Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Concerts at Home

Richmond Grid launches live house show concert series online today.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 1:32 PM

In the coming months, an unprecedented number of Americans will be spending more time at home ... or at least we hope the severity of our situation has finally broken through the anti-science, over-politicized noise.

Tough times are ahead and some of us are definitely going to need the power of music to keep our spirits up.

Kicking off this afternoon, Richmond Grid is hosting a Virtual Happy Hour House Show series featuring well-known local musicians performing live in or around their homes, for your online viewing pleasure.

If you can, hook up some speakers to your computer, kick back and tune in to Grid's Instagram or Facebook live today at 5 p.m. for the inaugural show by singer and songwriter Saw Black.

Prabir Mehta, who will perform for the series on Wednesday, March 17, notes that most musicians have had gigs canceled - in many cases, through the summer. He adds that venues are making the right decision to shut down, save lives and prevent a larger medical catastrophe.

“I'm also looking forward to eventually hearing songs about this time period,” he says. “Music is awesome, it can connect crowds, cheer up people, and even capture historic moments so well. “

For those unfamiliar, Grid is a quarterly magazine with "co-created stories" that its website says are designed to focus on the positive, "to celebrate how we live, work and play in the region." As part of this "different form of journalism," Grid also offers a full-service branding agency.

We sent a Q&A by email to Grid's Paul Spicer to learn more about the series:

Style Weekly: How did the idea come about?

Paul Spicer: The idea for coming together to celebrate music and community was initially inspired by the people of Italy who have joined together in song from their windows, balconies, and rooftops during these challenging times. We wanted to find a similar way to connect with neighbors here at home, despite our physical distance, to show our collective spirit. Ultimately, we wanted to show that you can’t cancel community. You can’t cancel connection. And you certainly can’t cancel the music that brings us closer to one another, even while our current situation requires that we remain apart.

With that in mind, I immediately reached out to Claire Prendergast, a Richmond Grid team member who has been involved in the local music scene for years. Claire jumped on the idea and quickly went to work reaching out to Richmond’s diverse and talented community of musicians.

What has the music scene's reaction been to the idea?

As always, Richmond’s music community proved that it’s more than willing to collaborate and give back. Every artist we’ve talked to about the idea for a virtual happy hour and house show was excited to share their time and music with others. Our local musicians know better than anyone that music in itself is healing. It’s something that touches all of us. It’s collective. It’s communal. And it brings us all together and binds us…which is something we need now more than ever.

Again, I can’t thank Claire Prendergast enough for helping make this happen. And of course, a huge thank you to Richmond’s talented musicians for using their talent to make each day a little brighter for everyone.

How are you promoting it?

We refer to Grid as a solution-oriented platform, which means that we’re constantly trying out new ways to celebrate Richmond and push the community forward. To make that happen, we experiment a lot, rely on grassroots promotions, and connect with Richmonders as authentically and organically as possible. For the virtual happy hour house show, we’re simply inviting Richmonders to join us on Facebook and Instagram for live performances. As the project unfolds, we may add new ways to creatively connect.

Any other bands/announcements I can add?

Virtual Happy Hour start times will vary depending on the musician, typically anywhere from 3:30 pm to 6 pm. The artist will take over Richmond Grid’s Facebook and Instagram to perform live in a spot that inspires them. They define the show and have complete creative control. An artist may decide to play from their living room, by a fire in their backyard, in their home studio, on their front porch, or other spots in and around their home that inspires them. Here’s what we’re looking at so far…

Saw Black will perform today, Tuesday, March 17, at 5 pm.

Prabir will perform tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, at 3:30 pm.

Marcus Tenney of Butcher Brown will perform on Thursday, March 19, from 4 pm to 5 pm.

Kenneka Cook will perform on Friday, March 20. We’re still nailing down a specific time.

Eddie Prendergast of Mikrowaves will perform at 4 pm on Saturday, March 21.

Paulo Franco will perform on Sunday at 5 pm.

Høly River, formally Lobo Marino, will play on Monday. Time to be announced.

We’re also finalizing a time for Regan Sprenkle next week.

In addition, we have some other big announcements to make next week, so stay tuned for some RVA favorites who will be joining us.

What do you think is the ultimate importance or value of something like this?

