Cultural calendar, January 6-13, 2005

THURSDAY, January 6
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

Water Works: The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority has scheduled its final two Community Water Supply Plan public meetings for Thursday January 6, and Thursday January 20. This week's meeting will be a discussion of the James River Intake Concept. 6pm in the Monticello High School auditorium. Public comments are welcome. Contact Jeff Werner at 977-2033 or for details.

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

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.

Karaoke Night w/ 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.

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

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.

Reggae Lounge: Stable Roots at Garden of Sheba. $7/ladies free before 11pm, 10pm.

Open Mic Night at Kokopelli's Cafe. No cover, 7pm.

FRIDAY, January 7
Star struck:
The view is out of this world at Public Night at McCormick Observatory from 7-9pm (weather permitting). UVA's research telescopes on O-Hill will be pointed heavenward, and Astronomy Department staff and students will be on hand with a slide show and answers to starry questions. Free. McCormick Rd. 924-7494.

Charlottesville Antique Show:
The name says it all: 40 antique dealers from all over the Mid-Atlantic exhibiting furniture, silver, jewelry, rugs, books, art, and other decorative antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries. 6-9:30pm at the Omni. Appraisals available from noon-4pm on Saturday and Sunday. $5.50 admission. (843) 810-4246 for more information.

Contra Dance:
Join members of the Albemarle Chapter of the Country Dance & Song Society for a special Twelfth Night event at the Municipal Arts Center. Renaissance or Shakespearean garb encouraged but not required. The dance will feature live traditional music from Bill Wellington & Friends. The caller for the night will be Tom Hinds. 8-11pm. 1119 5th St. Ext. $7; under 12 free. Visit or call 973-4984.

Tsunami Relief:
The Lafayette Hotel, in conjunction with Mission Tsunami, a newly formed group dedicated to providing funding and resources directly to tsunami victims, cohost a fundraising event featuring performances by John D'earth, Dawn Thompson, Robert Jospé and other area musicians, as well as local art on auction. Food and beverages provided by the Lafayette and other local eateries. Admission by donation. Starts at noon. 146 Main St. Stanardsville. 985-6345.

Chatham County Line at Miller's. Original country-bluegrass tunes in the style of the greats greet you this Friday at Miller's, thanks to North Carolina's own Chatham Country Line. $5, 9pm.

The Nature Boys at Rapunzel's: A cavalcade of local celebs, the Nature Boys comprises Jason Lyman and Jaye Urgo on guitar, Lew Burrus on bass, and Steve Urgo on drums, playing an eclectic repertoire from swing to soul-jazz. No cover, 8pm.

CommonbonD with Kristin at Gravity Lounge. $15/$10, 8pm.

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

Chatham County Line at Miller's. $5, 9pm.

Fletcher Bridge at Outback Loge. $6, 10pm.

The Nature Boys at Rapunzel's. No cover, 8pm.

Folkskunde at Starr Hill.

Jay Pun & Friends at Garden of Sheba. No cover, 8pm.

Songlines (classic rock) at Kokopelli's Cafe. $5, 8pm.

SATURDAY, January 8
Children, Youth, and Family Services presents "Overexposed: Preschoolers in Our Sexual Culture" at Gordon Avenue Library. Melissa Dean Mc Kinney leads this workshop for parents and child care providers to help parents learn how to differentiate between natural curiosity and unhealthy exposure, recognize developmentally appropriate limit setting, and identify other helpful community resources. Limited free child care for parents of 0-6 year olds. 10:30am-noon. Free. 1500 Gordon Avenue. 296 4118, ext. 257.

Storytime: Barnes & Noble celebrates that colorful elephant Elmer during Saturday Story Time. Little folks can hear Elmer stories and do an Elmer craft. 11:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Going Buggy: The Science Museum of Virginia will be crawling with special guests at the Ugly Bug Ball. See feature on page 37.

Telescopes 101: Star gazers can learn how to use that new telescope Santa left under the tree at the Science Museum of Virginia. Astronomy director Ken Wilson helps new owners unravel the technical terminology, learn the ins and outs of function and design, and solve the mystery of operating this gadget. Recommended for ages 12 and up. 8am-noon. $20. Reservations recommended. 2500 Broad St., Richmond. 804-864-1411.

