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REGGIE PACE OF NO BS! BRASS BAND
RiverCity JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
RichmondNavigator.com PRESIDENT // PUBLISHER
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Camille Robinson Lauren Serpa Robert Thomas Luke Witt CONTRIBUTORS
In This Issue 03
RICHMOND'S GREAT RACE
RICHMOND WEDDINGS Unique Venues
VCU PERFORMING ARTS Richmond's Hub
IN SEARCH OF:
HAPPY HOUR GUIDE
About Our Cover: Trombonist Reggie Pace, of the NO BS Brass Band discusses his career in show business and the thrill of performing in front of his hometown fans with Davy Jones’ in this issue’s Backstage. Photo by Lauren Serpa.
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Richmond’s Great Human Race
even in the morning is an early start for a marathon, especially on a Saturday. It’s made even more painful when you know it’s a cool 40 degrees and dark. And did I mention, I am not a runner. Despite my own personal reservations, thousands of local folks and countless others united on Nov. 12, as they have time and again for the Anthem Richmond Marathon, also known as America’s friendliest marathon. The enthusiasm brought by the runners and their supporters was electric, and at each marathon party spot and along the course, there were signs of support, cries of encouragement and volunteers offering water. This brings an interesting aspect to such an event in the River City because even those who choose not to run are committed to making the event a full community experience. From sponsors to volunteers, everyone involved is happy to support the runners and be a part of such a great cause. With 17,500 runners and 1,500 volunteers, the marathon was another step towards Sports Backers’ goal of making Richmond the most active community in the country and leading residents and visitors in celebrating an active lifestyle “The support from the community is addictive,’’ said Zac Hopkinson, of Richmond, who finished his second half marathon and was pleased with his time. “Towards the end, I was walking; I was just done, but a bystander got behind me and just nudged me a little and encouraged me to keep going. I may not have finished as strong without that person’s help. It was really cool.”
COURTESY OF SPORTS BACKERS
by Whitney Kiatsuranon
Support from volunteers and the community is a huge part of the Anthem Richmond Marathon and one of the reasons the event is so successful, said Pete Woody, public relations and communications manager for Sports Backers, the event organizer. “That support is evident before, during and after the race,’’ he said. “(It) certainly helps the participants achieve their goals and cross the finish line on race day.” Later in the day, I caught up with Renee Ayers of Walkerton, Virginia. This was Renee’s first full marathon, and while she made it a point to pace herself, she came in over an hour sooner than she anticipated. “I guess the first time I run a new distance, it is to prove to myself that my body is capable of things my head tells me I can’t do,’’ she said. “Then I run to beat my previous times.” Ayers was among runners, who came from all 50 states and 13 different countries to participate in the annual event. While they were both young and old and of virtually every different nationality, none of that mattered when it came to race day. The race and the passion for running united everyone - racers, volunteers and supporters. So, while I may not be an avid runner or even a runner at all, I can appreciate an event that can bring so many people together in a time when some would say, we need it most. (move the information about the upcoming marathon here.) If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the fall event, don’t worry, April 1 brings the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, presented by Kroger.) RC
THE MOST POSITIVE ENERGY: An Interview with Reggie Pace of No BS! Brass Band
can so distinctly remember the first time I saw No BS! Brass Band. I've seen them a number of times since – at The Broadberry, Balliceaux and The Hippodrome – but this was at The Camel in July of 2011, and something clicked that night. The fullness of Richmond’s creative scene. The feeling of being on the inside of something shared and enveloping. The arc of the 10-year-old No BS! phenomenon has been shaped by talent, community and social consciousness. The group has gone from a collective of talented former jazz students to a central source of advocacy for a city to a force for social justice. All the while, individual members have branched out to lead projects here in Richmond and contribute to renowned national acts.
Trombonist Reggie Pace ranks among the No BS! leadership, having founded the band with drummer Lance Koehler. Pace is one of the group’s most prolific sidemen outside the band. He’s helped Justin Vernon bring the landmark self-titled Bon Iver album to life on a lengthy world tour, and he’s donned glow-in-thedark duds to add depth to Sufjan Stevens’ sound. When you throw in globe-spanning tours with No BS! and his having led what may have been the loudest NPR Tiny Desk Concert ever (the writeup claimed “it was so loud, you could hear the music on the other side of the building, a floor down”), you can see how Pace has been instrumental in raising the visibility of Richmond’s music scene.
How does it feel to play to a crowded room of loyal Richmonders? It feels special, like [we’re] doing something important. People are losing their minds. It’s positive. It’s the most positive energy.
What are your favorite places to play in town? The Broadberry’s awesome. The Camel has a great sound system. Balliceaux has a great vibe. Vagabond – the new spot underneath The National. It’s a nice little spot. It’s bigger than it looks. And of course, The National. I love the venues in town. Seeing rock shows at Strange Matter. Catching weird stuff at Gallery5.
by Davy Jones
Was there a moment when you realized how important No BS! is to the city? It’s not that self-aware. We knew we were connecting, but we couldn’t have formed the narrative. We had played a million shows in which there was more people in the band than in the audience. We’ve been there. So it seemed like a slow crawl to us… it kind of snuck up on us.
