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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Docs About Coal Ash Showing at Rag & Bones Bike Co-Op This Monday

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 3:30 PM

A still from the below trailer for "Little Blue."
  • A still from the below trailer for "Little Blue."

Four short documentaries regarding the problems of coal ash will be shown in Richmond this Monday.

The four films featured in “Coal Ash Stories” are An Ill Wind, At What Cost?, Coal Ash Chronicles, and Little Blue.

Rhiannon Fionn, producer of the pieces, says the purpose of the films is to “help local audiences better understand not only what they’re dealing with but also what their options are,” Fionn said in a press release.

The films, which explore the toxicity of coal ash in its impact on human lives, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. at Rag & Bones Bike Co-op, 3110 W. Leigh St., Richmond.

The event is being hosted by No ACP, the Blue Ridge Environment Defense League, and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Footlights

Illuminating the local theater scene.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM

lsoh_web.jpg

Star Light

When a local actor makes a splash on television or Broadway, it’s big news. But there’s a homegrown theater pro who’s been making waves all over the world for more than a decade. And few Richmonders know about him outside of the theater scene.

Lighting designer Joe Doran is responsible for the rock ’n’ roll light show interludes in Swift Creek Mill’s recently opened musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” and in a couple of months he’ll be back in town to bring a similar sense of spectacle to Virginia Repertory Theatre’s “Dreamgirls.”

In between, he’ll travel to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to light shows there, and maybe get a chance to stop in New York, which he’s called home for 15 years.

Some of his more significant credits have included lighting the Finnish National Opera Ballet in Helsinki and an adaptation of “The Tempest,” starring Olympia Dukakis, in Montana.

So why does a big-time international designer still return to little old Richmond?

“Richmond allows me to do such a variety of work. I really cherish the times I get to come back,” Doran says. “The last show I did here was the Mill’s ‘Little Lion,’ which was an intense drama, and now I get to do a big campy musical.”

The local connection to family and friends also runs deep for Doran, whose first interest in theater was as an actor, landing roles at Fort Lee Playhouse and the Mill when he was only 9. While he hated auditioning, he loved being in the room while theater was being made. So he started volunteering to paint scenery and hang lights and, before long, graduated from technician to designer.

Early on, he found a niche he could embrace.

“I was running the board for a production of ‘Secret Garden’ back when we still used manual dimmers,” Doran recalls. “I had to pay attention to the rhythm and the mood, really feel the music, because with a flick of a switch I could totally change the way the stage looked.

“You can really tell a story with lights. They are like another character in a show.”

Doran says that lighting productions in New York usually involves a whole team -- a designer, an assistant and a programmer, at least -- while it’s usually just him for shows here. “I really respect people in Richmond,” he says. “They do amazing things with much less money and a lot fewer people than in other cities.”

Running: Chamberlayne Actors Theatre’s “Moon Over Buffalo” sets next weekend. Virginia Rep musicals “I Do! I Do!” closes while “Croaker: the Frog Prince Musical” sings on for another couple weeks.

On deck: The production with the biggest buzz coming into this season, Quill Theatre’s “King Lear,” opens March 31, featuring Richmond legend Joe Inscoe on the beautiful Leslie Cheek stage at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Preview: Hip-Hop Personality Sway Brings Race Relations Film To VCU Tonight

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 12:30 PM

A still from the short film "The Cycle" which looks at fear and how it contributes to violence between police and black communities.
  • A still from the short film "The Cycle" which looks at fear and how it contributes to violence between police and black communities.

Hip-hop radio personality, Sway Calloway, will visit VCU tonight with actress Kaili Turner to present their short film “The Cycle,” which examines the issue of police violence in black communities.

The free screening at the VCU Commons starts at 7 p.m. and they'll have a Q&A discussion afterward. Although the film is free, a donation of $5 is suggested.

The film is being presented by the Cheats Movement, the Afrikana Independent Film Festival, and the VCU Office of Multicultural Affairs.

