Cultural calendar, November 11-18, 2004

THURSDAY, November 11
Art Start:
Learn how to begin collecting art and how to include your acquisitions in your daily life. A three-part lectures series begins today at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, offered by ADA Gallery owner John Pollard. $65 for the series (friends of museum, $50); $25 individual class ($20 members). 6:30pm. 200 N. Boulevard, Richmond. 804-204-2707.

Veterans' Day at Ash Lawn-Highland:
Commemorate Veterans' Day at the home of Revolutionary War veteran and U.S. President James Monroe. Activities include a wreath laying ceremony at Monroe's grave, special tours of the house and grounds, and other celebratory goings-on. Free admission for all veterans 11am-5pm. Events included in house admission ($11 adults, $5 children). 293-9539 or

Veterans' Day at Montpelier: Free admission for all members of the Armed Forces, serving or retired, and special tours of James Madison's Orange County estate. 9:30am-4:30pm. 540-672-2728 ext. 104 or

Bird Club: The Monticello Bird Club meets to discuss wildlife along Virginia's rivers. See photos of native wildlife from the kayak of naturalist and photographer Teta Kain, and then ask questions. 7:30pm. Meet in the Education Building at Ivy Creek Natural Area. 973-7772.

Devilish Fun:
Russian literature and Greek tragedy collide in a black comedy set in New York City, where a Laundromat owner is determined that her son avenge his father's murder. Part mystery, part farce, this production of David Lindsay-Abaire's A Devil Inside is the collective master's thesis of six UVA drama students who rotate their performance of three major roles. 8pm. Helms Theatre, Culbreth Road. $5. 924-3376.

LATTE Grande: The Live Arts Teen Theater Ensemble opens its season with a production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, a Bertolt Brecht parable of greed and justice that spins its way from a Soviet tractor collective to ancient China and back. Eleven young actors play multiple characters in song, acrobatics, and mime. 8pm. Live Arts Upstage. 123 E. Water St. $10. 977-4177x100.

War President Legacy:
Dubyah wasn't the first president with little military experience to find himself leading the nation through war. Abraham Lincoln was in the same fix. Hear Miller Center scholar and Lincoln expert William Lee Miller speak on "Lincoln as War President" this morning at 11, and peruse a chapter of his book at 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-7736.

Keep On Truckin': Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig visits the UVA School of Law to give a talk on "The Lawyer's Work in a Free Culture." 4:15pm. Caplin Pavilion. 924-4684.

Geographical: Robert M. Poole, writer and former editor of National Geographic, shows slides and talks about the history of the National Geographic Society, the subject of his new book, Explorer's House. He's at New Dominion Bookstore today at 5:30pm. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Visiting Poet: Poet Lucie Brock-Broido has taught at Bennington, Princeton, Harvard, and now Columbia, and has won numerous honors, including two NEA fellowships and a Guggenheim grant. She comes to Charlottesville to introduce her newest poetry collection, Trouble in Mind. 8pm. UVA Bookstore. 924-6675.

Matthew Willner solo at Atomic Burrito:
Willner's looped cacophony is something else– playing all the instruments himself and building on them as he goes through the magic of digital delay. No cover, 10pm.

Oddzar at Outback Lodge: Sounds like another "Yeah" group– and if you don't know what that means, you just might want to go to the show. Big modern rock. Yup. $5, 10pm.

Starr Hill, The Hook and WNRN present JEM with Blue Merle at Starr Hill: Pop songstress Jem's debut album has been heating up rock radio with its catchy futuristic sound, and she's back for another fantabulous Starr Hill show. $12/$10, 8pm.

American Dumpster at Orbit. No cover, 10pm.

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

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

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

Peter Markush (piano) at Gravity Lounge. Free, 12-1pm.

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

Satisfaction with Noel Sanger (18 and up dance party) at Rapture. $3/Ladies free, 10:30pm.

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

FRIDAY, November 12
Wagilag and Djang'kawu, Creation Journeys Through Arnhem Land Art:
UNC librarian Will Owen, aboriginal art collector, presents a slide lecture about two important ancestral stories that figure prominently in aboriginal art. 7pm. Reservations required. Kluge-Ruhe collection, Peter Jefferson Place, Pantops. 244-0234.

Nature in the Abstract: Spruce Creek Gallery hosts a reception to welcome this month's exhibition of paintings by Alyce Ananda McCoy. 7-9pm. Nellysford. 434-361-1859.

Health Care Futures:
Glenn Hubbard, economist, dean of Columbia's business school, and former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers, presents this year's Merrick Lecture on "Higher Value Health Care: Challenge and Opportunity," hosted by UVA's Department of Economics. 3:30pm. Wilson Hall. 924-3061.

California Designing: San Francisco architect Olle Lundberg speaks at the UVA School of Architecture on his firm's recent work. 5pm, 153 Campbell Hall. 982-2921.

Volkan on Violence: This week the Quest Bookshop hosts UVA political psychiatrist Vamik Volkan in a discussion of religion, fundamentalism, and violence as analyzed in his newest book, Blind Trust: Large Groups and Their Leaders in Times of Crisis and Terror. 7pm. 619 W. Main St. 295-3377.

Mayor of Bogotá: Amigos For Colombia hosts prominent Colombian politician Antanas Mockus, who presents "Harmonizing Culture, Morals and Law in Bogotá, Colombia." During two eventful terms in office, Mockus concocted amusing schemes to make his point to the citizens of Bogota. He hired mimes to perform in busy intersections, mocking road rage and jaywalking. He donned cape and spandex to become "Super Citizen," modeling how a Colombian ought to behave. Under him, the city's homicide rate fell 70 percent, traffic fatalities were halved, water and sewage services were expanded. 4pm. Clark Hall, Room 108. 242-4211.

Date Night:
Those who want to do the town in Richmond but don't know what to do with the kids can take advantage of a date night deal at the Science Museum of Virginia. TGIF: Thank Goodness It's Friday and Fun lets kids 4-12 enjoy a Chick-fil-a dinner along with an encounter with a gravity-defying mad scientist, basketball-playing rats, tug of war, making hot-air balloons, and a trip out of this world in the giant screen film Space Station. 6-10pm. $20, additional siblings $15. Registration required. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-864-1544.

Deer-Proof Gardening:
Keep the nibbling nuisances at bay this spring with the help of Brent Heath, a local "bulb expert" and sworn enemy of deer everywhere. His illustrated, hands-on workshop teach natural defenses against deer attacks. 10am-1pm. $50 (or bring a friend and save $5 each). Gentle Gardener, 207 S. Main St. Gordonsville. 540-832-2467 or

Breaking Bread: A community soup and bread supper benefits the Virginia Organizing Project. 6pm. Westminster Presbyterian Church, Rugby Road. $25. 984-4655.