Toe Painting?: When Japanese artist Kazuo Shirgara paints, he drips the color onto a canvas and paints with his feet while hanging from a rope. Kids should not try this at home, but they can in the Imagination Studio at Amazement Square. 10am-noon. Included in the price of admission. 27 Ninth St., Lynchburg. 434-845-1888.

Bird walk:
Join Leigh Surdukowski of the Monticello Bird Club for an early morning bird walk at the Ivy Creek Natural Area, off Earlysville Road. Meet in the parking lot at 7:30am. Beginners welcome. 973-7772 for more info.

Charlottesville Antique Show: See Friday, January 7. 10am-6pm at the Omni. $5.50 admission. (843) 810-4246 for more information.

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. for directions and more information.

Mike Seeger at the Prism:
A yearly show since 1991, the Prism's Seeger concert has become a ritual for some. The performer was a founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers in the early 60's and his rural Southeastern sound has been turning people onto the genre since then. $22/$18 advance, 8pm.

The Funktastick 5 at Orbit: Matthew Willner continues his genre monopoly with the new Funktastick 5- hip-hop featuring- rappers Q-Black & Mitch Wise, Dave Bartok on bass, Clay Caricofe on drums, and the man himself on guitar. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

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

Gypsy Chicks and Red Hot Chili Pickers at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

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

Andy Waldeck at Rapunzel's. $5, 8pm.

Pencilgrass at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 9pm

Ohm's Law at Kokopelli's Cafe. $5, 8pm.

SUNDAY, January 9
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.

Bug's Life:
Today is the final day for little bugs to buzz their way through the tricks and traps of carnivorous plants at the Virginia Discovery Museum's 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.

Animal Stories: Kate and Hub Knott of the Living Earth School search for signs of wildlife on the trails at Ivy Creek Natural Area. Outdoor adventurers are welcome to join them and learn how to read the story animals record in the landscape. Meet at the barn at 9am. Free. Earlysville Rd. 973-7772.

Women of the Garden:
Skin care for the body and mind! Enjoy an informative discussion about skin care alternatives with a health and beauty expert, learn the differences between product manufacturing in the U.S. and.Europe, and enjoy free trail cremes. 1:30pm at Body, Mind, Spirit in Waynesboro. No fee. 540-932-8585 for details.

Winged Presentation: This French film ("Winged Migration") follows a number of different birds on their intercontinental migrations over four years' time. It explores the relationship between birds and humans from the birds' perspective in a poetic, emotive and intensely visual way. 8pm. Donations appreciated. At Better Than Television, 106 A3 Goodman St. in Belmont. 295-0872.

Charlottesville Antique Show: See Friday, January 7. 11am-4pm at the Omni. $5.50 admission. 843-810-4246 for more information.

Freestyle Competition: This four-person race is open to skiers and snowboarders in Wintergreen's terrain park. Points will be tallied over the three race series, culminating in a division championship. Call Freestyle at 978-4091 for details and registration information.

Karma Bums at Gravity Lounge.$5, 7pm.

Native American Flute Circle Meeting (all welcome) at Rapunzel's. No cover, 1pm.

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

Laura Light and the Avant Gardeners at Kokopelli's Cafe. $5, 7pm.

MONDAY, January 10
Go Deep:
SeaDevil Divers, a local scuba diving club serving Charlottesville-Albemarle and the UVA communities, meets at 6:30pm at Rococo's Restaurant. This month's meeting features a presentation and slide show on diving the eastern Bahama Islands aboard a live-aboard catamaran dive boat. All interested divers welcome. 2001 Commonwealth Drive. 975-5570 or

All Aboard: The National Railway Historical Society &endash; Rivanna Chapter convenes at Golden Corral on U.S. 29 for their monthly meeting. The program will feature a vintage video of Southern Pacific's struggle against record snowfall over Donner Pass during the winter of 1951-52. Pay-as-you-go dinner/social at 6pm, followed by the program at 7. Visitors welcome. Email or visit for more information.

