Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Actor Val Kilmer Appearing at Funny Bone on Feb. 22

Will introduce film version of his one-man play about Mark Twain.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 6:40 PM

Actor, writer and director, Val Kilmer, known for his roles in "Top Gun" and "The Doors," will appear at Richmond Funny Bone on Thursday, Feb. 22 to introduce the film "Cinema Twain" -- which is a recording of his one-man play about Mark Twain ("Citizen Twain").

Tickets start at $30 and will include a Q&A with Kilmer as well a chance to meet the actor for VIP ticket holders. Go here for more. The show is ages 21 and over.

Kilmer is recovering from throat cancer and not long ago appeared in a haunting music video for the electronic artist Oneohtrix that was shot by Richmond filmmaker Rick Alverson.

From the Funny Bone website:

A master of reinvention, Kilmer transforms himself into the “First American,” Mark Twain, in a comedic and moving performance that is both contemporary and reflective. The piece is based on the life of the man, Samuel Clemens, and of course his writings as Mark Twain. From his thoughts on politics (including his famous disdain for the U.S. Congress), to his family and ultimately his faith and God, Twain spins a series of yarns with his timeless satire and incomparable wit.

Mr. Kilmer will introduce the 90-minute film and conduct a question and answer period with the audience following the screening. VIP ticket holders will have an opportunity to meet Val, chat, and take photos after the Q&A.

Val Kilmer wrote, produced, directed and starred in "Citizen Twain" a one-man play about Mark Twain as well as "Cinema Twain" the film of the play.

Preview: Remembering 1968: A Tribute to MLK, Jr. Feb. 3 - 4

Narrators Mayor Stoney, Kelli Lemon, Gary Flowers joining Richmond Symphony at Carpenter Theatre.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 12:50 PM

His holiday may have passed, but Martin Luther King, Jr. is always worthy of celebration. This weekend, the Richmond Symphony will be presenting Remembering 1968: A Tribute to MLK, Jr - A Reflection on the Civil Rights Movement through Inspirational Music at the Carpenter Theatre with shows on Saturday, Feb. 3 and Sunday, Feb. 4.

This special concert from the Altria Masterworks series will feature guest narrators to guide the audience through each piece, including: Mayor Levar Stoney on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m., Kelli Lemon (host of Coffee with Strangers), and Gary L. Flowers (The Gary Flowers Show) on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now, visit www.richmondsymphony.com for more details.

The Richmond Symphony also recently announced its 61st season for 2018-2019 which includes among the highlights: An opening night concert featuring world-renowned pianist Lang Lang performing Mozart and Berlioz on Sept. 21; Brahms' Requiem with the Richmond Symphony Chorus on Nov. 10 and 11; a season long collaboration with the University of Richmond as part of its Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts, culminating with a two-night Masterworks program on April 13 and 14, 2019 at the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts. For more, visit their website.

Here's more info from the press release on the MLK concerts:

Jan. 22, 2018 – Richmond Virginia - Music Director Steven Smith will lead the Richmond Symphony in Remembering 1968: A Tribute to MLK, Jr. featuring prominent guest soloists and a combined choir with voices from Longwood University, Norfolk State University, the Richmond Symphony Chorus, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, and Virginia Union University and special guest vocalists: Bahati Barton (soprano), Kendall Gladen (mezzo-soprano), Colin Eaton (tenor), and Robert Cantrell (bass-baritone). The combined choir includes the same line-up of university combined choir of voices from the Richmond Symphony Chorus and members of university choirs from across Virginia.

The program will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. in the Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Join us for a concert celebrating unity and peace, and be moved by inspirational words and music.

This concert, which is a signature event of the Virginia General Assembly’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission, is comprised of pieces that honor the legacy of a man who was fearless in his charge to fight the injustices of the world. 1968 was a time of both political and civil unrest. The world was in a state of disarray and turmoil. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as a source of hope and light for the masses in a time that seemed hopeless and dark. This inspirational program includes compositions by Mary Watkins, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Beethoven, and local legend Undine Smith Moore.

