7 Days in Tibet

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Aurua Tibetan Medicine Billboard in Caojiabao Airport in Xining

A hundred people or so mill drowsily about the baggage claim area at the Caojiabao Airport in Xining, China at 9:45 on a Sunday night waiting for the whirl of the conveyer belt to start again signaling the arrival of more baggage.  Mounted on the wall over the snake-like luggage delivery system hangs a dark red billboard touting  Arura Tibetan Medicines in large yellow characters and Latin letters. Arura with its medical college, traditional Tibetan medical hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturing company, chain of drug stores and Tibetan Cultural Museum is a big dollar industry in these parts and sponsor of my trip to the Tibetan Plateau. As I feebly stand with the group of seven other Americans that are with me on this junket, the effects of the 22 hour trip from Charlottesville and several bottles of water to keep hydrated on the plane take hold and I am called to visit the loo. Twenty feet from the Women’s Restroom door the sour smell of a Chinese bathroom assaults my nostrils and I recall the defining factor of travel in Asia – the toilets, or better put, the lack there of.

China and the United States are located on opposite sides of the planet and in many ways are as opposing in cultures.  What often is considered polite behavior in China is considered vulgar in the U.S. and vice verse. Value of space, time, material objects and food is dispersed differently making travel in each other’s country a mind-blowing experience. It is rather like turning one’s brain inside-out.

For all the differences between the United States and what is called mainland China, echoes of the traditional Tibetan nomadic way of life still heavily influence the social mores of the mixed Chinese/Tibetan populations on the Plateau. Xining is a bustling city that looks like Seattle with an Asian flair.  It is the capital and largest city of the the Qinghai province with a population just shy of 2,300,000 the vast majority of whom live inside the urban area. In fact one distinction of Xining is its lack of suburbs. Four minutes drive outside of the high-rises and one is amongst vast scrub covered fields with brownish mountains looming near by. Impressive in size by day, the city is best viewed at night when its heart is lit as brightly as Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World – a beacon in the vastness of the dark Plateau.

The view from my room at the top rated, Qinghai Hotel (thankfully, outfitted with Western style toilets in the posh marble bathroom) confirmed the density of the city. As a thread of cigarette smoke from a neighboring room sneaks in through my open window, I am reminded that the Chinese smoke like its 1965. Wafts of cigarette smoke are everywhere – restaurants, work spaces, even in elevators. But that doesn’t stop the residents of Xining from healthy activities like exercising which they do each morning and evening in public parks. The Qunghai Hotel is located next door to a major city park which stretches along the banks of the Huangshui River.  At seven in the morning music and news are broadcast all over the city via loudspeakers mounted on buildings marking the start of the day in a Communist Country.  People then flood the parks to power walk, jog, dance, practice tai chi and chi gong before heading to work. But the Chinese, unlike Americans, are much less serious about exercise and much more physically conservative. The gestures of the 100 or so participants  in the outdoor Zumba class I joined one evening, were so conservative the group more closely resembled small children learning ballet than grown women performing steamy Latin dance moves.

Due to its altitude (Xining is 7,464) the Tibetan Plateau is arid, low humidity and fairly cool temperatures so that even in July high temperatures hover between the mid-fifties and low-seventies dropping into the low-forties at night. So jackets and the consumption of several cups of Yak butter tea, a murky concoction that tastes like liquified buttered popcorn and is served everywhere in this part of China, are necessary for comfort.  Since very little vegetation grows in the climate the main native food sources are Yak (which tastes like a cross between beef and venison) and sheep. Even the Buddhist Monks eat loads of Yak and drink rivers of Yak butter tea dispelling a preconceived notion that Buddhists are automatically vegetarians. “What else would we eat, if we didn’t eat Yak?,” laughed our tour facilitator, Dr. Kunchok Gyaltsen, a Tibetan  Monk.

Most Westerners don’t visit Xining when traveling in this part of China usually heading directly to Lhasa but there are a few places that make it a worthwhile destination. One is the Qinghai Tibetan Medicine and Culture Museum which gives the visitor an idea of how the current culture was shaped. The museum houses artifacts like a complete set of Tibetan medical instruments and diorama’s of traditional nomadic life. The most spectacular display however is The Great Thangka, an impossibly long  (618 meter or 2018 feet)  painted history of Tibetan stories, religion, culture, medicine and art. Brilliantly displayed in a winding glass case, this masterpiece took 400 artists 4 years to complete and if one really examined each frame’s intricate details it might take 4 years to view.

