The Scoop: Week 32, 2012 

This Week: Romney's Campaign Stop, Lincoln Premiere News, Renewed Ballpark Debate + More.

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NOTE: The Scoop, Style Weekly's RVA insider newsletter is puiblished on Thursdays. The dates and times mentioned in the text reflect this. To have the Scoop delivered to your inbox every week, sign up here.

“Hell, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” -- Barry Vassar, a widower who finds a lively crowd and dance partners along with the biscuits at the Chester Hardee’s. Here’s the story on this hidden jewel of country music where you’d least expect it.

HELLO: You may have abnormally fast thumbs, Austin Wierschke, but you are no Ryan Seacrest, whose role is somewhat mysterious, especially on the Olympics. No, “he is neither artist nor entertainer; he is certainly not a journalist. He is a survivor but one is never quite certain to what end. Surely it cannot be to ask a bronze medal winner how he is feeling.” … Speaking of robotic success stories, here’s what the inside of NASA looked like when the Curiosity Rover touched down on Mars. … More cheering: Congratulations to Chesterfield native and Olympic champ Kellie Wells, who’s bringing home a bronze medal in the 100-meter women’s hurdles.

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN STOP: With time running short on announcing his vice-presidential pick, Republican candidate Mitt Romney kicks off a bus tour through swing states Saturday, starting at Homemades by Suzanne in Ashland. … The media sport of guessing VPs is full steam ahead, and Gov. Bob McDonnell’s chances seem low -- at 4.2 percent, according to prediction market Intrade. … The mysterious undecided voter was all anyone seemed to talk about in the last presidential election. A Politico.com story says times have changed: “In a super-tight election year, the campaigns are focusing more on appealing to their base voters than on winning new converts, preaching to a choir their teams hope will sing at full volume by Election Day.” … L. Douglas Wilder weighs in: Is race a factor in the election?

SENATE DEBATE SCHEDULE: Richmond will be the site of a debate between U.S. Senate candidates and former governors Tim Kaine and George Allen on Oct. 18. The hosts are the AARP, the League of Women Voters Virginia, WVCE Public Radio and CBS-6. … Other planned square-offs include in McLean on Sept. 20 and Blacksburg on Oct. 8, though there may be more. … If you could ask the candidates one question, what would it be? Tell me here, and we might ask.

LINCOLN LOWDOWN: After Election Day, Steven Spielberg hopes moviegoers are ready to revel in the story of the 16th president. He released the first official photo of Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln this week. A date was recently announced for the release of his “Lincoln” movie, which as you know was filmed in the Richmond area last fall: Nov. 9, limited release, Nov. 16, wide release. But that only raised more questions. Scoop readers get some answers first:

1. Will there be a Richmond premiere? No. But there will be an advance screening. Disney is contractually obligated to hold one in Virginia. It will be invite-only, including the governor, state officials, likely some cast and crew, and other players instrumental in bringing the production here. Media will be invited to the hoopla, but not guaranteed to see the film.

2. When would the premiere be held? The date isn't confirmed. But it will be before the movie opens to the public. It opens in Richmond at least by Nov. 16.

3. If not Richmond, where? A big competitor is Charlottesville, which just so happens to be the home of the Virginia Film Festival Nov. 1-4. The premiere of “Lincoln” at the tail end of the festival would be a big finale and create lots of buzz. But Richmonders sure wouldn’t be happy.

4. If the premiere is held in Richmond, where would it be? The two prime contenders are CenterStage’s Carpenter Theatre and the historic Byrd Theatre.

BASEBALL IN THE BOTTOM: As for the resurgent debate on where a new baseball stadium should go, Scott Bass laid out in a blog post last week why this recent discussion -- which we’ve seen time and again in the last decade -- might be different. He follows up this week with some behind-the-scenes details of how the news caught key players by surprise, and in another story explores how the debate may illustrate some of City Hall’s challenges in communicating effectively with regional partners.

CARYTOWN SHOPPING DEBATE: Discussion heated up two summers ago when developers started planning a shopping center to replace a former Verizon building at Nansemond Street and Ellwood Avenue. Now at least a Fresh Market, Panera and Petco are set to open there by mid-September. Columnist Jack Lauterback weighs in and finds the bottom line from one street performer: “Without stopping his drumming and staring straight ahead until I drop a dollar in the jar -- a slight grin creeping across his face -- he simply says, ‘More people, more money.’” … Speaking of Carytown, RVA Magazine posted a writer’s account of hitting Sunday’s Watermelon Festival on acid, but that article has since disappeared.

