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.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Richmond Ballet Completes $10 Million Dollar Funding Campaign

Surprise check presented to Artistic Director Stoner Winslett on opening night of "The Nutcracker."

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 4:00 AM

The Richmond Ballet announced the conclusion of its $10 million dollar Road to the Future campaign to support the five core needs of the ballet: education, national and international touring, creative capital, building enhancements and endowment.

The special moment came from the Dominion Energy Center stage on the Dec. 13 opening night of this year's "The Nutcracker," when Artistic Director Stoner Winslett was presented with a surprise $550,000 check for the Richmond Ballet Endowment raised by 40 female community leaders called the “Rubies” in celebration of Ms. Winslett’s 40th "Nutcracker" production and her 40th anniversary as founding artistic director.

From a press release:

The Road to the Future campaign was created to enhance five core needs of Richmond Ballet: Education, National and International Touring, Creative Capital, Building Enhancements, and Endowment. Funds from the campaign have already supported the expansion of scholarships and training of School of Richmond Ballet and Minds In Motion students; the professional company’s tours to China and New York City; the acquisition of new sets, costumes, and choreography; and the renovation of the Canal Street facility’s ground floor and lobby ...

Special thanks were given to the Board of Trustees, Road to the Future donors, and, especially, Dave Beran, John Luke, and Tom Farrell who served as co-chairs and lead individual donors for the campaign. Other Lead Gifts acknowledged were Altria, WestRock, Dominion Energy , Elisabeth Reed Carter, Maggie Georgiadis, Mary and Tom Horton, Helga and Floyd Gottwald, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, The Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, The Cabell Foundation, The Windsor Foundation Trust, and the City of Richmond.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who helped us pave the Road to the Future,” stated Campaign Director and Trustee Emeritus William Hancock. “The money from the campaign will ensure the continued growth of artistic and organizational excellence at Richmond Ballet and allow us to continue our mission to awaken and uplift the human spirt for many years to come.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Team Bronwen Needs Help

Friends of a talented musician seek aid for the staggering costs of ALS.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 11, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Last year, I wrote a story about talented local singer Bronwen Zwicker, a Trinity High School and James Madison University graduate who was stricken with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

It was one of the most heart-wrenching interviews I've conducted in 23 years of writing for alt. weeklies. She comes from a really cool musical family and something else about Zwicker was immediately clear: She's one of the most empathetic people I've ever met, just an amazing person, and she is facing this medical trauma and end of life care with real courage and love for her family and friends.

The disease has ravaged her body, but not her mind. By all accounts, she's keeping up the fight while still caring about the people around her. But not only is ALS one of the cruelest diseases, it's also one of the most expensive. This holiday season, if you'd like to help provide for the round-the-clock care of this amazing individual, join Team Bronwen here and make a donation.

When I spoke with Zwicker a year ago, she was starting to have difficulty breathing and speaking, but she still gave a beautifully eloquent interview. It's painful for me now to listen back to the audio -- but it's also hopeful and uplifting that someone could still shine like she did in that situation.

"I think I was on a really good trajectory as a person, prior to my diagnosis, growing as a person and becoming increasingly sensitive to people around me," she told me. "That hasn't changed, but it's taken on a new form."

Nobody should have to bear the immense financial burden that a diagnosis of ALS brings in this country (it can easily reach over $200,000 a year). Bronwen has 100 caregiving shifts each month and one-time donations and recurring donations are available.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Richmond's Brief Lives Releases New Album, "Weird Energies"

New project from Valient Himself and crew available for free download.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2019 at 4:00 AM


Local rocker Valient Himself, a.k.a. Herbie Abernethy, the congenial owner of Cobra Cabana restaurant, has a new side project, Brief Lives, that released a rocking new album, "Weird Energies," today.

You can check it out and download it for free. And if you like it, be cool and donate some money to the group -- being a musician ain't easy when the music business is basically dried dogcrap these days.

The band members include: Chris Compton, Patrick Dewit, Aaron Boles and Valient Himself.

Style spoke with Abernathy recently and he says that Valient Thorr is still active and may have some dates in the future. But for those who need a fix from this irrepressible frontman and onetime buddy of Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister, check this stuff out.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Michelle Obama Coming to Richmond Forum in March

Posted By on Mon, Dec 2, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is coming to the Richmond Forum on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 for "a special program to benefit speech and debate programs in the region’s public middle and high schools."

The event involves the Richmond Region Speech & Debate Initiative, which was started by The Richmond Forum in 2018. So far this school year, they have supported 19 speech and debate teams in Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover, according to the Forum's website.

