Cultural Calendar 12/08/2005 - 12/15/2005

December 8
Blackfriars Theater
10 S. Market St., Staunton.
Santaland Diaries:
For those who missed him last year and for those who need to see their favorite oversized Santa's helper again, John Harrell climbs back into his elf knickers to embark on another humiliating seasonal career as an elf named Crumpet in this "anti-holiday" show for grown-ups by David Sedaris. Recommended for mature audiences. Stay after the 7:30pm show to chat with the cast.

A Christmas Carol: The three Christmas ghosts, the Cratchits, and Tiny Tim are all here to take Ebenezer Scrooge on the ride of his money-grubbing life. Expect to be right in the middle of this well-known tale and experience new twists, surprises, and a production filled with music and cheer for the whole family. Today's performance is a school matinee at 10:30am.

The Homecoming Comes Home: The novella that spawned the beloved TV series The Waltons has been adapted for the stage by Peter Coy. "It's a great Christmas story it always was, in the tradition of It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol," says Coy. Earl Hamner himself says, "Of all the books or film scripts I've written, The Homecoming has been the closest to my heart." Shows today through Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm. $10 adults, children under 15, $5. Reservations suggested. Earl Hamner Theater, 190 Rockfish School Lane, Nellysford

Monticello Bird Club:
In 2004 Virginia became the first state to have a statewide wildlife viewing trail, and the trail and trail guides have won regional and national awards. Jeff Trollinger, the driving force behind the birding trail, presents details about the next phase of this program 7:30 PM Education Building, Ivy Creek Natural Area. Earlysville Road. 244-2688

A History of Marriage:
Conceptions of love and marriage are at the heart of the political debate over "values." Stephanie Coontz, director of research and public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, describes the dramatic shift in many cultures' views of the emotional, social, economic and legal consequences of marriage at the Miller Center Forum. She will sign copies of her book, Marriage, A History, following her talk. 11am. 2201 Old Ivy Road. Free. 924-7236.

Tales for Tots:
The 5 and under crowd can enjoy storybook favorites about holidays throughout the year at Barnes & Noble's preschool story time. 10:30am. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-6598.

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

Tarbox Ramblers and Last Train Home at Gravity Lounge. $10, 8pm.

Soul Sledge and Agents of the Sun at the Outback Lodge. $5, 10pm.

Thompson/D'earth at Miller's. $4, 10:30pm.

Karaoke at the Lazy Parrot Grill. No cover, 8:30pm.

The Nice Jenkins at Mellow Mushroom. No cover, 10:30pm.

Satisfaction– the best of top 40, hip-hop, and R&B at R2 behind Rapture. Ladies free all night, guys $5.

FRIDAY, December 9
Rhino Release
: Africa, A Little Rhino Coloring Book, is the fourth book to be written and illustrated by local artist Bob Anderson. Anderson signs copies at the release party today 5:30-7:30pm at the Walker Fine Arts Center at Woodberry Forest School in Orange, and tomorrow from 11am to 1pm at the New Dominion Book Shop, 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 996-2457.

Krishna and the Milkmaids: Dr. Joseph H. Dye III, curator of Asiatic art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, presents a talk on Indian miniature painting. Wine and cheese reception follows. 8pm, $6, gallery members free. Art6 gallery, 6 E. Broad St., Richmond.

Wreath Workshops at Monticello:
These ever-popular workshops result in a beautiful Christmas wreath for each participant to take home. Learn to make your own, then get busy. 9:30am. $40 fee covers the workshop and all materials. Reservations required. 984-9822.

Holiday Market: Mark the holiday season at the holiday city market at the Downtown Pavilion. Browse through handmade gifts, toys, jewelry, baked goods, decorations, wreaths, and fresh greenery. 10am-5pm, this and every December weekend until Christmas. 970-3371.

Meeting of the Minds: Charlottesville and Albemarle-area Democrats gather for "Second Fridays," an informal monthly social upstairs at Rapture. 6-8pm. $6 for light hors d'oeuvres, cash bar, and conversation. Downtown Mall. 296-1865.

Weapons and War:
Ambassador Robert Joseph, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, discusses "Diplomatic Efforts to Stop the Proliferation of WMD, and Their Means of Delivery" at a Miller Center Forum. 11am. 2201 Old Ivy Road. Free. 924-7236.

Dance all night with DJ Frank Rivera at Club 216. 10pm, cover.

Laughter Arts Festival:
Back at the Paramount for its second season, this popular festival includes John Heffron, Alex House, and Joe Starr. 8pm, $32, $29, $26, plus half-price student rush seats and group discounts. 979.1333 or

The Homecoming Comes Home: See Thursday, December 8.

Blackfriars Theater
10 S. Market St., Staunton.
A Christmas Carol:
See Thursday, December 8. Today there's a 10:30am school matinee, and tonight's 7:30 preview performance is pay-what-you-will.

Give 'em a Lift:
The ever-festive Toy Lift continues to help kids across central Virginia. Contribute toys, stuffed animals, books, and more to the annual holiday drive and in the process enjoy live music, treats, and other entertainment. Toy Lift serves children up to age 13 in the city of Charlottesville and surrounding counties. 7am-9pm in the Lowe's parking lot, at Crofton Plaza, Lake Monticello, and at the Crozet Shopping Center. 975-TOYS.

Musical Liftings
: "It's been such a rough year with the tsunamis and the hurricane that everyone is starting to feel how lucky we are, and maybe we should do something to help," says Chris Munson of 20 South Productions. He's hoping for another tsunami– a wave of donations, that is.

