FunStuff: Charlottesville events February 1 and beyond

McGuffey Friday
It's the beginning of the month again, and that means one thing for art lovers: First Fridays. From the McGuffey Art Center, always a hub of creative energy that recently welcomed 19 new artists, to the patchwork of galleries that cover the downtown area, First Fridays is a chance to see some great art and meet fellow art lovers. McGuffey's opening reception will feature the work of Kristi Glick, who has created an installation of enameled jewelry, wall panels, and prints. Her jewelry can be worn individually or in groups, inviting the wearer to join in the creative process by choosing where and how to place each pin. There will also be enamel and watercolor works by Salena Hitzeman, a collection of UVA student art work, and an exhibit called "Behind Bars," artwork by inmates from the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.  
February 3, McGuffey Art Center, 5:30-7:30pm, free



Magical realism
Be sure to check out the work of Southern California-based artist Laura Ball in the Dove Gallery at Second Street Gallery. Her fantastical, dream-like water colors of creatures and humans morphing into one another explore the Jungian world of the unconscious, with the meanings of good and evil intermingling. Ball's work has been displayed at numerous galleries around the country and the world. Her watercolor paintings of girls on the heroʼs journey are "inspired by Joseph Campbell and Greek Mythology," writes art critic Leanne Goebel. Throw in a little Carl Jung, her undergrad studies in architecture, mix with art history, and you have the complex, highly detailed, and labor-intensive narrative paintings of girls and women as they journey into the psyche to battle their own demons and monsters."
February 3-25, Second Street Gallery, 6-7:30pm, free



Photos and food
Over at the WVTF and Radio IQ Studio Gallery located at 216 West Water Street, NPR, WVTF, Radio IQ, and New City Arts are hosting a reception for University of Virginia's studio art program stand-out Leila Anne Harris, whose photography exhibit "Freshwater" will be on display all month. And food at the event will be proved by Feast!
February 3, WVTF and Radio IQ Studio Gallery, 5-7pm, free




Famous poet
The prestigious Creative Writing program at UVA always lures great writers to town, and first up this year is poet Jane Hirshfield. In 2004, Hirshfield was the recipient of an Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement from the Academy of American Poets, joining the likes of e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, and Charles Simic. "Hirshfield has elaborated a sensuously philosophical art that imposes a pause in our fast-forward habits of mind," writes the the poet Rosanna Warren. "Her poems appear simple, and are not. Her language, in its cleanliness and transparency, poses riddles of a quietly metaphysical nature." Hirshfield will read her work in the Harrison Auditorium of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at UVA.
February 2, Harrison Auditorium, 7:30pm, free



The Hill and Wood
Local favorites The Hill and Wood, who took their name from a downtown funeral home, often rock the house. But next weekend they plan on rocking a house: Mike and Lisa Ryan’s house on Belmont Avenue. Described by one local DJ as a "Paul Simon-inspired, Rusted Root-esque jammy folkie band," The Hill and Wood won the 2009 UVA Battle of The Bands and released their debut album last November. Led by Boston native Sam Bush, the band has been touring in support of the new album. Nettles will open the show.
February 11, 931 Belmont Avenue, 7:30pm, $5



Play ball!
Over the years, McIntire Little League, based in McIntire Park, has proven to be one of the most well-coached, family-friendly leagues in Central Virginia. The boys got game, too. Back in 2009, the 12-year old All Star team played in the State title game (they lost), the second time McIntire has made it to the finals of the Virginia State Little League Championship. Now it's time for your little ball player to get in on the action. In-person registration will be held at Walker Elementary school, and parents should be sure to bring proof of age and local residency– though returning players can register online. After February 8, fees increase to $75 ($50 for T-ball). As always, scholarships are available, and you can email the league at for more information.
February 6 & 7 & 8, Walker Elementary, 6-8pm, $60 ($35 for T-ball) 



Funny dude
Ahead of his Blue Collar Comedy buds performing at JPJ, cigar smoking, scotch drinking funnyman Ron “Tater Salad” White hits the Paramount, bringing his new stand-up show, Moral Compass. White spent years as a touring comic before he hit it big with the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Since then, he's sold millions of CDs, his book, Ron “Tater Salad” White” I Had the Right to Remain Silent. . .But I didn’t Have the Ability, made the New York Times best seller list, he's hosted specials on Comedy Central, and has even been nominated for two Grammy Awards. If you're a real White fan, there's a VIP package available in which you'll meet the man and get a photo with him, but that'll cost you $189.00.
February 2, Paramount Theater, 7:30pm, 9:30pm, $51.75/$61.75/$189.00



More funny dudes
Country boy humor comes to the John Paul Jones Arena. To kids, he's better known as the voice of Mater, the junky and dim-witted tow-truck in Disney's animated movie series Cars, but for adults Larry the Cable Guy is the host of the History Channel's Only in America, where he goes around eating giant hamburgers at state fairs and visiting meat-packing plants. As for Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall, they both have their own TV shows, too. Foxworthy hosts Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? on Fox, and Engvall hosts the Game Show Network's Lingo. Note: the show is rated PG-13, so there could be some stuff parents might find inappropriate for the kids.
February 10, John Paul Jones Arena, 8pm, $27.50/$57.50



Football fans
Coming off an impressive 8-5 season, which earned Virginia head football coach Mike London (shown here with Craig Littlepage) ACC Coach of the Year honors and a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the team will announce who they've recruited at the National Signing Day celebration. Coach London will give you the skinny on why they selected the new players and what they hope each will bring to the team. You'll receive a voucher good for a hot dog, bag of chips, and a soda. You'll also receive raffle tickets and have the opportunity to win two tickets to each 2012 home game, a tailgate experience for the Richmond game, and signed footballs. UVA students can win $300 gift certificates for books and the chance to be the guest coach for a game. You'll also get to mingle with the coaching staff and players after the program. Free parking, too.
February 1, John Paul Jones Arena, 5:30pm, free



New play
Head over to Live Arts for the opening of This Is Not a Pipe Dream, a play based on the life of surrealist painter René Magritte, the Belgian artist renowned for his absurd paintings, like that one of a bowler-wearing guy with an apple in front of his face. According to the folks at Live Arts, the play by Barry Kornhauser "captures the dreamlike quality of Magritte’s art, and borrows elements from silent films, farce, Commedia dell’arte, and vaudeville to illustrate the transformational power of the imagination." And the theater reviewers at the New York Times say that “Audiences will leave with an appreciation for the power to transform the ordinary into the wonderful.”
February 3, Live Arts, 8pm, $16.50


Monticello chocolate
If you love chocolate, you won't want to miss this. Up at Monticello, they are devoting the whole day to the stuff. You'll learn why it was a favorite of the Jeffersons', how it was served (photo: that's Monticello's Leni Sorenson preparing chocolate as it would have been done), see chocolate making demonstrations, and, yes, get to eat chocolate paired with Virginia wines. According to the folks at Monticello, there will be "numerous indulgent chocolate tastings," plus a house tour is included. Local chef Harrison Keevil of Brookville restaurant will show you how to make a chocolate dessert, and later you'll learn about how chocolate was made in the 18th century. Now that's a tasty way to learn about history.
February 4, Monticello, 12-4pm, $49

This week's "FunStuff" was compiled by Dave McNair, and next week's "FunStuff" will be compiled by another newsroom staffer. To get your event considered, send a press release to [email protected].

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