Friday, July 17, 2020

Legends Livestream Series Announced

Upcoming concerts feature Shannon Gibson Brown, Felicia Curry and Robyn O'Neill.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 4:00 AM

  • Robyn O'Neill

In partnership with Westminster Canterbury Richmond, the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance has announced a new one-hour concert series to be live-streamed into homes via YouTube.

Legends Livestream series will take place at Sara Belle November Theater at Westminster Canterbury and be livestreamed for $15 per household or $40 subscription for all three performances.

Each performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. and be available to watch for a week. According to a press release, "a link to the YouTube performance will be sent to ticket buyers via email one week in advance of the performance(s) purchased. Tickets for the Legends Livestream Series are on sale now, and can be purchased online at https://LegendsLive.givesmart.com or by calling Programming and Marketing Coordinator, Jacquie O’Connor at (804) 916-9291.

Here's the lineup of local talent:

Shannon Gibson Brown - Thursday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Brown and pianist Joshua Wortham perform the songs of Patsy Cline.

Felicia Curry – Friday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy an evening with award-winning singer and actress, Felicia Curry and pianist Anthony Smith "where stories will be shared, truths will be told, sing-alongs will be encouraged and joy will be found."

Robyn O’Neill – Saturday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

O’Neill and pianist Anthony Williams dust off their favorite show tunes, including songs by Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Jules Stein and some newer hits.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Broadway in Richmond Announces 12th Season

Two Richmond premieres and three Broadway classics on tap.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Broadway in Richmond released its 12th season lineup today with all shows taking place at Altria Theater.

"Jesus Christ Superstar kicks off the season in February 2021 followed by the acclaimed Lincoln Theater production of "My Fair Lady" in May. The season concludes with John Waters' classic "Hairspray" in August. Here's the full list:

"Jesus Christ Superstar" Feb. 23 - 28, 2021 with eight performances

"My Fair Lady" May 4 - 9, 2021 with eight performances

"Mean Girls" July 13 - 18, 2021 with eight performances

"Anastasia" Aug. 3 - 9, 2021 with eight performances

"Hairspray" Aug. 24 – 29, 2021 with eight performances

Season subscribers can renew starting today (July 8) while new subscriptions go on sale later this fall. All dates are subject to change with all local and state guidelines being observed at the time of each engagement, according to a press release.

The release also notes that "due to COVID 19, two shows of the 2019-2020 have been rescheduled. "Fiddler On The Roof" will play June 1 – 6, 2021 and "The Band’s Visit" will run Sept. 14 – 19, 2021. Tickets for the originally scheduled performances are valid for these new dates."

Fore more info, visit Broadway in Richmond.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Richmonder Brittany Fisher Admitted to Prestigious Juilliard Playwriting Program

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The Juilliard School’s competitive Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program selects only four or five writers each year, so when Brittany Fisher received word of her acceptance to the program, she was “super humbled.”


“I know that I share this dream with an abundance of other talented humans," Fisher says. "And I’m just thankful there were people in place who believed in my work."

Fisher has been writing plays since college at James Madison University, quickly gaining recognition from the professional theatre community. Her play "Red" was featured at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2015, and three years later Fisher was named one of the first Cadence Pipeline Fellows.

The Cadence Pipeline Fellowship awards five Virginia playwrights the chance to develop their new work with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. Through her work with the fellowship, Fisher completed the play "How to Bruise Gracefully," which served as her writing sample for her Juilliard application.

“I truly believe that none of this would have been possible without the stepping stones provided by the Richmond theatre community and the people who simply gave me chances to learn, spaces to create, and room to grow,” Fisher says. “I want to continue telling stories rooted in topics that inspire me and that I hope can inspire others. I’d like to think that the art I create is less about me and more about what it can bring to the people who so graciously take the time to see it.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Now Hear This: "Here" by Calvin Brown and Sam Reed

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 4:00 AM

“Here,” the spanking new single from Calvin Brown and Sam Reed, is a bright blast of resilience in a dark and hopeful time. Released on the now official state holiday of Juneteenth, it is both fresh and classic, of the moment and reaching for something more. “We all have different ways to fight,” Brown says. “Music is one of mine."

