paintings, photographs, and movies of Greg Kelly, Max Fenton, Jon Sheridan, Aaron Farrington, and Zack Worrell. Meet the artists beginning at 6pm and stay around for the music! 209 Monticello Road (across the street from Spudnuts). 984-5669.

The Gallery @ 5th & Water opens its display of stoneware by Janice Arone and photography by Andy Acquaro, with a 5:30-8:30pm reception. 107 Water St. 979-9825.

New Dominion Bookshop shows the watercolor landscapes by Nick Barlow. Meet the artist 5-7pm. 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-2552.

FEATURES/FEATURES/FEATURES
ART
Complex memory: Sconyers' layered vision
By Laura Parsons art@readthehook.com
Given the ever-expanding universe of hi-tech machinery and digital gadgetry currently available to photographers, there's something almost subversive about an artist who rejects it all for the most lo-tech of alternatives: the pinhole camera.

To bring you up– or rather down– to speed, any container can be transformed into a pinhole camera– yes, a matchbox; yes, an oil can– once it's made light-tight and outfitted with a tiny hole that allows a single ray to strike film or film paper placed inside.

But the simple technology doesn't mean it can't yield dizzyingly complex images. Pushing the envelope of pinhole intricacy is Jim Sconyers Jr., whose exhibition, "Transition (Memory)" is on display at Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Sconyers takes full advantage of the pinhole camera's almost limitless depth of field, its ability to shoot the same object from slightly different angles simultaneously (via more than one pinhole), and its capacity to capture numerous exposures on the same frame. The results are diaphanous, multi-layered, color-saturated compositions. His photos are reminiscent of dreams, consisting of disparate and unexpectedly conjoined elements, which, linked together in the mind's eye, somehow make beautiful sense.

Sconyers' multiple exposures frequently splice architectural elements with the natural world. His images are crisscrossed with hard-angled diagonals and diamonds balanced by spidery tree branches and cascading greenery.

The artist splits many of his vertical compositions horizontally, creating distinct upper and lower halves. For instance, the cosmos he creates in "Food Lion, Staunton, VA," consists of a multi-colored, blurred expanse of endless produce on the bottom, over which asterisks of fluorescent lights glow like stars.

Sconyers' practiced yet intuitive ability to lay one exposure atop another atop another (who knows how many there are?) to yield an image at once familiar and utterly strange is stunning in "Bridge II, Staunton VA." Here, X's of metal girders, both close-up and distant, cut across the image of a dark cityscape, its skyline rising toward a luminous horizon, above which superimposed trees and branches (and a tiny phosphorescent street lamp thrown in for good measure) brush against a blue sky.

These seven-color Ultrachrome prints have a hypnotic quality spun from Sconyers' skill at layering and playing with distortion. Unfortunately, the floor-to-ceiling windows of the V. Earl Dickinson Building's gallery space cause the viewer, the windows, and the world beyond to reflect as additional, unintentional layers in the glass-fronted images.

Nevertheless, Sconyers' complicated pinhole photographs are simply worth seeing.

Jim Sconyers Jr.'s "Transition (Memory)" is on view at the Piedmont Virginia Community College Gallery through September 24. V. Earl Dickinson Building. 961-5203.

WORDS
Tell it again: Bringing Bible women up to date
By SUSAN TYLER HITCHCOCK WORDS@READTHEHOOK.COM

The Garden of Eden, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel– think about it. After Eve, we rarely cite a Bible story with a woman as the central character.

"The stories of our biblical foremothers are brief and elliptical," says Vanessa L. Ochs, director of Jewish studies at UVA. We remember only dim outlines– "Sarah laughed. Rebecca drew water from the well. Rachel wept." But it's not because they're irrelevant to modern lives. They stay marginal, muffled by centuries of male storytelling. Time for a change, she says.

Ochs has written Sarah Laughed, which her publisher calls a "reimagination" of the Hebrew Bible. Starting with Eve and including Hagar and Sarah, Esther and Ruth, Job's wife and Moses' mother– Ochs offers a fresh translation of the woman's biblical story as well as a detailed and personal retelling and an interpretation for today.

Sometimes she must reinterpret an unlikely event metaphorically. Sarah gave birth to Isaac in her nineties. (She laughed, as the book's title reminds us, to hear God's promise that it would happen.) But what does that mean for us today?

"Sarah models how we can respond to dreams that become belatedly fulfilled," writes Ochs.

Always wanted to make it in a career, but you don't get there until age 35? Searching for Mr. Right all your life, and he finally comes along when you're turning 50? Remember Sarah. Laugh, and keep lighting that candle that signals a continued and wise search for your dreams.

Then there is Job's wife, whose husband endured multiple afflictions from God but kept on praying. Finally she could take it no more. "Curse God!" she yelled, and forever after, many have seen her as a temptress, urging Job to abandon his religion.

Not so, writes Ochs, who considers this the moral of Job's wife's story: "Stop finding excuses for God…Worship God with your honesty." Sounding more like a writer for a woman's magazine than a biblical scholar, she cheers us on when we're tempted to let it all burst out. To her, Job's wife's rage is an element of her healing.

