Cultural calendar, February 24-March 3, 2005

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

Life's a Game: The 12th annual PrezCon gaming convention starts today. See Family feature.

The Ives Have It:
Get out of the cold and into the mind of David Ives. This clever collection of one-act comedies is sure to warm your spirit. The repertoire features young Manhattanites riding the highs and lows of life. UVA's Richard Warner directs. 8pm. Culbreth Theater. $7-12. 924-3376. See Performance feature.

Taming of the Shrew: Long seen as the ultimate battle of the sexes, this robust comedy is just as much an illustration of how nonconformists can outwit society. Shenandoah Shakespeare blends romance and outlandish farce to give us a story of psychological liberation. 10:30am. This performance is a school matinee. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-26. 540-885-5588.

Much Ado: Players at St. Anne's&endash;Belfield School stage Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing in Appalachia, with a handmade quilt as the centerpiece prop and the bard's verse set to bluegrass. The cast includes two otherwise refined teachers playing the play's bumbling buffoons, Dogberry and Verges. Tonight's performance is a final dress rehearsal. 7pm. Donations accepted to benefit a no-kill animal shelter in Nelson County. Randolph Hall Auditorium, Upper Campus, 2132 Ivy Road. 296-5106x1288.

The Dazzle: Obsessive meets compulsive in this new Richard Greenberg play loosely based on New York's Collyer brothers and the 136 tons of uncontrolled clutter they filled their mansion with. A high stakes sibling rivalry in which zinging epigrams do battle with existential despair. 7:30pm. Live Arts UpStage, 123 E. Water St. $10. 977-4177.

Green Thumb Extravaganza:
The massive Maymont Flower and Garden Show rolls into the Greater Richmond Convention Center for a weekend residency complete with rock garden exhibits, expert speakers, and hands-on demonstrations, all designed to help make your garden grow! 9am-8pm each day. $14 (under 12 free). 804-358-7166 or

Medicine Show:
Monticello presents Todd Savitt, author of Medicine and Slavery: The Diseases and Health Care of Blacks in Ante Bellum Virginia, lecturing on "Fevers, Cures and Such: A Look Back at Slave Medicine." 4pm, Kenwood, just beyond Monticello on Route 53. 984-9822.

Interstate Poetry:
Poets Greg Donovan, Laurie Kutchens, and David Wojahn inaugurate the "Route 64 Reading Series," a semi-annual presentation by writers located along, you guessed it, the I-64 corridor. 8pm. UVA Bookstore. 924-6675.

Poetry for Puss: Charlotte Matthews and nine other poets display their talents at Charlottesville's first annual Writer's Gallery reading to benefit Cat's Cradle, a feline rescue organization. Enjoy dessert and coffee after words are spoken. Tickets: $8 advance; $10 at the door. 7pm. Holiday Inn. 1901 Emmet St. 987-9500.

Fork Union Community Music Series presents: Alli Collis at the Fork Union Community Center:
Singer-songwriter Collis performs at this month's edition of the listening room series. Local acoustic musicians can sign up for opening slots by contacting the series. $3, 7pm. 434-979-SONG.

Travis Elliott and the Nice Jenkins at O'Neill's. No cover, 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. $5, 9pm.

Young Artists Night at Kokopelli's. $3, 7-9:30pm.

Whole World Theatre presents Live Improv Comedy Show at Garden of Sheba. $8, 8pm.

Reggae Sound System withIron Lion and Culture Bif at Garden of Sheba. No Cover, 10pm.

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

Susan Greenbaum with Julie Clark at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

Rocket Queen at Outback Lodge. $3, 10pm.

Satisfaction w/ 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.

Hackensaw Boys and Gone Dead Train at Starr Hill. $12/$10 advance, 8pm.

The Funktastic 5 ( Featuring Mitch Wise-MC, Q Black-MC, Dave Bartok-Bass, Clay Caricofe-Drums, Matthew Willner-Guitar) at Station. No cover, 9pm.

George Turner Trio (jazz, funk, and originals) at Zocalo. No cover, 9pm.

FRIDAY, February 26
Kids Read:
Joan Kindig leads the new Young Readers Book Club at Barnes & Noble. Story lovers ages 8-12 can join in a lively discussion of a great Young Readers book. Titles chosen will be available in book and audio form so parents can enjoy the book with their children. Call for this month's selection. 7pm. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Auditions: Old Michie Theatre holds auditions for its spring production of The Secret Garden. Interested actors should call the theatre for an audition time, become familiar with the story, and be prepared to recite a one minute monologue or song for leading roles. Those interested in ensemble roles should prepare a poem, story, or speech to read aloud. A production fee will be charged. 4-6:30pm. 221 Water St. 977-3690.

Tamer Tamed: This is John Fletcher's hilarious sequel to The Taming of the Shrew, written 20 years after Shakespeare's play. Petruchio marries a second wife, who seeks revenge on behalf of Kate (and browbeaten women everywhere) by denying her husband earthly pleasures– a reversal of roles that recalls the sex strike in Aristophanes's Lysistrata. 7:30pm. Attend a pre-show lecture at 6pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-26. 540-885-5588.

The Dazzle: See Thursday, February 24. Tonight's show is at 8pm.

The Ives Have It: See Thursday, February 24, and Performance feature. Tonight's show 8pm.

Much Ado: See Thursday, February 24. 7pm Tonight's opening night. $5-10.

Dido and Aeneas: UVA's Spectrum Theatre presents the first student-produced opera at the university, Dido and Aeneas. Garrett Hall. $5. 8pm.

Book Sale:
IRIS Magazine holds a book sale to benefit their 25th anniversary issue. Women's Center on the Corner. All books at least 75 percent off the cover price. 3-5pm. 924-4500 or

Talkin' Terrorism: The J.B. Moore Society of International Law hosts this two-day symposium on terrorism at the UVA Law School. 9am-5pm. See Walkabout feature.

Green Thumb Extravaganza: See Thursday, February 24.

