Rusty Wilson Takes on “Salesman”


Rusty Wilson has earned my endorsement as FEARLESS over the years as he has deftly tackled some of the most intimidating classics mid-twentieth century theatre has to offer like “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.  His latest foray into this genre is Arthur Miller’s, “Death of a Salesman” now playing with an extended run at the Firehouse Theatre Project in Richmond.  I am thrilled to be going to see the show tonight as I know, that this cast, headed by Richmond acting icon,Joe Inscoe as Willy Loman, under Wilson’s careful guidance will produce something worth the effort to get to Richmond.

I wondered why Wilson wanted to do this play as it is so wrapped up in expectations forged in High School and College studies of American Literature.  So we arranged to chat via telephone. Here is part of that conversation:

CN: What vision did you have for this play? Why do it at all?

RW: You know, I had no idea how to direct this play and which is often the thing that gets me interested in directing a play – because I don’ t know how to do it. (laughs) I feel that it is a really timely story at this moment given all of the crap our nation has been going through in terms of this divided electorate, who’s for what and who’s against what and where our values lie. I thought that Mr. Miller had some things to share with us about that.

CN: How does this play relate to today’s economy?

RW: It is definitely a statement on the “American Dream” What do we value? Do we value personality or do we value what’s on the surface? Do we strictly value individualism for its own sake? Do we value a more collective approach to National Health?

 Willy Loman has failed because his dream is false. For a guy who places all his eggs in the basket of being liked of having friends and having a personality that people are attracted to, he dies alone.  Nobody comes to his funeral.  He actually had no friends.  He says to his next door neighbor, a guy he can’t stand who he yells at all the time, “Charlie, you’re the only friend I got.” He’s 63 years old and spent his life trying to be liked and trying to please people. It is shallow. But unfortunately by the end of the play he still hasn’t learned anything.

 CN: So How did you decide how to direct this play?

RW: First of all, I cast it really well. I cast it a good ways out so I could get people who knew how I worked and would serve the play really well.  But it’s kind of like I do every play, I come in with a big question mark. I let the appropriate, relevant and pertinent  questions reveal themselves and then try on a daily basis to find solutions to those problems.  Actually not having the answers is what attracts me to directing a play.

 CN: What did you discover about the play as you explored it during the rehearsal process?

RW: For me the play has always been about values. On a more personal level, the dynamics between fathers and sons.  It is one thing to read [the play] and another thing to watch it live. The more living we did the more clear the play became. None my perceptions about the play changed, they just crystalized a bit through the rehearsal process.

CN: Has the play influenced you as a parent at all?

RW: Oh yeah, sure. It is a reminder to really be thoughtful and responsible about what you impart to your children and how your behavior models your belief system. You know, in Willy’s case his son caught him cheating with another woman and so all of these things he had been taught, the way he idealized his father, had been a lie, in an instant it was all a sham.

Biff does finally come to a realization of who he is but it takes this whole process with his dad the last few days he is with him for it to crystalize for him.



Death of a Salesman has been extended through 12/18.  For more information go to: Firehouse Theatre.


See you at the theatre!







The Frank Experience at Play on

Frank Sinatra music reminds me of the BEST holiday parties I ever attended.  When I was in High School and College I had the great honor of attending the Turpin’s Christmas and Thanksgiving parties for several years as the date of two of the Turpin boys, Coalter in my younger days and later his older brother the dashing Traynor.  All of the Turpin’s danced and I danced to Frank’s crooning  into the wee hours with hardly a moments rest.  A favorite recording was “It Might As Well Be Swing” with Count Basie. Every time I hear, “Fly Me To The Moon” or “I Wish You Love” I think of those parties, how fun it was to be young, sought after and dancing with so many dashing men in one evening.

Thankfully, Play On recognizes that there are some of out there who crave to hear this kind of music performed.  Dick Orange performs a bunch of old favs this weekend.  Details below.

I might try to go Sat. night, provided I get some work done on a story that is due Monday.

Nice & Easy: The timeless music of Frank, Dean, Tony & more

NiceEasy Poster - Copy (2)
Get tickets any time at

Waxing Poetic

There are reasons why I usually ignore the standard music scene in my blog posts.  Those reasons include :

  • the fact that the music industry has a huge promotional machine and really doesn’t need my help,
  • the sheer quantity of venues that offer music in the region making it impossible to see  even a fraction of it,
  • as a single mom who gets up around 6:00am it is undesirable for me to get out and stay out late enough to see bands AND
  • after dating at least a score of musicians over my lifetime, spending a huge chunk of my Freshman year of College hanging out at Berkley School of Music (I even had a student ID although I was never enrolled)  and having seen almost every band that played at Rockitz in Richmond for  three years during my VCU days I am jaded by having seen some of the best musicians in the world up close a personal which developed little tolerance for mediocrity.

