WNRN Culture Connection for Feb 16 – 22

One play, on ballet and some art on display.  Thus is this week’s WNRN Culture Connection- A musical version of Jane Austin’s Mansfield Park, the ballet version of Don Quixote and portraits by Lucian Freud.

To learn more about these featured events, click on the link below.

Don Quixote:


Lucien Freud:


Mansfield Park:



Enjoy the week and… get out there and get cultured.


The Culture Maven


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!


The Culture Maven


Local Road Tripping

I thought it had been a quiet week but when I checked my calendar to write this blog I realized why I am so behind on the book project.

But first, I must share that the Charlottesville location of Pearl’s Bake Shoppe has made three glorious additions to its gluten free menu: 1. sweet potato biscuits with real Virginia ham and …2. pumpkin doughnuts and apple cider doughnuts – these are cakey, tasty treats that I could eat every day. The apple cider doughnuts are particularly welcomed because Carter Mountain Orchard has really good glutenous apple cider doughnuts and now those of us who reject gluten can eat apple cider doughnuts with some level of abandon at Pearl’s.

Other than an update on deliciousness at Pearl’s, the only thing to write about before Friday is my lunch at the The Daily Kitchen on Wednesday while in Richmond on business for WNRN.  Yes, it looks as though it is my new Richmond fav but on the  pain of being boring I may have to take a break from TDK and try somewhere else when next in RVA.  My lunch of a vegetable panini was scrumptious but the side order of brussels sprouts upstaged the yummy sandwich to become the star of the afternoon.  Slightly crisp on the outside while slightly tender on the inside these mini-cabages come swimming in a sauce that reminds me of the stuff served with Vietnamese spring rolls – sort of yellow with flecks of hot red pepper, you know the one.  Anyway… that sauce sets of the tartness of the sprouts perfectly and seriously, I could eat a pound of them for lunch all by themselves.

On Friday morning I ventured to Staunton to see ROMEO AND JULIET at the American Shakespeare Center.  Well, I say I went to see the play but that is only partly true.  I went to see Gregory Jon Phelps play Mercutio as I had it from a reliable source that his performance was worth the effort.  And it was.  Mr. Phelps is blossoming into a great actor and he and the ever hilarious Benjamin Curns, who plays Juliet’s Nurse, mop up the stage!  In fact I wish I had left after Mercutio’s death as the play is mostly spent on Romeo and Juliet following which proved anti-climactic – not so good in a tragedy – but all teenagers should see this play.

Friday night was a Kizumba lesson taught by Edwin Roa at The Dance Spot.  I had never tried kizumba before and had a little trouble understanding the timing at first but Edwin is such a great teacher, I think I got it after a short while. The Latin-American theme continued through the evening at Firefish Gallery which was hosting a Dias de les Muertes Party for First Fridays Art Walk.  The fabulous Sigrid, Mistress of Firefish, served skull cookies and encouraged patrons to dress up for the occasion.  She leant me a fantastic lion mask she made and at the end of the evening we all marched through the streets to Bon following Chicho Lorenzo carrying a very large paper mache skull lit with glow sticks.  It was all great fun but BREAKING BAD was calling me and by 9:00pm I was in my jammies taking in three more episodes putting me at S:3, E9.

There is nothing like leaning on a whitewashed fence rail on a splendid autumn day in a fabulous hat watching horses fly over boxwood jumps- which is exactly what I did on Saturday at the Montpelier Races.  My dear friend, Howell Taylor, included me on his guest list to indulge in fine food and wine and good company on the rail at the last turn of the steeplechase course. It was a perfect day, warm sunny for the most part with the leaves on the surrounding forrest of trees ever so slightly on the back end of their peak colors. Howell then hosted a chili dinner and bonfire party on his beautiful farm.  A good time was had by all.  Of course I was home by 10:30 and squeezed in one episode of BB before hitting the hay.












Fox at Montpelier Races

Staunton called me back on Sunday for a breakfast burrito (with sausage from Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farms – YUM!) at Cranberries and another show at ASC, this time to enjoy another Phelps performance (and pecks) as Troilus in TROILUS AND CRESSIDA. This time John Harrell came to the forefront in performance as Pandarus with Phelps again commanding the stage.  The play ends weirdly though leaving several loose ends which may explain its failure to be often produced.

Tonight my daughter and I will be plotting our course for the Virginia Film Festival next weekend, creating a schedule to best meet our film viewing needs including seeing her film screening at the Lighthouse showings on Saturday morning.

Take care, have a great week and get out there and get cultured, ya’ll.








VMFA Film Noir Program at Second Street Gallery

This workshop is geared towards educators but is open to anyone interested.


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Piedmont Council of the Arts News from PCA
Nighthawks by Edward Hopper
Arts Education Workshop

Cast in a Darker Shadow: Walker Evans, Edward Hopper, and Film Noir
Wednesday, May 1, 4:30-7:00pm
at Second Street Gallery

PCA and Second Street Gallery in collaboration with the Office of Statewide Partnerships of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts present Cast in a Darker Shadow: Walker Evans, Edward Hopper, and Film Noir on Wednesday, May 1 from 4:30 to 7:00pm at Second Street Gallery.

