Cultural calendar, May 26-June 2, 200

Tales for Tots:
The 5 and under crowd can hear splish, splash stories about rainy days at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Cook's Class:
Learn how to create scallopine-inspired masterpieces like veal picatta, chicken pomodoro, phyllo cheese kisses, creamy orzo, and more with the pros at Mona Lisa Pasta. 7pm at 921 Preston Avenue. $45 per person. 295-2494 or

She Stoops to Conquer:
Playwright Oliver Goldsmith penned this late 18th century masterpiece, and now Shenandoah Shakespeare (the American Shakespeare Center) brings a comic jewel back to life, lampooning the quirks and customs of old England. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-28. 540-851-1733.

Shall We Dance?
Monticello High School's orchestra and drama students present The King and I with help from students from Cale, Stone Robinson, Stony Point, Montessori, and Woodbrook elementary schools and Burley Middle School, who play the king's children. 7pm. $7. Tickets available at Greenberry's and the Music and Art Center next to Starbucks on Rt. 29. PVCC's V. Earl Dickinson Building. 500 College Drive. Info: 295-3338.

Muelle at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm.

Camp Albemarle Songwriter's Benefit for Acoustic Muse at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

This Means You, Thunderlip, Worn In Red, and Brand New Disaster at the Satellite Ballroom. $7/$5, 18+, 9pm.

George Turner Trio with Madeline Holly Sales at Zocalo. 9pm.

The Rogan Brothers f. Spencer Lathrop at Atomic Burrito. Free, 11pm.

George Melvin at Fellini's #9. No cover, 6:30pm.

Young Artist Night at Kokopelli's with Loretta Vitt and Amelia Lindengren. $3, 7pm.

Mike Meadows and Chris Sampson in the Starr Hill cocktail lounge. Free, 10pm.

FRIDAY, May 27
Native Son and Tastesetter:
Meet Damon Lee Fowler, editor of Dining at Monticello, the new volume on foods that Mr. Jefferson favored, at a book signing at the Monticello Visitors Center Museum Shop. 10am-noon. Route 20, just south of I-64 exit 121. 984-9828.

Trail Ride:
Bring your horse to the Blue Ridge and ride, ride, ride. The Montebello Benefit Trail Ride weekend includes trail rides through meadows, woodlands, and along a mountain ridge. Meals and entertainment included. Fee. 540-377-5754 for details.

Spring Slam: Today through Sunday, three days of tennis, food, friends, and a silent auction, to benefit the Wintergreen Nature Foundation and Tuckahoe School. New this year: the "classic division" for players 55 and over with a level of play less than 4.0. $75 per player registration fee includes meals. Info or to register: 361-1531.

Kids Read:
Barnes & Noble's Young Readers Book Club meets tonight and every fourth Friday. Book lovers ages 7-12 discuss Star in the Storm by Joan Hiatt Harlow. Parents are welcome. 7pm. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

Shall We Dance?:
See Thursday, May 26. Tonight's performance is at 7pm.

Whiteside Duo: Eat while you listen at this year's final installment of the Bach's Lunch Concert Series with the duo of David and John Whiteside on flute and keyboard. 12pm. Christ Episcopal Church, 120 W. High St. Concert is free; box lunches for sale at the door. 293-2347.

Measure for Measure: Shakespeare explores the arrogance of power in a play that hovers tantalizingly between comedy and tragedy. Isabella, a nun in training and the play's heroine, must decide whether to ransom her brother from death by giving her body to the hypocritical bureaucrat who put him in jail. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-28. 540-851-1733.

It's Showtime with Sam Brooks D'ville at Club 216. Dance after show with DJ Frank Rivera.

The Nature Boys Jazz Quartet (swing, bop, Latin, and soul) at Fellini's No. 9. No cover, 6:30-9:30pm.

Alligator and the Jim Waive Band at Friday's After 5.

Murder Skit Corpses and The Elderly at Atomic Burrito. No cover, 21+, 11pm.

Monticello Road at Outback Lodge, $6.