"We're excited that we've been able to add the Carpenter Theatre at the Dominion Energy Center as a live simulcast location," says Bill Chapman, executive director and producer for Richmond Forum, by email. "People loved that venue for seeing President Obama’s appearance at The Forum in 2017, and we love that it enables more of the community to be able to attend."

Today, individuals on the Richmond Forum's email list are being notified of any seat availability for the Obama event. So join the email list here and maybe you'll get lucky.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Being There: “Hamilton” media night at Altria Theater, Nov. 20.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 9:34 AM

I’m not a regular theater critic and this isn’t a review per se. It’s just one person’s take on what it was like when the pop culture phenomenon “Hamilton” descended on Altria Theater, Wednesday, Nov. 20. The smash hit musical is the hottest ticket of the year and the invitation to media night was our chance to see what all the fuss is about, four years after its debut on Broadway.

“Hamilton” has a cult of true believers and, at first glance, it’s easy to see why. This new school epic, which runs nearly three hours, feels like it sprung fully formed from the fertile mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who drew inspiration from the biography “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow. The musical won every award you can imagine (and then some) and we're just now getting the show on its third U.S. tour – not too shabby for a project begun during a Vassar College workshop by a guy who once wrote jingles for disgraced politician Eliot Spitzer.

From the opening note, it was clear that many in the crowd already knew these songs by heart and, with so much Virginia history in the lyrics, it felt like a home team crowd. When was the last time you saw people cheer every time a Founding Father bounded onstage? Like a Kehinde Wiley portrait come to life, these fathers are played by African-American actors who spend much of the production spitting history in bombastic and in-your-face fashion. While not my favorite era of hip-hop, the rapid-fire wordplay keeps you focused on the clever lyrics, lest you miss something. You quickly see that "Hamilton" doesn't push back too hard on any myths of the Founding Fathers, rather it glorifies and delights in them.

Midway through the first act, my initial reaction was that “Hamilton” felt like the producers of “Glee” staging a “West Side Story”-themed Super Bowl halftime show. The impressive scenic design by David Korins reminds me of an industrial Western set with massive wooden structures, while a rotating centerstage provides the most visual moments, such as the freezing of characters during a duel while others revolve around them like a scene from “The Matrix" or an expensive MTV video.

Most impressive was the ease with which Miranda weaves a tapestry of hip-hop, R&B, gospel, blues and jazz, a credit to his fluency in American culture and Broadway traditions. "Hamilton" is brimming with dense numbers that tend to fade into one another without pause; some of the funniest lines happen so quick you almost miss them. Bass lines boom like canons.

The ensemble performances were great: George Washington, who my program says was played by Paul Oakley Stovall, had a huge presence, his booming baritone delivering some of Miranda's best lines – he even got soulful in Act II, which I thought had far better songs. Lead Edrid Utomi was solid in the title role, if his voice seemed a little quiet, Bryson Bruce tackled Thomas Jefferson with memorable gusto and the Britpop segues from King George III (Peter Matthew Smith) were a fun comedic breather. However, some of the women characters struck me as a little regressive, almost like movable props. And while there are flipped races in roles, I didn’t notice any gender fluidity, which seems like a natural move for a production with this kind of modernization agenda.

One simple way to judge Broadway musicals is by whether the songs stick in your head. I can’t say that many of these did, none being hummed during my cab ride home (I was told it was too crazy to even think about parking around VCU). But the soundtrack is massively popular; maybe it's a generational thing. I might’ve liked more funky “Hamilton” flows in the vein of the socially conscious hip-hop I grew up on (Tribe, De La, Public Enemy) -- or if Miranda, who is Puerto Rican, had mixed in a little salsa maybe, or tried any new musical hybrids. These songs felt like lyrical exercises with soap opera transitions -- I thought of R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” reconfigured for the History Channel -- with hip-hop as the operatic ladder from which to disperse chunks of plot exposition in dizzying fashion.

For the sheer spectacle, you can see why “Hamilton” is so popular. It does breathe some fresh air and relevancy into the usual tourism-driven, franchise-happy world of Broadway. And it felt especially aimed at younger fans who probably would be bored to tears by Spielberg’s “Lincoln” and its handling of similar congressional intrigue.

Still I could never fully shake the weight of the heavy exposition, as if a bulky history book was being speed rapped by a Hot 97 cypher – and worse, the interpersonal character drama never amounts to much, which means (gasp! heresy) the action drags in spots with the drama a little unearned. But give this money-printing musical credit for never fully stepping off the gas, even if Miranda could’ve trimmed maybe 45 minutes for a tighter, more effective show.

