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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Update: Guitarist DJ Williams Released from Prison in Middle East

Posted By on Sun, May 28, 2017 at 6:50 PM

Guitarist DJ Williams is well known among the jamband community in Richmond. He now lives in Los Angeles.
  • Guitarist DJ Williams is well known among the jamband community in Richmond. He now lives in Los Angeles.

Guitarist DJ Williams, who was detained in the Middle East weeks ago, has issued a statement on his Facebook page that he has been released from prison there and is on his way back to the States.

I've been released from the prison and headed back to the states right now with my mother. I'm not ready to speak to anyone but family right now but please know that my heart is overflowing with love and my eyes are filled with tears of gratitude for the amount of support you've all shown me. Thank you. This has been the hardest challenge I've ever faced and I am physically and emotionally exhausted but I plan to return a stronger, better man taking nothing for granted. Much love.

Richmond guitarist DJ Williams, known for his touring work with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career in music.

While it's not unusual for him to tour constantly, people are worried about him after he wrote a letter to friends that, because of what he calls "missteps," he was detained in the Middle East during a visit there. The singer's most recent tweet, April 17, said he was traveling from Los Angeles to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Family and Friends,

Due to a series of missteps on my part I have been detained in the Middle East for the time being. I want to say thank you to everyone for all of the love, support, encouragement and letters during this difficult time. I am staying positive and strong, and I'm going to come out of this a better person.

Thank you for your continued love and support, DJ

His friends have started a GoFundMe page (DJ Williams Appreciation Fund) that had raised more than $11,000 in six days to help the musician. Style has reached out to the singer and will update accordingly. His family declines to provide further details.

Denson and his group are scheduled to perform with keyboardist Melvin Seals at the 930 Club in Washington on May 19.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pick: Bijou Showing "Citizen Jane" Doc This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 2:30 PM

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Fans of activist/author Jane Jacobs take note, the documentary about her struggles against developers and city planners in New York, "Citizen Jane: Battle for the City" is playing this weekend at the Bijou Film Center from May 25 to May 28. Tickets are $7 for members, $9 for regular admission, and you can find times at their website.

"After reaching out to Altimeter Films, they let us know there was a lot of Virginia interest in the film," says Bijou founder James Parrish.

Jacobs, author of the 1961 classic "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," was known for her epic battles to help save historic New York neighborhoods such as Soho, Greenwich Village and Little Italy.

More from a press release:

Jacob’s activism resonates loudly in our present time as grassroots movements rise up to resist power-based bullying and autocratic authority. She was not only a powerful writer but one of the most notable woman leaders in activism who spoke truth to power. By showcasing her victories over Robert Moses, and the cohort of urban planners in the period, Citizen Jane provides us with an early activist playbook, telling the stories of Jacobs’ victories over monolithic forces determined to destroy treasured parts of New York City – as well as many other cities. Her story – one of a citizen soldier determined to fight – becomes a veritable “how to” for organizing around a ground-up protest movement against a seemingly unmovable autocracy.

2017 Richmond Jazz Fest Lineup Revealed

Erykah Badu, Isley Brothers, Common with Richmond Symphony among artists.

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 11:06 AM

Soul veterans, the Isley Brothers, should be hearing footsteps in the park, come this August at Maymont.
  • Soul veterans, the Isley Brothers, should be hearing footsteps in the park, come this August at Maymont.

The eighth annual Richmond Jazz Fest announced its lineup of artists for this summer's festival, Aug. 10-13, mostly in Maymont. There also are performances at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Hippodrome Theater and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.

Among the highlights are soul and hip-hop queen Erykah Badu, rapper Common performing with the Richmond Symphony, TajMo (Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' bands), Pat Metheny, Bob James, Robert Cray, the Isley Brothers, Jazmine Sullivan and the Manhattan Transfer.

The fest also is introducing CaRue, a prelude that will feature free live performances by local and regional artists in Carytown, using numerous venues including the Byrd Theatre. This will be a lead-up to the festival, running Aug. 5-10.

The big sponsors for the event are Altria, Virginia Is for Lovers and Dominion Energy. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Maymont Foundation and the Blue Stone Education Foundation.

