Cultural Calendar, January 27-February 3, 2005

THURSDAY, January 27

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.

Stressed: The Learning Center of Charlottesville hosts "Stress and the College-Bound Student." The discussion for parents of 8th-11th grade students promises help for teens trying to manage the challenging decisions in high school while planning the right college experience. 7-8pm. Free. Reservations appreciated. St. Anne's-Belfield upper campus on Ivy Road. 977-6006.

Farmhand for a Day: Visitors can pitch in with wintertime farm activities in a special program at the Frontier Culture Museum. 10am-4pm. Included with the price of admission. Rt. 250 west in Staunton. 540-332-7850.


Momix Master Class: Known internationally for dance of exceptional inventiveness and physical beauty, Momix dance theater presents this master class as part of the Paramount Theater's InterACT series, an arts education program. Recommended for intermediate-level students. 2pm. Paramount Theater, Downtown Mall. $10. Call to register: 979-1922 or (Sorry, tonight's performance of Momix's Opus Cactus is sold out.)

Complete Works
: Shenandoah Shakespeare presents a goofy, irreverent, and fast-paced romp through all of the bard's plays in less than two hours. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) is London's longest-running comedy and has delighted audiences at theaters across the United States for years. First performance tonight. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-28. 540-885-5588.

The Underpants: Live Arts offers up another off-Broadway Steve Martin smash, The Underpants, in which two men enter a woman's life when her panties unexpectedly fall to the ground at a parade. 8pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177.

No Auditions: PVCC announces its spring performance of Faure's Requiem. This one-credit class is open to all without audition. It rehearses 7-9pm Mondays beginning Jan. 24 for spring semester. 245-2671

Witness: Piedmont Virginia Community College presents My Soul is a Witness, a dramatization of key events in the civil rights era, by David Barr III. 7:30pm. $10-27. Main stage, V. Earl Dickinson Building, College Drive. 961-5376.

Ephemeral Love: Fernando Operé directs UVA's Spanish Theater Group in its annual spring show– a compilation of Paloma Pedrero's provocative short plays under the title Noches de amor efímero (Nights of Ephemeral Love). The cast of Spanish-speaking students and faculty celebrate the group's 25th year this season. $5-10. 8pm. Helms Theatre, Culbreth Road. 924-7150.

Hook Writer Reads:
Words columnist Susan Tyler Hitchcock discusses her new book, Mad Mary Lamb: Lunacy and Murder in Literary London, at New Dominion Bookshop at 5:30pm. Mary Lamb, with her brother Charles, wrote the famous children's classic, Tales from Shakespeare. Generations of parents have shared that book with their children, not knowing that ten years before its writing, author Mary Lamb killed her mother with a kitchen knife. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Minimalists Arise: To celebrate the opening of the UVA Art Museum's new show, "Anastasi/Bradshaw/Cage/Cunningham," honoring two visual artists and their cohorts in the field of music and dance– and the way their collaboration changed the arts in the 20th century– visual artist William Anastasi offers a slide lecture at 5:30pm in 158 Campbell Hall. 924-3592.

Visit National Building Museum from Home: Chrysanthe Broikos, curator of Washington, D.C.'s National Building Museum, speaks at UVA's School of Architecture this evening at 6pm. His talk promises to take you behind the scenes in the museum. 153 Campbell Hall. 924-3715.

African Americans at the University: UVA undergraduate Jade Craig presents her discoveries about the evolving role of African American in the life of the University of Virginia, from slaves and builders to professors and administrative leaders. Presentation begins at 7pm. 204 Physics Building Room 204. 924-7923.

Buddhist Science of Mind: B. Alan Wallace, translator for the Dalai Lama and founder of the Santa Barbara Institute, speaks at UVA on "Principles of a Buddhist Science of Mind." His ideas arise from current collaborations with neuroscientists and others on the effects of meditation on the human mind. 7pm. G004A Ruffner Hal. Info: or 293-5873.

Kenny Chesney at Starr Hill:
Country Music Awards Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney offers a selection of the tunes that made him a star, all in the pursuit of aiding the International Red Cross in tsunami relief. $10, 8pm. [sold out]

Darrell Rose and Matthew Willner duets (Afrikan percussion, guitar, bass, synths, loops, and devices) at Atomic Burrito. 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.

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

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

DJ Jah Stef and Master MC Culture Biff at Garden of Sheba. No cover, 9pm.

Peter Markush (piano) at Gravity Lounge. Free, 12:30pm.

Andrew McKnight at Gravity Lounge. $8, 8pm.

The Velvet Rut (jazz) at Michael's Bistro. No cover, 10pm.

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, January 28
Ahoy, Matey:
Old Michie Theatre brings Robert Lewis Stephenson's classic children's tale to the stage with a new main stage production of Treasure Island. Pirates, sailors, and the infamous Long John Silver sail the seas on a quest for buried treasure in a performance that features a cast of local youth. 7pm. $7.50. 221 East Water St. 977-3690.

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 starts tonight at 6:30pm through tomorrow 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.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!: From ancient times, fireworks and bells have sounded throughout Asia to bring luck, health, and prosperity in the New Year. The Children's Museum of Richmond brings the festive tradition of China to Virginia with the fifth annual Kid's Carniball. Guests enjoy a fabulous feast, music, dancing, and fun from the Far East. 5-8pm. $25. 2626 W. Broad St. 877-295-CMOR.