The timely story of passionate immigrants building a new country is at the heart of “Hamilton,” and it’s easy to like the production's ambition and heart, as well as the shake-up of Broadway’s approach to hip-hop culture (which a friend and actual theater critic indicated was woeful). Regardless of warped historical facts, “Hamilton” will probably end up doing more than most high school classes to excite younger generations about U.S. history.

But I couldn't help lamenting a little: Weren’t there other characters back then who deserve a louder voice in the history books? Who might’ve also charmed audiences by rapping their stories onstage in 2019 and who, in essence, could tell the same story without the patriotic filters? Maybe Miranda could tackle Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” one day.

"Hamilton" runs through Dec. 8 at Altria Theater. Tickets are still available. There is a daily lottery with 40 tickets for each show for $10 each – download the HAMILTON app. There are single tickets as well as limited-view seats and every day tickets are released. For tickets and show information visit www.BroadwayInRichmond.com.

Winners Announced For Design Competition To Reimagine Monument Avenue

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 4:00 AM

"Bound" by Lori Garrett, Robert Riddle, Neil Walls, won in the category of "thoughtful proposals for both temporary and permanent interventions."
  • "Bound" by Lori Garrett, Robert Riddle, Neil Walls, won in the category of "thoughtful proposals for both temporary and permanent interventions."

An international design competition to reimagine Richmond's famous Monument Avenue announced its winners during a closing reception at the Valentine on Nov. 20.

Overseen by the Storefront for Community Design, mOb Studio and VCUarts, the competition launched last year and received nearly 70 proposals from around the world, according to a press release. It all stemmed from the Valentine exhibition "Monument Avenue: Generation Demotion/General Devotion" which has helped spark some local debate and conversation.

“Working together to oversee this competition has really been an eye-opening experience and a truly educational exercise for everyone involved,” said Camden Whitehead, Associate Professor for Interior Design at VCU and Principal, Sadler & Whitehead Architects in the release. “Looking at the winners, all of the proposals and the public response, it’s clear that design has a central role to play in moving forward, and this competition is where that difficult work starts.”

The four winners were awarded $2,000 each after being selected by a jury panel "that included national and local practitioners and educators in the relevant fields of planning, architecture, landscape architecture, curatorship and social justice."

Here are the winners with provided quotes, per the release:

For consideration of scale and the People's Choice Award:

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Memorial by Shane Neufeld and Kevin Kunstadt. Neufeld said: “Our proposal attempts to redefine how we perceive history through design, and specifically, to do so in counterpoint to the means and methods employed by the existing statues on Monument Avenue. We feel fortunate to be a part of this dialogue and hope that our design provides a strategy – rather than a solution – for a continued discourse and future progress."

For thoughtful handling of programming:

The Richmond Engagement Corridor, Pratt Institute Group #2 (Courtney Knapp, Claudia Castillo de la Cruz, Maria "Angel" Munoz Martinez, Dhanya Rajagopal, Danielle Monopoli, Jane Kandampulli, Dina Posner, Di Cui, Camille Sasena, Aishwarya Pravin Kulkarn). "Nine women, representing five countries and three master's programs at Pratt Institute's Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, developed this proposal,” said Dr. Knapp, Pratt Institute Professor whose students developed the design. “The team visited Richmond in October of 2018, and left inspired by the complex, dynamic city they had encountered. This inspiration grounded the ideas in the proposal while also expanding their understanding of anti-racism praxis and reparations."

For response to difficult and complex context:

Center For Productive Conversations, PLAYLAB, INC. (Archie Lee Coates IV, Jeff Franklin, Anya Shcherbakova, Phil Gibson, Dillon Kogle): "Ideas are powerful. Positivity (just like negativity) has a way of seeping into the cracks and taking hold. As a studio, we believe in a positive future for Monument Avenue: one with diverse groups of people energetically exploring new ideas in the public and productive setting of a museum,” said Archie Lee Coates IV, a member of the design team. “With the Center for Productive Conversations, we can create new perspectives that are inclusive of everyone, respectfully looking back as we boldly look forward. It will be no small task to realize these ideas, but thankfully the process has already begun with the opportunity to propose them."

For thoughtful proposals for both temporary and permanent interventions:

Bound (pictured) by Lori Garrett, Robert Riddle, Neil Walls. "I am grateful to the sponsors of this competition and to the Valentine for this exhibit because it provides a catalyst for conversation that is critical not only for true change in our city, but for communities across the country,” said Lori Garrett. “I entered because I believe we unequivocally need to provide the monuments with the historical context that enables us to understand how the heritage of some has perpetuated the physical and social bondage of others. Hopefully our design entry not only will contribute to the on-going dialog, but instigate actions that further Richmond’s journey of racial reconciliation."