Eighteen years ago, Toy Lift founder Tom Powell set up shop on Hydraulic Road and refused to move until people had donated 1,000 toys to be distributed to local kids. This year it'll be held in the parking lot of Lowe's (with concurrent lifts at Lake Monticello and in Crozet), but Munson has been brought on board to turn it into a holiday Lollapalooza.

"This is the first year they've done a large amount of entertainment," he says. "They approached me in October and asked me to start putting together some bands." That's a good two months of work, so be sure to donate the coolest toy you can get your hands on.

Toy Lift 2005 at Lowe's, all day.

Jazz Society Kickoff: Drummer and composer Jae Sinnett lit up Live Arts a couple of months ago, and this weekend he rolls back into town not to perform, but instead to christen the fledgling Charlottesville Jazz Society, which makes its official debut by hosting Sinnett's CD release festivities at Crystalphonic Recording Studio.

"A lot of energy came out of that show, and a lot of people wanted to meet him and talk to him after the performance, so we invited him back for the kickoff," says Elva Holland, a champion of the new organization. That energy is in Charlottesville even when Sinnett is not, she claims, so the Jazz Society seems like a logical development.

"Now seems like a good time to do it," she says. "There are enough people and enough resources."

She's tight-lipped about specific details of currently unconfirmed events, but clearly has grand plans. "I envision it bringing high-level jazz performances to Charlottesville, supporting the venues that are here, and sponsoring events-workshops," she says. "And I'd love to bring a jazz festival to Charlottesville."

The Charlottesville Jazz Society Kickoff at Crystalphonic Recording Studio. Free, 7:30pm.

Groove Nation w/DJ Stroud. Top 40, pop, R&B, dancehall, reggaeton, hip-hop. $6 before 11:30pm.

American Dumpster at Dürty Nelly's. $5, 9pm.

George Turner, Greg Nossaman, and Phil Riddle at Fellini's #9. No cover, 10pm.

Soul Canoe at Gravity Lounge. Free, 4pm.

Holiday acoustic showcase at The Prism. Donations accepted, 8pm.

This Means You, Everything Went Black, and Swollen Goat at the Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Christen McCormack at the Quest Bookshop. 6pm.

Jacks House, Rainmarket, and Down Dexter at the Satellite Ballroom. $7, 8pm.

Horns of Happiness at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. $3-$5, 9:30pm.

Karaoke at Damon's Sports Bar and Grill. No cover, 9pm.

Vernon Fisher (lighter side of jazz) at Fossett's at Keswick Hall. 6:30pm.

Music Resource Center CD release party, 5pm at the MRC. Free.

SATURDAY, December 10
PVCC Pottery Club Sale:
PVCC's Pottery Club hosts its annual sale featuring handmade high-fire stoneware pottery by students in PVCC ceramics classes. 9am-noon. V. Earl Dickinson Building Commons. 872-0671.

Arts for Peace Gala: Arts and craft vendors, vegetarian gourmet food, beer and wine, a live auction of goods and services, and dancing to the music of Corey Harris with Darrell Rose, John Gilmore, & Huston Ross– all that and more highlights a benefit for the Charlottesville Center for Peace & Justice. 6pm-midnight. Greek Orthodox Church, 100 Perry Drive. $10, children 12 and under free with adult. 982-5628 or

Open House: Watercolorist Lee Alter hosts a holiday party and open studio to showcase her and others' work for viewing and sale. Refreshments and live music by Miles Pearce! 10am-5pm. 109 E. Jefferson St., side entrance. 963-0540.

Crocks, Cookies, Cider: Mud Dauber Pottery's annual holiday open house features new work by Suzanne Crane and Becky Garrity and cookies and cider too. 10am-6pm. 4225 Earlysville Road. 973-7943.

The Homecoming Comes Home:
See Thursday, December 8.

Blackfriars Theater
10 S. Market St., Staunton.
Santaland Diaries:
See Thursday, December 8. Today's show is at 5pm.

A Christmas Carol: See Thursday, December 8. Today there are two shows: a 2pm matinee and the opening night performance at 7:30pm.

Holiday Winter
Weekend: Monticello's newest event features special indoor and outdoor tours, plus activities illustrating what life was like on Jefferson's mountaintop during the cold-weather months. Enjoy food preparation demonstrations in the newly restored kitchen, live music in the house and outside, sheep roaming the grounds, a bonfire, and crafts demonstrations and hands-on activities for children 10am-4pm today and tomorrow. 9am-8pm. Included in price of general admission. 984-9822.

It Takes a Village: Innisfree Village hosts its annual Holiday Open House. Visitors can sign up for wreath-making workshop, learn how to make paper, or peruse the handcrafted products from their weavery, bakery, woodshop, pottery, and gardens. Children's activities, tours of the Village, refreshments, and more. Admission is free. Fees for workshops: wreath-making $30; paper-making $10 for adults, $5 for kids. 11am-4pm. Call for registration and directions. 823-5646.

Puppets in the City: Esther, the country mouse, and Priscilla, the city mouse, discover the true meaning of friendship after each one visits the other's home. Old Michie Theatre presents a whimsical puppet adaptation of this classic children's tale. 11am, 2 and 4 pm. $5. 221 E. Water St. 977-3690.