Farmhand for a Day: See Thursday, January 28.

Complete Works:
See Thursday, January 27.

The Underpants: See Thursday, January 27.Tonight's show is at 8pm.

Ephemeral Love: See Thursday, January 27.

American Dumpster at Station. No cover. 9:30.

DJs Scumbag & Grendel (downtempo and hip-hop) at Atomic Burrito. No cover, 10pm.

A Night of Flamenco with guitarist Peter Richardson & Mir Ali, percussionist Drex Weaver and dancer Kristi O'Brien at Bashir's Taverna. No cover, 6:30-9:30pm.

Guano Boys at Fellini's. $3, 10pm.

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

Ember Swift at Gravity Lounge. $12/$8 advance, 8pm.

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

Funktastic5 (hip-hop/funk) at Miller's. $2, 10:30pm.

Calf Mountain Jam at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Junior Moment and Lindsey Osborne at Rapunzel's. $5, 8pm.

Sam Bush with Old School Freight Train at Starr Hill. $20/$18 advance, 9pm.

Paddy Dougherty Quartet CD release party at the Bistro, 12th & Main streets, Lynchburg. 7-10pm.

SATURDAY, January 29
Eco Aware:
A workshop in "Recycled Art for Kids" (ages 5-12 ) helps to instill environmental awareness as they create unique art pieces. 10-11:30pm. $15. A stained glass mosaics for kids (ages 7-14) workshop is offered 1:30-4:30pm. $35. McGuffey Art Center. Info: Mimi Tawes, 977-7858.

Boning Up: Find out what you're really made of at the Science Museum of Virginia's new exhibit, "Bones: An Exhibit Inside You." Visitors can examine bone biology, find out how proper diet and exercise keep bones healthy, explore how technology helps us "see" our bones, and learn the ways bones are used as tools, jewelry, art, and musical instruments in cultures around the world. Opens today through May 1. Included in the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!: See Friday, January 28. Times today 4-7pm.

Ahoy, Matey: See Friday, January 28.

Farmhand for a Day: See Thursday, January 28.

Complete Works:
See Thursday, January 27. Today in addition to the 7:30pm show, there's a 2pm matinee.

The Underpants: See Thursday, January 27. Tonight's show is at 8pm.

Ephemeral Love: See Thursday, January 27. Today's show is a 2pm matinee.

Winter Dreams: Music director Carl Roskott leads the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra in Winter Dreams, including works by Glinka and Shostakovich and a performance from cellist Amy Leung. 8pm. Old Cabell Hall. $11-25. 924-3984. See Performance feature.

Soup's On!
Enjoy a steaming bowl of Cajun gumbo and a wine tasting at King Family Vineyards. Noon-5pm. $8 per person. Info and reservations: 823-7800 or

Bellydance Seminar: Bellydance the snow away! 1-4pm at Terry Dean's Dance Studio, 408 E. Market St., Ste. 103B. $35 fee. 220-1888 or register online at

Charlottesville Stamp Fair: Browse dealers offering a wide selection of U.S. and international stamps. 10am-5pm at the Holiday Inn on University Avenue. Free admission and free parking. Info: Jack Essig, 703-273-5908.

Morning in the Valley Hike: Don't think about the cold. Explore the Lower Shamokin Falls Trail with a Wintergreen Nature Foundation naturalist. 10am departure. $6 fee ($3 for Foundation members). Info and reservations: 325-8169.

Truthful: In Vino Veritas, a new wine shop located east of Charlottesville at Shadwell Corner, hosts a wine tasting event and book signing by Art and Lee Beltrone about their new book, Vietnam Graffiti: Messages from a Forgotten Troopship. 1-4pm. Rt. 22 East, make right turn just after the split from Rt. 250 east. 977-6366 or

Let's Get Local:
Twenty-five nationally known experts in local government participate in a day-long conference on the law and politics of local governance, free and open to the public. Registration at 8am at UVA Law School's Morris Law Library. Panels run all day in the Caplin Auditorium, UVA Law School. See or 984-2232. See Words feature.

The Matthew Willner Blues Thang at Atomic Burrito:
Reportedly this bluesy night from the the Matthew Willner Blues Thang will feature the sweet pipes of Willner, a can't miss event for an artist who mostly lets his instruments do the wailing. No cover, 10pm.

In-the-round with Terri Allard, John Jennings and Shannon Worrell at Gravity Lounge: Three talented songwriters trade off tunes and talk at Gravity Lounge tonight. $18/$15, 8pm.

Dry Branch Fire Squad at the Prism: Bluegrass and old-time act Dry Branch Fire Squad keep on trucking, even after 30 years– musically spot on, and with enough crowd-pleasing banter to crack the deadest smile. $18/$15, 8pm.

The Hamiltons at the Starr Hill Cocktail Lounge: Funk-soul brothers Ezra Hamilton and Company bring you another night of savory good vibes with a rock baste. Free, 9pm.

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

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

Mean Street Entertainment (21 & over dance party) at Garden of Sheba. $8, 10pm.

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

Lester Bowers (blues) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

Monticello Road at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

The Hogwaller Ramblers (bluegrass mayhem) at Rapunzel's. $5, 8pm.

