If you’re anything like us, you spent the winter the way our Neanderthal ancestors did: At home, where the hearth is hot, the whole family’s around and the threat of being attacked by a saber-toothed tiger is minimal. But now that March is here, it’s time to cast off those old ways; there’s a lot more to do in town than painting the inside walls of your cave. From concerts in Old Cabell to skydiving in Orange, we’ve got you covered. And if the winter blues aren’t behind you by the end of the month, blame someone else.
Catch a legend
Kids may know Randy Newman for earning the Oscar this year for Best Original Song for another tune from another Pixar feature, Toy Story 3. But grown-ups—or folks with respect for compositional finesse in popular music—know that even before his 20 Oscar nominations, Newman infused popular song with movie-worthy tales of bygone eras, and, yes, short people. We wish there were a better nickname for him than the New Man, but with two Oscars, a handful of chart-topping singles and five Grammys under his belt, he’s done pretty well for himself without one. $39.50-$49.50, 8pm. The Paramount, 215 E. Main St. 979-1333.
Hear some poetry
If the foul rag and bone shop of your heart could use a little spring cleaning, put down the Yeats and take a cue from a living poet. Much-loved UVA English prof Stephen Cushman comes Downtown to read from Riffraff, his latest collection, wherein he dusts off the dog-eared and short-shrifted moments that happen between the memorable ones. Free, 5:30pm. New Dominion Bookshop, 404 E. Main St. 295-2552.
Cut a rug
Charlottesville Swing Dance Society invites all you flattop cats and the dungaree dolls to the only sock hop in town—no date, ticket or dance experience necessary. Every Thursday evening Swing Swap happens in (where else?) a high school gym. This learn-by-doing dance night offers everything from West Coast Swing to the Hustle, and afterward, make-out point is just a short jaunt up Pantops Mountain in your Ford Thunderbird. Plenty of time to get home by curfew. Free, 7-9pm. Murray High School, 1200 Forest St. 980-2744.
Walk the walk
Whether you’re out to schmooze, booze on free glasses of wine or lose yourself in work by talented local artists, there’s no better time to see and be seen around town than at First Fridays. For a full listing of galleries and other venues, check the Galleries and First Fridays sections (p. 33) of this this week’s issue.
Watch the birds
If you’ve about had it with that nagging urge to cross the Cedar Waxwing or the Carolina Wren off your list of North American bird sightings, then this free, beginner-level birdwatching session with Lou Tanner of the Monticello Bird Club coaxes the binocular-toting demon in you out of its long hibernation. Free, 7:30am. Ivy Creek Natural Area (meet in the parking lot), 1780 Earlysville Rd. 973-7772.
Whether they’re executing a full-court press via dizzyingly illegal acrobatics, pulling off the old behind-the-head fake-out pass on a short guy, or solving mysteries with a group of intrepid youngsters and their talking dog in an animated crossover special, the Harlem Globetrotters never fail to bedazzle. Bring the young athlete in the family and teach the “more practice, less Playstation” lesson—without being so heavy-handed. $24-$96, 3pm. John Paul Jones Arena, 295 Massie Rd. (888) JPJ-TIXS.
Do it right
Streaming films to your laptop as it whirs warmly on your belly is degrading to both you and the art form. Do yourself the service of seeing the classics they way they were meant to be seen. The Paramount screens The Maltese Falcon, the 1941 classic that solidified Humphrey Bogart as America’s hard-boiled detective par excellence. Sponsored by Jefferson-Madison Regional Library and THE BIG READ, this screening is followed by a March 16 discussion of the original novel that inspired the film at the Bridge PAI. $6, 7pm, The Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St. 979-1333.
Bounce off the walls
If you’ve ever wanted to scale a wall without committing to an outdoor trip, the best place to begin is with a session at Rocky Top REC. With an excellent bouldering wall, and a handful of top-rope routes covering the spectrum of difficulty levels, the best-kept secret in local indoor fitness gets you ready for the outdoor climbing season. Or at least leaves you feeling it the next morning. $12, 3-9pm. Rocky Top REC, 1729 Allied St. 984-1626.
Cook for yourself
It’d be great to head to Milan, Maharaja or Himalayan Fusion every time you wanted to nom on some naan, but who can afford it? Sudha Khare of the Charlottesville Cooking School teaches how to make wholesome and delicious Indian breads like poori, chapaati and stuffed paratha. If this class fills up, then the school’s online calendar is full of other opportunities to one-up your foodie friends. $75, 6-9pm. Charlottesville Cooking School, 2041 Barracks Rd. 963-2665.
