FunStuff: Charlottesville events November 8 and beyond

Powerful reads
Back in 1994, David Huddle published The Writing Habit, a collection of essays on how to stay focused on the craft, avoid writer's block, and let creative juices flow. He walks the walk, and in the past year, the prolific author– 17 books!– and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins College, will talk about his two latest: Nothing Can Make Me Do This, a novel exploring the inner life and hidden sexual desires of a Vermont professor and his family, and Blacksnake at the Family Reunion, a collection of poems exploring how our childhoods forever impact our lives. This Friday-night conversation happens at New Dominion Bookshop on the Downtown Mall.
November 9, New Dominion Bookshop, 5:30pm, free


Jig is up
It's hard to categorize The Fighting Jamesons, but if you surgically removed all hints of cheese from "Lord of the Dance" Michael Flatley then replaced the fromage with actual rock cred, you might come close. Formed in 2010 in Norfolk, this five-man band describe themselves as "interactive and energetic Celtic rock." There's no doubt they're a hard driving (and from the look of their YouTube video for "Drunken' Sailor," hard drinking) act that riles their fans with relentless fiddling and foot-stomping beats. You can't take this Saturday-night show sitting down.
November 10, Jefferson Theater, 8pm, $10-12




Murder, music, and mayhem in 1920s Chicago are the order of the day in the famed Tony-award winning Broadway musical Chicago, being performed this week and next at Mary Baldwin College and directed by Charlottesville thespian Clinton Johnston. The story of two murderesses who compete for one man's affection is a romp of popular tunes made even more mainstream by the success of the film version, which– starring Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones– won six Oscars in 2003 including Best Picture. Shows happen in Fletcher Collins Theatre, in Deming Hall November 9-11 and 14-18. (Wednesday through Saturday, shows are at 7:30pm; Sunday shows are at 2:00pm.) Plan ahead with dinner reservations at one of Staunton's fine restaurants– Zynodoa's a Hook fave– and make a night of it over the mountain in Staunton.
November 9-18, Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, $7-12



Election, decoded
By the time you're reading this in print, the country will have already picked the next president of the United States, and one thing's guaranteed: half the country's not happy with the outcome. Enter Ryan Lizza, pictured here at a 2009 film premiere. He's the Washington D.C. correspondent for The New Yorker, and he'll be at the Miller Center on Monday giving a talk titled, "What it means: Decoding the result of the presidential election." If you're happy with the outcome, this event offers you a chance to gloat, er, celebrate with like-minded voters. If things didn't go your way, then, perhaps, this could be more of a therapy session for PTVD– post-traumatic voting disorder.
November 12, Miller Center, 11am, free



Chess salvation
U.S. public schools often get a bad rap thanks to standardized testing, achievement gaps, overcrowding, and– compared to some international peers– underperforming. New documentary Brooklyn Castle is a chance to be thoroughly inspired by a Brooklyn public school where the cool kids play chess, winning more championships than any other school in the country. The documentary has won rave reviews from the likes of The New York Times, which calls it "irresistible," and won the Audience Award at both South by Southwest and the Newport Beach Film Festival. An NPR critic says, "If I could pick only one film from the South By Southwest music festival and bodily force everyone to see it, it would be Brooklyn Castle."
November 9 (opens), Regal downtown, for showtimes, $7.50-10.50



Few books have been as widely read and caused as much outrage as Mark Twain's novel about a young white boy named Huck and a black man fleeing slavery named Jim, and their journey along the Mississippi River together. This Thursday, the canonical Twain work gets stage treatment when the Ontario, Canada-based Classical Theatre Project brings The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to the Paramount. Expect a fast-paced adaptation, live gospel music, and, of course, a compelling coming-of-age tale of friendship, freedom, and prejudice.
November 8, Paramount Theater, 7pm, $8.5-15.50



Book it
With iPads, Kindles, and other e-readers threatening the very existence of books, there may never be a better time to show your appreciation for the craftsmanship and creativity that goes into bookmaking. Well, you're in luck: this week, the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, a project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, is hosting its annual "Raucous Auction," where you can bid on a variety of hand-made books, prints, etchings, and other art. It's also your chance to catch a glimpse of what Foundation officer Kevin McFadden calls the Center's "most ambitious and accomplished work," The Atlas of Vanishing Knowledge, a 156-page tome created by the Center's 28 member-artists and binders. The Friday-night event happens at the Center's location at 2125 Ivy Road. Enter through the Creative Framing/Art Box entrance.
November 9, Ivy Square Shopping Center, 5:30-8pm, free (donations and bids encouraged)



Dance and drum to your heart's delight– and, apparently, make your heart healthier, too– as jazz master Robert JospĂ© joins Tussi Kluge, a "mindfulness-based stress reduction" instructor, to lead a participatory program that incorporates "present moment awareness, breathing, stretching, and drumming." They've taken the program, titled "Rhythm and Resilience," to prisons to help reduce inmate stress levels, and now it's time for the rest of us. Happening Sunday at the Sunrise Community Center at 1412 Carlton Avenue, Suite 1, and open to all ages. Drums will be provided, or bring your own.
November 11, Sunrise Community Center, 3-4:30pm, free



Among those unfamiliar with his work, Lyle Lovett is known as the country musician with the crazy hair who once, a long time ago, married Julia Roberts for a little while. To attempt to categorize Lovett into a single genre is a mistake, however, as his music takes inspiration from folk, big band, and pop. The four-time Grammy winner and frequent Charlottesville performer comes to the Paramount on Wednesday night, where hopefully he'll display some of the traits Esquire magazine once cited as the basis of his career longevity: "class, charisma and consistency."
November 14, The Paramount Theater, 8pm, $39.50-$54.50




Terri Allard Americana girl
Country-pop songstress Terri Allard has been pleasing local (and often national) crowds for years, and this week, she'll be welcoming old fans and new to the Southern, where she'll perform Saturday night. If you've seen Allard before, you'll need no encouragement to head out and catch her live. After all, the Washington Post offered this high praise: "Allard's songs address the universal themes of love and loss with unusual grace and soul... tender and reflective but never self-indulgent." Bluegrass-soul-rocker Kathryn Caine opens.
>November 10, The Southern, 8pm, $12

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1 comment

Not actually my event, but a good one nevertheless that's not posted - the Artisans Studio Tour which is Saturday and Sunday the 10th and 11th at 20 different studios in C'ville and the surrounding area. Fabulous crafts plus food and drink!