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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Traveler Series Starts Tonight

Miramar and Richmanian Ramblers to play Balliceaux as kick-off for new folk music series.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Miramar, featuring two members of Bio Ritmo, kicks off the new Traveler Series folk music event at Balliceaux tonight at 8 p.m.
  • Miramar, featuring two members of Bio Ritmo, kicks off the new Traveler Series folk music event at Balliceaux tonight at 8 p.m.

For years, local musician Nate Matthews says he was "stuck" to the rock scene and the occasional jazz show. He didn't go out for folk music regularly simply because he figured he could catch up during our massive annual folk fest.

That attitude changed once he started playing bass with the Richmanian Ramblers -- a group that performs Balkan folk songs in Romanian, Serbian and Croatian -- and he saw the interesting crowds the music drew.

"At first, playing and writing music from an origin I was not raised in was a novelty: two parts challenge, one part curiosity," he says. "Some time last year I looked around at a Richmanian Ramblers show and realized, 'Hey these wonderful, bright, quirky folk fans that I’ve slowly come to know as friends are onto something.'"

Some regular gigs for the Ramblers recently ended and they were thinking hard about what would work for the group in the future. With lead singer Antonia Vassar a mom, clarinetist Jason Scott a teacher, and Matthews and his wife (the band's percussionist) expecting a child -- they couldn't gig until 1 a.m. anymore, he says. So he met with deejay Bil Lipoletti (WRIR's "Global A-Go-Go" show) and both realized there was no regular folk music event for people who wanted to turn in early.

They conceived of the Traveler Series, a one Tuesday a month series that will feature many of Richmond's most interesting and unique folk groups. The series starts tonight at Balliceaux at 8 p.m. and features Richmanian Ramblers with Miramar, known for its slow-tempo, romantic Cuban-origin music. The show is $5 and there will also be "Bolero-themed cuisine and cocktails."

Matthews is hoping it's an idea that will catch on.

"We hope to have a mix of bands . . . Yeni Nostalji, Rattlemouth, Afro-Zen All-Stars. But even more so, many of us want to hear from unheard people, performers, dancers. Or maybe songs that someone’s been shoving in their closet," Matthews says. "I would love for a jug player to open for a clown. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t remember that for a long long time? That would, at least, change my whole damn week."

Monday, March 30, 2015

Meet the Bitter Liberals

Northern Virginia group to play Tin Pan on April 10.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Northern Virginia's the Bitter Liberals perform at the Tin Pan with friend Charles Arthur on April 10.
  • Northern Virginia's the Bitter Liberals perform at the Tin Pan with friend Charles Arthur on April 10.

With a name like the Bitter Liberals, you might expect some hardcore political songs. But the origins of this roots Americana band are more relaxed.

“In the beginning, we were just doing it for fun,” says singer, songwriter and guitarist Allen Kitselman. “We didn’t set out to be a band. We just wanted to enjoy each other’s musicianship.” The group came up with its name: a nod both to politics and to fiddler Gary McGraw's favorite cocktail, the liberal, a mixture of bourbon, vermouth and Amer Picon, a hard-to-find French aperitif.

The four veteran Northern Virginian musicians, who play the Tin Pan listening room April 10, admit they've had a convoluted musical history. Each has played with several bands before they came together in 2011 to form a group that has already issued two CDs and won attention throughout the region.

Kitselman grew up in Waterford, began playing guitar at 9, studied architecture at Virginia Tech, and went on to become a founder and frontman for Genghis Angus, the celebrated 1990s band that issued four outstanding CDs and toured nationally. However Kitselman stopped performing in 1999 to concentrate on his architecture practice and family -- wife Laura and son Dylan -- as well as his role as a city councilman in Berryville.

