WNRN Culture Connection for Jan 19 – 25

Its January and loosing weight is on many people’s minds so now is a great time to learn about GMO’s via a film at the Central Branch of the Library, work off some calories biting your nails at Arena Racing or give it up altogether and have a great meal and watch a funny play.

For more information on the featured events, click on the links provided.

Arena Racing:

http://richmondcoliseum.net/events/

The Drowsy Chaperon Dinner Theater:

http://roberteleehotel.com/

GMO-OMG: Film at the Library:

http://www.jmrl.org/cgi-bin/calendar.pl?view=Event&event_id=4860&datestring=20150122

 

Arena Racing Champion

Arena Racing Champion

If you know of a cool event coming up, shoot me an email at culturemaven@wnrn.org.

Also, on Saturday you can witness the production of seven, ten-minute plays created less than 24 hours earlier when Live Arts presents: 24/7.  More at livearts.org.

Have a culturally fabulous week!

Mary

The Culture Maven

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The Culture Maven Report 2014

Because I am an Arts & Culture media person people imagine that I am out all the time at cultural events.  This is not true.  As a single mom without a familial support system close by with a full time job, I often in my PJ’s by 8pm snuggled up with a good book or binge watching whatever TV series I have chosen to view in order to stay conversant with people (this past year I binge watched GAME OF THRONES and HOUSE OF CARDS and kept up with season 4 of DOWNTON ABBEY).  But looking back over 2014 I was able to glean, through saved ticket stubs, roughly how much culture I absorbed.

I thought it would be fun to share the tally with you, though I am certain it is not entirely accurate as there were events I attended without tickets like THE HERITAGE HARVEST FESTIVAL at Monticello and other events I attended purely as part of my job at WNRN like THE RED WING ROOTS MUSIC FESTIVAL.

So here is most what I saw/did/experienced in 2015:

1 Opera – I wish I had seen more.  I was sad to miss two different productions of LA BOHEME along with Va. Opera’s entire season. 😦

7 Concerts– That seems way off but often I am on the guest list and I have the memory of a goldfish.  I can tell you that the best concert I attended this year was Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings– positively awe-inspiring!

13 museums/exhibits– This does not include art galleries.  My favorite exhibit was a guilty pleasure viewing of Hollywood Glamour at the MFA in Boston- I know it should be something loftier like the Goya, Jamie Wyeth or Gordon Parks but hey, I was a fashion major in art school and am a big sucker for old movies.

14 Films – And I think I never go to the movies- Hah! My favorite film I saw this year…GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE, an Iranian vampire movie in black and white. Caught it at the Virginia Film Festival. Tender love story with a twist. Adorable.

25 Plays– Excluding a production of SPAMALOT at Tandem Friends School in which my daughter played Patsy, my favorite play this year was CYRANO DE BERGERAC at American Shakespeare Center.  I have said it before, John Harrell’s portrayal of the title character was the performance of a life time. I feel privileged to have witnessed it. 🙂

John Harrell as Cyrano at ASC

John Harrell as Cyrano at ASC

Not bad for 52 weeks.

Here’s to a Culture filled 2015!

What is your culture tally for 2014? Do you have a favorite play, movie, exhibit or other cultural experience to share?

WNRN Culture Connection for Nov 17 – 23

This week I have picked an exhibit of treasures from the Forbidden City, A film festival and the theatrical version of one of my favorite stories, Little Women – just the thing to get you cultured up for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

To learn more about these events, click on the links provided.  To hear a podcast of this week’s Culture Connection, go to wnrn.org and click on the “features” tab then on Culture Connections.

If you know of a cool event coming up in the next month, shoot me a text at culturemaven at WNRN dot org and help me to help you make a WNRN Culture Connection.

Forbidden City Exhibition at the VMFA:

http://vmfa.museum/exhibitions/forbidden-city/

Little Women:

http://www.fourcp.org/SitePages/currentseason.aspx

Super Gr8 Film Festival:

http://www.valleyarts.org/films/

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Have an awesome culture filled week!