In other words, the last way I want to spend my time is in a loud place with drunk and/or stoned people listening to a collection of less than stellar musicians insult everyone’s intelligence with poorly rendered unimaginative songs with stupid lyrics.

So I am really glad that I dragged my tired, grumpy self out to The Southern in Charlottesville last night to catch most of the first act (had to go to bed by 10:30) of David Wax Museum.  They were well worth the effort!

This band of credible musicians generate innovative sounds with interesting songs engaging the audience with their collected showmanship. Influence by Mexican, Irish, classical and folk music with some sounds of Brazil and indie rock tossed in to create a smart uniquely American (and I mean that in the broadest sense inclusive of all the American continents) sound.

David Wax, an impressive musician, energetic and fun to watch, may have his name on the band but Charlottesville native, Suz Slezak was the clear focus of the crowd last night.  She is indeed amazing.  Versatile in her musical talents, she played no less than four different instruments for the short time I was there- a keyboard, an accordion, a violin and a donkey’s jaw bone that she rattled and scraped to make the most intriguing sounds.  Let’s face it, the jawbone is quite an unusual instrument in our culture but I bet as this band climbs to star status it will become something more prominent in the music scene.

The band is rounded out by Greg Glassman and a drummer Phil Mayer who both are fantastic musicians yet relatively subdued onstage compared to Wax.

I am guessing most of the performance was garnered from their latest recording, Knock, Knock Get Up featuring “Harder Before It Gets Easier”.  Being a person who likes to have the music flow over them I got so caught up in the mental sorting out of the musical influences in my head that I failed to make notes of the set list but I will say this- it was all good.  A band doesn’t get the kind of recognition ( A Boston Music Award, Write ups in the New York Times, air time on NPR and tours with bands like the Avett Brothers) that DWM has in such a short time without being fabulous.

But don’t take my word for it.  Check them out at David Wax  Have a listen and become a fan yourself.

Pin-up Project to Pin Down Brain Cancer


I adore it when someone gets a bee in their bonnet to do something productive and creative when they are frustrated by something.  Daphne D’earth Latham has done just that, combining her talent for hair, make-up and kitsch with Jackson Smith’s mad photography skills to create the Beauties for Brains Pin-up Photography Exhibit where all of the proceeds will go the Emily Couric Cancer Center at UVA.

Below is a snippet from Sigrid of Firefish’s press release:

The exhibit was conceived by local make up artist and hairstylist Daphne D’earth Latham.  Brain cancer is a subject close to Latham’s heart as she has lost her maternal grandmother, grandfather, and great aunt to the disease.  Most recently, Daphne’s mother was diagnosed with brain cancer.  The exhibit is aimed to honor her mother Dawn Thompson who is currently living with her brain cancer thanks to the exceptional medical care at the UVA Cancer Center where she has been treated for the past five years.  The statistic regarding brain cancer are staggering: 688,000 people were diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012 alone.  Latham decided that a photographic show that showcases beauty in the name of brains would be a good way to raise awareness.

The exhibit features scantily clad women in classic pin up poses.  The show is tasteful, showing just enough skin thus leaving the rest to the viewer’s imagination.  The overall vintage vibe feels authentic and sincere which credits photographer Jackson Smith’s skill and attention to detail.  Daphne Latham certainly hit the mark with her precision in replicating the costume, hair and make up of these 40’s era vixens.  The photographs are for sale as is a pin up calendar.  All proceeds will go to the Emily Couric Cancer Center.

The show opens December 6th, at Firefish Gallery in Charlottesville from 7:00 – 10:00 pm.  Live music by John D’earth, food donated by Hotcakes.  $15 donation at the door .

For additional information about this exhibition please contact Sigrid Eilertson: co-owner of FIREFISH Gallery at 434/984-1777 or or visit us online at

FIREFISH Gallery is located on the historic downtown mall at 108 2nd St. NW, Charlottesville, VA.  