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Entrance Hall at the Qinghai Tibetan Medicine and Culture Museum

Another important cultural site is Kumbum Monastery, one of the six most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries located twenty-six kilometers south of Xining. Once housing thousands of Buddhist Monks, Kumbum which means Image of a hundred-thousand Buddhas, is the birthplace of Lhama Tsong-kha-pa (1357 – 1419), the founder of the Yellow Hat Buddhist sect.  Legend has it that a sandalwood tree grew on the spot he was born with an image of the Buddha on each leaf. There is a small temple and incense burning stupa marking the. spot  Squeezing between multiple gaggles of visitors, through the Great Hall of Meditation where silk fabric hangs like Spanish Moss from the cross beams, I think about the 600 monks in current residence and what is must be like to live in such a huge tourist destination. With hundreds of people visiting daily, Kumbum is hardly the isolated, quiet retreat one might envision. In fact most Monks in the crowds surrounding us were quite well connected to the outside world via the magic of iPhones and iPads, the technology of choice due to its Tibetan language option.

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Tibetan Monk, Dr. Kunchok with i Phone at Kumbum

Since most of my time in Xining was spent indoors in meetings with our excellent Arura hosts, it was a wonderful treat to get outside for a lunch in the grasslands and a visit to the Qinghai Lake. On 100 km trip from Xining to “The Blue Lake” we stopped for a traditional Tibetan meal in a yurt-like tent. Tibetans, like many nomadic peoples, are warm, welcoming people who tote little furniture but who love to entertain. We sat on the grass floor of the tent at low tables, the wind flapping the thick canvas walls and were served course after course of Tibetan fare – in this culture more is more when it comes to food. Among the many dishes served up with Yak butter tea were sweet rice, a  rice dish with sugar,  droma (something like bean sized sweet potato) and Yak butter; fruits, vegetables, corn, dumplings with yak meat, lamb dishes and ingredients to make our own tsampa.  Tsampa is a staple of traditional Tibetan diet made from barley flour, yak butter, water or yak butter tea and sugar expertly mixed with the hands into a malleable dough ball and eaten. It is easy to make, portable and durable making it the ideal food for people on the go. Entertainment is an important part of the culture so after lunch we sang (I think there is a version of me trying to teach everyone to sing a round on YouTube somewhere- not worth watching) and learned Tibetan dance moves then took some time just laying in the long soft grass absorbing sunlight as the constant wind blew over our bodies.

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                                On the Tibetan Plateau

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      Making Tsampa at lunch

A short drive to the Blue Lake revealed a huge azure body of water covering over 1700 square miles fed by 23 rivers and streams. Though it was mid July, the water and the air are still too cool for swimming but given the distance of the ocean it is a hot vacation spot.  Though it is not overwhelmingly touristy, there are some hotels and campsites along the water’s edge in places with vendors waiting to take tourists money like any other resort. My favorite were the photo ops with a Yak which sadly I had to forgo in order to get to our farewell dinner back in the city.

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Blue Lake

The next day we began our travel to Lhasa. Many people think that taking the train to Lhasa is a romantic prospect or that a perceived gradual incline of the train route from Xining will help with adjustment to the altitude. Both of these concepts are a myths. For many Westerners who are accustomed to space and privacy, overnight travel on Chinese trains is grueling. Sleeper compartments accommodate six travelers in stacked bunk beds and are open to the hallway (no doors) so that any passer by has access. Toilets, which are thankfully private, are basically steel basins set in the floor that flush onto the train tracks on more modern trains and simply openings in the floor on older ones.  Sinks are in the hallway so that in the morning there is a symphony of loud hocking and spitting, a Chinese ritual for clearing the throat. In terms of altitude adjustment the train moves along at an almost level altitude until about halfway through the journey then makes a rapid ascent to 17,158 feet above sea level at the highest point then lowers to Lhasa (11, 450 feet above sea level) debunking the gradual climb altitude adjustment theory. 

In my case, the 23 hour train ride was booked for our group in order to see the grandeur of the great Tibetan Plateau and the budding of the Himalayas on the planes but at the last minute I was culled and sent on a train solo. Since the journey began at 10:00 o’clock at night, I saw only a few hours of stunning terrain in the morning hours before succumbing to altitude sickness which had me flattened on my middle level bunk without a view for the remaining 9 hours of the trip.

