From the best place for karaoke to your favorite local blog, here are the top picks in the local entertainment scene.
110 E. Main St., 245-4980
Runner-up: nTelos Wireless Pavilion
700 E. Main St., 245-4900
It’s true what they say: Good things come in small packages. With the Jeff’s capacity for 750 music lovers (compared to the Pavilion’s 3,500), it’s not exactly an intimate gathering, but being close to the stage makes seeing your favorite band monumental. This past year, The Head and the Heart, Mac Miller, and Passion Pit (to name a few) brought the house down. At the Pavilion, The Avett Brothers, Pretty Lights, and Bonnie Raitt stole the show.
PLACE TO DANCE
110 E. Main St., 245-4980
Runner-up: The X Lounge
313 Second St. SE, 244-8439
Seems to us the slanted floor at The Jefferson might hinder your ability to bust a move (would you moonwalk uphill or down?), but we’ll chalk your votes up to the groove-inducing musical acts that pass through the Downtown venue. Across the tracks, X Lounge marks the spot. DJ Pride keeps you on the dance floor until 2am every Friday and Saturday.
PLACE TO LOOK AT ART
McGuffey Art Center
201 Second St. NW, 295-7973
Runner-up: The Fralin Museum of Art at UVA
155 Rugby Rd., 924-3592
Located inside a nearly 100-year-old building, McGuffey Art Center, as readers keenly observe, has it all. The gallery features art in all mediums from glass and sculpture to photography and mixed media. But it’s also a good place to get help on your own masterpiece. This past spring, the center offered a free open critique for budding Basquiats. On Grounds, the Fralin hosted such exhibits as “The Dancer and the Dance” (prints, drawings, and photographs in honor of renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones’ residency), “The Adoration of the Magi” by Bartolo di Fredi, and, more recently, Emilio Sanchez’s “Cityscapes.”
PLACE FOR KARAOKE
200 W. Market St., 979-4279
Runner-up: Baja Bean Co.
1327 W. Main St., 293-4507
Karaoke is a Japanese word meaning “empty orchestra.” So, technically, your winner in this category doesn’t exactly fit the bill. With live tunes courtesy of Retrospective Collective (as opposed to recorded music), Fellini’s Thursday karaoke night (from 10pm-1am) isn’t empty at all. In fact, it’s usually packed. Even at Baja Bean, your runner-up, you don’t have to go it alone. Karaoke jockey Steve Miller has been propping up brave rockstar wannabes for more than 10 years.
PLACE TO WATCH THE GAME
102 14th St. NW, 984-5707
Runner-up: Wild Wing Café
820 W. Main St., 979-9464
And now, a joke. How many TVs does it take to watch a game at your favorite local bar? According to you folks, at least 20. Corner burger joint Boylan boasts that many, perfectly situated for maximum viewing capacity, and you can ask your server to change the channel to your preferred game. Over at Wild Wing, the train station chicken spot has 32 screens and “full restaurant game sound,” which means you’d have to try pretty hard to miss the big play, even if you’re sucking on a chicken bone.
Virginia Film Festival
Runner-up: Dogwood Festival
We love our flicks, as evidenced by the annual Virginia Film Festival’s growth over the last 24 years. Each VFF lights up the town with big names and daring films. Hold on to your hats, because it returns in November for its 25th anniversary. On a different note, the yearly Dogwood Festival is a family affair; a laid-back cruise through what makes Charlottesville like Mayberry. The fest includes a carnival, benefit breakfasts, a parade, memorials, and the crowning of a Dogwood Queen. If it got any more wholesome, we’d make it into a sandwich.
Vinegar Hill Theatre
220 W. Market St., 977-4911
Runner-up: Regal Downtown Mall 6
200 W. Main St., 979-7857
Like a fine wine, Vinegar Hill gets better with age. The 36-year-old theater continues to offer long runs of fan favorites. This past year, that meant My Week With Marilyn and Midnight in Paris. On the Downtown Mall, Regal takes the runner-up slot. When the Stonefield development on Hydraulic opens, though, there could there be a newcomer to this category.
Sons of Bill
Runner-up: Love Canon
A good band’s hard to find. And, when you do, it’s hard to let go. Alt-country crooners Sons of Bill hasn’t been around much lately, instead spending time touring everywhere from Philly to Athens (Georgia, y’all!) to promote its newest album, Sirens, which debuted in the Billboard Top 200. Best of C-VILLE newcomer Love Canon combines conservatory-trained musicians with popular ’80s covers, and they throw in a sense of humor for good measure—the band’s first album, which debuted this past April, is titled Greatest Hits: Vol. 1.