Dance Marathon: Watch several hundred UVA students sway "for the kids" at the 2005 Dance Marathon. All proceeds benefit the Sarah Du Bose and the UVA Children's Hospital. 9pm Friday-3am Saturday.

Vietnam Reflections: Hear the inside stories of the Vietnam War from the soldiers who lived them in Winter Soldier, a 1971 documentary that attempts to understand the terrible psychological toll of war. 8pm. Donations accepted. At Better Than Television, 106 A3 Goodman Street, in Belmont. 295-0872.

Civic Possibilities:
George W. Bush assistant John M. Bridgeland addresses the question "Is Civic Renewal Possible?" at 11am at UVA's Miller Center for Public Affairs, 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-7236.

Making Reparations: Northwestern University political scientist Thomas McCarthy delivers a lunchtime lecture, "On the Morality and Politics of Reparations for Slavery," at 12:15pm at The Miller Center of Public Affairs. Free and open to the public. RSVP is required. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-4694.

Sierra at the Dew Drop Inn, Scottsville:
Join the cover-happy boys from Sierra at another evening of great country and rock homage. No cover, 9:30pm.

Mike Compton and David Long at the Prism: A bluegrass duo? They do exist, and these boys prove it. Mandolin and more mandolin. $15/$12 advance, 8pm.

Triple Play at PVCC: Everything from jazz to folk to blues to classics comes out of this stellar trio of Chris Brubeck, Peter Madcat Ruth, and Joel Brown. $17/$10 seniors and students, 7:30pm. 961-5376.

Hafla at Rapunzel's: Turning the packing shed into a dessert oasis, the belly dancing troupe Hafla take you away to a foreign land with their costumes, décor, and entertainment. One of Rapunzel's most popular events. $5, 7:30pm.

PACEM Benefit: Robin Wynn, Sarah White and the Pearls, and the Dirty Dishes at Starr Hill. $10, 8pm.

DJ Lem at Atomic Burrito. Free, 10:30pm.

Pete and Lindsey Osborne (folk singer/songwriters) at Basic Necessities. No cover, 6:30pm.

Morwena Lasko and Jay Pun (folk) at Garden of Sheba. No cover, 8pm.

Ann Rabson with Joan Fenton at Gravity Lounge. $15/$10 advance, 7pm.

Body for Karate at Gravity Lounge. $5, 10:30pm.

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

Modern Groove Syndicate at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

Ex-Porn Stars (soul-rock) at Outback Lodge. $7, 10pm.

Peyton Tochterman Band at Shebeen. No cover, 10:30pm.

Charlottesville-Albermarle Chapter of the American Guild of Organists at First Presbyterian Church, Park Street. Free, 3:30pm.

Fletcher Bridge (southern rock) at Kokopelli's. $5, 8pm

SATURDAY, February 26
Monte Carlo Night:
Win a Puerto Rico vacation if you're lucky at the Blue Ridge Mountain Rotary Club's night of auctions, raffles, and more. ACAC Albemarle Square, 7pm. $25 advance, $30 at the door. 244-8050.

Singles Wine Tasting: Meet, greet, and sip at King Family Vineyards. $25, reservations required. 961-3164 or

Film School: Learn the art of video editing (using Final Cut Express) with National Geographic film editor Geoff Luck at Lighthouse Studio. 2-5pm. $75 fee. Open to everyone. 293-6992.

Talkin' Terrorism: See Friday, February 25.

Green Thumb Extravaganza: See Thursday, February 24.

Advanced Hike: Head for the hills around Sherando Lake with the Outdoor Adventure Social Club. 8am departure. $3 fee., plus membership. 760-HIKE or

Grand Opening:
The Village Playhouse celebrates its grand opening in style with two performances by local favorite children's singer/songwriter Cathy Bollinger. 11am and 1pm. Tickets available first come, first serve from10am-noon or 12:30-2:30pm and include a Cathy Bollinger performance, refreshments, face painting, and play time. Adults $3, 1st child $5, siblings $3, seniors $2. 95 Deerwood Drive, Suite A. 296-9390.

The Sky is Falling: Chicken Little will be joined by her friends from Aesop's Fables in a collection of puppet performances at the Old Michie Theatre. Author/comedian and improvisation actor Duncan Gale brings to life the classic tales of the Lion and the Mouse, the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, and Chicken Little for some humorous, but timeless lessons. 11am, 2 and 4pm. $5. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

Picture a Bracelet: Teen beaders can create a unique piece of wearable art using magnified mini-images of their choice at Gordon Avenue Library. 10:30am. Free. Registration required. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Oh, to be Young: The Children's Museum of Richmond celebrates African-American History Month with a slate of special events. At 11am, Ty-Rone's World presents an interactive ventriloquist show "It's Great to be Young" where kids discover it's fun to read and learn to succeed. At 1pm, the Richmond Jazz Society performs fun kid tunes and classic jazz. And at 2pm, families can enjoy stories written by well-known African-American children's literature authors. Included in the price of admission. 2626 W. Broad St., Richmond. 877-295-CMOR.

Out of this World: Amazement Square celebrates Black History Month by honoring NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, a native of Lynchburg. Mr. Melvin will present a slide show and engage in Q&A followed by autographs and photo ops. Visitors will be able to explore space with a special series of exhibit panels, highlighting our solar system, and other space interactives throughout the month. 1-3pm. Included in the price of admission. 27 Ninth St., Lynchburg. 434-845-1888.

The Tamer Tamed:
See Friday, February 25.

Taming of the Shrew: See Thursday, February 24. Today's show 2pm.

The Dazzle: See Thursday, February 24. Tonight's show 8pm.

Much Ado: See Thursday, February 24. Admission to tonight's 7pm show is $5-10.

The Ives Have It: See Thursday, February 24, and Performance feature. Tonight's show 8pm.

Dido and Aeneas: See Friday, February 25.

Yellowjackets: The Grammy-winners buzz into the Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall. 8pm. $26-32. 979-1333.

The Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra with Guest Conductor Michael Slon at Old Cabell Hall:
Hayden's Symphony No. 44 and Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, are just two of the works to be performed under the conducting of guest Michael Slon. A pre=concert lecture will be given in nearby minor hall 45 minutes before the concert. $25-$11, 8pm.