Here is info from a press release on tickets and a full line-up is below:

Tickets are on sale now!

Admission is free to the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and the Jazz Café at VMFA on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Tickets are $30, not including fees, for “Homegrown at the Hipp” at the Hippodrome Theater on Friday, Aug. 11.

Early bird single-day passes for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 are $75, not including fees and early bird weekend passes are $140, not including fees. Early bird passes will be available May 25 through July 6.

Starting July 7 until the day of show at Maymont on Aug. 12, single-day passes will be $85 and weekend passes will be $150.

Tickets can also be purchased at the gates, but are subject to a rate increase. Please visit richmondjazzfestival.com for the latest updates and additional ticket information.

And here is the official line-up:

*All acts subject to change

Thursday, Aug. 10

VMFA | 200 N. Boulevard

Jazz Café, Free admission

Friday, Aug. 11

Hippodrome Theater | 528 N 2nd St.

“Homegrown at the Hipp”

$30 admission, not including fees

With a special performance by Nathan East

Saturday, Aug. 12

Maymont | 1700 Hampton St.

Doors open at 11 a.m. | Performances begin at noon

Early Bird pricing through July 6th: $75 single day admission /$140 weekend admission, not including fees Beginning July 7: $85 single day admission /$150 weekend admission, not including fees

Pat Metheny

Common with the Richmond Symphony

Peabo Bryson

Jazmine Sullivan

Harvey Mason

TajMo: The Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ Band

BJ The Chicago Kid

Melanie Fiona

The Manhattan Transfer

Bob James

David Benoit

Joey DeFrancesco + The People

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque

Sunday, Aug. 13

Maymont | 1700 Hampton St.

Doors open at 11 a.m. | Performances begin at noon

Early Bird pricing through July 6th: $75 single day admission /$140 weekend admission, not including fees

Beginning July 7: $85 single day admission /$150 weekend admission, not including fees

Erykah Badu

The Isley Brothers

Marcus Miller

Dave Koz with Larry Graham

Robert Cray

Norman Brown

Elle Varner

Butterscotch

Joey Alexander

Juan de Marcos and The Afro-Cuban All Stars

Maysa

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rapper Noah-O Represents on "Sway in the Morning"

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 9:25 AM

Sway Calloway and Noah O (middle) in the studio during the taping on May 19.
  • Sway Calloway and Noah O (middle) in the studio during the taping on May 19.

Well-known Richmond hip-hop artist, Noah-O, was interviewed on the legendary hip-hop radio show, "Sway in the Morning," in New York on Friday.

The rapper turned heads in the studio performing a track from his new album produced by DJ Mentos, "The Rain," which is available here. We have links to the Sway studio videos below and asked Noah-O a few questions about the experience.

Style: How did this come about?

Noah-O: Last March, Cheats [Marc Cheatham] invited me to go to VCU to attend a film screening put on by Afrikana Film Festival that Sway executive produced regarding police brutality. And it was around the time many killings were in the news.

I wasn't going to tell him I was an artist due to the situation being a community event and not to come off as opportunistic. I just wanted to meet Sway and tell him I grew up hearing him as a local DJ in San Francisco and take a pic. We talked and I invited him to Plush to have dinner since he would be in town. Once we went to Plush, we ate and hung out, and after a while Sway wanted to go to the nightclub section of the building and see the people.

A lot of people noticed him and us together and took pics and he eventually realized I was a music artist from there. He invited me on the show. That was over a year ago but I kept in contact with his producer. They found out I would be in town for our Trust The Vibes East Coast Tour last Thursday and invited me on as a guest Friday a.m.

What was the experience in the studio like?

It was surreal being there, as we had communicated so long ago. I had begun to think it would never happen. When he came out to meet us in the lobby the first thing he said was, "You thought I forgot about you, huh?"

It is refreshing to see there are people in the industry who keep their word and not only that he and his team care about hip-hop culture, the issues affecting the community and people. Not only that, but to think I was rhyming in a place that Eminem owns and so many famous and talented people have been in is a blessing, life-changing opportunity.

Did Sway give you any advice?

Keep killing it.

Have you seen a bump or renewed interest in the album?

