Sunday, July 15, 2018

Video: Sacha Baron Cohen Gets Virginia Citizens Defense League President To Teach Toddlers How To Shoot "Bad Men"

Posted By on Sun, Jul 15, 2018 at 7:55 PM

Sacha Baron Cohen, the comedic prankster behind "Borat," has been getting a lot of media attention lately thanks to the big-names who are mad at him about his new Showtime series, "Who is America?"(premieres tonight at 10 p.m.)

Everyone from former Vice President Dick Cheney to Sarah Palin and disgraced GOP senate candidate Roy Moore have been venting their anger about being tricked into appearing on what they thought was a legitimate political documentary.

In the first episode, Cohen interviews Philip Van Cleave, president of the prominent gun lobby, the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which has been fighting for more lenient gun laws in the commonwealth since 1994. Style interviewed him back in 2013 after the Newtown shootings.

Posing as Israeli "anti-terror" expert, Col. Erran Moran, Cohen looks for a solution to the school shooting problem and, as the Washington Post notes, gets Van Cleave to create a partially animated children’s video, "replete with gunimals (guns that look like stuffed animals) and even a nursery rhyme about the best part of the body to strike (“Aim at the head, shoulders, not the toes, not the toes,” Van Cleave sings, punctuated by Cohen-as-Morad rhythmically yelling “fire!”).

Yes, that's right. Using a pistol disguised as a puppet, Van Cleave teaches children under four how "to stop these naughty men and have them take a long nap." First he shows toddlers how to load the weapon and "point Puppy Pistol's mouth right at the middle of the bad man. If he has a big fat tummy, point at that." Unbelievable.

If that sounds too insane or disgusting to be true, just watch the video below.

Cohen must love coming to Virginia. He found another highlight moment in his 2006 film "Borat" when he filmed a rodeo at the civic center in Salem, Virginia. Appearing as Borat Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan, Cohen butchered the national anthem and nearly caused a riot (but only after a chilling scene when the rodeo producer says he'd love to see gays hanged here and was "working on it.") The film grossed over $261 million on an $18 million dollar budget.

Just remember, Van Cleave is the head of a group that the Roanoke Times called "the commonwealth's dominant gun lobby" in 2013, and they've actually been successful at preventing meaningful gun-control in the state.

Listening to some of these well-known politicians support the idea of toddlers with guns, or first-graders with grenades and a "rudimentary knowledge of mortars," you should come to the conclusion that we are currently doomed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Preview: Local Fulbright Scholar's Doc Sounds Alarm on Global Refugee Crisis and Rising Fascism

Screens on Monday, July 23 at Richmond Public Library

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2018 at 12:40 PM

A local filmmaker who was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2015 to live with refugees in Sicily is screening her documentary, "Fata Morgana," at the Main Library of the Richmond Public Library on Monday, July 23.

Jen Lawhorne, who received a masters in film studies from Virginia Commonwealth University, lived for a year in Sicily and says that she hopes to educate the public on problems facing refugees in Europe.

The 45-minute documentary, “Fata Morgana,” which roughly translates in Italian to "mirage," was co-produced by Lawhorne and Ebrima and Toumani, two young men from Gambia and Mali trying to establish themselves in the northeast Sicilian city of Messina, who she discovered through a local refugee solidarity group.

As noted in a press release: "The documentary shifts the cinematic gaze over to the eyes of the refugees who filmed more than half of the documentary’s footage."

Lawhorne tells Style that the documentary is a little bit about her experience, why she chose to explore the topic, and mostly about how her life intersects with Toumani and Ebrima. It also covers the return of Italian fascism in the form of the extreme right wing group, La Lega Nord, which shares power in the Italian government.

"It's not a good sign for the future of the European union," she says, noting that she uses visual parallels with the United States and Trump's use of America First (similar to Italy First). "There are a lot of similarities between the refugee crisis there and here," she says.