Thomas Gunn, and Sal Milione at Rapunzel's:
The snow date for this great show, 2/3 of local boys Neuronimo get out of their heads for the night and play some great folk-rock. $5, 7:30pm.

Ezra & Will (from The Hamiltons) at Atomic Burrito. Free, 10:30pm.

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

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

Las Gitanas (Gypsy Chix) at Fellini's No. 9. $3, 10pm.

Soul Finger (rock and reggae) at Garden of Sheba. $3, 10pm.

Mando Mafia at Gravity Lounge. $5, 9pm.

2 Red Shoes (rock/blues) at Kokopelli's. $5, 8pm.

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

Monticello Road at Jabberwocky. No cover, 10pm.

Porter Davis at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

D.I.Y. (funk, rock, and jazz) at Mellow Mushroom. No cover, 10pm.

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

The Elderly, The 40 Boys, and Tristan at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

No Gods No Monsters, The 40 Boys, and The Dawning downstairs at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Thomas Gunn, and Sal Milione at Rapunzel's. $5, 7:30pm.

Josh Mayo (acoustic-pop) at Starr Hill's Cocktail Lounge. Free, 9pm.

SUNDAY, February 27
Tricky Tales:
Storyteller and artist Ralph Schulz tells spider trickster tales at Central Library. The interactive program includes songs and the creation of original spider stories. 3pm. Free. 201 E. Market St. 979-7151, ext. 3.

Y'all Come: The Blue Ridge Barn Dance returns to the Greenwood Community Center with live music and lots of dancing. No partner necessary. Beginners welcome. 6:30pm. $6. Greenwood Road. (Rt. 691) near Crozet. 540-836-9445.

Taming of the Shrew:
See Thursday, February 24. Today's show 2pm.

Much Ado: See Thursday, February 24. Prices for today's 2pm matinee range from $5 to $10.

Dido and Aeneas: See Friday, February 25.

Classical: See Saturday, February 25. Today's show 3:30pm.

Life is a Mess:
Hold on to your hats! Ramona Quimby, that exasperating but lovable third-grader from Beverly Cleary's delightful books, is coming to the stage at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts Center. Community Children's Theatre presents this TheatreWorks play that tickles the funny bone as it addresses issues that touch the lives of real families. 2pm. $10. CHS, Melbourne Road.

Cracking Up: It's National Engineer's Week and time once again for the Great Egg Drop Contest at the Science Museum of Virginia. Young scientists are challenged to create an aerodynamic container strong enough to prevent an egg from scrambling when dropped from above during Careers in Engineering Day. Middle and high school students can also discuss college and career opportunities with engineers, mathematicians, and scientists, and participate in the Bridge Building competition too. 1-5pm. Careers in Engineering Day is free. Registered participants receive free exhibit admission. Regular admission applies for non-registered visitors and the IMAX theater. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Green Thumb Extravaganza:
See Thursday, February 24. 9am-8pm each day. $14 regular admission (children under 12 are free). Call the Maymont Foundation at 804-358-7166 or visit for more information.

Forest Defense: Hear the story of Virginia's forests, their unique and highly concentrated biodiversity. Learn how to protect and defend them– become eco-cops. 4pm. Better than Television, 106 Goodman St. 295-0872.

Matty Metcalfe (accordion/mandolin) at Fellini's No. 9. No cover, 6pm.

Whiskey Bravo (folk rock) at Garden of Sheba. No cover, 8pm.

Bobby Graves (solo acoustic covers) at Kokopelli's. $3, 7-9:30pm.

George Turner's Recital at Gravity Lounge. Free, 3pm.

Steep Canyon Rangers at Gravity Lounge. $8, 8pm.

Barling and Collins (cello-pop) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

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

MONDAY, February 28
Write On:
Today is the entry deadline for WHTJ's annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers & Illustrators Contest. 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 forms and guidelines can be downloaded at or call 295-7671.

Artists Wanted: Teens in grades 6-12 can show their artistic skill throughout the month of March in the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library's tenth annual Logo Contest in preparation for Cheap Thrills, the Library's summer reading program for teens. Deadline for submission is March 26 to submit an original design to any library branch. Contest forms are now available at all JMRL branches. Winners receive gift certificates to Michael's Arts and Crafts Store, with the first place entry appearing on the front of the Cheap Thrills promotional brochure this summer. 979-7151, ext. 215.

Auditions: See Friday, February 25.

Dance at PVCC:
This annual event showcases the work of dance students and faculty at PVCC. Expect high energy and unique artistic collaborations. 7:30pm. Main stage of the V. Earl Dickinson Building. $6-10. 961-5376.

George's Slaves:
Scottsville celebrates African American History Month by hosting Henry Wiencek, who will discuss his newly published book, An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America, at 7:30pm at the Scottsville Methodist Church. 961-5384.

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

The Rusticators at the Biltmore. No cover, 10pm.

Jen Chapin trio featuring Stephan Crump and Jamie Fox with Jan Glennie-Smith at Gravity Lounge. $5, 7pm.

Matthew Wilner Blues Thang 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, March 1
Acupuncture and You:
How does acupuncture care help you, your symptoms, and your issues? An informative talk presented by Ron Greathead. Free. 7pm. 1110 Rose Hill Drive, Suite 100. Call to reserve your seat. 962-2770.

Look at Books: Dig into James Monroe's private library of rarely seen 18th- and early 19th-century French and English classics at Ash Lawn-Highland. 11am-5pm. Fee included in regular admission. 293-9539 or

Spiritual Health: Sr. Carol Taylor with the Georgetown Center for Clinical Bioethics discusses "Spiritual Care for the Seriously Ill and Dying" as part of the St. Anselm Institute's lecture series. 6:30pm, in Jordan Hall Room 1-14 at the UVA School of Medicine.

