Cultural calendar, December 23, 2004 - January 6, 2005

THURSDAY, December 23
WALKABOUT
Mountain Holiday:
Celebrate a traditional Virginia Christmas with holiday craft workshops, horse-drawn carriage rides, Christmas dinners, a gingerbread house contest, New Year's Eve celebrations, and more at Wintergreen's Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas. 325-8180 or wintergreenresort.com for more information.

PERFORMANCE
A Christmas Carol:
This adaptation of the Dickens holiday classic will delight the whole family. Let's face it, Ebenezer, Tiny Tim, and those ghosts never get old. Today's performances are a school matinee at 10:30am and an evening show at 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-26. 540-855-5588.

Get Lost in Santaland: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents the ultimate anti-holiday show: The Santaland Diaries, a hilarious one-man act written by NPR humorist and author David Sedaris. As usual, it's about his zany life: this time as an unemployed artist working as an elf in the Big Apple. 10pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $10-21. 540-885-5588.

TUNES
Inner Space at Atomic Burrito:
One varied jam after another, Inner Space gets extremely funky without becoming tiresome. Great instrumentalists making great music. No cover, 10pm.

A Smokey Mountain Christmas: Jim Waive Trio, Critter & Sarah White & The Pearls with Music Row Stars at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 8:30pm.

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

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

Karaoke Night at Damon's Sports Bar. Free, 9-12am.

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

Stable Roots at Garden of Sheba. $7/$5 students, 10pm.

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

Crooked Road (traditional Irish music) at Kokopelli's Café. $5, 7-9:30pm.

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

The Graboids at Outback Lodge. No cover, 10pm.

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

FRIDAY, December 24
FAMILY
On the Air:
Local folks can see familiar faces as WHTJ Charlottesville PBS airs "A Holiday Celebration with Lloyd Mabrey." This singer, songwriter, and storyteller taped the inspiring seasonal program at PVCC before an audience of over 250 students from Clark Elementary School. The show also includes segments from other local performances by Mabrey, who visited the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center and the Jefferson Area Board of Aging while he was in Charlottesville in November. 7am. 295-6329.

Tree Trimming: Today is the last chance for intrepid hunters and gatherers to cut their own Christmas tree from the fields at Ash Lawn-Highland. Trees are growing naturally so are not shaped, and there may be a hike to find just the right Virginia pine or cedar. Bring your own saw and a rope to secure the tree to your vehicle. 11am-4pm. $5 donation requested. James Monroe Parkway (Rt. 795). 293-9539. ashlawnhighland.org.

Books for Kids: Barnes & Noble wraps up their Holiday Book Drive today. Book donations benefit the Book Buddies program, a tutorial program that supports first and second graders in Charlottesville City Schools. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-0466.

PERFORMANCE
A Christmas Carol:
See Thursday, December 23. Today's performance is a 2pm matinee.

SATURDAY, December 25
FAMILY
On the Air:
See Friday, December 24. Today's show is at 6pm.

TUNES
The Hamilton's Special Xmas Night Jam at Outback Lodge:
At least a few creatures will be stirring Xmas night– including the Hamiltons, your source for brilliant local soul. No cover, 10pm.

SUNDAY, December 26
PERFORMANCE
A Christmas Carol:
See Thursday, December 23. Today's performances are at 2 and 7:30pm.

Get Lost in Santaland: See Thursday, December 23. Today's performance is at 5pm.

FAMILY
Party On:
It's the day after Christmas, and the Frontier Culture Museum is still celebrating with "Twelve Days of Christmas Winter Caroling Party." Participants can visit the four historic farms, learn old-time carols, and enjoy refreshments. 5-7pm. $2. Rt. 250 west in Staunton. 540-332-7850.

A Monroe Christmas: Ash Lawn-Highland is still celebrating with "Sounds of the Season." This informal holiday concert features classical music performed by the Charlottesville trio of Rick LaRue on violin, Christy Willard on flute, and Elaine Tucker on piano. The trio will also lead the audience in singing traditional Christmas carols. Immediately after the concert, guests are invited to stroll through the Monroes' home, decorated with holiday greenery. 2 and 4:30pm. $12 adults, $6 children. Reservations recommended. 1000 James Monroe Parkway (Rt. 795). 293-9539.

Going Buggy: From metamorphosis to mastery, predator to prey, and community to concealment, Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure brings viewers face-to-face in a big way with the amazing and fascinating universe of insects. This IMAX film, staring a praying mantis, a butterfly, and the amazing array of creatures who share their tropical rainforest habitat, opens today at the Science Museum of Virginia. Call or see website for schedule and prices. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727. smv.org.

WALKABOUT
Sounds of Ash Lawn:
This informal concert features classic holiday music, followed by a special house tour of the historic James Monroe home. 2 and 4pm. $12 adults, $6 children 4-11. 293-9539 for reservations.