Our hope is that the virtual happy hour will encourage everyone to take a moment in the day to create beauty and joy during difficult times. Just because we’re practicing social distancing, doesn’t mean we can’t encourage connection. We hope our friends and neighbors will take a break from the news for a moment, pour themselves a local beverage if they’re so inclined, log-in to listen, share with others, sing along if they’d like, leave a positive comment for RVA, applaud someone who needs it, and connect with others in creative ways even while our current situation demands that we remain apart.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Wilco and Sleater Kinney Playing Altria Theater, Aug. 19

Posted By on Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Two headliners beloved in rock circles are joining forces for a summer tour: Wilco and Sleater Kinney will be performing at Richmond's Altria Theater on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. The special guest opener is Nnamdi.

Tickets range from $59.50 to $89.50 and go on sale March 13. You can get more info here.

Friday Cheers Announces Lineup 2020

Angelica Garcia, Mdou Moctar, Palm Palm among highlights.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Richmond longest running outdoor concert series, Friday Cheers, presented by Pacifico, has announced its summer lineup for its 36th season, which starts Friday, May 1. Children 12 and under are free.

Here you go:

May 1 – Jade Bird (8:00) with Sweet Potatoes (6:30) $10

May 8 – Billy Strings (8:00) with Andrew Alli & Josh Small (6:30) $10

May 22 – RVA Music Night: Palm Palm (8:00), Erin and the Wildfire (7:00) and Shormey (6:00) $5

May 29 – Jay Som (8:00) with Angelica Garcia (6:30) $10

June 5 – Mdou Moctar (8:00) with Jouwala Collective (6:30) $5

June 12 – The Growlers (7:30) with Deathbirds Surf Club (6:15) $10

June 19 – Tank and the Bangas (8:00) with Kenneka Cook (6:30) $10

June 26 – Futurebirds (8:00) and The Nude Party (6:30) $10

According to the press release:

"Advance tickets for individual shows and season passes to Friday Cheers are now available to purchase online at Ticketstobuy.com. Season Passes cost $45 for a limited time and $55 after.

"Friday Cheers is presented by: Pacifico Friday Cheers is sponsored by: CoStar, Dominion Green Power, Delta Hotels by Marriott, Drive Shack, 103.7 Play, Richmond.com, Style Weekly, NBC12, CW Richmond and Easley Made Catering.

"For more insider and behind-the-scenes info and back stories on the artists, visit the Friday Cheers blog or Venture Richmond’s website.

To be entered in a weekly drawing to win tickets to Friday Cheers, like Friday Cheers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to use #CheersRVA all season long to be a part of the conversation.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

RVA Music Scene To Be Featured on World Cafe Series

NPR-distributed program broadcasts nationally March 23-27

Posted By on Thu, Mar 5, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Planning to be stuck inside with the coronavirus blues?

That illness that sounds like something you catch from tainted bottles of Corona bought for 25 cents at the Tijuana border? (Don't worry, Corona beer sales are actually up 5%)

Good news! You'll still be able to check out the NPR-distributed daily music and interview program, Sense of Place from World Cafe, which will be featuring the music scene of Richmond, Va. from March 23-27.

The show is broadcast on 214 radio stations nationwide and the World Cafe team is based at WXPN/Philadelphia. Locally, World Cafe can be heard on listener-supported WNRN 88.5 FM (Richmond) weeknights from 6-8 p.m.

According to an email, the Sense of Place series "visits musical hotspots around the globe to capture each city’s sights and sounds, and records studio sessions with local musicians and interviews with musical influencers. The resulting week-long feature is heard on World Cafe and online (past sessions are archived at World Cafe on NPR Music)."

Here's what the producers had to say in a press release:

Among other highlights, it will include interview/performance sessions with Richmond artists Sleepwalkers, Natalie Prass, Illiterate Light, and Saw Black; a visit to the Richmond location where members of heavy metal band GWAR rehearse and build their stage props; visits to In Your Ear and Spacebomb Studios; and an introduction to the central Virginia music scene from WNRN host Desiré Moses.

Raina Douris said, “I couldn’t have asked for a better time in Virginia on our ‘Sense of Place’ trip! From the live shows, to touring GWAR’s studio, I’m so excited about what we were able to bring back for all of our World Cafe listeners.” Added Kalleo, “There’s such a rich history of music and culture in Richmond, and I can’t wait to share some of its stories with the World Cafe audiences.”

Monday, March 2, 2020

Steve Martin and Martin Short Returning to Richmond

Backed by Steep Canyon Rangers at Altria Theater on June 20.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Comedy legend Steve Martin and Martin Short will be returning to Richmond to perform at Altria Theater on Saturday, June 20, backed by the Grammy-winning bluegrass band, the Steep Canyon Rangers.

