There’s that moment, right around 11:55pm on every December 31, when the partner-deficient, which of course does not include either Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt, start to panic. In five minutes that gaudy twinkling ball will drop in Times Square, people will start singing that stupid song they don’t really know, and you’re supposed to turn to the person next to you and give them a big smooch to ring in the new year. And being 3,000 miles from most of Hollywood’s major stars—your natural peer group, admit it—just where are you going to find said smoochee, hmm? Will she or he magically appear while you’re sitting on the couch eating popcorn and watching your Ally Sheedy movie marathon?
C-VILLE thinks not.
To start the new year off right you’ve got to get out there and mingle, folks. That’s what Brangelina would do if they weren’t tied down with those perfectly perfect kids. Thankfully there are plenty of options around town for the rest of us. In the next few pages, we’ll school you on the multitude of cool people and places involved with the mondo First Night Virginia extravaganza, as well as a look at some more hardcore options at clubs and music venues and even tips for throwing a ragin’ party at home. We can’t guarantee that you’ll get that good-luck lip lock come midnight, but anything on the list sure beats your fourth viewing of Maid to Order.
Edited by Eric Rezsnyak – firstname.lastname@example.org
First Night 2006
Your guide to the city’s biggest party
Now in its 24th year, First Night Virginia has emerged as the go-to option for families and folks looking to have an alcohol-free good time on December 31. And with the multitude of options available, there’s actually something for everyone—not just young parents. Whether you like puppet shows, folk music, rocking teens or stunning physical feats, you’ll likely find something to suit your interests.
Admission to all events is free with the purchase of a First Night button. Buttons cost $12 for adults ($14 on December 31), $6 for kids 4-12 ($7 on December 31), or $30 for a family pack good for two kids and two adults ($35 on New Year’s Eve). Admission buttons can be purchased at Plan 9, Timber-lake’s Drug Store, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Volvo of Charlottesville, The Paramount Theater and Dippin’ Dots in Fashion Square Mall; starting December 29 they can also be purchased 10am-2pm and 5:30-7:30pm at First Night Headquarters in the atrium of the Omni Hotel.
Note that certain popular events have a reserved ticket option, and are marked as such in the calendar. Reserved tickets guarantee you a seat at the show and cost $3 each per show at First Night headquarters December 29-31 only. For more information call 975-8269 or check www.firstnightva.org.
Saturday, December 31
The Amazing Monticup presents a new magic and comedy show at the Jefferson Theater. Reserved tickets available.
Creation Station is the place where even the littlest kids can make hands-on arts and crafts. In the Charlottesville Visitors Center (lower level).
Hobey Ford Puppets brings to life folk tales from around the world at Carver Rec Center.
Now This! offers award-winning improvised musical theater for kids at Down-town Rec Center Gym.
The Amazing Monticup puts on another magic and comedy show at the Jefferson Theater. Reserved tickets available.
The Celtibillies unleash a high-energy Ap-palachian musical stage show with a number of jigs, waltzes and breakdowns at First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall.
Creation Station continues with crafts for the kids at Charlottesville Visitors Center (lower level).
Roger Day, winner of the Parents’ Choice Award, sings zany, interactive children’s songs at Olde Town Center.
The Flashbacks, an 18-member swing-dance band, blows away at the Omni Hotel Ballroom.
Haverim spices things up with a blend of Jewish songs ranging from Hebrew jazz, klezmer, Yiddish folk and show tunes sung in Yiddish at Temple Beth-Israel.
Hobey Ford Puppets holds another show at Carver Rec Center.
Baba Jamal Koram teaches kids self-em-powerment and other life lessons in stories of African and African-American lore at the Charlottesville Ice Park Terrace Room.
Now This! continues with improvised music and more for kids at the Downtown Rec Center Gym.
The Swordsmen perform their crowd-pleasing swash-buckling extravaganza at The Paramount Theater. Reserved tickets available.
First Night Processional
Giant puppets lead a parade of kids and their creations down the Mall, followed by the world’s largest bubble wrap stomp. Leaves from outside the Charlottesville Visitors’ Center.
