Weekly writers

Horse sense

For Dominick Palamenti, theater is a family affair. He first became involved in theater while living in Italy, working in Shakespeare troupes. When he moved to New York City to study acting, he met Sea Aviar, whom he married. Aviar was originally from Virginia, and when the couple decided three years ago to move back, […]

Home is where the health is

Before Amanda Schmitt knocks on an apartment door at Hope House in Charlottesville, she rearranges the cloth bags draped around her shoulder to find a free hand. A girl named Alita (whose last name is being withheld to protect her identity) answers the door; the teenager isn’t the daughter of the house, however. She’s the […]

On thick ice

Full-body Spandex suits, skates with weapon-like blades, Bonnie Blair and maybe Dan Jansen – this is what "speedskating" means to most of us. To some 15 members of the Blue Ridge Speedskating Club who show up at the Charlottesville Ice Park every Sunday morning, however, it means much more. It was not an easy task […]

Ballot Stuffing

In case it escaped your notice, there’s an election scheduled for November 5. We don’t blame you if you’ve been out of touch on this subject. Even dedicated pols might find themselves bored by a campaign season that features empty platforms, absent candidates and geeky legislative reforms. For instance, who is there to care about […]

Eat to the beats

About 12 years ago, I had a twinkling of an inkling of what "Beatnik glory" might mean, of what it might mean to be singingly silly. I belonged to a jazz-and-poetry group started by Gregory Foster – formerly a cowboy, carnival worker, journalist, roadie for a famous jazzman, Miles Davis’ cab driver, Thelonius Monk’s chess […]

Stars and bars

Thursday, October 24, was opening night for the Virginia Film Festival. Who among those attending the start of the "Wet"-themed, four-day cine-palooza didn’t have at least a few butterflies? Certainly not Mike Kennedy, who took the seat next to me at the Culbreth Theatre. Unlike most of the attendees, Kennedy, a social worker from Salem, […]

The C-ville drought survival guide

Daily we have waitedby the fax machine for a dousing of the region’s bad news, expressed in terms of percents and millions of gallons: 54.2, 7.091; 53.2, 6.905. These are, of course, the terms of the drought (reservoir level and regional usage), which, even after a healing, gentle rain, have not fundamentally changed since August. […]

Wet around the edges

Plink, plink, plunk: The previous night’s rain convenes in small pools on the dusty wood floor. It’s a Sunday morning at the former Frank Ix Building, an old silk factory turned exhibition space on the corner of Monticello Avenue and Second Street S.E., and three UVA art students – Liz Pisciotta, Margaret Gabriela Vest and […]

Holding Out

This isn’t Mayberry. Slipping away are the days when store owners know you by name, you can pay on a tab and deals are made with a handshake. For one Charlottesville Mom-and-Pop shop, holding on to that ideal is more than a nostalgic whim: it’s a matter of principle and necessity.Look while you can. On […]

Testing the Waters

Wherever waters gather, be it bay or brook, monitors will soon don their hip boots to mark the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Charlottesville resident John Murphy hasn’t yet picked his site, but knows he’ll be somewhere in a "riffle" – the bubbly part of a stream – counting bugs. Between October 18 […]

Pairing down PVCC

Straying from the usual despairing discussion of water, the subject of Wednesday’s October 2 meeting among the Board of County Supervisors brought to light an entirely different kind of drought–the State budget. Piedmont Virginia Community College prides itself on making higher education accessible to everyone, but while its enrollment keeps rising (June 30 marked the […]

Shades of PVCC

When he returned home to Charlottesville after earning a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Joshua Galloway wanted to keep up with his drawing, so he enrolled in an advanced drawing course in the evenings at Piedmont Virginia Community College for three years in a row. With the help […]

Inner portrait of the artist

Ah, life in the fast lane. You’ve got two choices–push ahead or get the hell out of the way. Well-known photographer Barnaby Draper knows the fast lane better than most. And recently, he made his choice: He got the hell out of the way. Between 1995 and 2000, Draper poured himself into his career as […]

Out of the broom closet, sort of

When the words Paganism and Wicca come up, lots of folks picture sacrificial chickens and chanting nymphs frolicking in a forest. And many also give the Devil his due. But Beelzebub was nowhere to be found on Saturday, September 23, at the fourth annual Pagan Pride Day Festival. With nary a dead chicken nor frolicking […]

Make a Note

Better than most, Virginia Consort conductor Judith Gary understands that sometimes words aren’t enough. Wednesday, September 11 was one of those times. Gary leads the Virginia Consort, a 35-member chamber chorus she helped to found in 1990. As a memorial to those lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she conducted the Consort in a performance […]

Crisis Management

"I  think we’re in a crisis,” City Manager Gary O’Connell deadpanned to City Council at its meeting on Monday, September 16. It was an uncharacteristically drastic statement for the understated O’Connell, reflecting the panic in City Hall as Charlottesville rapidly dries up. Last week City Council approved a series of harsh water restrictions [See Extra!, […]


The $10 million principle of the thing After tears, jeers and more tears, WVIR is ordered to pay up for its cracked reporting “Thirty-some years of my ambition to make something out of my life has been destroyed,” Sheckler wrote in court documents prior to the trial. “I have suffered so much mental anguish over […]