Friday, March 31, 2017

Gamecocks Win March Ratness Final Fur

Annual Science Museum of Virginia rat ball tourney finishes with an upset.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 12:59 PM

The Gamecocks upset the field this year in Science Museum of Virginia's Final Fur.
  • The Gamecocks upset the field this year in Science Museum of Virginia's Final Fur.

If you believe in omens involving rats -- and who doesn't? -- the Science Museum of Virginia played its annual March Ratness: Final Fur basketball tournament today at 11 a.m., and we already have a winner.

It looks like the South Carolina Gamecocks, represented by a rat named Marion, took home the national championship in a major upset.

While Style was unable to attend courtside because of reporting deadlines, we do have the results: The match-ups for the 2017 Final Fur were South Carolina (Marion) vs. Gonzaga (Leta), and University of North Carolina (Lillian) vs. Oregon (Amelia).

The championship game ended up between UNC and USC, with Marion taking out Lillian to claim all the Grape Nuts.

"The winning rat only gets the title of defending champion as their prize for the tournament. That and a tasty treat of Grape Nuts every time they score a basket," says Chrissie Caldwell, manager with the Science Museum, by e-mail. "The rats used to do ‘full body dunks’ where they would take the ball and jump their entire body through the hoop, however early last year we began training them to drop the ball in the hoop similar to a standard dunk/lay up."

Caldwell notes that Lillian was last year’s defending champion for March Ratness. She represented Syracuse in 2016. The rats failed to accurately predict last year, but did the previous year.

Fun fact, Caldwell notes: "The rats we train are all female. Male rats are more aggressive and more likely to fight when placed inside of an arena, so we exclusively use female rats to play rat basketball."


Note: Style Weekly neither condemns nor encourages gambling based on trained rat simulations.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

That Day Magnolia Jackson Pickett Burnside Finally Met Cher

And we have the exclusive photo.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 1:40 PM


It was a Saturday that Magnolia Jackson Pickett Burnside won't forget.

The robust Richmond emcee and comedienne, known as one of the producers of local burlesque show The Revue, not only was going to see her beloved Cher perform for the fifth time -- but also was finally going to meet the diva in person.

The concert was March 25 in Maryland at the new MGM National Harbor, where Cher has been holding a residency when not working Las Vegas. It was Burnside's 32nd birthday last week, she says, so this was a present to herself.

Cher fandom runs in her family, she says.

"Cher was my first concert. When I was 13, my mother took me to see her on the Believe tour at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater," she recalls. "My grandparents are Cher fans, my mother is, my father's parents saw Sonny and Cher in concert ... it's in my blood."

But this time was different. In addition to her early ticket purchase of eighth row seats, Burnside spent extra money for a meet-and-greet opportunity afterward. "I debated for about 20 minutes. Then I thought: 'It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's only money, I'll just jack up my credit card. Who cares?'"

After what she calls an amazing concert -- which featured about 11 or 12 costume changes and "Cher riding out on a giant animatronic elephant while singing" --- Richmond's legendary emcee started getting nervous.

Burnside had come fully prepared, dressed in her outfit based on "Auntie Mame," Cher's favorite film and one she'd hoped to remake. "My name comes from 'Mame,'" Burnside explains. "The main character marries a guy named Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside. So my outfit I wore was modeled after an outfit that Rosalind Russell wore in the movie."

Burnside, along with about 30 other people, was now backstage.

"I figured after the show I would look busted as hell with all the sweating," she says. Also she worried, as anyone might, that her celebrity crush would disappoint her.

Burnside recalls what happened next with the fine-detailed clarity of a religious experience:

"I stepped into the doorframe. I looked at Cher, she looked at me -- even though she was still taking a picture with somebody else -- and she just kinda smirked and tilted her head.

That's the image that's set into my head, that I amused her [laughs].

Then it was an absolute whirlwind. I went up and held both her hands, told her I was Magnolia Jackson Pickett Burnside. She literally cackled and tossed her hair back like Cher does. She was very amused.

We took the photo and she said my last name again. I said, "You really have to do the remake of 'Auntie Mame.'" And she said, "I'm just too old" and giggled. Then I said, "No! Never!" and just walked out.

It was literally like 25 seconds.

Burnside says the best part about the whole thing was that Cher was so warm, kind and human -- that she more than delivered. "It was like I was seeing an old friend," she recalls.

Before finishing her story, Burnside says she also ran into Cher's good friend, Paulette, backstage, who often handles social media duties for the celebrity. Burnside says that Paulette once responded to her on Instagram regarding a strange request.

"I told her I'm that crazy drag queen who has the reoccurring dream about finding Cher's wig closet," she says. "And she just laughed and said she remembered."

After the whirlwind encounter was finally over, Burnside says she went outside and cried for 20 minutes.

"I was in absolute ecstasy," she says.

Renovations Underway At "Bernie Building"

Owner says that Sanders mural will stay for new creative professional space.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 12:00 PM

A photo from April of 2016 after artist Mickael Broth painted his mural of then-candidate Bernie Sanders at 3300 W. Broad St.
  • A photo from April of 2016 after artist Mickael Broth painted his mural of then-candidate Bernie Sanders at 3300 W. Broad St.