Undine Smith Moore’s Scenes from the Life of a Martyr is centered on the intense struggle for equality. Moore dreamed of creating “a society where one’s favorite art is highly regarded, highly valued, where one’s progress is a source of pride to the family and the entire community.” This Virginia State University faculty member believed that exposure to the arts would create a “fine sense of self-worth and a high level of aspiration” in a child. She always described herself as a teacher who composed, as opposed to a composer who happened to also be a teacher. When this piece was first performed by the Richmond Symphony in April of 1982, Dika Newlin of the Richmond Times-Dispatch described it as “a monumental tribute. . . the simplest of harmonic and melodic means produce an overwhelming effect. I wept—and so did many others."

This piece will feature a combined choir with voices from Longwood University, Norfolk State University, the Richmond Symphony Chorus, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, and Virginia Union University and special guest vocalists: Bahati Barton (soprano), Kendall Gladen (mezzo-soprano), Colin Eaton (tenor), and Robert Cantrell (bass- baritone). The combined choir includes the same line-up of university choirs as when the Richmond Symphony hosted the world premiere of this piece in 1982. This will be an incredibly moving performance – not to be missed!

The Richmond (VA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, in partnership with The Richmond Symphony, sponsored the world premiere performance of Scenes from the Life of a Martyr, a Cantata, by Dr. Undine Smith Moore, on April 19, 1982. They are graciously sponsoring this concert as well.

Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy is a curious work, featuring the combined chorus and special guest musician, Terrence Wilson on piano. It will begin with solo piano followed by the orchestra sneaking in and carrying on a dialogue with the piano. The piano then presents the melody to Beethoven’s song Gegenliebe (Mutual Love). Finally, the combined chorus enters singing “Graceful, charming and sweet is the sound/Of our life’s harmonies . . . Accept then, you beautiful souls/Joyously the gifts of high art.” Mary Watkins’ Five Movements in Color is a dynamic composition in which the audience can truly follow the story through the music. As the mood moves from peaceful to active, even violent at points, this piece stands as a statement about the civil rights movement that is just as relevant today as it was in 1968. Watkins said, “I saw my own people in their long march to express themselves as fully human.” This inspired her to compose this timely piece. While she says it is a “song of sorrow” it is also “bittersweet and nostalgic” and “a song of hope.”

When the Cincinnati Symphony asked Jonathan Bailey Holland to compose a short piece to accompany Maya Angelou’s poem "Equality," he hesitated, stating that the poem itself was already music. After some pressing, he created a piece that draws on the persistent energy that is found within the poem. Angelou’s words in Equality are just as fitting for the struggles she faced during her lifetime as they would have been for those that fought to end slavery, and for those who are still fighting inequality today. richmondsymphony.com or by calling 1.800.514.ETIX.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Virginia Arts Festival Announces 2018 Funhouse Fest

Lineup includes Bruce Hornsby, Allison Kraus, Wood Brothers, plus more to be announced.

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 3:45 PM

The Virginia Arts Festival announced today that the 2018 Funhouse Festival, presented with curator Bruce Hornsby, will be held on the lawn of the art museums of Colonial Williamsburg on June 22 and 23.

So far, headlining artists include Hornsby with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra as well as Allison Krauss and the Wood Brothers, with more to be announced.

Tickets go on sale this Friday, Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. Attendees may purchase two-day packages or single day tickets online at www.FunhouseFest.com, by phone at 757-282-2822, or in person at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office at 440 Bank St., Norfolk, VA. 

From the press release:

NORFOLK, VA [January 29, 2018] – Grammy®-winning singer-songwriter, composer and multi- instrumentalist Bruce Hornsby and Virginia Arts Festival are bringing back Funhouse Fest, the outdoor music festival that gathers award-winning artists for a weekend of music-making in an intimate summer setting. Funhouse Fest returns to the Lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, June 22-23, 2018.

Named after Hornsby’s 1998 song “Funhouse,” the festival is curated by Bruce Hornsby, who will be performing alongside notable musicians throughout the weekend, as in past years .... Hornsby will once again present two unique performances on the Funhouse Fest stage. Friday evening will feature Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers which includes long-time collaborators JV Collier (bass) and JT Thomas (keyboards), plus Gibb Droll (guitar), Ross Holmes (fiddle/mandolin) and Chad Wright (drums). On Saturday, Bruce Hornsby & the Virginia Symphony Orchestra will partner to present the Virginia debut of Hornsby’s adventurous new orchestral program. Inspired by twentieth century modernist composers including Elliott Carter, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Olivier Messiaen, Hornsby will present a unique program which utilizes the modern classical language in a pop song context.