Sunset Hike: Head into the mountains with the Outdoor Adventure Social Club and enjoy a summit view of the moon and late fall constellations on this easy hike. 5:30pm. $5, plus membership fee. or 760-HIKE for details or registration.

Holiday Craft Show: If you want it, the Senior Center will have it at their 13th annual Holiday Craft Show. Wreaths, toys, mittens, blankets, birdhouses, paintings, jewelry, and much more, all handmade. 10am-5pm. 1180 Pepsi Place. 974-7756.

The One Ring: Jewelry makers, goldsmiths, and silversmiths from around the country descend on Charlottesville with their wares for the 3rd Annual Gem, Mineral, and Jewelry Show. Come learn about repairs, custom designs, and options for original jewelry. 10am-6pm. National Guard Armory, 1640 Avon St. Ext. 540-384-6047 or

Hocus Pocus Goes Traveling:
Focus Women's Resource Center presents the group's annual fundraising dinner dance, "an evening of international pleasures and treasures" with music by the Houserockers and food by HotCakes. 7pm-midnight. 293-2222 ext. 30 to register or for further information.

Devilish Fun:
See Thursday, November 11.

LATTE Grande: See Thursday, November 11.

A Mid-'60s Dream? Move over, Shenandoah Shakespeare. This week, the young players of Tandem Friends School stage the bard's classic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream– as imagined in the 1960s, complete with hippie costumes and a retro soundtrack compiled just for the show. 5:30pm. Community Hall. 279 Tandem Lane. Free. 296-1303x408.

First Lady Suit: PVCC presents this Michael John LaChiusa original, a medley of chamber musicals depicting some of America's favorite first ladies: Jackie Kennedy, Mamie Eisenhower, and Eleanor Roosevelt, with cameos by Lady Bird Johnson and Bess Truman. 7:30pm. V. Earl Dickinson Building. $8-10. 961-5376.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses: French title, English play– this adaptation of the 1782 Choderlos de Laclos novel was made famous by Hollywood as Dangerous Liaisons. Shenandoah Shakespeare breathes new life into this "wickedly perverse" exploration of aristocratic decadence and deceit. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

Black & Blue: Sepia Theater introduces the original work 5th and Dice in a staged reading at Live Arts. Blue, the play's main character, must choose between redemption or life as a thug. This is the debut performance for Sepia, a local movement created to promote black theater. 8pm. Rehearsal Room A, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100. See Performance feature.

UVA Jazz: The man whose name is synonymous with jazz in Charlottesville, John D'earth, leads UVA's Jazz Ensemble in its first performance of the year, featuring orchestral masterworks of the greats: Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Billy Strayhorn and more. 8pm. Old Cabell Hall. $5-10. 924-3984.

Ex-Porn Stars at Outback Lodge:
Yet another performance from the consistency-challenged Ex-Porn Stars- catch the soul/rock concoction while you can, as who knows when they will perform again. $6, 10pm.

California Guitar Trio with Tom Griesgraber & Tim Summers at Gravity Lounge. $15/$12 advance, 8pm.

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

Full Circle at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

William Walter & Tucker Rogers (acoustic originals) at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

Open Mic Night (what you make of it) at Rapunzel's. Free, 8pm.

The Slip (non-smoking show) at Starr Hill. $10/$8 advance, 9pm.

Bottom of Hudson, Coyote, and Cataract Camp at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

UVA Jazz Ensemble under direction of John D'earth at Old Cabell Hall. $10/$5 students, 8pm. 924.3984.

SATURDAY, November 13
Make a Chapbook:
Space available in Margo Solod's workshop, "The Art of the Chapbook: Selection, Sequence, Submission," offered through the Charlottesville Writing Center today (9am-4:30pm) and tomorrow (10am-1pm). $157 members, $175 general public. or 293-3702.

Tell Me a Story:
Fans of that inquisitive little monkey can meet Curious George and hear some of his stories during a special story time at Barnes & Noble. 11:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Rolling on the River: Modern explorers can climb aboard Discovery Virginia, the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center's 55-foot keelboat replica currently moored in the Rivanna River near the Center's headquarters in Darden Towe Park. This is the Center's last open Saturday until spring and also features a poster display in the barn at the end of the soccer fields. 10am-4pm. 979-2425.

Poetic Practice: Young poets ages 8-12 can gather inspiration from current exhibits and join Heather Burns at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection for "Message Sticks: Poetry Writing Workshop." 1:30-3pm. Free. Reservations required. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place. 244-0234.

Enchanting Dilemma: Follow the bread crumbs to Old Michie Theatre for a newly staged marionette production of the classic Grimm's tale "Hansel and Gretel." 11am, 2 and 4pm. $5. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

College Bound: High school seniors and adults preparing college applications can get some tips on the process of writing the admissions essay from JMU writing professor Melantha Cleveland at Central Library. 1-2:30pm. Free. Reservations required. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151.

Climbing the Walls: Families can scale new heights together with indoor rock climbing sponsored by Recreation and Leisure Services. This class includes instruction on climbing, belaying, and safety. Meet at Crow Pool parking lot. 9am-4pm. $94 residents, $110 non-residents per adult/child pair. Reservations required. 970-3264.

Itty Bitty Pretty Things: Using clear glass and decoupage paper, crafty kids ages 9 and up can make a collection of magnified mini-images to use as magnets or tacks at Gordon Avenue Library. 10:30am. Free. Registration required. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Pajama Party: Little sleepy heads are invited to come in their PJ's to welcome Santa when the jolly old elf arrives at Fashion Square Mall. Cookies and milk will be served and magic wands will be handed out to help Santa illuminate his winter cottage. 5:30pm. Free. Rt. 29. 973-9331.

Marvelous Montage: Young artists ages 7-14 can create their own stained glass mosaic at the McGuffey Art Center. 10-11:30am. $35 includes materials. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

For the Birds: Staff at the Frontier Culture Museum lead a 1-2 mile bird walk around the grounds and give families the chance to make a simple wooden bird feeder to take home. Participants can learn about species who stay around the area in cold weather and what they like to eat. Refreshments served. 1-4pm. $8 adults, $5 children 6-12. Registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center. Rt. 250 West in Staunton. 540-332-7850.

Information Please: Amateur astronomers interested in purchasing their own telescopes can get insight from an expert before they buy at the Science Museum of Virginia. Astronomy director Ken Wilson translates the scientific jargon and answers questions so consumers can make an informed decision at "How to Buy a Telescope." 9-11am. $7. Registration required. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-864-1411.