The timeliness is no accident, the basic rhythm track was laid down on June 5, the eight day of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, a point when raw responses on the streets were shifting toward something like generational resolve.

Recorded in Devonne Harris’ local Jellowstone Records, the song has the warm analog grit of classic '60s-'70s soul recordings. “[Devonne’s] got that distinctive sound,” Brown says. “Dirty in a good way.”

The spacious mix comes from West Coast composer/engineer Chris Soper, whose resume includes work with Kanye, Janet Jackson and the Roots. Interested in amplifying Black voices, he did the mix at a fraction of the usual fee. Obviously a huge plus, given that paying gigs are effectively non-existent during the pandemic. The song structure is intricate, with layered voices and jazz-tinged chording.

“I thought of it as my version of a club dance. One with a lot of chords in every measure,” Brown says.

Sam Reed shares lead vocals and as lead singer for literal metal band NoBS! Brass has no trouble cutting through. “This song needed that female power and presence,” Brown says. “Whenever she opens her mouth, that’s it”

The song is about survival and inspiration, the need to take stock in yourself, forgo pessimism, and imagine a different future.

“I want it to be visceral and celebratory,” Brown says. “It’s about Black life and Black joy. Because what are we fighting for if not joy?”

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Review: James “Saxsmo” Gates - "Stepping Out"

Posted By on Sat, May 30, 2020 at 3:37 PM

It takes a lot of optimism to launch an album into the teeth of the coronavirus gale. In web post after web post, locked down listeners are listing the old records that shaped them. In a suspended present, the solid past is more comforting than the amorphous future.

But a lack of positivity has never held back saxophonist James “Saxsmo” Gates. And the ebullient, soulful music of his new CD “Stepping Out,” is both deeply rooted in mid-20th century inspiration and contains enough familiar touch points to classify as comfort food for a self-captive audience.

Kicking off with Gates’ heart-on-the-sleeve 2017 single “We Can Make It,” the album slaloms through arrangements of covers of songs associated with artists such as the Isley Brothers, Martin Gaye, Sade, and Sting, interspersed with originals including “Airwaves” and “Local….Oh No.” The latter is both a celebration of RVA’s unique musical heritage and an admonishment to not treat it as anything less than a vital component of the vast sweep of musical history.

If there is a bit of education in the recording- understandable because Gates is the head of the Billy Taylor Jazz Program at Virginia State- it is buried in wave after wave of positivity.

“The mission for the record was to build a bridge,” he says. “People ask 'What are you going to do for me?' Can’t we just do it for love? That’s the mission of this record. We can all make it, across the board, if we all give just give a little more love.”

Recorded by Carlos Chafin at In Your Ear Studios with a cross-generational cadre of players, the album sets Gates’ post-bop solos within a polished contemporary R&B setting.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Habitat for Humor

Habitat for Humanity hosts virtual stand-up comedy brunch show on Saturday, May 9.

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Richmond Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Council has its own definition of BYOB: Build Your Own Brunch.

This Saturday, the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity is hosting a virtual comedy show and brunch as a fundraiser for its Women Build program. Every spring, the program builds a home in the Richmond area to improve someone’s housing situation; the build is also focused on encouraging women to come out and get involved with Habitat for Humanity.

As the pandemic has at least postponed this year’s planned project, the Women Build Council decided to host a virtual comedy show and brunch to keep their volunteers engaged and raise money for its projects.

“We were kind of joking that everybody needed a good laugh, so we tried to add a comedy element to it,” says Whitney Guthrie, Richmond Habitat for Humanity’s director of community engagement.

Hosted by local stand-up comedian Alida Harper, the hour-and-a-half show will feature sets by Liz Carr, Elani Nichelle, Beth Tucker, Bria Beddoe, Sarah Ahmed and Gigi Modrich. The latter is a Washington, D.C.-based comic who was part of the First Nations Comedy Experience, which can be viewed on Amazon Prime. Those involved say the sets will be PG-13.