Rock around the world
As cool as it is to see Japanese bands taking on American styles (think The 5,6,7,8’s from the Kill Bill: Vol. 1 soundtrack), tribute doesn’t just travel West to East. Charlottesville’s very own Dzian! brings a triumphant blend of vintage Asian pop styles to the Tea Bazaar, with a modern-day mod squad of dancers accompanying. A fittingly eclectic bunch of bands open. $5, 8pm. Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, 414 E. Main St. 293-9947.
Make the most
We don’t all have pockets as deep as Daddy Warbucks’, which is why Four County Players offers $5 Fridays, where you can see some fine community theater for a fraction of the cost. The rambunctious Annie and her adorably pouty peers take the stage every weekend in March, foiling the stratagems of the cruel Miss Hannigan and eking out a little fun in depression-era America. $16 ($5 on Fridays), 8pm. Four County Players, 5256 Governor Barbour St. (540) 832-5355.
Start a farm
If you keep your ear to the fertilizer-free ground, then you might already know that SPIN (Small Plot Intensive Farming) is a nontechnical, inexpensive vegetable farming system that’s quickly rising in popularity. The Local Food Hub hosts a day-long workshop with expert Linda Borghi, where you can learn how to sustain yourself, or to make a profit from a small plot in the city, the country or the ‘burbs. $100, 8am-4pm. The Local Food Hub Educational Farm at Maple Hill, 7129 Scottsville Rd. 286-2176.
Imagine it’s summer
The Sunday matinee of Tennessee William’s Summer and Smoke is the way it was meant to be seen. It may not be summer yet, but the sunlight helps you imagine a languid, sultry Mississippi July. And going on the Lord’s day drives home the puritanism that is the crux of our protagonist’s crises. $11-$15, 8pm (2pm on Sundays). Play On! Theatre, 983 Second St. 872-0184.
Dance it out
In the mid-’90s, aerobics instructor Alberto Perez forgot to bring his workout tape to class, and was forced to improvise from the salsa and merengue he had in the glove box of his car. The rest was history; Zumba is a mistake that works. Each Monday, Shergold Studio leads a drop-in friendly class, pairing pulsating Latin rhythms with red-hot dance steps for a workout as fun as it is intense. Their hips don’t lie, and neither do the results. $10, 6pm. Shergold Studio, 652 W. Rio Rd., Unit 7. 975-4611.
Climb the ivory tower
The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (aka “Akamus”) now enjoys recognition as one of Europe’s leading classical orchestras. But when it began in 1982, Akamus was a small, courageous display of musical independence against the socialist regime of East Germany. Akamus’ program, part of the Tuesday Evening Concert Series, includes selections from Bach, Telemann and Handel—only the best of German baroque. $5-30, 8pm. Old Cabell Hall Auditorium, on the UVA Grounds. 924-3376.
Book your time
From March 16–20, the Virginia Festival of the Book returns for another five days of literary events, many of which are blessedly free. Wednesday, the kickoff, is loaded with must-sees: In the morning, David Shenk discusses his provocative book The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ is Wrong. In the early afternoon, UVA Rare Book School Director Michael Suarez discusses the future of the book in the digital age, but for those of you who are nonplussed by Borders’ bankruptcy announcement, a poetry reading by Dwayne Betts, Heather Burns, and J.R. Thelin takes place at the same time. At 6pm, John and Renee Grisham host an evening talk with Kathryn Stockett, the author behind The Help. Various times and locations. 924-3296. www.vabook.org.
Drink a green beer
It’s said that the custom of wearing green on St. Patty’s Day started with the Saint himself, who carried the green shamrock as a way of explaining the holy trinity to the Irish. Join in the tradition by sampling a green brew on the only day of the year that it isn’t really weird. Plenty of local establishments dye the waters—stop in at McGrady’s Irish Pub, Beer Run or The Backyard. Wear green, if only so the spills won’t show.
From Jackie’s fashion to John’s charisma to Marilyn’s famous serenade, the JFK administration was chock-full of star power. Join UVA’s oft-quoted politics guru Larry Sabato and a panel of political analysts for “JFK and Camelot: Political Image Making” as they discuss how the carefully crafted image of the JFK administration has permanently altered the branding and marketing of U.S. politicians. Free, 6:30pm. UVA Rotunda Dome Room, 1717 University Ave. 243-3540. Register online at hoos online.virginia.edu/camelot.
Start a vineyard
Viticulture is the art of growing of grapes, and who better to teach it than Virginia’s wine champion, Gabriele Rausse? The owner of Gabriele Rausse Winery has been called the father of local viticulture, and is credited with reviving Thomas Jefferson’s original grape strains. Saturday’s class, “Starting a Vineyard,” covers basic principles of grape growing, including variety, site selection, trellis systems, soil preparation, planting, pruning, pest control and harvesting. $15, 9:30am. Jordan Classroom, Monticello, 931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway. 984-9880.