Sarah Laughed is a refreshing book, Jewish midrash meets Cosmo advice column. You don't have to be Jewish, and you don't have to be a woman, to learn something from it.

Vanessa Ochs discusses her book, Sarah Laughed, at Barnes & Noble Wednesday, September 8, at 7pm. Barracks Road Shopping Center, 984-0461.

FAMILY
Reel 'em in: Fishing jamboree winds up summer
BY LINDA KOBERT FAMILY@READTHEHOOK.COM
It's Labor Day, the last day of summer as we know it. Public swimming holes are closing. Kids are back in school. But on a fine day such as this, with the sky above and the river just a-rolling on by, I ask you: what would Huckleberry Finn be doing? He'd be a-fishing is what.

And this Labor Day, modern Huck Finns, both young and, uh, more experienced, can not only have a great time at the James River Fishing Jamboree, they can get some recognition for that 10-pound catfish they hook.

"We always get lots and lots of kids," said Geneva Denby, owner of James River Reeling & Rafting where all the activity takes place.

Along with the myriad recreational paddlers she sends down the river in tubes, canoes, and kayaks, Denby will be out there bright and early at 6am signing up the fishing fans who will line the riverbanks or jump in their johnboats for a day of relaxing as summer's swansong.

"But it won't be crowded out there," Denby insists.

Folks have all the way from the public boat launch in Howardsville to the Hardware Wildlife Management Area six miles down river from Scottsville to snag the big one… about 18 river miles. When fishing folks get back, members of the Virginia Bass Federation will be on hand with their digital scales to tally the official weight of the catch.

Cash prizes will be awarded to adults for the top three small-mouth bass and the largest catfish. Kids can win with the largest bass, the largest bream, or the largest "other" (not counting turtles and eels). Their prizes include a rod and reel combination and a tackle box stuffed to the gills with lures, leaders, line, bobbers, and sinkers. All fish must be alive at the time they are weighed, and the scales shut down at precisely 3pm. Any ties will be broken by the flip of a coin.

Now in its 11th year, this end-of-summer celebration benefits the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department, which makes it even more fun to hitch up those hip boots, grab a fishing pole, and head down 20 South.

The James River Fishing Jamboree takes place Monday, September 6, 6am-3pm. Registration $20 adults, $6 children 15 years and younger. All Virginia Fish and Game Laws apply. Official weigh-in is at the James River Reeling & Rafting parking lot, corner of Main and Ferry streets in downtown Scottsville. Registration forms are available at reelingandrafting.com. 286-4386.

WALKABOUT
Grape expectations: Celebrating fall at Wintergreen
By TIM SPRINKLE WALKABOUT@READTHEHOOK.COM
For centuries, the start of the fall harvest season has been "the time" to throw a party. And with the hot dry summer ebbing away, plenty of fresh food on the table, and a crisp bite in the evening air, it's easy to see why. One such celebration got so popular, in fact, that we now call it Thanksgiving and serve it up with Detroit Lions football and a slice of pumpkin pie.

But there's more to the fall harvest than just good times. For the local wine industry, the end of summer marks the start of the busiest production season, when the grapes are harvested, processed, and sent along to their various oak and steel barrels for fermentation.

"The harvest weekend is really the beginning of what, for us in our business, is a busy and important season," explains Tamara Stone with the Wintergreen Winery. "That's why we like to host this celebration over Labor Day. We like to think of it as a kick-off to the harvest and an exclamation point on summer."

And what better way to send the hot months off in style than with a long weekend of music, food, and wine at Wintergreen Winery's annual "Romp, Stomp & Chomp" Harvest Celebration?

"We've got a really, really beautiful setting here on the banks of the South Fork of the Rockfish River," Stone says, "and the celebration is a great opportunity to come out to the mountains, take in some live music, and enjoy a picnic."

The weekend's musical offerings include local favorites Ralph "Honeyboy" Rush, Jan Smith Band, Red Hot Chilly Pickers, and the Hogwaller Ramblers, all performing against a Blue Ridge Mountain backdrop. What's more, participants can sample a wide variety of Wintergreen wines (including a few new never-before-seen varieties) and peruse the selection of Virginia delicacies and locally made products.

Perhaps best of all, the winery will be offering several daily sessions of celebratory grape stomping (don't worry, the results never end up in the wine). It's proven popular with both kids and adults– and remains the weekend's hallmark.

Wintergreen Winery's "Romp, Stomp & Chomp" Harvest Celebration happens 10am-6pm September 4-6. All events will be held rain of shine, "unless there's a monsoon," in which case the music will be moved inside. Children are welcome, though parents should be advised that the weekend isn't suitable for little ones. $5 admission fee includes tastings and a souvenir glass. Interstate 64 West to Exit 107, Rt. 250 W., go six miles to left onto Route 151 S. Fourteen more miles and a right onto Route 664. Winery entrance on right. Information and performance schedule at 361-2519 or wintergreenwinery.com.