Kitselman continued to write music and to play his guitar for his own pleasure, but he thought he'd “shut the door and thrown the key away” on his performing career. In late 2011 that all changed when his Clarke County neighbor Gary McGraw came to a party at his home. Kitselman brought out his guitar and played a few songs for McGraw, who recalls that “things just clicked.” McGraw, a classically trained violinist, showed up with his fiddle a couple of days later. A short time later, McGraw invited Clark Hansbarger, a retired English teacher, to join them on guitar and vocals. Kitselman recruited childhood friend and former Ghengis Angus percussionist Mike Jewell to play drums. The Bitter Liberals were born.

McGraw has played the violin since he was 3 and as a very young man he played at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Omni, and Disney World and with all-state high school orchestras in Texas and Tennessee. He also toured Europe with a youth orchestra playing in Notre Dame Cathedral, and Royal Albert Hall, among other venues.

As a student at the University of Virginia, McGraw performed with the Charlottesville Symphony as well as with several bluegrass groups. His other group, Where's Aubrey, began recording original music in 2001, and has now has recorded six CDs. McGraw has long admired the legendary French violinist Stephane Grappelli who years ago played with the Hot Club of Paris. He even plays a violin made in Paris between 1750 and 1800. While not playing music, McGraw raises two boys with his wife Amy Barley, writes books about software security and helps run Cigital, a software-security company.

Guitarist Clark Hansbarger began playing in Washington bars with the jam band Ambrose Rose, and after that, because he hated playing covers, he wrote and played originals with the Leesburg rock band, Hammer. Mike Jewell says his musical career began when his mother insisted that he join his church choir, and since those days he has taken up the drums and performed with numerous Northern Virginia bands including Genghis Angus, Nova, the James Boys and Greenbeet.

Kitselman and Hansbarger share most of the songwriting duties for the Bitter Liberals. The new group played its first show about a year after coming together, opening for James McMurtry, another childhood friend of Kitselman and Jewell in Waterford, and they have several times performed with McMurtry when he's in Virginia.

The debut album, “13,” was soon released and has been followed by a second album “Again.” The band supported both records in theaters and auditoriums throughout Northern Virginia: “No more bars, no more vineyards,” Hansbarger jokes. Adds McGraw, “We like to play in places where people are going to listen, to appreciate the craft.” The band has garnered several Washington Area Music Award nominations in the past two years as they have grown increasingly popular throughout the region.

Charles Arthur, a Richmond-based multi-instrumentalist, will open for the Bitter Liberals. Arthur served as sideman for Texas singer and songwriter Slaid Cleaves for more than a decade before returning to Virginia, where he records and plays with a variety of artists.

The Bitter Liberals perform at the Tin Pan on Friday, April 10, with Charles Arthur at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $18 at door. Tinpanrva.com.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ode to Oderus

On the anniversary week of Dave Brockie's death, Gwar soldiers on.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 2:00 PM

A tribute to Dave Brockie found in Hollywood Cemetery this week. - PATTY KRUSZEWSKI
  • Patty Kruszewski
  • A tribute to Dave Brockie found in Hollywood Cemetery this week.

This week saw the one-year anniversary of the death of legendary Richmond freak, David Murray Brockie, also known as Oderus Urungus from Gwar.

Tributes poured forth on social media -- and an informal makeshift memorial was seen in Hollywood Cemetery that fits right along with the Gwar aesthetic.

Bob Gorman of Gwar says that the band is still in the "developmental stages" of a final memorial for Brockie in the famous cemetery. It owns an official plot in Hollywood.

It's understandable that the band is pressed for time. Gwar is showing no signs of slowing down, recently releasing a teaser trailer for its sixth annual Gwar-BQ event, which is scheduled for Aug. 14-16 at Hadad's Lake. Future announcements of the band lineup will trickle out slowly during the coming months, Gorman says.

Gwar-BQ promises "30 food vendors, 20 bands and three stages ... but only one porta potty."

In other Gwar news, the band has a busy weekend in early April. A few members are heading to Brooklyn to celebrate the 20th anniversary of a truly horrible film, "Empire Records," which tried to make the life-and-times of a Tower Music employee look super hip and fun (believe me, as a former late-night Tower employee in California, they did it wrong). Those screenings, April 8-10, apparently will feature a record-throwing contest -- hopefully aimed at the projector.