The X Porn Stars and The Beetnix at Starr Hill. $8/$6 advance, 9pm.

DIY at the Station. No cover, 10:30pm.

Tom Proutt and Daven Allen Hammond at Gravity Lounge. $5, 9pm.

Eli Cook's Red House Blues Band at the Dew Drop Inn. 9:30pm.

Full Circle at Kokopelli's. $5, 11pm.

The circus comes to the Downtown Mall today with the opening of the Virginia Discovery Museum's summer exhibit. See Family feature.

Courtly: Members of the public are cordially invited to join Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, and her court for music, merriment, and mayhem at the Virginia Renaissance Faire at Lake Anna Winery. 10am-6pm. $5. 5621 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania.

Y'All Come: Crafters come from far and wide to sell their folk art, jewelry, baskets, paintings, carvings, furniture, leather goods, and more at Walton's Mountain Country Store's Crafter's Fair. 10am-5pm. Walton's Mountain Museum, Rt. 617 in Nelson County. 263-4566.

I Can Do That: Today is the final day to register for DanceFit Movement Center' dance camp for kids ages 5-12. Camp is June 13-18 with daily classes in dance and acting. $125. 9am-1pm. 609 E. Market St., Studio 110. 295-4774.

All's Fair:
Wintergreen Resort invites city folks to a weekend of good old country-time fun at a Memorial Day Country Fair. Festivities include live music and family barbecue, country square dance, a children's festival, hayrides and pony rides, and "Day at the Lake" activities. 10am-3pm. Free admission, fees for some activities. Rt. 664. 800-325-8180.

Stamp Show:
Here's an opportunity to find a buyer for those old stamps with upside-down airplanes without having to travel too far from home. 10am-5pm. Holiday Inn and Conference Center, 1901 Emmet St. 10am-5pm. 703-273-5908.

Historic Plants on Parade: Come tour the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at their annual Open House. Noon-4pm at Tufton Farm. Free. 984-9816.

Rose by Any Other Name: Art Tucker, research professor at Delaware State University, discusses the visual history of the rose by surveying its evolution through the ages. 10:30am at the Jefferson Library. $5, registration required. 984-9822.

Heirloom Treasures: Join Monticello's master gardeners to discuss historic varieties of late spring herbaceous flowers. 9:30am at the Jefferson Library. $5, registration required. 984-9822.

Spring Slam: See Friday, May 27.

Fiesta de Primavera: Virginia's oldest winery festival features tours, tastings, live music, food, and crafts. 11am-5pm today and tomorrow at Mountain Cove Vineyards. $5 adults, $3 under 21, under 12 free. Info: 263-5392. or

Valley Morning: Join a Wintergreen Nature Foundation naturalist for an interpretive hike along the Lower Shamokin Falls Trail. Moderate difficulty. $3 members, $6 non-members. 10am. 325-7451.

Vineyard Blessing: Enjoy a stroll through the vines at Tomahawk Mill Winery while the plants are blessed for the season. A short reception follows. 2-4pm. Free. 432-1063.

Summer Fiesta: Enjoy a day of great wine and live music at Farfelu Vineyards, including their near-legendary crazy red sangria. Games, hikes, wine discounts, gourmet treats, and more. 11am-5pm. $5 per person. 540-364-2930.

Memorial Day Celebration: Kick off the lazy days of summer at Wintergreen Winery with a festive day of music, wine and gourmet food tastings, shop specials, door prizes, and more. 10am-6pm. Fee. 361-2519.

Mint, Roses, and Twinleaf:
Monticello declares today its "Day of Gardening at the Center for Historic Plants." Get reservations now for one or both morning talks on historic spring flowers, then drop by for the 13th annual afternoon open house at the Center for Historic Plants at Tufton Farm, including a free rose identification workshop from 1pm to 2:30pm. Lectures $5 each; reservations required. Open house free; refreshments served and plants for sale. 984-9816 or

Shall We Dance?:
See Thursday, May 26. Today's performance is a 1pm matinee.

She Stoops to Conquer: See Thursday, May 26.

