C-VILLE Writers



Jontavious Willis peforms on Sunday at Fry's Spring Beach Club. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Jontavious Willis

Blues on the side: A gospel singer as a child, Jontavious Willis made a life-changing discovery around age 14 when he came across a YouTube video of Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man.” The Georgia native became an instant fan, and began his mastery of the Delta, Piedmont, and Texas blues, honing his chops as a fingerpicker, […]

Dance the night away with Wes Swing and company as they celebrate the waltz. Image: Kristen Finn.

ARTS Pick: A Tribute to Waltz

Waltz with me:Wes Swing says the intention behind his Fern Hill concert series is to present beautiful music in beautiful spaces, offering “qualities I’d like to see more of in the world of music.” His latest endeavor, A Tribute to Waltz, showcases the enchantment of the dance, and invites the audience to pair up, and […]

Kirsten Hemrich

In brief: Frat reprimand, Northam’s numbers, SNL target and more

Bad choices Photos appeared February 3 of Kappa Sigma fraternity members wearing American Indian headdresses (pictured above), and a since-deleted social media post captured Zeta Tau Alpha sorority sisters in sombreros and carrying maracas. UVA’s Inter-Fraternity Council condemned Kappa Sig’s “cultural appropriation” as being “prejudiced and culturally insensitive.” Governor Ralph Northam, in his first televised […]

Pretty Things Vaudeville Show plays with sharp objects on Wednesday at the Southern. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Pretty Things Vaudeville Show

Hollywood offscreen: In a throwback to the pre-pixel days of entertainment, the Pretty Things Vaudeville Show wows from the stage with sword swallowers, contortionists, and traditional magic. The Hollywood-based ensemble features the mind-reading dog Scraps, and the daring Rachel Atlas, whose special props include a bed of nails, razorblades, a machete ladder, and a human chopping block. Wednesday […]

David Bromberg Quintet brings a set full of blues and more to the Jefferson on Sunday. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: David Bromberg Quintet

Based in blues: Musically prolific multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg has gigged with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Jerry Garcia, but he owes his eclecticism to blues and gospel singer Reverend Gary Davis. Bromberg studied under Davis in the ’60s, and developed the unique style of fingerpicking that led to more than 20 albums of his own, plus […]

Get in on the improv at the Paramount on Sunday. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Whose Live Anyway?

Keeping it real: Big smiles all around with Whose Live Anyway?, a tour event starring actors from the Emmy-nominated improv comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?.” Greg Proops, Chip Esten, Jeff B. Davis, and Joel Murray want the audience’s ideas, encouraging suggestions for on-the-spot skits and songs that elicit stomach-clutching laughter. Sunday 2/10. $40.50-60.50, 7pm. […]

Stray Fossa tops the bill at the Southern on Friday. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Stray Fossa

On the hook: It’s been about a year since three friends from Tennessee who make up the atmospheric rock band Stray Fossa chose Charlottesville as their creative center—and the choice of relocation has ignited the trio’s output. SF released a three-song EP in September; posted the self-recorded and self-produced single “Swells” in January; and prepares to […]

Celebrate Joni Mitchell's 75th birthday with a screening at the Paramount. Publicity Image.

ARTS Pick: JONI 75

People’s parties: The one and only Joni Mitchell—the legendary musician behind the iconic songs “Free Man in Paris,” “Help Me,” and “Big Yellow Taxi”—turned 75 years old last November, and the occasion didn’t pass quietly. JONI 75 is a concert celebration of Mitchell’s career from Canada to California, with a diverse list of guest artists including […]

El Ten Eleven take off at the Southern on Friday. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: El Ten Eleven

Going to twelve: Something about Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty’s music makes you think they know something about life. Daring and enlightened, the indie project El Ten Eleven uses complex instrumentals and spellbinding lyrics to be at once reflective and forward-thinking. The Los Angeles-based post-rock outfit is named for an airliner, and rightly so, as the […]

Jam with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong on Wednesday at the Jefferson. ©Jay Blakesberg

ARTS Pick: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Birds of a feather: Wild is an accurate descriptor for Baltimore’s banging bunch of birds, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, a funky foursome that channels happy vibes all around. The group’s latest release, the psychedelic LP Pizazz, features driving bass and heavy drums with a positive twist. Live performances allow the group to flourish, as it […]

Charles Hurt, Casey Breneman, Isaac Tolliver star in Play It Cool by Ibrahim Muhammad as part of UVA Drama's New Works Festival.