On that same weekend, other members of Gwar will be involved in an "engagement piece" at the local TEDxRVA event (April 10) where the always entertaining Michael Bishop is speaking at the Carpenter Theatre.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

They Went, They Conquered

Rising Richmond bands make some noise at SXSW.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 4:45 PM

Alexandra Spalding and Adrian Olsen of Avers rock out at the 720 Club Patio during this year's SXSW fest. - HILARY LANGFORD
  • Hilary Langford
  • Alexandra Spalding and Adrian Olsen of Avers rock out at the 720 Club Patio during this year's SXSW fest.

Veterans of Austin's South by Southwest will tell you that the now legendary festival is a marathon, not a sprint. They aren't kidding.

With an abundance of freebie adult beverages, eats, and back-to-back shows from the wee hours of the morning onward, it’s easy to overindulge quickly.

SXSW also results in the most severe cases of FOMO (fear of missing out) imaginable. Alas, you cannot do it all. Pacing and planning is key.

This year’s official roster boasted an unprecedented number of RVA artists as well as those who made the journey down in hopes of snagging an ear. Thankfully, fans of Natalie Prass, Matthew E. White and Avers received plenty of shows over the course of the festival -- and national critics took notice.

Prass entered the SXSW game as a heavyweight poised to win SXSW according to the Wall Street Journal and other notable publications. Tuesday night, the affable singer played to a beyond capacity crowd at Cheer Up Charlie's with plenty of onlookers including NPR critic and author Ann Powers pressed against a tiny side window enjoying it all from outside.

Artist Natalie Prass recently relocated to Richmond from Nashville, just in time to blow up nationally. - HILARY LANGFORD
  • Hilary Langford
  • Artist Natalie Prass recently relocated to Richmond from Nashville, just in time to blow up nationally.

The following day’s show at House of Vans Mohawk proved to be her most memorable of the sets I saw, complete with distribution of roses to an adoring crowd and the debut of her beloved plastic Godzilla that would make several appearances later in the week. Multiple reviews and tweets noted “everyone is falling in love with Natalie Prass.” It’s not hard to do, folks.

Local guitar rock outfit Avers played about six shows ranging from a midday set at a Patagonia store to one of its last gigs at the 720 Club Patio. The latter was certainly one for the books with the raucous six-piece crammed into a sweaty dive bar with little space to move (resulting in a few smashed pieces of equipment in the end and the need for duct tape). Veteran senior editor David Fricke of Rolling Stone fame reportedly was impressed and beamed when presented with a copy of the band's debut, “Empty Light,” on vinyl. The band was visibly stoked with the good time. Since the show, Avers has been recognized as SXSW standouts by The Daily Beast, Esquire and NPR, among others.

The Richmond juggernaut continued with multiple performances by White whipping out material from his latest critically acclaimed album, “Fresh Blood,” as well as a chilled set by Butcher Brown at the historic Driskill hotel and a groove-infused evening courtesy of DJ Harrison, aka Devonne Harris, at the Container Bar. People’s Blues of Richmond, Anhayla, Blaze, and Shy, Low also represented the River City well.

Back home a few days later, exhausted players are still absorbing it all.

“Heading into the city with no place to crash then walking away feeling like we could look at each other and be proud of the shows we had played was definitely a highlight for our baby band,” says Alexandra Spalding of Avers. “It was unpredictable, wild and super addictive."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Interview: Comedian Todd Barry

Fresh off Crowd Work triumph, Barry returns to writing jokes.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 12:20 AM

Comedian Todd Barry brings his low-key delivery to Gallery5 next Sunday, March  29th. - MINDY TUCKER
  • Mindy Tucker
  • Comedian Todd Barry brings his low-key delivery to Gallery5 next Sunday, March 29th.

Something about comedians just encourages stereotypes.