You can visit monumentavenuegdgd.com for higher-resolution versions of the winning designs. The winners, along with the 20 finalists and all other submissions, will be on display as part of "Monument Avenue: General Demotion/General Devotion" at the Valentine, which runs through Dec. 31.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Bless the Opera

Colorful local accordionist talks about his special role in "Il Postino."

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Barry Bless is, in the very best way, a character.

It was probably inevitable that he would one day be cast as one.

The local accordionist has a featured role in Virginia Opera’s current production, “Il Postino,” a tragic fantasy imagining the exile of communist Chilean poet Pablo Neruda to an Italian island so small that they need to hire the titular postman to handle his mail. The second act concludes with a wedding and the score called for an instrument not usually found in the orchestra pit.

“I imagined someone asking, ‘does anyone know a communist accordion player?” Bless says.

They could hardly have found anyone more suitable. Bless anchors the weekly, unabashedly leftist Breakfast Cabaret at Southside’s Crossroads Coffee and Tea, for well over 200 performances now. His accordion has defined the sound of a swarm of local world music ensembles: Happy Lucky Combo, The Indigenous Gourd Orchestra, the Ululating Mummies.

His personal style is distinctive. He's always clad with natty eccentricity, a ringmaster’s pointed goatee, occasional pirate earrings, and a fondness of fine hats uncommon in a man with a full head of hair.

But the challenges of opera were entirely new to him.

“It’s high anxiety,” Bless says. “I am onstage for only four minutes, but at the front, with the orchestra below me and almost the entire cast behind me. I am accompanying a great singer playing a great poet. And there are unseen people doing the lights, the sets, the sound. All eyes are on me."

He notes that in his regular bands, he plays for an hour and mistakes are embraced, adding: "Here, if I screw up, I am a screwup.”

While the demands are high, so are the rewards. High culture seems to float on a cloud of bourgeois privilege, but the reality is much more down-to-earth.

“The amount of talent is amazing,” Bless says. “The musicians are hard-hard working, and not really getting paid anything in relation to their intellectual and physical labor. And the collaborative culture they have created is wonderful. Credit goes to Adam Turner.”

Polishing his brief performance required significant commitment.

“I cleared my calendars; told my bands I couldn’t make practices. The only thing I carried on was the Breakfast Cabaret,” he says, adding that he doesn't read music and recordings of the piece are hard to come by. "I watched a video from the LA Opera and the playing and music didn’t synch up. This wasn’t me being a bad music reader, I watched his fingers, and those were not the notes he was playing.”

Although he found a better recording, he briefly considered backing out. Demonstrations were starting up in Neruda’s Chile. His daughter Isadora was doing her debut performance with Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet.

“I shared my indecision and they told me I was past the point of no return. I thought, OK, and jumped into the fire.”

One of the biggest adjustments is working with a conductor.

“Usually, when I am playing, my eyes are closed," Bless says. “But here everyone is watching the conductor. The music has so much rubato, tempos always changing. He is indispensable, beautiful to watch, a lovely, gestural dance. But it took some getting used to.”

Over the past month, the company has toured with “Il Postino” in Norfolk and Northern Virginia and returns home to Richmond this weekend for the final performances on Friday and Sunday afternoon. In conjunction will be some special operatic guests at Friday’s Cabaret. Soprano Inna Dukach, who plays Neruda’s wife Mathilde, will sit in. Also featured, in addition to the regular crew, are bass vocalist Richard Williams and trumpet/electronic wind instrument virtuoso, Victor Haskins.

So, if you're keeping score, in one day the discerning listener can drink coffee in the morning to hits straight from the streets of contemporary revolutionary Chile, then steep in a musical evening full of love, death, and mid-20th-century radical idealism.

And inhabiting these parallel artistic and political universes will be Bless, a dapper man in a colorful costume breathing out bittersweet, but ultimately hopeful melodies -- with bellows, buttons, and the pearlescent vertical keys of a classic Guerrini accordion.

The Breakfast Cabaret is at Crossroads Coffee and Tea, Friday mornings from 9-10:30 a.m. “Il Postino” is at the Dominon Energy Center, Friday Nov. 22 at 8 p.m., or Sunday, Nov. 24, at 2:30 p.m.. Tickets are $26.50 to $131.50.

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