Best of C-VILLE 2014: Entertainment

Chris Pecoraro

Music act: Love Canon

Runner-up: Sons of Bill

Honorable mention: Chamomile & Whiskey

We’ve said it before (and we’ll say it again): Calling Love Canon (pictured above) an ’80s cover band doesn’t do it justice. Whether arranging harmonies in “Sledgehammer” or compensating for an off-kilter rhythm in “She Blinded Me With Science,” the band’s accomplished musicians take every song seriously. (As serious as you can, that is, when you’re wearing neon jackets, headbands, and other embarrassing fashion items from that era.) And if its recent sold-out shows at the Jeff are any indication, Love Canon also throws one helluva party. Crozet-bred Sons of Bill brings home the runner-up prize.

Weekly music gig: John D’earth Quintet at Miller’s (Thursdays)

Runner-up: The Olivarez Trio at Whiskey Jar (Wednesdays) 

Honorable mention: Bourbon Underground at West Main (Mondays) 

More than two decades in, and you’re still front-and-center at Miller’s on Thursday nights to hear John D’earth raise the roof with his high-energy jazz improvisations. The unofficial godfather of C’ville’s music scene, D’earth is UVA’s director of jazz studies and an artist-in-residence at VCU, and he often uses this late-night residency as a proving ground for his students. The second best thing? The Olivarez Trio’s Gypsy and Latin jazz on Wednesdays at The Whiskey Jar.

Art class Wine & Design

Runner-up: City Clay

Honorable mention:

Glassblowing at McGuffey Art Center Give you enough wine and you go all van Gogh on us. (Sans razor blade, of course.) It’s all about drinking and daubing at Wine & Design, your pick for best art class. In addition to opening its downtown doors for private painting parties, the studio’s calendar is chock-a-block with a variety of classes, including “Arches of the UVA Lawn,” “Choose Your Beach Scene,” and “Abstract Cow.” Once you’ve put down your paintbrush (and wine glass), you’re ready to get behind the wheel at second-place vote getter, City Clay.

Live Arts production of Grey Gardens. Photo: Will Kerner
They laughed, they cried at Live Arts this season, thanks to shows like Grey Gardens, which starred Kate Monaghan and Perry Payne Millner. Photo: Will Kerner

Arts organization: Live Arts

Runner-up: Tom Tom Founders Festival

Honorable mention: Music Resource Center

Do we have The Motherfucker with a Hat in the house? Live Arts did. Matter of fact, Live Arts opened its 2013-2014 season with Stephen Adly Guirgis’ award-winning farce, the title of which obviously offended none of our readers, who once again voted the Water Street theater their favorite arts organization. Other shows on last season’s docket included The Philadelphia StoryGrey Gardens, and The Language Archive. As host of the most popular block party in town, the Tom Tom Founders Festival claimed second place.

Local radio station: 91.9 WNRN

Runner-up: 106.1 The Corner

Honorable mention: Hitkicker 99.7

WNRN and 106.1 The Corner have been duking it out in this category for a very long time. Last year the victory went to 106.1, but this year, WNRN has reclaimed the No. 1 spot. C-VILLE readers are obviously fans of the commercial-free nonprofit’s adult album alternative format, with a healthy dose of hip-hop, blues, and Grateful Dead thrown in every week. According to longtime “Acoustic Sunrise” host Anne Williams, “The core thing we do is choose new music. That’s what keeps people interested.” Especially C-VILLE readers.

Local radio personality Brad Savage (106.1 The Corner)

Runner-up: Anne Williams (91.9 WNRN)

Honorable mention: Marc Smith “Grateful Dead & Phriends” (91.9 WNRN) 

WNRN may have won this year’s top prize for best local radio station, but 106.1.’s Brad Savage got more votes than 91.9’s Anne Williams to take this category. The always-upbeat Savage’s victory could have something to do with him being “just a music fan [who] never puts myself in front of the music we play. I keep the focus about music and about Charlottesville, and our community.” Nuff said, Brad.

