Cultural calendar, March 3-10, 2005

THURSDAY, March 3
FAMILY
Tales for Tots:
The 5 and under crowd can hear picture book stories at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Making the Grade: UVA's statewide community lecture series "Engaging the Mind" offers "Kids and Teachers: What Makes for Success in School." Ed prof Robert Pianta talks to teachers and the public about what makes 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.

Robot Rivalry: Virginia Commonwealth University hosts the 2005 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Regional Competition. See Family feature.

WALKABOUT
Rivanna River Restoration Public Meeting:
The Rivanna Conservation Society study of plans to breach the Woolen Mills Dam has been released. Come see what it means for Charlottesville and talk it over with your neighbors. 6:30pm. Downtown Visitors Center, 100 Fifth St. NE. 293-8039.

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 jmrlweb@rjrl.org.

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. virginia.edu/engagingthemind.

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 stopgrowthasap.org.

WORDS
A Gentleman's Library:
Peruse James Monroe's collection of French and English volumes in celebration of the Festival of the Book. 11am-5pm throughout the week at Ash Lawn-Highland. Fee included in admission. 293-9539 or ashlawnhighland.org.

PERFORMANCE
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.

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. Begins tonight and runs through April 21. 5-7pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. 977-4177x100. $75-90.

PlayDate: Attend a not-so press-only sneak preview of PlayDate, a short film by Rom Alejandro, produced by UVA students. Mark, awkward and insecure, embarks on a one-night adventure with his friend Kate. Alejandro and crewmembers will answer questions after the half-hour feature. Premier is set for March 21. Screening 5:15pm. Newcomb Theater, Newcomb Hall, UVA. Free. gtt3f@virginia.edu.

Evita: Don't cry, Charlottesville– one of Live Arts' most daring attempts at theater is here. Evita, the classic musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber (with lyrics by Tim Rice), re-creates the life of that Argentine demigoddess Eva Perón. Opening night. 8pm. Live Arts DownStage, 123 E. Water St. Tonight, pay what you will; other shows $10-17 unless otherwise noted. 977-4177. See Performance feature.

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

PERFORMANCE AND TUNES
Live Comedy:
Whole World Theatre offers a live improv comedy show at the Garden of Sheba every Thursday night. 8-10pm. $8. Live reggae following the show. 609 E. Market St. 466-9574 wholeworldtheatre.com.

Latin Party: The Satellite Ballroom behind Michael's Bistro on the Corner presents a spring-break Latin party with salsa, merengue, bachata, and reggae. No tennis shoes or athletic wear! 9pm. Salsa lesson at 8pm. 1427 University Ave. $6. 825-6914.

TUNES
Buy-In:
"Purveyors" of music that blends Americana and alt country continue their monthly performances at The Bistro at 12th and Main in Lynchburg tonight and every first Thursday at 7pm. Limited seating means reservations are recommended. 434-528-0801 or purveyorstheband.com.

Karaoke with Ron Courtney at Fat Daddy's. 8-11pm, no cover.

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

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

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

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

Chicken Head Blues Band at Dürty Nelly's. $5, 9pm.

Dance Music with 5 Star D.J. Express at Charlie's. 9pm-1am. No cover.

Turbine (New York group) at Fellini's No. 9. No cover, 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.

Fletcher Bridge at Outback Lodge. $5, 10pm.

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

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

William Walter and Tucker Rogers (acoustic country-folk) at the Starr Hill Cocktail Lounge. No cover, 10:30pm. See Music Review, page 40.

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

The Rusticators at Staunton Public Library, 1 Churchville Ave. Free, 12-1pm.

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

The Beaufluvian Players at Old Cabell Hall. $10/$5 students, 8pm. 924-3984.

FRIDAY, March 4
ART
Political Painters?:
How do public art installations reflect the deeper political and social forces in American cities? Columbia historian Casey Blake moderates a colloquium, "From Monuments to Mourning: Modernism and Public Art in the 1970s" at the Miller Center. Noon. Free lunch, but RSVP required. Open to the public. 2201 Old Ivy Road. CKL2q@virginia.edu or 924-4694.

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

Robot Rivalry: Virginia Commonwealth University hosts the 2005 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Regional Competition. See Family feature,.

WALKABOUT
Bike Lab:
Community Bikes recycles used bikes for donation to local low-income children and adults. Come help recondition bikes to give away– or bring your own to work on. Every Friday and Saturday, 2-5pm. Behind the Hampton Inn off Main Street. 760-1297. tradelocal@yahoo.com.

Lawrence of Arabia: The Staunton Performing Arts Center continues its series of classic films at the Dixie Theater the first weekend of each month. Today, tomorrow, and Sunday, it's Lawrence of Arabia. VMI art prof Alan Baragona offers a brief introduction to the film. 7pm Friday and Saturday, 3pm Sunday. $5. 885-8445.

Cocktail Benefit: Enjoy a cocktail buffet with an antique theme, and raise money for the Sexual Assault Resource Agency at the same time. 6-9pm at the East Rivanna Fire Hall on 250 East at Glenmore. $50 ticket includes buffet and open bar. Reservations: 295-7273.

Cooking Class: Hone your kitchen skills with this workshop with former Boars Head Inn executive chef Alex Montiel. $45/person includes cooking class, 3-course meal, wines, tour, tasting, and signature wine glass. 10:30am and 2pm. 877-979-7105 or info@firstcolonywinery.com.

Spring is for Gardeners: Come sharpen your pruners and your senses during this meditation on early spring with Hardie Newton. 1:30-4:30pm at the Gentle Gardener in Gordonsville. 540-832-7031 or info@gentlegardener.com.

Mountain Morning: Join a Wintergreen Nature Foundation naturalist for an interpretive hike through the mountains of Wintergreen. Moderate difficulty. $3 members, $6 non-members. 10am. 325-7451.

Information Session: The Outdoor Adventure Social Club offers a photo show and social hour. 8-10pm. Free if you RSVP. 420 E. Main St. #3. outdoorsocial.com or 760-HIKE.

PERFORMANCE
Goodbye Charlie:
See Thursday, March 3.

A King and No King: Written by Shakespeare groupies who dominated the theater scene in London after his retirement, A King and No King is a fantastical, dark comedy the bard could appreciate. Fairy-tale settings with triumphant and defeated kings, sensational plot twists, mistaken identities and (almost) accidental incest– it's all there in two hours' traffic. Opening night. 7:30pm. Attend a pre-show lecture at 6. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. Pay what you will. 540-885-5588.