Renovations are starting on the old Sea Dream Leather building, or the Bernie Building as people now call it -- located at 3300 W. Broad St.

Co-owner David Morrison says that he and partner Robert Olson have found the building an ideal base of operation with plenty of space to offer. So they've created the concept of the Highpoint, a place where creative professionals can maintain a space and grow within the city.

But will the famous Bernie Sanders mural painted almost a year ago by local artist Mickael Broth remain?

"Funny you should ask. Yes, but it will likely need to be repainted as there is going to be a bit of repointing and brick repair -- but Bernie stays," says Morrison. "From the rendering that was done way before the mural it doesn't look like it, but there are still a lot of people that love it and it has sort of become part of our identity and there is a certain anti-establishment kinship. I kind of feel like it is as relevant now as it was when we put it up."

As noted in a press release, the Highpoint is an 18,000-square-foot Art Moderne structure "that has been designed with a variety of spaces to fit the needs of creative professionals ranging from artists to architectural firms. With the help of 510 Architects and DCP Construction Partners, owners Robert Olson and David Morrison are working to complete construction for full opening the fall of 2017."

Monthly rent will range from about $1.10 per square foot for larger spaces to $1.55 per square foot for smaller units, according to a release. There will also be short-term rentals available.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Event Pick: Meet-A-Bandmate for First Time’s The Charm RVA

Meet-up seeks to help diversify the local music scene.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 12:30 PM

Local band Atta Girl performs at First Time’s The Charm RVA, which was inspired by a similar event in Philadelphia.
  • Local band Atta Girl performs at First Time’s The Charm RVA, which was inspired by a similar event in Philadelphia.

Sometimes, all it takes is an idea to supplement change within a creative community. In 2015, a group of individuals set out to create an opportunity to incorporate a more inclusive feeling to their local music scene. As inspired by Philadelphia’s similar efforts the year prior, the first annual First Time’s The Charm RVA took place and a new tradition was born.

FTTC RVA is an event that’s focused to encourage anyone that feels they are marginally represented within the local music scene to change that by forming new bands with other like-minded aspiring musicians. In many cases, these new bands are the first bands that any of the participants have ever been a part of.

In the third incarnation, the collective known as Elbow Room is ready to celebrate this year’s FTTC RVA and they want to invite every interested party to join them Saturday, March 25 at Gallery 5 to meet one another.

If any interested bands can answer “yes” to any of the following questions: Does your band include any of the following: women, people of color, queer and/or trans folks, or someone who is differently abled in any way? Then Gallery 5 will be the place to fulfill your desires of forming your dream band.

In past incarnations of FTTC RVA, groups like the twee pop of Atta Girl, the queercore power-violence of Fetish Gear, the ambient avant garde Tavishi and several others have grown from this event to become regular performing acts around town. The band you form on Saturday could easily grow to become another mainstay. This is the perfect opportunity to break down any existing barriers within the music scene with the hopes of creating a more inclusive community where all artists can find a space to spread their creativity.

The meet a bandmate event will be held at Gallery5, 200 W. Marshall St. on Saturday, May 25 at 2 p.m. This summer, the third annual FTTC RVA event will be hosted at Strange Matter on Saturday, June 24.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Washington's The Make-Up Reuniting, Playing Show At Strange Matter

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 2:15 PM

Dischord recording artist, The Make-Up, formed in 1995 in the wake of the dissolution of Nation of Ulysses, one of the last great punk bands.
  • Dischord recording artist, The Make-Up, formed in 1995 in the wake of the dissolution of Nation of Ulysses, one of the last great punk bands.

Fans of that gospel-yeh yeh sound rejoice.

Washington's The Make-Up is reuniting again, and they'll be performing a show at Strange Matter on April 22 (The Day of the Earth) with several guests to be announced.

I heard about the possibility of this show awhile back from Steady Sounds' Marty Key, who was instrumental in setting it up with friend and frequent guest deejay, Ian Svenonious, the lead singer for the Make-Up.

Known as one of the most interesting and stylish figures in rock, Svenonious is also a published author and television host; there's an exhibit by artist Frances Stark involving his book "Censorship Now" at the current Whitney Biennial in New York (Here's an interesting recent interview with him about what he's learned from rock and roll.)

Tickets for what will surely be a joyous celebration go on sale Monday, March 20 at noon and will be $13 in advance and $15 day of show, if any are left.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nineties Rockers King Sour Reuniting

Plans to re-release catalog on the table.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 2:20 PM

The mighty King Sour is (from left) Tom Peloso on bass, Austin Fitch on guitar, and Matt Boyle on drums.
  • The mighty King Sour is (from left) Tom Peloso on bass, Austin Fitch on guitar, and Matt Boyle on drums.

Ask Ian MacKaye, he’ll tell you: There was a time in the mid-‘90s when Richmond was known primarily for instrumental "math rock" bands.