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

Brandon Gaesser, the piano man, at Kokopelli's Café. 7-9:30pm, $3.

MONDAY, December 27
FAMILY
A Monroe Christmas:
See Sunday, December 26. Today's performance is at 4:30pm.

WALKABOUT
Sounds of Ash Lawn:
See Sunday, December 26. 4:30pm. $12 adults, $6 children 4-11. 293-9539 for reservations.

County Preservation: Albemarle County is growing at an alarming rate, and there are things here that need to be saved. Drop in on the monthly meeting of the county's Historic Preservation Committee to make sure your voice gets heard. 4:30-6pm in Room 235 at the County Office Building. Call 296-5843 or visit albemarle.org for more information.

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

Jan Glennie-Smith and Haley Glennie-Smith (pop and folk) at Gravity Lounge. $5, 7pm.

Greg Howard at Miller's. No cover, 9pm.

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

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

TUESDAY, December 28
TUNES
Karaoke Night (what you make of it) at Baja Bean. Free, 8pm.

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

Steve Kessler Quartet with John D'earth, Robert Jospé, and Pete Spaar at Gravity Lounge. $TBA, 7pm.

Banty Rooster at Miller's. $3, 9:30pm.

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

PERFORMANCE
A Christmas Carol:
See Thursday, December 23. Today's show is at 7:30pm.

WEDNESDAY, December 29
WALKABOUT
Intro to Iyengar
: This yoga style is excellent for beginners because it teaches a variety of different poses and works with the body's natural alignment. This Outdoor Adventure Social Club class offers individualized attention and a trained teacher. 6:30pm at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Charlottesville. $7 plus membership fee. outdoorsocial.com or 760-HIKE.

PERFORMANCE
A Christmas Carol:
See Thursday, December 23. Tonight's show is at 7:30pm.

TUNES
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 with David Brookings from Memphis at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

The Ex Porn Stars at Outback Lodge. No cover, 10pm.

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

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

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

THURSDAY, December 30
PERFORMANCE
A Christmas Carol:
See Thursday, December 23. Today's performance is the last of the year, at 2pm.

Get Lost in Santaland: See Thursday, December 23. The final performance of the run is tonight at 7:30pm.

WALKABOUT
Let Go and Let God:
Release old patterns and let in new light at this workshop led by Donovan and Susan Thesenga through January 2 at Sevenoaks Pathwork Center in Madison, 540-948-6544 or email sevenoaks@nexet.com.

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

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

Karaoke Night at Damon's Sports Bar. Free, 9-12am.

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

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

Special Ed and the Short Bus at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

The Atomic 3 (Drex Weaver- drums, Houston Ross- bass, Matthew Willner- guitar) at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

Orbit on Thursday, December 30.

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

FRIDAY, December 31
WALKABOUT
Freestyle Demo Day:
Test out the latest and greatest in ski and snowboard equipment at Wintergreen. Free. At the top of Eagle Swoop and the Lookout. 325-8054 or freestyleonline.com.

Eve Dinner: Celebrate the New Year with a five-course dinner and Barboursville wine tasting at Palladio Restaurant. $280/couple, all-inclusive. Call 540-832-7848 for reservations.

New Year's Bash: Party with the Prince! Dinner, dancing, and all-around New Year's merriment at Prince Michel Winery. 800-800-WINE for reservations.

WALKABOUT AND FAMILY
Hearty Party:
All of Charlottesville (and everyone else around) is invited to the biggest party of the year. First Night Virginia offers more than nine hours of alcohol-free entertainment for all ages at locations throughout the downtown area. From processional to fireworks the schedule is packed with stories, singing, dancing, and magic of all sorts. Admission buttons sold in advance at Timberlake's Drug Store, Volvo of Charlottesville, Plan 9 (both), Blue Ridge Mountain Sports (Barracks Road Shopping Center), Sidetracks (218 Water Street), and Dippin Dots (Fashion Square Mall). $12 adults, $6 children 12 and under in advance (Each ticket $1 more on New Year's Eve). 975-8269 or monticello.avenue.org/firstnightvirginia.

First Night Opening: Virginia Discovery Museum celebrates the New Year with the unveiling of the results of the Artist in Schools Project, a large-scale art project created with Charlottesville City School students. First Night participants can get in free from 2-5pm with their buttons. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

TUNES
New Year's Eve Party with Danny Schmidt, Devon Sproule, Paul Curreri, Naked Puritans at Gravity Lounge:
Join some of the best groups around for an evening of picking, hooting, and rabble rousing, along with food and drink. And the music will be pretty good too! $50, 7pm. See Tunes feature.

Eli Cook's Red House Blues Band New Year's Eve Bash at the Dew Drop Inn. No cover. 9:30pm-it's over.