Twelfth Night: This Shakespeare classic creates comedy at every elevation, from low slapstick to high irony, offering a feast of language and a stage full of memorable characters such as the lovesick Viola and ale-sick Toby Belch. 7:30pm. Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-28. 540-851-1733.

Measure for Measure: See Friday, May 27. Today's show is a 2pm matinee.

Fiddlers Contest:
The county's finest fiddlers take to the Gravity Lounge stage at the 21st annual Albemarle County Fair Fiddlers Contest (moved from the fair itself because the fair date has been moved. See "Fairs and balanced," page XX.) $6 at the door, contestants get in free. Contest, 11am-3pm, fiddle jam thereafter. Info: Pete Vigour at 823-2623 or

Heather Berry and Byron Massie at Rapunzel's. $5, 8pm.

Intense City at Dürty Nelly's. $3, 9pm.

Southside at Orbit. Free, 21+, 10:30.

Poly at Atomic Burrito. Free, 11pm.

Rob Bergstrom at the Fork Union Community Center. $3, 7:30pm.

John Lombardo and Mary Ramsey with Peyton Tochterman and Andy Thacker at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

Long Slide at Kokopelli's. $5, 8pm.

Dance all Night with DJ Frank Rivera at Club 216. Cover.

SUNDAY, May 29
Sunday Polo:
Polo is back, and this spring it happens at King Family Vineyards. 1pm every Sunday, weather permitting. Free. 6550 Roseland Farm, Crozet. 823-7800.

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.

Fiesta de Primavera: See Saturday, May 28.

Summer Fiesta: See Saturday, May 28.

Memorial Day Celebration: See Saturday, May 28.

County Fair: See Saturday, May 28.

Spring Slam: See Friday, May 27.

See Saturday, May 28.

Y'All Come: See Saturday, May 28.

All's Fair: See Saturday, May 28..

Steve McKinney and Friends at Kokopelli's. $3, 7pm.

MONDAY, May 30
Remember the Fallen:
VFW Post 182 holds a Memorial Day service on the Albemarle County Office Building lawn. Guest speaker MSgt. Arnold Karp from US Air Force Jr. ROTC at Monticello High School. 11am. Rain location: auditorium. 295-4454.

StoryCorps: Record your family history, a community event, or just participate in this mass archive project. On the Downtown Mall between the Omni and the Ice Park. Reservation available at 540-568-4653 or $10. Info: See Walkabout feature.

Spring Fiesta: Spring is in the air, with tastings, tours, picnics, live music, and more, all at Oakencroft Winery. 11am-5pm. $10. 296-4188 x21.

Memorial Day Celebration: See Saturday, May 28.

County Fair: See Saturday, May 28.

Summer Fiesta: See Saturday, May 28.

See Saturday, May 28.

George Melvin at the South Street Brewery. No cover, 7pm.

See Monday, May 30.

Fairport Convention and Hunter at Gravity Lounge. $30/$20 advance, 7pm.

The Matthew Willner Blues Thang at Miller's. 10pm.

Travis Elliott at Atomic Burrito. Free, 11pm.

Local Night at the Satellite Ballroom with The Nice Jenkins, All of Fifteen and Minus the Sidekick. $3, 18+, 9pm.

She Stoops to Conquer:
See Thursday, May 26.

Twelfth Night: See Saturday, May 28. Today's show is a 10:30am school matinee.

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

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

George Melvin at Fellini's #9. No cover, 6:30pm.

Mike Meadows at Atomic Burrito. Free, 11pm.

More Tales for Tots:
See Wednesday, June 1.

An Antique Mystery:
Richmonder Emyl Jenkins, published authority on home furnishings and antiques, now picks up the pen to write mysteries. Adriana Trigiani calls her new book, Stealing with Style, "mysterious, funny, and memorable... a great read." Jenkins visits the New Dominion Bookshop today at noon to meet, greet, read, and sign. 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.

The Hagens with Junior Moment at the Bistro at 12th and Main in Lynchburg. 7pm. $4.