Trails Workday:
Help the Rivanna Trails Foundation in its ongoing effort to build a trail network around Charlottesville, and get dirty in the process! 8:45am. Meet at the Melbourne Road trailhead. 923-9022 or

First Colony Wine Seminar: Learn about the many nuances of the Chardonnay fruit while comparing wines from around the world. Like school, but with wine. Reservations required. Noon-3pm. $20. 979-7105 or

Rock Climbing: Practice makes perfect. Join the Outdoor Adventure Social Club for some training on the plastic rocks at ACAC Rocks. 7pm. $10, plus membership fee. Registration required. 760-HIKE or

Holistic Health: Join the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation for a day of workshops, presentations, and speakers at the Mid-Atlantic Holistic Health Conference. 10am-7pm. Fee varies. Call 800-345-8223 or

Genealogy Workshop: We all came from somewhere, and this weekend you can join the Albemarle/Charlottesville African American Genealogy Group and start learning more about your past. The program, "Discovering your Roots, Branches and Twigs," is designed for folks who want to research their family tree but don't know where to start. Quality Community Council office, 327 W. Main St. Suite 101. No fee, but reservations required. 589-4895.

Holiday Craft Show: Continues today, see Friday, November 12. 10am-5pm. No fee. At the Senior Center at 1180 Pepsi Place. 974-7756.

Devilish Fun:
See Thursday, November 11.

Go Fish: Playwright Alex Citron introduces his original comedy The Flounder in a staged reading at Live Arts. An unhappily married couple receive an unlikely visit from a magical fish. 8pm. Rehearsal Room A, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100.

LATTE Grande: See Thursday, November 11.

First Lady Suit: See Friday, November 12.

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.

Playback Audition: Charlottesville's Playback Theatre, a unique troupe dedicated to improv that gets audience members involved, is looking to expand its reach with fresh talent– especially performers who use music, voice, and movement in their work. Playback seeks a six-month commitment. All ages and backgrounds welcome. Wear comfy clothes and be ready to move. 1:30-3:30pm. Studio 11, McGuffey Art Center, 201 Second St. NW. Email or call 973-2387.

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.

Robin Wynn at the SongSharing CoffeeHouse, Fork Union:
The monthly series continues with a performance from folkie Robin Wynn– musicians interested in opening the show should call 434-979-SONG for a number of slots. $3, 7pm.

Alex de Grassi at the Prism: Renowned fingerstyle guitarist of Windham Hill Records returns for an evening concert and 1-4pm afternoon workshop ($45). Show, $18/$15, 8pm.

"Get some" Dance Party with DJ-Camille at Tokyo Rose: Another one of the well attended Rose dance parties. Brought to you by the people who know what you'd like to dance to ('60s and '80s pop). Free till 11pm/$2 after. 10pm.

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

Populist Dancing at Club Rio. $10, 9pm.

Peter Mayer with Jodie Manross (in cooperation with Acoustic Muse) at Gravity Lounge. $15/$12 advance, 8pm.

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

3 Apples High ("electrofusion" jazz) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

Cast Iron Filter (rock)at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

The Mongrels with Amy Ferebee at Rapunzel's. $5, 8pm.

SUNDAY, November 14
Meet Connie:
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church hosts a reception in honor of the opening of a retrospective of work by Constance Tupper. Noon. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

Laud the Landscapers: Noon Whistle Pottery and Art Gallery hosts an opening for its exhibition of three local landscape artists, Will Brown, Mark Collins, and Carol Weiss. 1-5pm. Main St., Stanardsville. 985-6500.

Colorful Talk. Not: Tyler Stallings, curator of the Laguna Art Museum, discusses the current UVA Museum show, "Whiteness." 2pm. Rugby Road. 924-3592 or

Devilish Fun:
See Thursday, November 11. Today's performance is at 2pm.

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. 2pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-28. 540-885-5588.

First Lady Suit: See Friday, November 12. Today's performance is at 2:30pm.

LATTE Grande: See Thursday, November 11. 2pm & 7pm (Tickets for tonight's show are $25 each to benefit the LATTE program.)

Cuentos en Español:
Bilingual storytime in Spanish and English is back at Central Library with crafts, folktales, and songs that teach the names of animals. 3pm. Free. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.

Into the Woods: Hub and Kate Knott of the Living Earth School search for signs of wildlife activity at Ivy Creek Natural Area. Those who join this trek can learn how to read the story of animal life in the local landscape. Meet at the barn. 9am. Free. Earlysville Road, Rt. 743. 973-7772.

Puppets at Play: Giant, colorful, and friendly monsters take the stage as Community Children's Theatre presents Mozart, Monsters, and Matisse. Jim West Productions uses puppets, shadow play, sound effects, and colorful scenery in stories that bring the magic of classic art to life. 2pm. Individual tickets $10. Season tickets available at Whimsies. MLK Performing Arts Center at CHS. Melbourne Road. 961-7862.

Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show:
See Saturday, November 13. 10am-6pm. for details.

Scenic Jog: The Outdoor Adventure Social Club leads a trail running trip to one of the area's best running locations. 5pm. $2, plus membership fee. 760-HIKE or

Long Day Hike: If running is too quick for your taste, head out to Shenandoah with the Outdoor Adventure Social Club for a long, difficult day hike through the late fall colors. This hike is suggested for experienced hikers only. 9am. $5 fee, plus membership. or 760-HIKE

Altruistic Tastes: King Family Vineyards hosts a wine tasting with hors d'oeuvres around a cozy fire, all to benefit the Martha Jefferson Cancer Care Center. 2-5pm. $25, reservations recommended. Directions, more info: 961-3164.

Lovers Come Back:
Welcome poets Kevin McFadden and Angie Hogan back from their honeymoon at their poetry reading, one in the Streetlight Reading Series at Gravity Lounge. Barbara Crooker, visiting Charlottesville during her 11th residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, joins the newlyweds for a triple-header. 3pm. 103 S. First St. 977-5590.

Autumn Harvest of Song: Charlottesville's Vocal Arts Society presents a recital with Christine Magna and Mary Elizabeth Forbes, featuring concert arias by Mozart and Handel, St. Saens and Rossini, among other works. 3pm. $7. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. 296-2238.

Po' Girl with The Shiftless Rounders at Gravity Lounge: A group including the Be Good Tanyas' Trish Klein, Po' Girl are similarly old-timey, but with occasional lapses into blues and rowdier sounds that set them apart from the past. $15/$10, 8pm. See Tunes feature.

Charlie King & Karen Brandow at Westminster Presbyterian Church: Singing "passionately about the lives of ordinary people," the pair reportedly leave audiences "with a sense of optimism and possibility about the future." Suspicious? I am. Let's find out the truth together. 190 Rugby Road. $10, 8pm.

King Golden Banshee (traditional Irish music) at Dürty Nelly's Pub. No cover, 6:30pm.

Grasping At Laws with Gary Oxford ("eclectoplasmacoustic folk'n rock") at Kokopelli's Café in Crozet. No cover, 7pm.

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

Native American Flute Circle Meeting at Rapunzel's. Free, 1pm.

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

Soulful Sundown: Poetry, readings and the music of Laura Light and George Paul at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church. Free, 7pm.