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

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

Divided Like a Saints at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 8pm.

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

TUESDAY, January 11
Raw Foods Workshop:
Baked? Nope. Roasted? No. Fried? No Way. Come enjoy your dinner au natural &endash; raw, that is &endash; and learn about growing and preparing living foods in the process. 5-9pm at Better Than Television, 106 A3 Goodman St. in Belmont. 295-0872.

It's a Snap: The Charlottesville camera club meets to discuss photographic successes and tips. Visitors welcome. 6:30pm. Turtle Creek Club House, 100 Turtle Creek Road. 973-4856.

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

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

Andy Friedman & The Other Failures with Natalia Zukerman at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

WEDNESDAY, January 12
More 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.

Go Native:
Hybrid plant expert Jim Murphy speaks at tonight's meeting of the Jefferson Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. 7:30pm at the Ivy Creek Nature Center, off Earlysville Road. Call Gay Frix at 293-8997 for info.

Find Your Way: Put that new GPS receiver to good use! The Wintergreen Nature Foundation will show you how to use it to navigate around the woods, or just back home. They'll also teach participants the fun, new challenge of geocaching. 1pm. $13 fee ($10 for Foundation members). 325-7473 for more information.

Cheesy Trivia w/ M&M Express at Buffolo 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.

The Funktastick 5 at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

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

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

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

THURSDAY, January 13
More Tales for Tots:
See Wednesday, January 12

Bird Club:
The Monticello Bird Club meets for a slideshow by Erwin Bohmfalk, featuring photos from the Gobi Desert, Siberian Mongolia, and more. 7:30pm. Meet in the Education Building at Ivy Creek Natural Area. Visitors welcome. 971-9271.

Grow Slow: This month's meeting of Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population features a discussion with Chris Williamson, a planner with the city of Oxnard, CA and an expert on growth caps. 7:30pm at the Westminster Presbyterian Church library. All members of the community are welcome. 974-6390 or

Adapt at Outback Lodge. $5, 10pm.

Karaoke Night w/ 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.

Dean Fields at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

The Funktastick 5 at Michael's Bistro. No cover, 10:30pm.

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.

Open Mic Night at Kokopelli's Cafe. No cover, 7pm.

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. See Art feature on page 30.

During January, the McGuffey Art Center presents blown glass artwork by Charles Hall in the Main Gallery, as well as its "New Member Show" in the upstairs and downstairs hall galleries. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

The Main Street Market Galleria displays "New Botanical Prints" by John Grant through the end of January. 416 W. Main Street, 244-7800.

R. Nicholas Kuszyk shows 65 new paintings at Industry during January. 112 Second St. NE. 293-3338.

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" show of artwork by members of the congregation. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

Angelo displays "Generous Nature," works in watercolor, oil, pencil, and collage by J. Scott Robinson. 220 East 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 Dr., Peter Jefferson Place (off Route 250 East at Pantops). 244-0234..

For its January show, The Gallery @ 5th & Water offers "The Jacob's Ladder Series," an exhibition of watercolors by Lee Alter. 107 5th St. 979-9825.

New Dominion Bookshop's mezzanine gallery features artwork by Nina Ozbey during January. 404 East Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-2552.

Sage Moon Gallery highlights work by Elliott Twery through January. 420 East 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 Sq. 296-8484.

View Anne Warren Holland's exhibition, "Small Works: Landscapes and Figures in Oil," at Art Upstairs during January. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

For the month of January, Bozart Gallery features "Out to Lunch," recent 2- and 3-dimensional work by James Parker. Also on display: a booklet of poems by the artist's daughter, Claire Parker. 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.

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

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

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

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

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 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. For more information, call 540-946-3294 or write

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. For more information and to download an entry form, visit

Write On:
WHTJ's annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers & Illustrators Contest is now on. Authors and artists from kindergarten through third grade are encouraged to get creative with words and pictures and submit their stories for the prize. All contest participants, their friends, and families are invited to a celebration on Saturday, March 19 at the Jefferson Theater on the Downtown Mall, and every participant receives a certificate signed by Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton. Winners will read their stories aloud. Entry deadline is February 28. Entry forms and guidelines can be downloaded at or call 295-7671.