Check out a Short Film Showcase featuring flicks from Charlottesville’s growing roster of filmmakers at Light House Studios. New films start every 15 minutes.
Albemarle Sheriffs Pipe & Drum group plays time-honored Scottish and Irish marches at the Downtown Rec Center Gym.
The Amazing Monticup presents another magic and stage show at the Jefferson Theater. Reserved tickets available.
Berkmar Ballroom Dancing holds a variety of mini-lessons and a dance exhibition at Carver Rec Center.
Brown v. Board of Education offers a one-man dramatic recount of the landmark court case at Live Arts. Reserved tickets available.
The Chickenhead Blues Band serves up a taste of New Orleans and Memphis sound that will have you grooving on the dance floor at the Omni Hotel Ballroom. Reserved tickets available.
Roger Day holds his final concert of lively children’s music at the Olde Town Center.
John D’earth & Dawn Thompson lead their jazz band through a rousing concert at the First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. Reserved tickets available.
Dan Kamin, the slapstick comedian who choreographed the films Chaplin and Benny and Joon, presents pratfalls and more in the County Office Building’s Lane Auditorium. Reserved tickets available.
Baba Jamal Koram begins a new session of African and African-American storytelling at the Charlottesville Ice Park Terrace Room.
John McCutcheon plays a selection of the critically acclaimed folk music that has earned him five Grammy nominations at The Paramount Theater. Reserved tickets available.
The Paschall Brothers perform stirring a cappella renditions of spiritual age-old songs at the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall.
The Vulgar Bulgars can make even your Grandma boogie with their time-honored classics and funky musical numbers at Temple Beth-Israel.
Albemarle Morris Men usher in the New Year with their time-honored traditional form of English folk dancing on the Downtown Mall.
Abbey Road takes you on a magical mystery tour of the songs that made The Beatles famous at the Omni Hotel Ballroom. Reserved tickets available.
Albemarle Sheriffs Pipe & Drum group returns with more time-honored Scottish and Irish marches at the Downtown Rec Center Gym.
Terri Allard and Art Wheeler team up for a special evening of jazz standards, classics and New Year’s surprises at the First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. Reserved tickets available.
The Blue Ridge Irish Music School breaks out traditional Irish music and dance at the Carver Rec Center.
Celtibillies start the second edition of their Appalachian musical stage show at First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall.
Baba Jamal Koram presents his final session of African and African-American storytelling at the Charlottesville Ice Park Terrace Room.
The Sugar Ridge Quartet plays music for strings at the Olde Town Center.
The Swordsmen stage their final swash-buckling extravaganza at The Paramount Theater. Reserved tickets available.
The Vulgar Bulgars keep the classic and funky musical numbers cranking at Temple Beth-Israel.
War Bonds: Songs and Letters of World War II offers an educational, entertaining historical cabaret at Live Arts. Reserved tickets available.
Zephyrus, the vocal ensemble, sings tunes from the medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque eras at Holy Comforter Catholic Church.
The Teen Band Showcase rocks the house, with an opportunity to see Charlottes-ville’s talented rising stars in concert, at the Jefferson Theater.*
Albemarle Morris Men continue with their performance of traditional English folk dancing on the Downtown Mall.
Heather Berry, the local bluegrass and gospel prodigy, performs in the Christ Church Sanctuary.
The Blue Ridge Irish Music School continues its exhibition of traditional Irish music and dance at the Carver Rec Center.
Brown v. Board of Education returns to edu-cate and entertain at Live Arts. Reserved tickets available.
The Chickenhead Blues Band’s New Orleans/Memphis sound continues at the Omni Hotel Ballroom. Reserved tickets available.
John D’earth & Dawn Thompson lead their jazz band at the First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. Reserved tickets available.
Ernie Hawkins presents a masterful acoustic blues guitar performance at Christ Church Meade Hall.
Now This! features award-winning improvised musical theater for kids and adults at the Downtown Rec Center Gym.
The Paschall Brothers perform another round of stirring a cappella spirituals at the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall.
Skyline Harmony, a 25-woman barbershop group, gets in tune at Holy Comforter Catholic Church.
