FunStuff: Charlottesville events November 29 and beyond

Parachute drops in
Hometown boys band Parachute return to town for two shows at the Jefferson Theater. Since falling under the wing of local band manager and music mogul Coran Capshaw, Parachute, formerly known locally as Sparky's Flaw, has tracked Nivea commercials, toured in Europe with Kelly Clarkson, and debuted high in the Top 200 with their 2009 release, Losing Sleep. Arguably the biggest commercial success to come out of Charlottesville since you-know-who, the local boys have managed to stay grounded, "We’ve been doing this since we were 15 years old. We’re best friends," says frontman Will Anderson. "When we play on-stage, we want people to see us as a rock band in the truest sense of the word, and while it’s an increasingly rare sight these days, we’re hoping people can appreciate it.”
November 29 & 30, Jefferson Theater, 7:30pm, $18-30


Waldorf Bazaar
Holiday season means holiday fêtes and bazaars. Over at the Charlottesville Waldorf School on Saturday, the annual holiday bazaar promises to be a festive Christmas season fair for the whole family. In addition to handcrafted gifts, there will be plenty of other activities, including candle-dipping, wreath-making, jump rope-making, leather-stamping, puppet shows, and even falconry demonstrations.
December 1, Charlottesville Waldorf School, 10-4pm, free (donations suggested)


Science fiction reading
UVA engineering professor Rosalyn Berne was jolted out of a deep sleep one night in a New York City hotel room. Not sure why she was awake or what to do next, she sat up in the dark, turned on the bedside light, and found herself picking up a pad of paper and pen and writing until dawn. The eventual result? A novel called Waiting in Silence, a post-apocalyptic science fiction tale set on Nantucket Island, where a kind of organic software program, born without human invention, called the Virtual Information System for Human Noetic Evolution and Welfare has begun to enhance human behavior. Digital immaculate conception is also involved. Berne will be reading from her new novel on Friday at the New Dominion Bookshop on the Downtown Mall.
November 30, New Dominion Bookshop, 5:30pm, free



Sweater bonanza
You really can't go wrong buying someone a sweater for Christmas, or buying one yourself as the nights get colder, and fortunately there's a Saturday event in town dedicated to offering all kinds. It's called the Amazing Holiday Sweater Event, sponsored by upscale re-sale boutique Twice as Nice. Plus, the event supports those who've supported families, launched careers, and contributed to society their whole lives, the senior citizens at Mountainside Senior Living. From the elegant to the exotic, and even the eccentric, you'll find great sweaters, plus festive ties and other Christmas fireside accessories.
December 1– until sold out, Twice as Nice Boutique, 10am, free


Earlysville arts and crafts
Head out to beautiful Earlysville on Saturday for the annual Winter Arts and Crafts Show, and support the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Company. You'll find loads of locally-created arts and crafts (like these hand puppets shown here), jewelry, clothes, food items, kitchen stuff, wreaths, decorations, and more. Oh, and they'll have delicious BBQ on hand and warm beverages.
December 1, Earlysville Fire House, 9-3pm, free


Handmade at Monticello
Up on the Mountain on Saturday, the folks at Monticello are putting on a Handmade for the Holidays event that'll feature all the great gifts in their museum shop, plus many of the artisans who created favorites like handcrafted bowls made from Monticello Tulip Poplar, Sugar Maple, and Walnut trees and handmade pottery created by Neena of Nina J Design Studios. You'll also get to watch local woodworker Denton Middleton make spoons (shown here) with wood from Monticello fruit trees. And the kids can build beeswax candles with the staff at Monticello.
December 1, Monticello Museum Shop, 11am-2pm, free


Travel watercolors
Check out local artist Blake Hurt's new work when it goes up at the New Dominion Bookshop on Friday. Back in 2007, Hurt created portraits using a software program he wrote, overlaying photographic headshots with drawings, patterns, and other images. As the Hook's art reviewer at the time observed, the "complex result has a quality similar to a watercolor painting." This time, however, Hurt has gone straight back to actual watercolor painting, presenting a series of traditional watercolors inspired from his travels abroad. There will be a reception for the show on December 7.
November 30, New Dominion Bookshop, all day, free


Step dance competition
If you love dance, you'll need to check out the 6th Annual Best of Both Worlds Dance & Step Competition at the Paramount Theater. On Saturday night, over 10 of the best and most explosive step dancing teams from all over the region will compete for a $1,500 cash prize and a trophy, according to organizers, "as tall as a child." If you're not familiar with step dancing, or "step shows," a long-time African-American cultural tradition (showcased in such films as Stomp the Yard), you really need to check out this high-energy event. “It’s a cultural honor to showcase this event in front of a diverse audience where people are provided the opportunity to learn," says event promoter Ty Cooper, "which is the greatest joy of producing events."
December 1, Paramount Theater, 3:30pm, $15-$17


The Homecoming
Four County Players, the local theater group that has been putting on shows for four decades now, will present Earl Hamner Jr.'s classic play The Homecoming, the story of the Spencer family, which would go on to become, of course, a classic movie and the basis for the TV show The Waltons. Typically produced at The Hamner Theater, the folks in Afton have kindly lent the Four County Players the script so they can put on the play at their Barboursville theater. It's a classic Christmas tale, set during the Depression on Christmas Eve in 1933, as the family waits and worries about their father's late arrival. The play will run through December 16.
November 30, Four County Players, 8pm, $12-16


Jazz at the Haven
Jazz lovers will dig this special Thursday night gig at The Haven on the Downtown Mall. New York City- based guitarist and composer Joel Harrison performs with his pretty impressive String Choir. Harrison was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2010, and is a two-time winner of the Jazz Composer’s Alliance Composition Competition. Harrison will be joined by cellist Dave Eggar, who has toured with Renee Fleming (as well as Robin and Linda Williams), and powerhouse jazz violinist Mat Maneri, who has played with everyone from Matthew Shipp to Paul Motian to Craig Taborn. Viloist/guitarist Steve Cardenas, and violinist Jeremy Kittel round out the crew. Expect an interesting meld of improvisational jazz and classical chamber music. The group will also conduct a free workshop at Western Albemarle High School on Friday afternoon, November 30. For more information on the workshop, visit
November 29, The Haven, 7:30pm, $10-20

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Wednesday December 5th, 7pm
Cville Coffee Stage Cafe, 1301 Harris St, Charlottesville VA
$5 suggested donation (all proceeds benefit BRIMS)
Absolutely Irish is a once-in-a lifetime Irish music concert and documentary film created by Mick Moloney, directed by Charlottesville’s own Paul Wagner and featuring an all-star cast of traditional performers, including Joanie Madden, Seamus Egan, John Doyle, and Jerry O’Sullivan; fiddlers Eileen Ivers, Liz Carroll, and Athena Tergis; singers Karan Casey and Susan McKeown; dancers Niall O’Leary and Darrah Carr; and trad legends Mike Rafferty on flute and dancer Jo McNamara and many more.
Movie showing followed by a question and answer session with Charlottesville filmmakers Paul and Ellen Wagner.