Snowman or Marshmallow?: Wee ones ages 4 and up can decide as they munch and build their own holiday house with edible materials at the Virginia Discovery Museum. 10:30-11:15am. $7/$5 for members. Pre-registration required. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Ornamentation: Kids in grades 5-12 start the holiday season off with an afternoon of ornament painting, festive music, and hot drinks at Northside Library. 3-4:30pm. Free. Registration required. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Christmas Fair on the Farm: City folks are invited out to the country to walk around the farm, pet the animals and snap some Kodak moments at Mangham Wool and Mohair Farm's open house. Hot cider, cookies, and some holiday shopping are included, with warm wool socks, hand knit sweaters, blankets, hats, and yarns for sale. Wear boots if it's been wet. Noon-5pm. 901 Hammocks Gap Road. 973-2222.

Kid's Christmas on the Frontier: Children ages 4-10 are invited to a Christmas party at the historic farms at the Frontier Culture Museum. Costumed interpreters lead the festivities, which include refreshments and the chance to create an ornament from Nature's craft closet. 10am-noon or 2-4pm. $8. Families can also make the rounds of all the farms in a Family Christmas Tour. These tours include age-appropriate activities and interpretations. 10am and 2pm. Included with general admission, but advance reservations required for specific timed tours. Space limited. Rt. 250 west in Staunton. 540-332-7850.

Rhino Release:
See Friday, December 9. Today's reading is at New Dominion Bookshop on the Downtown Mall. 11am-1pm. 295-2552.

Kokopelli's Christmas: Laurel Cockerille Giannini takes her tale of rescuing a reservation dog to Greenberry's on the island at Barracks Road Shopping Center today. From 1 to 6pm, she'll greet café-goers and sign copies of her book, The Kokopelli Journals. 540-832-7048.

Wreath Workshops at Monticello:
See Friday, December 9. Today's workshop is at 9:30am. Reservations required. 984-9822.

Tap the Power of Your Dreams: James Yates offers a workshop about how to realize unused potential, heal emotional wounds, and find solutions to conflicts. Interpret your dreams to better your life. $20, 10am-1pm. Part of a continuing series of "second Saturdays" workshops. Registration required. 401 Orange St. 977-6918.

Tibetan Cultural Pageant: Unity Church hosts an evening of learning and cultural exchange with a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks. Using traditional instruments, colorful costumes and masks, the monks perform the Yak and Snow Lion dances, sing Tibetan folk songs, and perform sacred chanting. Proceeds go to build a new dormitory at the severely overcrowded Sera Jey Monastery in southern India which is serving as a refuge for monks fleeing Tibet. 7pm. Senior Center, 1180 Pepsi Place. $10 adults, kids under 12 free. 978-1062.

Vintage Port Holiday Celebration: Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Vintage Port in Virginia at Horton Vineyards. Taste older Horton ports right out of the barrel and learn about the skill that goes into creating a great port. Stock up on wine for the holiday season with special discounts. $10 per person includes glass. 10am-5pm. 540-832-7440.

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. 325-8169.

Winter Open House: Taste the 2005 Afton Mountain Vineyards vintages right from the barrel and enjoy complimentary minestrone soup at this annual event. You'll also be able to taste their entire selection of wine including their very first sparkling wine. 10am-5pm. Free. 234 Vineyard Lane in Afton. 540-456-8667.

Holiday Market: Mark the holiday season at the Holiday City Market at the Downtown Pavilion Park. 10am-5pm, this and every December weekend until Christmas. Browse through handmade gifts, toys, jewelry, baked goods, decorations, wreaths, and fresh greenery. 970-3371.

King Family Open House: Come for wine tastings by the fireplace, stay for the holiday shopping and wine specials. 11am-5pm. King Family Vineyards, 6550 Roseland Farm in Crozet. Free. 823-7800.

Egghead's Revenge:
The '80s Mastermind brings out an everything dance at R2. $5 before 11:30pm.

Winter Solstice Redux:
Windham Hill artists Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, and Tuck & Patti highlight the return of last year's sold-out performance. 8pm, $33, $30, and $27. 979.1333 or

Club 216 Christmas Party. Members free, guests $15. Country buffet, music by DJ Frank Rivera.

Garage Soul: The Hamiltons deliver their self-described "Garage Soul" to Starr Hill tonight, but frontman Ezra Hamilton seems to be most excited about the musicians who will be in the periphery. First, there's Kenneth Coles, gospel singer and cousin to funky Hamiltons drummer Will Coles, guesting on a couple of Hamiltons tunes. Then, the openers– Acoustic Groove Trio, and the debut of Malice, one of the only Go-Go bands to be had for miles around.

"We needed a go-go band like a desert needs rain," sighs Hamilton.

The Hamiltons featuring Kenneth Coles with Samantha and Acoustic Groove Trio at Starr Hill. $8, 9pm.

The Falsies and Dick Butt Kiss and The Tightends at Atomic Burrito. No cover, 11pm.

Parks Driver and Knicely at Fellini's #9. No cover, 10pm.

The Brides and New Minority at the Outback Lodge. $6, 10pm.

Jazz night at the Blue Bird Café. No cover, 7pm.

Vernon Fisher (romantic side of jazz) at Fossett's at Keswick Hall. 6:30pm.

SUNDAY, December 11
The Homecoming Comes Home:
See Thursday, December 8. Today's show is a 2pm matinee.

Blackfriars Theater
10 S. Market St., Staunton.
Christmas Carol:
See Thursday, December 8. There are two shows today, at 2 and 7:30pm.

Kokopelli's Christmas:
Today, Laurel Cockerille Giannini takes her sweet tale of rescuing a reservation dog to Starbuck's on Rt. 29 across from Fashion Square Mall. From 1 to 3pm she'll greet café-goers and sign copies of her book, The Kokopelli Journals. 540-832-7048.