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

Healing Hearts: Hospice of the Piedmont offers "Journeys through the Seasons," a free bereavement camp for children and teens (8-14) who are affected by the serious illness or death of a loved one. The winter overnight camp takes place Friday, January 28 at 6:30pm through Saturday, January 29 at 9:30am at ACAC's Adventure Central. Activities include art therapy, games, dinner, a movie, and a closing ceremony. Participation is free. For more information and an application call 817-6900 or 800-975-5501.

Ninja Yoga:
Toward 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.

Water Watchers: StreamWatch needs for volunteers interested in stream ecology and willing to collect aquatic organisms for the purpose of evaluating stream health. See 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., call 243-6421, or

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 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 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.

Winter Recreation Registration: It's that time of year again. Charlottesville Parks and Recreation will be offering adult classes in a variety of dance, martial arts, sports, arts, and craft topics during the January-April semester. To register, visit the Recreation Office at City Hall from 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday. For class information or to get a brochure, call the office or go to

First Friday, January 7

The McGuffey Art Center hosts an opening for its exhibition of blown glass artwork by Charles Hall in the Main Gallery, as well as its "New Member Show" in the upstairs and downstairs hall galleries. 5:30-7:30pm. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Industry welcomes the paintings of R. Nicholas Kuszyk from 5-8pm.112 Second St. NE. 293-3338.

The Bozart Gallery celebrates the opening of "Out to Lunch," a show of James Parker's recent work, 6-9pm. 211 W. Main on the Downtown Mall. 296-3919.

Angelo hosts an opening for "Generous Nature," works in watercolor, oil, pencil, and collage by J. Scott Robinson, 5:30-7:30pm. 220 East Main St. 971-9256.

Art Upstairs holds an artist's reception for painter Anne Warren Holland's "Small Works: Landscapes and Figures in Oil." 5:30-9pm. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

The 5th Floor Gallery at Keller Williams celebrates its current display of the glass and metal sculpture of Bill Hess, landscape photography by Mary Withers, and oil cityscapes by Edward Thomas, with a reception, 5-7pm. Suite 500, Citizens Commonwealth Building (UVA Credit Union), 300 Preston Ave. 220-2200.

The Gallery @ 5th & Water opens "The Jacob's Ladder Series," a show of watercolors by Lee Alter. 5:30-8:30pm. 107 Water St. 979-9825.

Repeating redundancy: Pencil + paper = pain


I've had it with hyperbole. If I read one more exaggerated piece of art writing, I'm going to stick a fork in my eye.

Case in point, the exhibition statement accompanying "Drawn into Light: Works on Paper by Kay Hwang and Imi Hwangbo," currently on view at Second Street Gallery. It reads, "Both Kay Hwang (Baltimore) and Imi Hwangbo (Athens, Georgia) create elegant pieces of seemingly infinite patience and control, orchestrating light and line to astonishing and otherworldly effect." Astonishing? Otherworldly? Oh, please.

The only thing I find astonishing about Hwang's several Schematics series is that the artist would feel creatively moved to draw the same object over and over and over again, slightly shifting its position hundreds of times to yield a clustered abstract composition, which she then re-draws in the same headache-inducing way once or twice more, varying only the color scheme. The process seems astonishingly masochistic.

Hwang uses black, white, and primary-colored acrylic wax pencil on Denril, a thick vellum, to create her exercises in tedium. Denril also apparently serves as a dirt-and-smudge magnet. No doubt Hwang intends the messy, haphazard fingerprints at the edges of her material to contrast with the repetitive precision of her central drawings, but the smudginess only exacerbates my this-worldly irritation with her entire project.

Less annoying but still firmly rooted in the here-and-now are Imi Hwangbo's sculptural compositions of hand-cut mylar tinted with archival inks. Hwangbo's works gain their dimensionality from the way the artist layers her cut mylar sheets, sometimes hanging them loosely to take advantage of empty space between the surfaces, other times stacking them tightly to create a telescoping effect as the cut areas recede by increments toward the back.