David Wax Museum at the Southern Tonight

A friend just turned me on to the band, David Wax Museum, today and I immediately fell in love with them and their eclectic sound. My favorite music is mutt-like, like me, a consummately American mix of different cultures forming something smarter,cooler, stronger and more beautiful than any thoroughbred and this band personifies that concept.  With a “Mexo-Americano” sound they fit my current mood for music.  You bet I will venturing out to the Southern to hear them tonight.  Details tomorrow.

Here is the 411 on tonights performance and a little about the band taken from The Southern’s website (edited):

David Wax Museum
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 Doors at 7:00pm/Show at 8:00pm
Standing Show – Limited Seating Available

When future music historians look back at the strong currents circulating between the Americas in the 21st century, they will find Los Lobos, Calexico, and a charismatic, lanky Missourian singing tight harmony with a Southern belle rattling the jawbone of a donkey. David Wax and Suz Slezak form the artistic core of the David Wax Museum, and together with multi-instrumentalist Greg Glassman, fuse traditional Mexican folk with American roots and indie rock to create a Mexo-Americana aesthetic. Combining Latin rhythms, infectious melodies, and call-and-response hollering, DWM was hailed by TIME for its “virtuosic musical skill and virtuous harmonies” and has built a reputation among concertgoers all over the U.S, Canada, Europe and China for “kicking up a cloud of excitement with their high-energy border-crossing sensibility” (The New Yorker). With the release of Knock Knock Get Up (September 2012), David Wax Museum has reached a level of cross-cultural integration and musical fluency that allows them to speak electrifying and heartfelt poetry with a tongue that is wholly their own.

David Wax Museum’s eclectic sound has deep roots in Mexican and American soil. On several trips south of the border, including a yearlong Harvard fellowship, David Wax has immersed himself in the country’s rich traditional music culture, son mexicano, learning from the form’s living masters. Suz Slezak was homeschooled by her father on a small farm in rural Virginia, and reared on music – old time, Irish, classical, and folk. The two met in 2007 and began blending their unique musical perspectives to form the band.

“One infectious band.” -Bob Boilen, NPR All Songs Considered

“The Museum creates a joyful Mexo-Americana fusion, with virtuosic musical skill and virtuous harmonies.”

“Pure, irresistible joy.”
– NPR Music, Tiny Desk Concert

“David Wax Museum kicks up a cloud of excitement with its high-energy border-crossing sensibility.”
– New Yorker

“A band that joyfully celebrates and preserves the heart of Americana music, David Wax Museum has quickly warmed the ears of thousands.”
– David Dye, World Café

– The Boston Globe

Hamaganza 2012 – A bunch of Hams raise money for Feed More

For the past five or six years I have schlogged myself out on cold dark nights to rehearse and perform in Hamaganza, a totally sick anti-Holiday show featuring acts of all nature including but not limited to go-go dancers, jugglers, cheerleaders, singers (of sorts) and this year Lady Arm Wrestlers for Richmond’s new branch of CLAW, RAWFL.  Why would an introvert like myself want to put myself out there, up on a stage with some really bizarre people and sing, dance or at one point, lead cheers?  Because it is for a good cause.  Media people, politicians and Richmond’s own classic drag queen, Dirt Woman put on this show every year to raise money for the Feed More (formerly known as the Central Virginia Food Bank).  It is only $10.00 or a ham at the door to get in and be entertained in ways you have never even imagined.

Please come and support our egos Feed More!

Staged reading of “8” at PVCC

Hello Culture Nuts,

I am thrilled to announce that John Knapp is organizing a staged reading of “8” at PVCC on December 18th at 7:30pm.  My palms are sweating as I type as I have agreed to play the part of a Broadcast Journalist. It will be my first performance in a play since playing Mariane in Tartuffe in DC in 1993. (Holy Cow! That was a long time ago!).  It is completely flattering to be included in this project and I as many of you as can make it will come to support this project.

Below is a copy of the press release sent my Knapp today.


Staged Reading Joins Nationwide Productions of Landmark Marriage Equality Play by Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter of “Milk” & “J. Edgar”

Richmond, VA – Richmond Triangle Players, in collaboration with Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, and with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a one-night-only reading of “8,” a play chronicling the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black.

“8” is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry.

Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film Milk and the film J. Edgar, based “8” on the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.

The reading, directed by Richmond Triangle Players’ artistic director, John Knapp and featuring many notable Virginia actors, will take place at the V. Earl Dickinson building on the campus of Piedmont Virginia Community College, 501 College Drive, Charlottesville, VA on Tuesday December 18, 2012 at 7:30. A talkback will follow.  Admission is free.  Tickets are available at no charge from the PVCC Box office up to two hours before curtain time on the day of the show or by calling 434.961.5376.

