Elizabeth Derby



The ensemble cast (Tim McNamara, Lynn Thorne, Jon Cobb, Elizabeth Howard, Jayne Gallagher and John Ashley pictured) of Live Arts’ Les Misérables lifts the epic to great heights. Photo: Martyn Kyle.

No despair: Live Arts soars with Les Misérables

I was 10 years old when I saw Les Misérables on Broadway, and my dislike of the show was immediate and intense. I wasn’t prepared for my total immersion into a world where destitute mothers became prostitutes, innocent men served on chain gangs and girls my age toiled barefoot in the streets. Oh, and then […]

Siân Richards and Kara McLane Burke play twins Pip and Twig on an epic sea adventure, a melding of physical theater, creative collaboration and collage-like organic storytelling. Publicity photo.

Organic storytelling: Building theater from the body up

When you think of storytelling, you might imagine your animated girlfriend gesticulating over Sunday brunch or a kindly grandfather telling the kids to gather ’round. But for Siân Richards and Kara McLane Burke, stories begin in the body. “You just kind of start somewhere and give yourself rules, a series of assignments, even if you […]

“Flight of the Phoenix” is one of Daphne Maxwell Reid’s door photographs, taken while traveling the globe. Photo courtesy of the artist.

At the door: Daphne Maxwell Reid captures one side of wonder

When you view a photography exhibit that focuses exclusively on doors, you can’t help but feel a tinge of desperation to know what on earth is behind them. Artist Daphne Maxwell Reid makes no such offers in her current show at The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. “Everybody starts with the same curiosity. Every […]

Miller Murray Susen (left) brings a lifetime of theater experience to her stage adaptation of
Little Women, which is also her directorial debut. Photo: Martyn Kyle.

New direction: Miller Murray Susen puts on the bossy pants

Less than a week before opening night, Miller Murray Susen, the director and author of Four County Players’ holiday adaptation of Little Women, has one priority: to keep things calm. “I’ve never directed a full-length play and been in charge of adding in all the tech stuff,” said Susen. “I seriously don’t have a great […]

Sixteen-year-old Ward Saunders goes to a special boarding school (no pun intended) in Bethel, Maine, where he and his peers spend four hours a day on the snow. Photos: Courtesy family

Ahead of the game: Sixteen-year-old snowboarder Ward Saunders is already making his way

Earlier this year, then-15-year-old snowboarder and Charlottesville native Ward Saunders traveled to Copper Mountain, Colorado, to compete in the U.S.A. Snowboard Association’s national championships. Described by the event website as “the largest snowboard and free skiing event on earth,” the national championships invite top regional winter sport athletes from around the country to compete by […]

Jennifer Niesslein has assembled compelling essays from her acclaimed blog into the book
Full Grown People: The Greatest Hits, Volume 1. “The book is a great introduction, and if you’ve just found the site and don’t want to slog through back essays, this is a great way to catch up,” she said. Photo: Emily Morone.

Book mark: Jennifer Niesslein’s Full Grown People turns 1

To celebrate the first birthday of her online literary journal Full Grown People on October 4, editor Jennifer Niesslein published a book. “Full Grown People: The Greatest Hits, Volume 1 gives you a good idea of our breadth,” she said. “It covers a lot, from parenting issues, when you’re looking at maybe your kids leaving […]

The “Maitreya Loving Kindness Tour” offers a chance to get close to Buddha. “If you wish, there will be a monk on hand to offer a personal blessing,” Leena Rose Miller said. The tour also offers a period for baby blessings and pet blessings.

Following bliss: Sacred relics on exhibition at CitySpace

“I was walking down the street in Asheville a few years ago, and I saw a line forming at the center where I’d occasionally attended meditation,” said Leena Rose Miller. “I thought, ‘What’s this?’ and got into it, not knowing what to expect. I can honestly only tell you that when I stood in front […]

In her role as curator at Second Street Gallery, Tosha Grantham is broadening appeal through programs like the Second Saturday series “Yoga Art Grooves.” Photo courtesy of Tosha Grantham.

