Tobias Beard



A crushing development?

A crushing development?

Until very recently, buying wine in Charlottesville was relatively peaceful and, with the exception of the recent statewide flap over winery self-distribution, undisturbed. It worked the way it does everywhere else in the country, operating under the Byzantine, three-tier system of selling alcohol (a throwback to Prohibition), whereby the wineries must sell to distributors, who […]

Winning a losing campaign

Winning a losing campaign

Dennis Kucinich is a kook, yes, but he is a kook on a mission, rocketing out of the small conference room where he's been waiting, head cocked to one side with a look of urgency on his face and a sense of nervous purpose in his stride, through the door and down the hall, where he hits the podium and turns to the crowd with a big grin.

Roots music lover = drug fiend?

Roots music lover = drug fiend?

Scenes from the War On Weed in the war heavy year of 2007: Over the extended weekend of July 25-29, the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of the one-stoplight town of Floyd, Virginia, was crawling with Park Rangers up from Asheville, North Carolina, part of a special Criminal Interdiction Taskforce (CIT) assigned to police the Parkway […]

From the ground up

From the ground up

“Wine’s not expensive compared to what goes into making it. The work of bringing a bottle of wine to someone’s table is extremely varied, with thousands of gestures and centuries of traditions to honor and remember. It’s not an industry, at least not to us.”—Christine Campadieu, co-owner with her husband…

Appetite for Destruction

Appetite for Destruction

cd Scenes from a preteen wasteland. Nineteen-eighty-seven, the year Metal broke, the year I turned 12, the year I first got loaded like a freight train and the year Guns N’ Roses released Appetite For Destruction. It wasn’t Nirvana that killed Metal, it was G N’ R. It was this album. Nothing was ever going […]

The best wines of my generation

The best wines of my generation

Confidence. That’s the mood filling the room as Al Schornberg, joined by the shining blonde triumvirate of his wife, Cindy, and their two youngest daughters, addresses four or five dozen partygoers. The occasion? The grand opening of Keswick Vineyards’ tasting room. A single overhead light shines down milky white and sickly into the cavernous winery, […]

Zen and the art of Monkeyclaus maintenance

Zen and the art of Monkeyclaus maintenance

In 1995, on a couch in Boston, Peter Agelasto sat up suddenly and said, “Monkeyclaus! That’s what I’m going to do with the rest of my life!” He then went to India to try and figure out what that meant. Going bananas: Matthew Clark (left) and Abel Okugawa (right) behind the boards for a recording […]

Friendly firearms

I am with a colleague at a gun show in Richmond, talking to an ex-cop selling stun guns. I’m looking for evidence of the so-called gun show loophole: the fact that licensed dealers must conduct background checks on purchasers of guns at gun shows, but private individuals can sell their guns at the same shows […]

Coke is the real thing

Robin Williams, no stranger to nose candy, once said, “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you you’re making too much money.” Well, “there’s a lot of money in this town,” an inmate at our local jail told me. Now in his early 30s, he’s been selling coke in Charlottesville since he was 14. It turns […]

We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

cd Fourteen years, countless drunken concerts and six albums later, Isaac Brock and his band, Modest Mouse, are one of the few surviving pre-Strokes indie rock bands that still matter. On their new album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, much of what made them matter still thrives: Brock’s feral, coyote-on-fire voice, the […]

Class consciousness

Class consciousness

Rose Hill and Lindsay Michie Eades move plastic tables and chairs into position in a fluorescent lit, cinderblock room deep inside the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail. Outside, past numerous green metal doors heavy enough to excise a finger, down labyrinthine halls that split randomly, comes the sound of voices and laughter, and the jingle of […]

This way out

This way out

His face looks like crushed gravel. Tall, thin and concave as a question mark, the man stands silently beside a cart upon which is piled a leaning tower of crap: blow-up figures on sticks—Batman, Superman, SpongeBob Squarepants—toy guns and swords, tasseled wands, and police kits replete with badges, nightsticks and handcuffs. This fellow, or others […]

Infinite Jest

books Tell me about Infinite Jest. My God, how can I even begin? In 1996, David Foster Wallace was 34 when Infinite Jest, his second novel, was published. It was, in its hardcover first edition, 1,079 pages long, including 96 pages of endnotes. It was hyped and praised and criticized to the extent that its […]