About last year: Looking back at 2018 — Arts

"Furling" by Megan Elizabeth Read. Photo courtesy artist “Furling” by Megan Elizabeth Read. Photo courtesy artist

By Tami Keaveny and Erin O’Hare

In May, before her opening of “Megan Elizabeth Read: Recent Works in Oil,” at McGuffey’s Sarah B. Smith Gallery, Read told us:

“You know, if you stare long enough at anyone, you can fall in love with them.” But it was the viewer who became smitten with Read’s hyperrealistic work, which set the local art scene abuzz, and caused Mayor Jean-Louis Fousseret (visiting with a delegation from our sister city Besançon, France) to declare, “We leave Charlottesville under the spell of Megan Read.”

Visual artists who made us look twice

One of the performances in Ghost in Reverse, co-produced by Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell and Zap McConnell. Photo courtesy the artists


After nightfall on October 13 and 14, 20 local artists and performers gathered in the Woolen Mills building, to perform in a place where, many years ago, people labored to make silk and wool. The performance, Ghost in Reverse, sought to “re-animate” those workers’ hands “with care and joy,” wrote Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell, who co-envisioned, curated, and produced the show along with Zap McConnell. To close, Tidwell buried in the dirt outside the mill a metal box containing water samples from the Rivanna River, rubble, and a voice recording taken from the performance. The time capsule is a gesture of hope for the future of art in Charlottesville. Tidwell and others have performed in abandoned industrial spaces in the area since A Charlottesville Wunderkammer at IX in 2006, and when Woolen Mills is developed to house tech company WillowTree, that tradition will come to an end. As Tidwell wrote in an Instagram post, Ghost in Reverse was “our last chance to make art in industrial spaces in Charlottesville. We are at max redevelopment.”

Theater performances that dazzled us

Live shows that rocked us

  • Zack Mexico/New Boss/Illiterate Light at the Southern Café and Music Hall
  • Brent Cobb at the Southern Café and Music Hall
  • The War and Treaty at the Southern Café and Music Hall
  • The Landlords/Fried Egg/Wild Rose/Girl Choir at Champion  Brewing Company
  • Ruth B. at the Southern Café and Music Hall
  • Sarah White at The Festy
  • Rugged Arts showcase with A.D. Carson/Black Liquid/Marcel P. Black/Sons of Ichibei
  • Hop Along at the Southern Café and Music Hall
  • Death Cab for Cutie at the Sprint Pavilion
  • Personal Bandana/Wume/Pnqbud at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative
  • Soweto Gospel Choir at the Paramount Theater
  • Pink Martini at the Paramount Theater
  • Brandi Carlile at the Sprint Pavilion
  • Margo Price sitting in with Widespread Panic at Lockn’
  • Anderson East at the Jefferson Theater
  • Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven at the Jefferson Theater
  • Father John Misty the Sprint Pavilion
  • The National at the Sprint Pavilion
  • Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit at the Sprint Pavilion

We got on the phone with David Crosby, George Clinton, and David Cross this year, and they each offered insights on performing.

David Crosby: “Your idols musically are human beings, they are not flawless. That whole stardom thing is absolutely bullshit.” Read the full Q&A

George Clinton: “You realize how much shit you don’t know when you get behind that microphone.” Read the full Q&A

David Cross: “I won’t talk about John Deere products for personal reasons, and also the difference between whoever and whomever. Those are just two topics that are too taboo for me.” Read the full Q&A

Allen Hughes. Photo: Eze Amos

A.D. Carson, rapper and professor of hip-hop and the global South at UVA, spoke with Menace II Society co-director Allen Hughes in advance of the Virginia Film Festival. The result was an intimate essay on family, film, culture, creativity, and much more. Carson wrote, “Menace II Society was released the year our cousin was murdered: ’93. Reports said at around 11pm he was with a group of friends playing cards that September evening when gunmen walked up and fired into the living room. We never needed a movie to tell us what our life was like, but Menace, and similar films, gave us a way to see us and, to an extent, be seen.” Read the full essay.

People we listened to

  • Playwright and director Moisés Kaufman in residency at UVA
  • Journalist Dan Rather at the Tom Tom Founders Festival
  • Artist Wendy Red Star at The Fralin Museum of Art at UVA
  • Screenwriter and director Allen Hughes at the Virginia Film Festival
  • Standup comedian Ashley Gavin at United Nations of Comedy at the Paramount Theater
  • “People weaver” Grace Aheron at August’s CreativeMornings talk
  • Guitarist Daniel Bachman at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar
  • Artist and entrepreneur Destinee Wright, with her “Solidarity Cards Project” at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative

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