SUNDAY, January 30
Finding Your Roots:
Becky and Henry Wilbur walk the wintry trails at Ivy Creek Natural Area to identify native Virginia trees in the dead of winter. Participants use bark, branching, seed, and other clues and will receive a free copy of Trees of Virginia. 2pm. Free. Earlysville Road near the Reservoir.

Tricky Tales: Coyote and his amigos visit Charlottesville. See Family feature.

Ahoy, Matey: See Friday, January 28. Time today, 3pm.

Farmhand for a Day: See Thursday, January 27.

Complete Works:
See Thursday, January 27. Today's 1pm show is the final performance of the run.

The Underpants: See Thursday, January 27. Today's performance is a matinee at 2pm.

Ephemeral Love: See Thursday, January 27. Today's show is a 2pm matinee.

Winter Dreams: See Saturday, January 29. Today's show is at 3:30pm.

Organ admiration: Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Greenwood dedicates its new handcrafted, 20-stop organ today with two public concerts. Internationally acclaimed organist Peggy Haas Howell performs works by Buxtehude, Bach, and Brahms, among others. 4 and 7pm, receptions to follow. Route 250, 3 miles west of the I-64 Crozet exit. Free. 456-6334 or 977-5784. See Performance feature.

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.

Finding Your Roots:
Join Becky and Henry Wilbur on a winter walk at Ivy Creek Natural Area while learning about Virginia's native trees. 2pm. No fee. Contact Dede Smith at 973-7772 for details.

Morning Bird Walk: Shake off the cold with a morning ornithology lesson with Walt Childs at the Wintergreen Nature Foundation. 8am at the Lake Monocan building. No fee. Call 325-8169 for reservations and more information.

Morwena Lasko and Jay Pun, Dickey Redding, David Vanderveer (The Chainsaw Comedian), International Thai Temple, the Albermale High School Jazz Band, and many more at the English Inn:
Help out tsunami victims at this free all-day extravaganza of music and entertainers– donate your time to see the show, and donate some cash to help. Free, 12-8pm.

Ken Waldman at Gravity Lounge. $8, 8pm.

Barling and Collins at Miller's. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

MONDAY, January 31
Faith Discussed: Vigen Guroian of Loyola College in Baltimore speaks on "The Melody of Faith: Theology as Spirituality." 7pm at the Center for Christian Study, 128 Chancellor Street, Charlottesville. 817-1050 or

Mountain Slide Show: Explore Washington's Mount Rainier via slide show with UVA's Outdoor Recreation Department and mountain guide Tim O'Brien. 7pm at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in the Barracks Road Shopping Center. No fee. 977-4400.

Stay Safe: Representatives of the Sexual Assault Resource Center, the Charlottesville Police, and the Belmont Neighborhood Association speak at a personal and neighborhood safety meeting tonight 7-8:30pm. Clark School Gymnasium, 1000 Belmont Ave. 760-3330.

Two Gentlemen:
Move over, Shenandoah Shakespeare. The Paramount Theater takes its first stab at the bard's genius with Two Gentlemen of Verona, performed by the Tony award-winning Acting Company. A series of brilliant plot twists unravel in this convoluted saga. Will love and friendship be reconciled? A pre-performance discussion with a member of the company happens at 7pm. Show, 8pm. Paramount Theater, Downtown Mall. $20-29. 979-1333.

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

Matthew Willner at Miller's. No cover, 9pm.

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, February 1

The Underpants: See Thursday, January 27.

Piano Concert: UVA's Tuesday Evening Concert Series presents the pianist Piotr Anderszewski performing a recital of works by Bach, Chopin and Szymanowski. 8pm. Old Cabell Hall, UVA grounds. $24-10; student rush tickets are $5 one hour before the show, if available. 924-3984. See Performance feature.

Ancestral Dreams:
Ever dream about your dead grandparents, childhood dog, or best friend? Join this month's Themes in Dreams discussion, focusing on Dreams of Death and the Departed and led by psychologist Len Worley. Discussion from 7pm to 9pm above Mudhouse on the Downtown Mall. $10, reservations required. 211 W. Main St. 293-3271.

Mardi Gras's a Stitch: Virginia Folklife program director Jon Lohman offers a seminar "Sewed All Night and Sewed All Day: The Year-round Experience of Carnival." 4-5:30pm. Downstairs conference room at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH). 145 Ednam Drive. 243 5526.

Tuneful: The Center for Christian Study presents "The Melody of Faith: Theology as Spirituality," by author Vigen Guroian, first of a four-part lecture series. $25. Full-time students and senior citizens free. 7pm. 128 Chancellor St. 817-1050 or

Badfish &endash; A Tribute to Sublime and Shane Hines at Starr Hill:
Though one of the most impressive things about Sublime is the speed in which tribute acts sprang up after the demise of this punk/hip-hop/pop group, Hines is worth getting out to see– a fine songwriter with his own group! $8/$6 advance, 8pm. See Tunes feature.

Piotr Anderszewski at Cabell Hall. $24 orchestra/$20 loge & balcony/$10-students, partial-view seats, and standing-room only. See Performance feature.

Travis Elliott with Matthew Willner at Atomic Burrito. No cover, 10pm.