As for the Build Your Own Brunch component, audience members will receive recipes for brunch foods, as well as instructions for cocktails and mocktails. For audience members who don’t wish to cook, audience members will also receive a list of restaurants currently offering brunch.

“We’re hoping to let folks know about a good cause and a great way to get engaged in their local community while having a good time,” Guthrie says.

Richmond Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Council’s Virtual Comedy Show & Brunch will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on May 9. For more information, go here.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Virtual Richmond Night Market to be held Saturday, May 9

Featuring a special acoustic set by local reggae artist Mighty Joshua.

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2020 at 4:00 AM

After a successful April edition, the Virtual Richmond Night Market Experience will be held again this Saturday, May 9 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., live at @richmondnightmarketva.

The second edition will include live painting with Richmond artist S. Ross Browne, as well as artisans and vendors participating from Puerto Rico to Richmond. The creative kids hangout will be powered by VPM/PBS and Brooklyn-based DJ Monday Blue will be on the virtual main stage. There will also be a special acoustic set by Richmond reggae artist, Mighty Joshua.

"We record from Canvas and allow attendees to virtually go into the galleries and art spaces of 20 participating artisans that we will be visiting virtually in Richmond, Va, Philadelphia, PA, Brooklyn, NY and Puerto Rico," says co-creator and media manager Melody Short via email.

According to a press release, last month's edition found an audience of over 13K and impressions of 62K on Instagram the week and day of the Virtual Richmond Night Market with one local artist finishing the evening with $1,400 in sales, doubling those sales by the end of the week and still working to fulfill additional orders received through the Virtual Richmond Night Market Experience.

“We are very proud of our decision to pivot and not postpone the kickoff of Season 2 of the Richmond Night Market. Under standard operations, we are a night market that draws a crowd of over 1200 people each 2nd Saturday of the month, all gathering in celebration of art, community and commerce locally," said co-founder Adrienne Cole Johnson in a press release. "We were committed to keeping each component of the Richmond Night Market and placing great emphasis on the commerce experience to allow our platform to leverage the global reach thanks to social media and ultimately create additional brand exposure, engagement and sales for participating artists."

For more information regarding media/press inquiries,sponsorship opportunities, featured artisans, or additional details, contact Melody Short at 212.518.4776 or via email at melody@richmondnightmarketva.com.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Richmonder Creates "Efficient Map" To Viewing Our Murals

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Richmond is known for its amazing murals.

And as people try to find ways to keep themselves sane under quarantine, one 35-year-old native Richmonder and mechanical engineer is doing his part to help provide an artful activity.

Blake Casavant has painstakingly created a Google Map of the best 100 plus murals in Richmond with the bonus of providing the most efficient route to view them, "though it can be slightly tweaked," he points out.

"Can you think of a better way to practice social distancing while also allowing you to get out of your house?," he asks.

We sent him a few questions via email to learn more:

Style Weekly: How did you come up with this idea?

Blake Casavant: I don't have an arts background, nor am I involved in the arts right now, but I've always admired the vast number of murals around RVA. Despite this, it wasn't until some non-Richmonders pointed out the grandiosity of it all that I was able to realize how much I have taken it for granted.

So, one day, when I had a bit of free time, I decided to try to find a listing of all the murals RVA had to offer yet was unable to find a truly comprehensive one. When I searched for "Best of" lists in Richmond, they all seemed to be lacking, specifically if it didn't have the Bernie on their list. So, I began to combine a number of lists I was able to find as well as add various ones that I’ve seen walking or driving around town, and the next thing I knew I had over 100. I live in Carytown bordering the Fan so they’re not hard to find.

How do you envision people using it?

I hope people will use this list to do a self-guided tour and perhaps explore RVA in a sort of scavenger-hunt. If they'd like, they can see an image of what each one offers so that they're able to pick and choose the ones that interest them.

We are all in a social distancing quarantine yet I'm sure many are antsy to get out and do something but there are simply not many viable options. Frankly, can you imagine a better way to get out of the house while also practicing the safety protocols than to do drive around and look at all that Richmond has to offer?

