Group protests Lewis and Clark (and Sacagawea) statue [October 8]

Group protests Lewis and Clark (and Sacagawea) statue [October 8]
A group of protesters—four of them in prom gowns, sashes and tiaras—set up camp Monday morning at the Lewis and Clark statue on the corner of W. Main and Ridge/McIntire streets. They were protesting the celebration of Columbus Day and the statue itself.

Jennifer Tidwell, a.k.a. Miss Representation, protests the Lewis and Clark statue at the intersection of W. Main, Ridge and McIntire streets.

Missing from the monument’s informal name is a key participant, Sacagawea. She is not, however, missing from the statue. There she’s seen crouching—or cowering—beneath the men, and this is exactly the point of the protest.

Two of the protestors, Miss Representation and Miss Ogyny (real names: Jennifer Tidwell and Amanda McRaven) held a large banner 14’ in the air. It obstructed drivers’ views of the statue from Ridge/McIntire Street. The banner read “Sacagawea Never Cowered.”

McRaven said the group, which included Brandon Collins in everyday attire, was out to raise awareness about the genocide of American Indians. “We’ve also got to highlight the role of women,” says Ogyny (McRaven). And the prom queen get-ups? “It helps to have character and humor when you’re protesting.”

Minutes later, Representation (Tidwell) turned around. “I just got the bird for the first time,” she says, referring, of course, to smaller, one-fingered counterprotest. But the majority of the responses, says Miss Take (Lisa Eller), had been great.

Take (Eller) was joined by Miss Informed (Reagan Greenfield). They held a banner that said “Happy Genocide Day.”

“It’s about time we start teaching real history,” says Informed (Greenfield). “We need to face up to it.”

[October 5]

Radiohead looking at Capshaw record labels
ATO Records and Capshaw’s new Side One Recordings are likely candidates for the formal release of the band’s seventh album

Even though the thinking person’s rockers, Radiohead, still plans to release its newest album In Rainbows on its website for what amounts to fans’ donations, the English band won’t give up on doing things the old-fashioned way. reports that Radiohead is closing in on a deal with one of two labels, both of which fall under the media emperor that is Charlottesville’s own Coran Capshaw.

Radiohead is digitally releasing In Rainbows, their seventh album, and asking fans to pay what they want for it, but reports indicate that they may go to Coran Capshaw’s ATO Records or Side One Recordings for a formal release.

ATO, a Capshaw company, is apparently seen as the forerunner in the race to sign Radiohead, thanks in part to its acquisition of Phil Costello, a former senior VP at Capitol.  Waiting in the wings is another Capshaw venture, Side One Recordings, which is a label co-owned by Red Light Management and ATO. Both are part of the Capshaw machine, which is based in the former SNL building on the Downtown Mall at the corner of Fourth Street. 

The album, not due out until next year, is Radiohead’s seventh. All of this comes after Red Light Management signed The Decemberists, Alanis Morissette and Band of Horses to management deals back in August.

[October 3]

Grisham sued for libel
Prosecutor and investigator not happy with Grisham’s nonfiction debut

Charlottesville-area novelist John Grisham has been named in a libel lawsuit over his non-fiction debut, The Innocent Man. The best-selling author, along with the book’s publisher, Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, are two of several defendants. The suit seeks more than $75,000 in relief, as well as a jury trial, according to the Associated Press.

John Grisham has been smacked with a libel suit seeking over $75,000 in damages. In a letter to one of the plaintiffs, the Charlottesville-area writer said one lawsuit per nonfiction book sounds about right.

The libel suit is being brought by two men portrayed in Grisham’s book: Pontotoc County District Attorney Bill Peterson and a former Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent, Gary Rodgers. The plaintiffs claim that the defendants conspired to commit libel, generate publicity by placing the two men in a false light and intentionally inflicting emotion distress.

The Innocent Man details the conviction and eventual exoneration of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz in the murder of Debbie Sue Carter. Peterson prosecuted the men for the murder, and Rodgers headed the investigation. A review in The Wall Street Journal called The Innocent Man “a polemic.”

C-VILLE interviewed Grisham last October about the book, when he told us, “I do think it’s more of a small-town thing, where juries are not quite as sophisticated, cops and then prosecutors are not quite as sophisticated—we have more problems.” The film rights to the book have been bought by George Clooney.

On Peterson’s personal website, he posts images of letters sent to and from Grisham. “F.Y.I., I have bought your book and at the writing of this letter I am on page 28,” writes Peterson. “In those 28 pages I have found two inaccuracies. I have been informed that you state publically [sic] that you expect to be sued—have you libeled someone in your book?”

Grisham responded via faxed letter by saying, “I’m sure you will find more than two errors. Such is the nature of nonfiction.” He continues: “No, I have not stated publicly that I expect to be sued, so your source is wrong. However, a lawsuit (or threat of one) per book is about average.”

But Peterson wasn’t done. He wrote Grisham a second time, saying, “Having now finished the book, I do not believe your ‘mistakes are inevitable’ claim can explain the total misrepresentation of some parts of this case. I will shortly follow up this letter to point out some of your ‘mistakes.’”

Grisham’s response was curt.

“What a surprise!” he wrote. “You find the book misleading and inaccurate. I expected nothing less.

“I have no desire to re-hash the facts and bicker about who’s right and who’s wrong. I do not read reviews, fan letters, hate letters, and I will read nothing else from you.

“Save yourself some time. Lose my address and fax number.”

The libel suit is not the only lawsuit Grisham is facing. Katharine Almy, a Charlottesville resident and mother of a St. Anne’s-Belfield School student, is suing Grisham and two others after he accused her of writing letters to the three making unseemly accusations. That lawsuit was thrown out by an Albemarle County Circuit Court judge in 2004, but that decision was overturned in January by the state Supreme Court, and the suit is back on the dockets.

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