ARTS Pick: New Works Festival

Staging it: UVA Drama’s New Works Festival highlights fledgling playwrights in collaboration with other students for three original works. They’re Still Friends by Savannah Hard explores trauma and connection; I’m Game by Jessica Harris finds a group of recent high school grads pondering their lives as they prepare for next steps; and Ibrahim Muhammad’s Play […]

Phil Vassar, who has penned hits for Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, and Jo Dee Messina, among others, plays The Jefferson Theater Saturday, January 26.

ARTS Pick: Phil Vassar

With wistful country vocals propelling his chart-smashing hits, snatching hearts is Phil Vassar’s game. Before signing his own recording contract and landing 10 original songs at No. 1, Vassar penned hits for Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, and Jo Dee Messina, among others. His recent induction into the Virginia Music Hall of Fame is another step […]

The Charlie Ballantine Trio plays UVA's Brooks Hall this Sunday, January 27. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Charlie Ballantine Trio

Charlottesville Jazz Society kicks off its concert season with guitarist Charlie Ballantine and his trio. Ballantine’s music pays homage to his childhood in the Midwest through a unique melding of folk and jazz. Among his influences are some of the greatest jazz, rock, and pop musicians of the ’60s and ’70s, and his latest release, […]

Gold Connections plays songs from its upcoming EP, Like A Shadow, at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall on Thursday. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Gold Connections

Gold Connections’ upcoming EP, Like A Shadow (due in March), benefits from the camaraderie that Will Marsh found with his touring bandmates while on the road last year. Going into the studio with familiar players allowed Marsh to move past his former indie-rock associations and forge a path of his own musical volition on songs […]

Panic! at the Disco plays John Paul Jones Arena Wednesday, January 23. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Panic! at the Disco

From the old-time fan favorite “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” to the latest platinum single “High Hopes,” Panic! at the Disco serves up another album full of soaring vocals and punk-tinged brass orchestrations. Pray for the Wicked is the sixth record by the emo pop forefathers whose tumultuous membership finds frontman Brendon Urie as the […]

Laura Mulligan Thomas directs the Charlottesville High School Orchestra String Ensemble rendition of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf on Sunday, January 20.

ARTS Pick: Peter and the Wolf

The award-winning Charlottesville High School Orchestra String Ensemble breaks out of an academic setting to put a new twist on a classic fairy tale. Directed by Laura Mulligan Thomas (right), the ensemble’s rendition of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is accompanied by narration from filmmaker and author Jamie Bernstein (daughter of the legendary Leonard […]

Wild Rose (pictured), Girl Choir, The Chuggernauts, and The Unholy Four play IX Art Park Friday, January 18. Photo by Farrah Skieky

ARTS Pick: Wild Rose

Girl Choir is distortion driven. The Chuggernauts opt for a punk-rock pirate vibe. And while The Unholy Four strives for old-school hard rock, Wild Rose keeps it modern as a quartet. Expect a blend of grit and tenderness when punk rock meets punk ‘n’ roll during an evening with these four local bands. Friday, January […]

King Tuff plays The Southern Cafe & Music Hall Friday, January 18. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: King Tuff

Kyle Thomas, known by his moniker King Tuff, hit rock bottom last year—and it was exactly what he needed. With his most recent album The Other, he’s traded in his “party monster” persona for an authentic, vulnerable musician who refuses to stick to one particular sound. His sax lessons come through when he veers into […]