In "Seer," repeated cutouts of a stylized eight-petal flower cascade down the right side of a long, five-layered column of deep carnation pink. A larger, more intricately cut flower, placed in the center two-thirds of the way down, provides balance. Although the smaller flowers are identically cut layer-to-layer, each appears slightly different due to variations in the space between the five mylar sheets as the piece moves from top to bottom.

Although Hwangbo repeats this iconic flower motif in several works, elsewhere she cuts out hard-edged diamond shapes to create a geometrically abstract, op-art-like impact. The salmon and white 3D lattice created by a trio of layers in "She Speaks" is particularly dizzying.

Nevertheless, there's no "wow" factor here, just clever craftsmanship. Both Hwang and Hwangbo seem like one-trick ponies trotting endlessly around the same circle.

"Drawn into Light: Works on Paper by Kay Hwang and Imi Hwangbo" is on view at Second Street Gallery through January 29. 115 Second St. SE. 977-7284.


Bugged out: Science Museum goes critter crazy


According to my son, the teenage biologist, insects are the most abundant critters on earth. Scientists haven't even begun to count them all (less than five percent of all earth's species have been identified), but so far over 751,000 insect species have been recorded.

Spiders and other arthropods come in a distant second at 123,400 species. Mammals, among which we humans count ourselves, come in dead last at 4,000 species.

A good number of these wee winged and creepy creatures can be found at the Science Museum of Virginia where curious entomology types are invited to crawl on over to The Ugly Bug Ball.

Guests at this soirée can get in touch with their inner bug and boogie like the bees or get down in a jam session of musical bug melodies. Visitors can make an insect mask to disguise themselves as a cricket, spider, butterfly, or mantis. Once appropriately attired, they can modestly mingle with Butterfly-, Cicada-, and Ladybug-costumed characters on the loose from the Carpenter Science Theatre's Insect Club Cabaret. This musical review featuring these songsters happens at 1 and 3pm in the Eureka Theater.

Crowds of little critters can be seen&emdash; and touched!&emdash; in the Bug Lab. Folks can hold a live Madagascar hissing cockroach, watch as baby mantises hatch, view a close-up video of a mantis feeding, and see lots of living breathing bugs at work.

At this party, it's really not an insult when someone says, "Eat dirt!" Hungry human bugs can learn about bedrock, subsoil, and topsoil as they make their own soil snack from 10am-2pm. The concoction using crushed Oreos, and vanilla and chocolate pudding really is yummy, and those slimy wigglers buried inside? They're just gummy worms. The chance to learn about how real worms can compost our garbage, however, is just around the corner.

Those who are still hungry can join the I-Ate-a-Bug Club by downing a chocolate-covered cricket. Those brave enough to endure the initiation can wear their epicurean achievement on their sleeve with an I-Ate-A-Bug Club button. And just to prove they've taken the dare, bug eaters can get their photo taken in the act.

A bug's eye view of the insect world can be found in the giant screen film Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure, showing at 11am, 2 and 5pm. The film shrinks viewers to the size of insects and transports them deep into the heart of the Borneo jungle to see more than 40 tropical insects magnified up to 250,000 times their normal size.

Lots more eye-popping activities await the adventurous party bug at the Science Museum of Virginia this Saturday only.

The Ugly Bug Ball happens at the Science Museum of Virginia Saturday, January 8 from 10am-5pm. Activities and exhibits are included in the cost of regular and IMAX admission. Membership in the I-Ate-a-Bug Club is $10 ($9 is tax-deductible as a donation). Photos of yourself eating a chocolate-covered bug are $5. The museum is at 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Bluegrass Byron: Friedman masters music minus melody

Finding an intro to a piece on poet and artist Andy Friedman is a task akin to stabbing yourself in the cheek with a fork, real deep. Not because the performer causes you any pain apart from some occasional existential angst; in fact just the opposite. His stories and spoken-songs, backed by his group, The Other Failures, run the gamut from chuckle-inducing to heart-string pulling. The problem, good citizens, is how to put a catchy spit-shine on something that is brilliant on its own.