It Takes a Village:
See Saturday, December 10.

Christmas Fair on the Farm: See Saturday, December 10

Climb 4 Kids:
Author Brad Richard and Rocky Top R.E.C. owner Bill Thompson team up to sponsor a rock climbing competition to benefit Albemarle County Social Services. There will be three different skill levels and a variety of prizes on the line. 2-5pm. Registration forms are available at Rocky Top, 1729 Allied St.. 984-1626.

Santa Paws Pet Photos: No kids? Have your dog or cat's picture taken with Santa. Proceeds to benefit the SPCA and local animal rescue groups. 11am-5pm at The Animal Connection, 1701E Allied St. in McIntire Business Park. Fee. 296-7048.

Holiday Winter Weekend: See Saturday, December 10. 9am- 4:30pm. Included in price of general admission. 984-9822.

Winter Open House: See Saturday, December 10. 10am-5pm. Free. 234 Vineyard Lane in Afton. 540-456-8667.

Xmas Shop Hop:
This event, including a Robot Record Fair, is modeled after the Black Cat's long-running "Rock 'N' Shop." Local entrepreneurs offer a mountain of rock memorabilia contributed by Robert "Robot" Hull, a longtime journalist for Creem, Rolling Stone, and the Washington Post. 19 vendors sell records, CDs, vintage clothing, screen prints, comics, books, t-shirts, jewelry, photography, artwork, and more. Adding to the fun: a DJ, a rare-record raffle, and a hot chocolate and marshmallow bar. Noon-6pm. Satellite Ballroom, 1435 University Ave. 409.2504 or

Municipal Band Holiday Concert:
Lots of people count on the Municipal Band's annual concert to get them in the mood for the holidays. Seasonal and traditional music, "snow fall," and audience participation highlight this annual festivity. Free, but tickets required, available at Plan 9, Senior Center, and Greenberry's. Two shows today: 3:30 and 7:30pm in the V. Earl Dickinson building at PVCC. 293-4185.

Time Travel Fun: Time Travellers present a performance featuring medieval carols, Renaissance motets, and Sylvansound (the Little High Consort), a chamber music ensemble performing Corelli's "Christmas Concerto." The Greenwood Consort, with harp, gamba, and recorder, join the festivities. The performance includes dramatic reading and carol singing. $7, 7pm. Gravity Lounge. 977-5784.

The Sylvan Consort, The Greenwood Consort, and Mira at Gravity Lounge. $7, 7pm.

Ralph Stanley at Starr Hill. $25/$20, 8pm.

Dan Sebring and Bill Edmonds at the Blue Bird Café. No cover, 6pm.

B.C. at Miller's. No cover, 11pm.

MONDAY, December 12
Oh, the Noise!:
The Grinch is back to stop Christmas from coming again. Fans of the curmudgeonly character are invited to munch popcorn and watch this modern holiday classic at Gordon Avenue Library. 3pm. Free. 1500 Gordon Ave. 296-5544.

Animation Nation: Teenage fans of Japanese animation get a sneak preview of the latest releases and meet other enthusiasts at Northside Library's Anime Club. There's food, flicks, and lots of fun for kids in grades 6-12. 6:30-8:30pm. Free. Reservations required. Albemarle Square. 973-7893.

Go Deep:
SeaDevil Divers, a local scuba diving club serving Charlottesville-Albemarle and the UVA communities, meets tonight. This month's meeting features a presentation from Christian Ramsburg and Julie Kelsey. All interested divers welcome. 6pm. Rococo's restaurant, 2001 Commonwealth Drive. 975-5570 or

A Christmas Carol:
This month, the book club at Nelson Memorial Library discusses Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. We all know the story– Ebeneezer Scrooge, bitter old man, visited by ghosts, redeems himself, God bless us everyone. Read the story, talk about it at the book club, then you can go see the stage production at the American Shakespeare Theater in Staunton. Noon-2pm. Free. 263-5904.

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

Open mic night at Baja Bean. No cover, signups at 8:30pm, show at 9pm.

Matthew Willner at Miller's. No cover, 10pm.

Travis Elliott at The Virginian. No cover, 10pm.

TUESDAY, December 13
Blackfriars Theater
10 S. Market St., Staunton.
Christmas Carol: See Thursday, December 8. Today's shows are at 10:30am (school matinee) and at 7:30pm.

Sugarplum Fairies:
The beauty and magic of the season dance onto the stage at the Charlottesville Performing Arts Center with the Moscow Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker. This holiday tradition features local children dancing along with the professionals. 7:30pm. CHS on Melbourne Road. 800-594-8499.

More Sugarplum Fairies: A real ballerina in full costume dances off the stage of the famed Moscow Ballet's The Nutcracker into Barnes & Noble to meet and greet fans and sign posters and books. Photo ops abound, and cameras are welcome. 4pm. Free. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-0461.

lang, Clang, Clang Goes the Bell: Trolley lovers can enjoy a free hour-long tour of the holiday lights around town aboard Charlottesville's Holly Trolley. Tours run every half hour starting at 6pm, with the last tour starting out at 8pm. Seating is limited, first come first served. The trolleys depart from The Shops at April's Corner. Free. Reservations required. Downtown Mall. 977-1812.

The Greg Ward Project at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm.

The Annual Messiah Sing-In at Old Cabell Hall. $5, 8pm.

Karaoke at City Limits. No cover, 9pm.