Headlining the Friday evening performance is Alison Krauss, winner of seven Country Music Association Awards and 27 Grammy® awards, including five for Raising Sand, her collaboration with Robert Plant that won Album of the Year and Record of the Year in 2009. Her new album, Windy City, is her first effort away from her band Union Station in a decade. The album, produced by renowned music legend Buddy Cannon, has received critical acclaim and two Grammy® nominations.

Funhouse Fest is also pleased to announce The Wood Brothers will perform on Saturday, June 23. The Americana/Folk Rock trio is made up of brothers Oliver Wood and Chris Wood, and drummer Jano Rix. The Wood Brothers seamlessly blend the blues, folk, and roots-music they loved as kids into their own evocative sound. Building off the success of their 2015 album Paradise which was dubbed “the warmest, most sublime and occasionally rowdiest Wood Brothers release yet,” by American Songwriter, the group will release their sixth album One Drop of Truth in early February this year.

Additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

In Memoriam: Mark E. Smith of The Fall

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 3:45 PM

Though initially influenced by Krautrock, the Stooges, and '60s garage, Manchester’s The Fall almost immediately set itself apart by forging an identity mostly apart from punk. Founder and frontman Mark E. Smith, who died Wednesday, was the band’s visionary and only constant member. Smith was also something of a tyrant, notorious for feuding with and assaulting band members (sometimes even onstage!) and drunkenly sabotaging his own gigs, but the work he left behind remains beyond reproach.

To honor that work, we thought we’d offer a quick tour through the band’s discography. It would require a book-length primer to even attempt to sum up the greatness of this most singular of bands, so consider these tracks mere initiations into the “wonderful and frightening world of The Fall”:

“Crap Rap 2 / Like To Blow”

The Fall began in late 1976, defiantly defining itself as “northern white crap that talks back,” reciting (not so much singing) caustic lyrics over an abrasive din of repetition and rockabilly. This song, from the band’s 1979 debut “Live at The Witch Trials,” paves the way for several masterpieces to follow: 1979’s “Dragnet,” 1980’s live “Totale’s Turns,” and that same year’s “Grotesque (After the Gramme).” These three albums, along with their debut, perfectly encapsulate the early Fall’s mix of iconoclasm, imagination, and impishness, and should be in every record collection.

“Middle Mass”

1981’s “Slates” EP is the point at which the band’s Manchester motorik becomes something of a trademark. The result is either trance-inducing or monotonous, depending on your perspective; when Smith sings “the boy is like a tape loop,” you get the sense he may be talking about himself. Anchored, like so many Fall songs, by an unforgettable bass riff, “Middle Mass” is also a showcase for Smith’s idiosyncratic vocal delivery, one of the more recognizable and imitated this side of James Brown (or Hetfield).

“The Classical”

1983's “Hex Enduction Hour”-- often cited by fans as the band’s best LP --orbits around two inarguable Fall classics: the creeping, uneasy “Hip Priest,” and this, “The Classical,” a sort of Fall 101. The irascible Smith has always excelled at the art of the obscure put-down: “you’re a gym teacher / you’re a Cancer / and, I expect / a little shit,” “all the English groups / act like peasants with free milk" - but he could also ingeniously make a memorable hook of a lyric like “hey there, fuckface!” as he does here.

“Eat Y’self Fitter”

Mark E. Smith famously said, when asked about his band’s notorious revolving door policy with regard to musicians: “if it’s me and yer granny on bongos, it’s The Fall.” That may be true, but over the years, many musicians --among them Craig Scanlon, Steve Hanley, and Smith’s former wife, the American Brix Smith -- contributed significantly to the band’s sound. 1983’s “Perverted by Language” would be the first of a handful of albums featuring Brix, who managed the magnificent trick of contributing a melodicism to Smith’s music without softening it. “Eat Y’self Fitter” is one of the band’s most enduring earworms, and if you don’t think so, next time you’re in the company of a Fall fan, ask, in your best Mark E Smith voice, “What’s a computer?!” and await the reply.