Student-Prof Two-Step: PVCC presents its annual student-staff dance performance. 7:30pm. Main stage of the V. Earl Dickinson Building. $8-10. 961-5376.

Contra Dance: The Albemarle Chapter of the Country Dance & Song Society hosts its monthly hoedown with live music from Uncle Henry's Favorites: Pete Vigour on fiddle and guitar, Ellen Vigour on fiddle and mandolin, Jim Childress on guitar and Mark Beale on bass. Barb Kirchner calls. 8-11pm. Workshop at 7:30. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. Ext. $7 (under 12 get in free). contracorners.com.

PERFORMANCE AND TUNES
Composers Workshop:
In 2001, flutist Cheryl Gobbetti Hoffman, saxophonist Susan Fancher, and harpist Sonja Inglefield joined forces to create the Beaufluvian Players. Today they present a workshop for composers on writing for this unusual combination of instruments. Free and open to the public. 10am. Old Cabell Hall Auditorium. 924-3984.

TUNES
Ostinato, Projexorcism, Shimmy She Wobble, Tulsa Drone, and D-Jor at the old Live Arts Space (Michie Building):
A multi-media presentation without Power Point– soundpainters Ostinato bring their 'scapes mix things up with 16mm projector lovers Projexorcism, Shimmy She Wobble's drum and fife blues, Tulsa Drone's grandiose instrumentation, and D-Jor's late night wiggling to a beat. $7, 8:30pm.

Corey Harris at the Prism: Another of Harris's solo guitar and vocal appearances: blues, world music– totally amazing stuff. $22/$18, 8pm.

Howie Campbell and friends at Rapunzel's: Faith-based music from the inspired Campbell. No cover, 7:30pm.

Deep Blue Jones at Charlie's. 9pm-1am.

Dave Kannensohn and Mike Rosensky (jazz) at the Art Upstairs Gallery at the Hardware Store Restaurant. Free, 6-7:30pm.

DJ Third Degree at Atomic Burrito. Free, 10:30pm.

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

Guitarists George Turner and Peter Richardson (Latin and jazz duets) at Bashir's restaurant. No cover, 7-10pm.

Faster Than Walking at Fellini's No. 9. $3, 8-12pm.

Las Gitanas and Red Hot Chilly Pickers at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

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

Kip Michaels (jazz) at the Laughing Lion Gallery (103 E. Water St. above Londons). Free, 6-8pm.

Jim Waive (country-folk) at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

Sparky's Flaw and Graywater Stills at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Matt Horn and the Funk Factory at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

American Altitude at Starr Hill Cocktail Lounge. Free, 9pm.

Dance all Night with DJ Frank Rivera at Club 216

SATURDAY, March 5
WALKABOUT
Walk the Walk:
A new walking club and network is forming for over-50 exercisers. Come to a meeting today to hear about plans for the first group walk along the Rivanna Trail. 2-4pm. Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Barracks Road. 244-2838.

Tsunami Bids: The students and parents of Peabody School host a silent auction at Fashion Square Mall to benefit the International Rescue Committee Tsunami Relief Fund (theirc.org ). Fabulous jewelry, artwork, and educational games go under the gavel. 10am-5pm. 296-6901.

Pruning Workshop: Ensure apple success this fall; prune like an expert! The pros at Vintage Virginia Apples know what fruit trees need to grow, and will teach you everything you need to know about pruning, disease, and light to maximize production. 10am-1pm at Rural Ridge Farm. $25. 297.2326 or vintagevirginiaapples.com to register.

Reinventing Rain: Learn how to recycle your rainwater and save your lawn with help from experts at the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District. 9am-noon at Monticello High School. No fee. 975-0224 for reservations and more info. See Walkabout feature,.

ROTC Race: Run a few miles to support the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Orange County High School at their annual 5-mile run/walk. 9am. 540-661-4300 or avenue.org/ctc.

Vertical Merlot: Merlot is your friend! Compare older and current years of this classic variety when the King Family Vineyard opens its wine library for a "vertical tasting." 5-7pm. $25. 823-7800 or info@kingfamilyvineyards.com.

Wintergreen Wine and Cheese: Enjoy a guided presentation of international cheeses paired with Wintergreen wines. 6-8pm. $15. 361-2519 or info@wintergreenwinery.com.

Horton Through the Years: Taste the history of Horton Vineyards through vertical tastings of past and current reds and whites. 11am-5pm. $5. 540-832-7440

Mountain Mardi Gras: Celebrate the season with a traditional Rex parade and masquerade ball with proceeds to benefit the Wintergreen Adaptive Ski Program. 9am-9pm. Fees vary. 325-2200 or wintergreen resort.com

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

Film School: Beef up your videography skills with local pro Rick Gunning at Lighthouse Studio. 2-5pm. $75 fee. Open to everyone. 293-6992.

Freestyle Demo Day: Come try out all the latest ski and snowboard equipment on the slopes at Wintergreen. 325-8054 or freestyleonline.com.

Sideways Camp: Indulge your inner Miles with a Pinot Noir tasting at In Vino Veritas. Expert Clement Brown will be on hand to talk about five different Pinot Noirs from California, Oregon, France, and New Zealand. 1-4pm. 977-6366.

ART
Doff Your Hat to Dani:
Head to the Artisans Center of Virginia to see "Gifts from Nature" and meet Dani Cage, creator of willow furniture, at an opening reception for her show. 2-4pm. 601 Shenandoah Drive. (Exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

FAMILY
Call of the Drums:
The Frontier Culture Museum celebrates African American History Month with the African Drumming and Dance Ensemble. Children's workshop at 10am. Community concert at 2pm. Free. Booker T. Washington Community Center, 1114 W. Johnson St., Staunton.

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.

More Seuss: Barnes & Noble celebrates Dr. Seuss's birthday with a special story time event. They'll read some of the great doctor's best books and snack on birthday cake. 11:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

La petite école Grows Up: The International Preschool is growing with plans to expand its French and Spanish immersion curriculum to include first and second grades by fall 2008, and an elementary school (up to fifth grade). With a new name– the International School of Charlottesville– the school kicks off a capital campaign and scholarship fund drive with its Annual Gala and Silent Auction at the Boars Head Inn. 6:30pm. $100. Reservations required. 984-2174.