“8” had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on September 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York City.  The production brought in over $1 million to support AFER’s efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality.

“8” had its West Coast premiere reading at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles.  The West Coast premiere reading of “8” featured an all-star cast led by Golden Globe Award-winner and Academy and Emmy Award-nominee Brad Pitt as United States District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker; and Academy and Golden Globe Award-winner and Emmy Award-nominee George Clooney and Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Martin Sheen as Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies and Theodore B. Olson.  The benefit reading was directed by AFER Founding Board Member Rob Reiner, and raised more than $2 million for the fight to secure full federal marriage equality.

“People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial, if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter,” said AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black.  “The goal of ‘8’ is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right.  The facts are on our side and truth always finds the light.  AFER and Broadway Impact are doing all we can to help speed that process along.”

Throughout 2012, AFER and Broadway Impact are licensing “8” for free to colleges and community theatres nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding.  Most productions will be followed by a talkback where cast and audience members can discuss the issues presented in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial.

“This collaboration is a perfect fit for Richmond Triangle Players,” said RTP’s Knapp.  “As the only full-time professional theater in the Mid-Atlantic region whose mission is to produce works of relevance to the LGBT community, ‘8’ couldn’t be more timely or topical.  We have also been talking about bringing some of RTP’s productions to Charlottesville for some time now, and this collaboration – we hope – could be the first of many like it to come.”

The story for “8” is framed by the trial’s historic closing arguments in June 2010, and features the best arguments and testimony from both sides.  Scenes include flashbacks to some of the more jaw-dropping moments of trial, such as the admission by the Proposition 8 supporters’ star witness, David Blankenhorn, that “we would be more American on the day we permitted same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.”

On February 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark decision upholding the historic August 2010 ruling of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  The Ninth Circuit concluded:

“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.  The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

To reserve tickets, call 434-961-5376.

Follow “8”on Twitter: @8theplay or on Facebook :





The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown, the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced the Perry case through Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality for all Americans.



Broadway Impact is the only grassroots organization of the theatre community and its fans mobilized in support of marriage equality. Tony Award-nominees Rory O’Malley (The Book of Mormon) and Gavin Creel (HAIR) and Production Coordinator Jenny Kanelos founded the organization in direct response to the passage of California’s Proposition 8 in November 2008. Currently, Broadway Impact, in partnership with AFER, licenses and coordinates readings of Dustin Lance Black’s “8” at regional, community and university theaters around the world. Broadway Impact was the recipient of the 2009 Human Rights Campaign Community Award and proudly operates under the fiscal sponsorship of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.



Richmond Triangle Players is the only professional theatre company in the entire Mid-Atlantic region whose mission is to present works of relevance to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Its vision is to be the area’s premiere theater organization celebrating and advocating diversity and inclusion, through productions of the highest possible quality.


RTP opened its theater at 1300 Altamont Avenue in historic Scott’s addition in early 2010. The theater is a 4000-square foot performing arts facility accommodating flexible seating arrangements for up to 90 patrons.  A graceful lobby, which includes a generous bar, catering capability and box office, adjoins the theater, which features both traditional and cabaret-style seating.  The building has fully ADA-compliant access, parking and comfortable restrooms.




Proposition 8 Key Dates:

Date                                      Event

November 4, 2008           Prop. 8 Passes

May 26, 2009                      AFER Attorneys Announced: Theodore B. Olson and David Boies

January 11-27, 2010         Perry v. Schwarzenegger District Court Trial

June 16, 2010                     Closing Arguments

August 4, 2010                   District Court Rules Prop. 8 Unconstitutional

December 6, 2010            9th Circuit Oral Arguments re: Appeal by Prop. 8 Proponents

June 14, 2011                     Proponents’ Motion to Vacate Judgment Denied

September 6, 2011          California Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Proponents’ Standing

September 19, 2011        Broadway Premiere of “8”

September 19, 2011        District Court Orders Release of Trial Video

November 17, 2011         California Supreme Court Advisory Opinion re: Proponents’ Standing

December 8, 2011            9th Circuit Hearing re: Release of Trial Videotapes and Proponents’ Motion to Vacate Judgment

February 7, 2012               9th Circuit Affirms District Court Ruling That Prop. 8 is Unconstitutional

March 3, 2012                    Los Angeles Premiere of “8”


Art of the Moving Creature at UVA by Laura Ingles

I am really excited that the News department at C-VILLE WEEKLY had some space for this story. It is with great pleasure that I post a story by Laura Ingles for C-VILLE WEEKLY  on the Creature Project at UVA.