What’s it like to represent Richmond around the nation and the world? Does it ever feel like a burden? Because Richmond accepted us, we just go and just be ourselves. That’s how we represent. We go and do this thing that people haven’t seen before. So I don’t feel heavy about it. We feel awesome about it. It’s like a team going to an away game. Are there any challenges to touring with such a large group? It’s not a huge deal. Parking – we have a big shuttle bus. Other than that, we don’t function that differently because we don’t carry a bunch of gear. We just have a drum set, a bunch of bodies, a tuba and one amp. That’s why we can do all kinds of stuff. We’re not ever hampered by the amount of people, other than stage size sometimes. Even with that, we’ll play on the floor. We just make it work.
Your 2015 album Brass Knuckles was more focused on social justice than past albums. Do you see the band’s writing going in that direction in the future? We try to stay current, but the band isn’t even a political band. We were just writing about what was up... We are interracial, and we are intercultural. Everybody in the band isn’t a liberal, and we don’t agree on everything. But we still stay together. We have a wide range of ages… we do different types of music, we play at different types of music festivals — jazz, hip hop shows, metal festivals, indie rock festivals. Guys in the band play different types of music on their own. Some dudes are playing in rock bands; some dudes have jazz bands. We are that example, I think. Our thing is togetherness, and that’s what it’s always been about. You don’t have to be the same. We don’t even dress the same. Marcus [Tenney] usually has a suit on. I have a vest on. Some dudes have ties on. Some dudes are in basketball jerseys. We are together, and we are different types of people. And we fight sometimes, but we’ve kept it together for 10 years. It’s not impossible to be amongst a lot of different types of people and be cool, be civil.
What’s your favorite part about performing? It’s fun. It’s like a sport. We go out there and try to play as perfectly as we can, but also as loose and with high energy. To be good on your instrument, you have to have endurance, which is the physical aspect of playing on an instrument that’s not artistically based. That’s the side of brass instruments that people might not know about. You have to take care of it all the time. Anybody who plays an instrument will tell you that you need to take care of your hands, or your body, but with brass, it’s real specific to your chops. You have to take care of them like a basketball player would have to run.
You’ve collaborated with Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens and a number of artists in town. Are there any other collaborations that were particularly meaningful to you? I got to write music for The Blind Boys of Alabama’s [I'll Find a Way] album. That was awesome. That was a dream. I wrote my parts here and then flew out [to Wisconsin] and did them… That record is so awesome. Meeting those guys was really cool, because I grew up in the church. My parents were so excited about that.
No BS! Brass Band will be playing a special 10th anniversary show at The Broadberry on Jan. 14. For tickets, visit TheBroadberry.com. RichmondNavigator.com 5
Whatâ€™s Up in the Bottom?
by Whitney Kiatsuranon
hockoe Bottom is one of Richmondâ€™s hidden gems that many would rather outsiders not find out about. As a former resident, I can tell you that there is a distinct charm to the Bottom that is different from any other neighborhood around the city. It attracts young professionals who prefer the luxury that the numerous renovated warehouse apartments provide, including, rooftop pools, gyms, clubhouses and spectacular views of the city. The luxury of walking to work or school attracts students and employees at the VCU Medical Center, as well as many state government workers.
It’s also an area that sees constant change. Nightclubs and restaurants continue to open (and often close), all seeking to become the Bottom’s newest place to be seen for a night out on the town. What was once the favorite hangout of the college crowd, Tiki Bob’s, is set to re-open its doors at 110 N. 18th St., this month, as Ponies and Pints. The new restaurant, featuring 50 TVs and 50 beers on tap, will offer an opportunity to bet on a horse race or two. “A lot of the patrons are area residents. Most of them are young professionals,” said Daniel Roberts, a bartender at Off the Rox (119 N. 18th St.) and a resident of the Bottom. “Ya know, they wake up early and don’t really go out during the week, but they definitely support the area during the weekend.” There are lots of dining spots to support, too. Within a onemile radius, you will find cuisines from Ethiopia, Japan, Thailand and Cuba There’s even an Irish pub, Rosie Connolly’s, at 1548 E. Main St. I had the opportunity to visit with Tom Goulding, owner and barkeep of the restaurant. He not only gave me a tour of the building, he also shared its history and provided some insights on the neighborhood as well.