The Sugar Ridge Quartet launches into another set of string music at Olde Town Center.
Robin & Linda Williams and Their Fine Group perform their fine blend of bluegrass, folk and old-time country at The Paramount Theater. Reserved tickets available.
Abbey Road revisit the early hits of The Beatles at the Omni Hotel Ballroom (until 12:30am). Reserved tickets available.
Terri Allard and Art Wheeler go for Round 2 of jazz standards, classics and more at First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. Reserved tickets available.
Heather Berry has more bluegrass and gospel at the Christ Church Sanctuary.
The Celtibillies stage their final high-energy Appalachian musical show at First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall.
Ernie Hawkins returns for more acoustic blues at Christ Church Meade Hall.
Dan Kamin and his pratfalls and physical comedy return to the County Office Building’s Lane Auditorium. Reserved tickets available.
John McCutcheon and Robin & Linda Williams ring in the new year with award-winning folk at The Paramount Theater. Reserved tickets available.
Mountain Mirage Belly Dancing will have both men and women eager to learn more about one of the oldest dance forms with a show and lesson at the Carver Rec Center.
Now This! continues with award-winning improvised musical theater for kids and adults at the Downtown Rec Center Gym.
The Vulgar Bulgars says “Shalom!” to 2006 with more classic and funky music at Temple Beth-Israel.
War Bonds: Songs and Letters of World War II has its final run with on-stage historical cabaret at Live Arts. Reserved tickets available.
Zephyrus has more medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque music at Holy Com-forter Catholic Church.
Fireworks start the new year off with a bang—literally—at Lane Field.
*Wristbands are also required for the Teen Band Showcase at the Jefferson. Wristbands come free with purchase of a First Night button, or $6 without, and can be picked up beginning December 29 at the Omni Hotel.
—Compiled by Robbie Saville
Kids, we know what you really want: To do your own thing without being dragged around by Mom or Dad. Parents, we know what you really want: To drop them somewhere safe where you don’t have to listen to the sullen whining. Voila! We give to you the Teen Band Showcase, taking place at the Jefferson Theater from 7:30pm to midnight. Middle- and high-schoolers will dig seeing their peers take the stage, as local bands like The Wave, the Safety Scissors and more jam all night long. Note: This event requires a special wristband that can be picked up at First Night Virginia headquarters in the Omni Hotel starting December 29. Wristbands are free with First Night button, or $6 without.
…for spectacle lovers
Last year, throngs were turned away from the performances of Guido Crescendo and Dirk Perfect, also known as The Swordsmen. This year First Night has the crowds covered as the daring duo
moves to the 1,000-seat Paramount Theater for two shows, at 4pm and 7:30pm. What’s the fuss about? Think Errol Flynn live, with the two senior members of the Society of American Fight Directors offering up stunning swashbuckling action, and maybe even a bit of slapstick.
…for music lovers
Why ring in the new year with one music luminary when you could have two? Folk superstar John McCutcheon and popular band Linda & Robin Williams and Their Fine Group perform separate shows at 6pm and 9pm, respectively, then join forces for a night-capping performance at 10:30pm at The Paramount Theater. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to see some of the state’s finest musicians performing together on the same stage.
…for dancing machines
Puppets and musicians and fireworks are all well and good, but everyone knows that it’s not a party without dancing. For those with happy feet, direct yourselves to the Carver Rec Center for dance events all night long. The Berkmar Ballroom opens the evening up with foxtrots, quick steps and even some tangos as experts offer ballroom lessons and an exhibition starting at 6pm. At 7:30pm the Blue Ridge Irish Music School takes over for a traditional Irish ceili, a participatory dance similar to American square dancing or contra dance. Finally, get those hips primed for Mountain Mirage Belly Dancing, which will offer belly-dancing lessons for women and men at 10:30pm.
Add to your repertoire of “The Wheels on the Bus” and “The Farmer and the Dell” with a visit to children’s entertainer Roger Day at 4pm and 6pm at Olde Town Center. Day has some im-pressive cred: He scored the National Association of Parenting Publications Award, Parenting Magazine’s “Parent-ing Pick” and a Parents’ Choice Award for his newest CD, Ready to Fly. Your kids are sure to dig his zany, energetic and—best of all—interactive performances.
