Well, two things. I’m working on a play that’s based on a work of art I did several years ago called “Mapping the Dark: A Museum of Ambient Disorders.” Fran Smith and I are doing this together—she’s directing it and we are developing a stage presentation for the 10 characters that I created for the original work of art. So it will be a multimedia affair. I’ve enlisted 10 different writers to contribute an extended life to each of the characters I’ve developed, and we’re in the process of workshopping it.
Asked her guilty pleasure, Rosamond Casey, member artist at McGuffey Arts Center, says, “Eating pickled herring… I can’t stand looking at it, so I have to eat one piece a day out of the jar in a darkened room, so that I can’t see what it looks like.”
I’m also working on a science and art project that was launched about a year ago, with a psychologist named David Waters. We’re developing a set of images that will function as a card game, which can be used to stimulate verbal communication between two players with the minimum amount of emotional static. It’s a fun game; it takes people a little bit to the edge, but it also places people into kind of a pleasant state of interaction. It’ll be used in therapeutic environments, but also between any two people—friends, husband/wife, mother/child, and so on.
Tell us about your day job.
I go to the McGuffey Arts Center every day in the morning and come home in the afternoon. My whole life is there except for the life I have at home—which is a good life too. At McGuffey I’m pulled by a lot of different projects, both through the teaching that I do and McGuffey obligations, meetings and so on. But I pretty much hole up in there and get my work done.
When you’re in a creative mood, what is your favorite snack food?
Once a day, I take a walk down the hall to our executive secretary’s office. I sneak in there, reach my arm in, and pull out a mini-Mars bar from her candy bowl. That keeps me going for an hour or two.
Who is your favorite creative artist?
Francis Bacon, as a painter—something about the way he kind of hacks through the unknown with paint, so you never seem to have a clear idea of a destination, or as to where he’ll end up. His work seems more like a process than an outcome.
Tell us about a big idea that you’ve been carrying around with you.
There used to be a strange theme in my life, regarding psychological issues—the “Mapping the Dark” play is nothing but that, and so is this game, and working with David Waters has been very inspiring. But I’ve also created a class called “Art in Character,” in which I’ve asked people to develop a character over an eight-week period. I’ve taught this once already and it was really incredible…the extent to which people were really willing to shave off a little corner of what they know to be themselves, and to build a character from that. I gave them a series of exercises and things to do to activate that character’s creativity, to make things in the persona of this other character. I think it’s just endlessly fascinating, how this enlarges a person’s sense of who they are.
What would you say is inspiring about Charlottesville right now?
McGuffey Arts Center is inspiring to me right now. It’s kind of in its heyday, I think—I’ve never seen such good art emanating from that place. I think it’s alive through a lot of different programs and activities. Sometimes I see McGuffey through the eyes of someone who has never been to McGuffey, and it’s amazing how you have the opportunity to walk down the corridors and see artists at work in their open studios.
Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield released her second album, Cerulean Salt, in 2013 to high critical acclaim. Full of punk-edged folk songs that are at once quiet and powerful thanks to a stripped-down performance and sublime lyrics, the record was rated an 8.4 out of 10 and dubbed Best New Music
Thunderbitch Thunderbitch/self-released If you think Brittany Howard is too confined as the frontwoman of Alabama Shakes, look no further than her new side project, Thunderbitch. To say she is unhinged here—and good God is it glorious—is an understatement. Guttural roars tear out of her lungs
Formed in eastern Pennsylvania in 2006, Cabinet is a band that honors Appalachian tradition by channeling bluegrass, country and folk into a hard-driving style that’s been deemed slamgrass. Through steady harmonies, soaring vocals and storytelling, the group’s music takes the long way home,
Matt Damon may be the star of Ridley Scott’s The Martian, but science itself is the hero in this breezy yet breathless tale of survival against all odds, bucking Hollywood’s preference for redundant fiction over interesting science in its sci-fi. The characters are charming, the tension is
Featured in the Chris Rock movie Top Five, nominated for a 2014 American Comedy Award for Best Concert Comic and appearing 27 times on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” Brian Regan has distinguished himself as a clean comedian, earning praise from legends in the field such as Jerry
When City Clay owner and artist Randy Bill started her business in 2011, she knew that her rented space on West Main Street wasn’t long for this world. Though the specter of the new Marriott loomed large, Bill refused to be daunted by it. “I knew it was the best location possible for visibility
Confession: Without “The X-Files,” I wouldn’t be a professional writer. Way back in middle school, I thought I hated writing. At least, I hated writing dry, research-based essays for class. But every Sunday night I found inspiration in the form of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully,
Take a look at The Anatomy of Frank’s song catalog and one thing is immediately clear: These guys are really into geography. The group named its debut album Pangaea, after a supercontinent, and its forthcoming second album, North America, includes songs with titles such as “Occupy Anchorage,”
When Warren Craghead fills his car at the gas station, he might pause to pull out a pad of Post-its, sketch a quick figure and leave the small square of art affixed to the pump. For the Charlottesville-based visual artist, inspiration and guerrilla exhibitions aren’t the only purpose of such an
Experience the best in international cinematography, in segments of 18 minutes or less, at the Manhattan Short Film Festival. Out of a record 678 entries received from 52 countries, the festival’s programmers selected 10 films as finalists. Audience members around the world view and vote during
When word began to spread that director Roland Emmerich—the destruction junkie behind Independence Day, Godzilla (1998), The Day After Tomorrow and 2012—had made an offensively revisionist mockery of the Stonewall riots in a movie that is supposedly dedicated to their legacy, the punning
Local visual artist Allie Kelly has a keen eye for capturing beauty in the world around her. She appreciates observing natural splendor and producing its likeness with equal vigor, expressing a joy in “watching light as it changes” and seeing “lines that curve and carve.” Experience the
UVA Drama’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson incorporates emo rock and satire to tell the story of America’s seventh president. The musical plays with fact and fiction to give Jackson a rock star persona that strays from sanitized history textbooks, and the songs, performed by a live band on stage,
When two of the most beloved live bands on the circuit are packaged together on the same tour, it’s time to put your party hat on. So, get your fix from Dr. Dog before getting Trampled By Turtles late into the evening. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) The indie bluegrass meets neo-psych rock
The Virginia Film Festival has announced the schedule for 2015, which will run from November 5-8. This marks the festival’s 27th year and the anticipation is a testament to the growth that Jody Kielbasa has forged since taking the executive role in 2010. The festival will again showcase
With its stalwart presence atop the hill at the northwest end of downtown, there’s no doubt that the McGuffey Art Center is a defining part of the local arts community. Its sturdy brick exterior commands respect while its large sash windows hint at the building’s original use as a school. Built
New Orleans blues-and-funk bandleader Adrian Duke is known around town for groove-worthy vocals and soulful love songs. Adrian’s wife, Holly Duke, grew up singing soul music, too. But for her, a Baptist-raised Alabama native, that soul came in the form of gospel—and it brought with it a faith
A New York jazz scene staple, Andrea Wolper Quartet has been praised in the industry press as “easily superior to the ever expanding population in the singer/songwriter category,” and Wolper has been named one of the “great jazz singers.” The group’s style combines poetry, text and
Director Ridley Scott disappointed more than just his own fans when Prometheus was released in 2012. As it happened, Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) had been crafting an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s groundbreaking horror novella, At the Mountains of Madness, that apparently bore
Looming sculptures and creative spaces serve as the landscape for the annual Tom Tom Fall Block Party featuring music, food trucks, crafts, performances and a beer garden. Music by Michael Coleman, Moonlight Circus, Disco Risque and Galaxy Dynamite will keep the event lively. Amid the groovy