“I acquired the business right after the flood of 2004,” he told me. “The dining room that we are sitting in was actually completely underwater as the water levels had risen up to the first floor above us.” It took Goulding about five months to restore the space so he could open in February 2005, just before St. Patrick’s Day. Not only do pub crawlers from the neighborhood frequent the restaurant but regulars come from the Fan, Southside and all over the Metro area. When asked what direction he would like to see the neighborhood move toward, Goulding said, “I am curious to see what the new mayor will do with the existing plans to renovate the market place. The last Mayor wanted to renovate the space. It was supposed to be European style, like a Barcelona style, with tents, marquees, trees, lights and fountains with a pedestrian area. It sounds nice and great, but I guess we will have to see what the new mayor will do.” David Napier, owner of the Old City Bar and White House Catering (1548 E. Main St.) agreed with Goulding. “A lot lies, as far as positive growth, on the decisions that will be made around the 17th Street Farmers’ Market,’’ he said. “But we just have to
wait and see.” Napier has reopened The Old City Bar, which is open to the public when the restaurant is not booked for private events. As we go to press, a spokesperson in the Mayor’s office told us that the entire project was put out for rebidding. The bids, which were due to be submitted in early December, are in the process of being reviewed. Until the entire process has run its course, the city is not able to provide any details on just what the renovation of the Farmers’ Market will entail. Shockoe Bottom is as rich in history as it is in culture. Take a Segway tour by Segway of Richmond, located at 1301 East Cary St., and see Shockoe Bottom like a tourist. Discover some of Richmond’s most historic places, such as the Edgar Allen Poe Museum; the Holocaust Museum; the Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue (one of three statues on three separate continents); the Triple Crossing, which is the only place in the world, some say, where three rail lines cross at the same point; the monument to Henry “Box” Brown, a 19th-century slave who mailed himself to freedom; and the 17th Street Farmers’ Market. Hear the tragic story of the train still buried underneath 50 feet of rubble in a tunnel where no one survived and where two railway workers still remain buried with the train.” You can find all of this when you book your tour at SegwayOf Richmond.biz. Between the beautiful canal walk and the rustic cobblestone streets, you are sure to be taken back to an era rich in history that has helped shape the River City into what it is today. With new apartments, shops and businesses popping up all around the area, there is plenty to explore and discover. However, you won’t find many big retail giants in the Bottom. In fact, the majority of the businesses are locally owned and operated. But you will find food, fun and facts (of the historical kind). What more could one ask for in a Richmond neighborhood? RC
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THE BROADWAY WAS A MOVIE HOUSE ON THEATER ROW. IT LATER BECAME THE STATE THEATER. COURTESY OF THE COOK COLLECTION; THE VALENTINE
Our Rich Theater History How Much Do You Know? by Steve Cook
ny discussion of the history of Richmond-area theaters must, by law (I guess), include mention of the Mosque and the Byrd. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on. The history of the theater in Richmond incorporates so much more than those two venerable venues. In researching that history, I discovered places and events that I had either never heard of, or had forgotten about. Our play-going ancestors of about 100 years ago may have frequented the Bijou or the Lubin, both located along “Theater Row,” between 7th and 9th streets on
Broad. In 1916, the Lubin was renamed the Isis. They may have also enjoyed taking in a show at the Bluebird or at the city’s first nickelodeon – the Dixie, which opened in 1907. While we may not have the Great White Way in Richmond, our theatrical history is long and storied. Special thanks go out to the fantastic staff (especially Kelly Kerney) at The Valentine Museum for allowing me to peruse their amazing collection of photographs showcasing the variety of theaters as well as the actors who have graced Richmond stages through the centuries – and I do mean centuries.
How much do you know about the history of the theater in the River City? Take this little quiz and let’s find out:
1. When did Richmond get its first theater? 2. What local theater-related event has been called America’s first great disaster? 3. What famous actor virtually left the stage following the raid at Harper’s Ferry and joined a Richmond militia in an effort to catch John Brown? 4. Where was the Deuce and which theater there was instrumental in Richmond earning the title “Harlem of the South”? FORMER RICHMOND BASEBALL MANAGER AND ENTREPRENEUR JAKE WELLS OPENED THE BIJOU THEATER IN 1899. IN 1909, THE LUBIN THEATER WAS OPENED ON THEATER ROW ON THE NORTH SIDE OF EAST BROAD STREET BETWEEN 7TH AND 9TH STREETS . THE LUBIN CHANGED FREQUENTLY, BECOMING THE ISIS FROM 1916 TO 1929. TODAY THE LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA OCCUPIES THE SITE COURTESY OF THE COOK COLLECTION; THE VALENTINE
How did you do?
COURTESY OF THE COOK COLLECTION; THE VALENTINE
The City of Richmond got its first true theater – known initially as the first Academy of Fine Arts and Sciences in America – over 230 years ago. The Theatre Square, as it was better known, was located on what is now Broad Street, between 12th and College streets. Its doors were opened on Oct. 10, 1786, with the play School For Scandal that had premiered in London in 1777. In 1802, the theater was destroyed by fire and was replaced by the Richmond Theatre, which opened at the same location around 1810.
ALL 72 VICTIMS OF THE RICHMOND THEATRE FIRE OF 1811 WERE BURIED ON THE SITE OF THE THEATER. IN 1814 CONSTRUCTION OF MONUMENTAL CHURCH WAS COMPLETED ON THE SAME SITE. THE REMAINS OF THE VICTIMS ARE IN A CRYPT IN THE CHURCH’S BASEMENT.