Ready or Not?: Partnership for Children offers a free workshop for parents and childcare providers at MACAA to help them decide if their child has what it takes to start kindergarten. Local educators discuss how to assess if your child is ready for kindergarten, what skills your child needs to be successful, and some practical tips for getting your child ready. 10:30am-noon. Free. Park St. 296-4118, ext. 257.

Rebounding Rats: Richmond's newest sport– rat basketball– hosts its official season opener at the Science Museum of Virginia. These operantly conditioned hoopsters are part of a weekend full of Surf 'n' Turf fun. Visitors can also touch a live horseshoe crab and a live nurse shark, snuggle a soft rabbit, cheer on Smithfield the Painting Pig, tap their toes to the sea shanties of Bob Zentz, learn how beekeepers collect honey, investigate how plants grow by making a garden glove, create their own illusions, and much more. 10am-4pm. Included in the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727. smv.org.

Behind Closed Doors: Visitors ages 5 and up are invited to walk through the "Employees Only" door for a special peek at the inner workings of Maymont's new Nature Center. Children must be accompanied by a parent. Register the day of the program. 1pm. $5. 1700 Hampton St., Richmond. 804-358-7166, ext. 333.

Robot Rivalry: VCU hosts the 2005 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Regional Competition. See Family feature.

PERFORMANCE
Taming of the Shrew:
See Thursday, March 3. Tonight's show is at 7:30.

Ahn Trio: The Ahn Trio, a classical music ensemble, features cellist Maria and her twin sister, Lucia, a pianist, along with younger sis Angella on violin. 7:30pm. Main stage of the V. Earl Dickinson Building, PVCC. $6-17. 961-5376.

Evita: See Thursday, March 3 and Performance feature.

Goodbye Charlie: See Thursday, March 3.

Tamer Tamed: John Fletcher's hilarious sequel to The Taming of the Shrew was 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. 2pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-26. 540-885-5588.

PVCC Dance: See Friday, March 4. A reception follows tonight's performance.

Lattehouse VII: The Live Arts Teen Theatre Ensemble hosts an audition workshop today with Fran Smith. 1:30-3:30pm. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. Free. 977-4177x100.

TUNES
Drum Lesson from Jim Gagnon of Rusted Root at The Attic:
All experience levels welcome for this once in a lifetime event. Call 760-1341 to register. $45/$35 advance, 1-5pm. 313 Second St. S.E., Studio 208.

Music and Dancing with the Blue Country Band at Elks Lodge: A benefit concert for those fit young superstars to be the Elks Swim Team featuring the Country/50s and '60s/Southern Rock oriented Blue Country. $6, 8-12pm. Across from Darden Towe Park.

The Rusticators, Mary Gordon Hall, Tom Proutt & Emily McCormick, and Andy Waldeck at Live Arts Theater: Another Acoustic Charlottesville features a group that's been making its presence known recently, the pop and folk duo The Rusticators, Mary Gordon Hall's lovely pipes, Tom Proutt & Emily McCormick's sometimes biting harmonious folk-rock, and Andy Waldeck's concise pop. $6, 8pm.

Leahy at The Paramount: Eight member brother/sister act Leahy from Canada bring fiddle-driven sounds, dancing, and singing glory to the Paramount– jazz, bluegrass, country, and Celtic, all wrapped up in their own unique sound. $32/$29/$26, 8pm. See Tunes feature, page 42.

Uncle Earl at the Prism: This all-women string band features fiddler Rayna Gellert, guitarist Kristin Andreassen, mandolinist K.C. Groves, and Abigail Washburn on clawhammer banjo, with newest member Sharon Gilchrist on bass. Appalachian traditions at their best from this five-piece. $18/$15 advanced, 8pm.

Proffitt and Sandidge and Eli Cook at Rapunzel's: Two different blues groups grace Rapunzel's stage– Proffitt and Sandidge, a fine duo, and the youngster Eli Cook, whose got the town buzzing with his guitar virtuosity. $5, 7:30pm.

Deep Blue Jones at Charlie's. No cover, 9pm-1am..

Dj's Boehling and Richmond at Atomic Burrito. Free, 10:30pm.

William Walter's Acoustic Trio (Hunter Jones, mandolin, Tucker Rogers, lead guitar , William Walter, guitar, vocals) at Atomic Burrito. No cover, 10:30pm. See Music Review, page 40.

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

R&B Old School Party with DJ Mighty Matt at Garden of Sheba. 25 & over. $8.

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

American Dumpster at Dürty Nelly's. $4, 9:30.

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

Matthew Wilner Trio at Miller's. $3, 10:30pm.

Cannonball Coming at Orbit. $3, 10:30pm.

Leahy at The Paramount $32/$29/$26, 8pm. See Tunes feature.

Peen (Ween cover band) at Star Hill Cocktail Lounge. No cover, 9pm.

Drum the Ecstatic with Jim Gagnon and the Mystery School at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. $10, 9pm.

Zag at Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Dance all Night with DJ Frank Rivera at Club 216.

SUNDAY, March 6
PERFORMANCE
A King and No King:
See Friday, March 4. Today's show is a 2pm matinee.

Brett Leake: The self-described sit-down standup comedian performs At Least I've Got My Health. Leake, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, engages his disability through humor. The local barbershop quartet Autumn Leaves opens the show. 3pm. Carysbrook Performing Arts Center, Carysbrook (on Route 15 just north of Fork Union). $12-15. 842-1333.

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.

PERFORMANCE AND FAMILY
Sivilized Entertainment:
Young scalawags in grades 5-12 can venture down the mighty Mississippi with TheatreWorks' musical production of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on the PVCC stage. 1 and 3pm. $5. Reservations required. Tickets available at Plan 9, Sidetracks, and PVCC cashier. V. Earl Dickinson Building. 961-5376. pvcc.edu.

FAMILY
Kitchen Help:
Hotcakes gives kids ages 6 and up the chance to give mom and dad a hand with dinner in a parent/child class. It's an occasion to practice kitchen skills together and produce a meal that everyone can take pride in. 5-7:30pm. $50 per parent/child team. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 295-6037.

Rebounding Rats: See Saturday, March 5. Times today are noon-4pm.

ART
Grotesque:
"Punch Line: Six Centuries of the Comic and the Grotesque in Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from the Collection" of the UVA Art Museum is the title of a gallery talk by Matthew Affron. 2pm. Rugby Road.

WALKABOUT
Horton Through the Years:
See Saturday, March 5. 11am-5pm. $5 per person. 540-832-7440.