The one everybody knows is that comedians are all really crying on the inside (cue Robin Williams music here). Or that comedians can or should be “on” all the time, even when they’re not onstage working.

The last time Style spoke with veteran comedian Todd Barry, he avoided talking about his personal life and said he “didn’t think comedians were any sadder than any other profession you could pick at random.” One gets a sense with the preternaturally low-key Barry that he isn’t too different onstage than off -- only that maybe he’s less interested in making jokes when not on the clock. Interviews tend to be straight forward.

Barry, 50, has made a respected career out of his slow delivery and brilliant comic timing. His most recent tour, Crowd Work, featured totally improvised work onstage, where he came with no prepared bits and simply played off the crowd (see hilarious video below).

An album of that West Coast tour was released by Barry fan and friend, Louis CK, on the megawatt comedian’s own website. Barry is quick to point out his show in Richmond Sunday won't be a continuation of the crowd work. The man with 260,000 followers on Twitter is back to writing observational jokes.

Barry grew up in Florida and started out playing drums in indie rock band the Chant before pursuing comedy full-time. Through the years, you may have caught him on the Comedy Central animated series "Dr. Katz," or guest spots on “Sex in the City” and “Louis CK,” as a megalomaniac bongo player on “Flight of the Concords,” and as himself on the Adult Swim series “Delocated.” As a film actor he’s had minor roles in the “The Wrestler,” “Pootie Tang” and “Vamps,” among others.

Style spoke with him over email to preview his return to Richmond.

Style: Listening to your new podcast, at first your voice reminded me a little of Harry Shearer for some reason. Do you mostly just interview friends, do you find that easier than interviewing strangers? And has your own long experience with journalists taught you anything about the kinds of interviews you hope to do?

Barry: I generally interview friends, mainly because I’m most comfortable doing that, and they’re pretty easy to book. I don’t have the numbers that Maron has, so I don’t get a lot of famous people clamoring to be a guest. But people do ask. I try not to ask questions that they’ve been asked a million times, but sometimes you have to. I like it when it just seems like a conversation you’d have at lunch.

Your roast of Chevy Chase was one of my faves (to watch it, click here and go to the 15 minute mark). Had you been booked for the recent Justin Bieber roast -– any idea what direction you might’ve gone in? Most people there seemed to be using it as a promotional opportunity, which Bieber certainly was himself.

I don’t know what angle I would’ve gone for, but I really hope I can do another roast. I had a great time roasting Chevy Chase, even though I didn’t meet him until I was done roasting him.

I love hearing you weigh in on music topics. I wondered what you think of the Portland stoner rock band, Black Pussy. It recently had a show canceled in Durham at the Pour House because of protesters bothered by the name. We have a popular band here called Black Girls (also consisting of white guys), who played the Pour House just a month earlier, sans incident. I guess this hints at the current level of political correctness in this country -- do you feel like there’s too much of a knee-jerk, lynch-mob mentality online these days with the PC police? Is it having a chilling affect on any comedians?

I just heard about the Black Pussy controversy. I don’t know. It’s obvious some people have a problem with the name, but I’d like to hear from people who don’t have a problem with it. I wouldn’t assume someone is sexist or racist because they came up with a provocative band name. I bet there are a lot of people who don’t think it’s a big deal. The PC thing affects me occasionally. I’ve had people come up to me and tell me they were offended by something I said. Often times they didn’t even listen to the joke, they just heard one word and assumed the worst. I’ve had conversations where I’ve laid out how their interpretation is wrong, but some people just want to be offended.

During the Crowd Work shows, did you notice any telltale signs on whether a person in the crowd might be interesting?

There’s no real way of knowing in advance whether someone is going to be interesting. Someone could be mild-mannered, but have great stuff to talk about if you get them started.

So many people are afraid of being publicly humiliated. You seem to take care not to destroy people live. But what do you do when you get the person who freezes like a deer in the headlights or who tries to one-up you? Is there ever a time when you would give up your stage time to just annihilate some drunkard?

If I’m doing crowd work and someone freezes up, I’ll just back off. I’m really not interested in making someone uncomfortable. I’ve certainly annihilated drunks in the past, but it’s not something I want to do. I’d prefer someone like that get kicked out.

In the states that have been legalizing pot, have you noticed an increase in the quotient of stoned laughter or glazed faces in the audience?

If someone has a “glazed” face while they’re watching me, I don’t assume that they’re stoned, they could be bored or have a bad personality. Or they could just be like me, and not be that expressive. I just did a show in Denver, and I imagine a good chunk of the crowd was stoned, but it didn’t really affect the show.

So much is made of your artful delivery, which you have honed over the years. There are a lot of subtleties. Do you think it translates as well in big rooms like Carnegie or some arena?

I’ve done Carnegie Hall twice and I just opened for Louie [C.K.] at Madison Square Garden. All the shows went well. If the audience is listening, it doesn’t matter how big the venue is.

Those gigs doing voices for Disney films seem like good paychecks. With your background on Katz, and your recognizable voice, is that something you've pursued?

I’d love to do an animated movie. It’s pretty relaxed atmosphere, and they often let you improvise.

Your friend Gregg Turkington or Neil Hamburger has done some films (“The Comedy,” “Entertainment”) with Richmond-based director Rick Alverson. What would it take for you to be the lead in an indie film? What do you want out of your acting career in general?

I don’t really get asked to be the lead in many things. It’s usually small parts. I would do it if it was offered and I liked the project. Most of the acting jobs I get are handed to me by friends, which is great, but I’d also like to do a bigger part and work with people I don’t know.

As a germaphobe and a well-traveled performer, what are your favorite places to stay on the road in the United States and why? Any hotel chain you would rep?

I don’t really think of one city being cleaner than another. They all have soap. I wouldn’t rep a hotel, but Kimptons are pretty nice.

Todd Barry performs at Gallery5 on Sunday, March 29, with Dan Shaki and Jim Zarling. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. Tickets are $20.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Truth

R&B star Ledisi talks about her loyal fans, her music, and holding it down.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 12:45 AM

R&B star Ledisi was featured in the Best Picture Oscar nominee film "Selma" as gospel legend Mahalia Jackson. She brings her "Intimate Truth Tour" to Altria Theater on Sunday. - VERVE RECORDS
  • Verve Records
  • R&B star Ledisi was featured in the Best Picture Oscar nominee film "Selma" as gospel legend Mahalia Jackson. She brings her "Intimate Truth Tour" to Altria Theater on Sunday.

Ledisi doesn’t play by the rules.

She came up hard, fighting her way up through the indie soul scene before getting signed to a major record label. She still kickstarts her projects with her own money, which allows her to make music when she’s ready. The songs she creates (“I Blame You,” Higher Than This,”) are a little to the left of what urban radio typically embraces -- but they play it anyway.

She’s a modern R&B artist with jazz sensibilities and the heart of a rock star. “I don’t fit in, so that's why I fit in,” she said before a Dallas concert recently.

She should though. Her musical lineage almost makes her a royal subject. Her grandfather was Johnny Ace (“The Clock”), a gifted singer who died in a tragic backstage accident in 1954. Her father was soul singer Larry Saunders, who recorded for a label owned by Richmond producer and provocateur August Moon. Ledisi's mother also had her own band, but she put that aside to raise her family.

Her grandfather’s brush with fame and her father’s unheralded career didn’t make her road any easier. She toiled as an independent artist for years until breaking though with 2007’s “Lost and Found,” her first for Verve.

Recently, the singer was in the news for sidestepping a showdown with Beyonce during the Grammys. Mrs. Knowles-Carter was allowed to sing “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” a song Ledisi performed while playing gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in the movie “Selma.” Fans of Ledisi weren't happy and let be known via social media. Ledisi, however, took it in stride, as she issued a brief statement about the history of the song and moved on gracefully.

Right now, she’s playing the part she wants to, one that she wrote for herself.

The New Orleans native is selling out shows on her current tour, which also features Raheeem DeVaughn and Leela James. She’s touting her latest project “The Intimate Truth,” an acoustic extension of her last release, “The Truth.” There’s even more “Truth” if you can handle it, a deluxe version of the project includes video and more music.

Ledisi talked to Style about her loyal fans, her music and of course, the truth.

Style WeeklySo, your father was signed to a label that was run by someone from Richmond, August Moon.

Ledisi: Yeah, I don’t want to talk about him. [Laughs] I’m going to leave that alone. No publicity for him.

Okay, let's talk about “The Intimate Truth” EP. What made you revisit those songs from your album?

Right after “The Truth Tour,” the first tour from this album, I wanted to do an acoustic tour, just with guitars, and everyone said, “Well, you can't do that because that's too much work.” So I recorded all these songs on my own, (my own money) just to get it done, because everyone didn't understand what I was doing. When I was finished, they heard it and everyone loved it. It's just reminder of my voice and a thank you to my fans.

Is that the first project you had to pay for since your independent days?

[Laughs] No! Are you kidding me? I come out of pocket for everything. 'Cause I move fast. My first recordings were independent. I still have independent thinking. Just because I'm signed to major label, which really means nothing to me, it's still work. It's still getting it done, it's still wanting to please my fans. So, I'll do whatever I can to get it done and turn it in, whether people believe in it or not. I still have that thinking, it never goes away, once you've done it yourself for so long.

You really don't seem to fit into a category, not only musically, but on the business side as well, you're sort of majorly independent.

Yeah, exactly. And that's how I came into the major label thinking. Look, if I can't do what I want to do, then I'd rather not do it. [Laughs] Because it's not going to work for me and I don't want to get on your nerves later, let's just get on your nerves now. (laughs) I have to be free. Yeah, you're right I don't fit in and that's why I fit in.

Your fans came out strong during that little dust-up around the Grammies. How did it feel to see that amount of support?

They amazed me honestly, because I didn't think they were there! (laughs) I thought I was just makin' music and people kind of know me, but I didn't know I was that popular. I appreciate all of it and I'm glad everything happened the way it did. 'Cause I let God move the whole thing and stayed completely out of the way. Because it wasn't my place to say anything or to do anything. I'm grateful to them, wholeheartedly, always have been. They're selling out these shows, that tells me R&B is still needed.

Do you think you'll do some more acting?

I would love to. If someone calls me again, I'll be there. I would love to play Dinah Washington, who is one of my favorites.

You've been invited to White House several times, what is that like?

They're great folk. I love the Obamas, they're beautiful. When they call me, when I'm available, I'm there. And when I can't be, I love that they even call me. It means that they need my support, just like Mahalia was to Martin Luther King. It makes me feel honored.

You're one of the few artists who doesn't lose the audience's attention between songs, when you start talking. Often, you're sharing an uplifting message. Why is that important to you?

I try to sneak in a little bit of spirituality in between booty songs, I have to. [Laughs] 'Cause that's life. Sharing experiences, that's what music's about and that's what being an artist is about.

Anything else you'd like to add?

We gotta do right with each other. We gotta do better. My dad died wanting people to treat him right and they still haven't. And that breaks my heart. I love my dad and mom, I'm holding it up for them.

Ledisi performs with Raheem DeVaughn and Leela James on Sunday March 22, at 7 p.m. at the Altria Theater. Tickets are $47-$67.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Exclusive Stream: “Aches” by My Darling Fury

Richmond band, crowd-sourcing new album, offers download.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 12:10 AM

My Darling Fury features, from left, Clark Fraley, Todd Matthews, Alex McCallum, Joel Hillister and the vibrant vocals of dynamic lead singer Danny Reyes belting out finely crafted pop tunes. - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • My Darling Fury features, from left, Clark Fraley, Todd Matthews, Alex McCallum, Joel Hillister and the vibrant vocals of dynamic lead singer Danny Reyes belting out finely crafted pop tunes.

My Darling Fury’s works are always a singular fusion of craft and experiment. Its 2013 gently revolutionary anthem “Blots in the Margin” was one of the best songs of the year. The collaborations -- notably with Classical Revolutions, Richmond hip-hoppers Photosynthesizers and dancer Annielille Gavino Kollman -- are both adventurous and ambitious. If they don’t break through to whatever's left of the mass market, it won’t be for lack of courage or merit.

The “Aches” debuted in video form at Kollman’s last Dogtown Dance Theater performance. Part of the band's in-progress next album, it's a departure from its previous, more acoustic approach.

"The lyrics here are more sparse,” lead singer Danny Reyes says. “There are fewer 'organic' instruments ... a complete lack of acoustic guitar ... and it's overall more percussive.” The sound is both intimate and huge, moving from tense earthbound emotion to soaring escape.

Those who contribute to My Darling Fury’s crowd-sourcing of its next album here can download their own copy of the song. But if you want to check it out first, you can stream it here free.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Watch Matthew E. White Play “Letterman”

Musician gets an assist from local gospel stars.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Local musician Matthew E. White made his network television debut last night, appearing on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and performing the song “Rock & Roll is Cold” off his acclaimed new album, “Fresh Blood.”

White brought along some local talent as well: In addition to his band he was backed up by Richmond gospel vocal sensations Resound (see feature in this week’s Style).

White was a guest on the show along with actress Shailene Woodley and activist philosopher Dr. Cornel West.

White is currently on tour and will return to play a hometown show at the Broadberry on April 11.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Broadway in Richmond Season Announced

Includes the return of "The Lion King" and debut of "Motown the Musical."

Posted By on Sun, Mar 15, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Direct from Broadway comes "Newsies," the hit musical from Disney that won the 2012 Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Choreography.
  • Direct from Broadway comes "Newsies," the hit musical from Disney that won the 2012 Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Choreography.

On Friday, Chicago-based Jam Theatricals announced the lineup for the 2015-2016 Broadway in Richmond season, the seventh season for the series.

The dates for the performances are the following:

Disney’s "Newsies" – Nov. 3 - 8, 2015 @ Altria Theater

"Ragtime" – Nov. 27 – 28, 2015 @ Altria Theater

"Motown The Musical" – Jan. 5 - 10 , 2016 @ Altria Theater

"Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" – Feb. 26 – 27, 2016 @ Altria Theater

Disney’s "The Lion King" – April 19 – May 8, 2016 @ Altria Theater

Subscriptions are available for purchase starting this Monday, March 16 at (804) 592-3401 and BroadwayInRichmond.com. Patrons may also purchase group tickets by calling (804) 592-3401 Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Subscribe and see all five shows this season for as low as $215.00. Tickets for individual shows will go on sale as each performance date approaches.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mr. Basketball

UR’s Kendall Anthony enters the A-10 tourney as the point guard to watch.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 1:15 PM

University of Richmond senior point guard Kendall Anthony was just named All-A-10 First Team. His team may have its third match-up with the VCU Rams on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
  • University of Richmond senior point guard Kendall Anthony was just named All-A-10 First Team. His team may have its third match-up with the VCU Rams on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Forget about stats. It’s the intense eyes that don’t lie.

On the basketball court, University of Richmond’s senior star Kendall Anthony may look small -- a compact 5 feet 8 inches tall and 150 pounds -- but that calm, killer look in his eyes plainly says: “You will not stop me.”

It’s a big reason why Anthony, just named All-Atlantic 10 first team, is considered by many to be the best point guard in the city this year.

He’s proven it with gutsy performances in game after game of his career, throwing his small frame into the middle of trees, bouncing off huge players and finishing plays, as well as draining 3-pointers and silencing opposing crowds. Anthony is averaging 16.3 points a game, which ranks eighth in the league. He’s had 26 double-figure scoring games this year, nailing 54 3s and becoming UR's all-time 3-point leader in the process.