COURTESY OF HISTORIC RICHMOND
A PRINT OF THE RICHMOND THEATRE FIRE OF 1811 - AMERICA’S FIRST GREAT DISASTER. THE TRAGEDY TOOK THE LIVES OF 72 PERSONS, INCLUDING VIRGINIA GOVERNOR, GEORGE W. SMITH
MONUMENTAL CHURCH WAS CONSTRUCTED IN 1814 TO MEMORIALIZE THE VICTIMS WHO PERISHED IN THE RICHMOND THEATRE FIRE OF 1811. IT SERVED AS AN EPISCOPAL CHURCH UNTIL 1965. TODAY THE BUILDING IS MAINTAINED BY HISTORIC RICHMOND.
COURTESY OF HISTORIC RICHMOND
On Dec. 26, 1811, Richmond Theatre became the site of what has been called America’s first great disaster. About 600 people had gathered that evening for a pantomime entitled Raymond and Agnes, or the Bleeding Nun. Robert Drucker, writing for the website Bridge to Strength (bridgetostrength.com), describes the events of the evening: “When the curtain fell after the first act, a boy worker was instructed to lift a chandelier out of sight. As the boy raised the lamp, he realized that one of its two oil candles was still burning, and he hesitated with concern. But, when a voice of authority instructed the youngster to continue pulling the chandelier upward, the boy resumed the lifting. Just then, the pulley system that was used to maneuver the chandelier bound up, and the boy, in an attempt to free the mechanism, forcibly jerked one of the pulley ropes. The sudden jerk on the rope caused the lamp to swing violently back and forth, and a stage carpenter was heard to yell, ‘Put the chandelier out!’ But, the carpenter's plea came too late; before the lit fixture could be lowered, it brushed up against one of the sceneries, setting it on fire.” To make matters worse, the curtain hid the fire so that it wasn’t until the second act had started that one of the actors noticed the flames and rushed offstage to help control the fire. Someone from backstage yelled out that there was no danger and that the fire was under control. However, some of the actors had, by this time, fled the theater. The audience remained, being under the impression that the luster of light from the fire was actually part of the scenery. One actor, Hopkins Robertson, remained on stage. Soon, he saw the flames start to spread rapidly and yelled, “The house is on fire!” Playgoers panicked. Flames spread through the narrow hallways leading to several exits. The editor of the Richmond Enquirer newspaper, who was in attendance that evening, wrote, in reporting the event, “The fire flew with a rapidity almost beyond example. Within ten minutes after it caught, the whole house was wrapped in flames.” Some 72 theatergoers perished in the fire, including George W. Smith, the governor of Virginia. Many who had escaped went back into the burning building in an effort to rescue their children and other loved ones. Gilbert Hunt, a former slave who had purchased his freedom, is credited with assisting Dr. James McCaw, who was present in the theater that night, in a valiant rescue effort. Hunt, whose blacksmith shop was located near the theater, helped about a dozen theatergoers escape. In 1812, construction began on a church to be built on the site of the disaster to memorialize the tragedy and its victims. Monumental Church was completed in 1814. As those who perished in the fire, including Governor Smith, were all buried on the theater site, their mass grave became a crypt in the church’s basement. The building, which was used as an Episcopal Church until 1965, is today maintained by the Historic Richmond Foundation frequently serves as a venue for weddings and other special events.
In August 1855, an actor using the pseudonym J.B. Wilkes made his stage debut in Philadelphia. Later that year, the actor became a regular stock company actor at the new Richmond Theater. Reportedly, some critics called the actor “the handsomest man in America,” however the critics were mixed in their estimation of his acting ability. His contemporaries often characterized his stage performances as acrobatic and intensely physical, with him leaping upon the stage and gesturing with passion. The actor was a firm believer in slavery, and after John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry, he joined the Richmond Grays – a militia group that was sent to capture the abolitionist. The actor had taken the name J.B. Wilkes, as he did not want to divert attention from his thespian family, which included perhaps the most famous actor of the era, his brother, Edwin Booth. J.B. Wilkes was, as you have probably already guessed, John Wilkes Booth.
Moving into the 20th century, Downtown Richmond’s theater scene was more vibrant than ever. That was especially true over in Jackson Ward. The neighborhood was becoming the center of African American commerce and entertainment. The “Deuce,” or as we better know it today, 2nd Street, was a hot spot, attracting virtually all of the top black entertainers of the era. In fact, folks were calling Jackson Ward “the Harlem of the South.” A local movie house, built in 1914 by Walter Coulter and one of the city’s first female entrepreneurs, Amanda Thorpe, soon became “the place” in Richmond to catch the most famous of those entertainers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Richmond’s own Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. That theater, known as the Hippodrome or the HIpp, has once again, thanks to the restoration efforts of Richmond businessman, Ron Stallings, become a venue for great live entertainment.