Animal Stories:
UVA Environmental Studies professor H.H. Shugart will discuss and sign How the Earthquake Bird Got Its Name and Other Tales of an Unbalanced Nature, at UVA's Colonnade Club from 5-6:30pm. The event is free and open to the public. Pavilion VII. 243-9110. See Words feature.

Dorm Brothel: The Center for Christian Study presents "Dorm Brothel: The Sexualization of the American College," a lecture by Vigen Guroianm theology prof at Loyola in Baltimore. 7pm. 128 Chancellor St. No charge. 817-1050.

Why They Do That:
PREP/Parent Resource Center and The Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA) host "All Behavior is Meaningful! Positive Approaches To Difficult Behaviors" with David Pitonyak, PhD. This fun, informative presentation helps parents learn practical strategies and effective methods of parenting, teaching, and supporting a person with difficult behaviors. Pitonyak is a national expert and influential teacher well known for his inspiring and common sense methods for understanding people who express themselves with challenging behavior. 6- 8:30pm. Free. Westminster Presbyterian Church, 190 Rugby Road. 975-9400, ext. 2342.

UVA's Tuesday Evening Concert Series presents the renowned Vermeer String Quartet performing works by Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven. 8 pm. Old Cabell Hall. $10-24; one-hour rush tickets $5 for students, if available. 924-3984.

Chamber Ensemble: UVA's music department and the New Music Ensemble present the Beaufluvian Players in concert tonight. The trio features flutist Cheryl Gobbetti Hoffman, saxophonist Susan Fancher and harpist Sonja Inglefield playing a broad range of modern styles. 8pm. Old Cabell Hall. $5-10. 924-3984.

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

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

Tom Proutt (country-folk) at Fat Daddy's. No cover, 8:30-11pm

Strawbs with Pamela Means at Gravity Lounge. $22/$17, 7pm.

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

James McMurty & the Heartless Bastards at Starr Hill. $10, 8pm.

Artists on Tap:
Meet artists Vidu Palta and Nancy Galloway at a reception at PVCC today in honor of their current show in the V. Earl Dickinson Building on the campus. 5-7pm. 961-5203.

Victorian Secrets:
Gordon Avenue Library celebrates Women's History Month by having tea with Susan Adler, author of the very first book in the American Girls series. Modern young ladies ages 5-15 can enjoy tea and cookies, learn about some notable Victorian women, and enjoy one of Samantha's favorite pastimes as they make their own old-fashioned quilt piece. Dolls are invited, too. 4pm. Free. Registration required. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Playhouse Art: The Village Playhouse hosts a preschool art class for children ages 3-4 called "Making Art Together" for six Wednesdays beginning today. The class is taught by art teacher and local artist Sarah Deacon. 10-11am. $18 per class, includes materials. Registration required. 95 Deerwood Drive, Suite A. 296-9390.

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

Look to the Skies:
The Charlottesville Astronomical Society convenes at McCormick Observatory for their monthly meeting. Visitors welcome. Beginner's Q&A and an observation session. 7pm.

Democratic Discussions: The Meetup groups of the Charlottesville Democratic Party and Charlottesville Democracy for America will convene at the new Albemarle County Office Building for their monthly chat session. 6:45pm. 1600 Fifth St. 980-0857.

DJ Reggie at Atomic Burrito. Free, 10:30pm.

Salsa night at Berkmar: Beginning and intermediate lessons offered from 8 to 9:15 p.m. Free, 8-10pm. 652 Rio Road W. 975-4611.

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

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

Josh Mayo and Dane North at Fat Daddy's. No cover, 8:30-11pm.

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.

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

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

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

The Secret Machines, Autolux, and Moving Units at Starr Hill. $12/$10 advance, 8pm.

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

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

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

Asia Arts:
Japanese art expert Daphne Rosenzweig speaks on "Hokusai & Hiroshige. 5:30 p.m. Campbell Hall, Room 153. 924-3715.

Robot Rivalry:
Virginia Commonwealth University hosts the 2005 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Regional Competition where task-performing robots created by more than 60 teams of students, teachers, and professional mentors from high schools throughout Virginia and the east coast area will compete head-to-head on the arena floor. Eligible teams will advance to the FIRST Championship scheduled for April in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Practice rounds take place today from 10am-5pm. Competition Friday and Saturday. Free. VCU's Siegel Center, 1200 W. Broad St, Richmond. 804-784-4898.

Making the Grade: UVA's statewide community lecture series Engaging the Mind offers "Kids and Teachers: What Makes for Success in School." Professor of Education Robert Pianta talks to teachers and the public about the ingredients of a quality classroom, aspects of teaching that lead to increased student performance, tensions around low-performing schools, how to improve the quality of teaching, and how to raise test scores. 7-9pm. Free. Reservations required. Jefferson Theatre (on the Downtown Mall). 866-882-6887.

Seuss Sensational: Stories, crafts, and games are in store behind Northside Library's meeting room door. It's the 101st birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), and kids of all ages are invited to this party. 4pm. Free. Registration required. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

More Tales for Tots: See Wednesday, March 2.

I Am (Not) the Walrus:
"The Year of the Walrus": A Story of Three Storytellers" is the subject of a talk by Igor Krupnik of the Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center. There is growing evidence that recent changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation and sea ice distribution may soon trigger dramatic restructuring of the Bering Sea ecosystems. The Pacific walrus could be an excellent indicator of those changes, because of its close association with the sea ice. Clark Hall 108, 4pm. 924-8873

French Conversation Luncheons: First Thursday of every month at the Restaurant L'Etoile. 11:30am, across from the train station. 971-1118.

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

Success in School: Learn what goes into a positive educational experience with UVA's Robert Piant as he discusses "Kids and Teachers: What Makes for Success in School?" 7-9pm at the Jefferson Theatre. No fee.

Grow Slow: This month's meeting of Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population features a 2004 wrap up and panel discussion on the challenges for the coming year. 7:30pm at the Westminster Presbyterian Church library. All members of the community are welcome. 974-6390 or

Goodbye Charlie:
The Waynesboro Players present this romantic comedy. 8pm. Waynesboro High School. 1200 W. Main St. $5-8. 540-949-7464.