PERFORMANCE
La plus ca change: The Consul still sadly significant
BY ROBERT ARMENGOL PERFORMANCE@READTHEHOOK.COM

One day in August 1960, my grandmother snuck into the U.S. embassy in Havana hoping to get her family out of Cuba.

"What are you doing here?" the consul said when he found a stranger in his office.

"I'm sorry," she replied, "but the door was open, and I need to talk to you. I need your help."

A lot of people needed his help. Several hundred of them, in fact, were waiting outside in a line that trailed out the embassy doors and around the block. In a brash move, my grandmother– trying her best to look like she knew what she was doing– had curled an attaché case under her arm and scurried past the rest.

I've often thought the whole incident was made for the stage. But it seems that work has already been written, and with much more melodrama. Gian Carlo Menotti's The Consul, coming to the Gravity Lounge for four performances, begins with the story of a political dissident who flees oppression in his nameless homeland, leaving behind a wife and baby boy.

His wife, Magda, facing constant harassment from the secret police, visits a local consulate to beg for visas, but her requests to see the consul are repeatedly denied. She meets only his secretary, who wraps more and more red tape around her hopes, offering that most insidious of excuses: "I'm just doing my job."

Written in English and first produced for Broadway in 1950, The Consul drew inspiration from the stories of Jews trapped in Europe under a mountain of formalities during the Second World War. But local musician and director John Carden is convinced the opera's message speaks to today's social problems.

"Sometimes, looking back in the past gives us a reference point," he says. "It shows us where we've been and where we're going. The cultures are different, but what man does to man is still the same, and that's the theme throughout."

Half a century after writing The Consul, Menotti himself was saddened to find that his opera had not lost its currency. "Unfortunately, I don't think the world has changed at all," he told National Public Radio in an interview four years ago. He referred to "a tyranny of papers" that had spread all over the globe.

For me, The Consul is about my grandmother, in hyperbolic form no doubt, set to a beautiful score with the eerie tones of film noir, but full of parallels nonetheless. I can't tell you how Magda's story ends, but that I'm writing this suggests how my grandmother fared. Her visit to a U.S. embassy 54 years ago changed her life forever, and made mine possible.

Local actors and musicians will stage Gian Carlo Menotti's award-winning opera The Consul four times this month, at 8pm on September 9, 11, and 17, and at 3pm September 19. Gravity Lounge, 103 S. First St., off the Downtown Mall. $12-15. 977-5590.

TUNES
Unsung heroes: What about the children?
BY MARK GRABOWSKI TUNES@READTHEHOOK.COM
For what appears to be a nationally known event, the Mid-Atlantic Rock Connection (MARC) has a buzz factor of about .02 percent in this town. (Basically, the Outback Lodge staff, the local bands that will be participating, and their families are the only ones who know about it.)

But there, up on the website for VH1's Save the Music Foundation, is the listing: "Where: Outback Lodge &endash; Charlottesville, VA. What: The Mid-Atlantic Rock Connection, a 16-week, multi-city showcase of 16-20 of the best up-and -coming alternative rock acts in the Mid-Atlantic region." The showcase will occur every Thursday for the next four months or so, rotating every week among the participating clubs– our own Outback, The Fire in Philadelphia, CB Lounge in New York City, and the Hard Rock Café in Baltimore.

The main point, besides great out-of-state exposure for bands who are "heating up their hometown and it's only a matter of time before they start touring nationally," is to benefit the aforementioned foundation.

According to the press, Save the Music is a non-profit organization "dedicated to improving the quality of education in America's public schools by restoring music programs… and raising public awareness about the importance of music participation." Besides events seeking to inform about the necessity of music in lives of the youth, they spend their good-will gotten gains to purchase instruments for schools that can no longer afford them due to budget cuts.

The show on Thursday will feature Seven Days Torn, Halestorm, and Navel; national groups are Voodoo Blue, Seven Days Torn, Halestorm, Lennex, Skinny, Blonde and Good-looking, NOBA, Fallen Innocence, and Huzzavox and "many more." If you don't know the out-of-town acts, don't feel too bad– people in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore are probably scratching their heads about most of the acts, too.

Here's a brief run-down of the ones I could locate music for, starting with our boys:

T.O.W.– Part Smashing Pumpkins, part modern day Creed-type modern rock band, lyrically pretty pleasurable: "If I could append a thought / To the caboose of your synaptic train" &endash; from "Antimony" off their new EP, The Coreywhite Sessions

Navel– Harmonious hard rock, strong on melody, a nice sparseness in the instrumentation

Andy Waldeck– Pop singer/songwriter, strong melodies, peaceful tunes

Voodoo Blue– Kind of a sneery Blink 182; their press shots reveal the most perfectly manicured punks I've ever seen.

Seven Days Torn– Kind of a Bryan Adams combined with Elvis Costello, pop/rock band

Lennex&endash; Hard rock, but with a fair amount of pop, good strong vocals

Skinny, Blonde, and Good-looking– all-female hard rock band, strains of Sonic Youth in their noise

So when you're deciding on what to do this Thursday night, just think to yourself, in your best old marm voice, "What about the children? They need their rock, too."