1323 East Main St, Richmond, VA
Theatre is still alive and strong in the Metro Richmond area. “Richmond has more professional theater than any other city of similar size in the country,” says Vickie Scallion, founder and artistic director at HATTheatre, located in the West End. “And the caliber of work is comparable to much of what you see in New York.” Yes, there’s much more to tell about Richmond’s theatrical scene. But we’ll have to raise the curtain on those stories at another time. RC
COURTESY OF THE VALENTINE
THE HIPPODROME, OR THE HIPP, HAD ITS HEYDAY DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY, AS THE SITE FOR LIVE ENTERTAINMENT. AFTER A FIRE IN 1945, THE THEATER WAS RENOVATED WITH AN ART DECO FACADE AND WAS USED PRIMARILY AS A MOVIE THEATER. BEFORE SEGREGATION IN THE 60S, IT WAS ONE OF THE FEW RICHMOND MOVIE THEATERS OPEN TO AFRICAN AMERICANS.
Unique Richmond Wedding Venues
by Jordan Langley
hen you stand in front of your beloved and recite those meaningful vows, the last thing that many brides want is an ordinary wedding. Couples spend months, maybe even years, dreaming of the perfect backdrop to their ceremony. Family and friends will gather from near and far to celebrate your nuptials, so treat them to a stylish reception not soon forgotten. The appeal of a Richmond wedding lies in the city’s rich architecture, with many sites having existed for centuries. Why not marry steadfast tradition with modern details for a wedding for the ages? Colleen Cook, owner and event planner at Richmond-based CCS Events (CCSEvents.com) has the insight on trending wedding venues, “Richmond couples are mixing rustic elements with elegant touches at garden party receptions. That could be tents with chandelier lighting. People love the Downton Abbey feel. I know one couple that had an outdoor park ceremony with the reception at a hip downtown restaurant.” Here are some Richmond outdoor wedding venue ideas to achieve the look:
THE WICKHAM HOUSE, HOME OF THE VALENTINE MUSEUM WAS COMPLETED IN 1812 AND IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE FINEST EXAMPLES OF ARCHITECTURE FROM THE FEDERAL PERIOD. THE PORTICO AT THE WICKHAM HOUSE AT THE VALENTINE MUSEUM IS A BEAUTIFUL, INTIMATE SPACE FOR A CEREMONY. THE VALENTINE ALSO OFFERS BOTH GARDEN AND INTERIOR SPACES FOR WEDDINGS AND OTHER PRIVATE FUNCTIONS. PHOTOS COURTESY WARD PHOTOGRAPHY.
Richmond gardens, whether public or private, abound for every idea and budget. If you’ve lived here long enough, you know that MAYMONT PARK (Maymont.org) and LEWIS GINTER BOTANICAL GARDENS (LewisGinter.org) are gorgeously maintained garden-party locations available for weddings. But did you know that the CITY OF RICHMOND (Richmondgov.com/parks) offers rentals of the Byrd Park grounds surrounding the Carillon war memorial if you also rent the indoor space? Many Richmond museums have an outdoor garden space suited for wedding parties, such as THE VALENTINE (TheValentine.org) and the BRANCH MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN (BranchMuseum.org). Richmonder Heather Smith delighted guests with a make-yourown ice cream sundae bar at her enchanted garden reception at the EDGAR ALLEN POE MUSEUM (PoeMuseum.org). Some Richmond historic sites and private houses also offer outdoor wedding ceremony space. WILTON HOUSE MUSEUM (WiltonHouseMuseum.org), THE VIRGINIA HOUSE (VaHistorical.org) and TREDEGAR IRON WORKS (ACWM.org) are lovely options. For a modern twist, indulge your guests with a dinner or lunch reception at a downtown restaurant to experience fantastic food and drinks all in one setting. Every taste can be accounted for, whether it’s seafood and steak, Italian or even Cuban. Check with your favorite restaurants to see what size parties they accommodate. The fusion of historic charm and trendy style has always been a Richmond cornerstone. Resident (and our managing editor) Whitney Kiatsuranon wed five years ago at THE BYRD THEATRE (ByrdTheatre.com) in Carytown. “The entire process from start to finish was a dream,” she recalls. “The venue was very inexpensive to rent and there was no need to decorate because the theatre is already gorgeous.” She held the reception across the street at MOM’S SIAM RESTAURANT (MomSiam.com)
CLAIRE AND JON BEGIN THEIR MARRIED LIFE TOGETHER UNDERMAYMONT’S ITALIAN GARDEN PERGOLA.
MAYMONT IS THE SITE OF MANY RICHMOND WEDDINGS AND RECEPTIONS. HERE, ONE HAPPY COUPLE MEET UNDER THE ITALIAN GARDEN DOME.
COURTESY STEPHANIE YONCE PHOTOGRAPHY
COURTESY ROBERT JINKS PHOTOGRAPHY
“Weddings are about interjecting the couple’s personalities into the largest and smallest details,’’ Cook says. “Those in touch with environmental issues are throwing green weddings to reduce their footprint. Ethnic traditions are highlighted in ceremonies and receptions alike to embrace a better understanding of what family really means at a wedding.” That’s a sentiment to love.