Ezra Hamilton at Mono Loco. No cover, 10pm.

Deep Kutz DJ series with Sketchy at Rapture. Free.

Cook's Class:
Learn from the pros at Mona Lisa Pasta. This month, they're cooking a holiday feast complete with apple walnut salad, individual beef Wellingtons, haricots vert bundles, potato gratin, and eggnog panna cotta. Learn the finer points of wine pairing. 7pm at Mona Lisa Pasta, 921 Preston Ave. $60 per person. 295-2494.

Pandemic Prep:
Frederick G. Hayden, professor of Clinical Virology in Internal Medicine at the UVA med school, discusses possible responses to the threat of a pandemic influenza at the Miller Center Forum. Dr. Hayden has consulted with governments and NGOs around the world on theses threats and preparations for a pandemic. 11am. Free and open to the public. 2201 Old Ivy Road. 924-7236.

WEDNESDAY, December 14
Blackfriars Theater
10 S. Market St., Staunton.
Christmas Carol: See Thursday, December 8. Today there's a 10:30am school matinee and a 7:30pm show.

Two Marys, Five Jacks, and a Very Big Shoe:
Wee Willie Winkie and the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe perform Mother Goose tales in a showcase of rhymes, finger plays, pantomime, song, and dance at the Old Michie Theatre. The production features an interactive experience especially designed for small children and preschoolers using audience participation. 10:30am. $5. Water St. across from the Parking Garage. 977-3690.

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

Parenting Apart: Kids need both their parents, regardless of whether the adults are together. The Family Connections program at Children, Youth, and Family Services offers a one-time "Transparenting" class for separated and divorced parents who are both involved in parenting their children but are having difficulty working together. $50/sliding scale. Call Gail Dunne to register. 296-4118, ext. 0.

Holiday Dream Time: See Tuesday, December 13.

Clang, Clang, Clang Goes the Bell: See Tuesday, December 13.

Plant Party:
The Jefferson Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society meets tonight for a Christmas sharing of slides, plant cuttings, or other flower-related goodie. 7:30pm, Ivy Creek Education Building. Earlysville Road. 293-8997.

Dissident Drama:
The Gordon Avenue Library's Wednesday Night Book Group meets to discuss The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat. Haitian-born Danticat's third novel focuses on lives affected by a "dew breaker," or torturer of Haitian dissidents under Papa Doc Duvalier's regime. 7:30pm. 296-5544.

The Red Hot Chilly Pickers at Dr. Ho's Humble Pie. Free, 7pm.

High Society and Wildgrass at Gravity Lounge. $7, 7pm.

Hops N' Chops Charity Benefit with Shapiro, Fountainhead, and Jay Pun and Morwenna Lasko at Starr Hill. $6/$5, 8pm.

Samantha at the Starr Hill Cocktail Lounge. No cover, 11pm.

Love Tentacle Drip Society, Buck Gooter, and Yin Yang Tobacconist at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. $5, 9:30pm.

Mary Robinson and Friends at the Blue Bird Café. No cover, 6pm.

B.C. at the Buddhist Biker Bar. No cover, 11pm.

Bennie Dodd at Coupe DeVille's. No cover, 10pm.

Karaoke at Fat Daddy's. No cover, 9pm.

Evan Mook at Fellini's #9. No cover, 8-11pm.

Karaoke at Jaberwoke. No cover, 21+, 10pm.

The Mike Rosensky and Jeff Decker Quartet at Miller's. No cover, 10:30pm.

Acoustic Groove Trio at Mono Loco. No cover, 10pm.

Open jam at Rapunzel's, 7pm.

THURSDAY, December 15
Salsa Night at Satellite Ballroom.
Lessons 8-9pm and dancing all night long! $6.

More Tales for Tots:
See Wednesday, December 14.

Clang, Clang, Clang Goes the Bell: See Tuesday, December 13.

Blackfriars Theater
10 S. Market St., Staunton.
A Christmas Carol:
See Thursday, December 8. Today there is a 10:30am school matinee, and a 7:30pm show followed by a chat with the cast.

Grow Slow:
This month's meeting of Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population examine the recent proposal to build a parallel road from Charlottesville to Ruckersville, tentatively labeled the Ruckersville Parkway. Speakers are Mitch van Yahres and Bern Ewert, who dreamed the whole thing up. 7:30pm. Westminster Presbyterian Church library at 190 Rugby Road. 295-4843 or

Bella Morte:
Dark rockers Bella Morte open for Lauren Hoffman at Gravity Lounge tonight, having traded in the nuclear fission and electric guitars for relative serenity and acoustics. It will be their first acoustic show with the whole band, and should make for an interesting change of pace– their last performance in town, Halloween night at the Satellite Ballroom, had them coating themselves in gore: "We were all covered in blood. We were dressed up like zombies, so we were all messy," says guitarist Tony Lechmanski. If we're really lucky, maybe they'll repeat that show for the unplugged set.

Lauren Hoffman and Bella Morte Unplugged at Gravity Lounge. $8, 8pm.

Satisfaction: the best of top 40, hip-hop, and R&B at R2 behind Rapture. Ladies free all night/guys $5.

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

Soul Canoe at Gravity Lounge. Free, 4pm.

Perfo at the Outback Lodge. $5, 10pm.

The Falsies at Southern Culture. Free, 10:30pm.

Rhett Miller at Starr Hill. $14/$12, 9pm.

Thompson/D'earth at Miller's. $4, 10:30pm.

Karaoke at the Lazy Parrot Grill. No cover, 8:30pm.