Virginia Commonwealth University fans may not like him, but they’ve learned to respect him. He’s a big reason the Spiders defeated the more imposing Rams twice this season. And now he's leading a confident team that could upset the A-10 tournament. A team on a six-game winning streak.

“He has extremely high character. He sets a high standard for himself and holds himself to that standard in everything he does,” coach Chris Mooney says in an email. “He doesn't just rely on his speed and talent. He has been in the gym working at the same shots nearly every night of his career. He is meticulous in his preparation and his work ethic.”

With the Spiders on a winning streak and poised to do damage in the A-10 tourney in Brooklyn, Style spoke with Anthony while he was finishing one of his last practices in Richmond.

Style: How’s the wear-and-tear right now, how are your legs feeling?

Anthony: I’m pretty good. I’ve been taking care of my body a lot better this year than I have any other year. I don’t feel as tired as I did last year. I feel pretty good going into this [tournament]. We’ve had a couple days off, it’s been good to rest and get treatment.

Whenever you play, you seem to have the most heart of anyone on the floor. Where does that toughness come from?

Just growing up I had to play people a lot taller than me – you couldn’t not play hard against the older guys. Growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, that made me be a tougher person; made me not scared to challenge people taller.

On the radio, Coach Mooney called you "the toughest player he’s ever coached."

I think we have a great relationship. He’s kind of a father figure to me. He really puts a lot of trust in me which I’m grateful for. He’s definitely somebody I’ve had a good relationship with here in Richmond.

You’ve had a hall-of-fame career and great success as a leader there, how would you describe your leadership style?

First few years I wasn’t really a vocal leader, just did it. This year coach has challenged me to be more of a leader, talk to my teammates, get them ready to play. Just been taking on more of a vocal leadership [role] that some of the guys before me had.

It looks like UR often leaves offensive rebounds and just gets back – is that planned?

I mean sometimes, but I think we just want to get back and set up in our defense. [Often] we’re not the bigger team so we’re not going to get every rebound. We recognize that, take a shot and want to get back on defense. That’s the thing, just not giving up fast break points. Getting back is a big thing. ... We’re looking forward to having Alonzo [Nelson-Ododa] back [Friday].

Is there a guiding philosophy beneath UR’s unique defensive match-up zone -- you sometimes get switched onto a bigger player up top. Then occasionally you will follow a player out of your area. It can be confusing.

I mean if you get hit with a screen, you find the next man coming up. So you’re playing defense on somebody, you come up and somebody sets a screen on you, you gotta either stay with the man if they tell you there’s nobody on the same side as you, or you get the man coming up on the same side. You can get bumped off, sometimes we just switch because the big man wants the big man to stay in the paint, little guys or guards to stay outside. So you kinda got to find ways to do that. ... It’s different. I think it’s good though, it keeps the guards out of foul trouble cause we don’t have to guard the bigger players.

How do your performances against VCU stack up for you? What will be going through your mind if you meet up on Friday?

Just taking one game, one opponent at a time. I enjoy playing VCU, but on Friday I’m just focusing on getting a win no matter who we play. I’m very used to playing them, played them for four years. I know their style of play, know what to expect and that’s a big thing for me. Handling the pressure for my team, being able to make sure my team runs offense sets right and plays team defense.

You have any pregame rituals or things you do in Brooklyn?

Before every game I take a nap, and before the game I play. I’ve already played up in Brooklyn three times. It’s a really nice arena, NBA arena. Its somewhere that I really enjoy playing, have the privilege to play. It’s a really big stage, so I just want to come up and compete.

Do you know about your plans after school?

I want to continue to play basketball, wherever that is. I’ll figure that out when the season is over. We’ll see what happens.

So is there anything you pursue with as much passion as basketball?

I don’t think I do anything as much as basketball.

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