Mary

The Culture Maven

WNRN Culture Connection for Oct 27 – Nov 3

It is the week of Halloween and La Dia de los Muertos so I chose some events that are appropriate for the season (including a ballet for those of you who are uninterested in Halloween activities for whatever reason).  There’s Carmina Burana at Richmond Ballet, a series of blaxploitation horror films at the Jefferson School in Charlottesville and Trick-or-Treating for the little monsters in your life in Lexington.  As for me,  I will be at the Tandem Friends School enjoying one of my favorite shows of all time- Spamalot.

If you would like information on the featured events in this week’s WNRN Culture Connection, click on the links provided.

Binge Film Sessions: Blaxploitation Horror films:

http://jeffschoolheritagecenter.org/events/2014-fall-events/calendar-2/

 

 Carmina Burana:

http://www.richmondballet.com/season-tickets/performances/carmina-burana/

 Tricks-or-Treats in Downtown Lexington:

http://events.lexingtonvirginia.com/events.php?view=d&id=6589&m=10&y=2014&d=31

Image from Charlie Brown Halloween

Image from Charlie Brown Halloween

 Have a howling good week.

Mary

The Culture Maven

Virginia Film Festival on the horizen

VFF ANNOUNCES 2014 PROGRAM OF FILMS, EVENTS, AND SPECIAL GUESTS

Virginia Film Festival to return to Charlottesville November 6-9 with more than 100 films and stellar lineup of special guests including Hal Holbrook, Jenna Elfman, Barry Levinson, Frank Langella, Richard Roundtree, Katie Couric, Patrick Wilson, and Jasmine Guy

2014 Festival To Open with World Premiere of Virginia-Themed and Made Big Stone Gap And Feature Live Performance of Legendary Actor Hal Holbrook’s Enduring One-Man Show Mark Twain Tonight!

Wide-Ranging Program To Include Top Festival Circuit Titles Wild,Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, and Mr. Turner – Plus Dynamic New Discoveries, Powerful Documentaries, Timeless Classics.

The above is information from the VFF website. For more information on this years festival click here. This should be a stellar film festival this year so get your tickets now!

The quiet before the storm

My annual cold/flu/allergy/forced winter hibernation period happened at it’s usual time this year hitting the week before HAMAMGANZA, the charity variety show I have participated in for the last 6 or 7  years. I have performed in this show with a temperature of 104 degrees.  I have performed this show when I could not make a sound come out of my mouth (Organizer, Chris Dovi, thought it was absolutely hilarious to have a silent cheerleader in the show and I mouthed the words to cheers and songs all night).  But this year I was floored and missed the show entirely, staying home in bed to recover.  I was very sad about missing it, particularly since it is the final year of the show and I wanted to be a part of it ONE LAST TIME. C’est la vie.

I was bedridden for the entire weekend, not only missing Hamaganza,but also missing THE WILD PARTY at Firehouse in Richmond, The Virginia Consort concert, Ash Lawn Opera’s, AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS and  the performance of the programI facilitated for the Young Friends for the Christmas celebration at the Charlottesville Friends Meeting.

Therefore, outside of recording the first interview for WNRN’s new Arts and Culture radio show (Chase and Susan from Virginia Repertory Theatre airing January 5th) and that THE  RISE OF THE GUARDIANS makes a charming family holiday movie (LOVE ACTUALLY is still my fav for a more adult group holiday grope, with IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE being my number one all time Christmas favorite with MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, the original, as a close second- yes, I watched a bunch of Christmas movies while resting can you tell? But only after watching up through part 1 of season 5 of BREAKING BAD on Netflix on demand which, in a most evil manner, makes one order the 2nd part of season 5 via snail mail DVD delivery. AGGGGGHHHH!!!), I have nothing to report.

The Good News: All of this bed rest, turmeric tea and chicken soup has worked. I am feeling much better- ready for the whirl of holiday activities before me.

Will keep you posted.

Until next week…

Mary

The Culture Maven

Rise-of-the-guardians

Food and Games sums up Last Week’s Adventures

It is miraculous how a rainy, chilly weekend can erase one’s memory of a busy week.  So it was with me this past weekend with only one event on my calendar but last week was quite busy as I reflect on it for this post.

