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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Byrd Theatre Foundation Receives Largest Donation Ever, $500,000, from the Reinhart Family

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Fans of the historic Byrd Theatre rejoice! The Reinhart family recently provided a $500,000 gift to the Byrd Theatre Foundation, the largest gift in the Foundation's history. For those of us who consider this cinema jewel to be one of the most beautiful places in Richmond, this is wonderful news.

According to a press release: "The gift will be used to reduce the mortgage on the Theatre; to establish an opportunity fund to develop more mission-based programming; and to expand access, audience and capacity in human resources over time – all part of Phase Two initiatives underway. Phase Two will capitalize on the Byrd as an experience, an historic and cultural resource, and as a museum of cinema, based on its unique collection of historic film equipment, projectors and the Wurlitzer organ. To launch the effort, The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation has awarded the Byrd a $250,000 Challenge grant."

The Foundation will host a formal dedication of the Reinhart Auditorium at the Byrd Theatre, on Thursday, May 9, according to the release. The dedication is part of a year-long celebration of the Byrd’s 90th anniversary.

“The entire community will benefit from this extraordinary investment in Richmond’s beloved and historic movie palace," said Ted Haynes, President of the Board of Directors in the release. "The Reinhart family was inspired by the progress on preservation and programs, and by the vision and strategic plan for the Byrd to become a major film literacy center.”

Here's more from the release:

The Byrd Theatre Foundation is also expanding partnerships with universities, film networks and other community business partners to develop additional educational and enriching film series. A total of $2.5 million is estimated for Phase Two enhancements. Phase One raised $1.5 million for a new roof, major systems upgrades, new center seats and other improvements.

The mission of the organization is to expand the big screen experience, celebrate the art of cinema and preserve Virginia’s grand motion picture palace, with a vision to elevate the Byrd’s landmark position among American theaters as a center for film that continues to provide the broadest possible public access to exceptional cinematic experiences.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

PICK: The Hustle Season Podcast Live at the Firehouse Theater, May 2

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2019 at 4:00 AM

“The Hustle Season” podcast whips through topics like a severed firehose, you can’t tell where it’s going but you know in the end everything is going to get covered.

At heart, it’s an informal, RVA-centric immersion in pop culture, food, the arts, laden with in-jokes and looping explorations of whatever subject bubbles to the surface. In other words, it’s a hangout conversation, albeit one between four people deeply embedded in the local music scene. They are probably the only podcast that could also form a credible band.

Kelli Strawbridge drums with a wide range of bands, but he is best known as the James Brown avatar in The Big Payback. Reggie Pace, co-leader of NoBS! Brass Band is one of the foremost ambassadors for the local scene. Bassist Gabe Santamaria lays down the basslines for Dance Candy and the Sam Reed Syndicate in addition to leading The Flavor Product. James Seretis is a jazz guitarist turned custom audio entrepreneur. The core group is frequently augmented with a wildcard guest musician from the local scene.

It’s the creative-turned-cool kids table, and everybody can pull up a chair (or sit close anyway) when they do the show live at the Firehouse, 7:30 p.m. on May 2nd. Guest musician Chance Fischer gets a seat on the stage. Tickets are $10 Advance, $15 day of the show.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Carol Burnett: An Evening of Laughter and Reflection Coming to Altria in July

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Legendary comedian Carol Burnett will bring an Evening of Laughter and Reflection to Altria Theatre on Saturday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale on May 3 at 10 a.m.

During the show, Burnett, an award-winning actress and author best known for the popular "The Carol Burnett Show," will take questions from the audience and show video clips.

“I love the spontaneity of these evenings,” Burnett said in a press release. “I never know what anyone is going to ask, or say, or do, so it keeps me on my toes!”

During its peak, her television show earned an average of 30 million viewers a week and won 25 Emmy Awards. Other than Emmys, she's won Golden Globes, People's Choice Awards, the Horatio Alger Award, an Ace Award and the Peabody.

Group discounts are available for orders over 10 tickets. Call 804-592-3401 for more information.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Preview: RVA All Day Block Party at the Broadberry, Saturday, April 27

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 2:01 PM

Last year’s RVA (All Day) Block Party at Broadberry was an epic kickoff to the warmer season.