Second Annual Nye Party featuring Man Mountain Jr. at Orbit: Get funky with the funk/soul/hip-hop group as you enter the new year loose as a goose drinking juice. $5, 10pm.

New Years' Party: TigerLily, The Karma Bums, the County Crows, the Water Brothers, Richard & Sherry Smith, and Cathy's Happy New Year Band at Rapunzel's: End 2004 in style and begin the year anew with some of Charlottesville's best acoustic themed acts. $5, 8pm.

New Year's Celebration: Alligator (all-star local group playing early Dead) and Johnny Sportcoat and the Dead Casuals (the latest incarnation) at Starr Hill: A champagne toast and party favors accompany a night of kissing strangers to the sweet sounds of the past and present. $25, 8pm.

The Dirty Weasels (classic rock/blues dance band) at Kokopelli's Café. 8-midnight.

Jamal Milner Blues Band at Dürty Nelly's. 9pm-2am. $10 cover includes champagne toast and sandwiches.

New Years Rock Triumvirate: Navel, Egypt, and Lyman at Outback Lodge. No cover, 10pm.

New Year's Eve Party at Club 216 with DJ Frank Rivera. Non-members admitted. Party until 5am. Members $5. Members' guests $20. DJ Frank Rivera.

SATURDAY, January 1
FAMILY
Flying Two-fer:
The Virginia Aviation Museum invites flight fanciers to start the New Year off with a trip into the wild blue yonder, and to bring along a friend. Today is Two-for-One Day and, among other things, visitors can see the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest, highest-flying manned plane on record. 5701 Huntsman Road. 804-236-3622. vam.smv.org.

WALKABOUT
Sup for the Squad: Join the Faber Volunteer Fire Department for a roast beef, chicken, or chitterling dinner to benefit the squad's building fund. 4:30pm. Nelson County Rescue Squad Building, Route 6 east in Faber. 263-8223.

Humpback Rocks Hike: Experience winter's beauty at Humpback Rocks on the Wintergreen Nature Foundation's annual New Year's Day hike. 10am. $5 fee, $3 Foundation members. Call 325-8169 for reservations.

New Years 5K: Kick off 2005 right, at the annual New Year's 5K run in Free Union. Nice, leisurely 11am start. 293-3367 or avenue.org/ctc for more information.

Real Estate and Rent Relief: Beginning January 1, Charlottesville residents are encouraged to apply for the city's real estate tax and rent relief programs. Contact the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office at 970-3170 for qualifications and more information. charlottesville.org/cor.

TUNES
Rockin' Cellos Extravaganza:
Red Beet, The Marzaks and B.C. at Gravity Lounge: An evening of Charlottesville's top cello-heavy (meaning they have any at all) groups. Brilliance in evidence. $10, 8pm.

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

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

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

Shayar and Krooshal Force (Burning Spear's rhythm guitarist- reggae) at Miller's. $4, 9:30pm.

Dance in 2005 with DJ Frank Rivera.

SUNDAY, January 2
TUNES
Irish Music Session at Shebeen. No cover, 3-6pm.

MONDAY, January 3
TUNES
Open Mic Night with Charles Davis at Baja Bean. No cover, signup 8:30pm/9pm.

Las Gitanas at Miller's. $3, 9:30pm.

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

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

TUESDAY, January 4
FAMILY
Six Easy Steps:
Can it really be that easy to deal with challenging children? The folks at Children, Youth, and Family Services offer a six-week series of classes for parents of 3-12 year-olds. Individual home visits are an option for at-risk families. Six Tuesdays starting tonight at Central Library. 6-7:30pm. $15 per family. Call Beth Adams for more information or to register: 296-4118, ext. 224.

WORDS
Wet Dreams:
Len Worley, Ph.D., leads a discussion of the Jungian implication of sex and lovers who come to us while we sleep, part of his ongoing Community Dream Circle series, "Exploring Archetypal Themes in Dreams." Worley titles this session "The Lover: Sexuality and Its Role in Forming the Inner Marriage." All invited this and every first Tuesday in a month, 7-9pm at 211 W. Main St. 293-3271. visionaryquest.org/presentations.html/.

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

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

Peyton and Andy at Miller's. $3, 9:30pm.

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

WEDNESDAY, January 5
FAMILY
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.

WALKABOUT
Look to the Skies:
The Charlottesville Astronomical Society convenes at McCormick Observatory for their monthly meeting. Visitors are welcome, and the club will be discussing their upcoming astronomy classes. 6:45pm. kharker@earthlink.net or cvilleastro.org.

Women's Ski Seminar: For the non-beginner who wants to improve her skiing ability, gain more confidence, and break through to the next level. 9am&endash;4pm, Wintergreen. $120 tuition covers instruction. Call 971-5575 for reservations and information.

