Erin O'Hare



Kemi Layeni’s short film, American Beauty?, is part of the “Empowering Women of Color” exhibit on view this month at The Bridge PAI. Courtesy of the artist

First Fridays gallery listings: February 3

First Fridays: February 3 When Kemi Layeni was a child, she asked her mother to do her hair “like the fishies,” to fit her thick, kinky hair into a sleek ponytail. “I so desperately wanted to be anyone but me,” Layeni says, “whether that meant trading in my kinks for blonde hair, changing my name, Oluwakemi, […]

Lu-Mei Chang opened Cardamom, an all-vegetarian spot in York Place that serves contemporary Asian cuisine, to show Charlottesville diners that meat-free meals can still be tasty. Photo by Tom McGovern

Cardamom dishes up contemporary vegetarian Asian food

Lu-Mei Chang can’t stay away from the kitchen, and we’re all better off for it. Chang, who grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, started cooking when she came to Charlottesville 28 years ago. She worked at Eastern Standard, one of Charlottesville’s first Asian restaurants (located where The Whiskey Jar is now) for years before she opened […]

The modern Tex/Mex menu at Junction includes a variety of dishes such as the grilled shrimp and sweet potato empanadas, oven-roasted chile relleno and Texas cowgirl chili, and housemade cocktails and margaritas. Photo by Ron Paris

Junction brings modern Mexican to Belmont

When Melissa Close-Hart was in her mid 20s, she was studying to become a high school psychology teacher and worked in the kitchen at Birmingham, Alabama’s acclaimed Bottega Café to help pay for her tuition. One night, she says she perfectly plated a chicken scallopini—the positions of the components, the garnish, everything—and it hit her. […]

Keese will perform with Gritty City Records on Tuesday at The Ante Room. Photo by Amy Jackson

Local rapper Keese envisions unity through compassion

Keese is a quiet guy. While growing up in Charlottesville’s 10th and Page neighborhood, he didn’t say much. But he paid close attention to everyone around him—his friends and family, his neighbors, what was going on in his city schools. English was his favorite subject—he liked to read and he loved to write stories. When […]

At Bizou, Ryan Ferguson’s Bear Dog Farm oyster mushrooms add a fresh, local highlight to comfort dishes during the colder months. Photo by Tom McGovern

Seasonal rotation sparks creativity for local chefs

Why do summer and fall harvests get all the food love around here? Sure, there are peaches and berries and juicy tomatoes, and beers to pair with tacos to be eaten outside. But winter offers a pretty flavorful bounty that allows chefs to indulge in all that our farms have to offer: leafy greens, Brussels […]

The strong harmonies and indie-folk songwriting lean darkly on The Hill and Wood's new record, When You Go. Photo by Ellen Picker

The Hill and Wood looks inward on When You Go

“It’s hard to talk about these songs,” says Sam Bush over a mug of cooling tea at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. He’s unwrapped the CD copy of The Hill and Wood’s latest record, When You Go, and crinkles the clear plastic wrapping in his hands. “There’s a lot of pressure these days for bands to…fabricate […]

Aromas Cafe, which will be serving meals like this jumbo black tiger shrimp over white bean cassoulet at the $29 price point, is one of nine restaurants to join Restaurant Week for the first time this winter. Photo by Tom McGovern

Restaurant Week feeds into local community

As you scramble to make your Restaurant Week reservations, as you finally get to your table and lay a napkin over your lap and lift your fork to your lips, take a moment to reflect on how your dinner is more than a treat for your taste buds. It’s helping feed thousands of people right […]

Littlejohn’s New York Delicatessen outpost at Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery serves sandwich staples, such as the Chris Long sub, along with smaller snacks, burgers and fries. Rammelkamp Foto

Littlejohn’s opens a Pro Re Nata outpost

Fans of Littlejohn’s New York Delicatessen can now enjoy a Chris Long sub, Bum Steer and Five Easy Pieces at Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery on Rockfish Gap Turnpike in Crozet. The restaurant operates out of a Pro Re Nata-owned food truck on the brewery property, providing food to patrons and offering both pick-up and […]

Sound wizard Finn Downey has been working with local hip-hop talent since his mid-teens. Photo by Keith Alan Sprouse

Audio engineer Finn Downey is the area’s hip-hop go-to

Finn Downey is the first person to admit that his home recording studio is a modest setup. Downey has nailed egg crate foam mattresses to the wall and set up a couple of professional-quality microphones, a mixer, turntable, preamp, keyboard and a pair of equalizers. He has a computer equipped with digital recording and production […]

