C-VILLE Writers

Lee Clay Johnson follows the dark plight of Virginia coal country characters with humor in his debut novel, Nitro Mountain.
(publicity image)

Author Lee Clay Johnson gets high praise for dark humor

Charlottesville transplant and UVA alumni Lee Clay Johnson’s debut novel, Nitro Mountain, was released to raves from both critics and peers. Kirkus Reviews called it “Appalachian noir at its darkest and most deranged.” Novelist David Gates, a former Guggenheim fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist, introduced it at a reading as “appallingly funny,” saying it’s “the […]

Pat Hazell takes on the icons of a 1970s American childhood in his one-man show, The Wonder Bread Years. ©2010 Andy Snow

ARTS Pick: The Wonder Bread Years

Former “Seinfeld” writer Pat Hazell stars in The Wonder Bread Years, a fast-paced production that rides the line between stand-up and theater. The nationally touring one-man show is steeped in nostalgia from Eskimo Pies and lawn darts to kids at the dinner table and sitting in the back of a Country Squire station wagon. It’s […]

Legendary guitarist and former member of the Eagles and James Gang, Joe Walsh cranks it up on Saturday at the Pavilion. (publicity image)

ARTS Pick: Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh started his career in bars and clubs as a solo act before James Gang showcased his guitar chops on a national level with “Funk #49.” In 1975, Walsh joined the Eagles, where he helped transform the rock music scene with the release of Hotel California, his first album with the band. Walsh says […]

Charlottesville residents Khizr and Ghazala Khan have been in the national news since their July 28 Democratic convention appearance.
Photo Voice of America

In brief: Khans v. Trump, what’s biting and more

Locals ignite national firestorm The appearance of Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son Humayun, a UVA grad and Army captain killed in Iraq in 2004, at the Democratic National Convention July 28 drew negative comments from Donald Trump and support from Republicans like Senator John McCain, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. […]

Celebrate diverse culture at the African American Cultural Arts Festival, help find homes for dogs at the BarkAID 5k and enjoy beer and bites at Ivy Provisions' Barn & Brew this week. Photo: File photo

Living Picks: To-do this week

Family     Chihamba’s 27th Annual African American Cultural Arts Festival This year’s event features West African cuisine, a hair show, vendors, entertainment and more. Saturday 7/30. Free, 10:30am-7:30pm. Booker T. Washington Park, Preston Avenue and 10th Street NW. chihambacharlot tesville@gmail.com. Nonprofit BarkAID 5K and 50 States Tour Paws for Pits partners with internationally known hair stylist Patrick Lomantini […]

Frequencies VIII featuring Ships in the Night (above), Jaguardini and Bristol claims The Ante Room on Thursday. Photo: Tristan Williams

ARTS Pick: Ships in the Night

Ships in the Night is the project of Alethea Leventhal, an experimental musician who pilots her music into uncharted dark waters. Her gauzy, earnest sonic constructions transcend the dismissive label of goth and place her at the intersection of decades-old new wave and the future of music. A recent show in Germany caused the webzine […]

Sally Rose rocks harder with Swagwüf at The Ante Room on Friday. Photo: Rich Tarbell

ARTS Pick: Swagwüf

Sally Rose has all the charisma of a rock ‘n’ roll star paired with the grit and charm of an old-fashioned Southern girl. A woman of various musical incarnations, she brings attitude and solid chops to the bass in her rambunctious swamp-rock outfit, Swagwüf. The group returns after a summer tour to work on a […]

Once on This Island, a tale of love set in the French Caribbean, takes over the Four County Players stage this weekend. Photo: Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Once on This Island

Based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy, Once on This Island follows a group of village storytellers as they recount the love story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl, and Daniel, a wealthy man whom she saves from death. The family-friendly summer musical navigates through many obstacles on the pair’s quest […]

Second Street Gallery hosts experimental musicians for its music series SEE/HEAR on Tuesday. Photo: Publicity photo


Bassist Chris Dammann’s outfit Restroy plays contemporary tunes from the new release Saturn Returns, and duo Rick Parker and Li Daiguo perform a blend of folk-acoustics and electronica influenced by their respective homes, Brooklyn and China. The collaborative event SEE/HEAR invites guests to take in the Second Street Gallery’s exhibitions while listening to improvisational sounds […]

The 2016 election is not Tim Kaine's first rodeo. He campaigns for the U.S. Senate with Mark Warner and wife Ann Holton in 2012. Photo John Robinson

In brief: Kaine elated, McAuliffe irked and more

Former guv on Dem ticket Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton chose former Virginia governor and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate July 22. The former Democratic National Committee chair heads to the convention in Philadelphia this week. Killing on Earhart Street Denzel O. Morton, 23, was shot early July 17, Charlottesville’s […]

Because the lease on their Downtown Mall Brookville Restaurant space is up in a year, Harrison and Jennifer Keevil started thinking about what else they wanted to focus on, and landed on a neighborhood gourmet grocery. Photo: Tom McGovern

Keevil & Keevil opens in Belmont, and other restaurant news

The idea behind Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen is twofold: One, Brookville Restaurant chef/owner Harrison Keevil wanted to be able to interact with his customers again like he did in the open kitchens he’s worked in in the past, and two, he really wanted to do breakfast. His wife and co-owner, Jennifer, says Harrison […]

