Charlottesville Breaking News

Sky high: Local heart-throbs come back home

It might seem as if Parachute were an overnight success— but that would be selling their story short. The hometown heroes have gradually risen through the ranks, from a rascally high school band initially named Sparky's Flaw in the early 2000s to a pop rock outfit re-branded as Parachute, to, today, a slick, confident, and mature ensemble that's heard their songs in Nivea advertisements, shared the stage with artists including the Jonas Brothers, Kelly Clarkson, and Taylor Swift, and performed on Good Morning America and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Arguably, the only way they could really be considered an overnight success is with the release of their third album— and only because Overnight is the title. In this iteration of Parachute's music-making, the band showcases heartfelt and emotionally-charged lyricism, more sophisticated production, and a touch of experimentation with hip-hop beats and spoken word lyrics. The album hints at a Justin Timberlake level of suave, indicating that the Parachute sound could one day move into the world of soulful R&B.

Yet these hometown boys have— and will continue— to stay true to their roots. With a Blue Ridge Mountain backdrop to their upbringing and the support of a community who "knew them when," Parachute's drummer Johnny Stubblefield assures us that these guys, now men in their late 20s, won't forget where they came from, and they won't let fame go to their heads.


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Chenoweth's 'Doubt': The summer you're glad you didn't have

Several drafts of Avery Chenoweth's new book, Radical Doubt, had been sitting on a shelf when a dire event at the gym made it imperative for him to get it published. "About a year and a half ago, I had a whopping heart attack," he says. "In the hospital they said if I'd been out jogging, I'd be dead."

The author of Albemarle: A Story of Landscape and American Identity had five or six unfinished novels sitting on the shelves as rainy day projects. "I felt the clock ticking," says Chenoweth— so urgently that he chose to publish Radical Doubt on Kindle rather than go through his agent, because if he found a publisher, it would take at least 12 months. "I don't have 12 months," says Chenoweth, 57.

Set in the '70s, Radical Doubt is about two college kids on a summer road trip who veer off to the Poconos to make money at a resort and end up encountering "a world they didn't know existed," says Chenoweth. "It's funny, creepy, and dark."

Very dark. Like prostitution, porn-video, violent-psycho dark. "As if Holden Caulfield wandered into The Shining or Blue Velvet," reads the book's description on Amazon.

Hook essayist Janis Jaquith couldn't put it down, and she insists the five-star review she wrote wasn't logrolling. "...I judge my author friends more harshly than I judge other authors," she says. "I don't know why this is so, but there you have it." She didn't even want to stop reading h...

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Phoenix rising: Second incarnation better than first on Lexington Avenue

Area: Charlottesville
Year built:
Square footage:
2,377 finished, 600 unfinished
.14 acres
Asking Price:
Curb Appeal:
8 out 10

Listing Agents: Roger Voisinet, RE/MAX Realty Specialists, 434-981-1076, Waki Wynn, 1st Dominion Realty, 434-466-9493

Personality. Anthropomorphic though it may be to describe a house as having a personality, this one does. Perhaps even more unusual is to ascribe a personality to a house that was rendered uninhabitable and abandoned following a fire in 2003. In 2005, the current owner purchased it, stripped it down to its studs, and began a full renovation. 

Two years later, the home had been so thoroughly reconditioned that the insurance company classified it as a new residence for underwriting purposes. The only original features the house contained were its footprint, its floors, several five-panel doors and the fireplace mantels. 

Today, a stone walkway wends through the English perennial garden that fills the front yard and culminates in several steps that lead up to a wide front porch. French doors open onto a large entry hall with a custom painted wood floor. To the left, a double-sized fireplace forms a focal point in the living room and cased openings on either side of the mantel le...

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The week in review

Biggest anniversary: Fifty years after the March on Washington, thousands flood the Mall and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool August 24 where Martin Luther King made his historic "I have a dream" speech.

Most spousal insurance news: UVA won't be covering working spouses whose employers provide insurance, the DP reports, while Charlottesville City Council considers extending benefits to same-sex partners legally married out of state, a symbolic gesture unless authorized by the General Assembly.

Most hysterical? What initially is dubbed an attempted abduction of a juvenile who was chased by a dreadlocked black male in Whitehall August 26 is downgraded to a "suspicious circumstance" the next day. According to NBC29, the juvenile was jogging up and down her driveway in the 2600-block of Browns Gap Turnpike and noticed a white sedan go past her house two or three times. The hoodie-wearing driver parked and started walking up the driveway. With no communication or contact between the two, the man gets back in the car and drives away.

Longest sentence: A judge upholds a jury-recommended 120-year sentence for James E. Jessup III, 39, of Nelson County, for five sexual felony convictions, the ...

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Get Out! events, shows, things to do

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

Trying To Be Cool

America is no stranger to French culture. From Monet to Camus, Bardot to Brie cheese, the list of artists, philosophers, authors, filmmakers and culinary delights whose influence is felt here in the U.S. is long. Rock stars, however, weren't on that list until Phoenix burst onto the scene in 2009 with their smash hit album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. With hits including "1901" (best known for its "Falling, falling, falling," chorus) and "Lisztomania," the four members of Phoenix are breaking new ground as the first French rock band to conquer U.S. charts, and their star keeps on rising.

Vocalist Thomas Mars, bassist Deck d'Arcy, and guitarist Chris Mazzalai started out as teenagers in a garage band playing out of Mars' basement in the suburbs of Paris, France. Later on, Laurent Brancowitz, Mazzalai's older brother, permanently joined the band on guitar after the end of Darlin', a band that Brancowitz had formed with Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (best known for creating another French group, the duo Daft Punk).  Little did the Phoenix fellows know then that they would go from practicing in a basement to hitting number one on Billboard charts in the States. D'Arcy, who s...

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Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse