Charlottesville Breaking News

All in "The Family:" Mob life satisfies as dark comedy

In most mob movies, the gangsters try to maintain some distance between business and family life. Remember Michael Corleone telling Kay she could ask him about his business, just this one time?

Oh sure, in most mafia films the wife might know the true nature of her husband's dealings, and the children (or at least the sons) will often have the opportunity to join the family business – but only after they've reached a certain age. Not so with Giovanni Manzoni, his wife and children in Luc Besson's The Family.

Giovanni (Robert De Niro) is a second-generation mobster turned informant, now in the Witness Protection Program, but his wife, Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer), his 17-year-old daughter, Belle, and his 14-year-old son, Warren, share Giovanni's hair-trigger temper and his penchant for solving just about any dilemma with brutal violence.

They're a mob unto themselves.

This is why the Manzonis have to pick up every few months. They're supposed to be living a quiet life in France, more than 3,000 miles and multiple name changes re...

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'Sox lid': A hat changed my life

By Carroll Trainum
Carroll@CarrollTrainum.com

The first week of August marked the 11th anniversary of a life-changing event for me. My wife and I were married in 2002 and went to Boston on our honeymoon. During a failed attempt to see a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, we bought Boston Red Sox ball caps outside on Yawkey Way.  We were tourists, not baseball fans— much less Sox fans. Those hats changed things for us from then on.

Almost ten years ago, the Hook published my essay, "Sox Lid: A Hat is Not Just a Hat." In it, I recounted the saga of my ball cap—how it got the attention of the then long-suffering “Red Sox Nation” (Boston fans) wherever I went, and how that community accepted me as a fellow sufferer.  (It’s been said that “being a Red Sox fan is an illness.”) My essay ended in 2003 as a Yankee fan heckled me after Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez lost the AL series to New York.  I realized then that I was bonafide Red Sox Fan. Much has happened since then and— for me— the catalyst was a Red Sox Hat.

2004 was a red letter year for the Boston Red Sox. The American League Championship Series pitted Boston against New York, one of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports. Boston lost the first three games of a best-of-seven series and needed to win the next four games; a f...

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Life and death: A child's-eye view of Jim Crow Charlottesville

The headlines in the Daily Progress that September described a world that was as distant as the moon to the boys who slept and woke on Dice Street. “France Prepares for War Threats,” one read; in Germany, Hitler joined “50,000 disciplined youths” at the annual Nuremberg Rally and watched as hundreds of artillery units and tanks streamed past the reviewing stand and the Hindenburg hovered overhead.

The 1936 presidential campaign was in full swing, and Amelia Earhart was “nearly sold” on the idea of flying around the world. When it became known that Wallis Simpson was King Edward VIII’s guest at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Warrrenton socialites buzzed with memories of the year she had lived among them while waiting to be divorced from her first husband. And in Greenwood, Lady Astor—the former Nancy Langhorne—was in residence at Mirador, her family home.

The Progress rarely had news about anything that concerned the boys on Dice Street, but September 1 was an exception: “The white schools of Albemarle County opened this morning for the 1936-37 session,” the then-afternoon paper announced, and went on to note that “the colored schools will open tomorrow.”

There were two Charlottesvilles then, sharply divided by customs and laws so ingrained that “the colored schools will open tomorrow” could be just another bit of local news in the Progress. It was as if the boys who lived on Dice Street, Eugene and...

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Get Out! events, shows, things to do

"In art everything is possible, but everything is not necessary.” ― Arvo Pärt

Icelandic band goes dark

You could count the number of famous music acts to come out of Iceland on one hand– there's Bjork, her band The Sugarcubes, folk group Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós. The only thing these acts have in common is that they're all so unique, especially Sigur Rós, and in particular their most recent album. Kveikur, released this past June, is a major departure from their previous albums. From the first moment in its opening track “Brennisteinn,” you can feel the dark, dystopian mood, which carries throughout the whole track list. Their familiar light and airy sound, usually accompanied by meditative piano melodies, has turned into quite the opposite– a sound that shocks the senses.

The band, mainly made up of Jón Þór Birgisson on lead vocals and guitar, Georg Hólm on bass, and Orri Páll Dýrason on percussion, have put together seven albums since 1997. All are uniquely imaginative and minimalist with a call back to nature, while still being modern and cutting-edge. They have been categorized as post-rock, but they also incorporate classical, dub-step, and pop genres into their music. Their globe-spanning tour, which began over a year ago, will have the ultimate list of U.S. dates, consisting of a 20-show run. This is a live per...

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Six months: Kroboth to stay behind bars

Convicted attempted-wife-killer Kurt Kroboth will stay behind bars after a judge ruled he violated the terms of his probation for the second time in the past year.

Back in January, Kroboth detoured north of his probation officer-approved trip from Arizona to California, stopping by the University of Oregon and attempting to see his college-aged son. For that offense, he was returned to Virginia where he was jailed from January to June. Fewer than two months later, he was arrested again in Charlottesville after his probation officer testified that he refused to sign the terms of his Arizona probation.

In Charlottesville Circuit Court on September 4, Kroboth, who was convicted in 2006 of attempted murder for a 2004 offense in which he donned a vampire mask, cut the phone lines and electricity to the house in which his estranged wife was sleeping, and assaulted her as she slept, testified that he felt the terms of the Arizona probation were so restrictive that they limited his ability to take care of his parents or to complete work duties, virtually guaranteeing a future violation.

Judge Paul Peatross sentenced Kroboth to six months and ordered extended supervised probation.

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