Greene Read:
The First Thursday Book Club of the Green County Library will discuss Harriette Simpson Arnow's The Dollmaker at its meeting at 7pm. For more info or to arrange a ride: 985-5227.

The University of Virginia McIntire Department of Music and the New Music Ensemble present The Beaufluvian Players at Old Cabell Hall:
Tonight the trio will present a workshop for composers on writing for their unusual combination of instruments. 10am. Free. Old Cabell Hall Auditorium. $10/$5 students, 8pm. 924-3984.

George St. John at Atomic Burrito. Free, 10:30pm.

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. $5, 9pm.

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

Small Potatoes with Soul Canoe at Gravity Lounge. $5, 7pm.

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.

Particle with Cyro Baptista and Beat The Donkey at Starr Hill. $14/$12, 8pm.

Castanets at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. No cover, 9pm.

The Virginia Discovery Museum goes underground with its latest Back Gallery exhibit "Under the Earth: A Cave Exploration." Through May 22, young children can squeeze through tiny spaces to explore caves and critters from deep inside the earth. 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

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. Through May 1. Included in the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

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

Actors Lab: Drop in at Live Arts every Saturday morning to sharpen your acting skills. 10-11am.. Next full session runs March 19 to May 7. Rehearsal Room A, Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $15 for drop-ins; $200 for the eight-week session. 977-4177x100

Playwrights Lab: Live Arts runs this free forum for aspiring and accomplished playwrights. 6:30-9:30pm, every first and third Monday of the month. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177x100.

Improv Lab: Alums of the Teen Acting Studio improv class at Live Arts are invited to build their skills in this workshop, which runs Sundays, March 13 to April 24 (but no class March 27). 1-3pm. Rehearsal Room A, Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $75-90 for the session. 977-4177x100.

Play-Reading Series: Walk through the essential plays of theater history. Meets every third Sunday of the month. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100.

Teen Acting Studio: Learn how to create a Shakespearean character in this latest workshop series for Live Arts. Explore intention, conflict, emotion and physical language while building the range and clarity of your voice and body. Runs Thursdays, March 3 to April 21. 5-7pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177x100. $75-90.

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.

Contra Dance: Monthly contra dances with live music held 8-11pm every second Saturday at the Dayton Learning Center, 90 Mill St. in Dayton, about 4 miles southwest of Harrisonburg off Route 257. Free beginner's workshop starts at 7:15pm. Alcohol-free, smoke-free. $5. Call Lisa McCumsey, 540-234-8379, or Mike Williams, 540-269-2035.

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 at 9:15am Thursdays. Bring a mat. Silent meditation 8am. Suitable for all levels of expertise. Free and open to the public at "Better than Television," 106 A3 Goodman St. 295-0872. Yoga classes also offered at the Downtown Library, Market St., at 5pm Thursday.

Acupuncture and You: How does acupuncture care help you, your symptoms, and your issues? An informative talk presented by Ron Greathead. Free. 7pm. First Tuesday of every month. 1110 Rose Hill Drive, Suite 100. Call to reserve your seat. 962-2770.

Glassy Classes: Among the weekend and weekday classes offered by the Glass Palette through March are kiln forming, fusing and slumping, glass jewelry with precious metal clay, and stained glass. Class sizes limited. Call 977-9009 to register, or visit the shop at 110 Fifth St. NE on the Downtown Mall.

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.

Fair Volunteers: The Albemarle County Fair is looking for volunteers, not only at fair time, but also for planning and promotions throughout the coming year. 293-6396.

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.

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.

Second Street Gallery offers two shows during February. "Attention Spans: Kinetic Sculpture by Andy Holtin" sets the main gallery in motion, while the Dové Gallery ripens with "Tomato Baby," a multi-media video environment created by high school students who participated in Light House's 2004 "Video as Art" workshop. 115 Second St. SE. 977-7284.

During February, the McGuffey Art Center presents "Findings," paintings by Farida Hughes, in the Main Gallery. On view in the downstairs hall: painter Randi Hvatum's oil exhibition "Along Shore" plus Will Kerner's photographs of the village of L'Acul in Haiti. Upstairs, McGuffey and Second Street Gallery jointly present "Mapping a Day in the Life," 22 photographs by city school students who took part in a two-week workshop at the University of Virginia. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents "Anastasi / Bradshaw / Cage / Cunningham," a major exhibition exploring the collaborative relationships of the four artists from the years 1950-2004. The show is on display through March 27. Also on view: "Corapeake," a visual documentary of the community of Corapeake, N.C., by photographer and filmmaker Kendall Messick, which runs through February 27, and "After Collage," a show of mixed-element work by contemporary artists, including John Baldessari, Katherine Porter, and Frank Stella, continuing through August 27. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592.

Coinciding with the UVA show of their work, Bill Anastasi and Dove Bradshaw are the featured artists at Les Yuex du Monde during February. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

The University of Virginia McIntire Department of Art presents "Dwellings," an exhibition of works on paper by Dragana Crnjak, on view at the new Off Grounds Gallery through February 28. 300 W. Main St. 924-6123. See Art feature, page 34.

The University Programs Council's Artspace shows "Installations/Abstractions," new work by Paul C. Hitopoulos, on view through March 9. Newcomb Hall.

The Satellite Ballroom features the photography of fifth-year UVA Aunspaugh Fellow Alice Bailey during February. Under and behind Michael's Bistro on the Corner. 1427 University Ave. 825-6914.

The UVA School of Architecture's Victor and Sono Elmaleh Gallery shows the landscape designs of Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates through March 4. 982-2921.

The Main Street Market Galleria displays "dreams/experiences," paintings by Michal Mitchell through February. 416 W. Main St. 244-7800.

Transient Crafters presents the hand-painted pottery of Maggie Stultz during February. 118 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

New Dominion Book Shop displays "Familiar Views," new paintings by Richard Crozier, until March 1. 404 W. Main St. 295-2552.

