Sarah Lawson

Sarah has lived in Charlottesville since 2002 - long enough to consider herself a local. In addition to graduating from UVa and co-founding The Bridge Film Series, she has worn a variety of hats including book designer, documentary film curator, animal caretaker, and popcorn maker. The opinions here are completely her own and unassociated with her work at Piedmont Council for the Arts (PCA). Sarah's interests include public art, experimental films, travel, and design.

New Boss stacks up as a local supergroup with (L to R from top) Parker Smith, Chelsea Blakely, Scott Ritchie, Nick Rubin, Jordan Perry and Thomas Dean. Publicity photo.

Musical heirs: New Boss is reborn through old connections

More than once, my father has mentioned a desire to trace our family tree. I only understand this practice in abstract terms though. The closest concrete example I know of such a family tree comes not from any genetic kinship but rather attempts by friends to detail the shared ancestry of musicians in local bands. […]

Charlottesville’s tenacious bookseller Sandy McAdams of Daedalus Bookshop is featured in the documentary A Hundred Thousand Books. Photo courtesy of Virginia Film Festival.

Let’s keep it short: VFF takes on more of the small stuff

In a desert of feature length movies, it’s a delight to stumble upon this year’s slate of short films at the Virginia Film Festival. There are four separate programs of shorts, featuring a total of 29 short films—a grand total that’s much higher than in recent years. These films range in genre and style, offering […]

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is supported by UVA’s OFFScreen Film Society and will be screened on Sunday at the downtown Regal. Photo courtesy of Virginia Film Festival.

Dinner date: And now for some films that really suck

Things I’ve learned from horror movies include: Never say anyone’s name into a mirror more than twice. You’re in trouble if that charming old house you bought has an unfinished cellar or attic. Stripes never go out of style when your fingers are made out of knives. And like all respectful dinner party guests, vampires […]

Kevin Everson followed the workers at a bowling alley equipment factory to make his eight-hour film Park Lanes, Spare. VFF moviegoers will be “spared” the long version and offered a 90-minute cut at the downtown Regal on Friday. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Film Festival.

Explore the Commonwealth: Navigating local cuts at the Virginia Film Festival

In anticipation of the Virginia Film Festival this weekend, I’ve been considering geographical predispositions when it comes to movies. Predictably, as a student, French New Wave films were guaranteed pleasers. These types of geographical tastes exist for many. French films carry a different prestige than Hollywood movies. India’s Bollywood and Nigeria’s Nollywood each have their […]

Doing his part to promote global harmony, Peyton Tochterman (second from left) took his band to Afghanistan in 2012, where he served as an official cultural ambassador.  Publicity photo

Diplomacy and drone: This week’s musical highlights

Does the name Peyton Tochterman ring any bells? It’s been three years since the local musician has performed in town but he’s certainly someone you should know. Tochterman’s last Charlottesville show celebrated the release of the full-length album, A New World. Since then, he’s been busy. “I was on the road almost constantly for two […]

The most effective way to be inspired by a TED or TEDx talk is to attend the event in person. Stuart A. Kessler spoke about technological innovations that assist with independent living for seniors at last year’s open mic. Photo by Jack Looney.

Can we talk? Making the most of your TEDx experience

This town is no stranger to open mic nights. We boast Big Blue Door storytelling and improv night; the musicians, poets, and comedians of Verbs & Vibes; and Olio, a pechakucha-style series that was popular until its untimely demise in 2011. So, how is the upcoming TEDxCharlottesville Open Mic Night different? In a word, glory. […]

Russ Warren’s “Blue Muse,” shows the strong influence that Picasso had on his work. It’s part of the “Picasso, Lydia, and Friends 2014” exhibition at Les Yeux du Monde gallery. Image courtesy of artist

The Gasman archives pay homage to artistic passion

“What inspires you?” For those with an interest in visual art, the question could elicit a response of Diane Arbus, Stan Brakhage, or Jean-Michel Basquiat. However, for many UVA alumni, the answer might very well be the University’s legendary art professor, Lydia Gasman. This month, an exhibit at Les Yeux du Monde gallery entitled “Picasso, […]

Kary Haun works with porcelain to create simple, functional pieces of pottery in her central Virginia home studio. Publicity photo

The simple art of a cup and other favorites

“I hear a lot of people say they bought one and reach for it every day, bypassing all of the others on the shelf.” This is how professional potter Kary Haun describes one of the proudest achievements in her work, her signature cup. “I have cups like that in my cupboard,” she said. “Some are mine, […]

Charlottesville-based dancer Katie Schetlick in “spritewood” (video projection on raw plywood), part of the “WoodEar” exhibit. “Pieces like ‘WoodEar’ try to
pull art into the idea that our relationship with technology can be critically considered and that it can generate new questions and new meanings,” said multimedia artist Peter Traub. Image courtesy of the artist

Multimedia exhibit brings the forest to Ruffin Gallery

What does it mean to digitally broadcast the ‘experience’ of a tree? Is satire inherent in such an act?” These are just a couple of the questions that Charlottesville-based artist Peter Traub hopes you’ll contemplate while viewing “WoodEar” at UVA’s Ruffin Gallery. The exhibit is a recent collaboration between composer and multimedia artist Traub; dance […]

Simultaneously an artist and a teacher, Ryan Trott reminds us all that art can’t be contained in a classroom but should be shared throughout our city. Photo credit: Amanda Finn

Teacher and artist Ryan Trott loosens up the creative process

The day after Labor Day, Ryan Trott will return to the classrooms and hallways where he teaches art to local elementary school students. Under his guidance, they’ll learn about masterworks and fine art techniques; he’ll lead them in exercises to spur imagination and develop creativity. And when asked how he spent his summer vacation, Trott […]

Drawing on experience, Sheri Reynolds brings Southern culture to life on the pages of her novels. Publicity photo.