This year the weather promises a lot of sun, and a bit of breeze, which may be perfect weather to see a lineup of some of the best bands in town.

The event kicks off with the soulful all-star Calvin Presents, followed by classic post-psychedelic Piranha Rama, rock-and-roll collective Camp Howard, and the always charming Keneeka Cook.

The event closes out with the one-two punch of The Congress and RVA favorites No BS Brass, with an afterparty performance by the Trogone Band.

Given the good weather, it is likely to be an outdoor event, with seating inside, a decent menu, and satisfying selection of craft beers. The first edition was one of 2018’s most memorable days of music. This lineup promises to continue that success.

General Admission tickets are $25, VIP tickets $75.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Flaming Lips To Perform in Charlottesville on Tuesday, Aug. 6

Sean Lennon and Les Claypool's band opening show at Sprint Pavilion.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 11:53 AM

Masters of concert spectacle, The Flaming Lips, will be performing at Sprint Pavilion in Charlottesville on Tuesday, Aug. 6 with the show starting at 7 p.m. Openers are the Claypool Lennon Delirium, featuring Primus bassist Les Claypool and Sean Lennon, son of Beatle John.

Presale tickets for this event go on sale Thursday, April 25 at 10 a.m. local time. For more, visit www.sprintpavilion.com.

SPARC Documentary "Live Art: Love" Premieres Thursday, April 25 on Local PBS Stations

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 11:30 AM

It's the highlight of the year for the non-profit School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC): the annual summer Live Art concert featuring some 200 area students performing alongside some of music's biggest names for a packed house.

The show usually sells out, but now viewers at home will get a chance to check it out with the airing of SPARC's 2018 "Live Art: Love" documentary on Thursday, April 25 at 9 p.m. on WCVE/WHTJ PBS. The documentary is being offered to PBS stations nationwide through American Public Television. It will also air on April 28 at 7 p.m. on WVPT PBS.

The stars that year included: Jason Mraz, Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles, Michael McDonald and Rene Marie. Local artists who donated their time include Daniel Clarke, Steve Bassett, Desirée Roots, and Susan Greenbaum.

SPARC's year-long Live Art program provides a variety of performing arts and visual arts classes for youth with and without disabilities.

“In Live Art, ​hundreds of students, whether typically developing or with disabilities, are all being challenged in new ways,” says Erin Thomas-Foley, the creator and director of Live Art and SPARC’s senior director of education in a press release. “This program is about bringing people together, understanding and embracing our differences, and building a community that radiates love and support for all.”

“We often find that what first attracts our audience is our talented and generous guest artists,” explained SPARC Executive Director Ryan Ripperton in the release. “But over the course of the performance, it’s the students who truly melt the hearts of the audience. For our students, the fact that world-class guest artists want to perform with them, a 3,600-seat theater gets filled to see them, and now TV audiences across the country will be tuning in all just goes to confirm that they, too, are stars.”

Interview: Legendary Saxman Maceo Parker Says It's All About The Love

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 4:00 AM

There is a slight possibility that there is someone, somewhere, as full of youthful enthusiasm and deep history as Maceo Parker, but don’t bet on it.

The 76-year old multi-saxophonist was present at the creation of funk, as a member of James Brown’s tightly disciplined 1960s band. He also played in arguably the peak ecstasy iteration of George Clinton’s wildly imaginative Parliament/Funkadelic. He’s collaborated with Prince, and countless others and led his bands for decades. But in Richmond on April 27, he’s channeling another soul hero, fronting the Ray Charles Orchestra and the Raelettes at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center.

It all started with a rhyme. Parker was one of several saxophonists Brown took to a radio station to work out the classic “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” Improvising lyrics over the groove, Brown hit upon the line “just want you to blow/Maceo.” More than a half-century later, Parker is still a bit amazed.

“That’s what started everything,” Parker says. “As his music went around the world, so did 'Maceo.' It opened a lot of doors for me. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

If Brown demanded precision from his players, Clinton was the freewheeling opposite.