It all started with a viewing of ENDER’S GAME at the beautiful, still new to us Cvillians, Stonefield Regal Cinemas  on Monday evening to top off Veterans Day off from school for my daughter.  Stonefield is stadium seating and vastly cleaner and better smelling than any other movie theater in town.  I adore it.

Tuesday’s outing included a tuna melt and chic pea with kale soup lunch at FEAST one of my favorite lunch spots.  Feast is a gourmet market and sandwich shop with a casual atmosphere located on Main Street.  The food is good, the people are friendly and the selection in the market is mouthwatering. Tuesday night was a huge sports night because the darlings of my alma mater, THE VCU RAMS, played the UVA HOOS in basketball for the first time in 15 years.  There once was a basketball rivalry between the schools so I enjoyed a perverse pleasure in wearing my VCU scarf (which resembles a Hufflepuff scarf from the Harry Potter series) all day, proudly flaunting it at McGrady’s in the evening during the neck-and-neck game.  Alas, I missed the final winning shot in the last second which made VCU the victors of the game but was even happier the following day flaunting my team scarf once again.

Wednesday was cold here in Cville so lamb curry form JUST CURRY on the downtown mall was the perfect lunch.  It is fast food at its finest, inexpensive, healthy, locally owned and yummy.  In the afternoon I ran into my dear friend and Tibetan Monk, Dr. Kunchock on the mall while on my way to have tea at the TWISTED BRANCH TEA BAZAAR with a client.  Dr. K. was the designated tour organizer and escort for the trip I took to Xining, Tibet over the summer.  He is here visiting with other VIP’s from the Arura Tibetan Medical Group to help move the cause (building a Tibetan Medical Center here) along and to speak about Tibetan Medical practices at the UVA Medical School. I saw him and the others at former Mayor, David Brown’s home at a reception for the Tibetan group on Thursday night along with other local luminaries.

Friday morning I accepted a fabulous invitation from an old friend to have a massage and lunch at THE BOAR’S HEAD.  The massage was fantastic and I didn’t want to get off the table when it was finished.  The spa is comfortable and resembles the SPA AT THE WILLIAMSBURG INN but on a much smaller scale.  Lunch is a buffet with mostly Southern type fare like peanut soup (with a little spice – it was really good) and Chicken in a corn sauce. It was perfectly lovely but outside of the soup nothing to write home about in terms of a Foodie experience. I would cheerfully go back for dinner to sit next to the fireplace and definitely return to the spa to try some other treatments to see how they stand up to Keswick or The Homestead.

The remainder of the weekend was chill until Sunday afternoon when I attended a gallery event at Chroma on the Down Town Mall.  Alex Nyerges of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts gave a short talk.  Food from Tastings and wine from wine from Early Mountain Vineyards were featured at the event.  All of the food contained gluten so I cannot tell you how it was though the crab dip radiated an aroma that permeated the gallery. The wine was very good. With that I took my grumpy (chilly rain does that to me) self home and watched Public Television all night while my daughter worked on a term paper.

Hopefully this week will be a tad slower but you never know.  There are lots of theatre dates to be made for the holidays.

Until next week…

Get out there are get cultured!

Mary

The Culture Maven

 

Film, Food, MoFo’s and Ham

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Charlottesville is a cool place to live because we some big city entertainment coupled with small town living.  Last week’s big city type entertainment was the Virginia Film Festival, an event that takes over our little village attracting people from all over the country to C-ville for 100 movies in 4 days.

I for one enjoy the people watching during this event usually more than the films themselves and somehow the VFF always falls on a weekend when I have fifty other obligations, limiting my ability to participate.  So this is how the weeks shook down in terms of my Arts & Culture experience:

On Wednesday I lunched at Farm as I waited to ambush Matthew Slatts, Executive Director of the Bridge Arts Center. Farm is a sandwichy/ salady type place that offers fresh food mostly locally sourced and a good selection of beers and wine.  It is charming and the noodle salad I pulled from the ready-mades cold case was delish.  A great place for a nice lunch and plenty of sunny outdoor seating.

