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.
Chip Wickham Shamal Wind (Lovemonk) Wickham, a flute-and-reeds player who has worked with artists from Badly Drawn Boy to Roy Ayers, relocated from Manchester to Qatar and emerged as a bandleader on 2017’s La Sombra—a fruitful hybrid of ’60s modal jazz and funk with Latin shadings. This
Based in Richmond, folk singer-songwriter Graham Stone has been gaining traction as one of the region’s up-and-coming artists. His 2017 debut album, Until the Day, showcases Stone’s impressive scope of songwriting, and ranges from solo standards to full-band shredders—and while paying tribute
Last summer, Michael Coleman had a realization about the power of music. The night of August 12—after 24 hours of terror and chaos that included a torch-lit march led by white supremacists and the Unite the Right rally that left three people dead and dozens of community members and activists
Master mandolinists Danny Knicely and Jack Dunlap (above) first connected when Knicely apprenticed Dunlap through the Virginia Folklife Program in 2015. A year later, the duo recorded its first album, Chop, Shred & Split, which received a Washington Area Music Award for best bluegrass
With Deadpool 2, the deconstruction becomes the norm. That’s not necessarily a bad thing given how bloated and redundant the X-Men franchise has become, and how terrifically its predecessor broke every taboo while delivering a solid film with a real story of its own. But how do you skewer
In the 50 years since The Oratorio Society of Virginia made its debut with a performance of Handel’s Messiah in the auditorium of Albemarle High School, the group has infused choral excellence into the community through its vast repertoire, high-caliber singers and annual holiday performances.
The actors will appear to have left the screen when Charming Underclothes performance group takes on the movie Clue in a shadowcast. Dinner and drinks lead to a murder spree in the cinematic version of the popular board game, and the Reel to Real production company adds another dimension with
It’s more than a push of a button when Restroy’s Chris Damman sends a wave of electricity through his carefully composed cello numbers. Despite using electronic drones and noise, the acoustic instrument is the foundation of sound for Damman, who is so physically in tune with his cello that it’s
Credit is due to Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy for their efforts to inject meaningful emotions into broad comedies without punching down or relying on unwarranted meanness for their punchlines. But it would help if those punchlines were funny. Back in 2013, their collaboration on Tammy used
Around the same time Aja Gabel began learning the alphabet, she began playing the violin. As she became more adept at writing, filling “notebooks with stories as kind of a way to play,” she became more skilled at reading and playing music. When she was 10 years old she traded the violin for the
After a Lord Nelson show at a venue in the southeast, an audience member approached lead singer and guitarist Kai Crowe-Getty. “You guys aren’t for erasing history, right?” the attendee asked. “Every now and then,” Crowe-Getty says, “we have to diffuse a situation like that and stand by what we
Piecing together a Jenga-style puzzle of arranged marriages, mistaken identities and wicked ways, David Ives’ adaptation of The Liar is a cleverly constructed ride through a plot riddled with cutting banter, silliness, jealousy and lies, lies and more lies. The villainous, witty Dorante (Mark
By Dan Goff email@example.com It’s a Friday afternoon at Grit Coffee on Elliewood Avenue. Jenny Wales sits at an outdoor table, one of the few open seats. Finals are fast approaching and the shop is swarming with students. Wales doesn’t seem to mind, and, in fact, seems perfectly at ease—she’s
Domenico Lancellotti The Good is a Big God (Luaka Bop) One of the most creative interpreters of traditional Brazilian pop, Lancellotti puts an odd foot forward on The Good is a Big God with the plodding incantation “Voltar Se” before correcting course and finding a groove on the title track, a
The solid accolades directed at The Gina Clowes Project are the result of the singer-songwriter’s years spent at competitions and gigging with other pros. Well-known in the world of bluegrass, banjoist Clowes’ modern approach reaches to crossover as she pushes mood and emotion through the
In 2009, James Keogh was a promising player in Australia’s Victorian Football League. He also played music, and, taking an alias from a Peter Carey novel he was reading, put himself into rotation in the Melbourne open mic scene as Vance Joy. He released his indie debut EP, God Loves You When
If it’s your goal to keep mama happy this Mother’s Day weekend—and it better be—then comedian Antoine Scott has you covered. Scott built a reputation for delivering beyond expectations in comedy clubs around the country. Fans say he leaves them gasping from laughter and they call him one of the
Perched on a wooden stool inside her McGuffey Art Center studio, Megan Elizabeth “Mae” Read looks around the room at her sketches—a roughly defined nude male figure, a sequence of grayscale charcoal portraits including one of a little girl with butterfly face paint—clustered together near the
It’s easy to reduce your identity to before and after you have children when your whole life feels like one long haze of sleepless nights and diaper changes. But what happened to the person who came before? Do they cease to be? How do you reconcile who you’ve become with who you were when your
In a world where the touch of a finger delivers a meal, a song or a new pair of shoes, the passing down of traditions to make these things from scratch sounds quaint. But when experts and students come together for the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Showcase, crafters, makers and legions of