Erin O'Hare



R&B and pop singer Nay Nichelle opens for Vibe Riot at this week’s Fridays After Five at the Sprint Pavilion. Photo by Yolonda Jones

Vocal exercises: Singer Nay Nichelle promotes positivity

Nay Nichelle likes to write outside. There’s something inspirational about natural sunlight, she says, especially at sunrise and sunset, when the light changes quickly and just so. It’s hard to put the reason for the inspiration into words, she says, but those moments often lead to lyrics for the R&B and pop singer’s next song. […]

Sam Gray’s premiere solo show, “Gaean Reveries,” is on view in the Sarah B. Smith Gallery at McGuffey Art Center through August 19. Photo by Martyn Kyle

First Fridays: August 3

“The root of my inspiration—pun intended—is firmly planted in the natural world,” says local artist Sam Gray. “When I’m feeling crazy, the best medicine is to go into the woods and be with the mosses, trees, herbs, fungi and critters,” she says. “I find a lot of magic in that connection.” That connection between the […]

The Rainey Day Quartet sets up for an evening of groovy summer jazz at The Garage on Friday. Photo by Martyn Kyle.

The Rainey Day Quartet gets downtown grooving

If you’ve been on the Downtown Mall this summer, you’ve likely seen four young musicians set up in front of Kilwin’s, beside a white board that reads “Help Us Pay For College” propped in a guitar case with a shallow sea of coins and crumpled bills pooling at its base. The Rainey Day Quartet formed […]

With Black Mac, Ti Ames directs one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays in a new light. Photo by Tristan Williams.

Black Mac puts a contemporary look on Macbeth

Ti Ames loves William Shakespeare. Or rather, Ames loves the plays of William Shakespeare. It’s a love that started when Ames played a fairy in The Tempest at Live Arts at age 9, and it grew when, at 16, Ames became the first black actor to win the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition in 2012. […]

“Bleached” (above), is a reaction to Clemons’ experience when visiting a birthing center in Uganda, inspiring a deeper exploration of identity for the artist. The emerging artist will participate in SSG’s “Teeny Tiny Trifecta” show in September, and was recently awarded an Incubator Studio residency at McGuffey Art Center for 2018-2019. Courtesy of the artist

Sahara Clemons steps out in SSG’s Backroom

Like most teenagers, Sahara Clemons is figuring out who she is. She describes herself as “quirky” and “introverted,” a bit shy and quiet. She wears bright lipstick and expresses herself via clothing. She likes to read, travel and look at art. And she’s a Charlottesville High School rising senior who only recently started thinking of […]

Lorenzo Dickerson’s Maupintown Film Festival opens at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center on Friday. Photo by Eze Amos

Maupintown Film Festival shines through the eyes of others

When Lorenzo Dickerson was in fifth grade at Murray Elementary school, he had to write a book report. He went down to the school library and came across Extraordinary Black Americans, a book full of dozens of profiles on inventors, politicians, activists, artists, writers and more. It was a sizable read for the fifth-grader, who […]

Rich Tarbell photographed more than 100 local musicians, including Lance Brenner of absurdist rock band The Falsies (pictured here), in their creative spaces for an upcoming book on Charlottesville music. Preview some of the book’s images this month at Studio IX. Courtesy artist

First Fridays: July 6

About a decade ago, Rich Tarbell sold a guitar to pay for his first camera. Frustrated with his own music, Tarbell decided instead to document local music on film. And while live concert photography is fun, it all starts to look the same after a while, says Tarbell, who likes the behind-the-scenes stuff that most […]

Trevor Scheunemann, at a recent rehearsal for The Marriage of Figaro, says although he’s performed the role of Count Almaviva several times, it was guidance from director David Paul that helped him understand the vulnerability of the character. Photo by Amy Jackson

Charlottesville Opera tells modern stories

Most of the time, when we talk about characters in books, in movies and plays, we talk about their arc—who the character is when the action begins and when it ends, and the curve followed in between. But opera singer Trevor Scheunemann knows it’s not always that simple. It’s especially not that simple for Count […]

Ashley Addington says if you’re thinking of going vegan, just do it. “Next time you run out of creamer, peruse the non-dairy section of the grocery store,” she says. “There are many options that don’t involve animal exploitation or cholesterol.” Photo: Amy Jackson