Virginia Glenn presents a joint exhibition of her work at Fellini's #9 and Reflections Salon. Fellini's #9, corner of Market and Second St. NW, 979-4279. Reflections, 223 W. Main St. 962-7865,

Hundreds of works by Albemarle County Public School students are on view at Fashion Square Mall through February 27. 972-4055.

During February, the Charlottesville Community Design Center presents "Postcards from the Field," an exhibition of work by the Frederick P. Rose Architectural Fellows. 101 E. Main St. 984-2232.

Kelly Lonergan displays "Places to Be/People to See," an exhibition of his paintings and mixed-media work, at Mudhouse during February. 213 W. Main St. 984-6833.

Take It Away features "Jazz at UVA," photographs by John Mason, on view through February. 115 Elliewood Ave. 924-6492.

Dorothy Siu-ling Chan displays her Chinese brush paintings on rice paper at the University of Virginia Cancer Center through March 2. UVA Hospital. 924-4333.

Nurse Marissa Minnerly shows her oil paintings in the second-floor Martha Jefferson Hospital Surgery Lounge through February 28. 459 Locust Ave. 249-7723.

The Renaissance School presents a retrospective exhibition, "From Prague to Charlottesville," paintings of John Hetzel through February 28. 406 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-1952.

Nature Visionary Art displays the dark and mysterious paintings of Laurel Hausler through March. 110 Fourth St. NE. 296-8482.

CODG's February show, "Color World," features the work of three artists: Jennifer Santos, Rob Grachus, and John Grachus. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

The C&O Gallery offers "Discerning Focus," interpretive and abstract landscapes by Kelly Gravely Mattox, during February. 511 E. Water St. (next to the C&O Restaurant). 971-7044.

During February, Fusion displays "Twigs," paintings by Nancy Jane Dodge. 412 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 984-2819.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church offers Craig Spaulding's photography exhibition, " Dignity & Despair: Images of Iraq." The show runs through March 6. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179.

The 5th Floor Gallery at Keller Williams is currently showing explorations of realism by painter Tom Tartaglino, paintings of Italy by Doris daSha, and photography by Candace Schoner. Ten percent of proceeds from artwork sold goes 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.

Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art presents "Small Wonders: Aboriginal Art Miniatures," which will be on view through April 16. Plus, the exhibition "Black & White & Red Ochre" has been extended through February 26. 400 Worrell Dr., Peter Jefferson Place (off Route 250 East at Pantops). 244-0234..

For its February show, The Gallery @ 5th & Water offers the fruit pastels of Juliann Godine. 107 Fifth St. 979-9825.

Sage Moon Gallery presents "Ancestral Footsteps: Vision, Beauty, Courage, Life," works by Hoover Wantue Major, plus "Mother Nature Double Crossed," photography by Karla Berger. Both shows run through February. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

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

View Coy Roy's exhibition, "Water, water, everywhere…," at Art Upstairs during February. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

During February, Bozart Gallery features "Lowest Common Denominator," a show of works in oil by Dave Bascom. 211 W. Main St. 296-3919.

Gravity Lounge presents "Reality Bites!," two consecutive shows of paintings by Lynn Jangochian in February and March. 103 S. First St. 977-5590.

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.

During February, the Artisans Center of Virginia presents a show juried, created, and presented by junior and senior high school students who participated in the Shenandoah Valley Governor's School Visual Arts Program. 601 Shenandoah Dr. (Exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

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 presents an exhibition of work by Anne Sherwood Pundyk, on display until June. Lexington. 540-458-8954.

On February 27, Madison's Sevenoaks Pathwork Center opens "Arising from the Unconscious," watercolors by Alegria Barbara Strauss. The show runs through April 23. An artist's reception featuring the jazz/bossa/fusion stylings of the band Akash will be held February 27, 4-5:30pm. 403 Pathwork Way, Madison. 434-295-8315.

In celebration of African American History Month, The Arts Center in Orange presents "Ancestral Rhythms," paintings by Darrell Rose (yes, that Darrell Rose), plus "Brown vs. The Board of Education: The Orange County Experience," a documentary photography retrospective. 129 E. Main St., Orange. 540-672-7311.

Through February 28, Richmond's Rentz Gallery presents its "Small Works Invitational" of over 150 works. 1700 W. Main St. 804-358-5338.

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.


UVA's Artspace invites entrants for its eighth annual Juried Art Show. Pick up applicatons at the University Programs Council Office, first floor Newcomb Hall or downloaded at Completed applications are due in the University Programs Office by 5pm, March 1 (mailing address: Newcomb Hall Box 400701, Charlottesville 22904-4701). Questions? Contact

Displacement: Crnjak's 'Dwellings' move in
Gone are the plastic chairs, folding tables, and rows of phones. Gone are the tacked-up dialing instructions, typed scripts, and pages of names and numbers. What was once the volunteer hub of Al Weed's congressional campaign has been reincarnated as the University of Virginia art department's new Off Grounds Gallery.

Although an inordinate number of jacks and outlets still run around the lower perimeter of the main room, Dragana Crnjak's current exhibition of abstract drawings, "Dwellings," holds eyes higher up the walls.

Crnjak, who emigrated from Bosnia to the U.S. in 1997, says in her artist's statement that "displacement as both an act and a state of mind" is central to her process and that "the evocation of what is absent from the work is what interests me."

Moving with ovate shapes drawn in earthy charcoal colors– slate, teal, brick– on white paper, Crnjak's images call to mind pebbles falling through water or sedimentary deposits shifting along a creek bed as the current changes. The varying weights of her lines and marks– some heavy and opaque, others diffuse and wraith-like– play on the viewer's sense of depth, creating additional space within the two-dimensional surface.

The artist furthers this sense of expansiveness by letting objects drift off the page, their presence suggested in the emptiness beyond the image's edge. Leaving the pieces unframed enhances this impression of transition and uncertainty.

Although she works primarily in pencil and charcoal, Crnjak incorporates oil into three larger pieces hung in an anteroom. These are the strongest images in the show, and each highlights the artist's ability to develop complex compositions through seemingly random (though actually carefully placed) marks.