Bike the Countryside: Hit the road with the Outdoor Adventure Social Club for an early spring ride. 10am. Fee. 760-HIKE or outdoorsocial.com.

TUNES
Barling and Collins at Miller's:
Back at their Miller's Sunday home, risqué nuggets from this popular duo will once again embarrass the conservatives. No cover, 10:30pm.

King Golden Banshee (acoustic traditional Irish music) at Fellini's No. 9. No cover, 6-9pm.

Red Beet at Gravity Lounge. $5, 2pm.

Steve Kessler Quartet at Gravity Lounge. $10, 7pm.

Karaoke with Tammy at Charlie's. No cover, 7-11pm.

MONDAY, March 7
PERFORMANCE
Make It Up:
Whole World Theatre inaugurates a new comedy improv class this month. Mondays 6-8pm, with an all-class jam session Saturdays 4-6pm. All experience levels welcome. $100/month. Jennifer Horne has more information. 434-466-9574.

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

WORDS
The Lady or the Tiger?:
Crozet Library's Monday Evening Book Group cruises around The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. No registration required, just come and join the discussion of this Booker Prize-winning novel. Can't make it tonight? Next month's book is The Known World by Edward P. Jones. Start reading now! 7-8:30pm. In the old train depot. 823-4050.

TUNES
Pool Tournament 7pm, Open Mic Night with Bennie Dodd at Charlie's. No cover, 9pm.

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

The Rusticators (acoustic folk-rock) at the Biltmore. No cover, 10pm.

Las Gitanas at Miller's. No cover, 9:30pm.

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

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

TUESDAY, March 1
FAMILY
Sitter Skills:
Teens can learn the basics of childcare for babies, toddlers, and older children in ACAC's Childcare and Babysitting Safety workshop. The hands-on training includes first aid and CPR skills. 5-8pm. $55 members, $60 non-members. Albemarle Square. 978-3800.

WALKABOUT
It's a Snap:
The Charlottesville camera club meets to discuss photographic successes and tips, this month with a focus on stained glass. visitors welcome. 6:30pm. Westminster Canterbury, 250 Pantops Mountain Road. 973-4856.

Aging 101: Learn about cardiovascular and muscular fitness options for older persons with UVA docs Arthur Weltman and Glenn Gaesser. 7-8:30pm. At the reception afterward, the docs will answer individual questions. Holiday Inn on Emmet St. uvaging@virginia.edu or 243-5327 to reserve a space.

TUNES
Empower at Club 216:
Gay, bi, questioning young men ages 18-29 meet for American Idol Night. Good company, good food & sodas. Free, 8-10pm. Mpower@aidsservices.org.

Small Town Workers with special guests at R2: This is the first of a four-week residency for the band. 18+. $3, 10pm.

William Walter and Tucker Rogers at the Starr Hill Cocktail Lounge: Walter's pristine voice complements the group's country-folk feel to a tee, and will amaze you with feats of strength and dexterity. No cover, 10:30pm. See Music Review, page 40.

Karaoke with Tammy at Charlie's. No cover, 9pm-1am.

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

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

Faster Than Walking (bluegrass) at Miller's. $3, 9:30pm.

The FRUiT Trio at Gravity Lounge. Free, 7pm.

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

Joseph Mills at Fat Daddy's. 8:30pm, no cover.

WEDNESDAY, March 9
PERFORMANCE
Taming of the Shrew:
See Thursday, March 3.

Salsa Dura: Lessons in this street style of shakin' it happen every second and fourth Wednesday beginning tonight. Class at 8pm with practice time after class. $8/$6. Tiffany Sanchez teaches intermediate. Caroline Davis teaches beginners. Municipal Arts Center, 1119 Fifth St. SW. 510-681-8255 or tiffsanchez@hotmail.com.

FAMILY
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.

WALKABOUT
Go Native:
The Jefferson Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society meets to discuss spring ephemerals with local member Gay Frix. 7:30pm in the Education Center at Ivy Creek Natural Center. 293-8997.

Winter Botany: Tromp through the woods and learn how to identify local plant life with the Wintergreen Nature Foundation's Doug Coleman. $7 fee ($5 for Foundation members). 10am. 325-7451.

PERFORMANCE
Evita:
See Thursday, March 3, and Performance feature, page 37.

TUNES
Josh Mayo and Dane North at Fat Daddy's. 8pm, no cover.

Jim Waive at Atomic Burrito. Free, 10:30pm.

Karaoke with Paul Seale at Charlie's. No cover, 9pm-1am.

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.

Michael Manring and Greg Howard at Gravity Lounge. $15/$10, 7pm.

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

Travis Elliott at Orbit. No cover, 10:30pm.

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.

William Walter and Tucker Rogers (acoustic country-folk) at the Starr Hill Cocktail Lounge. No cover, 10:30pm. See Music Review, page 40.

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

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

THURSDAY, MARCH 10
FAMILY
More Tales for Tots:
See Wednesday, March 2.

WALKABOUT
Bird Club:
The Monticello Bird Club meets for a slideshow by Thelma Dalmas featuring spring birdlife and wildflowers in Virginia. 7:30pm. Meet in the Education Building at Ivy Creek Natural Area. Visitors welcome. 971-9271.

PERFORMANCE
Taming of the Shrew:
See Thursday, March 3. Tonight's show is at 7:30.

Evita: See Thursday, March 3, and Performance feature.

Live Comedy: See Thursday, March 3.

WORDS
Writing Center Open House:
Writers, editors, book groupies, come together to commiserate, celebrate, and network. See Words feature.

TUNES
Travis Elliott at Atomic Burrito:
Elliott's almost too big for this town– a powerhouse of pop songwriting fervor influenced by the best. Free, 10:30pm.

Karaoke with Ron Courtney at Fat Daddy's 8-11pm. No cover.

Karaoke Night with DJ Wild Wes at Buffalo Wild Wing. 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. $5, 9pm.

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

Vaden Cox at Gravity Lounge. Free, 8pm.

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

Chance Elements at Outback Lodge. $5, 10pm.

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

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

ONGOING AND FUTURE
PERFORMANCE
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.

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.

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 naturedances.com.

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.

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.

FAMILY
Spelunking:
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.

WALKABOUT
Deconstruct This:
The Habitat Store seeks volunteers to help staff the retail store and to participate in a new deconstruction program. All proceeds from the Habitat Store benefit Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Charlottesville Area. Info: Daniel @ 293-6331.