TUNES
West African Drum Class at Friends Quaker Meeting of Charlottesville
(1104 Forest St off Preston between Allied and Rose Hill): Using djembe and dunun drums, the class covers technique, sound excercises, playing as a group, and building a rhythm. This is the first class in a six week session. $70 for six weeks/$10 for drum rental over 6 sessions, 6-7pm.

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 with David Brookings from Memphis at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

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

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

THURSDAY, January 6
FAMILY
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. Call Jack Gallagher for more information: 296-4118, ext. 257.

Tales for Tots: See Wednesday, January 5.

WALKABOUT
French Conversation Luncheon:
L'Alliance Française de Charlottesville meets the first Thursday of every month for casual, relaxed French language practice. Held at the Restaurant L'Etoile on W. Main St. 11:30am. Details, Andrée Nesbit at 971-1118 or andreen@cstone.net.

Lunch with the Legislators: Join the League of Women Voters for this opportunity to meet and greet your state legislators. Enjoy a light lunch, and then discuss the important issues facing the upcoming General Assembly session with several local representatives. Noon, at the Boar's Head Inn. Deadline for reservations: December 30. lwv@avenue.org or 970-1707.

Spanish Conversation Group: La Tertulia, a Spanish conversation group, meets the first Thursday of each month in the Jefferson Room at the Central Library to brush up on studies. All levels welcome. 7pm. 979-7151 or jmrlweb@rjrl.org.

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

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

Karaoke Night at Damon's Sports Bar. Free, 9-12am.

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.

Upcoming and Ongoing
ART

Best Of:
Kennedy Promotions invites artists working in all media to enter its competition to appear in the book Best of Virginia Artists and Artisans. Deadline: May 25, 2005. Download entry form at bestofartists.com.

Look Around: 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. Info: 540-946-3294 or acv@nexet.net.

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 dan@sunspots.com.

FAMILY
Poster Contest:
The planning committee for the Albemarle County Fair just keeps on going. They're inviting area high school students to submit a design for the 2005 catalog cover and other promotions. The theme is "We've Got a Good Thing Growing." Entry deadline is January 14. For more information, call 973-8010 or e-mail acfincorp@earthlink.net.

Bug's Life: Little bugs 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 through January 9. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

PERFORMANCE
Play Reading Series:
Join theater aficionados at Live Arts for walk-throughs of the essential dramas in theater history. Call if you're interested in reading, or just show up and enjoy. Third Sunday of every month. 3-6pm. 123 E. Water St. 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: 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.

Belly Dance and More: Get kinky at the Berkmar Ballroom with lessons in everything from exotic dance to salsa and tango. Classes, schedules and prices vary. Visit www.bermarballroom.com for a complete listing or call for more information. 652 Rio Road W. 975-4611.

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

Keep Rotating those Abs: Studio Bijoux's Leila offers Egyptian belly dance for advanced beginners (permission required) at 7pm Mondays and 7:15pm Wednesdays. A technique course open to dancers of all skill levels takes place at 8pm Mondays. Ages 15 and up welcome. All courses at ACAC Albemarle Square. $10-12. 978-3800 or studiobijoux.com/dance.

WALKABOUT
Ninja Yoga:
Towards a revolution of consciousness. Free yoga classes. Bring a mat. Thursdays, 9-10:15am. Mondays, 6:30pm, followed by a writing workshop at 7:30pm. Meditation, an indirect non-action, meets Wednesdays 8-9am for instructions, discussions, short sittings. Meets Thursdays 8-9am for a silent "bare bones" hour-long sitting (followed by yoga). Free and open to the public at "Better than Television," a new community center at 106 A3 Goodman St. 295-0872. See Walkabout feature.

Water Watchers: StreamWatch needs for volunteers interested in stream ecology and willing to collect aquatic organisms for the purpose of evaluating stream health. See streamwatch.org for info, then call 923-8642.

Green Gatherings: Explore the spiritual side of nature with NatureSpirit. Explore the spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions and learn how to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature. Meets the first Sunday of the month at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church at 6:30pm. naturespirit@uucharlottesville.org, call 243-6421, or naturespirit.info.

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 7L30-9pm). All classes held in the Verity blue Tower Lounge at the Main Street Market 406A W. Main St. Contact christina@eccoitaly.com or 825-4390.

Monticello in Winter: See Jefferson's homestead up close and personal on a cold weather tour of the property's architectural highlights. Now through the end of February. Usual admission fee applies. 984-9822 or monticello.org for a complete schedule.

Alliance Dinner Meeting: Interfaith Gay Straight Alliance of Central Virginia, a faith-based group working for full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders and their families, meets the first Thursday of each month. 7pm. St. Paul's Memorial Episcopal Church, 1700 University Ave. Brown bag supper at 6pm. 220-0970.

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.

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.

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

ART LIST
Second Street Gallery presents "Drawn into Light: Works on Paper by Kay Hwang and Imi Hwangbo," on view through January 29. 115 Second Street SE. 977-7284.