The filmmaker has covered similar topics before. Her 2009 documentary, “The Little Trip of a Dream,” explored the lives of undocumented kitchen workers in Richmond and what they left behind in Mexico, according to a release. Lawhorne currently works as media specialist for a political advocacy organization, Progress VA, and teaches documentary filmmaking to area young people through ART 180.

She adds that "now is an alarming time with rise of xenophobia and the Republican Party catering to white nationalists." She hopes her film will be a call for people to make an effort to open themselves outward.

"There are millions of people living in really bad situations throughout the world, it's the responsibility of people in more developed countries to figure out ways to help them," she says. "The world is a small place and it doesn't do us any good to close ourselves off to other people."

"It's time for people to reject efforts to close ourselves off to other people. We all live on this planet together and we need to work together to find positive solutions," she says. "If we build walls, we're only making our situation worse for ourselves."

Lawhorne, who is influenced by artists such as Werner Herzog and Ava Duvernay, says she was sitting on the film for a couple years now, but realized with current news events she couldn't wait any longer. There will likely be more local screenings, as well as an online and DVD release.

“Fata Morgana” premieres Monday, July 23 at 6 p.m. at the Main Library of the Richmond Public Library.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Free Benefit Show at Hardywood West - Friday, July 6

Featuring Lucy Dacus, Deau Eyes, Angelica Garcia and DJ Rattan

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 3:20 PM

If you're looking for something to do this Friday, and you've wanted to check out the new Hardywood West Creek taproom overlooking Tuckahoe Creek, today might be the day.

Acclaimed Richmond-based singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus will be performing a free show with Deau Eyes (Ali Thibodeau) and Angelica Garcia, with DJ Rattan on the wheels of steel. The event is a benefit for RAICES, a nonprofit that provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children, families and refugees in Central and Southern Texas.

According to the venue website, "a limited number of signed show posters will be available for sale [with] all proceeds donated to RAICES along with a portion of merchandise sales from the performers. Be sure to stop by the donation table in the taproom if you are moved to offer a direct donation to RAICES through their website."

The show is all ages and here's the schedule:

5:30 p.m.: DJ Rattan (Rei from Bio Ritmo) spins Latin music.

6 p.m.: Angelica Garcia is a super-talented singer and performer who mixes folk, blues, alt. rock, probably more.

7 p.m.: Deau Eyes is the project of indie singer and songwriter Ali Thibodeau which the website describes as featuring "soulful siren-like melodies and cleverly crafted lyrics."

8 p.m.: Lucy Dacus, whose sophomore album, "No Burden" has been called one of the top 50 albums of 2018 by Rolling Stone magazine, if you're familiar with that.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Yo, Check Out This Photo of Adam Sandler's Wedding Crashing T-shirt

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 2:10 PM

A photo by Mlle Sana Photography caused a stir yesterday, earning a lot of media coverage: It showed comedian and actor Adam Sandler crashing a wedding in downtown Montreal recently.

But check out his shirt, though. He's down with Ram ball.

Makes sense considering Sandler just performed in Richmond on April 20. He must've left town with some serious local swag.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Art180 Places Local Art on GRTC Buses

Social media contest seeks to raise awareness of these artists.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 1:00 PM

So you're out there enjoying your free ride on GRTC this week -- why don't you also help out a local arts non-profit celebrate its 20th anniversary while you're at it?

All it takes is a snap and a post.

Art180 is featuring art on all the buses from the generous artists who work with young people at their nonprofit, in hopes of celebrating all they do. So take a photo of the art when you see it on your bus and post it to social media with the hashtag #IRideWithART180. Do that and you'll be automatically entered in a drawing for a chance to win:

1st place: VMFA Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Family Membership

2nd place: $100 gift card to Max's on Broad

3rd place: 5 pounds of coffee beans from Black Hand Coffee Company, in bags featuring art by 5 of our program leaders

Among the local artists featured are names such as Heidi Trepanier, Hamilton Glass, Mickael Broth, Diego Sanchez, S. Ross Browne, and many more. You can see the full list at the link below.