Jubeus at Coupe DeVille's. Free, 10pm.

Clarence Green's Chameleon Project at Gravity Lounge. $5, 8pm.

Silent Muse at Atomic Burrito. Free, 11pm.

Salsa Night with Bio Ritmo at the Satellite Ballroom. $8-10, 18+, 8pm.

Pat McGee Band at Starr Hill. $18/$15 advance, 8pm.

Seeking Artists:
The deadline for artists to submit proposals to the sculpture competition for ArtInPlace is July 1 for the October 2005-September 2006 show. Applications and information: or email questions to

More Books in Crozet:
The Crozet branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is establishing another book group, this one first Monday evenings of every month. Plan ahead by reading Khaled Hosseini's book on Afghanistan in wartime, The Kite Runner, to be discussed on Monday, June 6, from 7pm to 8:30pm. For July, read John Steinbeck's East of Eden. 5791 Three Notch'd Road, Crozet, 823-4050.

Song of Himself: An exhibition of UVA's remarkable collection of Walt Whitman's papers, publications, and memorabilia, including photos of the poet himself, continues in UVA's Harrison Small first-floor gallery until June 30. 924-6040.

South American Transformation: Artifacts from before, during, and after the first contacts of Europe with South America form the student-initiated exhibit at UVA's Harrison Small Library titled "South America's Gran Columbia: From Native Empires to Independent Nations," on view until August 16. 924-6040.

Summer Camp:
Old Michie Theatre, now in its 16th year of providing drama instruction and puppetry arts for children and youth, sponsors a summer theater programs in June, July, and August. Each session stages a play to awaken individual talents and self-expression. Emphasis on fun and learning. There's something for all age groups and levels of ability. Coming soon: Pre-Theatre for ages 5-7 June 6-10. Morning session 9am-12pm; afternoon session 1-4pm. Tuition varies, $175-$350. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

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.

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.

TJ for Children:
Monticello offers Tours for Children and their Families on weekends through June 12. Throughout the summer they happen every day. Families should request this special tour at the admission desk. 1 and 3pm. Included in the price of general admission. Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Rt. 53. 984-9822.

Woods Walk:
Tour the 250-yeard-old wonder of James Madison's Landmark Forest at Montpelier. Guided tours every Sunday at 2pm. Included in general admission fee. 540-672-2728.

Parkway Nature Walks: Monticello offers guided walking tours of the Thomas Jefferson Parkway, the linear park along the Route 53 entrance to Jefferson's estate, every Sunday morning through November. 9:30am. No fee. Meet at Kemper Park at the base of the Parkway, a quarter-mile east of the intersection of Routes 53 and 20. 984-9822.

Downtown Tours: The Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society offers walking tours of historic downtown Charlottesville every Saturday at 10am. Tours leave from the McIntire Building across from Lee Park and cover over 250 years of community history in one hour. $3 suggested donation. 296-1492.

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. Info: 295-1395.

This month the McGuffey Art Center devotes its entire space to The Virginia Watercolor Society's annual juried show, which hangs through May 29. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

The University of Virginia Art Museum features "The Naked and the Clothed: Photographs from the Collection, which hangs through June 19. Also on view: the much-anticipated "Masterpieces of European Drawing," an exhibition of 62 works on loan from the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie. The only presentation of this collection in the U.S., the show features pieces by Courbet, Delacroix, Rubens, and Rembrandt, among others, and runs through June 5. The museum also presents "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.

For its May show, The Gallery@Studio 302 features "Paintings and Photographs by Andrew Hersey." 300 W. Main St. (above the UVA Off Grounds Studio). 924-5405.

The Main Street Market Galleria displays Bill Weaver's paintings of Charlottesville, which will remain on view through May 31. 416 W. Main St. 244-7800.

Transient Crafters presents "East Meets West: A Multimedia Approach to Communications," featuring the calligraphy and sculpture of Virginia Moore, during May. 118 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

New Dominion Bookshop features "Sea & Sky," watercolors by Janet Anderson, on its mezzanine level during May. 404 W. Main St. 295-2552.