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

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

Peyton Tochterman with John D'Earth, Pete Spaar, James McLaughlin and Andy Thacker at Gravity Lounge. $5, 7pm.

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

WEDNESDAY, February 2
The Underpants:
See Thursday, January 27.

If I Had a Hammer:
Carpenter Judy Cahill returns to Gordon Avenue Library with her popular woodworking workshop. Participants will be introduced to the joys of building and will leave with a finished project. Adult helpers are encouraged to come along. 4-5:30pm. Free. Registration required. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

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

Issues in Health Care: Charles Bosk, sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, speaks on "How Not to Fix Mistakes:
Do We Really Want Health Care to Be More Like the Airline Industry?" at the UVA's Medical Center Hour, 12:30pm. Jordan Hall Conference Center Auditorium. 924-2094.

Gravity Sucks and What You Can Do About It: Sperryville resident Joan Vernikos, a PhD in pharmacology, is an expert in the effects of zero gravity on the human body. She worked in NASA for decades, pioneering studies in the effect of long-range space travel on astronauts' health. She has developed theories on how earthbound people can maintain health and defy aging processes by emulating astronauts in space. Now she has written those theories in a clear, how-to style in her new book, The G-Connection: Harness Gravity and Reverse Aging. The English translation of the title given to her book in her native country of Greece says it more clearly: Maintain Youthfulness Even in Old Age: Space Research Reveals the Science. John Glenn wrote the book's foreword. Meet Dr. Vernikos at New Dominion Bookshop. Noon-2pm. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

Joyce's Wake: Celebrate the birthday of Irish literary genius James Joyce at Gravity Lounge this evening, where James Heffernan, professor emeritus from Dartmouth and noted Joyce scholar, will read selections from his writing between 6pm and 8pm. $15 admission fee includes a buffet meal. Reservations suggested. 103 S. First St. 977-5590.

Local Author Shares His First Novel: Ralph Hedger invites Charlottesville readers to celebrate the release of his new novel, Limits and Degrees. He discusses the story behind the story at Barnes & Noble. 7pm. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Dean's Eye View:
M. Rick Turner, dean and head of the Office of African-American Affairs at UVA, speaks on the state of African-American affairs at the university. 7pm. Rotunda Dome Room. 924-7923.

Look to the Skies:
The Charlottesville Astronomical Society convenes at McCormick Observatory for their monthly meeting. Visitors welcome. UVA grad student Daniel Wik discusses "Mergers and Acquisitions in Astronomy" and how they create many of the features we see. Beginner's Q&A and an observation session. 7pm. or

Virginia's Cultural History: Join the Wintergreen Nature Foundation for a trip to Richmond to visit the White House of the Confederacy and the Virginia Historical Society. 8:30am departure. $25 fee (Foundation members $20). 325-7451 or

Powerpuff Discussion: The UVA Women's Center hosts psychologist Carole Corcoran as part of their Gender and Popular Culture Lecture Series. Corcoran examines the roles of gender, race, and class in the mass culture aimed at pre-adolescent girls. 6:30-8:30pm. Free. Minor Hall Conference Room 225. 982-2911.

Sarah White & The Pearls at Atomic Burrito. No cover, 10pm.

Salsa night at Berkmar: Beginning and intermediate lessons offered 8-9:15pm. $8, $6 students. 652 Rio Road W. 975-4611.

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.

James McLaughlin and members of Old School Freight Train at Michael's Bistro. No cover, 10pm.

Plutonium (Houston Ross-bass/vox, John Gilmore-drums, Matthew Willner-guitar/vox) at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

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

Stable Roots (reggae) at Outback Lodge. $5, 10pm.

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

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

Jimmy O at the South River Grill in Waynesboro. No cover, 7:30pm.

Blue Merle with Cannonball Coming at Starr Hill. $5, 8pm. Jim Davies (acoustic rock and blues) at the Virginian. No cover, 10pm.

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

THURSDAY, February 3
Surf's Up:
Northside Library offers the chance to come in out of the snow and hit the beach. Sun lovers should bring their beach towel to play beach blanket bingo, share some campfire songs and stories, make a message in a bottle, or uncover buried treasure. 4pm. Free. Registration required. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

More Tales for Tots: See Wednesday, February 2.

The Underpants:
See Thursday, January 27.

Off the Cuff: Atlanta's Whole World Theatre offers a live improv comedy show at the Garden of Sheba every Thursday beginning tonight. 8-10pm. $8. Live reggae follows the show. 609 E. Market St. 466-9574 or

Econ Prof Turns Mystery Writer:
Ken Elzinga, UVA's popular professor of economics, took on the pseudonym Marshall Jevons to co-author A Deadly Indifference, a mystery whose central character is, oddly enough, an economics professor who uses his smarts to help the Cambridge, England, police department solve a crime. Elzinga shares his book, then answers questions at the Colonnade Club this evening at 5pm. Pavilion VII, West Lawn. 243-9710.

Inside Scoop on Elections in Ukraine: Two veteran international election observers– John Woodworth, a U.S. ambassador and nuclear power advisor, and James M. Heilman, former Albemarle County director of elections and voter registrar, report from Ukraine after having monitored the recent controversial presidential election there. 5:30pm. Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-7236.