Local TV personality: Norm Sprouse (NBC 29)

Runner-up: Henry Graff (NBC 29)

Honorable mention: Dan Schutte (Newsplex)

It doesn’t make a lick of difference to our readers that Norm Sprouse’s NBC29 on-air time seems to have been slashed this year. Once again you voted the long-time weatherman your favorite local TV personality. Coming in at a close second is Sprouse’s NBC29 colleague, Henry Graff, who said he made his debut when he was a junior at William Monroe High School and was featured in a report about a group of students who started a news show. Talk about predicting one’s own future!

Photo: Robert Llewellyn
Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo: Robert Llewellyn

Day trip: Blue Ridge Parkway

Runner-up: Sugar Hollow

Honorable mention: Humpback Rock

What’s not to love about 469 miles of gorgeous scenery that stretches from Waynesboro, Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina? Absolutely nothing, according to readers who voted the Blue Ridge Parkway Best Day Trip. The speed limit on the Parkway is usually about 45mph, but you’ll find yourself going much slower, so as not to miss a single scenic look-out. For fabulous scenery that’s a little closer to home, Sugar Hollow comes in at a close second.

Chamomile and Whiskey at Fridays After Five on April 18, 2014. Photo: Chris Pecoraro
Chamomile & Whiskey opened the Fridays After Five season at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on April 18. Photo: Chris Pecoraro

Free entertainment: Fridays after Five

Runner-up: Tom Tom Founders Festival

Honorable mention: First Fridays

We had you at free music. (And cheap beer.) We’re talking Fridays After Five, and so far this season, you—and thousands of your friends and neighbors—have enjoyed performances by Trees on Fire, Eli Cook, and We Are Star Children. And no doubt you’ll be back in the audience at the Pavilion to hear The Currys, In Full, Tropikiimba, and The Skip Castro Band before the season wraps up this fall. But fret not, free entertainment seekers. This year’s runner-up, the Tom Tom Founders Festival, has plenty of no-cost shows, Tom Talks, expos, and pitch competitions.

Place to spot a celebrity: Downtown Mall

Runner-up: Whole Foods

Honorable mention: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard

Our list of hometown celebs is long and deep—John Grisham, Sissy Spacek, Howie Long, Dave Matthews—but our readers know that annual events like the Virginia Film Festival up our sparkly people numbers dramatically. They also know the best place to catch a glimpse of stars like Will Forte (in town last fall to promote his Academy Award-nominated film Nebraska), Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall, and Matthew Broderick is on the Downtown Mall. Eventually, though, even the rich and famous get hungry and head to Whole Foods, where you can stand in line behind them (and steal a glance at what’s in their cart) while waiting to pay for your Jumble cookies.

Place to people watch: Downtown Mall

Runner-up: Fridays After Five

Honorable mention: Citizen Burger Bar’s patio

Even if you don’t see the likes of The Grish or SiSpac, the Downtown Mall is still your favorite place to hang out and watch the always-interesting parade of the ’ville’s humanity wander past. Once you’ve given up your front-row people-watching seat in Central Place, you’re off to Fridays After Five, your second favorite spot for keeping tabs on who’s out and about with whom—and what they’re wearing.

Littlejohns is a late-night delight. Photo: Ashley TwiggsPost-2am hangout: Littlejohn’s New York Delicatessen

Runner-up: The White Spot

Honorable mention: Cook-Out

Our parents always told us that nothing good ever happened after midnight, which we took to mean that the fun doesn’t really start until 2am. According to our readers, the place with the best late-night food scene is Littlejohn’s on the Corner. (Before you get your hopes up about having twice as much fun as you were having at this time last year, be warned that the newly opened Littlejohn’s in The Shops at Stonefield locks its doors at 11pm.) Once you’ve had your fill of Mo-Jo Chicken and Five Easy Pieces, it’s time to mosey down to runner-up The White Spot for a Grillswith.

 Place to snag a spouse: Blue Light Grill

Runner-up: Boylan Heights

Honorable mention: The Box

Blame it on the oysters. They resemble a you-know-what, and eating them is rumored to increase sexual desire. So it’s a no-brainer that the Blue Light Grill, home to one of the best raw seafood bars in town, is your pick for the best place to find The One. From the looks of the scene at runner-up Boylan Heights on a recent Saturday night, the Corner burger hangout ain’t a half-bad Plan B for meeting a mate.

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