The Nice Jenkins at Mellow Mushroom. No cover, 10:30pm.

Upcoming and Ongoing
Clogging Confab:
Folks who've admired the Buck Mountain Cloggers and their whirlings to bluegrass, country, Celtic, pop, folk, rock music and live banjo, now have a chance to join 'em. Sign up for classes open to adults and children ages 9 and up, and show up in tap shoes. Younger children welcome with a parent's (or another adult's) participation. $36, 7-7:45pm every Monday (beginners January 9-February 13; intermediate February 27-April 3). Greenwood Community Center. 296-5844.

Cut a Rug: Terry Dean's Dance Studio has a new slate of classes for beginners: rumba (Monday, 7:30-8:15pm); swing (Tuesday, 7:30-8:15pm); foxtrot (Wednesday, 7:30-8:15pm); salsa (Thursday, 7:30-8:15pm); cha-cha (Friday, day, 7:30-8:15pm). Dance Party every Friday, 9-10:30pm. Individual classes $10 per person per class. Friday class and dance party $10 inclusive. 1309 A. Seminole Trail. Details: 977-3327 or

Square Dance Classes: Learn to do-si-do with the pros. The Virginia Reelers Square dance club offers beginning square dance classes on Tuesday nights. 7pm at Woodbrook School. Open to all, no experience necessary. Details: 296-9704.

Dancing 'Round the World: Learn circle, line, and partner folk dances from all over the world to authentic music from the Balkans, Middle East, South America, USA, and Africa. Beginners welcome. Ezher N. Uremiz instructs at the Senior Center, Pepsi Place. Tuesdays 6-8:30pm. 823-9705.

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 8pm. Complimentary water and sodas. The Outback Lodge, 917 Preston Ave. 8pm-midnight. $3-5. or 979-7211.

Michie Tavern:
Local residents can preview the Tavern Museum's Jamestown 1607-2007 commemorative exhibit and its 18th-century fashion display. Free. Open daily 9am-5pm. Rt. 53 opposite Monticello. 977-1234.

Spruce Up: Through December 24, cut your own tree at Ash Lawn-Highland. Donations will be used to help preserve the historic presidential home. Check in at the Gift Shop for directions to the cutting fields. Bring a saw and a rope to tie the tree to your vehicle. 10am-4pm daily. 293-9539.

Celebrate the Season: The Science Museum of Virginia celebrates the holiday season with "Joy from the World," displays and events highlighting a variety of cultural traditions from around the world, through January 1. Included in the price of admission. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Job Seekers Support Group: Encouragement, motivation, and a circle of support for those in search of employment. Meets the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at the FOCUS house, 1508 Grady Avenue. 10am. Details: 293-2222 x23.

Monticello Winter Tour: Learn all about Thomas Jefferson's friends and neighbors on this extended seasonal tour of the house. 9am-4:30pm, through the end of February. Included in price of general admission.

Mental Wellness: The holidays can be a stressful time. A new support group for mental wellness meets every Wednesday 6-7pm. On Our own of Charlottesville, 123 Fourth St. NW. 465-1674.

Senior Basketball: Charlottesville Parks and Recreation offers basketball for seniors 55-up at the Key Recreation Center, Mondays 9:30-11:30am through February. 800 E. Market St. 970-3271.

UVA Polo: Polo goes year round (well, almost). The university's nationally ranked squad has an indoor/outdoor facility on Forest Lodge, on the left off Fifth Street Extended, and they play every Friday night at 7pm, rain or shine. $2 students, $4 non-students. Info: 979-0293.

Know When to Fold 'Em: The local chapter of Gamblers Anonymous meets every Tuesday night at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 717 Rugby Road. 296-2284.

Ninja Yoga: Toward a revolution of consciousness. Suitable for all levels of expertise. Free and open to the public at "Better than Television," a new community center in the art space under the Jefferson Theater. Times vary. 295-0872.

Christmas Past:
Throughout December, the Frontier Culture Museum hosts Holidays in History. Historic farm sites are decorated for Christmas and costumed interpreters tell of the traditions of our past. 10am-4pm daily. Included in the cost of admission. Rt. 250 west in Staunton. 540-332-7850.

Take a Hike: Young outdoorsmen can discover what camping is all about at a new exhibit at the Back Gallery at the Virginia Discovery Museum. Visitors can follow a map to their campsite in the deciduous forest of the Blue Ridge, pitch a tent and settle into a sleeping bag, or enjoy all the outdoors has to offer including hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife. Through January 15. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025.

Well, Are You Coming?: Visitors of the Science Museum of Virginia get swept up with a trainload of children on a holiday adventure with The Polar Express: The IMAX Experience. Based on the classic Caldecott Medal-winning children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, the movie tells the story of a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole in a journey of self-discovery. Through January 22. $8.50. Call for advance tickets and show times. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. 800-659-1727.

Out of the Closet: Peter and Lucy venture into the magical land of Narnia as the Carpenter Science Theatre Company performs The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This main stage production runs through January 1. 1pm and 3pm on weekends, 11am Tuesday-Friday. $8. 2500 W. Broad St. 800-659-1727.

Playing Doctor: The Health Hut comes to the Virginia Discovery Museum from its former home at the UVA Children's Hospital. This interactive collection of activities helps kids learn about their bodies, health care, and making healthy choices. Slim Goodbody, for example, gives the inside scoop on the heart, lungs, and other organs. In the doctor's office, kids can view x-rays and examine patients. Discover the five senses, find out how much you weigh and how tall you are, and much more. This exhibit will be displayed in the Back Gallery for the next year. Included in the price of admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025

The University of Virginia Art Museum displays "Portraiture: Identity," an exhibition featuring paintings, prints, and photographs from the permanent collection. Also on view: "Mi Cuerpo, Mi Pais: Cuban Art Today." Both shows are on view through December 23. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592.