I wonder if they went up to DC to see WARHORSE for inspiration?

Here ya go:

While most UVA students were finishing up homework at 8:30 last Wednesday night, 25 architecture, art, and drama majors were covered head to toe in sawdust and coming up on their 13th consecutive hour in the drama studio on Culbreth Road. Last week, as part of a new course offering called Art of the Moving Creature, students and teachers spent three straight days in an intensive workshop, sawing, sculpting, welding, gluing, and painting with the team that made Jurassic Park come to life. Hollywood crew Matt Winston, Shannon Shea, Ted Haines, and John Ales flew out from Los Angeles to help the class build a 12′ tall, 25′ long creature that made its debut on Grounds last Thursday.

The year-long course is funded by a University grant called Arts in Action, and focuses on the design and creation of large moving creatures through lectures, material studies, and hands-on projects. The class also includes workshops with visiting artists from L.A., and the final products will be on display at the Stan Winston Arts Festival of the Moving Creature April 20 on Grounds.

With glue under their nails and pure joy on their faces, the students worked tirelessly on “Leggy-breed,” an ant-like figure with four body segments and six legs. As one undergraduate with gold paint in her hair engaged in deep discussion with an instructor about color and texture of leg joints, a group on the other side of the room held body segments over their heads as a classmate shouted, “Looks like we’re definitely going to need a dedicated head puppeteer!”

“College can be ridiculously fun,” said Winston, son of the late special effects artist Stan Winston—famous for dozens of films including Batman Returnsand the Terminator series—as he watched the students collaborate and begin crafting sockets for the creature’s legs.

Winston grew up on his father’s Hollywood movie sets, and in 2011 he founded the Stan Winston School of Character Art, an online resource for monster creation. When UVA Drama Technical Director Steve Warner—who has used his Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Brothers background to expose students to different entertainment avenues—approached him in the spring, Winston jumped at the opportunity to visit his dad’s alma mater and run a creature-building workshop.

Jake Fox, a third-year landscape architecture graduate student, said he’s spent dozens of hours in the studio, and loved every minute of it. It’s a nice diversion from his everyday routine, he said, and he has learned to think more creatively and critically about materials and techniques.

Fox said he’d never before considered a career in drama, but after this class, he’d welcome the opportunity to work in the monster building industry.

“It’s so much fun, it doesn’t even feel like work,” he said.

Shannon Shea, who worked alongside Stan Winston on sets from Aliens toJurassic Park, met the younger Winston when he was “just a punk 14-year-old kid.” He’s been in the business since the 1980s, but saw something at UVA he doesn’t see while making monsters in Hollywood.

“It’s not part of everyday life here,” he said. “They’re fascinated. It didn’t occur to me how special and unique it would be to these people.”

As a leader of the workshops, Shea loved witnessing students’ “ah-ha” moments, and hopes they take something from it.

“Even if they all become accountants tomorrow, I’m hoping that one Halloween, they’ll build another monster,” Shea said.

Foodie Thursday

One of the perks of being a freelance writer is meeting interesting people and sometimes if you are lucky, meeting those people in a food related setting.  Today was one of those days for me.

It started out at Paradox Pastry in Charlottesville when I had the good fortune to meet an inspiration in the form of Jenny Peterson, owner and operator.  Jenny is the consumate hostess so she poured me a delicious cup of steaming coffee (decaf for those of you who know about me and caffein) upon my arrival then insisted that I try a big fat slice of her famous gluten free almond cake.  Jenny trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and it shows.  This cake was super moist and European in style meaning yummy but less sweet than typical American cakes and pastries. Part of her vision for Paradox is to have a gathering place for people to talk face to face and relate to each other over some good food.  She has been in the business of health as a personal trainer for many years and understands the relationship between what we put in our bodies and how that dictates our overall health.  So ingredients are fresh and good.  One could argue the health consciousness of a chocolate croissant but hey, they eat them in France and the French are significantly healthier than Americans.  Perhaps it is less about what one eats than the quality of the food and the stress levels we allow in our lives?