The streets are empty these days so you don't have to rush to take a photo of one. On a Friday afternoon recently, on a normally busy road, I was able to stop my car to a complete halt in front of mural and not have any cars ruin the view or make me feel rushed. When will we ever have that luxury again? Hell, gas prices are almost encouraging us to drive around so why not do so with a purpose?

Any other aspects of it that were interesting to you? Did you learn anything unexpected while doing it?

You'd be amazed how many incredible murals you'd find just driving down back alleys. There are hundreds upon hundreds of simple ones that people have done just on garage walls and doors.

These are truly impressive pieces of art you would expect to see prominently displayed. Knowing that these are ones that have not been commissioned or funded professionally helps me fully appreciate the artistic prowess Richmonders have. It seems like I see a new one each week.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Reynolds Gallery's Launch Project Seeking Emerging Artists

Taking submissions for two-month solo show through Sept.1

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Emerging visual artists are to Richmond like emerging singer-songwriters are to Nashville. While many of these new artists are disproportionately centered around the art mecca of VCU and its tentacle-like reaches, intriguing art is being made by undiscovered talents young and old throughout the greater Richmond area.

Reynolds Gallery hopes to capitalize on that talent with a new initiative: The Launch Project, a two-month solo exhibition from November to December for one artist on the second floor of its gallery.

Reynolds already works with emerging artists—think of the Fountainhead Fellows program each spring—but last fall, the team decided to take it a step further. Associate Janie Hall, who is spearheading the project, explains: “This is an additional way to make sure that no one is slipping through the cracks. There are other artists out there who may not have had access to the traditional artist’s education.”

The Launch Project is open to artists of any age (yes—even adolescents) who don’t have gallery representation and live in the greater Richmond metro area. Interested applicants can submit up to 10 images of their work for review and the deadline has been extended to Sept. 1. In return, the accepted artist gains assistance with writing an artist and exhibition statement along with professional curation and sales of their art.

“We’ve noticed [with] emerging artists is that sometimes they need help with professional presentation skills,” says Hall, noting “the details of approaching a gallery and working through getting formal representation.”

For more information, visit www.reynoldsgallery.com.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Henrico Student Wins Scholarship For COVID-19 Art Portfolio

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Big congrats to high school senior, Jasmine Mason! During a time when everyone seems down, for good reason, Mason is turning heads with her striking art work, which just won her a major national scholarship award.

Jasmine, currently finishing up her senior year at Henrico High School's Center for the Arts, was recently awarded the gold medal in the 97th annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the top honor in the nation's longest running scholarship program for creative teens.

Jasmine Mason
  • Jasmine Mason

Mason won for her striking portfolio "Waiting ..." in which she "investigates life and the act of waiting through the documentation of real situations in her community where her neighbors wait for everyday necessities" during the pandemic.

She was one of only 16 students selected in the country and she will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship, one which has been previously earned by the likes of Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates and Andy Warhol.

Style reached out to Mason via email to learn a little more:

Style Weekly: How do you feel about winning and where do you plan to use the scholarship?

Jasmine Mason: Growing up in a lower-middle-class black family, I always learned not to get my hopes up very often, so when I found out that I won, it was a very surreal moment, and I still can’t quite describe how I feel. I plan on using the scholarship at Columbus College of Art and Design.

How did you come up with the idea for the series? What community is featured?

As a senior in the art program that I’m in, seniors have to create a portfolio of eight cohesive pieces that explore an exciting theme. When I was choosing subjects to paint, I noticed that all of my subjects had two things in common: they were all waiting, and they were all ethnic. Upon learning this, I decided to investigate this idea further. Through my investigation, I learned that the city of Richmond/Henrico, where I live, is deeply segregated by economic status. At the same time, predominately white people in the west end are privileged enough to have personal transportation and higher-paying jobs, predominantly ethnic people like me in the east end use public transport and have 9-5 lower-paying jobs.

What did you feel like you learned while doing this project?

Working on the project, I learned disenfranchised communities are always waiting for change and are continually overlooked.

Why do you think art is important and what do you want to do as a career?

I think art creates a visual language that transcends different languages and cultures [to] bring different opinions and ideas together.

I plan on owning an architecture company and designing community centers that help disenfranchised neighborhoods improve.

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