The McGuffey Art Center presents its annual Holiday Group Show, where visitors are invited to cash-and-carry away artworks of their choosing. The exhibition runs through January 1. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Second Street Gallery offers "Gary Baseman: Bedtime for Toby" in the Main Gallery, and "Interactions 2," a show of black and white photographs by local children and their UVA-student mentors, in the Dové Gallery. Both exhibitions are up through January 28.115 Second St. SE (in the Charlottesville City Center for the Arts). 977-7284.

Les Yeux du Monde features two exhibitions, on view through January 14: "Rabbits and Fairies" by Lincoln Perry [see Photophile, page XX] and a "Holiday Happening," featuring work by Anne Chestnut, Shelby Fischer, William Mead, and Gerald Mitchell. 115 S. First St. 973-5566.

On December 9, UVA's Off Grounds Gallery opens Johanna Drucker's exhibition, "Paintings, Projects, and Book Works," on view only through December 17. An opening reception is scheduled for December 9, 5-7pm. 300 W. Main St., First Floor (Ridge St. entrance). 924-6123.

The University of Virginia's ArtSpace hosts a group exhibition by the Virginia Stonecarvers Guild, featuring 46 sculptures by 11 members, through January 12. Newcomb Hall. 434-823-1007.

Through December 31, Ladd Fine Arts features the watercolors of Sandra Oppegard. 701 W. Main St. 977-4147.

White Orchid Restaurant displays photographs of Vietnam by Georgia Barbour, through March 31. 420 W. Main St. 297-4400.

Paintings by Blake Hurt focusing on Paris during the fall are on display during December at New Dominion Book Shop. 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-2552.

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection features "Yilpinji: Love Magic and Ceremony," which explores love magic rituals of the Kukajta and Warlpiri peoples of the Tanami Desert region. On view through February 18. 400 Worrell Drive (Pantops). 244-0234.

During December, Transient Crafters presents "Bead Beings: Sculptures with Personality," a show of works created by Steve Cunningham. 118 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 972-9500.

Art Upstairs presents its annual group show, "Small Wonders for the Holidays," during December. 316 E. Main St. (above the Hardware Store). 923-3900.

The Laughing Lion Gallery in December features its portrait of the month, "David and Anne," plus a continuing show, "Flesh Forms (don't bring the kids)," both created by Terrence Pratt. 103 E. Water St. (above London's). 984-4000.

For the month of December, the C&O Gallery offers "Transitions– Botanicals and New Panoramic Imagery by John Grant." 515 E. Water St. (next to the C&O Restaurant). 971-7044. See Art feature.

Photographer Hal Brindley displays his exhibition of wildlife images, "Polar Opposites: the Icons of Penguins and Polar Bears," during December at Creature Gallery. 824 Hinton Ave. 284-1800.

Through January 30, the Charlottesville Community Design Center presents "In Our Backyard– the Neighborhood Design Day Exhibit," which features individual neighborhood plans resulting from information gathered on October 8, Neighborhood Design Day. 101 E. Main St. 984-2232.

Angelo presents watercolorist Nga Bui Katz's exhibition, "Windows of the Soul," on view through December 31. 220 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-9256.

Art Upstairs offers its annual group show, "Small Wonders for the Holidays," during December. 316 E. Main St. (above the Hardware Store). 923-3900.

During December, Fellini's #9 features artwork by Marla McNamara. 200 W. Market St. 979-4279.

For its December show, The Gallery @ 5th & Water presents still life and landscape oils by Lindsay Michie Eades. Located in the upstairs foyer of Henderson & Everett and Stoneking/vonStorch. 107 Fifth St. 979-9825.

In December, Sage Moon Gallery showcases the oil paintings of Andre Lucero. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

Brand new venue Retroformat Gallery opens in December with an inaugural exhibition entitled "Charlottesville Transformations," featuring of stereo slides and framed prints by Boris Starosta. In the basement of 300 W. Main St. (below UVA's Off Grounds Gallery). More info:

For the month of December, BozArt Gallery presents its annual All Members Show. 211 W. Main St. 296-3919.

La Galeria presents a December showcase exhibition, "Fruits and Flowers," featuring oils and pastels by Anne de LaTour Hopper. 218 W. Market St. (next to Vinegar Hill Theater). 293-7003.

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

Blue Ridge Beads & Glass displays new paintings and art glass by Jerry O'Dell. 1724 Allied St. 434.293.2876.

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.


Gordonsville's Galerie LaParliere & Studios presents "Couleurs d'autmne," featuring work by Paula Pritchett and Bill Remington, on view through December 9. 117-A S. Main St. 540-832-3786.

The Artisans Center of Virginia hosts "A Handmade Season," an invitational exhibition of Virginia crafts. The show remains on view through December 31. 601 Shenandoah Village Drive (exit 94 off I64), Waynesboro. 540-946-3294.

The Williams School of Commerce at Washington and Lee University in Lexington offers a dual exhibition entitled "North and South," by painter Eric Fitzpatrick. The show remains on view through December. 540-458-8602

Richmond's Virginia Museum of Fine Arts presents "Dazzle" the first of four exhibitions under the title "Look Here," highlighting the museum's permanent collection, on view through January 29. The VMFA also features a rotating series of paintings under the umbrella title of "An Enduring Legacy: Paintings Acquired Through the J. Harwood and Louis B. Cochrane Fund for American Art." 200 N. Boulevard. 804-204-2704.