Against a mottled background of watery buffs and teals, in "White Dwelling," Crnjak layers broad white strokes over multicolored stony shapes tumbling from the top of the page. Two elongated parallel drips of greenish-gray slide diagonally from the upper left corner into the central arena of action, while a grass-green ovoid on the lower right sits beneath a series of short teal strokes that punctuate the piece. The result is a simultaneous experience of imbalance and balance, chaos and order.

The least effective work in the show is the small "Gathering," where Crjnak forgoes her usually refined marks in favor of scribbly lipstick-red and black elements. The main detraction is a pasted-in shape that extends off the page. By explicitly moving beyond the paper's edge, Crnjak loses the subtle energy generated by mere suggestion in her other pieces.

Dragana Crnjack's "Dwellings" are on view at UVA's Off Grounds Gallery through February 28. 300 W. Main St. (entry is on the Ridge street side of the building). 924-6123.

Get game: Shoot the moon this weekend


I grew up playing games. Every Sunday afternoon friends and neighbors, aunts and uncles, cousins and others would gather around my grandmother's kitchen table to play canasta, Monopoly, Chinese checkers, and Clue.

For some, however, games are not just a Sunday afternoon pastime. There are, I am told, individuals for whom gaming is a passion. Grown men, I understand, will devote days to reworking the strategies and tactics of World War II in the board game "Axis and Allies," or hunting down opposing Legions hoping to become the last surviving "Titan." Even women, they say, spend hours of their precious time on a newly discovered island trading resources and building cities as they become the "Settlers of Catan."

More than 500 of these playful devotees from as far away as Alaska and Great Britain are expected to get together at the Doubletree Hotel this weekend for the 12th annual PrezCon "Winter Nationals" family gaming convention.

"It's a relaxed gathering of friends who enjoy sitting down to play for two, or six, or ten hours," said Prezcon president Justin Thompson.

Both extreme gamers and those with a just a casual interest are invited to join friends for five days of nearly non-stop competition. More than 75 tournament events are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, along with lots of informal matches throughout the weekend with board games, miniatures, historic simulations, card games, counter games, and more.

For those who've never heard of "Hammer of the Scots," "Circus Maximus," or "Magic the Gathering," more than 50 demonstration events are planned in which volunteers and manufacturers will show neophytes the ropes. Young gamers 14 and under can participate in a variety of junior events for free. (Juniors who want to play in the big leagues, however, must pay.)

Participants can also peruse a village of vendors selling games and paraphernalia. Inventors will offer sneak peeks at new games-in-the-making. Microsoft will be there pitching on line and computer versions of popular games such as "Settlers of Catan." There's even a chance to be part of a new world-record in a benefit game of "Carcassonne the Count" where participants will attempt to beat the current record of 5,517 tiles laid in a single game.

For those who love to play games, PrezCon is the place to indulge that passion for a very long weekend.

PrezCon's Winter Nationals gaming convention takes place at the Doubletree Hotel beginning at noon on Wednesday, February 23 and lasting until about 6pm on Sunday, February 27. Convention badges, which provide admission to all events all weekend, are $60. Passes for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday or Saturday and Sunday are $40. Single-day admission is $25. Visitors passes are $10 and allow one to play in "just for fun" matches. Kids 14 and under can participate in junior events for free if they bring an adult, $25 to get into adult events.

Terror talks: Trying to unravel a mess

Nothing has shaped the American experience in the early years of the 21st-century like terrorism– the threat, the reality, and our nation's response to it. But, for all the attention paid by our government and the news media, very few of us fully understand terrorism.

To help us out, the UVA Law School's J.B. Moore Society of International Law is bringing more than two dozen prominent terrorism scholars to Charlottesville for its 2005 Symposium. The weekend event– with the unfortunately cumbersome title "Beyond the U.S. War on Terrorism: Comparing Domestic Legal Remedies to an International Dilemma"– won't just be a high-minded policy lecture. Instead, policymakers will brief the general public on the motivations, implications, and retaliations to terror in the new millennium in an attempt to explain just what is going on in our world and analyze America's response.

"We think everyone has an interest in terrorism," says symposium director Robert Kirsch, "so we wanted to open our doors and build relationships within the community by providing a chance for people to meet those with similar interests and discuss the issues."

Co-sponsored by the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, the weekend will feature leading scholars and policymakers from state and federal departments, universities, and the international community.

For policy wonks, it doesn't get much better than this. Keynote speaker Paul Pillar, National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, will address perceptions of terrorism, while Ambassador W. Robert Pearson will unravel the Islamic world with Pakistani expert Hassan Abbas. Steven Monblatt from the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism will be on hand to discuss the ongoing problem of violence in South America. Sami Zeidan, Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations, provides insight to recent problems in his corner of the Middle East.

Panel discussions on topics ranging from the legal implications of terror, to September 11, to the lessons learned from European terrorism wrap up the weekend.

Registration is free and open to the public. Sign up at the door starting at 9:30am, or pre-register at the J.B. Moore Society's website: Limited parking will be available, but be sure to call first if you plan to park at the law school. For more information, contact event director Robert Kirsch at 242-7056 or

Word play: Rich meal of humo and wit
Two construction workers from Mesopotamia receive orders to erect the Tower of Babel. A man awakes one day and decides he's a dead French artist come back to life. Rob and Laura clash with a living room TV that talks back and threatens to swallow them whole.

These are the sort of quirky storylines that come from the mind of playwright David Ives.

"If I knew Ives," writes a critic in the Wall Street Journal, "I would stay away from him on April Fool's Day."

The first major production of Ives's witty one-act comedies thrust him into New York's spotlight in 1994. All in the Timing was such a hit that it had to move to a larger theater to accommodate the crowds. It ran through the following year.

The playwright's work continues to receive critical acclaim– his latest features a sex-crazed 16th-century Spanish nobleman who, thanks to a pact with the devil, screws his way into the future until he meets his match in contemporary Chicago.

This weekend Charlottesville audiences have a chance to experience the wit of David Ives thanks to the drama gurus at UVA. Since last week they've been staging a collection of some of his best shorts under the exclamatory title The Ives Have It!