Vegan anew: Local blogger dishes on all things vegan

“I could never live without cheese!” That was one of Ashley Addington’s mottoes. She’d been vegetarian since she was a tween, after seeing videos of animals being “processed” in what was supposed to be a humane facility. “It really upset me…to watch a life violently end for someone’s five-minute meal didn’t make sense to me,” she […]

(live show) The Landlords—guitarist Charlie Kramer, singer/screamer John Beers, drummer Tristan Puckett and bassist Colum “Eddie Jetlag” Leckey—play a hardcore show in March 1984 at Muldowney’s Pub on Water Street. Photo by Michael Buck

Punk band The Landlords’ first album gets a slick reissue

In his early teens John Beers was “certain that punk rock sucked.” He’d seen the Ramones on television and thought all their songs sounded the same; and he thought Patti Smith singing, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine,” was “kind of scary.” Heavy metal was Beers’ thing. But a few years later, he […]

The Can-Do Attitude plays Fridays After Five at the Pavilion this week. Photo by Eze Amos

The Can-Do Attitude gets it done in unexpected ways

The members of The Can-Do Attitude know what they look like while loading their gear into a venue for a rock show. “Who the hell are these nerds?” they imagine other bands think upon seeing drummer Brian Wilson in a loon T-shirt, the word “Loonatic” printed under the aquatic bird graphic, or watching singer and […]

The Pie Chest’s Rachel Pennington says her second retail location, at 1518 E. High St., will offer hand pies, pies by the slice, biscuits and honey chocolate chip cookies. Photo by Eze Amos.

The Pie Chest and Lone Light Coffee open second location

On March 14, 2015, eager pie eaters lined up along Fourth Street NE on The Pie Chest’s opening day. They were ready to satisfy the cravings triggered by Pi Day, an annual celebration of the mathematical constant pi (you know, 3.14159265359), which the new bake shop opted to embrace. When the door swung open at […]

Johnny Butcher and Jake Rakes plot scams in the gender-swapped version of Dennis Lehane’s Coronado, opening at Gorilla Theater Productions on June 13. Photo by Anna Lien

Gorilla Theater amends Dennis Lehane’s Coronado 

Nearly every Christmas, as the Stewart family unwraps its gifts, someone asks, “Who got the new Dennis Lehane book?” The answer is usually “everyone,” says Kendall Stewart, exaggerating only slightly about her family’s Lehane“obsession,” which began more than a decade ago when Stewart’s mother photographed the Boston-born crime and mystery writer. They’ve read most everything […]

Frank Walker’s studio is full of artwork, art supplies, frames and hundreds of military models: soldiers, guns, ammunition, tanks and uniforms. A historian of both African American history and American military history, the Army veteran is a stickler for accuracy. This week, he’ll build a window display in honor of the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion. Photo by Sanjay Suchak

Artist Frank Walker captures the value of human life

It’s a humid but not hot Saturday evening in early May. Jazz floats through the auditorium of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, filling in the spaces between laughter, delighted gasps and conversational murmurs in the next room. Dressed in brown slip-on shoes, relaxed fit jeans, a short-sleeved chambray shirt and a dark blue […]

Forest Brooks Veerhoff started playing folk-rock on an “old, dusty guitar” when his parents gave him lessons for his eighth birthday. He now also plays mandolin, organ, ukulele and banjo. Photo by Eze Amos

Monticello seniors share inspiration and creativity

Christian Means walks around the halls of Monticello High School with headphones on. He’s not doing it to be antisocial—he’d be happy to pause the music to say hello—but he is doing it on purpose. “I cannot function without having some kind of music playing in my head,” says Means. It helps him focus, helps […]

Forest Brooks Veerhoff started playing folk-rock on an “old, dusty guitar” when his parents gave him lessons for his eighth birthday. He now also plays mandolin, organ, ukulele and banjo. Photo by Eze Amos

Monticello seniors share inspiration and creativity

Christian Means walks around the halls of Monticello High School with headphones on. He’s not doing it to be antisocial—he’d be happy to pause the music to say hello—but he is doing it on purpose. “I cannot function without having some kind of music playing in my head,” says Means. It helps him focus, helps […]