COURTESY POE MUSEUM
THE ENCHANTED GARDEN AT RICHMOND'S HISTORIC POE MUSEUM IS A QUIET, BEAUTIFUL SPOT FOR ANY SPECIAL EVENT. THE ENCHANTED GARDEN WAS DESIGNED IN 1922 TO REPRESENT POE’S POEM, “TO ONE IN PARADISE”, AND IT IS HOME TO POE’S SHRINE AND THE MUSEUM'S RESIDENT BLACK CATS.
Richmond’s Hub Performing Arts FOR THE
by Zach Brown
ichmond has often drawn comparisons to New York City for its appeal to artists. VCU, the cities epicenter for aspiring artists, stands as the first-ranked public university for art, according to U.S. News & World Report. However, if gallery displays are a bit too ‘quiet’ for you, a world of music, theater and dance are only a short walk from anywhere on campus. For music lovers, the W.E. Singleton Center at 922 Park Ave. will host a number of performances beginning in 2017. On Jan. 28, the center will welcome world-renowned violinist Anne Akiko Myers. Meyers, the 2014 Billboard top-selling classical instrumental soloist, will be performing pieces from her extensive library of original music, as part of the Mary Anne Rennolds Chamber Concert Series, which will run through the first half of 2017.
Continuing the series, the Montrose Trio arrives on Feb. 18 to perform pieces from Shostakovich, Beethoven and Brahms. On April 1, cellist Joshua Roman, formerly of the Seattle Symphony, will grace the stage. The first half of the year rounds out with the prolific chamber group, the Miro Quartet, on May 6. If you need a bit more dialogue in your performance art, Kikau Alvaro, VCU’s head of Musical Theatre, says that the department has something for everyone. “The theatre department presents one play and one musical per semester, so you will find a mix of comedy and drama.” For drama fans, Feb. 16 will see the start of the theater’s run of “A Time to Kill,” based on the novel by John Grisham and the 1996 film adaptation by the same name. The play will continue on select dates through Feb. 26, at which time the department removes the drama mask and replaces it with the comedy of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.” Beginning on Apr. 14 and running through the 30th, the musical comedy based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail will be sure to satisfy fans of the classic film as well as newcomers to slapstick comedy. Alvaro, who will also serve as the director of the musical, says he hopes that both shows will draw in the Richmond community, adding: “The shows that are chosen certainly provide an opportunity for our students to experience being involved in a production, but none of it would be possible without an audience to see it.”
Over at the Grace Street Theater (934 W. Grace St.), the School of Dance will present its student concert, “Pathfinders,” on Jan. 27 and 28. For $15, dance fans will be able to attend the professionally produced concert performed by VCU’s dance majors. A few weeks, later, the VCU dancers return to Grace Street for “Dance Now” running Feb. 16 through 18 and featuring “Still Crossing” from famed choreographer Liz Lerman. Let’s face it, if you’re a music, theater or dance fan, you’re out of excuses for not taking advantage of what the performing arts at VCU has to offer. For more information, visit online at Arts.VCU.edu/music/events
MIRO QUARTET MONTROSE TRIO
In Search Of: Healthy Dishes The Naked Onion 2118 W. Cary St.; 804-972-3339 FB - OnionRVA
To call The Naked Onion a soup and sandwich shop would be accurate, but it might be like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground. Owners Greg and Lauren Comstock bring their expert culinary skills to the table along with (even more importantly) their passion for the profession. Everything is made from scratch at this cool takeout spot. The Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich is exceptional, featuring four ounces of fresh mozzarella, house made tomato jam, balsamic glazed shallots and greens on a fantastic grilled garlic baguette. ROBERT THOMAS
1823 W. Main St.; 804-464-8226; Goatocado.com You’ve probably seen Ian Newell and his crew from Goatocado around town. Between their food trucks and special events, they’ve developed quite a following. In the fall of last year, they opened their very own restaurant in the Fan. From their start, about five-and-a-half years ago, Ian says, “We’ve tried to serve not only healthy dishes, but environmentally conscientious food as well. The Vietnamese Salad features seared mushrooms, pickled veggies, shaved red cabbage, cucumbers and fresh herbs, topped with a zesty carrot-top aioli, peanut sauce, toasted sesame seeds and fresh avocado. Diners get to choose from a variety of bases including naan, organic quinoa plus organic baby greens(pictured here) and mac and cheese.
ISO JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
In Search Of: Healthy Dishes ROBERT THOMAS
306 N. 29th St.; 804-648-0791l; NileRVA.com The Teklemariam brothers, Yoseph and Benyam, are back in their very popular Nile restaurant, this time in Church Hill. The authentic Ethiopian eatery is famous for its healthy and delicious dishes. The gluten-free injera bread is made from teff, an ancient Ethiopian grain. For our visit, Yoseph prepared the Buticha Roll. This dish is a departure from the traditional style where the injera (picture a spongy pancake) is placed on the plate and served with your choice of vegetarian and meat toppings. With the Buticha roll, lightly seasoned garbanzo bean paste is rolled in the injera and served with baby greens and tomatoes. If you’re not familiar with Ethiopian cuisine, this tasty roll makes for a great introduction and a refreshing treat.
Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse
2306 E. Cary St.; 804-643-6900 BookbindersRichmond.com Locally family owned and unique to Richmond, Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse, (located in historic Tobacco Row), truly provides an exquisite dining experience. Bookbinder’s is known for their award winning cuisine and unparalleled service. The menu features a variety of heavenly steaks and the best crab cakes around! For those looking for lighter fare, Bookbinder’s offers seafood specialties, many of which are as healthy as they are delicious! May we suggest the Herb Grilled Yellowfin Tuna, which is seared rare and served over a zucchini linguini with a puttanesca sauce?
Join us every Sunday. It all starts at 11AM with a great brunch menu.
Restaurant & Bar Hours: Mon.– Thu. 11:30AM – 11:00PM Fri.– Sat. 11:30AM – Midnight Sun. 11:30AM – 10:00PM
The area’s Award Winning Bar and Restaurant with great beer, great food and captivating views of Richmond
Bluegrass/Americana Music Every Sunday Night!
Valentine's Day Special Three Course Dinner for Two • One medium or thin crust Signature Pizza • Two side salads (choice of house or Caesar) • Two refillable fountain drinks • One dessert for sharing 00
1700 Dock St. Richmond (804)-644-4400 BottomsUpPizza.com
by Whitney Kiatsuranon and Steve Cook
Every time you turn around, you discover a new restaurant opening up in River City. Here’s a little rundown of some of the places we’ve visited, including some old favorites, too.
ONE PIZZA, WITH LOTS OF LOVE: One of Richmond’s staples in terms of pizza, is Bottom’s Up Pizza, located at 1700 Dock Street. On any given day, you can grab a mouthwatering slice of pizza but particularly in the month of February, couples will be delighted to note that Valentine’s Day specials include a “Date for 2 package.” Adriane Chandler, director of marketing says, “We are typically busy on Valentine’s day. This is where a lot of couples had their first dates, their engagements or even hosted rehearsal dinners. So, couples like to come back here to honor those memories.” In addition to being a great date spot, Bottoms Up, says Adriane, now offers online ordering at BottomsUpPizza.Com. Also, if you’re looking for something to do on one of those sleepy Sunday or Monday nights in town, head on down to Bottoms Up. You’re sure to enjoy their live jazz every Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m. and the open-mic comedy night on Monday nights also from around 7 to 10 p.m. (WK)
KIDDING AROUND: I heard from one of our Taste Buds, Katie Sweeney,
recently. She told me that she had taken two of her sons (ages 4 and 8) to Boulevard Burger and Brew (BoulevardBurgerAndBrew.com) at 1300 N. Boulevard. “What?” I was incredulous. “Did you get there in time for them to enjoy Happy Hour?” That was my amazing sarcasm at work. You see, I only know the place as one of the city’s very popular watering holes (with good burgers, too, of course). But I’ve been enlightened, thanks to Katie/ She informed me that they also have a great kids’ menu. For $4.95, kids under 12 get a choice of several meals. And that includes an ice cream for dessert. Her boys got the cheeseburger sliders, which, she said, they loved. Katie took her server’s recommendations and ordered the Spicy Thai Fried Green Beans ($5.95). “I’d go back just for the green beans,” she told me. (SC)
CHEESE WIZ: When Home Sweet Home (3433 W. Cary) opened
about a year ago, I had every intention of going. I finally did a few days ago. A conversation with some friends about our love for grilled cheese sandwiches reminded me of the place. At Home Sweet Home you get lots of grilled cheese sandwich options. Chef Sam Hall tells me that the emphasis is really on upscale bar food, including some items that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into, such as the warm crab dip, the pimento cheese (my favorite) and the wings with a variety of sauces. But, just glancing at the menu (online at HSHRVA.com), I’d have to say the grilled cheese really steals the show. For instance, there’s the Upstate. It features sharp Vermont cheddar, applewood smoked bacon and gala apple on honey wheat. It even comes with a side of maple syrup. Or how about the River City with pimento cheese, dill pickles and shaved country ham? They’re talking my language. By the way, they have a great happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m., weekdays. (SC) RichmondNavigator.com 21
FLAVOR COMING SOON TO THE SLIP:
NEW BREWS IN FULTON: Luke Witt, one of our
talented photographers (and one of our favorite Taste Buds, too) filed this report after his recent visit to Triple Crossing Brewing Company’s (TripleCrossingBeer.com) new Fulton brewery: Scott Jones, Adam Worcester, and Jeremy Wirtes opened their second Triple Crossing Brewing Company facility in Fulton (5203 Hatcher St.) in mid-December. The three men started the business on Foushee Street about three years ago. As I was approaching the entrance to the new facility, I was struck by the colorful, cosmic mural created by local artist Mikael Broth. What struck me when I actually got inside was the smell of freshly baked pizza from Billy Fallen. And of course the fresh beer was there to complete the trifecta. You feel like you’ve walked into a graphic comic book, thanks to Broth's work as well as to the quirky, unique interior design by Kathy Corbet, highlighted by low-hanging lights. The pizza oven resembles a certain yellow and round, arcade character, ready to gobble up orders in its 900° oven mouth. Choose from four pizzas - margherita, white garlic, pepperoni, and sausage. Gluten-free pizza is also available. Currently, there are six beers on tap including Clever Girl, Falcon Smash and Seasonal Shift.