This particular sampling is brought to life by an eight-actor ensemble of students under the direction of theater prof Richard Warner. It includes such Ives one-acts as "Sure Thing," "Seven Menus," and "Foreplay"– all of them depicting the turbulent lives of young Manhattanites in their rituals of courtship and domestic angst.

One play, "The Philadelphia," subtly pokes fun at that other major city of the Northeast. Like many of Ives's modern fables, the scene is set in a restaurant. A young patron finds himself trapped in a kind of Twilight Zone– a "Philadelphia"– where he can't get anything he asks for. The only way out, he decides, is to ask for the opposite of whatever he wants.

Warner says the power of Ives's work lies in his "clever use of language" as well as his ability to tap into the hopes and fears of young urban Americans. And the one-act format keeps the audience engaged in a special way, he says: "It's like sitting down to a meal where you can sample six different main courses and a few desserts."

UVA's drama department presents The Ives Have It! for three last performances, Thursday, February 24 through Saturday, February 26. All shows at 8pm. Culbreth Theater. $7-12. 924-3376.

Disturbing animals: Looking for signs of life
News flash: nature's equanimity is a myth– at least in the simplistic way most of us think about the proviso "live and let live." Case in point: the small Leadbeater possum of Australia, which actually depends on occasional wildfires gutting old-growth forests for its habitat. Current timber management, meant to avoid such cataclysmic occurrences, carries the unintended and unfortunate consequence of threatening this little critter's very existence.

The Leadbeater's lament is one of the fascinating animal tales UVA Environmental Studies professor H.H. Shugart uses to entice readers to consider humans' influence on the environment in How the Earthquake Bird Got Its Name and Other Tales of an Unbalanced Nature (Yale University Press). Shugart, who is scheduled to speak at the Colonnade Club on March 1, argues that true conservation requires far-reaching historical research into the ecological impact of both human and natural disturbances in nature.

Although disappearances and shifts in species domination are inherent in the way the earth works, Shugart suggests that during the past few hundred years human industry has had the same catastrophic effect on extinction rates as an asteroid plowing into the planet.

In making his case, Shugart gives the chapters of his book fable-like titles– "The Big Woodpecker That Was Too Picky," "The Rat That Hid Time in Its Nest." Each opens with an intriguing nugget of zoological history before unfolding a specific principle affecting species' survival, ranging from plant distribution to climatic changes to animal domestication (all of which are ultimately interrelated, the author demonstrates). Informative graphs and illustrations provide visual support.

Unfortunately, Shugart's writing has more clunk than grace (I found myself wishing for John McPhee's or David Quammen's way with environmental words), He initially dumbs down many of his points before shifting into almost-too-technical "science speak." But the author's passion and his wealth of biological knowledge overcome this less-than-lively style. Shugart's lessons are well worth the slog.

So how did the Earthquake Bird get its name? Shugart explains the rare Bachman's Warbler, which, alas, may now be extinct, thrived in North American stumpy washouts left by earthquake-induced flash floods. The bird would go unseen for years only to re-populate post-disaster.

Although human industrial activity has visited irreversible effects on our environment, Shugart steadfastly maintains hope that by studying biological history, responsible stewardship and even recovery of the earth are possible. And who knows? Perhaps a Southeast Asian counterpart of Bachman's Warbler will suddenly thrill birdwatchers in tsunami-ravaged areas.

H.H. Shugart will discuss and sign How the Earthquake Bird Got Its Name and Other Tales of an Unbalanced Nature, at UVA's Colonnade Club on Tuesday, March 1, 5-6:30pm. The event is free and open to the public. Pavilion VII. 243-9110.

Sum > Parts: The monster escapes the doc

Like the monster of Dr. Frankenstein, The Secret Machines are an amalgamation of bits and pieces of several different once-living acts.

The group's arms (in this case their otherworldly drum sounds) are remnants of the long-decayed corpse of Led Zeppelin. Their legs (their wall of guitar sound) are from the hermetically preserved body of My Bloody Valentine. And the Secret Machines' eyeballs (their ability to create an overwhelming sonic experience) come directly from Pink Floyd.

But unlike the famous monster, the Secret Machines do not stagger to and fro, their mismatched parts threatening at any second to break free of their stitched fate, awash in the remorse of rejection by human touch. They are created of old parts, yes, but the musical hybrid that has resulted is a beautiful, radiant thing.

The Secret Machines took a measly two years to release their debut EP, September 000 (Ace Fu) after forming in Dallas, Texas and swiftly relocating to the Big Apple. Having spent time in and around groups with a Texas drawl like Tripping Daisy and UFOFU, the group took a decidedly non-standard alternative rock approach to their sound, trading in The Beatles' brevity for early '70s Pink Floyd soundscapes.

Their debut album, Now Here is Nowhere (Reprise), released in 2004, greatly expands on the palette of sound textures and variety in its micro-sibiling, "Sad and Lonely"– probably the album's big single, awash in John Garza's echo-laden John Bonham drums, slow and seductive, with fills a mile wide. Sustained guitar riffs radiate from Ben Curtis' piece as brother Brandon's keyboards provide the otherworldly atmospheric touches.

This tune, like the rest of the album, feature vocals that take their place in the background rather than becoming the centerpiece, heeding the tendencies of early '90s British acts such as My Bloody Valentine and Ride (defined as "shoe-gazing" in those halcyon days).

"The Leaves Are Gone" is a slow waltz of whispered lines, led by a bass triplet and followed by mournful organ, eventually gathering the full force of the group in a harmonious cacophony of alien-sung choral sounds until the quiet fade.

"Pharoh's Daughter" smacks of many lost evenings listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall, most notably "Comfortably Numb," and though it lacks the perfect intersection of pop and instrumental heavy rock of the latter, the dreamy quality of the track, led by its overbearing piano, stands it up on its own two feet.

The product of a doomed mad scientist or not, the Secret Machines are more than the sum of their parts, and if they continue to develop, where they take those parts will be something to behold.