“Whatever happens, happens. He loved it, whatever it is. ‘Give me some more.’ Once before a show, he found a new long wig, took off everything but his shorts and t-shirt, wrapped a tablecloth around himself and said, ‘Let’s go.’"

In that era, a highlight of the show was the landing of the Mothership, a UFO model that swooped over the audience on a wire and then dropped full size from behind a curtain on the stage. “People would go crazy,” Parker remembers.

After playing with such strong personalities, Parker struck out on his own. At one point, he considered a high concept approach.

“I thought ‘Maceo Parker Plays Charlie Parker’ would look good on a marquee,” he says. “But I realized that might not be a such a good idea. Maybe somebody who plays jazz better than me, and was willing to woodshed, woodshed, woodshed [practice]. I am not much into that jazzy stuff. I’ve seen guys who can figure out how to be someone else. I had to figure out how to be me.”

And decades later, he is leading the band formed by a man he first met as a starstruck young sideman.

“I saw Ray Charles two or three times in college,” Parker says. “He was everything to us. I never thought I would work with the Ray Charles Orchestra as the man himself. Once, when I was in Europe with James Brown, Ray Charles was there too, and he allowed me to come onstage and play sax solos for some reason. I was always real crazy about [him] and the fact that I was in his dressing room, just he and I, and I am babbling away, but trying not to take too much of his time. It was like, golly boy, I wish someone could take a picture. That was one of the highest honors ever bestowed on me."

Parker continues: “I said, ‘I heard about how good your hearing is, that you can tell if someone is a little sharp or flat.” And he started laughing and said, “I bet you told your sax, ‘mother******, you better play well tonight!” And his head went way back, and his mouth was open, just like in all the pictures you see. I was in heaven.”

Now he is in front of Ray Charles’ band doing Ray Charles’ stuff.

“I love it. I did an album called 'It’s All About Love.' That’s what the world needs. Everybody can end up doing what they love to do, every, everybody, there is no hate. Hate means there is rejection somewhere. But if what you do brings a smile to other people, that’s love."

"Everybody thinks their religion is right. But suppose when it’s all said and done, when the Master comes down, it all comes down to how many times you said ‘love’ verses how many times you said ‘hate?’ Suppose it is as simple as that. Just love vs. hate.”

He’s laughing as he says this, not because it is funny, but because it is joyfully, seriously true.

“I can’t help it,” Parker confides. “I was born on Valentine’s Day."

"It's All About Love" starring Maceo Parker and featuring the Maceo Parker Big Band takes place on Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Alice Jepson Theatre in the Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond. $60.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Review: David Sedaris at Carpenter Theatre, April 17

Posted By on Fri, Apr 19, 2019 at 2:10 PM

Humorist and author David Sedaris made space on his international tour to loop through Virginia on Wednesday, and for one night graced Richmond’s Carpenter Theatre, which was packed with adoring fans.

Renowned for a career of memorable essays and stories featuring his razor-sharp observations, quirky wit, and dry sense of humor, Sedaris fulfilled the crowd's expectations and then some, for nearly two hours.

Dressed in a black outfit that made him look like a ninja bagpiper who had been clawed by a wild animal, Sedaris began the evening in good spirits, gloating that he had just been inducted into the Academy of Arts and Letters, which requires someone to die first.

“Philip Roth died,” he told the audience in a high, slightly cartoonish voice that sounds exactly like his sister, Amy: “Boo-hoo!”

He then read from a few of his tongue-in-cheek New Yorker essays, covering all of the anticipated themes of family, fashion and oddly named beach houses in Emerald Isle, North Carolina. If you didn't know, his is called “The Sea Section,” although he’s thinking about buying a neighboring house and naming it “Canker Shores” or “The Amniotic Shack." He and his sister want to perform abortions at sea, he said, in a boat called Roe V. Wave, with a bait shop on the side. That one delivered waves of shocked laughter.

Noting that he had a new gig on CBS Sunday Morning, he hit on current events, cracking on the Gov. Ralph Northam blackface incident in a bit where he explored the future of political correctness and his distaste, as a gay man, for the LGBTQQIA formula. (“Seriously? … If you are Q [questioning] why don’t you just figure it out first, then you’ll have seven other initials to choose from”). Sedaris noted that all of our words today will one day be out of fashion: “All that will be left are those damn photos!”