Wednesday night I worked on my Bachata moves at Charlottesville Salsa Club’s Bachata night at club M&M.

Thursday was the first day of the VFF- good crowd watching on the Downtown Mall.  My daughter and I went to see the Lighthouse Films since she was a student over the summer.

Friday night was a family road trip to Staunton to the American Shakespeare Center with friends to see (for me a repeat viewing, I liked it so much the first time) RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET.  Every body LOVED it and I won a raffle ticket for answering a trivia question correctly. (yeah!)  The show is in its final weeks, closing at the end of November to make room for the three Christmas themed shows presented in December.

Saturday morning found me directing traffic at the Tandem Tag Sale which was a mother load of treasures.  If you missed it this year be sure to go next year because there is always some gooooood stuff for amazing prices.

Then a visit to the VFF Family day at UVA near the Culbreth theater.  All I am saying is work is needed on this event.

The next stop was one of my fav eateries – The Flat, behind the Jefferson Theater, for crepes al fresco then to Pearl’s Bake Shoppe for apple cider donuts. The Flat make fat savory or sweet crepes and is loved for the fresh local ingredients, ample portions and great prices.  It is fast food that is truly good for you. I had a veggie on buckwheat crepe – yummy.

Saturday night found me at the Downtown Grille for a quick drink and a sumptuous crab cake appetizer before popping over to Live Arts for closing night of MOTHER F**CKER WITH A HAT. The script itself was so-so with a superfluous final scene that watered down what might have been a spectacular ending but Ike Anderson as Jackie, the central character put in a dynamic performance.

Sunday was another VFF day which culminated for me and my daughter with the documentary, BIBLE QUIZ, about a bible quiz team and the personal dynamics of said team over the course of a critical competition.  Who even knew there was such a thing as Bible Quiz?  Somebody I guess…  We liked the film and were sad we missed so many other films due to scheduling or rating issues.

Sunday night we drove to Richmond for Hamaganza rehearsal in preparation for the last Hamaganza fundraiser for Feedmore ever.  Mark your calendars for December 13 & 14 to witness what is sure to be the most debauched, sophomoric and pathetic Hamaganza of all time – because some legends deserve to go down in flames.

Hopefully things will slow down a tad this week but you just never know what invitations might pop up!

Get out there and get Cultured, Ya’ll.

Best,

The Culture Maven

WNRN Culture Connection for November 4 – 12

This is a week for nostalgia.  The Hollywood costumes, Old (and new) movies and collecting collectables are all on the calendar…

Have a brush with fame at the nonprofit Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s Hollywood Costume Exhibit featuring iconic costumes from a century of cinema from Dorothy’s ruby slippers to  Batman’s rubber suit from The Dark Night Rises.

For more movie madness catch some free flicks, learn about costuming, try a new instrument and more at The nonprofit Virginia Film Festival family day on Grounds at UVA on Saturday.

Then also on Saturday and Sunday do some treasure hunting at the Tandem Tag Sale at the Tandem Friends School, a rummage sale without equal in the area where patrons can stock up on used sporting equipment, clothing, jewelry, toys and who knows what else.

If you know of a cool event coming up in the area, shoot me an email at mary@wnrn.org and help me help you to make a wnrn Culture Connection.

 

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There is nothing like a Drive-in Movie for summer fun

I re-discoverd this place, Hull’s Drive-in, while I was researching for cool events to post on wnrn Culture Connection.  Back when I produced “Red Badge” in Lexington in 1994, I went with my Cadet Assistants and my son Max to the movies several times over the summer.  There is just something magical about being outside watching a movie on a warm summer night indulging in some fries and a milk shake.

What is even more fun is the ’80’s night movie flashback thing Hull’s has going this summer.  There are only two ’80’s Wednesdays left this season where you can enjoy ’80’s hits, a trivia and costume contest before some classic ’80’s film.  Sounds like a blast!

Click here for more info.

See you at the movies.

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