…for history lovers
Head into the future by looking at our past, as national touring theater group EbzB Productions offers up two different historical dramas at Live Arts. Brown v. Board of Education is a one-man show that recounts the landmark court case that led to the integration of black and white schools in the 1950s (6pm and 9pm). War Bonds: Songs and Letters of World War II is a living history cabaret supplemented by actual letters from the battlefield and news headlines from the period (7:30pm and 10:30pm).
Compiled by Eric Rezsnyak.
For venue information, check www.firstnightva.org.
Party with the big boys
Adult-friendly New Year’s events around town
New Year’s is essentially an adult holiday. As such, you should celebrate it like the grown up you know you are—meaning with a glass of champagne in one hand and a cutie in the other. Several clubs and hotels are holding special kid-free New Year’s events to better serve the voting, draftable, car-renting demographic. In addition to the events listed below, remember that most fine restaurants around town—like Mas or Bang, for instance—are offering special New Year’s Eve menus, so you can fill up before you go out.
If all you party people want to do is shake it like a Polaroid picture (oh, wait…that was last year), head to the city’s two reigning dance clubs. R2 is hosting its usual New Year’s madness with a dance party featuring the sweet-spun tracks of DJ Stroud. (10pm, $10-15. Behind Rapture, 301 E. Main St.; use Third Street entrance. 293-9526.)
Not to be outdone, Club 216 rings in 2006 with a dance party featuring DJ Frank Rivera. At midnight, there will be a toast, followed by a country buffet dinner to keep your energy up for the long night of dancing. This is an open house event, so you don’t need a membership to attend. (10pm, $5-20. 216 Water St. 296-8783.)
We bet they’ll play “Auld Lang Syne”…
If an evening of live music better suits your tastes, you’re in luck: Diverse grooves abound around town this December 31. To have a rockin’ New Year’s Eve that would put Dick Clark to shame, head to Outback Lodge for shows by Frontbutt and Aquanett. (10pm, $15-20. Preston Plaza. 979-9526.)
Starr Hill Music Hall takes you into the future by going into the old-timey past. Local boys done good, The Hackensaw Boys, take the stage for the evening, with Sarah White opening the show. (9pm, $25. 709 W. Main St. 977-0017.)
Jimmy and the Teasers rock out at Atomic Burrito’s New Year’s party. With no cover, you can spend all of your money on margaritas and PBR—remember, hipsters don’t drink champagne. (10:30pm, no cover. 109 Second St. SE. 977-0117.)
Gravity Lounge hosts a package event with a buffet dinner, followed by folk-tastic musical performances by Jesse Winchester, Paul Curreri, Devin Sproule, Jay Pun and Morwenna Lasko. (6pm-2am, $75, advance payment required. 103-105 S. First St. 977-5590.)
Acoustic man Eli Cook will lure you into 2006 with his sweet guitar tunes at Fellini’s No. 9. The good news is that there’s no cover for this New Year’s extravaganza at the Downtown Italian eatery. (10pm, no cover. Corner of Second and Market streets. 979-4279.)
For something that’s a little bit country, Second Time Around brings Southern rock to City Limits’ New Year’s Eve party. The entry fee includes champagne and snacks. (9pm-1am, $15-20. 221 Carlton Ave. 977-1970.)
Bashir’s Taverna’s celebration features the smooth Latin sound of Beleza Brazil and the inviting undulations of belly dancers Amalia and Leyla. (First seating is at 6:30pm and the second seating is at 8:30pm; $45. 507 E. Main St., Downtown Mall. 923-0927.)
If you’re willing to make the drive, Wintergreen Resort is holding a Grand Gala in the Commonwealth Ballroom. The gala will begin with cocktails at the full bar, followed by a “Ballroom Buffet” with food created by Executive Chef Michael Greenstein. After dinner, you can dance your way into 2006 to the big band sounds of The Houserockers Band. At midnight, you can kiss your way into good luck with a champagne toast. (7:30pm, $150. Route 664, Nellysford. 325-8143.)