There is definitely an increase in the awareness of who I am globally. A lot of Asians and Filipinos, people from Virginia everywhere and industry people are getting hip to me, new doors are opening.

What do you have coming up locally?

I have shows coming up in DC, Northern Virginia and Philly for our Trust The Vibes Tour and this fall I'm going to be touring Europe with a German artist, ¥EN, and I'll be joining Versace ChaChi for a few dates there as well.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

VCU Names New Dean for School of the Arts, Shawn Brixey

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 11:18 AM

New dean of the VCU School of the Arts, Shawn Brixey, is a graduate from The Media Lab at MIT in design.
  • New dean of the VCU School of the Arts, Shawn Brixey, is a graduate from The Media Lab at MIT in design.

After a long search, Virginia Commonwealth University has named Shawn Brixey as dean of VCU School of the Arts.

Brixey serves as dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University in Toronto.

“I am pleased to welcome Shawn Brixey to VCU as the new dean of our School of the Arts,” VCU President Michael Rao said in a press release. “In addition to being an accomplished artist, Shawn’s background as an educator, researcher, writer and inventor makes him the perfect fit for our university. We all look forward to working with Shawn and are happy to have him as the leader of the nation's No. 1-ranked public school of the arts.”

Here's more about Brixey from the VCU announcement below. Stay tuned for a Q&A that Style will have with the new arts dean in the coming days.

Under Brixey’s leadership the AMPD at York has repositioned its mission and focus toward interdisciplinary, team-driven, technology-centered, creative research and discovery. It is one of the most comprehensive arts, media, performance and design faculty in North America, with more than 250 tenure-line faculty and lecturers, 500 graduate students and 4,000 undergraduates.

“VCUarts is a truly path-breaking research community,” Brixey said. “I am honored by and excited about the opportunity to support its wonderful faculty and students. They are uniquely positioned to shape the frontiers of research and discovery at the boundaries of what the arts mean today, and how they will be inspired and lived tomorrow.” ...

Prior to his appointment at York, Brixey was professor and The Floyd and Delores Jones Endowed Chair in Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he co-founded and directed The Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media, UW’s pioneering interdisciplinary B.F.A. and Ph.D. program in digital arts and media culture. He has served as professor at the University of California Berkeley, where he was founder and chair of the Digital Media Program, and founder and director of the Center for Digital Art and New Media Research (now the Berkeley Center for New Media) ...

A graduate of The Media Lab at MIT in design, media science and engineering, Brixey’s research focuses on pioneering complex interactive media environments developed with a wide range of custom technologies and intelligent applications. He has received a wide range of digital arts and sciences grants and awards to support his research and educational initiative, including from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Science Foundation.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trey Songz Hosting Afterparty at Kabana on May 20

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 10:40 PM

R&B and hip-hop star, Trey Songz, from Petersburg.
  • R&B and hip-hop star, Trey Songz, from Petersburg.

Following his concert on Saturday, May 20, at Dominion Arts Center, Grammy-nominated performer Trey Songz will be hosting an after-party at the Kabana rooftop with music by Washington's Vicious.

The Petersburg native and Atlantic recording artist currently is touring behind his latest album, "Tremaine the Album."

Songz is holding the party with MikeXAngel and the event starts at 10 p.m. and runs until 2 a.m. A cover charge of $20 allows attendees access to the event. VIP tables are available but require a three-bottle minimum purchase, according to a news release. For VIP tables, email vip@kabanarooftop.com.

Songz and Chris Brown recently made news for responding to rapper Bow Wow, who claimed credit for kickstarting their careers.

Richmond to Host Major Conference on Islamic Art

VMFA and VCUarts teaming with Qatar Foundation for November event.

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 2:15 PM

In 2004, Richmond held its first major international conference on Islamic Art. Since then, the conference has been held in Qatar, Spain and Italy. Next fall, it will be returning to Richmond's Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Nov. 2 through Nov. 4.

“Islamic Art: Past, Present and Future” is sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, VCUarts Qatar and the Qatar Foundation. The Thursday through Saturday event will feature opening remarks by "her excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani," the chairperson of Qatar Museums, Doha Film Institute and Qatar Leadership, and a "proponent of the arts as a catalyst for education, dialogue and exchange," according to a press release.