“My New House”

As early as 1980’s “The Container Drivers,” there’s been an audible rockabilly influence on the music of The Fall, but this tune, from 1985’s perfect “This Nations’ Saving Grace,” is where that influence reaches apotheosis, with Smith, like some mad Mancunian Beat poet, blending the mundane (“the spare room is fine,” “it’s got window sills,” “it’ll be great when it’s decorated”) with the inscrutable (“interior’s a prison unconscious”) over a hopped-up Sun Records strum. I’ve converted a lot of people to Fall fanaticism with this song.

“Telephone Thing”

Or, another side of Mark E. Smith. Unlike the many self-righteous rockists (and punk-rockists) of his generation, Smith, for all of his legendary crankiness, was an early embracer of electronic music. 1990’s “Extricate,” in addition to featuring one of the most unexpectedly beautiful Fall songs in the form of the wistful “Bill is Dead, features this Coldcut-produced, dancefloor-ready single, proving that Smith may have been paying at least a little attention to the then-ubiquitous “Madchester” scene that included the Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses.

“Mr. Pharmacist”

It was always strange to hear a band as unique as The Fall perform a cover song, though they did so throughout their career. There is, in the act of performing someone else’s song, an inescapable reverence, and reverence is not a thing one usually associates with Mark E. Smith. Whenever the subjects of [Can singer] Damo Suzuki, his beloved football club Sparta FC (for which he would later pen a kind of anthem), or garage rock were broached, however, Smith was known to become downright effusive. This cover of obscure '60s garage group The Other Half’s ode to their dealer, like the band’s cover of the Kinks’s “Victoria,” equals, and possibly bests, the original.

“50 Year Old Man”

Fall apologists (and they are legion) often swear that the band continued making great records long after all but the most diehard fans found it impossible to keep up with the group’s exhaustingly prolific output. 2003’s “The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click)” (which features the aforementioned tribute to Smith’s favorite soccer team) may have been the last truly great Fall album, but this tune, from 2008’s “Imperial Wax Solvent,” finds Smith reckoning with his own humanity in a way that, only in retrospect, takes on special significance: complaining about the late arrivals of trains, being baffled by computers, and finding himself “too busy” to use his “three-foot rock hard-on.” Only ten years later, the brilliant Mark E. Smith would be dead, leaving behind a great silence that won’t be filled anytime soon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Preview: Rebel Craft Rumble at Hardywood, Jan. 27

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 12:05 AM

OK, so you may never be invited to battle it out on “Family Feud.” But now’s your chance to take on other teams in an all-out craft-fueled melee. Here comes the first annual Rebel Craft Rumble, sponsored by Scrap RVA, a nonprofit that rescues and resells art supplies headed for landfills. It’s time to flex your hot glue gun skills.

“We wanted to put on an arts event that didn’t require dressing up,” says Scrap RVA director Molly Todd. “Here you can pop in, have a beer and get messy.”

Interested participants are encouraged to register with their teams at scraprva.org/programs/rcr/. Each team can have up to six members, and is allowed to bring one “secret weapon” (go on, polish that Swingline stapler). On Jan. 27, teams will contend for a cash prize, to be disbursed by a panel of judges. Bonus flair: if you register with co-workers as a business team, you’ll be assigned a local celebrity artist, too.

“We’re excited about the theme,” says Sara Wilson McKay, an advisory board member and chair of the art education department at Virginia Commonwealth University. “It’s going to be ‘extreme,’ like extreme sports.”

At the end of the event, which is billed as “the rowdiest smack-talking craft competition RVA has ever seen,” audience members can bid on completed artwork. The event intends to give Richmonders a hands-on feel for the eco-philosophy of Scrap RVA, which will benefit from proceeds. The nonprofit began in 2008 as Stuff, based on the idea that environmental sustainability can be creative, educational and community-focused. It has provided supplies and installations to local schools, festivals and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. To its honor, the group recently became part of the SCRAP USA network, which features reuse centers in cultural hotspots like Portland, Oregon and Baltimore, Maryland. Scrap RVA had been operating out of Plant Zero in Manchester, but in December it moved into new digs at 120 West Brookland Park Boulevard.