Author Sheri Reynolds lets her characters work it out

As C’ville residents, we often hear, “Charlottesville has changed so much since I moved here.” Some see this as a positive, others less so. Either way (and regardless of how long you’ve lived here) it’s likely that we all have indeed witnessed some evolution. Recent development has obviously changed the landscape of familiar areas including […]

Heritage Theater Festival’s production of Avenue Q tackles racism, political correctness, homosexuality, and other social issues through candid humor and puppets. Publicity photo

Puppets for grown ups and Shakespeare on the move

As the month of August arrives, everything slows down a bit. Outside, we drown in the humid air, dense as an ocean wave pushing against flesh. There’s little to do but laze away in air-conditioning or spend hours floating in the cool waters of a swimming pool. It’s the time of year when I used […]

Researcher Mark Tomasko’s presentation promises to be a veritable treasury of engraving samples including this note on The State Bank of Michigan (circa 1859-1864) produced by American Bank Note Company. Image courtesy of Rare Book School.

Mark Tomasko works to preserve the art of engraving

I’ll be honest, I was an avid coin collector as a kid, but it was never about the art. The intricacy of the designs on coins or the colors of ink used on bills are often an afterthought. For me collecting was about rarity. I wanted to be the only person in town with a […]

The music video for the song, “Want Me Close,” was produced in a week and focuses on the concept of “hallucinating from chicken wings,” an idea that came out of a brainstorming session with Dwight Howard Johnson band members. Courtesy of the artist

Young filmmaker Sam Gorman returns to Light House as mentor

It’s going to be an exciting summer at Light House Studio. The local youth filmmaking nonprofit’s website redesign is up and running, and they have a new location for their summer workshops while the City Center for Contemporary Arts—also home to Live Arts and Second Street Gallery—undergoes renovations. Inside the studio, a group of Light […]

Charlottesville’s newest race is a splash for the arts

Charlottesville’s newest race is a splash for the arts

Between last week’s Discovery Dash, the annual Ten Miler, the Women’s and Men’s Four Milers, and many others, Charlottesville is hardly in need of another running event. However, need and desire are different beasts—and this is a town that’s addicted to the runner’s high. To satisfy this craving, there’s a new 5K that aims to […]

Using cartography as an art form connects our personal story to a public one and allows us to visualize our own historical perspective in The Garage’s “Memory Mapping” project.
Publicity image.

Artists-in-residence offer a different kind of mapmaking

Recent construction has changed the ways a lot of us navigate Charlottesville. For some, it’s physically changed the mechanism by which we travel: a commuter who used to savor the peaceful walk to work might now ride a bike just to get past all the noise and dust more quickly. Or perhaps it’s only changed […]

Media artist Jason Robinson (pictured) will team with Nathan Halverson for the live performance of an experimental cinema piece in Screensavers 001 at the Bridge on Saturday.
Photo: Publicity photo.

A once-in-a-lifetime evening of experimental cinema at the Bridge

It’s been almost a year since Vinegar Hill Theatre closed its doors, and we’re still months away from the promised renaissance of the Violet Crown Cinemas, so it’s hard to know where to watch a movie in Charlottesville these days. I’m talking about a movie that’s neither mainstream nor blockbuster; one that experiments with and […]

Despite boasting the wide, tree-lined streets of the Jardim America and Jardim Paulista neighborhoods, São Paulo is also home to countless dilapidated tenement buildings, or cortiços, that have the chance to serve as incubators for creative urban interventions.

Daniela Sandler explores activism in urban reinvention

For many, Brazil conjures images of rain forests, samba dancers, and favelas. It’s also the host country for this year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. A great deal of news coverage has detailed both the construction that has gone into preparations for these global sporting events as well as resulting public demonstrations demanding stronger […]

Chip Kidd took time off from designing book covers for his own book, Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design.

Must-see panels at the Festival of the Book

Each March, visiting and local literati of all ages and reading preferences fill Charlottesville for the annual Virginia Festival of the Book. History buffs and romance readers mingle with self-published writers and award-winning authors including John Grisham, Lois Lowry, and John Lewis. Attendees have lots of choices to make during the five-day festival (March 19-23). Elaborate transportation routes […]

Chip Kidd took time off from designing book covers to write and design his own book,
Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design.

Must-see panels at the Virginia Festival of the Book

Each March, visiting and local literati of all ages and reading preferences fill Charlottesville for the annual Virginia Festival of the Book. History buffs and romance readers mingle with self-published writers and award-winning authors including John Grisham, Lois Lowry, and John Lewis. Attendees have lots of choices to make during the five-day festival (March 19-23). […]