During May, The Charlottesville Community Design Center presents an exhibition entitled "ecoMOD House Number One," which examines a new design/build project at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. 101 E. Main St. 984-2232.

CODG's May show, "Spastic Plastic," features sculpture and mixed media done with plastic toys by Roddrick Rhodes. 112 E. Main St., under the Jefferson Theater. 242-4212.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church presents Tim Lingo's "The Beauty of Women," through June 5. 717 Rugby Road. 977-5411.

During May, the C&O Gallery features "Darkness & Light– Mexican Architecture, Culture, and Time," a collaborative exhibition by photographer Philip Beaurline and writer Kyle Copas. 511 E. Water St. (next to the C&O Restaurant). 971-7044.

Nature Visionary Art displays the work of Kristen Myers through June 1. 110 Fourth St. NE. 296-8482.

During May, the 5th Floor Gallery at Keller Williams displays watercolors by Judith Ely and bronze sculptures by Craig Murphy. 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 June, Angelo displays "Glimpses," landscape monotypes and etchings by Tim Michel. 220 E. Main St. 971-9256. See Art feature.

The Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Aboriginal Art presents "Seeing the Other: The Human Image by Indigenous and non-Indigenous Artists," on view through August 13. 400 Worrell Drive, Peter Jefferson Place (off Route 250 East at Pantops). 244-0234.

Sage Moon Gallery presents May exhibitions of sculpture by Chris MacAndrew and paintings by Ruth Hembree. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

View Frank Feigert's exhibition of photographs, "Pieces of Places," at Art Upstairs during May. 316 E. Main St., above The Hardware Store, on the Downtown Mall. 923-3900.

The Laughing Lion Gallery offers a May show of Terrence Pratt's graphite portraits on paper.103 E. Water St. (above London's). 984-4000.

During May, BozArt Gallery features "Newly Uncovered Paintings," works in oil, beeswax, and mixed media by Amy Mitchell Howard. 211 W. Main St. 296-3919.

Glo is currently showing paintings by Christian Peri. 225 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-7432.

Gravity Lounge presents "Junkyard Culture," an exhibition of photographs by Joey Parent, through May. 103 S. First St. 977-5590.

Fellini's #9 presents "Flowers & Bugs," oil paintings by Lynn Jamgochian (who also has work on view at Barnes & Noble) through the end of May. 209 W. Market St. 286-2898.

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.


Richmond's Virginia Museum of Fine Arts presents "Capturing Beauty: American Impressionist and Realist Paintings from the McGlothian Collection." The exhibition of 35 noteworthy works includes pieces by Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, and Winslow Homer, among others. Also on view: "The Council: Serving VMFA since 1955," a display of objects supported by the Council's gifts. Both shows run through September 18. 200 N. Boulevard. 804-204-2704.

The Artisans Center of Virginia presents "Sacred Icons: A Collective Vision of Symbolic & Ritual Objects," a juried exhibition, through June 29. 601 Shenandoah Drive (Exit 94 off I-64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

Crozet's Kokopelli's Café features "Form and Shadow," an exhibition of black and white photographs by UVA professor John Bunch, through June 30. 5793 The Square. 823-5645.

The Arts Center in Orange features "Around the World in 40 Days," an exhibition of paintings from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Poland, and Russia. The show runs through June 4. 149 E. Main St., Orange. 540-672-7311.

Madison's Sevenoaks Pathwork Center features "Rebellion Held in Compassion," an exhibition of pastel paintings by Cynthia Haney, through July 13. 403 Pathwork Way, Madison. 434-295-8315.

The Ed Jaffe Gallery features paintings and marble sculptures by Ed Jaffe, plus abstract photographs by Marc Jaffe. 108 W. Main St., Orange. 540-672-2400.