“We want to be a first stop for educators, artists, makers, anyone looking for craft supplies,” says Todd. “We’re gritty. People can sit on the floor and sort through bins of 50 year-old buttons.”

The store’s inventory comes in the form of donations from individuals, or from local companies like World Art Group. In situations like this, a little donation goes a long way to solving sustainability problems. Discarded crayons alone account for 45,000 to 75,000 pounds of annual landfill waste, according to the Crayon Initiative. Donations are a good way to get to know your neighbors, too. Intimate moments get shared through passing on a well-loved craft collection.

“Sometimes someone’s relative is moving out, and maybe they had a really active crafts room,” says Wilson McKay. “The family is so relieved someone will use these items for their intended purpose. The material can go somewhere and be valued.”

Still, Scrap RVA wants to shake up tradition. Their first annual craft battle will challenge the stereotype of the knitting circle, says Todd.

“We love a ‘stitch and bitch,’ but this is a rowdy, kinetic challenge involving all kinds of crafting,” she says with a laugh.

Rebel Craft Rumble happens from 1-4 p.m. on Jan. 27 at Hardywood, 2408 Ownby Lane. Group tickets start at $45, all proceeds go to SCRAP RVA, a nonprofit devoted to creative reuse and environmental sustainability. Register at: scraprva.org/programs/rcr/.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Interview: Joe Seipel

The interim director of the ICA talks about his new gig.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 3:30 PM

For a septuagenarian, Joe Seipel, dean emeritus of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, shows no signs of slowing down.

Since July 15, after serving as the interim dean at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s School of Art and Design for six months, he has been in retirement -- this after four decades of helping VCU become a top-ranked public art school. But he’s not using the R-word. Instead, Seipel says, “I refer to it as being a full-time artist.”

He’s excited about his time in his two studios, an upcoming exhibition in May, and the work he is making: reinvestigations of older sculptures and new smaller works based on photographs taken in Morocco and Cuba.

But all of this was set aside after the sudden resignation of former Institute for Contemporary Art Director Lisa Freiman on Jan. 11, which quickly led to a surprise phone call to Seipel and his being named its interim director.

“I’ve been involved with the ICA for 15 years and now that this need arose, I just couldn’t say no to it,” he says. “I’m just so enthusiastic about it.”

When pressed about the circumstances behind Freiman’s sudden departure, he says that he was happily working in his studio at the time: “I don’t know anything about the circumstances. Those are HR questions.”

Lesley Bruno, communications manager at the institute, admits it was sudden and not discussed in the office prior to the announcement. Freiman leaves a museum -- recently dubbed one of “the biggest, baddest, boldest museum openings in 2018” by Artnet News-- three months before its opening April 21 to prepare her dissertation, which she completed in 2001, for publication.

It seems fitting that Seipel would be appointed days after Freiman’s announcement to pick up the pieces. He’s something of a savior figure at the university: He saved the now-first-ranked graduate sculpture and extended-media department in 1985 and later, with the help of other key administrators, planned the path forward for the art school to its current number-one-ranking as a graduate public art school.

Even after he left VCU in 2016, he was always, as he describes it, “completely involved” with the ICA through fundraising. Now, as interim director, a position he sees lasting at least several months, he will begin raising funds for the endowment campaign, a $12 million campaign that does “not [have a] great deal there yet.”

When asked if he would make major changes at the institute or if there was a corrective need to stabilize the institution, Seipel praised the current staff.

“I really expect to take my cues from the senior staff that are there. … These are really seasoned professionals,” he says, adding that they had held one “really good” three-hour meeting to get caught up. “I left there feeling confident that everything was pointed in the right direction. … Everybody seems to be on top of their particular area of expertise.

That’s everything from the educational programming to the curating to communications and physical plans and exhibition readiness. They’re already starting to prepare the gallery walls for the first exhibition.”

Seipel calls the museum “right on track” and fully believes that it will be ready to open April 21. “All the artists have been contacted. They’re all in line. Everything is ready to go.”