The McGuffey Art Center presents its annual Holiday Group Show, featuring work by over 50 artists, during December. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Vanity Salon features photography by Aimee Wade and Shannon Winter through December. 1112 High St. 977-3332.

Through December 30, The Art Box presents "Outside the Box," an exhibition of work by nine young female artists. 2125 Ivy Road, lower level. 295-5426.

The Main Street Market Galleria displays paintings by Kiki Slaughter during December. 416 W. Main St. 244-7800.

The 5th Floor Gallery at Keller Williams is currently showing the glass and metal sculpture of Bill Hess, landscape photography by Mary Withers, and oil cityscapes by Edward Thomas. 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 an "all church" group show of artwork by members of the congregation during December. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

Angelo displays "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 presents two exhibitions in December: "Shades of Black: Photographs by Wayne Quilliam" and "Black & White & Red Ochre." Both shows run through January 29. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place (off Route 250 East at Pantops). 244-0234.

Les Yeux du Monde presents "Places of Color and Light," paintings by Annie Harris Massie, through January 2. Also on display during December: "Small Treasures," a wide-ranging holiday group show. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

The Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville displays photographs from its "Where else but downtown?" photography contest at the Charlottesville Community Design Center through the end of December.101 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-2232.

During December, Transient Crafters hosts "Horses: Drawings, Paintings, and Limited Editions by Milenko." 118 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

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 December show, The Gallery @ 5th & Water offers the Africa-inspired work of Gloria Mitchell, plus paintings by Lindsay Michie Eades. 107 Fifth St. 979-9825. See Art Feature.

Can't get enough of Lindsay Michie Eades? Then head to New Dominion Bookshop, where Eades' paintings are also on display through December 31. 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-2552. See Art Feature.

During December, CODG presents "Abstract Ornamentation," spotlighting eight local artists working in a wide range of media. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

The C&O Gallery features "A Secret Garden," an exhibition of stunning botanical prints by John Grant. Through December. Next door to the C&O Restaurant, 511 E. Water St. 971-7044.

Sage Moon Gallery highlights work by Elliott Twery during the month of December. 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, are on display at the Albemarle County Courthouse. 501 E. Jefferson Court Square. 296-8484.

During December, the Mudhouse shows "Snowflakes," paintings by Christian Peri.. 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-6833.

View Ray Wirth's photography exhibition, "Distillations from Larger Landscapes," at Art Upstairs during December. Also, this month the gallery features its annual members' exhibition and sale of miniature paintings. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

For the month of December, Bozart Gallery offers a group show by Bozart members. 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.

Radar

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 presents new large-scale paintings by Frank Hobbs, on display through January 7. Lexington. 540-458-8954.

During December, the Staunton Public Library displays the photographs of Bonnie Rutledge Edwards. 1 Churchville Ave., Staunton. 540-332-3902.

Madison's Sevenoaks Pathwork Center hosts the pastel and oil paintings of Janice Dunn Rosenberg through February 22. 403 Pathwork Way, Madison. 434-295-8315.

The Artisans Center of Virginia features the bronze work of Ken Faraoni, during December. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

Noon Whistle Pottery and Art Gallery presents an exhibition of three local landscape artists, Will Brown, Mark Collins, and Carol Weiss. Main Street, Stanardsville. 434-985-6500.

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

Spruce Creek Gallery presents "Nature in the Abstract," an exhibition of paintings by Alyce Ananda McCoy, through December 13. 434-361-1859.

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.

During the holidays, Sun's Traces Gallery displays three-dimensional pictures by Michie Taylor, shadow baskets by Charlotte LaRoy, as well as turned wood pieces by Richard Cruise, 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.

FEATURES/FEATURES/FEATURES
ART
Beholder's eye: Landscapes fail to float boats

BY LAURA PARSONS ART@READTHEHOOK.COM
A beloved Hook employee, who shall go nameless, is famous for taking a First Friday spin through various exhibitions in town, only to announce wryly in almost every case, "Well, you can fool some of the people all of the time."

Not infrequently, her summary dismissal smacks down artists and work I find exciting and ink-worthy. Yet this same woman goes out of her way to see painter Lindsay Michie Eades.

Let's face it– responding to art is a subjective business. What creatively floats my boat may well sink yours, and vice versa. When it comes to Eades, currently showing landscapes at the New Dominion Bookshop, my ship neither sails nor founders; rather it idles, waiting for some wind.

Eades creates stratified vistas by slabbing and cutting oils on canvas with a palette knife. Although her technique is accomplished, her textured landscapes remain, for me, lackluster. They look too much like painting-paintings, by which I mean I feel like I've seen them countless times before.

In "Ely Cathedral," a green-hedged foreground opens onto mauve and yellow-green pastures, beyond which a terra-cotta town sits on the horizon. A cathedral's spires rise against an energy-less blue sky that dully dominates nearly three-quarters of Eades' canvas. The painting is pleasant– there's nothing to actively dislike– but it's the kind of art you might find in a room at the Hyatt.