Runner-up: Sarah White
Sisters are doin’ it for themselves! Raspy troubadour and current host of WHTJ show “Charlottesville Inside-Out,” Terri Allard takes home the gold. Though it’s been six years since her last album release, Live from Charlottesville, she’s still high on the list of great local performers. Sarah White, who has mostly fronted her band, The Pearls, lately, got the second most votes. Having started in country, becoming more eclectic as her talents grew, White continues to kick out strong songs on her frequent stops on area stages.
LOCAL PLAY OR MUSICAL
Fiddler on the Roof at Albemarle High School
Runner-up: The Producers at Live Arts
Seems this is becoming somewhat of a, ahem, tradition, as the Albemarle Players —AHS’ award-winning drama troupe, led by Fay Cunningham—wins the category again this year. The show’s four-day run this past May proved a good, ahem, match for audiences. Downtown, Live Arts’ extra large production of Mel Brooks’ The Producers featured 23 local actors during a month-long run.
Runner-up: Matt Kleberg
Sharon Shapiro scores with art fans again. Shapiro’s recent work involves mashing up her subjects on canvas and combining portraits with images of animals. Matt Kleberg lends his subjects, lately cowboys and horses, just enough abstraction to make them compelling and complex.
Sarah Cramer Shields
Runner-up: Jen Fariello
You know what they say: Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. When it comes to these two women, truer words were never spoken. Both launched their own passion projects this past year —foodie blog Beyond the Flavor for Shields (co-created with her friend and fellow photog Andrea Hubbell) and an Art of Photography learning series for Fariello. Both have been met with considerable enthusiasm. We should all be so lucky.
Runner-up: Rob Bedford (DJ XSV)
In the immortal words of Madonna, music makes the people come together. Of course, a good beat doesn’t happen on its own. This year, Derek Tobler moved the party crowd. With more than 15 years of experience at his fingertips, Tobler knows it takes more than a few Top 40 hits to get the party started, which is why he also furnishes flatscreen TVs with dance floor music videos, high-end sound equipment, and an LED lighting system. Runner-up Rob Bedford (a.k.a. DJ XSV) has been busy with the ladies (specifically, his twin baby girls), but managed to squeeze in a gig at Bonnaroo in June.
Runner-up: Leah Woody
What does Stevie Jay, who performed his multi-chakra experience Life, love, sex, death, and other works in progress at The Bridge/Progressive Arts Initiative this past April, say is his secret to success? “To make sure I am baring my soul at all times. And then if that doesn’t work, I know I can always just whip off my shirt and bare my chest. That’s a sure-fire winner every time!” “Classy broad of comedy” Leah Woody is considerably more modest, and you can catch her performing stand-up with the Charlottesville Comedy Roundtable.
LOCAL RADIO STATION
106.1 The Corner
Runner-up: 91.9 WNRN
If you’re hearing “We Are Young” by Fun or Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” chances are you’re tuned in to 106.1. Of course, we can’t blame them for that—those songs are playing everywhere. What’s good about your fave local station is that it also mixes in the up-and-comers, like Of Monsters and Men or The Lumineers. Runner-up WNRN boasts a lineup of “modern rock with no commercials,” and some easy-listening tunes every morning, hosted by Anne Williams.
LOCAL RADIO PERSONALITY
Runner-up: Jay James
His name might be “Savage,” but Brad’s actually just your average charismatic music super-fan, sent from the Twin Cities to bring sweet tunes to C’ville listeners. We suspect that’s why you’ve put him at the top of your list again this year, followed closely by runner-up Jay James. Jay’s “Best Seat in the House” (his nightly WINA sports talk show) has been catching you up on the local jock beat for almost three years.
One-man news team Waldo Jaquith of cville news.com has been a local blogger since before blogging was blogging. Jaquith is a tech geek and an activist at heart, so it’s no wonder that his current project, Statedecoded.com, is an online resource for making sense of Virginia laws. At the other end of the blog spectrum is Mas To Miller’s, an inquisitive—and sometimes blunt —ticker of the local restaurant scene. Make a note of its Food Finds, which highlight signature dishes around town, and Vegan Reviews, to see how local eateries fare in the vegan challenge. Their vegans loved BBQ Exchange. Who knew?
PLACE TO THROW A KID’S PARTY
Seminole Square Shopping Center, 973-1111
Runner-up: ACAC Adventure Central
200 Four Seasons Dr., 978-7529
What does a kid like more than bouncing around? Bouncing around with friends. Your winner offers themed parties that culminate in a giant bouncefest at the Seminole Square location. Choose from popular themes like “Mad Science,” “Cuddly Critter,” or “Nerf” and Bounce-n-Play will do the rest, right down to the cupcakes. You also have your choice of themes at runner-up Adventure Central, at ACAC’s Four Seasons Drive location: Sports Mania (basketball, soccer, dodgeball), Princess (nail painting and jewelry making), or dance (musical games and new moves).