Charlottesville Breaking News

The Death Look: Donna Britt rages for a reason

Former Washington Post columnist Donna Britt has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. So why, in her household with three healthy sons and a husband, is such an acclaimed writer the one walking the dog, doing the laundry, and emptying dirty dishes from the sink?

And why does her reaction manifest itself in what she calls The Death Look?

"So many women have faced that rage when faced with men's cluelessness," says Britt, interviewed in advance of her appearance in Charlottesville. "And part of The Death Look is the anger at how we allow men to get away with it."

In her book, Brothers (& Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving, Britt explores the compulsion that some women seem to have to do-it-all.

"It's almost embarrassing to have this impulse you can't control," says Britt. "You think of yourself as independent and autonomous, and you're doing things like your grandmother did."

Beyond the obvious sexism, she also discovered a racial element, something serious and rooted in history. For her, the key moment happened more than 30 years ago. Britt was working on her master's degree at University of Michigan when she learned that back in Gary, Indiana, where she'd grown up in a middle-class household, her brother Darrell had been shot to death by police.

It took her years to fully understand how her brother's death had affected her. One day, while meditating a...

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What do you think of the Landmark Hotel?

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Danielson's back? Billionaire's backing enthuses Landmark creator


Lee Danielson, the man who sparked a downtown Charlottesville renaissance (along with some battles against business partners), was publicly identified Monday as one of the interested bidders for the unfinished Landmark hotel, as the jurist overseeing the bankrupt 11-story structure sent a "stalking horse" off to pasture.

On March 19, federal bankruptcy judge William E. Anderson, who had set a January 15 deadline for the so-called stalking horse, Milwaukee-based hotelier Timothy James Dixon, declined to accept Dixon's day-earlier proposal to pay $3 million for the towering fiasco. Instead, the judge said at the close of the 2.5-hour hearing, that he wants the building's shell and land auctioned— even if that means entertaining live bidders i...

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Calypso: The Caribbean comes to Emmet Street

Calypso, the new Caribbean restaurant, cafe, and bakery that opened last week, probably has the most secure wine cellar in Charlottesville— the vault left behind by a bank that previously occupied their building at 1709 Emmet Street, right next to Raising Cane's. It was one of two huge vaults (one was taken away for the scrap metal) in the building, which was most recently a Century 21 office, when Mike Taft, a general contractor, and his wife Ghizlaine, who owns a preschool, bought the structure and began renovations last July. 

Today, withdrawals at the drive-thru window consist of gourmet coffee and breakfast items, while inside you'll find a full-service restaurant serving traditional Jamaican and Salvadoran cuisine and home-made pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, courtesy of co-owner and chef Dawn Gonsalves

Gonsalves, who owned a bakery in Lexington called Sweet Treats, says the food will be authentic from the region, which has many influences.

"The Caribbean is a melting pot," says Gonsalves, whose mother owned a restaurant in St. Catherine, Jamaica. "There are people from everywhere."

For instance, the raisins for their ice cream are soaked in rum. In addition to curry and jerk, they'll have fri...

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Roman spring: Bella's readies for Friday opening


The bar will be complete, the tables and chairs set up, and the staff ready to debut Bella's. The Roman cuisine restaurant at 707 West Main Street opens to the public Friday, March 23, and the place was abuzz during the countdown.


"I'm just happy to share Bella's with my fellow Charlottesvillians," says general manager and native son Justin Heilbrun-Toft. "They'll find something Charlottesville doesn't have: authentic Roman Italian."

Owners Douglas Muir and his wife Valeria "Bella" Bisenti aim to provide the intimate, yet family-style dining she grew up with in Rome, with family-size portions available.

So what to order? Specialties recommended by staff include the Calamari Fritti, Zuppa di Pesce, a shrimp-mussels-calamari-clams medley served on fettucine, and Porchetta— pork belly stuffed with fennel, rosemary, sage, and garlic and slow roasted. And start your evening with a Negroni, that classic gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari apertif.

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