The show is at 7:30 p.m. and tickets go on sale this Friday, March 6 at 10:00AM at the Altria Theater Box Office, online at AltriaTheater.com or Etix.com, and by phone at 800-512-ETIX (3849). Tickets start at $32. Additional fees apply.

Here's more from the press release email:

Steve Martin and Martin Short’s “The Funniest Show in Town at the Moment” is a show that redefines the form in unexpected and profound ways, from two of the funniest, most influential and acclaimed talents of the past century.

Their humor is often subversive, but it is always a joyous self-deprecating romp from two comedy masters driven to make each other laugh as much as the audience. The jokes come at you at a rapid-fire pace with little set-up and big punch lines as they mock Hollywood and the fickle nature of celebrity, but the comedy truly soars when they lovingly (and relentlessly) roast each other.

Martin and Short’s chemistry and timing on stage reflects a friendship forged over three decades which developed when they met for the first time on the set of the 1986 film “Three Amigos.” These two titans of comedy have been touring together since 2015, when they launched their first live show entitled “A Very Stupid Conversation.”

The Funniest Show in Town at the Moment follows Steve Martin and Martin Short’s celebrated sold-out tour An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life. The show was filmed for a Netflix special that earned rave reviews and garnered four Emmy® nominations. Fueled by comedic precision and anchored in a lifelong friendship, Rolling Stone called the special “wryly hip but unexpectedly touching,” with the New York Times describing it “gleeful and satisfying.”

Tenacious D Performing in Richmond on Oct. 5

Band focusing its Purple Nurple Tour on swing states this fall.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Tenacious D, the goofy/serious musical project of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, is coming to Richmond on Monday, Oct. 5 at the Dominion Energy Center.

The group's Purple Nurple Tour this fall will feature support from Wynchester, the project of Kyle Gass Band vocalist Mike Bray and Tenacious D touring and session guitarist John Konesky, according to Brooklyn Vegan website.

The band released a message that the tour was focusing on swing states during the upcoming election.

“Donald Trump has proven to be the most divisive, corrupt and dangerous President in the modern history of this country, and we simply cannot stand for another four years of his administration! Now is the time to elect a REAL leader!” With that in mind, Tenacious D has put together The Purple Nurple Tour – Twisting Hard To The Left! – whose shows go on sale this Friday, March 6, at 10 am local time. Tickets can be purchased at TenaciousD.com.

“In 2016, six states were decided by 2 percentage points or less, and ten states were decided by 4 percentage points or less. Swing states played a pivotal role in the outcome of that election, and they will again in 2020. Knowing that, we looked at each other and agreed: just like the tale of Post-Apocalypto, it is time for Tenacious D to RIDE and help save the world from Trumpian destruction. With great rock comes great responsibility.”

Friday, February 28, 2020

Review: Angelica Garcia's "Cha Cha Palace" [Space Bomb]

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2020 at 5:25 PM

Angelica Garcia’s “Cha Cha Palace [Spacebomb]” is a convincing, grand scale, heartfelt and humorous romp through the haunted borderlands between cultures. Her lyrics are rooted in her East LA Mexican/Salvadoran heritage. Her powerhouse band is the RVA cohort she’s supported for years as a backing singer. The voice is all hers, swooping, confessional, teasing, defiant, doubled, tripled, multiplied into a multilayered Angelic chorus in the wall of sound production. She’s capable of exploding with such next-level intensity that it sounds like she is breaking into song even when she was already singing.

Most, if not all, the songs may be familiar to those who’ve seen her on stage, either with a full band or one of her stripped-down looping solo performances. Sequenced into a single set, sometimes segueing seamlessly from one piece to the next, they become a unified cycle, centered on identity but also touching on spirituality, feminism, love, temptation, and justice. The critical bonding element is Garcia’s vocals, a commanding combination of Bjork intimacy, Kate Bush melismatic control, and a swarm of other ingredients into something sui generis.