NEW CITY BAR: As the song says, “Everything old is new again.” Well the Old City
Bar (TheOldCityBar.com), right next to Main Street Station, has now reopened to the public. After about 11 years of serving primarily as a venue for private functions, Owner David Napier has decided to open up the restaurant on evenings when there are no private functions. You can follow the bar’s opening and closing schedule on their Facebook page. Manager, Bill Landon tells me that starting this month, the bar may be open with more frequency. His son, (also Bill) is the bartender and he tells me that he’s creating some really cool craft cocktails down there. On Tuesdays, they have a free buffet during their happy hour, which runs from 4 to 7 on evenings when they’re not doing a private function. David, who has also been president of the Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood Association for several years, hints that with the soon-to-be-released details on the new 17th Street Market, right next door to his bar, he may have some cool things in mind for the building. I can’t wait to hear the details. (SC)
I was down in Shockoe Slip recently and stopped in to check on the progress with the renovations at the old La Grotta restaurant (1218 E. Cary Street). Carlos Londono was busy putting the finishing touches on his new, New-York-feel, upscale Mijas Mexican restaurant. I think with the new décor, including some very interesting murals, the basement setting is only going to add to the excitement that Mijas will be generating. Carlos should be opening the doors a little later this month (January). (SC)
HAPPY HOUR GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
506 West Broad Street; 804-447-0469; BokaTruck.com/Boka-Tavern In the heart of the city just east of Belvidere you will find Richmond’s favorite Asian and Mexican inspired pub fare. MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY FROM 3 TO 7 P.M. Margaritas $5 Flavor Bombs $5 Jameson $5 Rails/House Liquor $3 Drafts $1 off ONE MORE THING: Wednesday - 1/2 priced wine all day Thursday (9p.m. to close) - Margaritas $5. Flavor Bombs $3. Friday - Mexican Beer $3 all day Saturday - Craft bottle/Can beer $3 all day Sunday through Wednesday industry night (8p.m. to close) - Jameson $4. Fireball $4. PBR, Tecate, Budlight, Lions head $2
16 North 17th Street; 804-780-2822; Havana59.net Salsa dancing, cigars, brunch and amazing atmosphere, Havana 59 is a destination getaway and it’s right here in the city. MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY 4:30 TO 6:30 P.M. AND FRIDAY DRINKS UNTIL 7:30 P.M. Havana 59 traditional mojito $5 Red or white sangria $5 Red or white Spanish wine $5 Fried calamari with tomatillo-jalapeno sauce $5 Pork morsels with cilantro sauce $5 Cuban nachos with beef $5 Wood grilled tacos del dia (2) $5 ONE MORE THING: Now serving brunch Saturday 11a.m. to 3p.m. and Sunday 10a.m. to 3p.m.
2416 West Cary Street 804-482-8822 BeachHouseBar.us Richmond’s newest club scene proves to be a lot of fun and serves good food to boot. 7 DAYS A WEEK FROM 11A.M. TO 7P.M. All drafts $1 off Domestic Bottles $3 Rail highballs $3 All wine $1 off ONE MORE THING: Check out their theme nights if you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll find Karaoke, Trivia, Flip night and every Friday you’ll be entertained by the dueling pianos.
2619 West Main Street; 804-353-9709; Social52RVA.com Located just off Main St. in the fan you will find a warm and welcoming environment that is great to have dinner at or just enjoy a cocktail or two. MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY FROM 4 TO 7 P.M. Drafts $2 off Bud Lights $2 Rails $3 House Wine $3 All social plates and social bowls are buy 1, get 1 half off ONE MORE THING: Monday offers extended happy hour from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday is a burger and brew night which is any specialty burger and a 12oz or 14 oz local Virginia draft for $10. Mom’s eat brunch free every Sunday!
1 South Mulberry Street; 804-353-1609; BambooCafeRVA.com Everyone’s favorite neighborhood hangout spot, young or old, this small little café offers history to the neighborhood as well as good food. 7 DAYS A WEEK DAY FROM 3 TO 7 P.M. Bud, Bud light, Miller, Miller lite $2 Rail Highballs $2.75 Juice plus rail highballs $3.25 ONE MORE THING: Monday through Friday breakfast served until 2p.m. and brunch served Saturday/Sunday until 4p.m.
For a more extensize guide visit RichmondNavigator.com/flavor/happy-hour-guide