"Cheats presented this film to me a few months ago. And given the history of race relations in this country and the current social climate, it seemed like a great opportunity for a meaningful community discussion," says Enjoli Moon with the festival. "Part of Afrikana's mission, aside from broadening the spectrum of imagery of people of color, is also to create safe, inclusive, and honest spaces for real dialogue that will hopefully elevate and heal our society, one heart and mind at a time. 'The Cycle' is a well-crafted film that I believe is an excellent catalyst for such change."

Here's a trailer for the film, which is told from the perspective of a New York police officer involved in the shooting of a teenager.

The filmmakers said in a release: "We set out to tell a story of one man's way of overcoming the violence in his life, and then the real world filled in the rest. Original production on this film concluded on Aug. 8, 2014. The next day Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri."

Art on Wheels Joins Massey Cancer For World Record Attempt

Thousand-foot collagraph print will be like "Richmond's own AIDS quilt."

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The project will create the world's largest collagraph print using donated clothes that represent a person who has battled cancer.
  • The project will create the world's largest collagraph print using donated clothes that represent a person who has battled cancer.

The nonprofit Art on Wheels announced today it was launching its biggest community art project ever -- a huge, 1,000-foot collagraph print (which would set a Guinness Book world record) that honors Richmonders affected by cancer.

A collagraph is basically a print made from an object -- and this project will use donated clothing items that represent someone who has fought cancer. They will eventually be laid out in the street en masse, inked by volunteers, and printed using a steam roller.

The project is being presented by the VCU Massey Cancer Center in conjunction with Studio Two Three and will benefit LINC (the Legal Information Network for Cancer).

"Impressions of Courage" launches with a press conference today demonstrating the collagraph-making process and raising awareness for the project, which will culminate in a day-long community festival in Scott’s Addition where the massive art project will be created.

Here's a video to check out:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

VCU Arts Dean Joseph Seipel To Retire This June

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 4:10 PM

VCU School of the Arts Dean Joseph H. Seipel is retiring this summer.
  • VCU School of the Arts Dean Joseph H. Seipel is retiring this summer.

He's spent 42 years in higher education, but now Virginia Commonwealth University Arts Dean Joseph H. Seipel is stepping down.

He has served for the past five years as the dean of the School of the Arts and a press release was sent out announcing his retirement on June 30, 2016.

"My biggest joy over the last 42 years has been following the amazing creative careers that our students have undertaken," Seipel says. "They have proven that a degree from VCuarts can open doors they never thought were in their grasp. The list of successful professional artists, performers, scholars, teachers and designers that have passed through this magical place is quite astounding -- thanks to the dedicated faculty and staff who really are the ones who make that magic happen."

In 2011, Style conducted an interview with Seipel when he took on the job and he mentioned that his biggest dream was to see the Institute for Contemporary Art become a reality. It is currently under construction.

From the school's press release:

“Joe’s leadership has made VCU a creative campus,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “From the support he galvanized to raise funds for the Institute for Contemporary Art to the dynamic, cross-disciplinary connections and innovative programs he has initiated across campus, Joe has been instrumental in positioning the School of the Arts as a global, forward-thinking institution.”

Seipel has led VCUarts to its top rankings, expanding the school’s programs and facilities. This month, the school’s graduate fine arts programs were ranked number two in the country by U.S. News & World Report’s peer assessment survey, just behind Yale University. Once again, VCUarts was ranked the number one public fine arts program in the U.S.

Seipel has grown the school’s programs in arts research and entrepreneurship, championing opportunities for interdisciplinary partnerships, connecting the School of the Arts to the VCU Medical campus and areas of business and technology. He transformed the Depot Building on Broad Street, providing over 26,000 square feet of creative, collaborative working space for students, faculty, and the community.

He has ensured that VCUarts drives cutting-edge arts and design opportunities at home and abroad. Seipel played a pivotal role in raising funds—over $34M—for VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art, currently under construction at the corner of downtown Richmond’s Belvidere and Broad Streets. On the international scene, Seipel helped negotiate a 10-year contract with the Qatar Foundation to operate VCUQatar, a fully accredited branch campus of VCUarts. He has negotiated exchange agreements with arts and design schools in Finland, India, Israel and Korea.