Eades's palette is generally subdued– rarely do her colors sing (an exception is "Windy Day on Mountain Cove," which benefits from short, sharp strokes and a more intense color range). Where such murkiness works for her, however, is in "Coney Island," which captures the bleakness of an off-season boardwalk.

Here a line of empty benches arcs past a lone beachside streetlamp on the right. On the left, gray-white latticework of a silent roller coaster rises in front of a brown 1960s-era building, while at the center, a turquoise and white bottlenose rocket juts ironically into a dull purplish sky. In this case, Eades' heavy paint and heavy palette yield an engaging melancholia.

"Hughendon Manor," depicting three people sharing a bench at the end of a white walkway, is another departure from Eades' bland pastoral landscapes. In this small composition, she uses a minimum of knife strokes to accurately capture the postures of weary summer tourists.

Although most of Eades' work fails to move me, when she ventures into emotional territory, I feel a breeze enter my sails.

Lindsay Michie Eades' paintings are on view at the New Dominion Bookshop through the month of December. 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-2552. Other work by Eades are on display during December at the Gallery @ 5th & Water, 107 Fifth St. 979-9825.

FAMILY
Right at home: Kids want to stay forever at VDM
BY LINDA KOBERT FAMILY@READTHEHOOK.COM
Four-year-old Christopher stirs up nearly real eggs, potatoes, cucumbers, and a loaf of bread– making soup in the stone hearth for lunch in Showalter Cabin.

Three (stuffed) bears lounge on the porch of this 18th century reconstructed log house. An owl perches in the rafters where bundles of herbs hang drying for the winter. And frogs, turtles, monkeys, and chipmunks hang out in the puppet tree just outside the back door. When the soup is done, the young chef climbs the ladder to a loft where he can peek out a skylight to gaze upon the comings and goings on the Downtown Mall.

Christopher is a regular visitor to Showalter Cabin, just one of many fun and fanciful permanent play spaces at our favorite indoor playground for young folks: the Virginia Discovery Museum.

Such fantasy-inducing sets abound here. Across the way, for example, is the Toddler Room where wee ones can set sail on the prow of a pirate ship. Almost-five-year-old Liam is almost too old to loiter in this under-five's only nook. Still, he's regal in a real ship's captain's waistcoat as he commands his younger brother to walk the plank.

Other fashion-conscious kids can make a real statement in costumes from the dress-up corner. Little dancers can twirl on the mirrored stage in sweet pink tutus with white patent leather tap shoes. Animal lovers can cuddle into a soft stuffed lady bug suit or fleecy doggy duds. And young public servants can jump right into a real firefighter's turn-out gear. Two-year-old Caspar, though, sets a new trend in his daring dinosaur suit topped off with a silver and red tiara.

Several terrariums offer a glimpse of little critters such as a Betsy beetle, hermit crabs, or a huge cockroach. The take-apart table gives tinkerers a chance to grab a screwdriver and dissect a computer or typewriter. Aspiring artists can get into glitter and glue to create lovely things in the craft room. And rotating exhibits in the back gallery bring a constant supply of new and exciting opportunities ("A World of Bug-Eating Plants" is on display here now through January 9.)

During school hours, the VDM is a very popular place for preschoolers and their parents who meet and chat while the little ones play. Come 4pm, though, the school-age crowd starts pouring in for programs such as Poetry Club (on Tuesdays) and Magic Schoolbus Science Club (on Thursdays).

With these and other displays and programs, VDM offers so many ways for kids 10 and under to learn as they play. It's no wonder Christopher, Liam, and Caspar never want to leave.

Visit the Virginia Discover Museum Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 1-5pm. Closed December 24-26 and January 1. Children must be accompanied by an adult. $4 per person, all ages (under one year old and members free). Family membership $60/year. Two hours free parking with validation. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025. vadm.org.

WORDS
State-ments: Virginia: embraced in poetry
BY SUSAN TYLER HITCHCOCK WORDS@READTHEHOOK.COM
I think that I have never known a present lovely as a poem.

If you agree with that sentiment, you might also agree with this idea for a last-minute item on your holiday gift list: the University of Virginia Press's recent publication, Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia.

It's a handsome, pause-filled book, graced with an impressionistic illustration by Charlottesville artist Edward Thomas of a railroad bridge on Hardy Drive off West Main Street. The whole book is very Charlottesville, highlighting our city's place in the empyrean of Virginia poets. Yet the book is as well very Virginia, showing poetic perceptions spawned and poetic wanderers drawn to the Commonwealth's landscape of water, mountains, and trees, dreams, images, and ideas.

The book contains works by many old friends: Stephen Cushman, Rita Dove, George Garrett, Gregory Orr, Lisa Russ Spaar, Henry Taylor, Charles Wright.

