Cville Sabroso coming up this weekend

This Saturday is the Second Annual Latin American Festival of Performance Visual Arts & Food will be at the McGuffy Center in Charlottesville from 11am – 6pm.

Here is the link for more information:

This week’s WNRN Culture Connection

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Here are three really cool things to do this week to get your culture fix: Artist, Peter Traub’s Woodear exhibit, Firehouse Theatre Companies production of WAIT UNTIL DARK and a performance by the Sobel 4tet.  So get out there and get cultured, y’all.

To learn more about the featured events, click on the links below.  You can hear a podcast at just click on “features” then “Culture Connections” to find it.

Woodear exhibit at UVA:

Sobel 4tet at Rockfish Lounge:

Wait Until Dark:

Have a fantastically cultured week!


The Culture Maven

Publicity photo for Wait Until Dark at Firehouse

Publicity photo for Wait Until Dark at Firehouse

Festivals, festivals and more festivals in Central Virginia

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It is officially Festival season here is Central Virginia with another successful Lockin’ just ended, this week Monticello, Staunton Performing Arts Center and Charlottesville Chamber Music all have festivals that include a food and gardening, performing and fine arts and well, chamber music (as you may have guessed) themes.

For information about these events, click on the associated links below.  

Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:


Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello:


Pac’n the Streets Festival in Staunton:

So much fun to be had so have some and get out there and get cultured.


The Culture Maven

Heirloom foods available for tasting at the Heritage Harvest Festival

Heirloom foods available for tasting at the Heritage Harvest Festival

Peter Traub’s Woodear at UVA’s Ruffin Gallery

woodear_postcard_sqrI am very excited to announce that a large scale solo exhibit of my piece,WoodEar, will show at Ruffin Gallery from August 29th to October 3rd, 2014. The August 29th opening, which will run on a Final Friday from 5:30 – 7:30, will include live choreography with multiple dancers directed by UVa ChoreographerKatie Schetlick. The installation will also include new digital and fixed media pieces with significant contributions by my collaborator, New York-based sculptor and video artist, Jennifer Lauren Smith. The piece will present several large-scale projections in the darkened gallery space, surrounded by 4.1 channels of live sound.

WoodEar was funded with a very generous grant from the UVa Arts Council, which enabled me bring in Jennifer and Katie to collaborate, as well as to purchase a significant amount of technical gear to re-imagine the piece at its largest scale to date.

The Final Friday event is open to the public and will include free hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

WNRN Culture Connection features H2O, a tour of Byrd Park and a Mountain Music and Dance Festival

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Summer decided to make a serious hot, humid statement just when most swimming pools closed and we should all be thinking about fall. But what the heck, I found some fun ways to get the heat off your brain this week with a play called  H2O, a Mountain Music and Dance Festival and an informative walking tour (because only crazy people run in this sort of weather- though we love them too) of one of my favorite parts of Richmond.

To learn more about this week’s featured events, click on the links provided below.  To hear a podcast of the actual Culture Connection, click here to go to the post at

Walking tour of Byrd Park:

5th Wall Theatre’s production of  H2O:

Rockbridge Mountain Music and Dance Festival:


Stay cool.


The Culture Maven

This Week’s WNRN Culture Connection: The Symphony, Cyrano and grape stomping

Vacations are over and the calendar is beginning to fill up but this is a great week to get cultured in Central Virginia with a little Symphony, Cyrano and a grape harvest festival.

To learn more about these events, click on the links provided.  To hear this week’s Culture Connection, click here.

Harvest Festival:


Richmond Symphony Evening Concert:


Cyrano de Bergerac:


John Harrell as Cyrano in ASC's Cyrano de Bergerac

John Harrell as Cyrano in ASC’s Cyrano de Bergerac

Read my Culturenuts blog post about Cyrano by clicking here.

Have a wonderful week and get out there and get cultured.



The Culture Maven

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A performance of a lifetime: Cyrano at American Shakespeare Center


                                         John Harrell as Cyrano de Bergerac- photo by Lindsey Walters

I have stopped reviewing plays because I want to simply encourage artists of all levels to make art for the love of it if not for any other reason and so this is not a review. I am writing this post because last night I witnessed a performance so rare in the world that this morning I awoke crying from the honest beauty of it and knew I would not rest unless I shared my thoughts. 

I am referring to John Harrell’s performance as Cyrano in the Edmond Rostand version of Cyrano de Bergerac (translated by anthony Burgess) at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriar’s playhouse.