Acupuncture and You: How does acupuncture help you, your symptoms, your issues? First Tuesday of every month. Free. 7-8pm. 1110 Rose Hill Drive, Suite 100. Reservations requested. 962-2770.

Nature Spirit: Spending too much time indoors under florescent lighting? Discover the spiritual side of Nature with NatureSpirit. Explore different earth-centered traditions of spirituality, meet friends, and find meaningful new ways to connect with Nature in your busy life. Meets the first Sunday of every month at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church. 6:30pm. naturespirit@uucharlottesville.org, 243-6421, or naturespirit.info

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.

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.

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.

ART LIST
Second Street Gallery features two shows through April 16. "Thread Through the Crowd: Stitched Drawings and Collages by Darrel Morris" provides fiber for the art diet in the main gallery; and "Skin the Rabbit: A Mixed Media Installation by Lucy O'Connell" reflects childhood memories in the Dové Gallery. 115 Second St. SE. 977-7284.

During March, the McGuffey Art Center presents "Order and Character," botanical watercolors and ink drawings by Lara Call Gastinger, in the main gallery. On view in the first floor hall gallery: Judy McLeod's "Espacios Dorados," a collection of ornate mixed-media interiors, plus painter Jean R. Sampson's creations of order from chaos, entitled "Breakthrough." Upstairs, enjoy an annual fix of hometown perspectives with "C2D-2005: Charlottesville in 2D, Views of the City." 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

On March 5, the University of Virginia Art Museum opens "Punch Line: Six Centuries of the Comic and the Grotesque in Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from the Collection," which will run through April 30. In addition, the museum features "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: "After Collage," a show of mixed-element work by contemporary artists including John Baldessari, Katherine Porter, and Frank Stella, which continues through August 27. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592.

Les Yeux du Monde features, "Natural Histories: Egypt and Amazonia," paintings by UVA art professor Elizabeth Schoyer, on view through March 26. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

The University of Virginia McIntire Department of Art presents "Colonies and Cultures: New Work by Christina Nguyen Hung," an exhibition of digital prints of sociopolitical maps created via living bacterial colonies (yes!), on view at the new Off Grounds Gallery through February 28. 300 W. Main St. (entrance is on Ridge St.) 924-6123.

The Gallery@Studio 302 inaugurates its space with "Travel Details," photographs by Eric Norcross, and "Paintings," oils by Edward Thomas. 300 W. Main St. (above the UVA Off Grounds Studio). 924-5405.

The University Programs Council's Artspace shows "Installations/Abstractions," new work by Paul C. Hitopoulos, on view through March 9. Newcomb Hall. klg2a@virginia.edu.

The Main Street Market Galleria displays "Basics," paintings by Doris deSha, through March. 416 W. Main St. 244-7800.

Transient Crafters presents the handcrafted jewelry of Tavia Brown during March. 118 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

If you like what you see at McGuffey, wander down a block to Fellini's #9 and enjoy more paintings by Jean R. Sampson through March. Corner of Market and Second St. NW. 979-4279.

During March, the Charlottesville Community Design Center presents an exhibition of entrants in the C2C Home design and construction competition that address specific sites in Roanok eusing "Cradle to Cradle" concepts. 101 E. Main St. 984-2232.

Chris Mason displays new work at Mudhouse during February. 213 W. Main St. 984-6833.

Slated to coincide with the Virginia Festival of the Book, Nature Visionary Art displays Terri Long's "Festival of the Altered Book" through March. 110 Fourth St. NE. 296-8482.

CODG's March show, "New Works," features the paintings of Leslie Allyn. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

The C&O Gallery offers "Recent Work," oversized flower paintings and lush still lifes by Jessie Coles, during March. 511 E. Water St. (next to the C&O Restaurant). 971-7044.

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. See Art feature.

Piedmont Virginia Community College features painter Vidu Palta's "Cat and Mouse" and painter Nancy Galloway's "Poppy 1" on view through March 23. V. Earl Dickinson Building. 961-5203.

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 April, Angelo displays recent works in oils by Stanley Woodward. 220 E. Main St. 971-9256.

On March 5, the Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art opens "Fibre Optics: Woven Work in Aboriginal Art." Also on view: "Small Wonders: Aboriginal Art Miniatures," which runs through April 16. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place (off Route 250 East at Pantops). 244-0234..

For its March show, The Gallery @ 5th & Water displays the rich local landscapes of Meg West. 107 Fifth St. 979-9825.

For the month of March, Sage Moon Gallery presents Milenko Katic's equine drawings and paintings in charcoal and pastel, plus Al Francis' stone sculptures. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

During March, Industry features "Distant Testimonies," acrylic paintings by favorite local art maverick Monty Montgomery. 112 Second St. NE. 293-3338.

Through April, the Central Virginia Watercolor Guild presents over 50 watercolors by Central Virginia artists in the basement and on the first floor of the Albemarle County Courthouse. 501 E. Jefferson Court Square. 296-8484.

View photographer Mary Jane Freligh's exhibition of black and white photography entitled "Mixed Subjects" at Art Upstairs during March. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

The Laughing Lion Gallery offers a March show of Terrence Pratt's graphite on paper works entitled, "Portraits of Dancers." 103 E. Water St. (above London's). 984-4000.

In March, Bozart Gallery features "Breaking Patterns," a show of abstract mixed-media works by Ucky Light. 211 W. Main St. 296-3919.

Gravity Lounge presents "Reality Bites!," paintings by Lynn Jangochian during March. 103 S. First St. 977-5590.

During March, Better than Television presents "Kids Art Show," featuring work by local children aged 12 and under. Tuesdays and Sundays, 4-9pm. 106 Goodman St., Apt. A3 (near Spudnuts). 295-0872.

L'étoile Restaurant displays paintings by local artists Barry Gordon, Malcolm Hughes, and Christian Peri. 817 W. Main St. (across from the Amtrak Station). 979-7957.

Radar

During March, the Artisans Center of Virginia presents "Gifts from Nature," a display of willow furniture created by Dani Cage. Opening reception, March 5, 2-4pm.. 601 Shenandoah Drive. (Exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

Through May 1, Barboursville's Nichols Gallery features "Three Views," landscape paintings by Ron Boehmer, Lindsay Nolting, and Priscilla Whitlock. 540-832-3565.

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 until June. Lexington. 540-458-8954.

Madison's Sevenoaks Pathwork Center features "Arising from the Unconscious," watercolors by Alegria Barbara Strauss, through April 23. 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.