METEOR SHOWER: Sky watcher Jerry Samford of Troutman Sanders tips me off to the annual Perseid Meteor Shower coming this weekend. The best time to watch might be before dawn on Sunday, he advises. “Since you will be up early, you can also watch the moon sweeping past the brightest planets -- Venus and Jupiter -- in the eastern predawn sky. At their peak, the Perseids commonly produce 50 or more meteors per hour -- in years when the moon is out of the way.” … RVANews suggests some romantic places to watch.

VMFA SNEAK PEEK: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts says you can watch the installation of glass artist Dale Chihuly’s exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts today, in the Anne Cobb Gottwald Reflecting Pool outside Best Café. The exhibit opens Oct. 20: “Chihuly’s art remains at the cutting edge of the technical and virtuoso possibilities of glass as a medium, and this exhibition will include many iconic works. …”

ONLINE BULLYING: The Social Media Club of Richmond’s monthly meet next Thursday focuses on bullying and online harassment: “We're fortunate to live in a free and open society, empowered by seemingly limitless technology to be able to communicate instantaneously. But where are the boundaries? Who decides when free speech becomes something more sinister?” Registration information here. And just posted, here’s a video shown during the last event, and a wrap-up video featuring some highlights.

NEWSPAPER PAYWALLS: Last week I asked you about the growing trend of newspapers experimenting with charging readers to access their content online. Would you pay to read your local newspaper online? Here are some of your responses:

Shann Palmer: “Absolutely not! I don't read the RT-D now in print because it’s so conservative and full of ads. I do check the headlines and obits, stuff like that.”

Jerrold Samford: “Already do. RTD. The subscription for the online version is in addition to the home delivery subscription. I have both. Just can’t quite get rid of the paper paper; but like to get the local news particularly when I’m out of town.”

Rus Wornom: “I love newspapers. I’ve written for them, designed for them, sold for them, marketed for them, driven through blizzards for them, and even went door-to-door on a broken foot to deliver late papers in an emergency. My very first job was selling ads into my elementary school newspaper. And I will never pay for a newspaper online. Never.”

THREE QUESTIONS IN STYLE: 1) In the wake of a fatal hit-and-run, is Richmond a bike-friendly city? … 2) How is this nearby Hardee’s different from the rest?3) What is this tattoo artist using besides skin?

EATING AND DRINKING: Reviewer Robey Martin offers up some suggestions for happy hour food, featuring six restaurants with good choices and good deals, many of them for less than $6. She calls it “happetizers.” … At Ellwood Thompson’s, there’s a way to get some life advice along with your groceries. … And heads up from Deveron Timberlake: “Adam Richman’s television series ‘Best Sandwich in America’ wraps up Aug. 15 at 9 p.m. with a gut-busting finale. Among the top 12 honorees is Richmond’s Black Sheep restaurant and its gargantuan CSS Virginia battleship sandwich. Watch the Travel Channel for results.”

SIGNATURE ISSUES: In case you missed it, we unveiled our 2012 Power List last week. … This week we rolled out our 2012 Comic Strip Issue. And you didn’t disappoint. Here are the winners. … And do you know a dynamic, selfless young leader in Richmond who’s working to bring about change and not just padding a résumé? We’re getting ready for our annual Top 40 Under 40 issue, and taking your suggestions here.

GIVEAWAYS: We run giveaways each week exclusively for our newsletter subscribers. For your chance at tickets to RVA music, shows and other free stuff, sign up here to receive the Scoop in your inbox each Thursday.

WEEKEND ASSIGNMENTS:

1. Check out some all-girl pop country at Short Pump Town Center’s free concert series.

2. Flashback to the ’80s with tribute band the Legwarmers.

3. Marvel at hot rods and classics with your caffeine at the one-year anniversary of Cars & Coffee.

4. Do it Fitzgerald-style Art Deco Society of Virginia’s Gatsby Afternoon Picnic.

5. Fly into Cirque Du Soleil’s new show in Richmond.

6. Get a taste of the culture and cuisine featured at the Filipino Festival.

7. Use our critic’s guide to the Richmond Jazz Festival.

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