Attendees can expect a combination of entertaining stories, discussion, and hands-on exercises. Educators will receive a CD of images courtesy of the VMFA, posters, lesson plans to take back to their classroom, and will be eligible for re-certification points.

Join Jeffrey Allison, Paul Mellon Collection Educator of the VMFA, as he explores these artists who celebrated America without filter, focusing on common people in common lives and places. The photographer Walker Evans and painter Edward Hopper were part of the generation of American artists who tore themselves away from European ideals at the start of the 20th century. Within those scenes lies a powerful silence in which directness creates a visual anxiety as we wonder what has just happened and what will happen next. Participants will discuss the emotional power of space and shadow in Walker Evans’ photographs and explore Edward Hopper’s love of and direct influence on classic Film Noir from The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep to modern reinterpretations including works by Quentin Tarantino and Wim Wenders.

This workshop is intended for teachers, educators, and all those interested in art! Refreshments will be provided.

This event is FREE for PCA and Second Street Gallery members ($5 for non-members). Advance registration required. To register for this workshop, please email info@charlottesvillearts.org by April 30. Questions? Please call (434)977-7284.

Second Street Gallery is located at 115 Second Street SE, Charlottesville, VA 22903.

Piedmont Council for the ArtsP.O. Box 2426, Charlottesville, VA 22902 | 434.971.2787 | info@charlottesvillearts.org | www.charlottesvillearts.org

All That Glitters at Quirk

Terence Sullivan, who was featured on my other blog, Dating by Committee, yesterday as part of a story on The Rocky Horror Show (in which he starred last summer), is also a fabulous fine artist.  It was delightful to get this press release from Quirk Gallery in Richmond featuring Terence’s work.  Sadly, I will be unable to attend the show since I will be helping to facilitate a Beaux Arts Ball fundraiser for financial aid at The Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville but if you are in Richmond you might want to check it out.





Quirk is thrilled to announce its upcoming, one night only event, “All That Glitters…” Works by Terence Sullivan on view February 23rd through February 24, 2013.


Please join us at

8pm on February 23rd

for a night of music, libations, and paintings filled with cinematic flair and longing.


Limited edition merchandise by Sullivan, exclusive for Quirk, will also  be sold the evening of the event.


Sullivan’s current body of work is comprised of his ongoing series “I WISH YOU LOVED ME LIKE IN FILMS”, and new paintings that continue the themes of lust, loss, disappointment, and the overwhelming need to beloved. Through the use of appropriated images from films and media, Sullivan paints saturated portraits that capture moments of heightened emotion.

Sullivan’s position is that we, as audience members, find ways to project our emotions and desires onto film characters and the cinematic world in which they live. This projection can ignite within us both inspiration and self destruction. The comparison opens our eyes to the residual bruising of past relationships and the shortcomings of what may be our current relationships. Sullivan then layers gold text on top of the portraits in order to confront the emotional turmoil we feel. These phrases serve as a plea for a more intense and beautified life, and the gold paint is a nod to the heightened drama of Hollywood love.


The objective is to have the viewers find themselves in each painting without feeling like voyeurs
in someone else’s love story. There is a sense that the moment in each painting is fleeting and will eventually pass. The comparison can be made that, like films, relationships can be intense, unattainable, and can leave deep impressions in us long after they are over. Terence Sullivan (b. 1986, Livingston New Jersey, United States) holds a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has exhibited in Baltimore, Richmond and New York City in both group and solo exhibitions. His romantic saturated portraits have lead to numerous private commissions. Terence is currently producing a series of portraits to represent the leading figures of the cultural community in Richmond, VA with a black tie benefit scheduled for late 2013. The net proceeds will be donated to the arts within Richmond. Terence has also received awards for his work as an actor and singer with theatres over the mid-atlantic region. Terence was awarded “Artist under 30 On Their Way” by Richmond Magazine, and has been featured in various publications including BMORE art spot, ADWEEK, Style Weekly, GAYRVA, and Broadway World. Terence has also been featured as a model for the local Richmond luxury men’s brand Lebdury.

The Sin Show Just in Time for Valentines



SINshowOne thing my ex-husband did really well was Valentine’s Day.  He was very good at giving gifts, bringing flowers and finding exquisite chocolates.  I miss that about him because outside of that relationship Valentine’s in my post-elementary school world where everyone received loads of Valentines cards, candy and a class party with cupcakes has pretty much sucked.

If I had a sweetie this year I would want them to take me to the Sin Show at Firefish Gallery and pick out some lustful piece of art to spice up my bedroom decor.