The winners will be announced on Aug. 17, and as Art180 reminds us, don't forget the more pieces of art you spot, the more chances you have to win. Visit art180.org/takesthebus to learn more.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Parents Give $10,000 to Kick Off WCVE NPR Fund in Honor of Former Journalist

One day fund drive will be held June 26.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 10:20 AM

Sarah Portlock Fellman was making strides in journalism.

The local Collegiate alumnus and Columbia School of Journalism graduate had been working at The Wall Street Journal when she suddenly passed last year during a recovery from a brain aneurysm she suffered while seven months pregnant. Her daughter, Aviva Portlock Fellman, survived and is a healthy one-year-old today.

On June 26, WCVE NPR will celebrate Fellman's life by raising funds for internships in her memory. Fellman's parents, Nancy Raybin and Bill Portlock, are giving a gift of $10,000 in her honor to kick off the day-long effort. A release from the station noted that her parents felt that their daughter listening to WCVE NPR while growing up inspired her to become a journalist.

Fellman's parents, Nancy Raybin and Bill Portlock, are honoring their daughter's life with a $10,000 challenge donation
  • Fellman's parents, Nancy Raybin and Bill Portlock, are honoring their daughter's life with a $10,000 challenge donation

You can go here to donate to the cause.

The station recently doubled its news/talk and music programming, creating the need for new talent. Its website lists how the funds will help, including engaging more students from local colleges, and helping the radio news team better understand how to serve younger listeners.

"The funds raised will help us support our already successful internship program that has been a significant asset to our news operation and provided valuable, real-life experience to students developing their news-gathering skills," says Bill Miller, vice-president and general manager for Radio, Community Idea Stations. "Interns have represented our station in the community by recording events and press conferences to provide sound for later broadcasts. They have bolstered our digital presence by gathering material for online stories. Without them, there would have been many stories over the years that our news department was unable to cover and unable to bring to our community."

Monday, June 18, 2018

1708 Gallery Names New Royall Family Curator

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 10:35 AM

A recent press release notes that 1708 Gallery has named Park Christopher Myers as the Royall Family Curator. This three-year position, supported by Pam and Bill Royall, with foundational assistance from CultureWorks, "reflects the gallery’s aim to expand its programming, to forge stronger relationships with artists, to invest more intentionally in artists’ development, and to thoughtfully engage our diverse audiences," according to the release.

Executive Director Emily Smith said in a statement that "Myers’ contributions will extend beyond the exhibitions and programs that he presents through 1708. He will be an advocate for and ally of emerging artists and also established artists working in an emerging way. We are thrilled to welcome him to our team."

"As 1708 Gallery approaches its 40th Anniversary I am excited to tap in to the long history of artists and supporters," Myers said in the release. "In addition, I look forward to broadening the scope at 1708 both in exhibitions and public programming. I aim to bring a dynamic, multidisciplinary, and inclusive approach to each aspect of this position, and to dive in to the vibrant contemporary art community of Richmond and 1708 Gallery."

Here's a little more on Myers' background:

Park Myers is a curator from Houston, TX, formerly based in New York City. He studied Film and Video at the Maryland Institute College of Art and holds an M.A. from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. He has organized exhibitions and worked on projects in many places, among them Actual Size, LA, Komplot, Brussels, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, Steamboat, CO, the Hessel Museum of Art in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and the Copenhagen Art Festival. Publications include The Cure, published by Komplot, and Dear Helen published by CCS Bard. He is a co-founder of aCCeSsions an online journal for exploration in interdisciplinary curatorial practice. Myers’ current research directions involve embodied cognition, complex systems, non-traditional forms of exhibition contextualization, and the interaction of these fields of study with contemporary art.