Arriving in Lhasa, I met Dolma, my charming Tibetan guide and chauffeured via van to the stunning St. Regis Lhasa Resort where I was greeted by name by every staff member I saw and escorted by Anthony, my St. Regis Butler, to a beautiful suite with a garden view.  The contrast between this sumptuous hotel and the stark utilitarian feel of the train put me in a state of mild awestruck shock. The St. Regis is a stellar example of how modern luxury can intermingle with native architecture and decor to create a tasteful, respectful environment to house sophisticated travelers. The design of the hotel itself is reminiscent of the Potala Palace with white stucco walls and dark tiled pagoda roof lines and there are gorgeous views of the actual Potala from the large picture windows in the lobby. Tibetan artifacts, Buddha sculptures, a mural of Lhasa and contemporary Tibetan themed paintings grace the lobby area lending a museum-like feel to the experience. A bath in the deep freestanding ceramic bathtub followed by a deep sleep snuggled between high count cotton sheets were much needed perks following the train ride and critical elements in perking me up for the following day’s sight seeing.

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Devotee turning prayer wheels at the Potala

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               Suite in the St. Regis in Lhasa

In the morning I walked with Tibetan Buddhist devotees around the parameters of the Potala, which for centuries was the home of the Dalai Lhama but vacated by the 14th Dalai Lhama who was exhiled duing the Tibetan uprising of 1959. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Potala is sacred to Tibetan Buddhists and several hundred circumambulate clockwise around the base of the palace each day often spinning the large brass prayer wheels that line almost half of the parameter as they go. I was too late to get tickets for an interior tour as they sell out fast so I headed to Jokhang Temple, a Buddhist monastery and sacred site that was once a palace built for the two wives of king Songsten Gampo in the 7th century. Jokhang stands out in the old part of Lhasa with its gleaming white walls and golden rooftop statues of deer flanking a Dharma wheel. Once the visitor enters through the courtyard, the temple becomes a dusky incense cured maze of chapels lined with tongkas and glass cased statues of deities illuminated with yak butter candles and lamps. People bring white or gold silk katas, flowers and money as offerings to the various gods to fulfill prayers. My last stop before a sumptuous traditional Tibetan feast in the Si Zi Kang restaurant at the St. Regis for the day is the Tsamkhung nunnery located on a skinny back street in historic Lhasa. Not a major tourist stop, it is a charming place with cheerful nuns working away at making jewelry and other small items to sell in the gift shop their major source of income yet holds the distinction of housing a precious statue of Gampo who died in 650AD. This is where I did the majority of souvenir shopping for folks back home, picking up some beautiful handmade pieces for considerably less than shops that line the streets or the open market place.

Needing a day of rest before the long journey back to the states, I spent the last day of my time in Tibet luxuriating at the St. Regis. And when it comes to luxury, the St. Regis knows how to do it right.  A tour of the property revealed that the property boasts 22 luxury guest rooms, 28 private villas and 2 very impressive apartment-like suites complete with stunning views, outdoor decks, full kitchens and dining areas and lavish master suites. A rare shallow pond graces the interior courtyard, the ions and humidity emitted from it supposedly offer healing properties in the dry climate. The gold-tiled indoor pool located in the full-service Iridium Spa also purportedly offers healing qualities. I enjoyed a private yoga session in the Spa’s yoga studio then an excellent hot-stone massage at the to get the travel kinks out of my system before embarking on the 32 hour journey back to Charlottesville, Virginia the next day. I ended my day in Decanter, the Haut-Brisson designed wine bar. Good wine is rare in China, thus the Decanter is place to begin my transition back to Western life. Sitting outside on the garden deck, I sip an excellent Bordeaux and contemplate the joys and challenges of the last seven days. A giggle emerges as I realize a newfound appreciation for Western plumbing that will carry me cheerfully through the experience of an airplane restroom on a long flight in the coming hours.

Would I be willing to return to the so-called rooftop of the world despite the sketchy restroom situation? Undoubtedly, yes.

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Tibetan artifacts in the lobby at the St. Regis in Lhasa

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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: December 22 – 28

Chanukah is in full swing, Christmas begins in a few days and Kwanza is on the horizon so I have selected three holiday oriented events to get your festive on: Christmas tea at the Boarshead, the ogling of decorative lights on Monument Avenue and an opportunity to learn about Kwanza at the Legacy of African American History.

Click on the provided links to learn more about these featured events.

Tea:

http://www.boarsheadinn.com/holiday/

Kwanza Workshop:

http://www.discoverlynchburg.org/events/

Glitter Walk on Monument Ave:

http://thevalentine.org/calendar/holiday-glitter#

decorated for the holidays on Monument Ave

decorated for the holidays on Monument Ave

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Mary

The Culture Maven

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

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.

Activity Report for last weekend (5-16 & 17-14)

Yeah, I know I have been totally slacking on this blog but I have committed to getting my financial house in order with my new job at WNRN and so I have been working, working, working.  It is time consuming but fun.