ArtinPlace invites artists to submit proposals for its annual sculpture competition leading to the October 2005-September 2006 show around Charlottesville. Deadline: July 1. Applications and information:

The Virginia Poverty Law Center invites entries for its 2005 juried photography exhibition, "Through Different Eyes: The Faces of Poverty in Virginia." Submissions accepted through June 30. Kick-off for the touring public display of finalists and an awards ceremony are scheduled for October 14. Contest rules and the entry form: 700 E. Franklin St., Suite 14T1, Richmond. 804-782-9430.

Habitat for Humanity and the Charlottesville Community Design Center invite entries for the international "Urban Habitats" competition, which asks participants to design a 72-home community of mixed-use, mixed-income units. For details and specific guidelines, contact Katie Swenson, 984-2232 or

Land lover: Michel etches it out

Word to the wise: if a very-married local real estate agent named Tim Michel approaches you and asks, "Would you like to come up and see my etchings?" by all means, go.

Michel, whose exhibition, "Glimpses," is currently on display at Angelo, may wheel and deal in property transactions for his day job, but during his off hours, he embraces a different experience of Virginia's land. His etchings and monoprints reveal how the landscape itself has seduced him.

For the Angelo show, Michel has placed his realistic etchings on the east wall and his more abstract and colorful monoprints on the west (with the exception of "Cedars," which hangs near the eastside window).

An air of nostalgia, reminiscent of early- to mid-20th century book illustrations, surrounds his black-and sepia-inked etchings. Their composition is uncomplicated, with limited but effective use of crosshatching to provide dimension. Michel's lines are more gestural and spontaneous than fussy and precise, and they subtly enliven his tranquil scenes.

Often his images hold the viewer's attention by promising something delightful just out of sight. Michel's "Beta Bridge"– which won the Alumni-Venable Neighborhood prize in the 2003 "Charlottesville in 2-D" competition– beckons the audience to travel the train tracks beneath the bridge's ominously dark arch, lured by the light on the other side. Similarly, his "Road to Innisfree" pulls the eye along a tree-lined, sun-dappled path that breaks into full sunlight at the point where it curves out of sight.

There's nothing exciting per se in Michel's etchings, yet it is surprisingly hard to turn away from their simple pleasures. (The only exception to this rule is "Stent," with its flat, intestinal twisting, which feels more like the pretzel-ly prints of local artist Russell Richards.)

Michel is more experimental with his monoprints and leaves naturalism behind altogether in three horizontally banded "Abstracts." But his most successful pieces navigate territory somewhere between realism and abstraction, infusing landscapes with unexpected color and movement.

In "Cedars" (no sinage makes it hard to tell whether it's "Cedars I" or "Cedars II"), Michel transforms a grove of trees into a swath of orange-red flames flaring across a parchment-colored background. Roughed-in black shadows give depth to his fiery vision, while a few quick lines across the bottom ground the landscape.

The effect is deliciously sensuous, a world away from the drab drafts and deeds of Michel's daily life.

"Glimpses," an exhibition of etchings and monotypes by Tim Michel, is on view at Angelo through June. A portion of the proceeds from artwork sales benefits the Innisfree Village Volunteer Fund. 220 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-9256.

Tom foolery: Epic imp at Live Arts

There's something terribly fascinating– even romantic– about the life of foundlings, bastards, and orphans. Maybe this is why they figure so prominently in epic tales. Moses, Oedipus, Luke Skywalker– their dubious parentage made them all, in a way, destined for greatness.

Tom Jones, the affable if bad-boy title hero of Henry Fielding's 1749 book, is no different. Adopted by a childless English gentleman, Tom's path to manhood at every turn is inflected with the underlying question of who he really is.

The truth is, he's a good guy. But a penchant for adventure and one-nighters tends to get him in trouble. Sophia Western, the girl next door, is the woman Tom really loves, but a tangled fate and a scheming legitimate brother seem destined to foil Tom and Sophia's happily ever after.

Bawdy and irreverent, this is not your average epic. Fielding fully intended this masterpiece– some scholars call it the first great English novel– to send readers into shrieks of laughter and have them close the book feeling warm and fuzzy. Props go to Live Arts for helping us sidestep Fielding's 18 chapters of elaborate prose to get that effect.