Charlie King & Karen Brandow at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 190 Rugby Road. $10. 8pm.

MONDAY, November 15
The Silver Gavel Unit:
Whip your organization's meetings into shape! The Silver Gavel Unit teaches parliamentary procedure t promote efficient and concise meetings. They meet four times a year, including today. 10am-noon. Virginia National Bank. Arlington Blvd. No fee. 540-832-2365.

Medical Morality: No matter how you look at it, doctors face moral dilemmas in their work nearly every day. This week, Dr. Robert Boyle, a professor of pediatrics at UVA and Director of the University's Ethics Consultation Service, speaks on ethics in medicine. "Moral Dilemmas at the Beginning and End of Life" is part of the St. Anselm Institute's public lecture series. 6:30pm in Room 114, Jordan Hall. No fee.

Morals and Movies: The Center for Christian Study presents a viewing and discussion of Billy Wilder's 1950 Sunset Boulevard with Gloria Swanson, William Holden, and Erich Von Stroheim. Free. 7:30pm. 1530 Rugby Ave. 817-1050.

Devilish Fun:
See Thursday, November 11.

Technology Transfer:
If you're in the business of technology transfer and electronic intellectual property, consider joining the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council. Attend this Speakers Series lunch for more info. NC intellectual property attorney Fred Hutchison discusses the risks associated with technology commercialization and current market terms and trends. Omni Hotel. 11:30am-2pm. or 817-6300.

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

Matthew Willner solo (looped cacophony) at Miller's. Free, 10pm.

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

Inner Space (jam-tastic) at Southern Culture. No cover, 9:30pm.

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

TUESDAY, November 16
Devilish Fun:
See Thursday, November 11. This is the last performance of the run.

With help from an inquisitive young platypus named Billy, Heidi Rugg of Barefoot Puppets introduces folks to some of the most unusual animals in the world: critters from the Land Down Under. Three traditional tales of Australia's Aborigines inspired this lively performance at Central Library. 10:30am. Free. 201. E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.

Aging 101:
Stop the clock! I'm not ready to grow old. Sound familiar? Then join the Virginia Institute on Aging for a public lecture on the realities of aging at the Cavalier Inn. Drs. Heidi Scrable and Barry Condon dispel myths, answer questions, and discuss the Institute's ongoing research. 7-8:30pm. No fee, but reservations are required. 243-5327 or

Karaoke Night (what you make of it) at Baja Bean. Free, 8pm.

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

Barb Ryman with Mary Gordon Hall at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

Dr. Bottleneck (rock) at Miller's. No cover, 9:30pm.

Dean Fields at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

WEDNESDAY, November 17
Horse Talk:
Malcolm Warner, curator of Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum, offers a talk, "George Stubbs and the Rise of the English Thoroughbred." 6pm. Free, but tickets required. 200 N. Boulevard, Richmond. 804-204-1429.

Merchant of Venice:
See Saturday, November 13. Today's performance is a school show at 10:30am.

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

Teen-Time Nutrition: Teens can get the low-down on eating healthy when they play sports through the City's Recreation and Leisure Services. (Parents can come too.) 5-6:15pm. Free. Reservations required. 970-3264.

Parenting: The art of "Transparenting" is discussed in a four-hour parenting education program offered by Children, Youth, and Family Services. This educational seminar focuses on how to be an effective parent during a time of transition and how to minimize the negative impact of divorce or parental separation on children. 4-8pm. $50. Registration required. Albemarle County Office Building. 296-4118, ext. 235.

Dreamtime: See Tuesday, November 16. Today's performance is at Gordon Avenue Library at 4pm. 296-5544. Also at Scottsville Library at 10:30am. 330 Bird St. 286-3541.

Understanding Grief:
This week's Medical Center Hour presentation is entitled "Good Death, Good Grief, Good Funerals" with award-winning author Thomas Lynch. 12:30-1:30pm. No fee. Jordan Hall Conference Center Auditorium. 924-2094 or See Words feature.

Intelligence Reform: There's much talk of how much better off the U.S. and the world would be if our nation reformed its intelligence community (euphemism for spies). Fred Hitz, now a professor of politics at UVA, but formerly inspector general of the CIA, has some things to say about that. Hear him talk on "The Deceptive Allure of Intelligence Reform" at the Miller Center at 5:30pm. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-7736.

Please Release Me: Celebrate issue 49 of IRIS: A Journal about Women, at a release party at Gravity Lounge. This time the theme of the issue is "Shattering the Myths, and includes fiction, poetry, an interview with author Jewelle Gomez, and a study of the female characters in the recent film Troy. Special guest stars attending the party include Al Weed and singer-songwriter Lauren Hoffman. 6pm. $7. 103 S. First St. 924-4500.

Creativity Abounds: This week's Creative Writing Reading features UVA MFA candidates Matt White, reading fiction, and Adam Gianelli, reading poetry, at the New Dominion Bookshop at 8:30pm. 404 E. Main St. 924-6675.

Israeli Film Festival:
The Big Dig. Slapstick comedy lampooning bureaucracy and the madness of everyday life in Israel. Film centers on an escaped lunatic who digs up the streets of Tel Aviv with a pneumatic drill. Discussion afterward with GWU Prof. Yaron Peleg. 7pm. Wilson Hall 301, UVA. 703-505-6638.

Sierra Club: The Piedmont group of the Sierra Club discusses central Virginia's transportation needs at their monthly meeting. Learn more about alternative transport plans. 7:30pm. St. Mark Lutheran Church at the corner of Ivy and Alderman roads. 973-0373.

Flag Waving: Although many folks think Betsy Ross's 1776 Stars and Stripes is the first US flag, before then, other flags commanded allegiance in America. Elks Lodge #389 members present an informative display and discussion of 10 such Old Glory forerunners including "the Pine Tree Flag"– carried at the Battle of Bunker Hill– and the "Snake Flag," used in 1777 in the south. 11am. Free. Mary Williams Senior Center, 1512 E. Market St. 296-6015 or 817-9424.

Adopt-a-Highway: Come help the Wintergreen Nature Foundation restore and renew its stretch of Route 664. 10am. Call 325-7473 for more information.

The Hamiltons at Rapture: Ezra Hamilton and crew play a stylish soul right out of its heyday, with a little upkeep on the old instrumentation. $5, 10pm.

Cheesy Trivia with M&M Express at Buffalo Wild Wings. No cover, 8:30pm.

Benny Dodd (rock covers) at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm.

Open Mic Night at Dew Drop Inn. No cover, 7:30pm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THURSDAY, November 18
Benefit Boys and Girls:
Kenny Ball Antiques presents a show of the work of Abby Kasonik and Edward Thomas, to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville. Wine and light hors d'oeuvres. 5-8pm. 2125 Ivy Road. 293-1361.

LATTE Grande:
See Thursday, November 11. Today's show is at 7:30pm.