Co-chairs Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom issued a joint statement to Style:

"Many Americans today have come to associate Islam with terrorism and war, but the Hamad bin Khalifa Symposia are designed to showcase the long traditions of art and culture in the Muslim world. This year’s event in Richmond focuses on the artistic relationships between the past, the present, and the future, bringing together museum curators, collectors, artists, and academics. As always, the symposia will make the latest research accessible to the broadest possible audience, ranging from specialized students and scholars to the general public."

The symposia will be open to the public, though registration is $10 per day. All programs will take place in the Cheek Theater, VMFA, 200 N. Boulevard. Visit ​islamicartdoha.org​ to get more info or register.

The conference will feature 13 of the leading scholars, curators and artists of Islamic art and architecture. The event will include a number of presentations addressing "how Islamic art engages with contemporary politics, global capitalism, gender, religion and history -- and how Western museums have approached collecting and curating the arts of the Islamic world," per the release.

Here's a list of additional artists and speakers that will be appearing at the conference from the release:

Mohammad al-Asad ​an architect and architectural historian who has worked at Harvard, MIT and Princeton and founded the Center for the Study of the Built Environment, a think tank in Amman, Jordan, exploring the tension between local and Western architectural forms.

Her Royal Highness Princess Wijdan​ ​Al-Hashemi of Jordan,​ a pioneer in establishing important collections of contemporary art of the Islamic world. In Jordan she founded the Royal Society of Fine Arts (1979), the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts (1980), the Higher Institute of Islamic Art and Architecture at Al Al-Bait University, Jordan (1992), and the College of Arts and Design at the University of Jordan (2002).

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi a United Arab Emirates-based columnist and commentator on Arab affairs whose articles have appeared in ​The Financial Times, The New York Times ​and ​Foreign Policy, ​among other notable publications. Al-Qassemi is an MIT Media Labs Director’s Fellow. He has been named on ​Arabian Business​’s “World’s 100 Most Powerful Arabs” list in 2014, and ​TIME​ magazine’s “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011.” Al-Qassemi is the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, established to contribute to intellectual development in the Arab region.

Shahzia Sikander a Pakistani-American artist and MacArthur Fellow best known for contemporizing the traditional Indo-Persian discipline of miniature painting and causing a transnational resurgence in the art form. Her work can be seen in museums around the world including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art. Sikander is the recipient of many prestigious awards including a Medal of Art from the US State Department.

Nada Shabout​ who is the founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey. She was the consulting founding director of research at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, and the editor-in-chief of the Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World. She has curated exhibitions of modern Islamic art all over the world and is the director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative at the University of North Texas.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Tour Coming To Richmond

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 1:30 PM

For nearly 30 years, the cult comedy television series "Mystery Science Theater 3000" has been making people laugh. New episodes began on Netflix in April.
  • For nearly 30 years, the cult comedy television series "Mystery Science Theater 3000" has been making people laugh. New episodes began on Netflix in April.

If you're a fan of cheesy movies and cartoonish characters talking over them, you'll be delighted to know that "Mystery Science Theater 3000" is for the first time ever, taking its show on the road for live performances -- and Richmond made the cut.

Joel Hodgson, creator of the now Netflix-based television show, and its new host Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray) will be performing two separate shows, ticketed separately, at Dominion Arts Center on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Here's more info on ticket sales from the press release:

Appearing with Joel and Jonah live on stage will be robot companions Crow (Hampton Yount), Tom Servo and Gypsy, along with Synthia (Rebecca Hanson) and her Bonehead henchmen. Of course, it wouldn’t be “MST3K” without the ever-present surveillance of the Mads, Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (Patton Oswalt), checking up on their unwilling test subjects via a video screen.

The tour consists of two separate, completely unique shows, each with its own admission. Fans wanting the complete tour experience should purchase two tickets, one for each show. Each event will include all the things expected from an “MST3K” experience: a cheesy B-movie, hilarious riffing, wisecracking robots, silly sketches, plus – for the first time – audience participation! Show # 1 is the MST3K favorite “Eegah,” featuring all-new riffs and sketches. Show # 2 is a “Secret Surprise Film!” It’s a fun, sci-fi thriller never before featured on “MST3K” and it will be performed only in select cities.

