Brandon J. Walker



The Country Wife has been shocking audiences and selling out theaters since 1675. Image: Lauren D. Rogers and Tommy Thompson

ART Picks: The Country Wife

William Wycherley’s Restoration farce, The Country Wife, offers a plethora of lewd puns, lascivious innuendo, and outright ribaldry in a classically structured, three-fold plot as it plays out the stories of rakish Harry Horner and his ambitious plans to bed as many of London’s finest ladies as possible with a devious angle.

Sarah Fallon as Caius Cassius and René Thornton, Jr. as Brutus in Julius Caesar. Photo: Pat Jarrett.

Masters of their fates: Julius Caesar at American Shakespeare Center

When I moved to this area from New York City, the first thing I wanted to do was go see a show at the American Shakespeare Center. From the moment I learned of it, I was enamored of the dream it promised: a self-sustaining center of Shakespearean, Elizabethan, and early Modern drama in the heart of the Shenandoah, on a stage designed to the specs of the hallowed old Blackfriars Playhouse in London.

Wes Iseli works his magic along the Eastern seaboard and most Thursdays at Wild Wing Café.
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ARTS Pick: Wes Iseli

Life of illusion A magician since the age of 7, Wes Iseli dazzles audiences with illusory skills that combine crowd participation, comedic banter and the ol’ sleight of hand routine. He travels the East Coast regularly with his act, mentors aspiring illusionists and stays in good form by performing a weekly gig here in the […]

Watch along with fellow “Downton” fans as The Crowleys enter life after the Great War, with plenty of intrigue, troubled lovers, and the birth of a new rivalry.
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ARTS Pick: Downton Abbey Season 3 Premiere

British steel The snarky, gossipy family and the conniving house staff you know and love are returning to T.V., and to the Paramount. The theater kicks off 2013 with a screening of the Season 3 premiere of “Downton Abbey.” The show will broadcast on the jumbo screen, and there’s a ticket option for a reception […]

Cody Purvis plays it straight from his country music heart at the Jefferson.
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ARTS Pick: Cody Purvis

Pick up tuner According to Cody Purvis, you can’t have too much of a good thing, except maybe “Too Much Truck.” The soulfully deep-voiced 18-year-old is country through and through, capturing the outlaw spirit of Merle Haggard and the contemporary energy of Toby Keith. His tunes bounce with charisma, and at 6’5″ Purvis is a […]

Margaret Embree’s “Void of Possibility” is one of the works in the members show at McGuffey’s Sarah B. Smith Gallery.
Image courtesy of the artist

ARTS Pick: abstractreal realabstract

Whiter shade of pale Abstract art is all about blurring boundaries, but pushing two seemingly oppositional modes toward one another takes skill. The pieces in the McGuffey Art Center’s “abstractreal realabstract” exhibit drag realism into the realm of the abstract, and vice versa. In mostly oil-based paintings, five associate members—Nancy Bass, Robin Braun, Margaret Embree, […]

ARTS Pick: Improvocalypse

ARTS Pick: Improvocalypse

Happy ’til the end You may as well go out laughing. That’s what Play On! Theatre has in mind as it invites everyone to await the end of the Mayan calendar in humor at the Improvocalypse. With troupes from all over Virginia—Bent Theatre, No Strings Attached, West End Comedy, and Found Fathers—in the house, the […]

ARTS Pick: The Red Eye Theatre Festival

ARTS Pick: The Red Eye Theatre Festival

As if the truncated schedule of putting on a live show didn’t generate enough stress, a small assemblage of theater stalwarts have decided to put on The Red Eye Theatre Festival. Seven scripts, selected by a jury of playwrights, are given to seven directors and 25 actors in four locations across the United States. At 8am, […]

Relational tension mounts in Four County Players’ Woman in a Tiled Room, directed by Fran Sackett Smith. Photo courtesy of Four County Players.

ARTS Pick: Woman in a Tiled Room

Four County Players stages the amateur world premiere of Woman in a Tiled Room by local playwright Shawn B. Hirabayashi. The two-act, two-character dramatic thriller takes place in an abandoned bathhouse in New York City and plays out the intense and increasingly bizarre relationship between Piers and her recently acquired man-friend Mart.

The Kings of Belmont perform as The Beatles for the Mock Star Ball on Halloween. Photo courtesy of Kings of Belmont.

ARTS Pick: Mock Star’s Ball

The mark of a truly superlative Halloween costume is commitment. Sure, you can get by with a half-hearted zombie nurse, but tame decisions beget tepid treats. Let’s say that you get your band together and tog up like legitimate music legends—now you’re getting somewhere.

Stanley Ann Dunham and her son Barack Obama Jr.

ARTS Pick: Stanley Ann

Stanley Ann Dunham falls in love and marries a Kenyan student in the early ’60s. She struggles through a second marriage to a corrupt civil servant in Indonesia, and comes through it to work in anthropology and assist poverty-stricken women in third world countries. All the while she is raising the 44th President of the […]

Indie band on the upswing, Milo Greene play the Southern. (Publicity photo)

ARTS Pick: Milo Greene

Milo Greene is not a real person—it’s the result of some friends who decided to throw together a band and then created a fictitious agent (Milo Greene) to help land gigs. These are humble beginnings, but with a debut album issued in July, an ongoing headlining tour, and last month’s “Conan” performance all on the […]

Amy Schumer exposes the sexy side of female comedy at The Paramount.  (Publicity photo)

ARTS Pick: Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer’s comedy is sweet like saccharine, and crude enough to shame a sailor. Leaving no taboo untouched, she charms her way through an act, oftentimes turning her most eviscerating jibes on herself resulting in some of her best material. Schumer’s rise into the upper echelon has been swift. She gave testimony at the roasts […]

The Bridge PAI hosts a reading with two young, evocative writers with a reverence for home life. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Place Based

Thomas Wolfe says you can’t go home again. Leah Naomi Green and Josh Garrett-Davis seem to disagree. After swapping his South Dakota home for New York’s cityscape, Garrett-Davis found himself drawn back through his recent novel, Ghost Dances: Proving Up on the Great Plains. Green never attempted to leave home behind, yet her upbringing in […]

Stuart Davis A.K.A. Punk Monk blends Bhuddhism with the bizarre. Photo: Sheila Ryan.

ARTS Pick: Stuart Davis

Stuart Davis is a man of many facets. You might even say he’s multi-faceted. He’s a musician with 14 albums to his credit, a comedian, a Bhuddist monk, a TV producer, a writer/actor, and a few dozen other things. The Minnesota-born punk monk is regularly referred to as the Twisted Mystic, earning his moniker with […]

Doug Schneider and Boomie Pedersen in Four County Player's Fiddler on the Roof, 1998. Credit: Courtesy of Four County Players.

ARTS Pick: 40 and Fabulous

Barboursville’s eminent regional theater, Four County Players, is celebrating four solid decades of musicals, contemporaries, classics, 10-minute festivals, and all the various and delightful manifestations of staged drama with a one-weekend-only celebratory blowout, 40 and Fabulous. They’re bringing in some local heavy hitters to re-live the thrills in a musical revue: Jane Scatena, Joncey Boggs, […]

Chris Patrick, Jenny Smith, Brandon Lee and Ray Nedzel in Live Arts' season opener, Clybourne Park.  Photo: Marty Moore.

ARTS Pick: Clybourne Park

2011 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the 2012 recipient of the Best Play Tony Award, Bruce Norris’ dark comedy Clybourne Park centers on two families–one black and one white–buying the same house in 1959 and 2009, respectively.  Crafted as a response to the 1959 Lorraine Hansberry play, A Raisin In The Sun, it […]