The 411:

SIN:  An Exploration of Eroticism Through Art

February 9th through March 6th 2013

Charlottesville, VA –  FIREFISH Gallery, an art gallery in downtown Charlottesville, announces a titillating new exhibit that explores the theme of seduction, sensuality and erotica in art.  The show titled: SIN aims to not only arouse the senses but to interpret human sexuality in the physical form through sculpture, paintings, drawings, and photography.  At its’ conception, the exhibit was developed to celebrate, discuss and support erotic art that is rarely seen in museums and galleries.  Contrary to the title of SIN, this show joyfully embraces sexuality as not just an indulgence but as a necessity to being human.


The show features the work of fifteen local artists who have created a unique translation of erotica.  The works range from explicit in nature to subtle. Some have chosen to approach the subject from a more literal standpoint utilizing palpable nude figure drawings to convey sensuality.  Other artists explore the world of fetishism and while some truly push the boundaries with larger that life phalluses carved from exotic woods.

In short, this show aims to gain acceptance and awareness of this fascinating genre.

Private Viewing:  February 9th , 7:00 – 9:30 pm.

Opens to the public: February 10.

Show runs:  February 9 through March 6, 2013


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


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


Original Masks at Firefish


I have seen some of these already and they are marvelous!  And just in time for Halloween or to pick up early for the Beaux Arts Ball in February. MB

The Mask Show:  Unmasked and Unhinged

 October 25th through December 5th 2012

Charlottesville, VA-  FIREFISH Gallery, an art gallery in downtown Charlottesville that carries handmade artisan work and craft by local artists and artisans, announces a new collaborative exhibition of masks.  The show titled:  The Mask Show- Unmasked and Unhinged, showcases the masks of twenty local artists.


The exhibit was the brainchild of gallery owner and mask maker Sigrid Eilertson.   She started an individual mask for each artist and then handed it off to be completed by the artist through any means desired.  The results have been spectacular.  Eilertson states, “I know most of these artists personally so I had them specifically in mind when starting their mask.  Where they took the mask was up to them.”  The collaborative process is representative of the philosophy of the gallery- to make art accessible, to encourage community involvement and to support emerging artists.  The artists have used a wide array of materials including leather, fiber, coconut shells, paint, jewels, etc..  Each mask reflects the personality of both artists and their skills.  The masks range from large, elaborate and complex to a more minimalist subtle beauty.


The artists featured are:

Sigrid Eilertson Eileen Butler Matthew Merkle

Charlotte Fracis Susan Clawson Jennifer Elmore

Ken Nagakui Virginia Myers Peter Krebs

Rick Miller Alex Bolling Darrell Rose

John Tripple Steve Taylor Daphne Latham

Stephanie Helvin Alp Isin Annie Jacobs

Rudgar Clawson Christos


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


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



John Whitehead’s Instant Karma



I met Civil Libertarian of Paula Jones fame, John Whitehead a couple of weeks ago and had the pleasure of chatting with him about his art.  He is a super smart guy – even if we fail to see eye-to-eye on everything- and it was fascinating peering into his brain via his water color and oil paintings he creates at his kitchen table.

C-VILLE WEEKLY commissioned me to blog about the show but there was not room in the dictated word count to describe any of the paintings that seemed particularly important in Whitehead’s first public art showing, Instant Karma, at the Firefish Gallery in Charlottesville (up through October 25th).

Click here to see all of the paintings in the show.

Here are some notes I generated regarding descriptions of paintings while visiting with the beautiful and talented Sigrid Eilertson, owner of Firefish earlier this week:

INSTANT KARMA, the title painting of the show depicts a yin/yang symbol floating in the center of the page radiating a yellow aura in a textured azure sky energy.  Beneath the suspended symbol is a green “earth”, mouth-like with glittered red accents which has either just given birth to or is ready to swallow the orb, “depending on your karma,” as Whitehead puts it.


THE OTHER SIDE: Five grey-washed ghostly figures floating mid  paper suggesting disembodied souls waiting to greet another soul (the viewer) in the next life.  The use of a white glitter wash produces a mystical other-worldly mood. Thick yellow slashes on the upper left side might be shooting stars or other souls ascending.


ALPHA AND OMEGA:  Figure seated in a meditative position. Flames shoot from extended fingertips an eye in at the heart chakra, a sunburst at the bottom center hiding the feet and groin of the figure. A yellow shroud is draped from the head down to the waist  a bright yellow sunburst sits halo like behind the head.  The face is replaced by four oval shaped circles with a blue center, orange spikes surrounding.


PEACE BROTHER:  primary colors yellow peace sign


Oil paintings: faces and figures expressionistic much more mature and advanced in terms of execution, use of color and composition.


SELF PORTRAIT WITH BALLOON: A gaunt angular face with blue and yellow tones and orange accents with a orange orb upper left corner with an orange “tail” or string – a balloon indicating disembodied spirituality.

Water Color subject matter: The Beatles, bleeding candles and flowers, all manner of crazed looking faces- angst ridden and intense in their expressions and bold colors.  bi-polar manic energy.


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