“To have been able to play a part in transforming the lives of hundreds of students who have come through this institution has been a gift of immeasurable scale,” says Seipel. “It has been an incredible journey, and one that has been life fulfilling.”

Seipel, who began his career in higher education with a one-year contract at VCU in 1974, served as chair of the Department of Sculpture for 17 years, and as the VCUarts senior associate dean and director of graduate studies for eight years. He was appointed dean of the School of the Arts in the spring of 2011.

He received the Award for Distinguished Service in 1999 from both the School of the Arts and Virginia Commonwealth University. He was honored for his lifetime achievements in sculpture education in 2001, when he received the International Sculpture Center’s Sculpture Educators Award.

Deeply dedicated to the Richmond community, Seipel served on the Urban Design Committee for the City of Richmond, on an early advisory team for the Children’s Museum, on the Performing Arts Center’s Downtown Richmond Public Arts Committee, on the board of directors for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and was the founding president of the 1708 Gallery. He was a founding board member of The River City Bank, which started in Mechanicsville, Va. He also co-owned the popular Texas Wisconsin Border Café in Richmond for 17 years.

Seipel received his Bachelor of Science degree in Art from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Maryland Institute’s Rinehart School of Sculpture.

A national search will be conducted to find Seipel’s successor.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Country Icon Tim McGraw Playing Benefit for Richmond CenterStage Foundation

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Tim McGraw contemplates the black hole phenomenon.
  • Tim McGraw contemplates the black hole phenomenon.

If you're into new school country, you probably know about Tim McGraw. The guy has sold 40 million records and someone in the office says he also stars in movies.

Well, big draw McGraw is performing at the Altria Theater on June 10 to benefit Richmond CenterStage Foundation's arts education and artistic program, according to a press release.

Concert tickets are priced at $89.50, $150 and $250 and go on sale March 25 at 10:00 a.m. Tickets are available for purchase at the Altria Theater Box Office, online at Etix.com or by phone at 1-800-514-3849. The box office is located at 6 N. Laurel Street, Richmond, Virginia and is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Come and get it:

Richmond, VA – Country music icon Tim McGraw will perform at a special one-night-only concert at Altria Theater on Friday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. All proceeds will benefit Richmond CenterStage Foundation programming and operations, including BrightLights Education Initiatives which serve Richmond Public Schools and several surrounding school systems.

Tim McGraw has sold more than 40 million records worldwide and dominated the charts with 36 No. 1 singles. He has won three Grammy Awards, 16 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards, 10 American Music Awards, three People’s Choice Awards and numerous other honors. His iconic career achievements include being named the BDS Most Played Artist of the Decade for all music genres and having the Most Played Song of the Decade for all music genres with “Something Like That.”

“Tim McGraw has played in front of sold-out crowds in some of the country’s largest arenas and stadiums,” said Janet Starke, Richmond CenterStage Foundation Executive Director. “Seeing him perform in the intimate setting of Altria Theater will be a truly remarkable experience for country music fans in Richmond.”

Event package tickets including premium reserved seating at the concert, a pre-show reception and a post-show Brews, Bourbon & BBQ dinner are also available and start at $500. This level also includes a unique opportunity to receive a commemorative plaque on the back of a seat in the theater. For more information about event package tickets, please call or email Sara Greene, Richmond CenterStage Corporate Development and Special Events Manager, at (804) 592-3378 or sgreene@richmondcenterstage.com.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sharon Jones and Trombone Shorty to Play Innsbrook in May

Early bird ticket prices available.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are returning to Richmond.
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are returning to Richmond.

A favorite of Richmond audiences, soul queen Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are performing at Innsbrook After Hours with modern funk/jazz great, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue on May 25.

Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 25 at 10 a.m. and will be specially priced for one week only at the early bird price of $15.

Gates are at 5 p.m. and showtime is at 6 p.m.

