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.
Even though all of the members of Parquet Courts are originally from Texas, the four-man band is all about Brooklyn, New York. Its brand of punk harkens back to the ’80s when the simplicity of the genre was its beauty and soul. The band released its two albums on cassette tape after recording
Caitlin Canty Reckless Skyline/Self-released Caitlin Canty is one of the most beguiling singer-songwriters around, and Reckless Skyline is the latest evidence that she is a cut above the rest. Her songs run the gamut from hard luck tales of life going sideways (“Enough About Hard Times”) to
Led by childhood friends Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken, Dr. Dog spent years on the road polishing and perfecting its intellectual pop rock sound defined by four-part vocal harmonies and poetic lyrics. Repeated tour stops in Charlottesville made the band a local favorite early in its career. “I
Young blues musician Adia Victoria is a self-proclaimed “back porch blues, swamp cat lady, howlin’ at the moon.” Born in South Carolina and currently based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Victoria sings about the South in a soft, sweet tone, but she can turn suddenly by cranking up the energy,
17th century spy and playwright Aphra Behn’s work returns to the American Shakespeare Center with a production of The Rover (subtitled The Banish’d Cavaliers), a romantic romp through the Naples Carnival. Rakish naval captain Willmore finds himself trapped in a love triangle filled with
It’s a cold world out there for trash. The wrap on your grab-and-go sandwich, the scratched CDs and ’80s Walkman, the broken toys and worn-out furniture and colorful detritus of rich, fast-paced lives are doomed to collect in landfills, antique shops and garbage-strewn street corners—unless an
Jazz player and UVA music professor Robert Jospé has some pretty far-out ideas about music. But Stephen Nachmanovitch, the man who’ll join Jospé onstage for a completely improvised concert on January 24 at UVA’s Brooks Hall, makes him seem like an accountant in a conservative suit. “My early
In 2012, Amelia Meath (Mountain Man) joined Nick Sanborn (Megafun) in Durham, North Carolina to collaborate on a song, and even though they had their own respective projects, they agreed there was something special between them, and eventually Sylvan Esso was born. The duo released its
Two stories come out of Nashville. The first one is: The town is full of amazing singer-songwriters, and you can see one of them playing on any given night at any corner bar. The second goes like this: The stars of modern country aren’t those same singer-songwriters; they’re the good-looking
Craig Jennings didn’t know Hannah Graham. But last fall, “after she disappeared under the eyes of cameras on the Downtown Mall, I couldn’t stop thinking about what her family was going through,” said Jennings, the choral director at Burley Middle School. That feeling grew stronger as days
Among the many artistic and political accomplishments of Ava DuVernay’s Selma is the full embodiment of grassroots activism. After generations of society’s dismantling of the breadth of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s political and ethical contributions down to a single sound bite (that is routinely
Photos of secluded beaches, colorful fishing boats and turquoise waves hang on the walls of Second Street Gallery, which has been temporarily overrun with harbor themes: a white ship-shaped structure from which dozens of folded origami boats dangle and twirl, a wash of sand and seashells across
It’s a new year but many of us are still catching up on the 2014 books littering critic’s lists. There are plenty to choose from, with dozens of new titles published each week of the year. Two weeks into 2015, though, there are already contenders for the best of 2015 lining shelves and vying
Over two years after taking home a million dollar grand prize on “America’s Got Talent,” classic crooner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. continues to wow national audiences with his smooth Sinatra covers. While he’s not quick to forget his West Virginia roots, the once penniless car washer has
Oceaán The Grip EP/B3SCI Records Genre labels are inherently shortsighted, but if you absolutely have to use one for Oliver Cean a.k.a. Oceaán’s, second EP, The Grip, then try dubhoptronica. Angelic synths and hip-hop beats marry together seamlessly on the closing track, “At Your Feet,” while
Paul Handler is difficult to shoehorn. Despite possessing uncommon creativity, he subscribes to no single genre in his pursuits. It is rare, if not impossible, to find work that is attributed solely to his particular genius. Rather, Handler’s name has been made through his behind-the-scenes
Verona gentleman Petruchio attempts to turn headstrong Katherina into an obedient bride in Shakespeare’s ultimate battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew. The American Shakespeare Company goes beyond the main comedy with the Bard’s Induction, creating a play within a play as drunken tinker
When a movie is as challenging and divisive as Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, the two reviews to be wary of are the dismissal on grounds of incoherence, and overwhelming praise, full of heady analysis that is itself incoherent. Both approaches make use of
“To me, this is the heart of Charlottesville right here.” I am standing at the intersection of Monticello Avenue and Sixth Street SE with Matthew Slaats, executive director of The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative. We are talking on this wet, raw December day about community, growth, and the
When I sat down to think about the best concerts I saw in 2014, the only events that came to mind were disappointments. Don’t get me wrong. There were highlights. Joe Pug got intimate at the Southern. Shovels and Rope entranced the Jefferson. But by and large, the most highly anticipated events