A room of one’s own
Drinking and driving is a bad idea. But, unfortunately, it’s also next to impossible to find a cab after midnight on New Year’s that will drive you back to your house. So one way to safely have a blow-out, stumbling-drunk New Year’s is to sleep where you party—no, not on the floor of R2, but at a swanky local hotel! Several of the local inns are hosting special New Year’s celebrations.
Boar’s Head Inn’s annual event is so popular that it is almost always sold out by early December, but check to see if they have any openings. The package deal includes dinner, a party in the ballroom with live music by Jimmy O, a cash bar, a double hotel room, tax and breakfast. Since it’s unlikely that you will be able to get into this very exclusive hotel party, you might want to remember it for New Year’s 2007. ($519 per couple. 200 Ednam Dr. 296-2181.)
At the recently renovated Clifton Inn, you and your cutie can enjoy a romantic a la carte dinner followed by jazz entertainment in one of the area’s most elegant restaurants. Seatings begin at 6pm and continue through 10pm, every 30 minutes. Hotel room is not included. ($85 per person. 1205 Clifton Dr. 971-1800.)
Ring in the New Year with high style at Keswick Hall’s elegant annual celebration. A reservation will get you and your perhaps-significant other a high tea, dinner, dancing, a hotel stay and breakfast the next morning. ($845 per couple. 701 Club Dr. 979-3440.)—Anne Metz
Bright and bubbly
That’s “Champagne” with a capital “C” to you, bub
It’s New Year’s Eve. The glasses are filled with bubbly. Across the room, a girl takes a sip and exclaims, “I LOVE champagne!” Anticipation is in the air.
And then the sour snob sitting alone on the loveseat pipes up that, “Actually, this is sparkling wine,” filling the ensuing silence with, “True Champagne must come from the Champagne region of France.” His tactless reminder momentarily turns the celebration to vinegar—since, after all, we’re only sipping “sparkling wine.”
The snob is right, in his pedantic way: True Champagne (with a capital “C”) must come from the Champagne region of France, in addition to meeting several other standards of production. Cham-pagne is an acidic wine that goes through a second fermentation in the bottle by adding yeast and sugar; the bottle is then regularly rotated so that the sediment gravitates to the neck to be removed. It’s this second round that creates the CO2 bubbles and bottle pressure responsible for the flying corks. Beverages that undergo this “méthode traditionelle” process are generally what we call sparkling wines—many other regions have special names for their version, such as Sekt in Germany or Spumante in Italy.
It is possible that your bottle says Champagne but also clearly allows that it is not French—thank the decidedly unsnobbish U.S. Congress, which resolved that “champagne” was semi-generic and allowed domestic sparkling wine producers to use that appellation. (In Europe, they take alcohol quality seriously enough to have international laws lay out what can and cannot be labeled “Champagne.”)
No law decrees, however, that a person must enjoy Champagne more than another sparkling wine, many of which undergo the same “méthode traditionelle.” This year, tell the snob he’s a pedant and enjoy your sparkling beverage.—Will Goldsmith
Raise the roof
Tips for making a memorable New Year’s party at home
On New Year’s, the best way to avoid shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in smoky bars, buzz-killing DUI checkpoints and unsolicited lip-on-lip action from strangers is to simply stay at home. No, we’re not talking alone with a bag of Pirate’s Booty and a new release from Blockbuster—we’re talking with a bunch of friends, lots of booze, delicious food and, of course, good music at the most happening house party of all time.
We’ve talked to local event planners and entertaining experts to get the lowdown on how to pull off a fun and memorable New Year’s shindig. Their suggestion? Don’t be afraid to go a little crazy and plan a party that allows guests to let loose and have a good time.
When it comes to throwing a raging party, if you’re smart, you’ll take out everything in your house that’s breakable. If you’re really smart, you’ll take out anything that people could trip over like footstools and small rugs.
That said, liberally distribute well placed and clearly marked trash receptacles. It’s the best way to make sure that you won’t wake up with a hangover and a lot of housework. While you’re thinking about minimizing clutter, remember to identify a place for guests to put their coats, scarves and purses.