Look Out, Hollywood! Here Comes Charlottesville: Light Horse Studio, a local nonprofit organization, works with middle and high school students to teach media literacy by offering coaching, supplies, and equipment to make films. This evening Light Horse executive director Richard Needham and some of the current filmmakers discuss the program and show their creations at 7pm at Barnes & Noble. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

French Conversation Luncheons:
Parlez francais today and each first Thursday of the month at 11:30am at L'Etoile restaurant on Main Street across from the Amtrak station. Info: 971-1118 or

French Not Your Thing?: 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 their skills. All levels welcome. 7pm. Market Street. 979-7151 or

Drive Safe: A panel of experts from county schools, local and state police, and the insurance industry discuss ways to keep kids safe on the road. 7pm. Albemarle High School. 975-9451.

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.

Improv Comedy Show at Garden of Sheba. $8, 8pm.

Peter Markush (piano) at Gravity Lounge. Free, 12:30pm.

Pierce Pettis with Scuffletown at Gravity Lounge. $10, 8pm.

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

The Keel Brothers Band at the Prism. $12, 8pm.

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.

Ongoing and Future
The Virginia Discovery Museum goes underground with its latest Back Gallery exhibit "Under the Earth: A Cave Exploration." Young children can squeeze through tiny spaces to explore caves and critters from deep inside the earth. Now through May 22. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Get Moving: Move your body, free your mind, lift your spirits and have loads of fun at Dancefit Movement Center. Cardio Hip-Hop (Mon 5:30pm); Cardio-Flex (T/Th 5:30pm and Sat 12:30pm); Dancefit (T/Th 6:30pm and Sat 1:30pm); Yoga Being (T/Th 7:30pm and Sat 2:30pm) and Kids Dancefit (ages 3-7, Sat 10:30am; ages 8-12, Sat 11:30 am). Classes and coaching in pageantry, image & style, and modeling available. Beginner through advanced; no experience required. 609 E. Market St., Studio 110 (across from Market St. garage). 295-4774. or

If You Build It: Kids who are staying home from school because of snow will likely be out in it building a snowman. Those who do their building within the city limits can enter their creation in Charlottesville Parks and Recreation's snow sculpture contest. Held on the first weekday with significant snowfall. Call before noon to check contest date and to register. Prizes awarded. Free. 970-3260.

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 295-7671.

Dances of the Divine Feminine:
Instructor Kimberly Gladysz focuses each week on a different goddess from around the world. Drawing on yoga as well as Tahitian and West African dance, these workshops claim to inspire an awakening of "primal energies in a sacred circle." No experience necessary. Wednesdays, 7:30-8:30pm. Studio 206 Belmont. 960-1092 or

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 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

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 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. See Walkabout feature.

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.

Outdoor Adventure: Enjoy all that central Virginia has to offer with the Outdoor Adventure Social Club. This week, they're skiing at Wintergreen and ice-skating at the Ice Park. Call 760-HIKE or visit for more information.

Bead Business: Studio Baboo presents weekly classes in bead stringing and jewelry making. The winter class schedule continues, with "Basic Bead Stringing," "Embellished Spiral Bracelet," "Fashion Earrings," "Bead Crochet," Maggie Meister's "Hercules Knot Bracelet," and "French Beaded Flowers" on the docket. Call the shop for specifics. 106 Fifth St. Downtown Mall. 244-2905 or

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.

Got Forgiveness?:
Len Worley, Ph.D., invites those who have a personal account of forgiveness of self and others to share it as part of the Forgiveness Project. Anonymous voice-recorded interviews are being sought for the upcoming Psychology of Forgiveness Seminar, planned for early summer. 434-293-3271 or

Book Fest Reaches Tipping Point: New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and the new book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, speaks Thursday, March 17 at 7:30am in the Omni Hotel. Reserved tables, $300. Individual tickets, $20. Seating is limited, so sign up early by email or

Register as a Community Scholar: Community members can take classes at UVA as a community scholar: two courses a semester max, not for credit. Registration at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies open through February 4. 924-4789, or

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

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.

On January 27, the University of Virginia Art Museum opens "Anastasi / Bradshaw / Cage / Cunningham," focusing on the collaborative efforts of the four artists from the years 1950-2004. William Anastasi presents a slide lecture at 5:30pm on Thursday, January 27 in Campbell Hall, and Dove Bradshaw offers a gallery talk at 4:30pm on Friday, January 28, in the museum.

The UVA Art Museum also presents "Corapeake," an exhibition documenting the community of Corapeake, North Carolina, by photographer and filmmaker Kendall Messick. The show runs through February 27. Messick offers a gallery talk at 2pm Sunday, January 30, in Campbell Hall. Also on view: "After Collage," a show exploring mixed-element work by contemporary artists, including John Baldessari, Katherine Porter, and Frank Stella, which continues through August 27. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592. See Art feature.

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

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

The Charlottesville Community Design Center presents "Creating Local and Distant Landscapes," an exhibition of work by UVA Landscape Architecture alumni and local practitioners. 101 E. Main St. 984-2232.

Nature Visionary Art displays the mixed-media work of Sean Samoheyl in a January exhibition entitled "All the Toys I Never Had" 110 Fourth St. NE. 296-8482.