So what about some arts and culture already?

Well….

I spent some time in Richmond this past weekend and saw a play and a photography exhibit.

The play:

DETROIT by Lisa D’Amour at the theatre formerly called the Empire (now Va Rep Center) in the Theatre Gym.

This play is about the deconstruction of the American Dream as viewed through the story of two couples living in a suburb of Detroit.  I love the message of how false attachment to image, escape and material things wrecks havoc on our lives.  Plus pyro’s will appreciate all the fire references and, well, I don’t want to give anything away.  Just go see it for some engaging, thought provoking theatre. Not one single fidget moment for me and my 14 year old was riveted.

Click here for details if you want to go see it.

On Saturday I went with daughter in tow to see POSING BEAUTY IN AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE an exhibit of African American portrait photography from the  1890’s to the present.  I know what you are thinking… If you are white you are thinking that this exhibit is for African Americans and if you are African American you may be thinking that this is a ploy to get you to go to the museum. Both viewpoints are both correct and incorrect. I suggest checking it out as the photography is beautiful and the exploration of what is “beauty in terms of aesthetics, race, class, and gender within art, popular culture. and politics”. I think after seeing the exhibit it will be apparent that this exhibit is for anyone who appreciates art, beauty and/or photography and what is wrong  with the museum wanting to attract people anyway?

As a special bonus the VMFA has a tandem exhibit of items from its own collection called IDENTITY SHIFTS.

For info click here.

Something to see in Charlottesville (which I have yet to attend myself but it looks so interesting I just had to mention it) is

THE MASTER AND MARGARITA at Live Arts.

This project involves two of my favorite talented people in Cville: Julie Hamberg and Peter DeMartino so it is sure to be fabulous.

Here is the description pirated from the website:

based on the novel by MIKHAIL BULGAKOV
original text adapted for the theater by JULIE HAMBERG & PETER DeMARTINO
directed by JULIE HAMBERG

The Devil has come to Moscow with a hitman and a talking cat, and will stop at nothing to ensure the perfection of his annual Ball. Mischief, magic, beheadings, and the surprisingly touching biography of Pontius Pilate permeate this unlikely love story that proves that stars can sometimes be un-crossed with enough determination.

Click here for info.

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Sadly I will miss the Village People at the Paramount on Thursday night. 😦 But that is the way of the world, sometimes.

Keep prodding me and I will keep writing.

And be sure to check out WNRN Culture Connection on Sunday June 1st at 11am on WNRN  (just stream it from wnrn.org or the App on you smart phone, it is so much easier than me typing out all seven signal numbers thank you very much) when Matthew Slaats and I and two local artists actually do the first “Art Assignment” from the online PBS show of that same name.

Enjoy the amazing weather and get out there and get cultured already.

xx,

Mary

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!

Mary

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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Extreme Week

I AM FEELING A LITTLE BORED AND NEEDING SOMETHING TO RATTLE MY CAGE  SO THIS IS WHAT I PICKED TO DO THIS WEEK:

 XTREME FEST, A CELEBRATION OF THE AREA’S ADVENTURE SPORTING OPPORTUNITIES HAPPENING IN WAYNESBORO ON SATURDAY OFFERING A TASTE OF WHAT THERE IS TO DO IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA’S GREAT OUTDOORS. THIS KID FRIENDLY EVENT FEATURES A CLIMBING WALL, KAYAKING, AIR BUNGEE TRAMPOLINE AND A HIGH FLYING BMX STUNT BIKE SHOW.

IF YOU ARE A MADMEN FAN, OR YOU ARE JUST LOOKING FOR SOMETHING EXTREME AND INDOORS I SUGGEST THE TOM WESSELMAN SHOW: POP ART AND BEYOND AT THE VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ART IN RICHMOND.  WESSLEMAN, THE DON DRAPER OF THE POP ART SCENE, IS OBSESSED WITH SEX, SMOKING AND ADVERTISING AND IT SHOWS IN THIS EXHIBITION, HIS FIRST CAREER RETROSPECTIVE.  ROCKY HORROR FANS WILL APPRECIATE THE RED LIPS PAINTINGS IN PARTICULAR.

ON THURSDAY NIGHT, ASH LAWN OPERA IS HOSTING BRAVO BOHEME AT LIVE ARTS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE.  THIS EVENT IS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS WHO WOULD LIKE TO CULTIVATE A TASTE FOR OPERA.  MAY NOT SOUND SO EXTREME BUT IF YOU ARE SINGLE, CULTURED AND LOOKING THIS  EVENT COULD BE A CONTACT SPORT.

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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

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