Since you’ll be making enough noise to wake the neighborhood, it’s always a good idea to extend an invitation to neighbors. At the very least be polite and let them know you’re having a party so that you can work out parking scenarios ahead of time.
Setting the scene
Sure, you want people to be dancing the night away. But even the most ardent hoofers need to take a break every now and then. Help them out by providing lots of cozy seating. Avoid lining chairs against a wall. Instead, create small seating groups here and there with no more than four or five seats to a group. You can even throw oversized pillows on the floor for guests to sit on. Take a minute to note how international you are.
Add to that funky bohemian vibe by switching your regular light bulbs with decorative incandescent party bulbs, available in all the primary colors. Or just keep the lighting soft and dim.
Lastly, once guests arrive, make sure everyone knows where it’s O.K. to smoke. It’s your house and you can do what you want, but we recommend keeping it outside for the sake of nonsmoking guests.
Get the party started
Music is a crucial component of any party, but at a New Year’s bash, music is the party. If you can’t hire a DJ or band, mix your own dance music on your iPod or MP-3 player with lots of high-energy tunes. Don’t forget to take requests from your guests a couple of weeks beforehand.
Since it’s next to impossible to greet your guests while you’re making sure drinks are full and getting bruschettas out of the oven, count on acquiring some help. If you can’t afford to hire a DJ, bartender or caterer, remember…well, that’s what friends are for!
Eat, drink and be merry
New Year’s, like Mardi Gras, is all about indulging, so set up a plentiful buffet table with lots of delicious munchies. That said, food is definitely not the focus of a blowout, so keep it simple. Offer snacks like peanuts, chips and salsa, cold cuts, and bread or cheese and crackers. If you’re looking for something more substantial and eclectic, ask your guests to each bring their favorite dish.
On the drink front, never underestimate how much ice you’ll need. If you think you need eight bags, buy 16.
Since it’s New Year’s, it’s a safe bet that most people will be expecting to do at least a little bit of drinking. Still, there’s no need to foot the bill for all the booze. Make it BYOB and ask your guests to bring their own drinks.
And once they’ve consumed all those drinks, you might have a little problem on your hands. Be prepared to provide sleeping space for guests who have too much alcohol. Have plenty of clean linens, extra pillows and maybe even a blow-up mattress on-hand.
Don’t let the bar hoppers and party goers tell you otherwise—when it’s all said and done, homebodies can have a New Year’s Eve that goes down in the books as a really good time for all.—Joyce Carman
TROUBLING MYSTERY SOLVED
Dick Clark: What is it?
Answer: “The world’s oldest teenager.” Also, vaguely creepy septuagenarian who, for some reason, has been the king of New Year’s roughly since Methuselah was in short pants. After a year off due to a minor stroke, the radio and TV legend is back hosting his “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special starting at 11:30pm on ABC. “American Idol”’s Ryan Seacrest—who I’m fairly sure just budded off of Clark some time in the 1970s, and then went gay—will co-host, and guests include Hilary Duff, Sean Paul, Mariah Carey (boo!), the Pussycat Dolls and, curiously, The Bangles. It cannot possibly be worse than Donna Summer’s bloat-tastic performance of “Last Dance” on the special a few years ago.
Meanwhile, Clark’s replacement last year, Regis Philbin, simply will not be stopped. Giving you the opportunity to choose between two old white guys ushering in the future, Fox has corralled the tiny firebrand to host their big New Year’s show, starting at 11pm. No word on who his guests are, but it’s a safe bet that his “Live” co-host/publicity magnet Kelly Ripa will make a cameo.
For an alternative to all the hipness that is Clark and Philbin, NBC hauls out poor Carson Daly and his black fingernail polish for his own special starting at 11:30pm. The good news is comic Wanda Sykes and R&B goddess Mary J. Blige will perform. The bad news is boring “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams will also make an appearance. And music mogul Diddy stops by, proving once and for all that Daly must have photos of him doing unspeakable things to livestock somewhere in his private collection.—Eric Rezsnyak