CODG's January offering is "Untangle Us," a show of multi-media work by William Ian Lorson. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

The Charlottesville/Albemarle District of VSA Arts Virginia presents its Fifth Annual Visual Art show, featuring work by over 70 disabled adult and youth artists. The exhibition runs through March 6. Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center. Charlottesville High School. 970-3264 or 296-3518.

Café Cubano features the work of Cary Oliva during January. 112 W. Main St. in York Place. 971-8743.

Piedmont Virginia Community College presents an exhibition of 2-D and 3-D works on paper by 15 Virginia artists through February 16. V. Earl Dickinson Building. 961-5203.

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.

Through February, Angelo displays "Generous Nature," works in watercolor, oil, pencil, and collage by J. Scott Robinson. 220 E. Main St. 971-9256.

The Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art presents two exhibitions, "Shades of Black: Photographs by Wayne Quilliam" and "Black & White & Red Ochre," through January 29. 400 Worrell Drive, 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 Fifth St. 979-9825.

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

Sage Moon Gallery presents "La Petite Lune," a show of work by gallery artists, including Ruth Hembree, Jim Batten, Coy Roy, Margaret Woodson, and Nea and Brandon Birch, through January 31. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

In January, La Galeria features "Red, Row, and Views," watercolor and acrylic paintings by Doris DeSha. Also on view: work y Anne Hopper, Nga Bui Katz, Mary Porter, and Al Rossi. 1919 Commonwealth Drive (next to Rococo's). 293-7003.

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.

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. 200 N. Broad St., Richmond. 804-340-1400.

Washington and Lee University's Ernest Williams II School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics presents an exhibition of work by Anne Sherwood Pundyk. The show will be on display until June. 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. 434-295-8315.

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

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.

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 Arts Center in Orange is collecting donated artwork from community members for its "Treasures from the Attic" fundraising sale, which ends January 31. 129 E. Main St., Orange. 540-672-7311.

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. $20 entry fee. Deadline: February 19. 540-946-3294 or

Sense of place: Recollecting Corapeake

Falling-down barns and abandoned houses– broken-windowed, weathered boards skewed at odd angles– hold a tender spot in my heart. I like to ruminate about how these ramshackle places were once new, how life coursed through them before they gradually fell into decay.

A similar appreciative nostalgia fuels photographer and filmmaker Kendall Messick's multi-media exhibition "Corapeake," currently on display at the University of Virginia Art Museum.

In 1995, Messick traveled with his friend Brenda Hunt to her hometown of Corapeake, North Carolina, a small African-American community on the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp just south of the Virginia border. There he fell in love.

And "love" is the operative word. To view Messick's black and white portraits of Corapeake residents is to experience Messick's perspective of achingly deep affection. Such warmth engenders trust, and his smiling subjects appear unselfconscious in front of his camera, allowing us, as third-party viewers, to participate in the intimacy between the photographer and the photographed.

What Messick explores is how layers of selective memory weave a nostalgic narrative of place. He occasionally juxtaposes portraits of Corapeake's elderly with images of its youth (because, after all, these gorgeously lined and liver-spotted men and women were once smooth and fresh).

Messick mattes his smaller gelatin silver prints on creamy sandpaper-like sheets placed against a collage of yellowed newspaper clippings that he peeled from the walls of an old Corapeake house. Below each image, a handwritten quote from a community member recollects childhood or superstitions or work or family.

The exhibition also displays journals Messick kept during his visits to Corapeake, his notes and pasted-in photos recording his own narrative of memory. In addition, a hat and three worn out suits, first encountered in Messick's photographs, provide tangible references for Messick's pictorial constructions of truth.

The weakest element in the show is surprisingly what led to its creation: Messick's acclaimed documentary film. Hearing the actual voices of Corapeake's residents is a treat, but in the film, Messick's photographs fly by too quickly for us to appreciate their exquisite details. Also, the B-roll shots of Brenda Hunt driving her car are distracting.

But my disappointment in watching Messick's film relates directly to my pleasure in lingering over the rest of the exhibition, drinking in the artist's record of Corapeake as a treasured place where the community's past in its present courses through its people.

Kendall Messick's "Corapeake" is on view at the University of Virginia Art Museum through February 27. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592. Messick presents a gallery talk on Sunday, January 30, at 2pm in Campbell Hall.

Tricky: Coyote brings fun en espagnol


Trickster tales have been long-time favorites for bedtime stories at our house. Every culture seems to tell these short narratives that use animal characters to convey folk wisdom and an understanding of human nature. Aesop's fables derived from India, Brer Rabbit stories from the Caribbean and the American South, and Ananse the Spider tales from Ghana have all been part of our evening ritual.

This week, the Community Children's Theatre brings to the stage some of our favorite trickster tales, the adventures of Coyote and his amigos. Coyote Tales, adapted by playwright Linda Daugherty, performed by Dallas Children's Theater, and based on Mexican folklore, shows the relentless efforts of this clever canine to trick other animals in his desert Southwest community into joining him for dinner… as his dinner. It doesn't take long for rabbit, fox, prairie dog, and the others to catch on and turn the tables on the trickster. Their revenge leaves Señor Coyote howling at the moon.

"Part of our mission is to enrich children's cultural experiences by offering programs of interest to diverse audiences," said CCT program chair Cathy von Storch. "We realize the powerful potential of arts in education and that appreciation of the arts serves to bridge diverse peoples."