Midsummer Night's Dream: See Saturday, November 13.

Israeli Film Festival: Fictitious Marraige. About an Israeli man in the midst of a mid-life crisis who leaves his family in Jerusalem and travels to Tel Aviv, where he enters into a fictitious marriage, and is mistaken for an Arab laborer. Prof. Asher Biemann leads a discussion afterward. 7pm. Wilson Hall 301. 703-505-6638.

Green Thumb:
Emily Herring Wilson introduces No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence, her new biography of the North Carolina gardener and writer who traded plant cuttings and botanical correspondence with the likes of Katherine S. White and Eudora Welty. Wilson reads at New Dominion Bookshop at 11:30am. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Eating History: Debbie Nunley and Karen Jane Elliott share their book, A Taste of Virginia History: Historic Restaurants, a guide to more than 100 Virginia restaurants, most of which are located in buildings more than a century old. 5:30pm. New Dominion Bookshop. 404 E. Main St., 295-2552.

Play It Again: Kevin McFadden and Angie Hogan offer a second poetry reading of the week at PVCC's Jessup Library. McFadden is associate program director of the Virginia Festival of the Book, and Hogan's a staff member of the University of Virginia Press. 2:20pm. 500 College Drive. 961-5203.

Mike Doughty at Starr Hill:
Formerly the frontman for the exquisite bluesy and beat-heavy pop group Soul Coughing, Doughty's latest release in 2003 is Rockity Roll EP. With lines still displaying his trademark wit like "I went to school with 27 Jennifers" Doughty's work sounds like a smarter, though happier, version of his previous outfit. $10/$8. 8pm.

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

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

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

Peter Markush (piano) at Gravity Lounge. Free, 12-1pm.

Las Gitanas and Vulgar Bulgars at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

James McLaughlin with members of Old School Freight Train ("jazz, Latin, funk") at Michael's Bistro. No cover, 10pm.

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

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

Stabones (punk) at Outback Lodge. $5, 10pm.

Satisfaction with Noel Sanger (18 and up dance party) at Rapture. $3/Ladies free, 10:30pm.

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

The Six Pasts Server at Tokyo Rose. $5, 10pm.

Southside Funk Brothers at West Main. No cover, 10pm.

Upcoming and Ongoing
Submit to VSA:
The Charlottesville/Albemarle District of VSA arts of Virginia invites artists with disabilities to submit work for the Fifth Annual VSA Art Show. Ready-to-hang artwork will be accepted December 1-3 at the Independent Resource Center, 815 Cherry Avenue. For more information, call Mildred Spicer at 970-3264 or Jean Wilhelm at 296-3518.

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, ornament, or a hand-blown vase of your own. Class times and themes vary, as do fees. 202 S. Lewis St. in Staunton near the old train station. Details and registration info: 540-885-0678 or

Submit, Submit:
Meridian, the semi-annual UVA literary magazine, sponsors its annual Editors' Prizes in Poetry and Fiction, worth $1000 each. Stories or poems must be submitted electronically on the Meridian website, Click "Contest" for instructions.

Chance to Write Better: Three short classes offered through the Charlottesville Writing Center still have openings for students: Publishing for Beginners, a one-day workshop on Saturday, November 6; Basic Screenwriting Skills, a weekend practicum on Saturday and Sunday, November 6 and 7; and The Art of the Chapbook, a weekend workshop on Saturday and Sunday, November 13 and 14. 293-3702,

Script It:
Offstage Theatre seeks scripts for two upcoming series, Barhoppers and Bedroom Plays, set (duh) in bars and bedrooms. Pieces should run 10 to 20 minutes and require minimal props, costumes, etc. Comedies, dramas, monologues, musicals all eligible. Offstage pays $50 per chosen script. Deadlines: mid-December for Barhoppers; mid-February for Bedroom Plays. Send inquiries to and submissions to, or send mail to Chris Patrick, 210 Little Graves St., Charlottesville 22902.

Director's Round Table: Adults with prior directing experience join Live Arts guru John Gibson every month as he examines the question, "What does a director do, anyway?" Billed as a "freewheeling exploration" of the art and craft of the trade, meets the second Monday of each month, 7-10pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100.

Modern Dance: Classes with the Miki Liszt dance company. Safety release technique: 7pm Tuesdays. Dynamic alignment: 10:30am Wednesdays. Horton technique: 5:30pm Fridays. Studio 20, McGuffey Art Center, 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Practice Swing: The Charlottesville Swing Dance Society hosts weekly practice sessions for beginners and intermediates Thursdays. Singles and couples welcome. DJ takes requests. 7:30-9pm. Auditorium of the Albemarle County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road. Free. 980-2744.

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-midnight. $5 (members $3). 979-7211.

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.

More Belly Dance: Studio 206 Belmont is offering one-hour belly dance lessons every Tuesday with instructor Amalia Habibi. 7:15pm. 501 Monticello Road (above Mas tapas bar). $9-12. 296-6250.

Exotic Dance: Get kinky at the Berkmar Ballroom with exotic and modern dance for those at any skill level. Every Thursday night, belly dance for beginners and intermediates, 6-7pm. Fitness pole dance for beginners, 7-8pm. Sexy pole dancing for beginners, 8-9pm; for intermediates, 9-10pm. 652 Rio Road W. 10-lesson series, $125. 975-4611.

Mother's Helpers:
La Leche League of Charlottesville offers free breastfeeding information and support to pregnant and nursing mothers. Meet on the second Wednesday of the month at 10am at the Unitarian Church on Rugby Road, and the fourth Monday of the month at 6pm at Gordon Avenue Library. 984-4665; 295-1985; or 296-8875.

Bug's Life: Little buggers are invited to buzz their way through the tricks and traps of carnivorous plants at the Virginia Discovery Museum's new Back Gallery exhibit "A World of Bug-Eating Plants." Visitors can learn how these rare meat-eating plants catch their dinner, how they grow, and where they can be found as they slip, crawl, and slide through their fascinating world. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers meets the first and third Thursday of each month at Zion United Methodist Church, Troy. Noon-2pm. Free. Call 434-589-1665 for information and directions.

Parla italiano?
If you don't, Christina Ball of Ecco Italy offers "Italian for Beginners" lessons on Wednesday mornings (9:30-11am; $15 drop-in fee). If you do, why not drop by for the Tavola italiana (Wednesdays 11:30am-12:30pm) for a free chat hour in italiano? Or what about "Cinema Chat," a series of intermediate Italian conversation classes inspired by Italian films. ($55 for five-week chat series or $15 single class drop-in; Thursday 7:30-9pm). All classes held in the Verity blue Tower Lounge at the Main Street Market 406A W. Main St. Contact or 825-4390.

Madison House: Help UVA's Madison House bring a happy holiday to over 100 low-income families in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area. Call Reimi Okuyama at 977-7051 for details.