From the press release:

While other artists have ridden the waves of passing fads, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings have bypassed the hype-and-hit superhighway and taken a detour straight to the hearts of their listeners, delivering a visceral rhythm and soul sound to an ever-expanding fan base. The band has traveled the world for more than a decade, blowing minds with their explosive live performances and their raw, hand-crafted studio recordings. The prolific survivor that she is, Sharon Jones has fully recovered from a 2013 cancer diagnosis and bounced back with one biggest years of her career in 2014 capped off by a Grammy nomination for her album, Give the People What They Want.

New Orleans native Trombone Shorty began his career as a bandleader at the young age of six, toured internationally at age 12, and spent his teens playing with various brass bands throughout New Orleans and touring worldwide with Lenny Kravitz. He fronts Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, a funk/rock/jazz/hip-hop band. In 2010, Trombone Shorty released his debut album, the Grammy®-nominated "Backatown," followed by "For True" in 2011, which topped Billboard magazine's Contemporary Jazz Chart for 12 weeks. His newest album, "Say That to This," was released in 2013 and features funk/jazz elements of New Orleans. Trombone Shorty appeared in several episodes of HBO's "Treme," and has recently appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "Conan." In 2012, he performed at the White House in honor of Black History Month with music royalty such as B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and Booker T. Jones. At this year's Grammy Awards, he performed alongside Madonna, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Mary Lambert. In 2012, he received the President's Medal from Tulane University in recognition of his charitable work with the Trombone Shorty Foundation, which donates quality instruments to schools across New Orleans.

Tickets for Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue go on sale Friday, March 25 at 10:00 A.M. at www.Innsbrookafterhours.com, or by phone at 804-423-1779. All events are rain or shine. No refunds. Innsbrook After Hours is located at 4901 Lake Brook Dr. Glen Allen, VA.

Like Innsbrook After Hours on Facebook for concert news and updates, and opportunities to enter contests to win tickets, hospitality passes, meet & greets and more.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Footlights: Illuminating the Richmond Theater Scene

This Week: The Kids Are All Right

Posted By on Sun, Mar 20, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear a comment bashing millennials. “Twenty-somethings feel entitled” or “They want a trophy just for showing up” or, worst of all, “They’re all just lazy.”

Well, millennial bashers, meet Meg Carnahan. The 2015 graduate of James Madison University entered the Virginia Repertory Theatre intern program after commencement, where she travels every school day as a touring actor for the company’s “Hugs and Kisses” kids’ show. She also was doing up to six shows a week in the cast of “Gypsy” last fall before landing her current role as wayward daughter, Rosalind, in Chamberlayne Actors Theatre’s “Moon Over Buffalo.”

The nights she isn’t rehearsing or performing, she pulls shifts as a hostess at the Hill Café in Church Hill.

Carnahan remains cheerful and energetic despite the grueling schedule. She started out in local theater in fifth grade and says it’s hard to imagine not being involved.

“In the back of my mind, I wonder whether performing will always be my main occupation,” she says. “But my priority is for theater to be part of my life in whatever capacity possible.”

I asked Carnahan for her take on the ongoing prevalence of Richmond theaters to produce scripts that are decades old and have a distinctly dated perspective. “Buffalo” debuted in 1995 but is set in 1953; “Gypsy” hit Broadway in 1959 and is set in the 1920s and ’30s.

“What is unique about theater is that, even if you are doing a work that is 50 or 60 years old, it’s happening right now in front of you,” Carnahan says. “It’s not like a movie that’s frozen in time. So there are always new things you can take away from a show. If there wasn’t, there wouldn’t be any reason to keep doing Shakespeare.”

Both “Buffalo” and “Gypsy” feature characters who struggle as performers in regional theater. “I really empathize with these characters,” Carnahan says. “Theater is their whole life and they are facing scary questions: Is theater dying? Will TV and movies kill it?”

She has only positive sentiments about the local scene. “There’s been a significant change recently with companies such as TheatreLab, Cadence Theatre Company and the Firehouse Theatre doing contemporary works,” she says. “I think it’s a good sign of things to come.”