Following its record-breaking #BringBackMST3K Kickstarter campaign, the new season of the show launched on April 14, 2017, exclusively on Netflix. The two live shows are written by the cast and writers of the new Netflix Original Series, which has earned a critics’ rating of 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The New York Times hails, “At last, a revival of something actually worth reviving… a different cast but the same outlook and style — and mercifully, the same reliable, giddy humor.” “MST3K is just as hilarious as ever in rebooted form, turning its bemused eye on old, schlocky fare for some good, old-fashioned riffing,” raves Vanity Fair. And Nerdist says “The references are updated, the sets are snazzier, but the heart and soul of MST3K certainly remains intact.”

Tickets for “MST3K” “Watch Out for Snakes!” North American tour dates will go on sale to the public Friday, May 19 at noon local time via etix.com and the venue box office. Please note where there are multiple performances in a single market, each event is ticketed separately.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Raekwon Show Announced for the Broadberry on July 11

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 10:55 AM

raekwon-jhp-world.jpg

Hip-hop fans rejoice, one of the best shows of the summer was just announced: Rapper Raekwon of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan will be performing at the Broadberry on Tuesday, July 11. The veteran MC will be touring in support of "The Wild," released in March.

Joining him on the bill will be local talent Black Liquid, Noah O, and Tennison (DJ Harrison and Tennishu). The doors open at 8 p.m. and show is at 9 p.m. Cost is $30 in advance, or $35 at the door. Go here to find out more about tix.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Pick: RVA East End Festival at Chimborazo Park

Symphony also announces South Side festival, Dia De La Musica, for May 21.

Posted By on Wed, May 3, 2017 at 1:18 PM

Rising Chimborazo music students.
  • Rising Chimborazo music students.

If you haven't seen the Richmond Symphony perform in its mobile big tent, this weekend offers a perfect opportunity.

On Friday, May 5, (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and Saturday, May 6, (noon to 8 p.m.) the annual RVA East End Music Festival will be held in Chimborazo Park at 3201 E. Broad St. The symphony will perform works from "Beauty and the Beast" on Friday.

But the best part is that the entire event is a much-needed fundraiser for East End public schools music and arts programs, meaning your money will be going toward improving the lives of children and helping create the artists of tomorrow.

The goal is to exceed the $100,000 raised in last year's inaugural event, which had a number of tangible effects, including raising the number of violins in schools from seven to enough instruments for a full classroom set of string instruments in each school.

David Fisk, executive director for the symphony, told Style that the money did far more than just purchase instruments.

"It allowed us to staff after-school programs at MLK and work with 20 students all year," he says. "What we're uncovering is that there is great talent within this program. And [for some] the possibility of learning music has been the reason they want to go to school. That's why it's worthwhile to us, if we're able to pass on that love of music."

Honorary heads of this year's event are Gov. Terry McAuliffe and his wife, Dorothy McAuliffe. Fisk notes that the festival would not be possible without generous support from Bon Secours and the city, as well as individual donors. Bucket donations on-site at the festival were also crucial last year, he adds.

This year, an on-site beer garden will be serving Stone Brewing craft brews and there will also be plenty of family-oriented events as well as eclectic local music such as gospel, jazz and rock. At Saturday's day-long event there will be a wide variety of music and dance from the likes of One Voice Chorus, Ezibu Muntu, the Cheats Movement, Ball and Chain, Richmond Urban Dance, and plenty of students from various high schools.

Also, just announced today, the symphony will be holding another festival for South Side with a performance, Dia De La Musica, on May 21 at the Sacred Heart Center at 1400 Perry St. in Manchester.

That free event, which will close part of Perry Street in front of the center, seeks to raise $50,000 to support a new Summer Hill Preschool Pre-K music program, South Side Richmond Public Schools music education programs and to provide instruments for elementary schools in the 8th and 9th districts.

The event will include performances by Richmond Symphony ensembles, local performing arts groups, children's activities and food provided by Sacred Heart.

Fisk adds that the May 21 event hopes to lay the groundwork for a similar Big Tent festival in South Side next year.

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