Charlottesville Breaking News

Bar talk: Happily-divorced relationship cartoonist tells all

In the middle of a phone interview, Nick Galifianakis suddenly tells a reporter to hold on, and he starts speaking in Greek— to his mom, who's visiting from Greece.

Family is ever-present with this guy. In North Carolina, the name Nick Galifianakis is well known as a former U.S. congressman. That would be our subject's namesake uncle. And throughout cinema-going America, the comedic talents of Zach Galifianakis also are well known. That would be Nick's cousin.

But for readers of the Washington Post, the go-to Galifianakis is Nick, the cartoonist for Carolyn Hax's relationship advice column, a collaboration that has gone beyond professional, as the two were married for eight years.

"She's frighteningly bright," says Galifianakis, still speaking highly of his ex-wife and current colleague. "I edit the column, not for spelling or grammar— heaven forbid— but for soundness of advice, male point of view, and to guard her unique voice. I know it very well."

When Hax's boss at the Post pitched the idea of her doing an advice column, Galifianakis, who'd previously worked at USA Today, was invited to pen something for the proposed column.

"Instead of drawing an icon, as was suggested," he says, "I created a fully realized cartoon that was connected to the column but also stood alone. We became a team."

Sixteen years later, he and Hax still collaborate on the column, which is now syndicated to a few hundred...

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What remains...

Oaks in East McIntire Park.

Two groups I'm involved with, the Charlottesville Tree Commission and the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, will celebrate Arbor Day in Forest Hill Park at 10am on April 27 by placing the city's first Landmark Tree sign on a big old Quercus alba (a white oak).
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Commentator Bill Emory puts up a new photo nearly every day at billemory.com/blog.

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Alt approach: Sons throw a change-up in Sirens

For a band rooted in tradition, Charlottesville-based alt-country act Sons of Bill have taken an unusual path to their new album and upcoming set of shows. Not only did they change their approach to writing and recording, they also found a new way to work outside the usual music label system.

The Charlottesville-based alt-country act— which features brothers James, Sam, and Abe Wilson— used the Kickstarter crowd-funding website to fund Sirens, due out March 27. It's an approach that avoids the typical business model, and band members say they were encouraged to see fans responding quickly and generously. The grassroots contributions allowed them to take their time recording the album, their first since 2009.

In a more surprising move, the group will play six free concerts in the commonwealth for its Virginia Calling tour. Seats for the Charlottesville show can be reserved with an advance purchase of the CD. The plan is somewhat reversed from the sort most acts would employ, given that ticket sales can frequently generate more revenue than album sales.

“We wanted to keep the tour free,” says vocalist/guitarist James Wilson, calling the shows “a genuine thank-you and a celebration for the home state.”

He says the band saw the arrangement less as a marketing tool and more as a way to make sure that fans could get tickets and make plans, especially with people coming from Russia and the United Kingdom to see the...

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The week in review

Biggest backlash: Culpeper Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Close abruptly resigns March 12 after a federal judge reverses a capital murder conviction against Michael Wayne Hash, citing extreme police and prosecutorial misconduct, the Star Exponent reports.

Latest in the Eddie Snead murder: Wanda Turner, the woman accused of stabbing Snead, who was found dead March 5 in his Fairway Avenue apartment, is denied bond March 7, the DP reports. Turner's record includes a 2007 cocaine possession conviction in Charlottesville Circuit Court, a 2001 unlawful wounding conviction in Fluvanna, and bad checks in 2009 in Charlottesville General District Court.

Latest in the David Cowan death: Two men charged in the February 3, 2011, shooting plead guilty to obstruction of justice and have seven other charges dismissed. Jermaine Antron Mulford and Whitmore Arnold "Weedy" Merrick, friends of Cowan, who was accidentally shot, each are sentenced to 12 months suspended, Ted Strong reports in the DP.

Worst road rage: Gordonsville resident Harold Tazewell Morris Jr., 44, rams into the back of a woman's vehicle March 5– twice– as she waits to turn left from Long Street onto High, pushing her car into the intersection, according to police. He t...

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A snowy Biltmore

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