Charlottesville's premier performance venue brings Tom Jones, David Rogers's theatrical adaptation of the book, to the stage starting June 10 and running through June 25. Francine Smith directs the large cast of 22, including many fresh faces on the local theater scene.

She says she has tried to emphasize "the personal journey of each character in the story" in addition to the more, um, promiscuous exploits in Rogers's script. Smith calls the play "a merry chase through old England, from Somersetshire to London, with a wonderful pace that will quicken your heart."

Many literary critics say Fielding's plot ranks among the best in history. At the very least, he set the standard for climactic endings where the stars align, storylines fall into place, and the characters who collectively hold the answers to our hero's woes come together.

But beware. Like any good epic, there's a moral you'll be asked to buy along the way. Fielding wrote in his dedication of the book "that Virtue and Innocence can scarce ever be injured but by Indiscretion; and that it is this alone which often betrays them into the Snares that deceit and Villany spread for them."

In the end, the author believed good would triumph and evil would be punished. By age 21, Tom Jones managed to work this out for himself. For the rest of us, 21 is but the beginning, and real life is never so simple.

Tom Jones, a David Rogers adaptation of the Henry Fielding novel, opens at Live Arts Friday, June 10, and runs through June 25. Visit for show times. Live Arts, 123 E. Water St. $10-17. 977-4177.

Circus days! Big time under Big Top
Step right up! See the greatest show on earth right here on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall. Shake hands with the tallest man on earth! Watch the death-defying unicyclist ride circles around the crowd! See the amazing juggling gorilla! Get your face painted, and have a balloon sculpted just for you!

While you're watching, there's free popcorn for all this Saturday at the opening celebration of the Virginia Discovery Museum's latest rotating exhibit, Circus: Many Faces, Many Places.

After warming up on the outdoor adventures, visitors can pass through the ticket booth in the Back Gallery and join the circus in this highly interactive extravaganza. Young entertainers can step backstage to don costumes, gather props, and prepare their act, then step to music into the as they clown around, learn to juggle, and walk the tight rope.

This circus circles the globe offering acts unique to different lands. In Africa, for example, kids can become part of a human pyramid, or skip on over to the dance floor where they can choreograph their own special trick moves. They can even try getting tall with kid-size stilts.

Ribbon wands and strong men come with the Russian circus. Kids can make their own colorful wands and try to figure out just how many baseballs it would take to make a thousand pounds. Dancing bears are an animated part of this section, with cuddly grizzlies wearing hats and riding tricycles.

In the Chinese circus section, kids can practice their poise balancing spinning saucers and other objects on their head, chin, forehead, or nose. Or they can hit the mats with acrobatic somersaults, handstands, headstands, and cartwheels. Contortionists can even squeeze themselves into a teeny cube.

In Europe, the acrobats can learn about timing, reaction time, and trajectory as they play with the flying trapeze. Equestrians can dress up their pony with gems and feathers, ride it bareback, and teach it to do tricks.

When it arrived in the U.S., the circus was a moveable feast, so it came in tents. In fact, the first tent circus came through Charlottesville in 1825. Kids can pitch their own circus tent in this section. And because the railroad was so important when P.T. Barnum's troupe traveled around the country, kids can be the engineer on an HO model train as it tours from town to town.

Kids don't need to run away to join the circus. The Greatest Show on Earth is right here at home at the VDM all summer long.

Circus: Many Faces, Many Places is in town May 28 through August 28 at the Virginia Discovery Museum. Opening celebration happens 11am-1pm Saturday, May 28. Included in the price of admission: $4. Museum hours 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday. East end of the Downtown Mall.

What's cookin'?: Monticello's new old kitchen
It may be deathly quiet on the Corner this weekend, but Monticello's hopping. Book signing on Friday, Garden Day on Saturday, new kitchen open, historical plants center open house. Thomas Jefferson– maybe even Martha– must be minueting in their graves.

