Movies in the park, public murals, summer events



Wilco (Photo by Austin Nelson)

Get out now
Nine can’t-miss local events this summer

LOOK3 Charlottesville Festival of the Photograph (June 7-9)
Billed as “three days of peace, love, and photography,” LOOK3 presents talks, exhibitions, workshops, and interviews on the Downtown Mall. World-renowned photographers, whose works span topics from humanity and all its complexities to the complications of shooting underwater, will forge connections and exchange ideas with local art-loving gawkers.

Derby Dames get rolling (June 9)
The Charlottesville Derby Dames, a fast-growing local institution, describe themselves as “a nonprofit group of human creatures who love to skate and are willing to work hard.” For those unfamiliar with the recent resurgence of roller derby, take the flat-track, clean-cut racing of the early-mid-20th century and infuse healthy doses of feminism, tattoos, and badass skills. Names like Apple Clobber, Nilla WasteHer, and Vixen De Brawl define the campy, cutthroat agenda that keeps the Dames on track.

Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples (June 12)
Bonnie Raitt’s monumental career can be pinned to the determined pursuit of her own truth. A talented upstart in the dominately male genre of blues rock, Ms. Raitt put her skill and activism up front. Nineteen records, hundreds of accolades, and countless collaborations later, she remains true to her ideals and continues to use her star power for good. She will leave our community stronger for the second time around when she appears at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in support of the Charlottesville Free Clinic. The addition of the legendary Mavis Staples to the bill makes this an evening to anticipate—not to mention one to remember.

SuperCLAW National Competition (June 16)
The phenomenon of CLAW (which stands for Collective of/Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers, depending on which body you’re referring to) has spread nationwide, and superstars from its offshoots in News Orleans, Brooklyn, Durham, and Austin will descend on Charlottesville to duke it out on perhaps the largest stage lady arm wrestling has ever seen. Proceeds go to the triumphant club’s nonprofit of choice (and the individual winner receives the trophy Cape de CLAW).

Wintergreen Summer Music Festival (July 6- August 5)
More than 250 events happen in the 31 days of the festival, from cooking classes and field trips with The Rock Barn to art exhibits at Les Yeux du Monde. WSMF’s theatrical offering, Where Chaos Sleeps, is a commissioned work by Hamner Theater’s co-artistic director, Peter Coy, and is directed by Boomie Pedersen. (The usual venue at Wintergreen is unavailable because of a Fiat automobile convention, so the play will be performed at the Hamner). For more information, visit

Mamma Mia! (July 12)
Broadway stops by on July 12 with a production of Mamma Mia! at John Paul Jones Arena. The hit musical plots a daughter’s quest for paternal identity, set in a Greek island paradise, and is fueled by infectious, retooled ABBA disco hits. It’s an unlikely formula that exploded with popularity and produced dividends on stages and screens around the world while uniting mothers and daughters in song—mamma mia is right!

Abbey Road: Starry Nights at Veritas Vineyard and Winery (July 14)

If only hard day’s nights were all like this. Bring your blankets and babies (kids under 10 come free) to this enchanting outdoor experience. Unwind with Veritas vino in the idyllic countryside sprawl to musical offerings from the area’s favorite Beatles cover band. Pack a picnic (or choose the buffet option) and twist and shout through your Saturday night to those beloved melodies.

Wilco (July 19)
Touring in support of their eighth record, The Whole Love, Americana aficionados Wilco are back at the Pavilion on July 19. The irascible, irresistible song-smithing of Jeff Tweedy paired with the uber talent of guitarist Nils Cline has earned the band a faithful following. Back it up with the solid works of John Stirratt, Glen Kotche, Pat Sansone, and Mikael Jorgensen and the audience becomes rapturous. Because when Wilco does it live, they bring the whole love—every fist-pumping, drink-sloshing, head-nodding word of it.

Perseids (August 13)
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the best annually visible meteor shower in Virginia! Every August for the last 2,000 years, Virginians who looked skyward in the wee hours of the morning were privy to a “streaking.” This year, we can expect the phenomenon to peak on August 14, between the hours of 2 and 5am. If watching from your backyard proves light-polluted and disappointing, there’s always nearby (and relatively rural) Ivy and Scottsville, but there’s nothing like watching the gods rain fire on the Shenandoah Valley from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Movies in the Park
Watch your flicks al fresco with Charlottesville Parks & Recreation’s second “Movies in the Park” series. Catch Cars 2 at Washington Park on June 8 (with a free swim from 5:30 to 7:30pm); Kung Fu Panda 2 at Tonsler Park on July 13; Dolphin Tale at Onesty Park on August 10 (with a free swim from 5:30 to 7:30pm); and Happy Feet at Forest Hills Park on September 7. Show times vary depending on when it gets dark. Suit up, quiet down, and try not to get any popcorn in the pool.

Mural, mural on the wall
The newly established Charlottesville Mural Project (CMP), a program of The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, has four murals in the works for this year. Here’s a primer on what to expect.

At St. Anne’s Belfield’s outdoor basketball courts, STAB eighth graders and muralist Patrick Costello painted a landscape with a large tree, its leaves made up of handprints from the students. As each eighth grade class graduates, its students will add their “leaves” to the tree. In July, look for a mural on the side of a private residence on West Main Street. It’ll be visible from the Amtrak station and offer a cool backdrop for passengers.

A third mural will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and is designed to highlight the importance of the Rivanna River basin. Artist Kaki Dimmock, who is also the director of The Haven, will be working on the mural, which is planned for a Water Street site. Ideas for a fourth mural on West Main Street are still being solidified.