"There's plenty of things you can do for free, you can ahh, you can look at bricks," begins "Things You Can Do For Free," off a recording of Friedman's Missoula, Montana performance.

Since March of 2002 the Brooklyn-based Friedman has been on a continual national tour. He's a modern one-man band of sorts, where instead of knee cymbals and a back bass-drum, he supplies slides of his photographs, paintings, and drawings with a wit and lyrical poise that has won him critical acclaim.

Friedman's current tour is in support of his new book, a collection of Polaroids and writings called Future Blues, but I got my introduction to the man with his first literary outing, Drawings & Other Failures. Composed of intricate drawings, Polaroids, and a brief literary opus, that work, like his more recent, radiates with monstrous talent.

Friedman recently garnered the assistance of the upright bass, drums, and other instrumentalists that make up The Other Failures (making his work eligible for analysis by this humbled music critic), whose bluegrass-themed backing rambles on behind the poet's yarns and guffaws.

"In certain towns I'm waiting and no one's coming in, I start thinking no one's coming in, no one's into this. Would I be into this if I wasn't me?" begins "Morning Blues." Friedman continues, "Who am I? Then I realize you never get anywhere when you ask a question like that…"

Friedman isn't emulating beat-poets in his performances&endash; he seems to decry relying on any sort of rhythmic pattern to emphasize his words. But his backing group does aid in the promoting of an identity that the artist has espoused since he first started performing, a traveling troubadour, rucksack on shoulder, steeped in country blues and a deeply American identity.

Andy Friedman and The Other Failures perform with Natalia Zukerman at Gravity Lounge, January 11. $5, 8pm.


Shaking it up: The bard gets a twist

Shakespeare admirers with snooty tastes might want to avoid Staunton's Blackfriars Playhouse this month, but for everyone else, salvation has arrived to resuscitate a quiet local theater scene groping through the dead of winter like a guy who ate too much ham for the holidays.

Shenandoah Shakespeare will reprise an irreverent, slapstick rendition of the bard's best. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) shamelessly reworks the playwright's oeuvre in ways Will himself probably would have howled over with delight.

Consider this: a rap version of Othello, Titus Andronicus as a cooking show, Hamlet performed backwards, sideways, and upside down. Or what about all those confusing history plays reconfigured as a raucous game of football?

It's all part of the fun in this full-length feature that began as a comedy short for Renaissance fairs in the early 1980s. This is not, however, one big inside joke. Never mind whether your Romeo and Juliet is a bit rusty, or if you have trouble remembering that "wherefore" means "why," not "where." Shenandoah Shakespeare says this performance will please the whole family even if your particular family "wouldn't recognize an iamb if it bit you in the leg."

After an extended version of the original series of skits made it to the 1987 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, it morphed into the more lengthy Complete Works (abridged), became a hit in London's theater circles, and never looked back.

Shenandoah Shakespeare artistic director Jim Warren says the play has since brought guffaws to stages all over the world. And as some might recall, it was on S2's first repertoire when the traveling theater group settled at the Blackfriars nearly four years ago.

It returns now for a special two-week engagement– hogging the stage all to itself– thanks to a snag in plans for the third annual CommonWealth Performance Festival. This production was originally slated for the festival, which is now on hold, according to an S2 press release. Complete Works will run on its own instead for 13 performances with appearances from resident actors David Loar, John Paul Scheidler, and Eric Schoen.

With help from the lovely environs of the period-friendly Blackfriars, they should have no trouble reminding audiences why Complete Works became the longest-running comedy in London.

The first performance of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) is at 7pm, Friday, January 14. It will run through January 30. Visit or call the box office for a complete list of show times. $18-$28. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. 540-885-5588.

Pre-season huddle: Politicos gather before Richmond


The results are in, and it's official: 2004 was a wild year in the Virginia General Assembly. From the budget battles to the marriage amendment debates, the Commonwealth's local senators and delegates found plenty of controversy last session, and plenty of time in the spotlight. It was a busy year in Capitol Square, to be sure, but it was far from unusual. In fact, these sorts of ups and downs are as much a part of Richmond politics as the Jefferson-designed capital building itself.