Gaining access: Tosha Grantham reaches out at Second Street Gallery

Curator Tosha Grantham’s biggest single show to date took over 10 years to develop. Featuring 112 objects by 18 artists occupying 4,500 square feet, “Darkroom” was a collection of photography and new media from South Africa’s period of apartheid. But it wasn’t size and scope that gave Grantham satisfaction. “I was talking to someone outside […]

“Ethiopia, Ark of the Covenant” at The Garage is photographer Philip de Jong’s first exhibition in several years. Image courtesy of the artist

The discontent of photographer Philip de Jong

Visual artist Philip de Jong won’t content himself with creating beautiful work. In fact, he avoids contentment altogether. “At some point as a trained photographer your job is to make anything look good,” he said. “If people describe my work as pretty, I feel insulted on some level because all it means is that I […]

Authentic Latin food, children’s activities, and live traditional music and dancing bring the community together for Saturday’s Cville Sabroso. Photo credit: Susan Manning Parmar

Cville Sabroso’s Latin celebration

Fanny Smedile is not a professional dancer. But at last year’s Cville Sabroso, she put on a colorful dancing dress and found herself transformed. “When I wore the costume, I felt my folklore,” she said. “When I listened to the music, it took me back to my country. In that moment, I felt it in […]

Abundance Organizing's Allison Mitchell clears physical—and often emotional—clutter to make room for happiness. Photo: Emily Moroné.

Order up: Professional organizer helps clients clear the clutter

Allison Mitchell helps people sort through and systematize the keeping of their stuff. But really, she says, they’re redefining self-love. “The irony for my clients is that they fear losing something, so they keep everything, then they lose the something they really wanted to keep,” said Mitchell, a Charlottesville-based organizing consultant for Richmond firm Abundance […]

Artist Emily King blends new tools with old techniques, bitmapping photos in Photoshop to create stylized images she then prints in the traditional way. Image courtesy of the artist

“The World of Printmaking” explored at the Jefferson School City Center

Everybody’s an amateur photographer these days, using smartphone cameras and Instagram filters to create quick, easy, and brighter-than-life ‘art’. But in curator June Collmer’s latest exhibit, “The World of Printmaking,” she’s going to bat for a different aesthetic. “It’s the lines,” the local photographer said in an interview at the Vinegar Hill Café in the […]

Justin Poe’s tiny architectural landscape sculptures are on exhibition in “Parvum” at Pigment showroom through August 10. Image courtesy of the artist

Sculptor Justin Poe creates landscapes in minature

You don’t often see sculptors in the library at work on invisible projects, but Justin Poe is an exception. “When I started out, I did these 2″ x 3″ wide sculptures, and I carried everything around in my backpack,” said the Charlottesville-based artist. “I worked in public, in libraries and restaurants, and got a lot […]

“Cross Section” is one of the works on exhibition in Laura Snyder’s “Souvenir,” inspired by her travels in Latin America. Image courtesy of the artist

Artist Laura Snyder remaps personal experiences

 “I don’t really like going on trips,” said Laura Snyder, standing among half-painted maps and other travel miscellany in her second-floor studio at The Haven. “When I go somewhere I like to be able to just stay. I’m a one-way ticket kind of girl.” A New City Arts’ artist-in-residence, Snyder was in the midst of […]

Ashley McMillen and her band bring true to the roots country music to the Pavilion stage for Fridays After Five. Photo by Tahni Candelaria-Holm.

ARTS Pick: Ashley McMillen

When she’s not talking about country music on her own local radio show, Ashley McMillen is whipping up tunes that get boots clickin’ and brass buckles swayin’. Born in the hills of West Virginia, the Southern songbird embraces classic country using traditional instruments and heartfelt lyrics to capture the essence of the genre. McMillen carved […]

The Kings of Belmont return for a hometown gig and declare independence for local rock 'n' roll. Publicity photo.

ARTS Pick: Kings of Belmont

Nothing defines America’s pop music culture quite like rock ‘n’ roll, and no local outfit rocks out quite like the Kings of Belmont. In the midst of a summer schedule that takes them up and down the east coast, KOB turns inland for a brief holiday homecoming to jam with friends and family in the […]

Thoroughly Modern Millie (Carly Amburn, center) tries to embrace the lifestyle of the 1920’s by dancing her way through Broadway nightclubs and seducing her way into Park Avenue wealth. Photo by Michael Bailey.

ARTS Pick: Thoroughly Modern Millie

The winner of 2002’s Tony Award for best musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, kicks off the Heritage Theatre Festival in retro fashion. The show follows Millie, a wide-eyed Midwestern farm girl-turned-flapper, through a series of misadventures in New York City’s Jazz Age. Big city lights and Big Apple nights set the stage for this fish-out-of-water story […]