Climb a mountain
Celebrate the first day of spring by hiking Humpback Rocks, the famous greenstone outcrop on Humpback Mountain. Expect two miles out-and-back, but don’t be fooled by the short distance: You’ll gain over 1,200′ in elevation on the way up—making these two miles a two hour round trip. Hike safely, and don’t forget water, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, a snack and of course a camera to snap some views from the top.
Stretch it out
Did humping it up Humpback Mountain leave you sore? Don’t worry; the Guerilla Yogis are here for you. Charlottesville’s Guerilla Yoga Project brings yoga to the cash-strapped masses by offering over 20 donation-based classes a week at various community spaces. All abilities are welcome. Today’s classes are at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Polarity Barn in Batesville and the Southwood Community Center. Visit gypcville.com for more information.
Cheer on the Hoos
Live NCAA action comes to town as UVA hosts the first and second round games of the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament. $15-25, 7pm. John Paul Jones Arena, 295 Massie Rd. (888) JPJ-TIXS.
Enter the darkness
A teenage boy’s fictional Internet identity begins as a harmless game. But the game takes on the terror of reality when it’s overwhelmed by real emotion. Since Megan Meier’s 2006 suicide, cyber-bullying has been cited as the cause of several teen deaths. Marianne Kubik directs the UVA Drama department’s timely production of Carlos Murrilo’s dark play, which explores this tragic phenomenon in a tale of love, obsession and betrayal. $5-10, 8pm. Helms Theatre, 109 Culbreth Rd. 924-3376.
Bridge the gap
Naomi Shihab Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and raised in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. A self-described “wandering poet,” Nye writes about her multicultural heritage and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East. Her work has been described as a testament to our shared humanity, and, lucky for us, she travels here for a reading. Free, 8pm. UVA Bookstore Mezzanine, 400 S. Emmett St. 924-3721.
Party with elephants
Like Of Montreal? Neutral Milk Hotel? If so, you like The Elephant 6 Recording Company. The collective was started by childhood friends Bill Doss, Will Cullen Hart, Robert Schneider and Jeff Mangum, and launched the above bands, as well as The Olivia Tremor Control and The Apples in Stereo. The Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour features at least 11 musicians performing in various configurations, short films by multi-media artist Brian Dewan, audience participation games, and, of course, a 12′-tall snowman. $12, 8pm. The Southern Café and Music Hall, 103 S. First St. 977-5590.
Run 10 miles
This year marks the 36th running of the Charlottesville 10-miler. Join over 2,000 other runners and follow this historic course from UVA through downtown and back again, or do good without breaking a sweat by signing up to help. Volunteers are needed for everything from handing out water and directing traffic to timing mile splits and playing music on the course. $37-47 to run, 7:15am. Volunteer info at cvilletenmiler.com/volunteer.
Got rhythm? Bring your drum (and whatever else you play) and join Chicho at Random Row Books for an hour and a half of jamming. All abilities are welcome. Free, 4pm. Random Row Books, 315 W. Main St. 295-2493.
Risk your life
Bored? Thrill-seeking? Ready to start working on your bucket list? Sounds like it’s high time to throw yourself out the door of an airplane. Confront the granddaddy of do-before-you-dies without even leaving Virginia at Skydive Orange. The center is geared towards students, and offers one-day first jump tandem programs. If you find traditional skydiving a little old hat, don’t worry—they also offer instruction in BASE-jumping and something called a Wingsuit. $255 for a first jump. 11339 Bloomsbury Rd., Orange. 943-6587. More info at skydiveorange.com
Go all Gypsy
Started in Paris in the 1930s, Gypsy jazz combines a swing articulation with a chromatic gypsy flavor. Rick Olivarez, Jeff Cheers and Dave Berzonsky of the Olivarez Trio play Gypsy jazz that showcases traditional Eastern European folk songs at the C&O. Free, 10pm. C&O, 515 E. Water St. 971-7044.
Drink for free
Every Wednesday, Beer Run offers a free tasting of beers from a different brewery. Recent features have been Dogfish Head, Bell’s, and Victory Brewing Company, and with their focus on serving organic and all natural foods and a dinner menu that changes nightly, there’s no need to drink on an empty stomach. Free, 6pm. 156 Carlton Rd. 984-2337.
Join the circus
The internationally flavored mix of circus arts and street entertainment known as Cirque Du Soleil comes to Charlottesville with Alegría, a baroque ode to the energy, grace and power of youth. The darkest of Cirque du Soleil’s shows, Alegría features trapeze artists, contortionists, a fire-knife dance and a flying man, all set to the original score by René Dupéré. $42-96, 7pm. John Paul Jones Arena, 295 Massie Rd. 575-8497.—Spencer Peterson & Charlotte Muzzi