Images echo across songs. Numbers with full-tilt intensity are separated by short, quieter pieces evoking Latin heritage -- a haunted version of the romantic mariachi standard “Le Enorme Distancia,” and “La Llorona,” a brief, lovely take on classic folk legion akin to Medea. The latter leads into the hyper-romantic “Valentina in the Moonlight.” The opening of that song recalls the more intimate sound of her 2016 debut “Medicine for Birds,” but it quickly swoons into something more cinematic. It’s as good an encapsulation of the beauty and risk of “Cha Cha Palace” as any. The album has a lot of other attractions. “Jicama,” singled out by Obama for his “best of 2019” playlist, appears three times without wearing out slyly cutting charms. “It Don’t Hinder Me” is a defiant, autobiographically specific romp through her El Monte home neighborhood. “Guadalupe” builds a feminist anthem on the somewhat unlikely foundation of a famous apparition of the Virgin Mary.

But “Valentina,” with its heroine perched on a precarious rooftop for a chance glimpse of a longed-for future seemingly forbidden by her heritage, is a quiet, clear revelation of the risk and ambition swimming through the swirling, propulsive currents of “Cha Cha Palace.” “The heart doesn’t always lead us to safety,” Garcia sings. “But now more than ever, it knows what’s best for me.”

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Innsbrook Announces Steve Miller Band and Marty Stuart, Aug. 12

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The Steve Miller Band and Marty Stuart will perform at Innsbrook After Hours on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Tickets go on sale this Friday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. Early Bird GA tickets available for one week only.

Here's more from the press release:

Richmond, VA - Feb. 13, 2020 - Innsbrook After Hours announced that The Steve Miller Band will perform with Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives and special guest Gary Mule Deer at the SERVPRO of Richmond Pavilion on August 12th as part of their AMERICANA TOUR. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday, February 14 at 10:00 AM at www.innsbrookafterhours.com. A limited number of early bird general admission tickets will be available for one week for just $26.

“Touring with Marty and the Superlatives is inspirational,” said Miller. “This is undoubtedly one of the most talented touring combinations I’ve ever been involved in. We look forward to continuing working together to explore the roots of American Music. Adding the musical comedy of Gary Mule Deer to the show will be an unexpected treat for our fans. I’m delighted to be able to tour with these great artists and to bring the Steve Miller Band audience the best of the best."

“Touring with the Steve Miller Band,” said Stuart, “has proved to be magical. It is indeed an honor to go across the nation with Steve and the Steve Miller Band.”

“Being a part of a tour with both Steve and Marty is as great as it gets!” said Gary Mule Deer.

The last 12 months was one for the record books for Miller and Stuart. Miller released his second volume box set of collected vinyl, as well as the acclaimed Welcome to the Vault box set. He performed live in over 50 cities, played “Fly Like an Eagle” with The Roots on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, did two nights at Jazz at Lincoln Center performing Cannonball Adderley and the Blues and had seven instruments on display at the record breaking Play It Loud exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Marty Stuart was a major contributor to Ken Burns’ latest brilliant PBS series, Ken Burns: Country Music, released a Deluxe Edition of his classic album The Pilgrim and continued his work with Marty Stuart’s Congress of Country Music in Philadelphia, Mississippi which celebrates the rich cultural heritage of country music through live musical performance and educational programming.

Now in its 35th season, Innsbrook After Hours has brought some of the greatest concerts to the Central Virginia area. Tickets for Billy Currington on May 29th will also be on sale tomorrow at 10:00 AM, and a limited number of early bird general admission tickets will be available for one week for $21. Already on sale is Jamey Johnson May 15th. More shows will be announced soon.

Tickets for the Steve Miller Band on Wednesday, August 12 at Innsbrook After Hours go on sale this Friday, February 14th at 10:00 AM at www.innsbrookafterhours.com or by phone at 1-800-514-ETIX (3849). A limited number of early bird general admission tickets will be available for one week for just $26. Tickets for Billy Currington on Friday, May 29th will also be on sale tomorrow at 10:00 AM, and a limited number of early bird general admission tickets will be available for one week for $21. Gates are set to open at 5:00 PM. Show starts at 6:00 PM. All events are rain or shine. No refunds. Innsbrook After Hours is located at the SERVPRO of Richmond Pavilion, 4901 Lake Brook Dr. Glen Allen, VA.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Moviemaker Names Richmond Fifth Best Place To Live and Work as a Moviemaker

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2020 at 4:00 AM

We all know that Richmond loves to see its name on lists. It makes us feel special, like a resume builder.

So here's another good one for your collection: The Virginia Film Office sent out a press release today that Richmond has been named one of MovieMaker magazine’s Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2020, ranking fifth out of ten smaller city and town finalists.