Friday, June 15, 2018

PICK: Brunswick CD Release Party at the Camel, Saturday, May 16

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 9:00 AM

With overlapping members and a beefed-up sax section, Brunswick is a bit like NoBS! Brass’ big little brother. Over the past half-decade, the band has built a following with a book of music featuring brassy covers of songs from the likes of Daft Punk and Frank Ocean. Perhaps sensitive to licensing costs, their new CD, “Five Years, is exclusively originals composed by trombonist/bandleader John Hulley. The multi-leveled architecture of the melodies shines clearly through on the recording. But you would have to play it lease-breaking loud to capture the sonic power of the band live. To do an A-B comparison, attend the release party at the Camel this Saturday. The all-ages show starts at 8PM. Chance Fischer and CGI Jesus open. Admission is $5.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Watch the Trailer for "The Yellow Birds" Based on Chesterfield Native's Powerful War Novel

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 12:30 PM

The trailer for the film version of "The Yellow Birds" is out. The movie is based on the highly acclaimed war novel by VCU grad and Chesterfield native, Kevin Powers, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Directed by Alexandre Moors, the film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Tye Sheridan, Toni Collette, Jason Patric and Jennifer Aniston. Reviews have been mixed; it opened in limited release and video on demand this week. But the New York Times did make it a critic's pick, see their review here.

We recently spoke to Powers, who now lives in Austin, when he was in town promoting his new book, "A Shout in the Ruins," which is set in his hometown.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Video: Check out the latest from Angelica Garcia

Garcia and Lobo Marino perform this Thursday at Valentine's Music in the Garden; plus a cool show at Black Iris.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:50 PM

One of the most naturally gifted musicians on the local scene, Angelica Garcia has released a new video, done by veteran videographer Nate Griffith.

The festive song, "Karma the Knife," shows off Garcia's genre-bending skills and her obvious vocal talents and lyric-writing chops. Just from this one song, it's clear that she's willing to experiment with various styles and that she could go in damn near any direction she pleases in the future. Also, this young woman may have the sweetest collection of boots in town. My god.

You might recall from previous media coverage that Garcia, a California native, scored a Warner Brothers deal for her first, well-received album. Or that her stepdad, who was a music manager associated with Los Lobos and Dwight Yoakam, taught her all about good musical influences at an early age -- and it definitely shows. Here's an article the New York Times did on her back in 2016.

If you'd like to check out this gem of a performer live, you can catch Angelica Garcia and the great duo Lobo Marino performing at the Valentine's 2018 Music in the Garden series on Thursday, June 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.

According to a press release from the Valentine, "Music in the Garden is a free, family-friendly concert series that pairs musicians of different genres and encourages diverse audiences to come together in the beautiful Valentine Garden. Admission to the garden and the Valentine Museum are both free during the event. Wine and local beer will be on sale and Garnett's at the Valentine will be open. Note: The final entry in the series on Thursday, June 21 will include performances by Dave Watkins and the Prabir Mehta Trio.

Also that night, Black Iris is hosting a cool show with State Champ (solo) from Kentucky and Pirahna Rama, an awesome band of local music studs that has included Garcia in recent shows. Here's what Style contributor James Toth (Wooden Wand) had to say on Black Iris' page about that show:

Spend some time in Louisville, Kentucky and you will find it is one of the most unassumingly strange places in America. The ratio of grown folks to millennials in attendance at any rock gig seems roughly 3:1. Such events take place in places like caves and chicken coops, among other nontraditional venues. Hip, transgressive people don't seem to outgrow hip, transgressive things here; no one seems very eager to settle for a life less weird.

Singer and head honcho Ryan Davis is a sharp, astute lyricist, the kind of songwriter who probably gets tired of people asking him why he doesn't try his hand at short story writing. Indeed, Fantasy Error's depictions of postmasters and county coroners, Dickensian drinkers and "teardrop pushers" are as vivid as they are familiar, sung with the conviction of a Drag City-damaged Chris Knight.

That show runs from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.

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