Earlier this month Monticello opened its "reconfigured, restored, refurnished, and reinterpreted" kitchen. Past visitors will remember the dungeon of a kitchen at one end of the underground passageway. Now it's gone upscale, brought into line historically with the other renovations of the past decade or so, all designed to evoke the year 1809, when Jefferson returned as ex-president and made the little mountain his permanent residence.

That year the Monticello kitchen was renovated so that its products would satisfy the palate of the well-traveled president and his international guests. The 2005 renovation involved redesign and acquisition of tools and utensils, from an eight-opening stew stove with a built-in kettle to 18th-century French copper cookware, rare in America at that time but favored by Jefferson.

In celebration of the kitchen's vitality, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation has published Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance, blending food history essays and historically accurate recipes. Book editor Damon Lee Fowler– author of five cookbooks, specialist in fried chicken and southern cooking– signs hot-off-the-griddle copies Friday, May 27, from 10am to noon.

Step out of the kitchen and into the garden on Saturday, May 28, as a spring garden celebration brings flower aficionados to Monticello. Doug Seidel, a Pennsylvania plant historian, talks on "Springtime Heirloom Treasures" at 9:30am, and Art Tucker, ethnobotanist from Delaware State, explores "The Iconography of Roses"– roses in art from 1450 B.C. to Jefferson's time.

After that, mingle with Seidel, Tucker, and others with green thumbs, fingers, and toes– including horticulturists planted there just to answer your questions– at the 13th annual open house of the Center for Historic Plants, the research and horticultural center that certifies that everything growing at Monticello is something Mr. Jefferson himself would approve.

Damon Lee Fowler signs his book, Dining at Monticello, Friday, May 27, 10am-noon at the Monticello Visitors Center Museum Shop, Route 20 south of I-64 exit 121. On Saturday, May 28, Doug Seidel speaks at 9:30am, Art Tucker at 10:30am, both at the Jefferson Library, 0.5 mile east of the Monticello entrance on Route 53. Lectures $5 each; reservation required: 984-9822. Open House on Saturday, May 28, noon-4pm at Tufton Farm on Milton Road (Rt. 732), 0.5 mile off Rt. 53. 984-9828.

StoryCorps: Tell it like it is

Know what it was like to have your food for one day consist of a single potato? To be a member of the Ku Klux Klan?

Back in the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration, as part of its effort to preserve the momentous events of that era, sent a team of agency researchers all over the country with tape recorders. The resulting interviews with everyday Americans have become one of the best preserved recorded archives of Depression-era life.

Fast forward 75 years to a modern field recording project. The idea's the same: interview average folks about their lives, bring communities and generations together, and create valuable archives for posterity. Children, parents, grandparents, and neighbors are coming together to discuss things they've perhaps never before discussed publicly– family histories, local memories, personal experiences– that can create a snapshot of life in our time that will last long after we're gone.

It's all the work of a national, non-profit organization called StoryCorps. For the past two years the group has been sending a pair of wired RVs around the country as mobile recording studios to collect interviews with 250,000 Americans over the next decade.

This week, one of their mobile sound booths stops in Charlottesville and sets up shop on the Downtown Mall.

"Our goal is to explore the diversity of America, the famous and not so famous," explains local StoryCorps coordinator Randy Huwa. He says the group hopes to create "something that a historian, researcher, or family member can listen to 10, 20, 100 years from now to hear stories from 2005."

Once participants reserve their hour-long session in the booth, the content is really up to them. StoryCorps sessions are designed around the interview format, but it's "basically a conversation between two people," Huwa says.

Talk about whatever you like, ask questions, or just chat– it's all up to you. Then sign your memories over to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and know that you've had a part in preserving for posterity a glimpse of life today. Or, you'll have the choice of leaving the booth with a broadcast-quality recording of your interview to save for posterity.

So sign up for a chance to tell future generations what it was like to be alive in Charlottesville in May 2005.

The StoryCorps recording booth parks between the Omni and the Ice Park on the Downtown Mall May 30 and 31. Sessions are available by appointment each day for a $10 donation. For more information, or to schedule a session, contact Randy Huwa at 540-568-4653 or visit