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ashland Theatre Foundation Names New President and CEO

Also scores two more grants for capital campaign.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 12:15 PM

After a nationwide search, the Ashland Theatre Foundation has named Douglas Love as its new president and chief executive officer. The art deco Ashland Theater at 205 England St. celebrates its 70th year in fall of 2018.

“Douglas Love has created IP businesses for some of the largest film, television, publishing and digital companies in the world. As an acclaimed non-profit arts administrator, executive, producer, author and director, he has advanced the convergence of entertainment and education around the globe,” said Meredith Handakas, Founding Principal of Virginia Non-Profit Associates in a press release.

A little biographical info on Love from the release:

Formerly the CEO of Walden Family Playhouse, a live entertainment venture of Anschutz Film Group (Walden Media Film Studios), Love recently worked to raise millions to build a Children’s Museum in Western New York as a catalyst for economic development, social equity and new concepts in education.

He is the Creator of World Book Encyclopedia’s Dramatic Learning, the most popular online arts education program in the world with 11 million paid subscribers in 23 countries. Love is also the Creator and Executive Producer of Disney’s top rated daytime television series, Out of the Box, winning three Parents’ Choice Awards and an Emmy nomination, as well as the animated series, Jammin’ Animals, for HBO.

A published author of over 30 works for HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Disney Press and others, Love is a widely noted expert on educational programming, curriculum and arts education. He has served as the Creativity Expert for ABC News and Lifetime television, and has taught for the University of Miami Professional Theater Conservatory.

Love arrives at a good time: the Ashland Theatre has just been awarded a $150,000 matching grant from the Cabell Foundation to help with construction. The board has committed to raising an additional $1.5 million for additional state of the art cinema, live music, theatre equipment and new comfortable seats" according to the release.

“We were searching for a star leader to launch our soon-to-be renovated world-class facility in the “Center of the Universe” (Ashland, VA),” said Clark Mercer, President of Ashland Theatre Foundation’s Board of Directors, in the release. “He is not only going to be a visionary leader for Ashland Theatre Foundation, but also a tremendous asset for Richmond and the entire region.”

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Preview: Be Bad Weekend at Strange Matter, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20

Posted By on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 11:50 AM

Those in female-fronted bands are often faced with a weird question: when they’re asked to play a gig, is it their talent or gender that’s getting them on the bill?

This issue has come up more in the last few years. As conversations about gender equality make headlines, promoters and those in the industry work to reflect the world changing around them.

Rachel Sparkman, lead singer of the Richmond hardcore punk band Memory Loss, is pretty familiar with this phenomenon. It’s one of the reasons she created the Be Bad Weekend, originally known as the Bad Girl Review, which is set for its fifth annual event this Friday and Saturday at Strange Matter.

Music has been a part of Sparkman’s life since she got her first cassette, Metallica's "Black Album."

“Ever since [I got that album] I’ve surrounded myself with people who were in music and I’ve got some supportive friends,” she says about her early days, forming bands with men and women who, thankfully, saw music before body parts.

“But there’s always that feeling that if your band is getting asked to play, is it because you’re a woman? Or if you're getting treated differently,” she says. She created this annual event to celebrate bands that center women and non-binary performers in music.

“I know it sounds like a double standard, but this is an event to celebrate this community we’ve built for ourselves," she explains. "And instead of being chosen for your gender in an exploitive way, it's a celebratory way."

While exploitative shows might seek to put a female-fronted band early on the bill to build faux cred, she sees Be Bad Weekend as a chance to put those same voices front and center.

“It’s not just about being a woman in a band. It’s about everyone coming and being comfortable. It’s not a sideshow circus. It’s important to have female vocals - the voices and the words,” she adds.

The lineup features 16 bands over two days. The sounds and styles vary greatly, from the spooky synth witchcraft of VV to the soulful R&B stylings of Kenneka Cook. It's this diversity that is sure to be the weekend's greatest resource. Sparkman was inspired partly by the now defunct First Time’s the Charm event, which offered musical newbies the chance to play their first live show inside a club.

“If people are around to give you that confidence it can be really cool,” she says. “It’s one of those ‘it takes a community’ moments.”