Which brings me to my next stop of the day…

Lehja in the Short Pump Town Center where I met the delightful Dr. Dilip Sarkar to chat about how his yogic lifestyle is eradicating his heart disease. (Is that a grammatically correct statement?) Dr. Sarkar eats an Ayurvedic diet and loves to lunch at Lehja when he is in the Richmond area (he is from Norfolk) where the chef combines the best of Indian cuisine with a healthful twist.  They will only serve fried foods upon request, they use grape seed oil and make their own light dressings.

Dr. Sarkar is a regular customer- between you and me I think he looks for excuses to come to Richmond to eat there- so Sunny, one of the owners, just brought out dishes for us to eat, a custom menu, of sorts.

Here is the the salad created with fresh greens, pomegranate seeds, apples, tomatoes:

This salad had a delightful crunch to it with an autumnal flair via the apple slices.  The combination of fruits and veggies made it appealing to all the senses and the grape seed dressing with a dash of soy provided a salty zest to the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds

Kerala Style Seafood Curry: Seafood Medley Prepared In Kerala Style Curry Sauce, Basmati Rice  which was fabulous!!!

This fish dish featured salmon and prawns in a coconut curry sauce that was divine with the garlic nan bread Sunny brought out to go with it.  According to Sunny, this dish was voted one of the best fish dishes in town by Richmond Magazine.









A second salmon dish, Tandori Salmon Tikka Swerved with Afwaini asparagus and greens,  boasted  perfectly grilled salmon hunks with grilled veggies served on a banana leaf.  The salmon was moist and flaky and melted in the mouth – just the way I like it.

The dessert was homemade Indian  pistachio ice cream called Kulfi  served with a plum colored Indian donut called Gulab jamun. The garnish was cumin – mocha paint spoon smeared on the plate a la “Chopped”.

The meal was imaginative, healthful and delectable.  I am excited to take my extended family to Lehja next time I am in Richmond.

The final leg of Foodie Thursday took me back to Charlottesville where the fabulous Sigrid Eilertson hosted a benefit for the Food Bank at Firefish Gallery featuring the artwork of  artist, Ellie Frantzen van Beuren (see her stuff on Ellie makes fabulously fun beaded necklaces with cool accent chachkies like Buddha heads and peace signs embedded with colored rhinestones.  She also knits cool hats boasting a signature plastic shiny star emblem sewn on the front and creates totally cool art on her iPad then has it printed up on the canvas size of your choice.  Admission to the event was canned goods ro $10.00 and part of the proceeds of the arts sales went to Feed More of Central Virginia.  A dinner of homemade barbecue (Ellie made)  and Beef Stew (Sigrid made) with cheese, bread, crackers, fruit and cheesecake was available for guests.



Here are some pics:

                                                                                                                  2bkinder neck candy

2bekinder hats

                                                                                                      Gorgeous Artists, Ellie and Sigrid

                                                                                                  Me and Sigrid modeling some neck candy.

The thread of the day was food and its relationship to health.  Eating the right foods and surrounding that food consumption with friends and family. Sounds like a great idea.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Opera on the James brings the Batman to Lynchburg


I must admit, the weather was so lovely on Sunday and I had already driven to DC and back over the weekend that I was a bit grumpy on the trip down to Lynchburg to see the Opera on the James production of Johann Strauss’  “Die Fledermaus”.  And as you regular readers know, grumpy is not the way you want Mary to be if she is reviewing your show.  I really wanted to take a hike and enjoy the beautiful day instead of sitting in a dark auditorium- even for an opera.  But…

My mood was instantly altered when the curtain went up to reveal a lovely set and the principles began to sing.  Amanda Pabyan as Rosalinda the wife, Penelope Shumate as Adele the maid, Michael Mayers as Gabriel von Eisenstein the husband, Jordan Shanahan as Gabiriel’s friend, Dr. Falke and Marc Schreiner as Rosalinda’s would be Italian lover were all marvelous featuring strong voices and talent.  They frolicked through Stage Director, Marc Astafan’s playful direction like children on a merry-go-round, obviously having loads of fun which transferred to the audience of 900. (Yes, 900 people in Lynchburg for an opera! Who would have thunk?)

None of these names are of serious note in the opera world but all have the potential to rise to the top making the afternoon fly by. It is obvious that OOTJ has an eye for upcoming talent allowing them to fulfill their mission of providing good quality opera to their audiences.  Although I am too burnt out this week to scribble a full review and want to get this up ASAP, suffice it to say I was impressed and would definitely return to see more of their season.

It would be interesting to compare this production with Virginia Opera’s upcoming version.  If someone out there sees both and would like to offer that up, let me know and I will post it.

Create a free website or blog at