“Moon Over Buffalo” runs through April 2.

By the way: Virginia Rep made its 2016-’17 season announcement last weekend. Details are available online (http://va-rep.org/season_all2.html). Firehouse announced auditions for a summer production of the musical “American Idiot,” causing local Green Day fans to squeal with delight.

Running: The Richmond Triangle Players’ “Lazarus Syndrome” closes next weekend. Virginia Rep productions of “I Do! I Do!” and “Croaker: the Frog Prince Musical” continue into April.

On deck: Feed me, Seymour! The insatiable musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” gets a new staging at Swift Creek Mill, with previews starting March 24.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Toots" Hibbert Settles Lawsuit From Richmond Concert

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 11:00 AM

"Toots" Hibbert entering court in Richmond, Va. back in 2013.
  • "Toots" Hibbert entering court in Richmond, Va. back in 2013.

Good news for reggae fans: Now that Frederick “Toots” Hibbert has received an undisclosed settlement related to a bottle-throwing incident at Dominion Riverrock in 2013, the legendary singer is once again booking shows.

Hibbert required staples on his head after being hit at the event by a drunken 19-year-old bottle thrower, who was later sentenced to a year in jail with six months suspended.

Hibbert filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit against the organizer of the event, Venture Richmond, arguing that there had been negligence in planning security and alcoholic beverage sales at the Brown’s Island waterfront festival which draws thousands.

The Times Dispatch reports that none of the parties involved would disclose the details of the settlement.

Hibbert, now 73, was diagnosed by Jamaican psychiatrist Winston De La Haye with major depressive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, according to former legal filings. He stopped touring for several years to the dismay of music fans worldwide.

“He had a downward gaze and his affect became suddenly sad when he reported that for the first time in many years he was experiencing what it feels like to be broke and unable to support his family financially,” the psychiatrist wrote.

The incident caused a rash of negative publicity for the city and its music scene, as you can see in the online comments for this video of the bottle-throwing (which occurs around the 4:24 mark).

Hibbert’s band, Toots and the Maytals, is indeed back booking concerts, with at least two festival performances in London already announced for August.

But whether Hibbert, who has played local venues such as the former Toad's Place, Maymont Park and Brown’s Island, will be booking any future shows in Richmond remains to be seen. He doesn't seem like the type to hold a grudge, and even argued to the judge for leniency in sentencing the young bottle-thrower.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Preview: Band Together - A night of music to benefit Tappahannock Tornado Relief

Held at the Tin Pan on Wednesday, March 16.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Brickwall Jackson.
  • Brickwall Jackson.

There are three good reasons to attend the Tappahannock Tornado Fundraiser at the Tin Pan on Wednesday, March 16.

First, the bands. Alt. country/Americana band, Brickwall Jackson, is starting to gain traction. Their debut album set them in a more traditional Nashville context. And their latest – “Beautiful Mystery” - pushes the envelope with a bit of RVA color. Notably on “House of Freaks,” which pays homage to the eponymous Richmond band while name-checking a cascade of local references, including the James River islands and the buried Church Hill train. Cook County Bluegrass plays the opening set…

Second, the venue. The Tin Pan Quiocassin Road is listening room -- meaning the music doesn’t have to compete with ambient bar noise. The suburban location may seem unlikely, but the area is being pioneered by adventurous restaurants like McCormack’s Big Whiskey Bar in Regency Square.

If you haven’t been, a no-cover night is a great time for a first visit.

Finally, the cause. It may be no cover, but there is a suggested $10 donation that goes to relief for the victims of the late February tornados that tore a 20-mile gash across the Eastern Shore. And if you like the bands, according to Brickwall Jackson leader Johnny Hudak, a portion of their merchandise sales will also go toward the cause.

Band Together will be held at the Tin Pan, 8982 Quioccasin Road on Wednesday, March 16. Doors open at 7, music at 8. $10 suggested donation.

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