He also lightheartedly described the chores of caring for his 95-year-old father in a story that involved a grandfather clock (named Father Time) falling on top of his father and giving him a bloody ear. He said he didn't want his father to die until Trump had been impeached.

“Just my luck he’ll die, and the next day, Trump will go down,” he joked.

There were the oddly common encounters that occur in the life of David Sedaris – famous rich guy – like the time he got confused for comedian Dave Chapelle at his father’s nursing home. He went ahead and played along, taking photos. Or when he was invited to Buckingham Palace because he cleaned up so much street trash from his hamlet in Essex, England, where he spends much of the year. “I was right there, a few feet from the Queen ... but I didn’t feel anything,” he noted, sounding disappointed.

It was a delightful night of storytelling that never dragged, honed through years of radio experience. Sedaris brought his uncommon ability to flow through stories naturally, popping in a plethora of unexpected quips with perfect timing. Just like in his books, Sedaris managed to turn even the most mundane stories into lavish works of comedic entertainment.

His relationship with vests, for instance, had the audience in stitches as he recounted his many attempts to wear them unironically – leading to him being compared to Stuart Little, Woody Allen, or a watch repairman (his sister's comment). In England, a vest got him called a "wanker," which sent him into a nostalgic reverie about being called a “teeny bopper” as a child.

“My life has been one long journey from teeny bopper to wanker, with a brief stop at Maude,” he said, describing how his partner Hugh once said a vest made him look like a famous female TV character. “No 61-year-old man wants to be told he looks like Bea Arthur."

Some stories occasionally showed his age. For example, while reflecting on modern day teens and their addiction to smartphones and gaming devices, he quipped, “I don’t remember my parents crying, ‘You and that goddamn transistor radio!’”

After a handful of wildly well-received stories, Sedaris closed with more recently composed short narratives (the David Sedaris version of one-liners) that make-up his daily journal entries. It was a great way to go out, with the crowd roaring at the bizarre moments that fill his daily life and his interactions with fans. Note: He likes the weirder moments, such as the guy who recently told him about his mental illness: "Yep, that keeps me preeetty busy." You have to hear Sedaris say it to get the full effect.

With a few minutes left, a brief Q&A offered the cherry on top, with Sedaris including a handful of bonus anecdotes, candid punchlines, a book suggestion, his real opinion on Donald Trump (“probably the same as 90 percent of the audience”) and where he ate lunch in Richmond: Salt and Forge, for the record. He also mentioned that he stayed at The Greenbrier Resort lately and loved it – that it seemed like a wonderful place for children.

This man, who has been called a modern-day Mark Twain, clearly can do no wrong with his Richmond audience: He even collected a round of applause after announcing his Fitbit step count for the day.

Hopefully, he'll be back sooner next time.

With additional commentary by Brent Baldwin

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

PICK: Graham Stone Music Album Release Show at the Camel, April 11

Take a first listen to Stone's rollicking sophomore country album, "Bad News."

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 2:30 PM

Richmond-based singer-songwriter Graham Stone has the kind of confident, big deep voice that's perfect for country music.

He's gearing up to release his sophomore LP, "Bad News," this Friday and will be performing a show at the Camel on Thursday, April 11 with Erin Cassels Brown and Dogwood Tales at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 to $8.

Stone's debut album, "Until the Day" saw favorable coverage at No Depression and regular airplay at regional station WNRN, so he's hoping to build on that momentum with a dash of rock, blues and folk storytelling.

Oh, and a little dobro action.

Check out a first listen here:

Here's a bit from the early No Depression coverage for his first album:

Solid, smart, well-arranged, melodic, and nicely-crafted songs ... His voice reminds me somewhat of James Wilson, lead singer of Sons of Bill, my favorites, in the deep registers, not so much the higher tones. When he goes deep though, the edge to the sound as the baritone slides sharply through a clinch-sounding mouth, is filled with darkened emphasis, where I hear echoes of James in my SOB-conditioned ears.