Staunton's Middlebrook Gallery offers contemporary art and fine crafts, including sculpture by Ken Smith. 5 Middlebrook Ave. 540-885-9955.

Other

The University of Virginia Art Museum's Volunteer Board invites area gardeners of all ages to create flower arrangements inspired by works in the museum for display in the annual "Flowers Interpret Art" exhibition, scheduled for April 20, 10am-5pm. To learn more about the program and to sign up, call Virginia Paul. 974-6029.

The Scottsville Council for the Arts invites regional photographers to participate in its Photography Show, April 30-May15. An application form is available at the Council website: avenue.org/sca. Works should be submitted Sunday, April 24, 2-5pm in person at the Victory Hall Theatre, 401 Valley St. in Scottsville. For more information, contact Chris Hogger at sca@avenue.org or 286-3179.

The University of Virginia Art Museum announces "Summer Arts @ the Ix," its creative programs for 4th-12th grade students. First session: July 18-22. Second Session: July 25-29. Students' art on display August 16-24. Tuition: $220 members; $255 nonmembers. A limited number of full scholarships are available for students with financial needs. Info: Lili Grabbi at 243-6830 or summerarts@virginia.edu.

First Friday, March 4
The McGuffey Art Center celebrates its March exhibitions by Lara Call Gastinger, Judy McLeod, and Jean R. Sampson, plus "C2D-2005: Charlottesville in 2D, Views of the City" with a reception, 5:30-7:30pm. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Second Street Gallery opens "Thread Through the Crowd: Stitched Drawings and Collages by Darrel Morris" and "Skin the Rabbit: A Mixed Media Installation by Lucy O'Connell." Treats, 6-8pm; artists' comments 6:30pm. 115 Second St. SE. 977-7284.

Les Yeux du Monde welcomes "Natural Histories: Egypt and Amazonia," paintings by UVA art professor Elizabeth Schoyer with a reception, 5:30-7:30pm 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

The University of Virginia McIntire Department of Art lays out the goodies 4-7pm for the opening of "Colonies and Cultures: New Work by Christina Nguyen Hong" at the new Off Grounds Gallery. 300 W. Main St. 924-6123.

The Gallery@Studio 302 open its first exhibitions, "Travel Details," photographs by Eric Norcross, and "Paintings," oils by Edward Thomas, with a reception, 5:30-9pm. 300 W. Main St. (above the UVA Off Grounds Studio). 924-5405.

Transient Crafters welcomes jeweler Tavia Brown with an artist's reception, 6-9pm. 118 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

The Charlottesville Community Design Center hosts a reception to open its exhibition of entrants in the C2C Home design and construction competition, 5-9pm. 101 E. Main St. 984-2232.

Meet Stanley Woodward and view his recent works in oils at Angelo. 5:30-7:30pm. 220 E. Main St. 971-9256.

Fellini's #9 welcomes the paintings by Jean R. Sampson with an opening reception, 5:30-7:30pm. Corner of Market and Second St. NW. 979-4279.

Nature Visionary Art celebrates the opening of Terri Long's "Festival of the Altered Book" with wine, cheese, and other assorted treats, 5-9pm. 110 Fourth St. NE. 296-8482.

Come down under the Jefferson Theater to CODG for a reception inaugurating its March show, "New Works," paintings by Leslie Allyn. 6-11pm. 112 E. Main St. 242-4212.

The C&O Gallery celebrates "Recent Work," paintings by Jessie Coles, with an opening featuring undoubtedly scrumptious delectables, 5-7pm. 511 E. Water St. (next to the C&O Restaurant). 971-7044.

Mudhouse welcomes the new work of Chris Mason with an opening at 5pm. 213 W. Main St. 984-6833.

The Bozart Gallery opens the goody bag for "Breaking Patterns," a show abstract mixed-media work by Ucky Light, 6-9pm. 211 W. Main on the Downtown Mall. 296-3919.

Art Upstairs holds an artist's reception for photographer Mary Jane Freligh's "Mixed Subjects." 5:30-9pm. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

The 5th Floor Gallery at Keller Williams celebrates its current display of explorations of realism by painter Tom Tartaglino, paintings of Italy by Doris daSha, and photography by Candace Schoner, with a reception, 5-7pm. Suite 500, Citizens Commonwealth Building (UVA Credit Union), 300 Preston Ave. 220-2200.

The Gallery @ 5th & Water welcomes the vivid local landscapes of painter Meg West with a reception, 5:30-8:30pm. 107 Water St. 979-9825.

Join the Laughing Lion Gallery in greeting Terrence Pratt, who couples his "Portraits of Dancers" with live jazz by Kip Michaels. 6-8pm. 103 E. Water St. (above London's). 984-4000.

Industry opens "Distant Testimonies," acrylic paintings by favorite local art maverick Monty Montgomery, with no doubt industrial-strength viands. 5-8pm. 112 Second St. NE. 293-3338.

Sage Moon Gallery celebrates Milenko Katic's equine drawings and paintings in charcoal and pastel, plus Al Francis' stone sculptures, with a reception, 6-9pm. Don't be a neigh-sayer around the table of treats! 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

Gravity Lounge re-opens "Reality Bites!" by painter Lynn Jangochian with a reception, 5-7pm. 103 S. First St. 977-5590.

A "Kids Art Show," featuring work by local children aged 12 and under opens at Better Than Television. Go across the bridge to see what they have to offer. 5-8pm. 106 Goodman St., Apt. A3 (near Spudnuts). 295-0872.

John Ruseau Watercolors Inc in York Place hosts an opening reception, 6-8pm, with wine, cheese, and other yummy enticements. 977-0627.

ART FEATURE
Heart rending: Iraq photos' muffled message
BY LAURA PARSONS ART@READTHEHOOK.COM
Finding an authentic voice is difficult. It takes time and it takes practice. When would-be-artists first begin working within a medium– whether painting, photography, or sculpture– they often unintentionally create pieces that "look" like art. But under the harsh light of careful inspection, these first steps are revealed as more imitative than original.

And that's the precise problem with Craig Spaulding's "Dignity and Despair: Images of Iraq," a heart-felt exhibition of black-and-white photographs currently on view at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church.

In November 2002, Spaulding traveled to Iraq as a member of the Iraq Peace Team, an organization of nonviolent activists who sought to prevent a U.S. war with Iraq. The group visited hospitals, homes, universities, and other sites, and listened as Iraqis described their post-Gulf War existence.