The bridge in this production is that it's bilingual: the performance in English and Spanish is as instructive as it is entertaining. The colorful set design and costumes are inspired by folk art wood carvings from Oaxaca (Wa-HAH-ka), Mexico. A fiesta of music, dance, and puppetry accompanies the live performance.

And included in the playbill is un poco del español that kids can practice at home.

The action doesn't end when the curtain goes down. After the show, cast and crew will hang around for a 20-minute presentation and Q&A with the audience. Those who usually sit and watch can find out how the pros turn a story into a stage performance, learn more about the characters, gain some insight into the personality of cast members and their training, and get an autograph, too.

After this performance, bedtime stories just won't be the same.

Coyote Tales is performed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center January 30 at 2pm. $10 tickets available in advance at Whimsies (North Wing Barracks Road Shopping Center) or at the door. CHS, Melbourne Road. 961-7862.

Çlassy offerings: Recitals banish winter's chill


I make no claims of being a devout anything. For a time I was a good Catholic schoolboy. Then life happened.

But I'm still a sucker for moments of spiritual ecstasy, whether on a mountaintop or under water. I'll never forget the sensation that ran through my body on hearing the majestic peals of an organ at midday in one of Europe's many cavernous medieval cathedrals.

None of those around here, alas. But this Sunday you can experience the next best thing: two public concerts to dedicate and show off Emmanuel Episcopal Church's new handcrafted, 20-stop organ. At the keys will sit the acclaimed organist Peggy Haas Howell, who will perform the works of Buxtehude, Bach, Brahms, and others.

Howell has played around the world, taught at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, and is now music director at Lynchburg's St. John's Episcopal Church. Her concerts this weekend will display the broad range of "colors" Emmanuel's new organ can produce. You know an organ is good when you can see the music.

And this is just one of three classical performances on the agenda around town, just in time to brace our souls against a Johnny-come-lately winter.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra presents the homemade medley Winter Dreams, with works by Glinka and Shostakovich, in Old Cabell Hall's acoustically magnificent auditorium.

The repertoire also features symphony cellist Amy Leung, the subject of a recent documentary film, performing Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto. Elgar composed the piece in the humbling aftermath of World War I, which provided the foundation for a searing statement. Profound wisdom and beauty are said to underlie the simplicity in this score.

Rounding out the week, the Tuesday Evening Concert Series returns with pianist Piotr Anderszewski performing a recital of works by Bach, Chopin, and Szymanowski, also at Old Cabell Hall. Anderszewski is only the fourth pianist to receive the Gilmore Artist Award, made to exceptional players who possess skill and charisma– and manage to sustain an international career– regardless of age or origin.

Born in 1969 to Polish-Hungarian parents, he started playing the piano at age six and has studied at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, among other places. His visit to Charlottesville marks the midway-point for the current season of this popular concert series. Go online for more chances to experience classical bliss:

The Emmanuel Episcopal Church organ concerts are at 4 and 7pm Sunday, January 30. The church is on Route 250, 3 miles west of the I-64 Crozet exit. Free. 456-6334 or 977-5784.

Amy Leung joins the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra 8pm Saturday, January 29, and 3:30pm Sunday, January 30. Old Cabell Hall. $11-25. 924-3984.

Piotr Anderszewski performs a recital of works by Bach, Chopin, and Szymanowski for the Tuesday Evening Concert Series. 8pm February 1. Old Cabell Hall. $24-10; student rush tickets are $5 one hour before the show, if available. 924-3984.

Italy on Main St.: Evoking Europe in the Blue Ridge

Life in a college town can have its drawbacks– think traffic, think Barracks Road on a football weekend– but living in the shadow of a world-class university can also be a very good thing. The entire community benefits from perks like visiting lecturers, concert series, fitness classes, and other educational opportunities. In fact, the University and its resources are a big part of why Charlottesville enjoys a reputation as a worldly, cosmopolitan city.

Last year, a new kind of higher learning came to the area, offering something that UVA and its straight-laced academic tradition can't quite match. It's called Ecco Italy, an Italian language school and cultural center of sorts located in the Main Street Market. The brainchild of Italian scholar (and Hook restaurant reviewer) Christina Ball, Ecco Italy combines language classes, culture, cuisine, and travel to create a true immersion experience that "replicates the sights, sounds, and tastes of Europe."

Ball, a former university professor with a Ph.D. in Italian literature, has lived la dolce vita in Rome, Bologna, Cortina, and Florence, and still returns to Tuscany every summer to satisfy her yearning for Italian life.

"I've always dreamed of teaching Italian in a location like this," Ball says, "bringing the wonders of Italy not only to the university, but to the community at-large."

And Ecco Italy's program schedule reflects that goal, with courses designed for both novices and experienced students. Classes like "Ecco Uno" (Italian for Beginners), "Cinema Chat" (conversational Italian focused on popular European films), and "Tavola Italiana" (a free Italian conversation every Wednesday at noon) are already under way, with several more ("Ecco Cimbo"-&endash; Italian for foodies, "Ecco Bimbo"– for kids, and a one-day basic Italian course for travelers) coming this spring. The center also offers travel consultations and group language lessons for businesses.

Ball's immersion teaching style is certainly unique among language schools in this country, with Italian food, furnishings, and entertainment all contributing to the learning experience. She transforms the chic Main Street Market into her own private training ground.