Here's the wonderful poem Garrett read at last year's book festival about the bear that wandered from Peter Taylor's lawn to his and ended up on the Virginia Tech football field. And Greg Orr's powerful poem that gave title to one of his books, "We Must Make a Kingdom of It," love and death hand in hand. As well as old favorites, there are poems by neighbors we should know better, like Debra Nystrom and Eleanor Ross Taylor.

So many of the poets in this treasure trove have passed through Charlottesville. Many have been students, undergraduate or MFA. Richard Dillard, UVA alumnus and continuing influence in our literary community, now head of Creative Writing at Hollins, offers an affecting poem about a Virginian: "Poe at the End."

Kelly Cherry– a UVA student in the 1960s who taught in Wisconsin and Alabama and now had come home to a small farm in Halifax– is represented by two poems. Reetika Vazirani– recent MFA recipient, former assistant to Rita Dove, and since then writer-in-residence at both Sweet Briar and William & Mary– shares two poems, frank and modern. David Huddle, UVA alumnus known for fiction as well as poetry; Claudia Emerson, UVA alumnus and professor at both William & Mary and Washington and Lee; Michael Chitwood, 1986 MFA now teaching, writing, and doing NPR essays from North Carolina; Molly Bendall, another UVA MFA now spinning words into poetry in southern California.

Loyalties, memories, or origins tie these people to this side of the Blue Ridge.

Plenty of poets from elsewhere in the state speak gracefully from these pages as well. It's a treat to open the book at random and take great pride in its proof that Virginia is for lovers– of poetry.

Find Common Wealth at bookstores or online at upress.virginia.edu.

PERFORMANCE
Days of yore: Wishing for some '60s spunk
BY ROBERT ARMENGOL PERFORMANCE@READTHEHOOK.COMA Ever wondered what it would be like to live in another time, or in another place?

It's hard not to watch millions take to the streets in support of democracy in Ukraine, for example, and not feel somewhat ashamed about our own political apathy.

There are reasons to march, but no marches.

An escalating foreign war, we call it an insurgency. Back home, growing divides between rich and poor, black and white, blue and red. And what of our own democracy? Well, we can read about it in the sordid stories of ballot woes emerging from Ohio, but mostly they're buried inside the paper, couched in careful words.

It wasn't always like this. Which is why lately I've been thinking I'd like to have lived through the '60s and the civil rights movement. You can say times are better now, or maybe the din of our postmodern gadgets has lulled us to sleep.

In any case, racial injustice then was unbearable, and as a result, it was worth fighting for. And they fought. And marched. And died.

Would have been worth witnessing, I think.

Apparently I'm not alone. Chicago playwright David Barr III has tried to dramatize that time in U.S. history in his play My Soul Is a Witness, coming to Piedmont Virginia Community College in January. The scenes he recreates cover the defiance of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott, the tough words of Malcolm X, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

His goal is to make it seem as if the events are happening right now, for the first time. Punctuated with gospel and protest songs, the play captures some two dozen key moments in the civil rights era. It puts some of the more important figures of the day back in the spotlight, including John F. Kennedy, comedian Dick Gregory, and Fannie Lou Hamer, the one-time Mississippi sharecropper who brought the struggle for voting rights to the floor of the Democratic National Convention.

Joy Venervort-Cobb directs the show for the Jena Company of New York, which last year brought Black Broadway to PVCC. It's not the first time Barr, an award-winning actor and writer, has explored social justice. He co-wrote State of Mississippi vs. Emmett Till with Till's mother, and produced The Journal of Ordinary Thought, a stage rendition of poems and monologues from the inner city.

In 1999 he told the online service Scriptseeker.com that his urge to write developed while he brooded over the fact that no one seemed to be interested in producing plays about blacks like him.

"Call it passion," Barr says, "born out of a certain frustration with what you don't see in the world around you. The play can be a positive response to that very visceral fact. You want to create something better."

Sort of like those braves folks in the '60s. The stage can bring them back, for a moment, but not without a question: What would you have done?

Piedmont Virginia Community College presents My Soul is a Witness on January 27. 7:30pm. Main stage, V. Earl Dickinson Building, on the PVCC campus. $10-27. 961-5376.

WALKABOUT
Ninja yoga: Relax and connect
BY TIM SPRINKLE WALKABOUT@READTHEHOOK.COMITranslate the Sanskrit word "yoga" into English, and you get something close to "unity– the quest to be one with everything. That belief formed the basis of the earliest yoga practices, groups working together in an effort to better themselves and society at the same time. Seems almost quaint in today's inward-looking, yoga mat-toting world, doesn't it?

But not everyone has lost sight of yoga's roots. Several years ago, local instructor Matthew Clark and a group of friends founded what has become known as "ninja yoga," a series of community-focused classes intended to introduce new faces to the benefits of traditional yoga and meditation.