Having recently become intrigued with photography while taking a course entitled "Visual Methods of Social Research," Spaulding carried a digital camera to document the trip. The resulting images overflow with sympathy and good intentions. But as artistic pieces, they scream inexperience.

Spaulding's perfunctorily composed images are displayed around the church's meeting hall and sanctuary–sometimes hanging in hard-to-view places, such as where pews abut columns. A lengthy explanation accompanies each, informing viewers of the circumstances that gave rise to the photo. Unfortunately, many of these captions veer into preachy clichés (although, admittedly, we are in a church).

Worse, a number of explanations have fallen off the walls, leaving no clue as to why the photographs matter. Photo-journalistic images need to be able to speak without verbal support. Too often Spaulding's photos convey nothing beyond "Madonna-like mother with her child," "man talking," or "smokestack spewing." They all "look" like photographs but offer little that is visually new or moving.

That said, a few of images hint at Spaulding's potential. In "Parking Lot," a row of grimy boats stretches diagonally across the frame while the water surrounding them glistens like an oil slick. A scruffy man sits casually on the deck of one patched-up vessel, gazing toward the passing camera with a mix of curiosity and hostility.

The strongest image in the show, artistically speaking, is the almost abstract "The Light of Amariyah," taken at a tragically decimated bomb shelter where women and children sought refuge in 1991. A dark, broken basketweave of twisted rebar arches over the foreground and opens onto a blown-out cavity illuminated by sunlight streaming from above. Here Spaulding's message is achingly clear, and no words are necessary.

Craig Spaulding's "Dignity and Despair: Images of Iraq" is on view at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church through March 6. 717 Rugby Road. 293-8179

FAMILY
Machine dreams: Local kids are contenders

BY LINDA KOBERT FAMILY@READTHEHOOK.COMVCU's cavernous Siegel Center vibrates with excitement. High energy music blasts from the sound system. The stands are packed, and teens in flashy jerseys work the crowd drumming up support for their team. Pit crews anxiously tighten bolts and check cables on the task-performing robots they've spent the last six weeks designing and building. The next team up maneuvers their entry onto the playing field where the moment of truth has finally come.

This is the 2005 FIRST Robotics Competition NASA/VCU Regional, a three-day, over-the-top event designed to get high school kids excited about science and technology.

"We have a crisis in this country today," says Pattie Cook, FIRST Robotics regional coordinator. "American kids are not going into math and science. It's imperative that we work to develop a new generation of skilled employees so this country can continue as a world leader in technology."

In response, the nonprofit FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) teamed up with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Virginia Commonwealth University to create a technology competition that rocks. More than 60 teams of high school students, along with their professional mentors and teachers, meet in Richmond this weekend to show just how sexy science can be.

Charlottesville's Team #619 is expecting to be a major contender again this year. This collection of 30-40 teens from several local high schools uncrated their box of miscellaneous gears, switches, and electronic circuits in January and started preparing for this year's challenge. Teaming up with professional engineers from GE Fanuc and UVA, these kids spent countless evenings and weekends experimenting with pneumatics, drive trains, and torque to design and build their robot entry.

"The kids get so much out of this," declared Team 619's adult organizer Jan Parker. For six years now, Parker has watched this disparate band of kids, who probably never would have gotten together otherwise, learn to cooperate, share ideas, support and challenge each other while learning how the real world works.

For now, however, Team 619 is in an adrenaline rush awaiting their chance for glory in Richmond. Teams who score big have the chance to participate in the national FIRST Championship that takes place in April in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Participants in FIRST competitions are also eligible for $5 million in scholarships available annually.

This high tech sporting event is free and open to the public, and Team 619 welcomes the cheers from hometown fans.

Practice rounds in the 2005 FIRST Robotics Competition NASA/VCU Regional take place Thursday, March 3, 10am-5pm. The real competition is Friday, March 4, 9am-5pm, and Saturday, March 5, 9am-3pm. VCU's Siegel Center is located at 1200 W. Broad St., Richmond. 804-784-4898. virginiafirst.org. Team 619 welcomes new members. See their website carobotics.org.

WALKABOUT
Don't go away: Capture and use the rain
BY TIM SPRINKLE WALKABOUT@READTHEHOOOK.COM

Whether it's pitter-pattering against a window or gurgling down a gutter, rain is an ever-present part of Charlottesville in the spring. And while we technically live in the Virginia Piedmont, come April, it's monsoon season, drenching our brick-lined sidewalks and calling out the orange-and-blue umbrellas.

And with all that rain come problems: runoff, erosion, and flooding. Sure, the water is a great way to kick off the planting season, but it can also be a real headache for homeowners. Wouldn't it be great if we could find a way to put that rain to good use rather than letting it run off our roofs straight into our basements?

Using rainwater to irrigate your garden during the summer is a peachy idea in theory, but when you stop and think about the logistics– finding a way to save the water until you need it, getting it from the collection point, and filtering out all the nasty chemicals&endash; you realize the tremendous hassle that's involved.

There are better ways. And if you come to the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District's (TJSWCD) free water-recycling workshop this weekend, you'll learn all about them.

"A lot of homes in our area have erosion problems, and this is our effort to help homeowners understand their options in terms of water conservation," says Andy Lowe with TJSWCD. "From rainwater harvesting, to rain gardens, to green roofs, we're trying to help people reverse the problems associated with excessive water and show them ways that it can be used."

Not only will you learn how to prevent erosion in your own yard, you'll get a behind-the-scenes tour of advanced techniques such as green roofs (like the one currently being installed on the new Albemarle County Office Building) and rain gardens, organic installations designed to capture and filter the water before it runs off.

Why else should you bother? Money, for starters, since whatever water needs you meet without turning on the tap saves you money at the end of the month. Plus, by limiting your impact on the area's ever-dwindling water resources, you'll be helping out the whole community and turning a problem into a solution.

The March 5 rainwater workshop will be held from 9am-noon at Monticello High School. Free and open to the public. To register, call the TJSWCD at 975-0224 or visit its website at avenue.org/tjswcd.

PERFORMANCE
Live Arts' Evita: Don't keep your distance
BY ROBERT ARMENGOL PERFORMANCE@READTHEHOOK.COM
Her enemies stole her body. Her admirers wanted her canonized. Few women leaders of the 20th century inspired such love, contempt, and awe as Eva Perón– whose life, though fictionalized, was made immortal in Evita.

Even Madonna couldn't ruin the story when she starred alongside Antonio Banderas in the 1996 Hollywood version of this Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which in 1980 knocked the socks off Broadway and swept the Tony Awards with seven wins.