You could think Old Crow Medicine Show. You could think Byrds. Though a different spelling, his parents named him after Gram Parsons. Graham calls what he does “New South roots music” and, simply, “Songs from Virginia.”

And here's a bio portion from a lengthy press release about him for those interested in learning a little more:

His ripened wisdom is owed in large part to his humble beginnings. Born in Virginia in 1987, his fondest childhood memories are from the years his family spent living in Newport, NC, before eventually moving back home and settling down in Sudley, Virginia, on the banks of the Bull Run tributary near Manassas in Prince William County. He comes from a large family -- he’s one of seven children -- and a culture of loving music. His father often plucked out blues tunes on guitar or bluegrass numbers on the banjo and equipped Graham with an appreciation for instrumentation. “I also think I may have accidentally crushed his banjo by sitting on it as a kid,” he reminisces with a smirk. “I still kind of feel bad about that.”

By the time he entered his teens, Graham had developed an affinity for playing on his grandmother’s guitar. “I don’t know if she ever even really played it,” he corrects, noting his grandfather bought it "for her" really so he could try and do some finger-picking of his own. “But I think because my dad was the most serious guitar player in the family, somehow it ended up at our house.”

Through the years, Graham has played in various musical collectives. After a few unnamed punk bands in high school, he played in a collective in Washington, DC with friends called The Storytellers and then in a family band called Karla and the Brotherhood with his sister and a couple brothers. After moving to Richmond in 2014, Graham began to play out at local watering holes alongside his wife and fellow music-maker Aubrey (who predominantly plays the mandolin) as a duo called The Whiskey Wells.

But it wasn't until 2017, with his 30th birthday looming that Graham gathered up a collection of original songs for his debut solo record, Until the Day. “It was really just a bucket list thing I wanted to do at the time,” he says of the album, which arrived to astounding regional success and launched him headlong into the local music community just six months before the birth of his son. Afterwards, his life came into clearer focus and setting one foot in front of the other, he embarked more seriously on a path towards making music full time.

Now, armed with a clear vision and a brand new record in Bad News, Stone seeks to encourage the world-weary and reaches new levels of rumbling, gritty and plain-as-day Americana glory along the way. “This is also the first album I’ve recorded with what felt more like a cohesive band,” he says. Following a gig at FloydFest last summer, the troupe of musicians headed into the studio, already wearing the songs on their sleeves. "That gives the record a really cool cohesion, moving us closer towards what I imagine a totally live studio album might feel like,” he explains of the process, which began with Graham laying down guitar and vocals before bringing in the rest of the band for a live session together to capture the backbone instrumentation before adding the final sonic layers.

bad_news_album_cover.jpeg

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Newport Festivals Foundation Makes Donation to Richmond's JAMinc in the Name of Lucy Dacus

Posted By on Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Newport Festivals Foundation has made a donation on behalf of Richmond's best known singer/songwriter of late, Lucy Dacus, to locally based JAMinc to support its school outreach efforts.

Newport noted: "Since 2004 JAMinc has taken studio concert artists to public schools with more than 90,000 students served so far. This donation will be used to underwrite the instructor fees JAMinc provides each artist."

President of JAMinc, Tim Timberlake released this statement: "JAMinc is beyond grateful to Richmond's own Lucy Dacus for tapping us as her musical non profit-of-choice. It's so important for us to provide opportunities for young people to hear music performed live, never knowing how one single moment might trigger the lifetime joy that only music can provide."

Timberlake told Style they were flattered by the donation and that it will be used to defray the cost of their school outreach program, which you can read more about here.

  • Re: Byrd Theatre Foundation Receives Largest Donation Ever, $500,000, from the Reinhart Family

    • As a Richmond native, Ive enjoyed the splendor of this magnifificent theatre. Thank you so…

    • on May 13, 2019
  • Re: Byrd Theatre Foundation Receives Largest Donation Ever, $500,000, from the Reinhart Family

    • Awesome! I also attend church there with Area 10 and I'm proud to call it…

    • on May 9, 2019
  • Re: Byrd Theatre Foundation Receives Largest Donation Ever, $500,000, from the Reinhart Family

    • A BIG THANK YOU TO THE Reinhart Foundation!

    • on May 8, 2019
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