Bead Business: Studio Baboo presents weekly classes in bead stringing and jewelry making. Call the shop for specifics. 106 Fifth St. Downtown Mall. 244-2905.

Parkway Nature Walks: Monticello offers 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. See Walkabout feature.

Early Music Meeting: The Shenandoah Recorder Society meets on the third Sunday of every month to discuss the recorder and early music in general. Open to all. For more information, call 295-1395.

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.

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

The Second Street Gallery presents "Exotic Natives," an exhibition of critter-centered work by painter and photographer Ann Wiens, which includes a site-specific mural in the main gallery. Also on view in the Dové Gallery: "Residual: Photographs by Jon-Phillip Sheridan." Both shows run through November 27. Corner of Second and Water streets. 977-7284.

Sanford Wintersberger's "Original Scene" and "Game Pictures" present a game-like approach to art and consciousness in acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, at Les Yeux du Monde. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

Mountain Air Gallery features paintings by Glenn Bangley through November. 107-111 E. Main St. 244-3393.

Through December 23, the University of Virginia Art Museum displays "Whiteness, A Wayward Construction," a collaborative exhibition by 24 artists exploring "the concept of whiteness as an ideology of power." Also on view: "Lifeline: Movement and Time in Prints, Drawings and Photographs from the Collection," and video artist Bill Viola's "Six Heads," presented in conjunction with the Virginia Film Festival. The latter two shows run through November 23. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3952.

The McGuffey Art Center has four stellar offerings in November. Downstairs, view individual exhibitions by painters Cynthia Burke, Kathy Craig, and Mike Fitts. Upstairs, check out the award-winning photographs shot by regional high school students in "Our View: Charlottesville and Albemarle County." 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973. See Art feature.

Piedmont Virginia Community College displays pottery by Cri Kars-Marshall and Ted Thill through December 1. V. Earl Dickinson Building, 501 College Drive. 977-2001.

UVA's Artspace presents an exhibition of National Geographic photographs of Egypt, Cuba, and Japan by Kenneth Garrett, David Alan Harvey, and Michael Yamashita through November 30. Newcomb Hall. 227-1066.

UVA's Dell Gallery features the contemplative paintings of Corey Dreith through December 1. Dell II, located behind the Curry School of Education (Ruffner Hall). 924-6123.

Rob Tarbell presents his recent series of abstract drawings and paintings, "Bird by Bird by Bird, "at Gallery 111 through November 30. 111 Fourth St. NW (in the old SNL building), across from Nature Visionary Art. 249-8157.

Through the end of November, Gravity Lounge features recent works by oil painter Mary Atkinson. 103 S. First St. 977-5590.

The Main Street Market galleria displays paintings of musicians by Armando Arroyo through the end of November. 416 W. Main St. 244-7800.

The 5th Floor Gallery at Keller Williams is currently showing the work of painter Joan Soderland, stained-glass artist Shelby Bowen, painter Kathleen Karlsen, and photographer K. Robert Dooley. Ten percent of proceeds from artwork sold is donated to Habitat for Humanity. Suite 500, Citizens Commonwealth Building (UVA Credit Union), 300 Preston Ave. 220-2200.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church presents a retrospective of work by Constance Tupper, November 14-December 5. The show opens with a reception on November 14 at noon. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

Angelo presents "Thailand-China, September 2004," photographs by Pam Perugi Marraccini, through December 31. 220 E. Main St. 971-9256.

The Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art features "Indigenous: Selected Works from the Kluge Ruhe Collection" through November 27. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place. 244-0234.

Les Yeux du Monde presents an exhibition of new paintings by Herb Jackson. Also on view: Sanford Wintersberger's "Watch Them Watch." Both shows run through November 13. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

Nature Visionary Art presents "Visions of Haiti," a group show curated by Laurie Carmody of Galerie Bonheur, through December 30. 110 Fourth St. 296-8482.

For its November show, The Gallery @ 5th & Water displays paintings by David Cochrane. 107 Fifth St. 979-9825.

During November, CODG presents "What a Precious Moment This Could Be," an exhibition of artwork by Ramanan. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

The C&O Gallery features paintings and sculptures by Jan Elmore through the end of November. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Sage Moon Gallery features work by photographers Margaret Woodson Nea and Karine Ngu yen-Tuong during November. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

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

The Laughing Lion Gallery presents "Honoring Playful Art," drawings and paintings by Terrence Pratt, during November. 103 E. Water St. in the Commerce Building (above Londons). 984-4000.

During November, the Mudhouse shows artwork by painter Barry Gordon. 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

The Mudhouse @ Pantops displays paintings by David Breeden through November. Located in the Texaco at 1192 Richmond Road, on the corner of Rt. 250 and Rt. 20. 984-3035.

View Sandra Offut's oil exhibition, "Painting Live– Bringing the Outdoors In," at Art Upstairs during November. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

Through the end of November, Bozart Gallery offers "Interiors," new paintings by Janice Breeden. 211 W. Main St. 296-3919.

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.


The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts displays "Selections: 20th Century Latin American Art in the VMFA Collection" through March 13. Also on view, "Albrecht Durer: A Renaissance Journey in Print" runs through January 9. 200 N. Broad St., Richmond. 804-340-1400.

Washington and Lee University's Ernest Williams II School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics presents new large-scale paintings by Frank Hobbs, on display through January 7. Lexington. 540-458-8954.

The Nichols Gallery Annex presents "Images of the South," an exhibition of paintings by over 20 Mid-Atlantic artists, including Ron Boehmer, Gray Dodson, Philip Koch, Frederick Nichols, and Chica Tenney, through November 28. Barboursville, near the intersection of Rtes. 20 and 33. 540-832-3565.

During November, The Arts Center in Orange presents the work of David Garrison and Susan Garnett. 129 E. Main St., Orange. 540-672-7311.

Madison's Sevenoaks Pathwork Center displays "Three Artists from One Virginia Family," featuring the work of Peg Redd, Page Coplan, and Paul Charlton, on view through early December. 403 Pathwork Way, Madison. 434-295-2486.

Caffe Bocce presents "Fresh Off the Easel," paintings by Meg West, as well as paintings by Lindsay Michie Eades during November. 330 Valley St., Scottsville. 434-286-4422.

Ombra's in Crozet features paintings by Doris deSha and Laurel Johnson, on view through December. 434-823-5332.

The Barn Swallow features pottery by Janice Arone and Mary Ann Burke, plus other handcrafted artwork. Route 682 off 250W. 434-979-4884.

Staunton's Painted Thunder Studios welcomes the work of equine artist Jennet Inglis. 19 W. Beverley St. 540-851-0864.

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.


The University of Virginia Art Museum is conducting its annual prose and poetry competition, "The Writer's Eye." All works on view at the museum are eligible for selection by contestants. Entries are due at the museum by 5pm, Friday, November 19. For more information, call Deryn Goodwin, 924-7458. 155 Rugby Road.