And now Live Arts, not famous for a dearth of daring, stages its own version under the direction of Steven Levine, a.k.a. the guy in charge of First Night Virginia. Charlottesville's own Evita opens next week and runs through March 26.

Born an illegitimate daughter on the prairies of Argentina in 1919, Eva Duarte became a B-caliber actress in theater and radio before marrying Col. Juan Perón and helping him rise to power and the country's presidency in 1946.

Evita, as she was widely known, never occupied an official post in her husband's government, but she enjoyed unprecedented power as its most important link to los descamisados– the "shirtless" working class for whom she claimed to speak.

Although her leverage helped establish orphanages, schools, hospitals, and charities, she was a controversial figure. To this day, Latin American social critics argue over whether Evita was a true populist, or whether she exploited the masses for political gain.

In any case, she was instrumental in gaining suffrage for Argentine women through the feminist political party she founded, one of the first of its kind. And when she died of cancer at the age of 33, mourners in Buenos Aires lined up for dozens of blocks.

Evita's power as martyr and scourge lived after her. For 22 years, friends and enemies struggled for control of her body as it moved from Italy to Spain and back to South America. Her final resting place, like her legacy, remains somewhat mysterious.

But it's the paradox of Evita's life that Live Arts and Levine hope to explore.

"We live in an era in which, more and more, our government prizes entitlement over stewardship," Levine says. "Eva Perón lived on the tightrope separating the two. One of the questions raised in this play is, 'On which side did she land when she finally fell off?'

"In other words, whom did she ultimately serve, and why aren't we asking that question of today's government leaders?"

Evita opens 8pm Friday, March 4, and runs through March 26. Some tickets for a sneak preview Thursday, March 3, may still be available. Visit livearts.org for a detailed list of show times. Live Arts DownStage, 123 E. Water St. Opening night is pay-what-you-will. Other shows $10-17. 977-4177.

WORDS
Connections: Meet and greet the write stuff
BY LAURA PARSONS WORDS@READTHEHOOK.COM
Need an editor? Jonesin' to join a book group? Have the Great American Novel under your mattress just waiting to find a publisher?

Or are you an editor looking for a manuscript to perfect, or a book group member craving some new blood for those boring monthly discussions of tedious best sellers?

Help is at hand. The Charlottesville Writing Center is having an open house for literary-minded souls to hobnob and network.

Founded in 1996 by four writer types who wanted comfort and inspiration for their often-solitary endeavors, the non-profit Writing Center has evolved into a community resource for writers (both established and beginners), publishers, and people who just love books.

Classes in fiction, poetry, memoir, and screenwriting are popular winter and summer. Children's programs in conjunction with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library have uncovered budding Brontes and nascent Nabokovs.

As part of broader community outreach, members of the Center's staff have worked with mental health clients at Region 10 and African American women through MAACA to help them discover the therapeutic powers of writing.

In addition to teaching classes and facilitating the community programs, the Writing Center publishes Streetlight Magazine. Winners of a recent contest sponsored in conjunction with WMRA and judged by UVA superstar-in-residence, George Garrett, not only saw their work published in the Spring 2004 edition, but were able to read their stories and poems on the air.

Heather Burns, acting director of the Center, envisions this Thursday night open house not only as a chance for prospective students to scope out classes, and generous donors to explore the center as a possible recipient of grants or gifts, but also a chance for people to share information and meet kindred spirits. Local writing luminaries are expected to be on hand as well.

People are encouraged to bring brochures and flyers about their services, examples of their work, chapbooks– posters, food, and balloons won't be turned away– all with the goal of enlarging the writing community and increasing awareness of the multiplicity of resources available to people interested in telling their stories or helping others to tell theirs.

With the annual writing orgasmatron known as the Festival of the Book just around the corner, there's no better time to take the plunge into the writing life.

The Charlottesville Writing Center's open house takes place Thursday, March 10, 6:30-8pm at 405 Third Street NE, in the Village School at the corner of High Street. Bring information (and a plate of cookies) to share or just come to meet writing soul-mates. Please RSVP to cwc@cvillewrites.org or 293-3702.

TUNES
Sib supergroup: Leahy– all in the family
BY MARK GRABOWSKI TUNES@READTHEHOOK.COM

A music reviewer with a darker soul that yours truly might describe the family group Leahy as a real latter-day Partridge Family of Unusual Size (P.F.U.S.'s for you Princess Bride fans out there).

Sure, they may not indulge in zany '70s-style Patridgean adventures such as Keith getting mad at Laurie for warning the new girl at school not to date him– and using Laurie's "Advice to Teenagers" column in the local paper against her (Episode 76). But I digress...

Like the Partridges before them, the eight brothers and sisters of Leahy started their career touring with their parents when they were teenagers, playing festivals and fairs across Canada. A long break from performing later, the siblings reunited, snagged a deal with Virgin Records, and took their singular sound from their Lakefield, Ontario home to the outside world.

Their first self-titled album was released in 1997 and went on to go double platinum in Canada (200,000 units sold) and reach number 4 on the Billboard world music chart. Their third, In All Things, released last year, continues the group's direction of genre experimentation and continually increasing instrumental ability.

"Chasing Rain," the first track on In All Things, is a fiddle-heavy (common with Leahy, as the group boasts three fiddlers) instrumental tune with an Irish feel. From a sparse introduction resembling the beginning of "Hotel California," the complete group soon gets in on the action, and soon enough, things are really flying. A little after two minutes, the fiddles fall away, and– accompanied by piano– an Irish Step dance solo begins (tap shoes show off the group's skill).

"High Places" is a fine example of the group's lyrical pieces. Sung by one of the sisters, it has the overall effect of sounding foreign and far away at once, as if sung by an ice queen on some deserted plateau at the edge of the world. The instrumentation also has an Irish edge to it, though only slightly in this case.

"Coyote Way" is an up-tempo rocker, a feisty beat-heavy piece where words are sung to the rhythm, and the overall effect is novel.

Spending their childhood working together on the family farm has bonded Leahy in a way that twice a week practices and occasional band meetings could never hope to match, a fact that is evident in their music. Loose in their worship of any one genre, combining dance (sister Agnes' main role is serving as a step dancer) into a live show that is reportedly a sight to behold– if you let them, Leahy just may make your night.

Leahy performs at The Paramount Saturday, March 5. $32/$29/$26, 8pm. 979-1333