"The philosophy of ninja yoga is founded on the idea that the positive change of an individual can affect positive change in a community, a region, a country, a world," Clark says. "Yoga gives cynical and bitter people a chance to feel healthier and, in turn, perhaps view the world in a different, more positive light– start with the self and work outwards."

According to Clark, historic ninjitsu philosophy is rooted in many of the same principles as traditional yoga: awareness, balance, awe, and gratitude, to name a few. Ninja yoga, then, is about more than just breathing and stretching: It's an exercise in community building, improving the world one happy and refreshed person at a time.

"The irony in many regular yoga classes is that people come and go and could be in a class [together] for years without ever talking [to each other]," Clark says. "We try to learn everyone's name and offer a lighthearted and open environment. The classes aren't only for a certain type of person; I wanted to attract even the most unlikely of candidates, folks who might otherwise skip the entire experience of yoga altogether."

And what's the best way to do that? Offer the classes for free, of course.

"Money shouldn't be an obstacle to people receiving the gifts of yoga practice," Clark says. "I attended free classes in Harrisonburg and was impressed [by how they] brought an unlikely group of folks together with a common aim. It was very successful in building community."

So whether your weekend plans involve battling hordes of red and black-clad attackers, or strolling sublimely along the Downtown Mall, ninja yoga is ready and willing to get you, spiritually and physically, where you need to be.

Ninja yoga meets at the Central Library (McIntire Room - Mondays at 1pm, Thursdays at 5pm) and Better Than Television, a new community center in Belmont (106 A3 Goodman St. &endash; Mondays at 6:30pm, Wednesdays at 8am, and Thursdays at 8 and 9am). All classes free and open to the public. No experience necessary; just wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing. Call 293-1165 or visit yoganinjaalliance.org for a complete schedule and more information.

TUNES
Good spirits: Welcome '05 with Curreri & Co.
BY MARK GRABOWSKI TUNES@READTHEHOOK.COM

If you need somewhere to hide this New Year's Eve– from Aunt Ruth's open-mouth, post-ball-drop kisses; Jenny's come-hither gaze from the copy machine; or the elder statesman of your clan's railings about the need for increased border surveillance– the musical clubs of Charlottesville are your escape hatch.

This year shows abound with which to ring in the New Year, from Orbit's Man Mountain Jr. funkstravaganza to Outback Lodge's New Year's rock triumvirate of Navel, Egypt, and Lyman to Rapunzel's phenomenal New Year's party featuring almost everyone in town with an acoustic bent.

Four performers who won't be there– Danny Schmidt, Devon Sproule, Paul Curreri, and the Naked Puritans– will be instead at the Gravity Lounge for their own shindig, and this is the show for those of you who can afford the $50 cover.

Paul Curreri's just released his third full length CD, The Spirit of the Staircase, and if public reaction is anything like I think it will be, the performer's name will be the talk of the town any day now.

This new release marks a major departure from Curreri's previous work– From Long Gones to Hawkmoth and Songs for Devon Sproule were solo acoustic outings (Curreri's limber fingers and flexible voice being the only things separating the recording from silence). This new recording features a group including Spencer Lathrop (Guano Boys, Hogwaller Ramblers, etc.) on drums and Jeff Romano (Nickeltown) on almost everything else.

The opening track of The Spirit of the Staircase, "Beauty Fades," would not sound particularly out of place on either of Curreri's two previous releases. This solo acoustic number features the musician's best traits displayed front and center: a beautiful knack with melody, guitar skills that could skin a cat, and skill in constructing a lyrical line that can make even a worn theme seem new.

"Drag Some Revelating" is where things go down a different road. Curreri's country-blues guitar is joined at 0:19 by soft nuanced drums, which have the very apparent effect of seeming to slow things down. Where the song might have been another rabble-rousing number in Curreri's oeuvre, with the entry of drums, things take on a subtler, more languid feel.

Additional instruments on the track are stand-up bass, banjo, and organ, which make well-placed appearances, mixing with Curreri's signature sound and adding to it. Other stellar tracks here are "On the Fiddle," where Curreri's guitar drifts into the background, leaving his voice and an airy instrumental track behind, and "Middledrift's Lament," a banjo and drum-driven, almost spoken-word, piece.

Curreri's team mentality, he says, was a product of listening to more Ellington and Monk than Gary Davis or Skip James, which resulted in his moving beyond hearing music as "some guitarish puzzle I could figure out" to something "mystical," incorporating the sounds produced by other instruments and musicians.

New Year's at The Gravity Lounge– some of this town's best musicians, in one sonically solid room? Auld Lang Syne away!

New Year's Eve Party with Danny Schmidt, Devon Sproule, Paul Curreri, Naked Puritans at Gravity Lounge, December 31. $50, 7pm.