Annnnd here's more hoopla from the release:

MovieMaker determined the winners using surveys, editorial research on tax incentives and recent productions, and personal visits to most of the locations on the list. The full list of winning cities and towns is below.

“Richmond offers the perfect palette to filmmakers. Pristinely preserved history, a variety of landscapes, a thriving downtown, and 3,000 acres of state-owned scenic backlot are all within an easy drive,” said Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds. “Add to that award-winning restaurants, dozens of breweries, a world-class arts scene and a warm, welcoming community – visiting filmmakers tend to look for ways to stick around after wrap. We are excited by the momentum this lucrative industry has gained in Virginia and the tremendous opportunities it continues to provide our workers and businesses.”

"We’re thrilled about the new and returning cities and towns on our list of creatively thriving places for moviemakers to do great work. This year, we decided to move Los Angeles and New York City to the Hall of Fame of Best Places to Live and Work as a MovieMaker, which opened up the list to richly deserving new communities that are creating their own great film legacies,” said MovieMaker editor-in-chief Tim Molloy.

Virginia has experienced a record year for film, television and new media production, hosting high-profile projects including the next installment in AMC’s popular Walking Dead universe titled World Beyond, SHOWTIME® and Blumhouse Television’s limited series The Good Lord Bird, and CBS Studios’ Swagger, which will debut on Apple’s new streaming service. This year’s Academy Award-nominated biopic Harriet filmed in Virginia in 2018, and Wonder Woman: 1984, set to debut this summer, called Virginia home for several weeks of filming.

Here is the top ten for MovieMaker’s 2020 Best Smaller Cities and Towns to Live and Work as a Moviemaker:

10. Newark, NJ

9. Wilmington, NC

8. Providence, RI

7. Knoxville, TN

6. Ashland, OR

5. Richmond, VA

4. Pittsburgh, PA

3. Santa Fe, NM

2. New Orleans, LA

1. Savannah, GA

Friday, January 31, 2020

Richmond Ballet Recasts "Swan Lake" Due to Coronavirus Travel Advisory

Posted By on Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Richmond Ballet Artistic Director Stoner Winslett announced this morning via press release that Xu Yan and Li Wentao of the National Ballet of China will no longer dance the roles of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried in "Swan Lake" with Richmond Ballet on Feb. 14-16. Due to concerns regarding the coronavirus, both the Chinese and American governments have advised against travel between the two countries.

The lead roles will now be filled by principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre, including Natalie Portman’s dance double from the film "Black Swan," for evening performances.

“The health and safety of our guest artists, dancers, staff, and patrons is our greatest concern,” explains Winslett in the release. “We regret that the Richmond community will not have the pleasure of experiencing the artistry of Xu Yan and Li Wentao, but we look forward to strengthening the connections forged on our 2015 tour to China by revisiting this cultural exchange in the future. At this time, we are extraordinarily excited to present Sarah Lane and Cory Stearns as Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried, along with our own Cody Beaton and Fernando Sabino, and we are tremendously grateful to the American Ballet Theatre and its artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, for making their special appearance possible on such short notice.”

Here's more from the release:

Ms. Winslett also announced the exciting news that principal dancers from the renowned American Ballet Theatre, Sarah Lane and Cory Stearns, will now perform these iconic roles Friday, February 14th and Saturday, February 15th at 7pm. Popular Richmond Ballet dancers, Cody Beaton and Fernando Sabino, will perform at the Saturday, February 15th and Sunday, February 16th 2pm performances as previously scheduled.

A San Francisco native, Lane joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in August 2003, became a member of the Company’s corps de ballet in April 2004 and was appointed a Soloist in August 2007. She was promoted to Principal Dancer in September 2017. Lane was a recipient of the Princess Grace Award in 2007 and a 2008 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts. She was the dancing double for Natalie Portman in Fox Searchlight Pictures’ feature film Black Swan.

Born on Long Island, New York, Stearns joined the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in September 2004, the main Company as an apprentice in January 2005, and became a member of the corps de ballet in January 2006. He was appointed a Soloist in January 2009 and a Principal Dancer in January 2011. In 2009, Stearns won the Erik Bruhn Prize for best male dancer.

Richmond Ballet presents Swan Lake Feb. 14-16 with Richmond Symphony at Dominion Energy Center. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at etix.com, by phone at 804.344.0906 x224 or in person at the Richmond Ballet Box Office, 407 East Canal Street, Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 6:00pm.

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