That's one reason why the University of Virginia Office of State Governmental Relations organizes its annual Legislative Forum for the residents of central Virginia. Held every January, the event brings together our local elected representatives, University President John Casteen, and the citizens of Charlottesville and Albemarle for an open discussion of the issues facing not only the 434 area code, but also the General Assembly at large in the coming year.

It's an opportunity for the voters to mull the issues with their state representatives before the start of the 2005 legislative season on January 12.

At this year's forum, President Casteen will be hosting local senators Creigh Deeds and Emmett W. Hangar Jr., both long-serving officials who have represented the Albemarle area in Richmond for many years. Delegates Mitch Van Yahres, Robert B. Bell III, and R. Steven Landes &endash; chair of the Subcommittee on Education Standards&endash; will be on hand from the House of Delegates.

And the discussions will go from there. The legislators will share their viewpoints on a variety of issues facing the 2005 General Assembly&endash; ranging from Virginia's higher education future, to local community concerns like development on 29 North and overall growth in the surrounding counties. The University's charter education plan is sure to occupy a lot of floor time in the House this year, and will find a space on the forum agenda as well. Afterward, there will be time for the representatives to field questions from the audience.

The 2005 Legislative Forum will be held Friday, January 7 at noon in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom. It is a free event and is open to the public. For more information, call the Office of State Governmental Relations at 924-3377, or visit their web site at For information on the individual representatives who will be attending, surf to their web sites via the Virginia General Assembly site at

Killer apes: Was religion the hijacker on 9/11?


In the year 2004, one issue of The Hook flew out of those red boxes so fast, no extras remain in the newspaper offices. That was the September 30 issue, with a man's face so thoroughly wrapped in red and white scarves that only half-eyes were showing. He held his rocket launcher high.

"Why They Kill," the words on the cover read. Inside, the story began "Religion kills" and termed 9/11 an example of "male-bonded coalitionary violence with lethal raiding against innocents." Although the article focused on Islamic fundamentalists, it ended with a nod to ultraconservative Christian America, acting out its own intolerance as directed from on high.

This incendiary article about incendiary violence was written by UVA professor J. Andrew Thomson Jr. He is a staff psychiatrist at the University's Institute for Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy, and assistant director of the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction.

As a private forensic psychiatrist, he specializes in criminal psychology and behavior and has been hired to evaluate criminal defendants by both the prosecution and the defense. He has published work on the personalities of Lee Harvey Oswald and Robert E. Lee, and his most recent publication is an article in a volume currently in press titled Psychoanalytic Perspectives on September 11, edited by Charlottesville's Vamik Volkan. He also coauthored a paper with Volkan titled "The Psychology of Western European Neo-Racism." His preoccupation right now seems to be analyzing nasty guys.

Underlying Thomson's interpretation of world events appears to be an intellectual atheism. "Will we ever face the truth? Will we ever acknowledge that we are risen apes, not fallen angels? There is no heaven," he wrote in the Hook in September.

"Does God help or do I help God or neither?" he asked in 2000 in a paper delivered at an international symposium on child psychology. His current research interest is evolutionary and Darwinian psychology– a relatively new field that considers psychological states as part of the larger scheme of biological adaptation and survival. We believe, we bond, we make war, peace, and love, as each behavior advances our abilities to survive and procreate.

Heartless or realistic? Hopeful or despairing? Sophisticated or simple-minded? You have a chance to make your own judgment– and to address your questions to the source of these ideas– as Andy Thomson will speak in mid-January at the Democratic breakfast. Held every month's third Saturday at 9:30am, the breakfast, as organizer George Loper promises, is free and always includes a lively discussion.

How can it miss this month, inviting all with the phrase: "Religion is the real hijacker of September 11th and a terrorist threat today!"

J. Andrew Thomson Jr., M.D., speaks on "Killer Apes on American Airlines, or How Religion is the Real Hijacker of September 11th" at this month's Democratic breakfast, Saturday, January 15, at 9:30am at the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging. Free. 674 Hillsdale Drive, 971-8082.