The new Virginia Holocaust Museum Art Gallery presents an exhibition of paintings by G. Roy Levin, on view through December 31. 2000 E. Cary St., Richmond. 804-257-5400.

Nellysford's Spruce Creek Gallery features "I'm from New Orleans, Baby," Amzie Adams' paintings of Hurricane Katrina, on view through December 31. 1368 Rockfish Valley Highway (Rte. 151). 434-361-1859.

The Arts Center in Orange features "Equus II," a collection of work by area artists celebrating horses, on view through December 31. 149 E. Main St., Orange. 540-672-7311.

Madison's Sevenoaks Pathwork Center presents "Chapters Before," a show featuring mixed-media work by J. Garcia, opening December 6 and running through March 5. 540-948-6544.

Barboursville's Sun's Traces Gallery features work by metalsmith Sarah Look through December 18. 973-3700.

Lovingston's The Eye of the Beholder gallery offers "Stopping Points," featuring paintings, drawings, and photographs by Elizabeth Hutson. Located in the Packing Shed on Front St. 996-5058.

The Barn Swallow features pottery by Janice Arone and Mary Ann Burke, plus other handcrafted artwork. Route 682 off 250W. 434-979-4884.

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.

Changing focus: Grant's eye-opening prints
"Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant," so begins Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. Photographer John Grant can relate.

When I met Grant at the C&O Gallery exactly a year ago, he was proudly showing his 90-something mother his exhibition of exquisite digital flower images. The next month, she passed away. A few weeks later, her identical twin also died. And, subsequently, Grant left his successful career in Crutchfield's creative division to become a full-time artist.

A lot can happen in 12 months. Fortunately, like Didion, Grant channeled his responses to life's abrupt shifts into his art. The resulting exhibition, "Transitions– Botanicals and New Panoramic Imagery," is currently on view at the C&O Gallery.

Many of the luminous flower prints, which Grant photographs using a reflective scanner and delicately tweaks via digital technology, were also on display in a too-brief show at McGuffey last month. The intimacy of the C&O Gallery, however, enhances their emotional power as Grant masterfully works edges and details to arouse a particular reaction in the viewer.

A tenderly poignant example is "Fading Iris Twins," which represents Grant's late mother and her sister. Two wilting iris blooms face each other, the violet edges of their withered petals curling in on themselves like arthritic hands. Yet their centers remain a vibrant yellow. As with most of his botanical portraits, Grant places the flowers against a rich black background, accentuating the petals' thin fragility.

In contrast, Grant's "Purple Calla Lilies" captures the robust sensuality of youth. Here two deep magenta blooms rise side by side, their deliciously sinuous petals teasing with glimpses of rounded yellow tips hidden within their folds. Reminiscent of Georgia O'Keefe's suggestive flowers, these lilies radiate a heady sexuality.

Grant has also extended his scope beyond his scanner in the past year, taking his digital camera outside to create evocative landscapes. Although the three horizontal studies of motion in the gallery's backroom are not entirely successful (the lack of focus in "Pink and Blue Forest" gave me a raging headache), the four watery reflections in the front room reveal a promising new direction for Grant.

Arranged as if moving from spring to winter, the series begins with the verdant "Wabi-Sabi" and ends with the crystalline "Inverse Image." For the latter, Grant digitally reverses the exposure, draining the color away to create an icy impression of death.

What Didion writes, Grant shows: "Life changes in the instant."

John Grant's exhibition, "Transitions– Botanicals and New Panoramic Imagery," hangs at the C&O Gallery through December. 515 E. Water St. (next to the C&O Restaurant). 971-7044.

BUZZ BOX- O Brother! Living legend hits Starr Hill

Highly respected as both a vocalist and banjo player, Ralph Stanley has been bringing mountain music to mainstream America for a half century. The hit film O Brother, Where Art Thou? rocketed Stanley into the spotlight in 2000 with his grim a cappella "O Death" on the multi-platinum selling soundtrack. Stanley was also the final act on the sold-out concert tour that followed. He still seems to be on a mission to bring old-time music to new audiences– and this Sunday, he'll be playing at Starr Hill.

The Hook: Is your career still feeling the effects of O Brothe?

Ralph Stanley: It's still going strong. I think it helped my career a lot. More and more people know me. This kind of music hasn't been exposed on the radio much. That put the icing on the cake.

The Hook: Did you want T-Bone Burnett as executive producer because of his role in that project?

Ralph Stanley: Well, he produced the soundtrack on O Brother, and I guess my song done pretty well. He told me how much it helped the movie, so he wanted me to do a whole album.

The Hook: Did the album turn out differently as a result of his input?

Ralph Stanley: Well, I did it with a different group. They furnished music for me. I did all the singing, but it was pretty different because of that.

The Hook: What are your responsibilities as a re-interpreter of traditional songs?

Ralph Stanley: My job is to continue doing the original old-time sound that it started with. If something else gets real hot, I don't jump on it. I think I should keep my old sound and my old fans. I think that's why I've been around for 60 years.

The Hook: After so many decades in the business and appearing on over 200 albums, what made you want to make your 2002 album self-titled?

Ralph Stanley: Well, they wanted to do that because I did all the singing, I reckon.

The Hook: Who are your favorite modern musicians?

Ralph Stanley: I don't have any.