That’s what Be Bad Weekend aims to be - a supportive community.

“I think Richmond music, arts, culture collectively is opening up a little bit more. And hopefully we’ll see more representation and people will be more comfortable starting a band,” Sparkman says. “Maybe they’ll be more comfortable to start a band, join a band, and get that confidence to play music.”

Be Bad Weekend happens Friday Jan. 19 and Saturday, Jan. 20 at Strange Matter, 929 W. Grace St. Tickets are $10, all proceeds go to Girls Rock RVA, a local org that helps young women learn to play music. Find out more via Facebook.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Former VCU Arts Dean Joe Seipel Named Interim Director of ICA

Posted By on Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 2:30 PM

A well-known and longtime former dean of VCU School of the Arts, Joe Seipel was named interim director for the Institute for Contemporary Art, which is set to open April 21.

The former director, Lisa Freiman, stepped down suddenly last week to focus on scholarly work at VCU.

“I look forward to working with the energetic and highly professional members of the ICA staff who already are well on their way to opening this world-class institute,” Seipel said in a release sent to some media outlets today.

Seipel, who retired in 2016, was an early advocate for the ICA and was heavily involved in raising funding for the project before Freiman was hired and finished off the $37 million dollar capital campaign.

He was also co-chairman of the committee that chose architect Steven Holl to design the building.

While the ICA is part of VCU, there has been a clear division when it comes to operations between the School of the Arts and the ICA. Pamela Lepley, vice-president for University Relations, explains the reporting structure of the university in an email to Style:

"The director of the ICA reports to the provost, who is chief academic officer, as do all of the deans of the schools and some other units. The ICA is its own operating unit. That said, it makes sense that expertise is leveraged between the School of the Arts and the ICA with collaborative academic programming and research."

Monday, January 15, 2018

Preview: VCU Rams vs. Richmond Spiders, Wednesday, Jan. 17

Basketball rivalry to be aired on Facebook Live.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 1:00 PM

The intensity of the crosstown basketball rivalry between the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University isn't necessarily affected all that much by their won-loss records.

As key moments of a hard fought Spiders vs. Rams game might be rehashed for years by local basketball buffs, perhaps over adult beverages, the immediate impact of their games' results on the Atlantic 10 standings can be overshadowed.

Richmond is a private school, enrollment 4,181, nestled into the tony West End of Virginia's capital city. VCU is a public school, enrollment 31,242, that sprawls from the Fan District to the heart of downtown. In the series that began in 1976, VCU leads all-time, 51-28.

On Wed., Jan. 17, the rivals will clash before a capacity crowd at VCU's Siegel Center; tip-off is at 7 p.m. Note: It will be televised exclusively by Facebook.

VCU (11-7, 3-2 A-10) has won the last six times it has faced Richmond (4-13, 2-3 A-10). At a glance, on paper it looks like VCU should run the streak to seven. Richmond's five starters are young and except for one man they aren't all that tall. The exception is Grant Golden (6-foot-10). He's become the Spiders' top scorer and for Richmond to win the freshman probably needs to have a career game.

Unfortunately, for Richmond, VCU has the deeper bench and can guard Golden with several players. The Spiders' starting guards are small and fast. They could present a problem for the Rams' ball handlers, as turnovers have been VCU's most glaring weakness.

As far as a plan for defense goes, the Spiders will try to prevent the Rams' star senior forward, Justin Tillman (6-foot-8), from racking up yet another double-double. That won't be easy. However, putting too much emphasis on that mission could open the floor up for other talented Rams. In particular, a pair of sophomore swingmen, Issac Vann (6-foot-6) and De'Riante Jenkins (6-foot-5), can both hit the 3-pointer and drive to the basket quite effectively.

But the outcome of this game may turn on whether Richmond can force a bad game out of VCU's senior point guard Johnny Williams (6-foot-1). If Williams gets his way dishing and driving into the lane, without getting caught in the air too many times with nowhere to go, it could be a long night for the Spiders.

Additional notes: The Spiders' freshman point guard Jacob Gilyard has been one of the top steals leaders in college basketball this season, currently at 13th. Also, the Spiders lost by six at home to Dayton, a team which just beat VCU by 27 in Ohio.

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