Terri Allard (pictured with filmmaker Geoff Luck) hosts WHTJ/WCVE’s “Charlottesville Inside-Out.” The show, which airs Thursdays at 8:30pm and Sundays at 12:30pm, celebrates 10 years with a concert at the Paramount on January 11.  Photo by Ryan Jones

Terri Allard celebrates 10 years of storytelling on WHTJ

About 10 years ago, Terri Allard had an idea for a television show. As an Americana-folk singer-songwriter raised in Barboursville, she had been sharing stories for years. Some of those stories belonged to her, but most belonged to other people, she says, and sharing them with an audience is what she’s always loved most. She […]

J.R. Hadley, co-owner of Cho’s Nachos and Beer, says the new restaurant will employ a special distribution method to ensure each chip is covered with toppings—not a naked chip in sight. Photo by John Robinson

Cho’s Nachos has got it covered

J.R. Hadley has eaten a lot of nachos. When traveling around the country to Pittsburgh Steelers games, Hadley and his friends often ordered nachos to go along with their cold beers at various bars and restaurants. They would rank the nachos according to chip integrity, dispersion of ingredients (nobody likes a naked chip), quality of […]

Proof that Charlottesville’s local music scene is thriving

Proof that Charlottesville’s local music scene is thriving

For all the shit that 2016 flung at music-lovers—the loss of Prince, David Bowie, Vi Subversa, Pauline Oliveros, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones and many other groundbreaking artists—it’s also tossed us some pretty good local releases. The following list is by no means a complete catalog of what local bands and artists were up to this […]

Perhaps the biggest food loss of the year—or at least the one with the largest community outcry—was the closing of Spudnuts this month after close to 50 years of providing us with potato flour donuts. Photo by Eze Amos

Local restaurant closings leave us feeling empty

The end of 2016 has us eating our feelings. We’ve scrambled to get one more box of Spudnuts, wolfed down our last Brookville baked egg and toast points and devoured a final bowl of Mican noodles. Here’s a look back at the restaurants we said good-bye to this year, plus a rundown of new ones […]

The Whiskey Jar’s Christmas cocktail menu includes drinks such as O the Weather Outside is Weather, Made in China and the Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins, made with butter, bourbon and salted caramel whipped cream. Photo by Tom McGovern

Seasonal drinks to keep you jolly

Watering holes all over town are getting into the Christmas spirits—er, spirit—this week, decking the halls and pouring festive drinks galore. The Whiskey Jar’s Christmas pop-up bar will feature an all-Christmas cocktail list created by bar director Leah Peeks and assistant bar manager Reid Dougherty. “We’re going to tacky the place up, play Christmas music, […]

Harrison Keevil, chef/owner at Brookville Restaurant, says the decision to close came from wanting more time growing Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen. Photo by Amy Jackson

Brookville Restaurant to serve last meal this weekend

Brookville Restaurant will serve its final meal—a brunch—this Sunday, December 18, from 10am to 2pm. “Every restaurant has a lifetime and Brookville has come to the end of its,” chef Harrison Keevil wrote in an e-mail shortly after making the announcement. He and his wife, Jennifer Keevil, opened Brookville, known for its farm-to-table comfort food—egg […]

Grit Coffee opened its fourth location last week at The Shops at Stonefield. Photo by Eze Amos

Grit opens fourth location; Snowing in Space coming to West Main

Snowing in Space Coffee Co., a local nitro coffee business that’s been serving up thick, creamy, Guinness-like (but not alcoholic) nitro coffee on tap at several locations around town, will soon take over the old C’Ville-ian Brewing Co. space at 705 W. Main St. Snowing in Space co-owner Paul Dierkes says he signed the lease […]

Mary Michaud’s apothecary is full of Mason jars containing tinctures, flower essences and oils, all used to treat a variety of ailments. Photo by Martyn Kyle

Mary Michaud takes a holistic approach

During this year’s Belmont Bash, Mary Michaud spent hours weeding her front yard on Levy Avenue. She thought that passersby kept looking at her funny, and once she’d pulled the last weed from the ground and stood up to admire her work, she saw why: She had left all of the dandelions behind. “My neighbors […]

Chris Johnston stars as Crumpet in The American Shakespeare Center’s final run (for now) of The Santaland Diaries through December 26. Photo by Michael Bailey

American Shakespeare Center discontinues The Santaland Diaries

Backstage at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, actor Chris Johnston pulls on a red turtleneck and green velvet knickers, a green velvet smock and red-and-white-striped stockings. He ties up a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors with jingle bells on the shoelaces and dons what he calls “a perky stocking cap decorated with […]