The Artisans Center of Virginia invites entries for a national competition/juried exhibition, "Sacred Icons: A Collective Vision of Symbolic & Ritual Objects." All media are accepted, but work must have been completed in the past two years. The entry fee is $20, and the submission deadline is February 19, 2005. 540-946-3294 or

Metal mettle: Dabbling with dents and dings

Have you ever noticed the car graveyard stretching alongside the southbound lanes of Route 29 between Washington and Charlottesville? Wheelless vehicles with shattered windows lie rusting in the woods, along with the occasional junked fridge and dented stove. This terrain of the discarded, I imagine, is artist Michael Fitts' idea of paradise.

Where most of us see wreckage, Fitts finds beauty, excising metal canvases for his paintings and reclaiming material for his two-dimensional assemblages. Fitts' latest adventures in scrap are currently on view at the McGuffey Art Center.

For the past several years, Fitts has been painting photorealistic images centered on metal sheets affixed by conspicuous industrial staples to underlying frames. Although he de-contextualizes his everyday subjects, they resonate with sentiment and nostalgia– deflated party balloons, a worn box of Crayola crayons, a black plastic rotary phone.

Fitts makes no attempt to hide his brushwork– unlike other photorealists– displaying it as he does the dents and scrapes in his metal backgrounds. Bristle marks are clear in the white and gray strokes that create the reflections in "Black Phone." Nevertheless, the image is immediately tangible and poignant. Up bubbles the memory of the telephone in my parents' house, with its translucent dial, squat rubber feet, and ever-tangling black spiral cord.

Fitts splits the phone's image vertically between two metal panels, the left a scratched, crumpled taupe, and the right a dinged-up steel blue. The effect is something like day and night, with the left side of the painted image jumping out from its light background, about to ring, while the right seems settled and sedate– a post-10pm instrument.

More recently, Fitts has been playing with allowing the metals alone to create the visual impact, using paint sparingly or forgoing it altogether in abstract assemblages. Although a departure from Fitts' familiar realism, the compositions still provoke emotional responses through their combination of surfaces.

In "Stainless Wedge," a vertical rectangle is divided between an upper panel of mustard yellow with a rush of rusted orange scratches, and a lower sheet of sallow cream marked by teal airbrushed characters of forgotten graffiti. In the center– where Fitts would normally paint– a gleaming plate of stainless steel juts lopsidedly across the two panels, shiny silver rivets framing its inner and outer borders.

Fitts fans may be sad to see him leave his oils in the tube, but it's fascinating to watch where his love of dents and dings is taking his work.

Mike Fitts "New Work" is on display at the McGuffey Art Center through November 21. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Tellabration: Stories and song fund a camp
Laura Piedmont has been a student of Native American thought and practices for a number of years. Committed to passing on these teachings to the next generation, Piedmont founded a camping program 11 years ago so children can experience the peaceful wisdom of the earth. For a week or two in the summer, kids from second grade through high school work, play, and learn together using the facilities of Camp Sugar Hollow.

Since its inception, the program at Piedmont's Camp Whispering Oaks has quietly flourished by word of mouth and the dedicated efforts of volunteers. Recently, however, Whispering Oaks became a non-profit, and now has the urge to take root on land of its own, allowing the summer camping program to grow to up to eight weeks and offering the possibility of other earth-friendly programs throughout the year. This expansion, of course, requires money.

On Saturday, November 20, Camp Whispering Oaks invites the public to come hear its story and other fun tales as it hosts "Tellabration! 2004: Celebrate Story and Family," to benefit the efforts to find a home. Tellabration is an annual celebration of storytelling sponsored by the National Storytelling Network with events taking place in 40 countries throughout the world on the Saturday before our Thanksgiving.

"Storytelling is the primary method of teaching in the Native American tradition," Piedmont explains.

With crafts from indigenous peoples from Guatemala, a variety of folk and traditional musicians, and food, this event is more than just telling tales. Local artist and storyteller Dan Mahon starts things off with a group art project in which all participants have the opportunity to work together to create their own story as they build a sculpture of natural materials.

Italian folk band Allodala performs as a simple dinner is served. Local singer/songwriter and storyteller Mary Gordon Hall and Pat Flaherty of Virginia Beach weave their own special magic. And a local women's drumming circle, joined by African drummer Darrell Rose, sets the stage for the entrance of one of the camp's special magical characters.

"Children have that magic in them," Piedmont declares. "We want to let it shine as we celebrate family and peace through stories."

Camp Whispering Oaks' Tellabration celebration takes place on November 20 4-8:30pm at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. Admission is $10 per person, $40 per family. Dinner is extra. Tickets available in advance at Shenanigans. 823-9517 or

Cheery undertaking: Lynch humanizes taboo topic
It's not as if it's a new phenomenon, but for some reason, death is in the wind these days. Think of Six Feet Under. The recent bestseller Stiff, a cultural study of cadavers. And consider the writing of Thomas Lynch, whose poetry and essays have brought accolades, awards, and international fame to this small-town Michigan undertaker.

As someone who brings art to his trade and brings his trade to his art, Lynch presents an unusual world-view. He's someone who daily interacts with the bodies of the dead and the minds, hearts, and grief of survivors. In a country that tends to turn away from the realities of death and dying, doing our best to keep them outside our everyday view, Thomas Lynch's blunt, wry, and musing style helps bring the inevitable out of the shadows and into the light.

He comes from family of undertakers– his father, his brother, and, with a variation, his uncle (whose specialty is cleaning up after suicides) all ply the funereal trade. He grew up in the family business and since 1974 has operated a mortuary in Milford, about halfway between Detroit and Lansing, Michigan, close by the home of Jack Kevorkian, whose presence and reputation Lynch pauses to comment on now and then in his writing.

After six years of following in the family footsteps, Lynch began putting pen to paper. He wrote poems, and his first book of poetry, Skating with Heather Grace, came out in 1986. He has since published three more poetry volumes, Still Life in Milford probably the best known. At the same time, he has taken to writing personal essays, and two collections of them have been especially well received. The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade won the American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

His subject matter is infinitely intriguing. What deeper mystery interests all readers than the nature and experience of death? And who better to help us gaze straight into that unknown than someone who does it for a living?

"The bodies of the newly dead are not debris nor remnant, nor are they entirely icon or essence," Lynch writes in The Undertaking. "They are, rather, changelings, incubates, hatchlings of a new reality… It is wise to treat such new things tenderly, carefully, with honor." Thomas Lynch remains intelligent and unflinching, caustic and amusing, as he helps us look at death steadily and squarely.

Thomas Lynch speaks during the UVA Medical Center Hour on Wednesday, November 17, at 12:30pm. Jordan Conference Center Auditorium. Free. 982-3820.