Always a silly term, math rock simply meant musicians who could play their instruments well and move with honed precision through various time signatures, often within the space of one song. Somewhere along the way, it took on a negative connotation akin to heavy metal guitar wankery -- which I suppose is only negative depending on your taste.

Yet some of Richmond’s so-called math rock bands were true originals, capable of drawing from a palette of textural moods, often dark and violent. One of the best back then was a power trio in the truest sense, King Sour, who will be reuniting for the first time in 20 years on April 12 at Hardywood to perform with Dumb Waiter (RVA), Brain Tentacles (Chicago,RVA) and Paint Store (RVA).

The trio features local artist Austin Fitch on guitar, who used to resemble a young Bobby DeNiro sweating hate in “Taxi Driver," musical wunderkind Tom Peloso on bass, who found success as a member of Modest Mouse, and drummer Matt Boyle, who leads the charge by beating the hell out of a small kit.

King Sour delivered an explosive live show, from regional bars and house parties to tours of the U.S. and Canada, that always seemed to build steadily from smoking embers to a three-alarm blaze. They released a 7-inch (“Jonie Loves Choochie”) in 1992 and two albums, “Nipple” (1994) and “Instrumentally Retarded” (1997), before going their separate ways.

“We have worked on trying to put a reunion together for years,” says Fitch, before heading to a bartending gig at McCormark's Irish Pub. “Between Tom on the road with Modest Mouse and kids and jobs it never manifested. Now it looks like Glacial Pace is going to re-release both the King Sour records. We also may be doing some shows with Modest Mouse this spring and summer to help promote it. That lit a fire under us to make it happen.”

Dumb Waiter, Brain Tentacles, King Sour and Paint Store perform at Hardywood: Middle Earth, next to Hardywood Park Craft Brewery at 2410 Ownby Lane on Wednesday, April 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. Cost is $8.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What Comedian Todd Barry Has to Say About Richmond in His New Book

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Comedian Todd Barry has no scheduled upcoming Richmond shows.
  • Comedian Todd Barry has no scheduled upcoming Richmond shows.

Veteran New York comedian Todd Barry has an entertaining new book about to come out, an occasionally snort-worthy diary of sorts, “Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg: One Comedian’s Tour of Not-Quite-the-Biggest Cities in the World.”

Known for his dry, chafing sense of humor and near-perfect timing, Barry documents his 2015 stand-up tour performing before small but enthusiastic crowds in mostly secondary markets: Bs and Cs, maybe a few Ds.

On page 61 you’ll find his chapter on Richmond, which is centered on a memorable show he performed at Gallery5 in Jackson Ward.

Barry sticks to the gritty details, noting that he was performing at a “cool little space” and staying at the nearby Richmond Marriott, which has a sports bar that boasts the world’s largest television set (“I stole a glance at it,” he writes. “Extremely large television set!”).

He gets into Richmond the night before his show and wanders around a bit -- first trying to get into a burlesque show free at Gallery5, a standard showbiz courtesy for performers, he notes. But he quickly realizes that the door person, who works for the burlesque group, doesn’t know who he is.

Rather than raise a stink, he shuffles over to nearby Saison, which “has a great adult-hipster (as opposed to PBR hipster) gastropub vibe,” he writes. A noted music fan and former musician, Barry then takes a trip to GwarBar but leaves before getting a drink because it was too loud.

About Gwar, he thinks to himself:

“I saw them when we were both booked at the same festival in Austin. They were really good musicians and their show was nuts, but as a performer all I could think was, You go through all the trouble to tour, and you perform anonymously? Like you’re public and anonymous at the same time?”

The next day, Barry and a comedian friend take a hot tip and peruse the fine homes along Monument Avenue. He finds the houses beautiful and then Googles the area when he gets back to the hotel, realizing he could afford a place 10 times the size of his New York Apartment.

“If only I wanted to move to Richmond,” he writes, it would give him a good story for his next late-night talk show appearance.

“So Todd, you live in New York right? Or did you move to L.A.?”

“Neither, Jimmy Fallon. I actually have homes in Richmond and Asheville.”

“Really, you don’t even keep a crash pad in New York?”

“No, Jimmy, I took the money I would spend on rent and use it to pay off two mortgages.”

“Wow. Two mortgages.”

“Yes, Jimmy. And both houses are mansions.”

“Wow again. How do you get to your gigs?”

“Well Jimmy, I’ll tell you [lowers voice] but its got to be a secret . . . both cities have airports.”

If you were at the Gallery5 show, you know that Barry talked more about Monument Avenue, and also dealt with a heckler who had to be kicked out of the building -- who gets brief mention as the “jerk” in the chapter. Barry has little patience for people who shout things at his shows. He does like it, however, when they yell, “You suck!” as they’re being escorted out.

After his set, he goes to meet up with his friend Hannibal Buress, a comedian who was playing a larger gig in Richmond that same evening.

Barry ends up leaving because, once again, the music was too loud.

The book will be released on March 14 and available at your book seller of choice, most likely. You can pre-order it here.

Story has been updated to correct spelling for the name, Hannibal Buress and another type-o.

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