Though still in high school, the four members of Woods Running (Aaron Richards, Jake Pierce, Jacob Sommerio and Benjamin Snell) are playing regular gigs in rock venues around town. Photo by Martyn Kyle

Woods Running takes off with expansive, emotional tracks

The four members of post-rock band Woods Running are about halfway through a pot of mint tea at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar when they catch the eye of a bearded, ponytailed man sitting at the next table. “Hey guys! I thought that was you,” the man says with enthusiasm. “When’s your next show?” December 9, […]

Owner Hamooda Shami says the Yearbook Taco concept ran its course in less than a year, which is the idea behind 11 Months, a space for extended restaurant/bar pop-ups. Photo by Eze Amos

New concept pops up at Yearbook Taco

When deciding on what to do next with the Yearbook Taco space, owner Hamooda Shami dug deep into a lengthy note on his iPhone, a note full of mostly wild hospitality ideas that ends with a Peanuts cartoon where Lucy, in her winter coat, hat and mittens, says to Charlie Brown, “I feel torn between […]

Mike and Lori Fitzgerald took over Spudnuts from Lori’s father in 2005. Now the family, with son G. Michael, is closing the beloved potato donut shop after 47 years. Photo by Eze Amos

Spudnuts closes after close to 50 years

For years, Mike Fitzgerald has arrived at the Spudnut Shop at 309 Avon St. between 1 and 1:30am to get started on the day ahead. He’ll have a cup of coffee, check on the equipment and begin to make the first batch of potato flour donuts—he’ll mix the dough and let it rise, then roll […]

Spititout Inc. founders MC Remy St. Clair and FellowMan work with DJ Double-U to close each Rugged Arts showcase with a freestyle group cypher. “It’s like walking on water, not having a limit,” St. Clair says. For every MC, says Fellowman, when you’re ready to be heard, “you know it, and you grab that mic.” Photo by Eze Amos

Rugged Arts nurtures a thriving underground scene

When R.U.N.T.215th was growing up in Philadelphia in the mid-1980s, he routinely stayed up late and recorded Lady B’s “ Street Beat” Power 99 FM radio show, taping it on his boom box. He’d listen to the tapes over and over—the sets were packed full of Public Enemy, MC Lyte, Audio Two and Melle Mel […]

Matt Celentano at VMDO Architects

First Fridays: December 2

First Fridays: December 2 Cameron Mankin derived his 14 Fallen in Daredevil #11 series from comic book images. The small etchings—jittery black lines on a chalky white ground—“have a certain doodle-like quality to them, but only if someone drew the same doodle a dozen times in the same spot,” Mankin says. He hopes that the prints […]

WTJU DJ and programming director at the Paramount, Matthew Simon got hooked on collecting vinyl at a young age.  Courtesy subject

Vinyl never went out of style for avid collectors

Ask a vinyl record collector about his collection and it becomes clear that listening to records is about more than the music. It’s about the ritual of placing the needle in the groove and being present for the sound; listening to The Beatles with your dad; anniversary dinners with your wife. In honor of Record […]

Jacie Dunkel opened The Salad Maker last week to provide fresh and quick salad options for customers seeking a sit-down spot for lunch or dinner. Photo by Tom McGovern

The Salad Maker opens on Market Street

In The Big Salad episode of “Seinfeld,” Elaine asks George to get her a big salad from the coffee shop. “What’s in the big salad?” George asks. “Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs,” Jerry deadpans. You won’t get enormous salads with gargantuan vegetables at The Salad Maker at 300 E. Market St., but you […]

Maxx Katz performs as FLOOM, combining the guttural depths of heavy-metal guitar with the piercing lightness of flute in an emotional sonic collision. Photo by Eze Amos

Flutist-guitarist Maxx Katz explores doom with a view

Before Maxx Katz plays a single note of a FLOOM set, she looks out at the audience in front of her and thinks: “We’re all going to die.” That thought in mind, she rings out one heavy chord on her silver sparkle Epiphone Les Paul and lets it tumble out of her bitchin’ amps and […]

You don’t even have to get out of your car to satiate your Panera craving. Photo by Tom McGovern

Food options aplenty at the new shopping center

Loosen your belts, Charlottesville. We’re getting more food, food that we didn’t even know we needed. Here’s a quick roundup of what’s open—or will be open soon—at 5th Street Station. Wegmans A chain that feels less like a grocery store and more like a marketplace, Wegmans boasts a host of specialty items: organic produce and […]