February is over! Thank goodness.
Though it is the month of my birth which brings me joy and the shortest month of the year, February in Virginia always seems long and generally miserable. I did have some great adventures even though I failed to muster the energy to blog about them via this site. I had a fabulous Birthday Celebration at Glass House Winery in Free Union, Va. The greenhouse room is filled with tropical plants and is a great mini-escape from the cold, drabness of winter plus the fabulous wine and house made designer chocolates warm the tastebuds. I also went cross-country skiing for the first time at Kripalu in Lenox, Ma. To learn about that journey click here. Otherwise until last week, I laid pretty low.
So what happened last week?
One of the cool people I met skiing is Sarah Cohen, President of Route 11 Potato Chips which just happens to be located in Mt. Jackson, Va., about an hour and fifteen mins from my home in Charlottesville (what are the chances, right?). Route 11 Potato Chips are organic, kettle -cooked potato chips that are distributed nationally, mostly in boutique markets and gourmet shops. They are DELICIOUS! and Sarah is totally fabulous so I took a road trip up to see her and visit the factory. It is really a cool place and I got a VIP tour of the potato chip making process. Route 11’s process is innovative because it is set up linearly meaning each part of the process from washing potatoes to packing bags of freshly cooked chips happens in a line. The linear process helps cut on energy used to make the chips which is good for keeping manufacturing costs low and saving the planet. They also have a “no waste” facility which means they capture and repurpose waste materials like dirt and water from washing potatoes, potato peels and bits of chips and uncooked chips. The dirt gets composted and area gardeners and farmers can come and get it to fertilize plants. All the leftover potato stuff goes to a local farmer who uses it to supplement his cow’s diets etc. It was a really fun visit. I am actually eating some Route 11 Sweet Potato chips right now- YUM!
Thursday night I attended the Love Feast, a cabaret style celebration of love and fundraiser for the 8th grade class at Tandem Friends School. Why is this included in an arts and culture blog? Because even though Tandem is a small school of about 220 students stretched over 5th through 12th grades and this was just middle schoolers performing, there is an astounding amount of talent. All the kids were great, including my own little darling playing with her band.
Friday night I saw Monuments Men. My take on it: Don’t bother. This seems to be a film geared towards old farts. It is slow moving, the script is choppy and the audience is never really engaged with the characters making moments that are supposed to be poignant simply schmaltzy. John Goodman and Bill Murray seemed bored out of their minds. Their line delivery so rote and unrealistic it seemed they might have deigned to glance at the script before shooting the scenes – or maybe they were actually reading off prompt boards, who knows it was just terrible.
Saturday night was devoted to the Financial Aid Fundraiser for Tandem Friends School.
Sunday I took a road trip to Richmond with my pal, actor/singer, Doug Schneider, to see Cadence Theatre Company’s production of Clybourne Park. It was an exceptional production! I love the play and these actors, deftly directed by Keri Wormald, were in the moment from beginning to end yielding some of the best performances I have yet to see in Richmond. I must particularly mention David Bridgewater because, as a theatre critic, I have railed on him many times for being more about his ego than actually acting but he was astounding as Russ in the first act and marvelous as Dan in the second act. His performances were genuine and convincing, truly good acting. Big kudos to you David and to Keri for bringing it out in him- and all of the cast for that matter. The pacing was perfect, blocking spot on. Just a privilege to be in the audience witnessing a beautifully executed work of live art.
I will mention all of the cast in this post because they are not listed on the Cadance website and they deserve to be acknowledged: Katie McCall, Tyra D Robinson, Steve Perigard, Thomas E. Nowlin, McLean Jesse, Andrew Firda (first time I had seen him on stage and he was fabulous!) and Daniel Allen.
The show runs through March 15 so get your tickets now- it is a small house. For more info click here.
Post show, Doug and I went to Max’s, a new restaurant on Broad Street near the November Theatre formerly known as the Empire. From the moment I stepped in the door I felt transformed to one of those comfy older French bistro’s in Manhattan with the octagon tile floors and iron, wood and brass elements in the decor. We sat upstairs and enjoyed a sumptuous meal of French Onion Soup and Cock au Vin with ricotta and fig crepes for dessert. Alex, our waiter was an impeccable server, friendly, efficient and informative without being intrusive. It was a wonderful experience and I WILL be back.
Home then the Oscars.
Now it is snowing so it looks like a Lasagna day at home. March is truly coming in like a lion to Central Virginia. Stay safe and warm and pray for warm weather soon.
The Culture Maven