Taking in the scenery.
Photo Helga Hiss

In brief: Bears having fun, legislators get graded and more

Another national story on rape at UVA “He said it was consensual. She said she blacked out. U-Va. had to decide: Was it assault?” The Washington Post reports on a bathroom sexual encounter between two athletes at an August 2015 party. Rising third-year volleyball player Haley Lind agreed to speak on the record about her […]

Cirque Italia takes the big top poolside and brings a European flair to family entertainment. Photo: Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Cirque Italia

Looking for an affordable spectacle? Try the Italian circus that tours city to city, sets up under a giant tent and presents aerial acts, hand balancing, contortionists and mermaids over a 35,000-gallon water tank. Cirque Italia creates a “vivid, dramatic and moving experience” without animals, despite the rumor of a dinosaur appearance. Thursday 7/21–Sunday 7/24. $10-50, […]

Take the family out for the Sweet Dreams Festival, eat for a cause with Restaurant Week, join the community for a fun run and more this week. Photo: Staff photo

Living Picks: To-do this week

Family     Sweet Dreams Festival This family-friendly event features activities including a craft tent, rock climbing wall, laser tag, inflatables and more. Saturday 7/23. Free, 9am-4pm. Stuarts Draft Park, 96 Edgewood Ln., Stuarts Draft. sweetdreamsday.com. Nonprofit Restaurant Week Enjoy specially designed menus in local restaurants, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. […]

Ash Lawn Opera's South Pacific stars Sharin Apostolou and tells a story of love during the time of war at The Paramount through July 30. Photo: Ash Lawn Opera

ARTS Pick: South Pacific

Ash Lawn Opera heats up summer with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, the popular musical about love in the time of war. A story of how relationships between servicemen and civilians intermingle with issues of race, romance and enemy sides, the show was intentionally progressive and an immediate hit when it was first staged in […]

Santiago “Coco” Linares’ Orquesta Mammaye is shaking things up and down this week at Fridays After Five. Photo: Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Orquesta Mammaye

Acclaimed Peruvian guitarist and composer Santiago “Coco” Linares is known for his dexterity as a player and his musicianship in orchestral arrangement and direction. In the course of his 30-year career, Linares served as the musical director for the national Peruvian TV program “Mediodía Criollo,” worked with prominent singers including Eva Ayllón and Pepe Vásquez […]

With his passionate baritone, Ray LaMontagne takes ordinary subject matter and transforms it into deeply personal music. He plays the Pavilion on Wednesday. Photo: Brian Stowell

ARTS Pick: Ray LaMontagne

The evolution of Ray LaMontagne has been fun to hear. From the sparse, husky folk of his early records to a recent 40-minute recording steeped in mythology, the spotlight-wary musician brings fans along as he pushes into new sonic territory. Produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and released as an album in March, Ouroboros […]

file photo

In brief: Debtors’ prison, slush fund and more

Modern-day ‘debtors’ prison’? The Legal Aid Justice Center sued the Department of Motor Vehicles July 6 in federal court in Charlottesville, claiming that suspending the licenses of nearly 1 million low-income Virginians for failure to pay unreasonable court costs and fines traps them in debt, makes it impossible for them to legally drive to work […]

Bootleggers and chorus girls carouse their way through Live Arts’ summer comedy musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It. Photo: Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Nice Work If You Can Get It

Just before his wedding night, a 1920s playboy runs into a bit of a mess that results in bootleggers on his tail and chorus girls running around him. Nice Work If You Can Get It, written by Tony Award-winning playwright Joe DiPietro, includes everything he says is good about life: music, laughter and falling in […]

Ezra John returns to promote his soulful new R&B effort along with a list of elite local players at The Ante Room on Thursday. Photo: Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Ezra John

Ezra John got his musical start in Charlottesville in 2001, after deciding teaching music wasn’t going to fulfill the dreams he had for himself. Since then, he’s been entertaining in Atlanta and Pittsburgh, and sharing the stage with Gavin DeGraw, Kendrick Lamar and Daughtry, to name a few. He returns to tout his new EP, […]

Local filmmaker Lorenzo Dickerson heads the Maupintown Film Festival, which highlights stories of African-American historical, educational and social value. Photo: Courtesy subject

ARTS Pick: Maupintown Film Festival

The Maupintown Film Festival showcases works of historical, educational and social value that address the achievements and plight of the African-American community. Included in the 12-film lineup is local filmmaker (and founder of Maupintown Media) Lorenzo Dickerson’s documentary Anywhere But Here, which examines the cause and effect of mass incarceration, as well as his Color […]

Ryan Adams made news when he covered Taylor Swift’s 1989 last year. “Her voice does this thing,” Adams told The Guardian. “It just goes through all my bullshit detectors and right into my heart and soul.” Photo: Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Ryan Adams

Formerly of Whiskeytown and The Cardinals, alt-rocker Ryan Adams is better known for his solo career, which leans heavily on a driven blend of folk and Americana music. In 2015, he elevated his profile with a full-length cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. He unplugged and reimagined each of the album’s glossy pop songs into a […]