I adore the American Shakespeare Theatre.  I think it is one of the best Shakespeare companies on this planet and most likely the Universe. I love how this company performs Shakespeare in the purest manner – without lighting effects, without electronic sound, with the house lights up to afford maximum audience participation, without scenery and with very few props- because it allows the focus to be on the words which was how Shakespeare’s plays were intended to be produced. It is like how movies from the 40’s and 50’s were filmed to be presented on a big screen and when one is able to see Casablanca or The Wizard of Oz at say, The Byrd Theatre in Richmond or some other un-altered movie palace, it is experienced completely differently than on a smaller screen.  But I digress…

When ASC produces plays from later era’s it can be challenging to interpret them as magically as Shakespearian one’s because the shows were written to be presented differently.  But this version of Cyrano works, no, thrives in these staging conditions largely due to Harrell’s brilliant interpretation of the character and flawless delivery of the text.

What I mean is: I usually like every show I see at ASC. Some are merely good, most are great and a few are spectacular but only twice have I witnessed hallmark performances.* The first was Benjamin Curns’ delivery of the best portrayal of Richard III I have yet to see and now Harrell’s definition of Cyrano played as though the part were written for him alone.

Part of the joy of this production is Jim Warren’s direction which seems to have matured from what sometimes is heavy handed goofiness to a more subtle and effective comedic touch.  There is just enough goofiness to keep the audience laughing without distracting from the beauty of the love story – for example: Chris Johnston’s fat actor (Montfleury) rolling about the stage aka Madonna’s Like a Virgin MTV Music Awards moment  (BTW: Johnston was fabulous in the role), Gregory Jon Phelps foppishness as Viconte de Valvert and Alison Glenzer’s whiney Sister Martha along with other bits with other roles.

But back to Harrell…

The audience was riveted. Harrell is always good in his roles.  He is a longtime veteran of ASC and knows his stuff. But he just IS Cyrano. A master of his craft and yet giving to his fellow players. Every pang of Cyrano’s insecurity, rush of exuberance, twinge of jealousy, glow of bravado, heartstring pluck of self- sacrifice and warm ray of hope of winning Roxanne for his own was clearly felt by all in attendance. To be present for his performance was glorious from his quick delivery of quips to Montfleury at the show’s start to the last gasp of “panache” at the end.  

My one regret is that I waited this long to see the show otherwise I would be back again and again. This is the kind of thing that happens RARELY so check the ASC schedule and get to this show before it is merely theatre legend. 

*Please note that I have not seen every show at ASC and there may have been other performances as fabulous unknown to me.

PS: McBeth and Comedy of Errors are also exceptional productions so you might just want to make a weekend of it and see all three shows.  MB 

More from Wintergreen Performing Arts after a stellar summer series Amazonia

Wintergreen Performing Arts
Tomorrow . . . 
The 9th Annual
Blue Ridge Mountain Music Fest
Sierra Hull - Tell Me Tomorrow
Sierra Hull sings Tell Me Tomorrow
Saturday, August 16
Noon-7:00 pm
Dunlop Pavilion
Wintergreen Resort
Wintergreen Resort, Virginia
Featuring . . .
Nothin’ Fancy
Sierra Hull
The Virginia Ramblers
Kim & Jimbo Cary and Pete & Ellen Vigour

Ticketing will be by wristband purchase 

on the day of the Fest at the Dunlop Pavilion Ticket Booth.


Ticket prices:

ADULTS – $25

STUDENTS (6-17) – $10



Click here for details!


Click here for the complete schedule!



Wintergreen Performing Arts
P.O. Box 816
Wintergreen, Virginia 22958

Rockbridge Community Festival

So excited about this Community Festival for one of my favorite parts of the world.

This just in from the festival’s marketing team:

The 38th annual Rockbridge Community Festival will be held in Historic Downtown Lexington, Virginia on Saturday, August 23rd from 9am-3pm. The picturesque streets will be closed to feature arts & crafts booths, community organizations, live music, and some wonderful food vendors. Held each year, the Rockbridge Community Festival highlights the best of American communities; the City of Lexington assisting along with Washington & Lee University, while volunteer leaders from the Lexington-Rockbridge Jaycees, Lexington Kiwanis, and Lexington, VA Rotary Clubs all meet, plan, and execute the Festival. Admission is free, attendance is encouraged, and fun is to be had by all. 


WNRN Culture Connection for August 11 – 17

Oh my, what a week!  There is improv, a foodie tour of Shockoe Slip and a performance of the children’s classic introduction to classical music, Peter and the Wolf. To listen to this week’s Culture Connection via podcast click on the podcast triangle below.  To learn more about the featured events, click on the links provided under each.

Peter and the Wolf:
Bent Hunger Games Improv:


Capital of Cuisine food tour of Shockoe Slip:


I will be going to ASC this weekend to see Cyrano on Saturday then heading to Richmond on Sunday for Old Crow Medicine Show at Maymont. Let me know what you did this week to get Cultured.


The Culture Maven


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