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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.

Monday, January 27, 2020

James River Film Fest Announces 27th Annual Lineup

Special guests include Spike Lee screenwriter Kevin Willmott and Canadian documentarian Ron Mann.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 4:00 AM

If you're a lover of independent and art cinema, then you're probably well aware of the James River Film Fest, the little festival that could.

Organizers have announced the lineup for the 27th iteration of the festival, which runs March 18-22 with events screening at the Byrd Theatre, VMFA, VCU's Grace Street Theater, Gallery5 and Richmond's Main Public Library.

Special guests this year include Canadian documentarian Ron Mann, with screenings of his "Comic Book Confidential" (1989) and his latest, "Carmine Street Guitars" (2019). Also, Kevin Willmott, the screenwriter/director/actor who shared an Academy Award with Spike Lee for "BlacKkKlansman," which will be screened along with Willmott's mockumentary, "Confederate States of America" (2004).

Other special screenings include "Other Music" a look at one of New York's most beloved former indie record stores (the trailer features Richmonder Nicole Lang Key, who once worked there), "One Man Dies A Million Times," and "How Andy Invented a Superstar/How Andy Met Lou Reed: The Velvet Underground and Nico."

There are cult classics on the list too: the bizarre film by rocker Neil Young, "Human Highway," which features Devo and the hilarious New Wave cult classic orgasm/murder tale, "Liquid Sky," as well as a Silent/Music Revival screening of Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet" with the Photosynthesizers.

More details will come at jamesriverfilm.org.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

ICA Nominated for USAToday's "10 Best New Museums" Readers Choice

Posted By on Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond has been nominated for USA Today's “10Best” Readers’ Choice award in the Best New Museum category.

The contest was launched on the company's website on Monday and voting ends Monday, Feb. 17 with winners announced on Friday, Feb. 28.

This comes after Richmond was recently named #39 in a New York Times article among the 50 places to go in 2020.

Here is what is currently highlighted at the ICA: "Provocations: Guadalupe Maravilla," with a brief description from the website:

The second commission in the ICA’s Provocations series will be created by Guadalupe Maravilla, an artist who, at age eight, immigrated alone to the United States from El Salvador in order to escape the Salvadoran Civil War. Combining drawing, sculpture, and performance, Maravilla’s installation, Disease Thrower, draws on his own experiences with illness, migration, and the anxieties experienced by undocumented peoples.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

PREVIEW: The R4nd4zzo Big Band performs a Tribute to Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at Fuzzy Cactus

Posted By on Tue, Dec 17, 2019 at 11:47 AM

The R4nd4zzo Big Band had never played a gig as big as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ sold-out “Charlie Brown Christmas” show. And it never played in front of such a kid-heavy audience.

But eponymous bassist Andrew Randazzo was totally in his element, leading from the middle, leaving most of the featured soloing space to others, and letting the charm of the music speak for itself.

The all-star band included the pick of the area’s best young players. It’s musical DNA traces back through a series of defunct bands, all with their roots in Doug Richards’ award-winning Virginia Commonwealth University jazz orchestras. Most of the current players are 21st-century graduates of the university’s jazz program, including Randazzo. The bassist’s epic senior recital seemingly enlisted his entire class. In retrospect, he was the natural choice to pick up the big-band banner as previous editions flagged.

“I had a big band in high school,” Randazzo says. “Then I played in the RVA Big Band in college. Flash to 2016, and we tried to reignite the Devil’s Workshop, which was the original Richmond band that made everything possible,” Randazzo says. “When that folded, I thought, ‘Let me see what I can do.’”

Perhaps counterintuitively, the usual back-of-stage bass is the ideal place from which to run a jazz band. Bassists play nonstop, shape the rhythm, listening intently on everything happening harmonically, altering their lines to make it work. While there are great bass solos, it isn’t a showy solo instrument. Bands led by great bassists like Charles Mingus, Dave Holland and Christian McBride always leave maximum space for other musicians to shine.

Saxophonist Charles Owens, who started putting then-student Randazzo on his New York club gigs in 2010 and used the R4nd4zzo Big Band for half of his excellent recording “Three and Thirteen, calls the bassist a legend in the making. “He has a quiet, reserved nature but an open book, wearing his heart on his sleeve when he starts to play. He’s unflappable, full of surprises, at once an emotionally lyrical and ingeniously humorous soloist. [And] he’s a sensitive, supportive accompanist, and a virtuosic arranger and composer.”

“He’s a student of Doug [Richards],” says multi-instrumentalist Devonne Harris, Randazzo’s near-consistent collaborator, who plays drums with the bassist in Owens’ trio and the R4nd4zzo band, and keyboard in Butcher Brown. “Everybody took Richard’s composition course, but [Randazzo] took it further, incorporating different mash-ups and other techniques for a more modern sound.”

The bassist’s eclectic approach is reflected in the upscaling of Vince Guaraldi’s iconic piano trio score for a 15-piece ensemble. As on the 1965 cartoon soundtrack, the rollicking “Linus and Lucy” holds its own with seasonal standards like “O Tannenbaum” and “The Christmas Song,” and the lesser-known joyous, tumbling “Skating.’” And, as in the original, there are instrumental and vocal versions of “Christmastime Is Here,” a song that like all great seasonal art, has a plangent whiff of melancholy.

It’s multilayered music, whose transparent accessibility is enriched by underlying depths. “One thing I never want to lose sight of is connecting with the layman,” Randazzo says. “I’m a music nerd. I love polytonality and crazy time signatures, but I want to make sure that when we play, anyone can dig it.”

The program will be reprised on Sunday, Dec. 22, at the Fuzzy Cactus, going up against Bio Ritmo’s re-emergence at Broadberry. It caps a big pre-holiday week, including horn-heavy Brunswick’s annual Christmas show on Tuesday, Dec. 17, followed by Butcher Brown’s Christmas extravaganza on Friday, Dec. 20 – both at the Hof.

The band has come a long way since its standing-room-only debut in the basement confines of Vagabond’s Rabbit Hole. Typically, Randazzo would like to take it farther.

“I never want to stop,” he says. “It’s a work in progress, but it’s a really special thing. I’d love to take these Virginians on the road. I’ve seen what playing this kind of music instills in those guys, chasing that amazing feeling. There are a lot of cities where I know people. I just need to get it together.”

It’s a winning approach that can work anywhere, as long as they’ll be home for Christmas.

The R4nd4zzo Big Band performs a Tribute to Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at Fuzzy Cactus on Sunday, Dec. 22. Free and all ages until 9 p.m.

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