Regina Pilawuk Wilson’s paintings, prints and one weaving are on view in “Ngerringkrrety: One Voice, Many Stories” at Second Street Gallery through July 27. Additionally, she and her son co-curated a current exhibition at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, “Ngunguni: Old Techniques Remain Strong,” and her work is part of “Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia,” at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., through September. Photo by Cassie de Collinge

First Fridays: June 1

The inspiration for many of Regina Pilawuk Wilson’s paintings lies in another art form: weaving. At a roundtable discussion at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, Wilson explains that her people, the Ngangikurrungurr, who are indigenous to Australia’s Daly River region, had passed on fishnet stitches from generation to generation, each community having its own special […]

Located at 816 Hinton Ave. in Belmont, JBD Mobile Catering & Events is open from 11am to 8pm Monday and Tuesday, 
11am to 10pm Thursday through Saturday, and from noon to 8pm Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Wednesday. Photos by Tom McGovern

Jeanetha Brown-Douglas caters to the community

“Look at this,” says Jeanetha Brown-Douglas, peeking through the black and white sheer curtains of her soul food eatery. In the parking lot, a young man sits in his SUV, engine running and air-conditioning blasting, digging into a clamshell container holding a JBD Mobile Catering & Events fried catfish dinner. “He couldn’t even wait till […]

Free Union, led by Michael Coleman and Rob Dunnenberger, seeks unity in Charlottesville on its new, self-titled EP. Photo by Tristan Williams

Free Union pushes social positivity on new EP

Last summer, Michael Coleman had a realization about the power of music. The night of August 12—after 24 hours of terror and chaos that included a torch-lit march led by white supremacists and the Unite the Right rally that left three people dead and dozens of community members and activists injured—Coleman took to Facebook Live […]

La Guadalupana offers 13 varieties of Venezuelan arepas, which are grilled corn cakes stuffed with fillings such as shredded beef, chicken salad and vegetarian options. Photo by Tom McGovern

Get your fill of Venezuelan arepas

A grilled corn cake opened up to make a pocket. Crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside. Filled with deliciousness. This is how La Guadalupana, the Mexican grocery and deli at 221 Carlton Rd., describes its arepas, the latest addition to its deli menu. (It’s not just you; our mouths are watering, too.) The grilled […]

“Becoming“ (left) is one of the astoundingly realistic works on display in “Megan Elizabeth Read: Recent Works in Oil,” at McGuffey through May 27.

The extraordinary works of Megan Elizabeth Read

Perched on a wooden stool inside her McGuffey Art Center studio, Megan Elizabeth “Mae” Read looks around the room at her sketches—a roughly defined nude male figure, a sequence of grayscale charcoal portraits including one of a little girl with butterfly face paint—clustered together near the floor. “You know,” she says before taking a pause, […]

Jeff Gregerson performs as Yessirov on Saturday at the Bridge PAI’s Telemetry Experimental Music Series. Photo by Amy Jackson

Yessirov lets the songs out on new EP

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? This is something that Jeff Gregerson has thought a lot about as he’s made music throughout his life. Gregerson, 33, played first in high school rock and jam bands, and more recently as one half […]

Third-generation candymakers Gene and Dave Williams of H.E. Williams Candy Company make sweets the old-fashioned way in their family’s Chesapeake factory. Gene is one of the masters featured in the Virginia Folklife Program Apprenticeship Showcase that takes place this Sunday, May 6, at James Monroe’s Highland. Photo by Pat Jarrett/Virginia Folklife Program

Learn culinary traditions from the masters at folklife showcase

For those of us who prefer to eat our way through Virginia history, the Virginia Humanities Virginia Folklife Program Apprenticeship Showcase, which takes place Sunday, May 6, at James Monroe’s Highland, is a must-attend annual event. It’s a chance to see how different Virginia culinary traditions are preserved as they are passed down from master […]

A selected collection of Dave Moore’s enamel, acrylic and mixed-media paintings are on view at the Music Resource Center through May. Courtesy artist

First Fridays: May 4

Dave Moore believes in the sensuality of painting. “I want my paintings to look like paintings,” he says. “I am not trying to fool anyone into believing that an object is on the canvas. The painting is the object and the experience, whatever the subject may be.” A self-described “art history nut” who loves “all […]