"We basically pretend we're in Italy," Ball says. "Students practice ordering cappuccino at Milano coffee bar, and shop for food and gifts [in Italian] at Verity blue and Feast."

Ecco Italy's classes are held in the Tower Lounge at the Main Street Market, 406A W. Main St., and on the outdoor patio on top of Verity blue. For more information, fees, and a complete class schedule, visit or call 825-4390.

Memorable: Nobel Prize winner to speak

How does it happen that we remember anything? What's the difference between learning to ride a bike and learning to recite a poem? What happens to the cells in our nervous system as the brain receives signals and stores them so they can be recalled again?

These questions lie at the heart of Eric R. Kandel's life work, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000. They will likely ring through his talk in Charlottesville, sponsored by UVA's Institute on Aging and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.

Born in Vienna in 1929, Kandel vividly recalls Kristallnacht, November 8, 1938, when all of Austria, just seized by Hitler, rose up in violence against the city's Jews. Nine-year-old Eric had just celebrated his birthday, and splendid gifts had come his way. The family fled into hiding for a week.

When they returned, Eric's new toys had vanished. Trivial compared to many Holocaust experiences, Kandel recognizes– and yet the event marked his memory and became, he wrote later, "an important factor in my later interest in the mechanisms of memory."

He studied history, medicine, psychiatry, and physiology at great American universities and, from the 1950s on, partnered with other neuroscientists to investigate how cells and molecules operate to form short- and long-term memories. Seeking a primitive creature on which to experiment, Kandel selected aplysia, the giant marine snail, whose nervous system has a small number of large cells. Building on behaviorist methods he had learned at Harvard, when B. F. Skinner was teaching there, Kandel trained aplysia to open or close its gills in response to stimuli, then tracked nerve cell activity during those behaviors. Ultimately he and his lab team mapped out the neural circuitry of aplysia.

From there, Kandel went on to mammals, genetically manipulated mice, always seeking results that can shed light on human learning and memory. Learning strengthens synapses, he has found– not nerve cells themselves but the connections between them. Memory loss must involve a weakening of those connections.

"The biology of mind bridges the sciences– concerned with the natural world– and the humanities– concerned with the meaning of human experience," Kandel stated in his banquet speech before the Nobel Prize committee.

This is a man wise in years and experience, learned in his profession, and reaching that time of life when one comes full circle, seeing how it all fits together. Hearing him in person will in itself be a prize.

Dr. Eric R. Kandel speaks on "Toward a Molecular Biology of Memory and Age-Related Memory Disorders" on Friday, January 28, at 3:30pm. Old Cabell Auditorium. 924-3778.

Downtown romance: One enlightened afternoon

The singer-songwriter has a habit of bringing the bile up from my stomach, past the lower and upper esophageal sphincters, and into my esophagus with an ease I thought I would never find apart from eating bad meat products. That is not to say that the entire genre irks me in ways I can't describe, just that a large portion of it falls into the strum-"I"-strum-strum-"loved a girl who ate butter…" pointless ode to banality category that I wish would take a long flight to outer space so I could fire a Douglas M31/M50/MGR-1 "Honest John" nuclear missile at it.

Having a band backing you up not only lets you screw up more, but also can veto things like dumb-ass lyrics ('John, perhaps you shouldn't rhyme 'try' with 'fly' again") or other idiotic frontman tomfoolery ("Let's do a Sgt. Pepper, but we'll be, like, high on meth instead of LSD").

For whatever reason, singer/songwriter Shane Hines, performing with Badfish (the Sublime tribute band– don't even get me started) at Starr Hill on February 1, acquired a band for the follow-up to his debut solo release, and my digestive tract is still thanking him.

Released in late 2003, Sweet Soul Suicide is awash in diverse and solid influences like Pink Floyd's The Wall guitar on "I'm sorry Ann" though shades of Hines' singer/songwriter's past do make their presence known from time to time.

After "The Switch," a 25-second introduction where slowly strummed out-of-tune guitar and whispered vocals kick off with an introspective downer, things get going swiftly with "Stay." Though the number's first verse might lead you to guess that Hines, even with the addition of a band, is still falling prey to the traps that commonly snare solo artists, the tune's chorus clears up that mistaken impression lickety split.

"I have made my mistakes, and I have no clever way to try and explain it all away" Hines belts in a voice that would almost be more at home in an '80s falsetto core metal act. Yes, you still living Styx fans out there, the past lives again.

"I'm sorry Ann" is a tune of self-flagellation and regret, the melody speaking a good time, though if I were producing it I would have made the verses a bit tighter. It also possesses, as is Hines' way, the big rock chorus, in which the lyrical light shines on the songwriter who– backed by a bit of Moog– seeks redemption.

"Need" is an echo-laden up-tempo rocker with shades of early '90s one-hit wonders Spacehog (a personal guilty pleasure) in which Hines and the rest of the group would never be mistaken for "nice boys."

Shane Hines is awash in a sea of singer/songwriters, but with a good group and a peculiar ability to write a voluminous chorus as his life preservers, he just might live long enough to be eaten by the music industry sharks.

Badfish &endash; A Tribute to Sublime, and Shane Hines perform at Starr Hill, February 1. $8/$6 advance, 8pm.