Sepia: Hope amid the chaos
What artists call sepia is a pigment with warm tones of reddish-brown. It lends a kind of dreamy quality to photographic prints. It touches the real with the surreal, textures the mundane with the extraordinary.

Sepia Theater is a new movement intended to foster involvement among African Americans in Charlottesville's performing arts scene. Founder Edna-Jakki Miller, a local dancer and business consultant, chose the name as a way to rethink race and celebrate black culture.

The group's debut production, a collaboration with freelance writer and playwright Bill James, explores death and redemption on the streets of Charlottesville. The cast– with some 20 young men and women, most but not all of them black– introduce 5th and Dice in a staged reading at Live Arts on Friday, November 12.

The goal is not to exclude, but include. More than one fifth of the city's population calls itself black, but as James says, many in the African American community either feel cut off from local theater or identify it with the privileged white establishment.

"That's why Sepia was formed," James says, "to give black people a chance to act in a medium where they feel comfortable and in control of how they express themselves."

This original musical production, with dance numbers choreographed by Miller, takes place on the edge of a neighborhood segregated in fact if not officially, where the racialized and marginalized carve out their lives.

Enter Blue, a young black man struggling to find himself. After a local rival guns down his brother and cousin, and Grandma is caught in the crossfire, Blue faces the choice of his life: to make peace or seek revenge.

His world is fittingly supernatural. In thinly veiled religious symbolism, Blue is met with the spirits of his dead relatives and grapples with the devilish allure of Master D, the Grand McDaddy, who seems to have a hand in all that falls apart.

Set in a town not particularly known for gang violence, a story about gangstas and ghosts and guns might seem a bit out of place. But James says his script transcends place even as it grounds the story in a street life many will recognize.

"This is a little slice of gang activity going on across the country," he says. "This could just as well have been Churchville in Richmond, Northeast Philadelphia, or Washington, D.C. This is meant to warn our people of how bad this can get– but also to show there's hope."

Sepia Theater introduces 5th and Dice as part of the Live Arts Playwright's Lab staged readings series, Friday, November 12. The series continues Saturday night with Andrew P. Citron's comedy, The Flounder, about an unhappily married couple who receive an unlikely visitor in the form of a magical fish. 8pm. Rehearsal Room A, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100.

Nature boy: TJ's intriguing wilderness
Thomas Jefferson was a fan of the outdoors, that much we know. In fact, it's said that he was so enthusiastic about his daily ride around Monticello that even in extreme old age he insisted on being lifted up into the saddle so he could enjoy the area's natural beauty unencumbered.

That love for the outdoors can be seen today in the incredible diversity of plant and animal life in the forests that surround Monticello. Not only was Jefferson a fanatic naturalist, but he also liked to get his hands dirty experimenting with tree and shrub plantings from all over the world.

"Thomas Jefferson was a big proponent of bringing non-native plants here and shipping American varieties to his friends overseas," says Monticello naturalist Jay Kardan, whose job it is to oversee the wooded areas along the Jefferson Parkway. "We now know that many of these invasive species can do a lot of harm, but he only saw the positive aspects and tried to get all sorts of things to grow at Monticello."

Visitors can see for themselves what 200 years of ecological diversity looks like on one of Kardan's weekly nature walks. He leads these leisurely morning hikes up the Saunders-Monticello Trail (which parallels the Jefferson Parkway) as a way to introduce visitors to Monticello's landscape preservation efforts and to explain his ongoing work in the woods.

Along the way, he points out unique species, discusses Jefferson's contributions to local horticulture, and explains how the Trail and Parkway came to be. Don't be put off by the two-mile walk. The trail is wheelchair accessible along its entire length, so there really aren't any challenging climbs to worry about.

Some people might wonder about the benefits of a nature walk at the end of the year. Once the leaves drop, the show's over, right? Actually, there's a lot more going on in the late fall forest than one might expect. And, without the summer crowds, a side of the trail&endash; with its "towering native hardwood forest, deep ravines, and panoramas of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains"– that few tourists ever get to see is easily accessible. Besides, Jefferson's woods may have changed a bit over the years, but the unreal views they offer of Charlottesville are still the same; and fewer leaves mean breathtaking vistas at every turn.

Monticello's parkway nature walks depart from Kemper Park at the base of the mountain (near the intersection of Routes 20 and 53) every Sunday morning at 9:30am until November 28 (three weeks left). Participation is free, and reservations are not required. Kardan hikes rain or shine, so come prepared. or 984-9822.

Shades required: Striking out on her own

I was introduced to the Vancouver-based old-time/folk trio, the Be Good Tanyas, shortly after the release of their first album, 2001's Blue Horse, and from only occasional snippets overheard on a roommate's boom box, I could tell this was a group that deserved my full attention. From their lazy pop tunes– with lead singer Frazey Ford's slurred and girlish vocals– to their impressive songwriting, the group was a little nugget of bright light in a sea of same-old, same-old Americana.

By 2003, the outfit had taken an indefinite break, and guitarist and vocalist Trish Klein started her own old-timey outfit, which– while it included sonic elements of the Be Good Tanyas– struck out in its own, bluesier vein. With like-minded guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Allison Russell, Klein formed Po' Girl that year, which released its self-titled debut album, and then toured like the winds of hell were behind them. This year saw the release of Vagabond Lullabies (Nettwerk), a mix of morning and delight, padded with the harmonies that were a staple of Klein's previous stab at immortality.

Vagabond Lullabies begins with the Russell-penned, "Tell Me a Story," all peaceful slide guitar, brush-hit drums, and Russell's strong bluesy voice, slurred like Ford's (what exactly do people talk like in Vancouver? I ask you). Acoustic guitar strumming leads right to the meat of the piece, where walking banjo lines and a slow ambling tempo make the song a nodder rather than a mover and shaker.

Klein's "Mercy" is up next, and though her voice is not as strong as Russell's, her partially whispered tone, with the Vancouver-ish slurred delivery, is a nice foil during the course of the disc.

Russell's "Movin' on" is where things really get going, with its New Orleans style writing and timeless melody. "We just can't seem to get along, and you know we've both been wrong / The time for sorry's come and gone, I think we've reached that old movin' on," Russell begins a cappella style, but she's soon backed by staccato violin and a chorus of voices for the "I think we've reached that old movin' on" coda. With its simple verse ending in the coda repeat, the song's structure follows '60s pop songwriting conventions in numbers such as "A Hard Day's Night," a style which today seems to have been totally forgotten.

Other highlights include Klein's auto-biography "Poor Girl" with a stirring, fiddle-ridden chorus, and her "Part Time Poppa," old-timey in its feel, vocal inflection, and chording. Po' Girl is playing at Gravity Lounge on November 14, and if I were you (and I, meaning you, liked outstanding modern old-time), I would get my tickets now.

Po' Girl with The Shiftless Rounders at Gravity Lounge, November 14. $15/$10, 8pm