January 26, 2005 News & Features » Cover Story


Anna Virginia, 24 

Puppeteer and organizer

Virginia says she "didn't plan to be a puppeteer in life — it just sort of stuck." Growing up in Baton Rogue, La., she and her friends would try to get bands to make tour stops in their city, but they had a hard time finding enough local acts to open for the headliners. So Virginia "just started getting into puppets" to provide an opener, she says.

It would be tempting to dismiss her ideas as pure whimsy if Virginia didn't have such a successful track record for planning and executing events. Her most visible project is the Bizarre Market — an open-air street fair where local artists and organizations set up booths and sell their wares, donating a percentage of the proceeds to local nonprofits. The market has donated more than $3,000 to such organizations as Art180 and the READ Center.

Then there's Best Friends Day, a less-publicized event with a loyal — and growing — following. It started as a last-day-of-summer party at a grungy area water park for Virginia and 50 of her closest friends. The next year they added bands, and the year after that, it became a four-day affair complete with scavenger hunt and talent show. "It just started with a good idea that became something big," Virginia says.

What's next: Virginia performs at "Pull the Strings," a puppet festival at Chop Suey Books March 26, and at the third annual 24-Hour Bookman at midnight April 23. The program will include her old standby, "The Pirates and the Vikings," a new work about a pair of canine private eyes, and "Spoken For," a new act that's going on the road with her this summer. The next Bizarre Market is April 30 from noon until 5 p.m. After that, Virginia plans to launch her biggest project yet: a full-production of Jesus Christ Superstar with life-size puppets. — Amy Biegelsen

More Midseason Arts Preview...



Latest in Cover Story


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect with Style Weekly

Most Popular Stories

  • Off the Beaten Path

    Off the Beaten Path

    A runner and lifelong lover of the James River captures evocative images of the park system in photo book.
    • Jul 27, 2021
  • Museum Makeovers

    Museum Makeovers

    How four Richmond museums are being transformed.
    • Jul 20, 2021
  • Deep Dive

    Deep Dive

    A writer attempts to find the best dive bars in town.
    • Jul 13, 2021
  • Brothers on Bikes

    Brothers on Bikes

    The Bike Monday Bros are opening up Richmond’s cycle culture to all.
    • Jul 6, 2021
  • More »

Copyright © 2021 Style Weekly
Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
All rights reserved
Powered by Foundation