All about town. WINTER 2022–2023
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Table of Contents
Metro 9 9 Words matter
A local poet releases a memoir.
11 Fresh start
Welcome to UVA, Tony Elliott.
13 Brew buzz
Hop to Crozet Winter Brews Fest.
13 Now playing
Give Tyler Burkhardt a listen.
Front and Center 17 17 New approach
The next era for Pro Camera—in 3D.
20 Store tour
Take in these spots’ country charm.
22 Family business
25 Once upon a time Playing dress-up with Hailey Ballard.
26 En plein air
A new Ix mural with a mission.
29 Style star
Khalilah Jones shifts the atmosphere.
30 Save the earth
Reduce and reuse with these local shops.
Mother-son duo becomes LEGO masters.
Feature 35 Something special for everyone on your list—even those extra hard-to-shop-for people—from 13 area experts. FOR A GOOD DAY, CALL... Travis Koshko. Page 46 434, a supplement to C-VILLE Weekly, is distributed in Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the Shenandoah Valley. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. 434 Editor Caite Hamilton. Copy Editor Susan Sorensen.
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Debbie Miller. A/R Specialist Nanci Winter. Circulation Manager Billy Dempsey. ©2022 C-VILLE Weekly. 434 5
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Firmament of REFERENTIALITY As a poet, Kiki Petrosino has published four collections, including most recently, White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia, and received the Pushcart Prize and the Rilke Prize, among other awards and fellowships. As a prose writer, her first full-length book, Bright: A Memoir, published in August. —Sarah Sargeant
434: Though your poetry has embraced aspects of memoir, Bright marks your first book of prose exploring personal history. How did you decide to make this shift? KIKI PETROSINO: I consider this to be a really exciting expansion of my writing practice. Over the past several years, I became really intrigued by how difficult it is to write an essay. I can anticipate how it will feel to write a poem; I couldn’t anticipate how it would feel to write an essay but I wanted very much to write sentences and paragraphs and hear how my voice would sound in that form. Once I finished my latest book of poetry, which was also a work of research, I realized that I had more to say on the topics of racial identity and background and upbringing. And I wondered if I could take some of the additional things I wanted to say, and the additional stories I wanted to tell, into a
lyric prose form. I wanted to see if I could do it, I hoped that I would, and I wondered what I would sound like. As an artist, I’m interested in different ways of making meaning, and poetry has been a set of forms that is capacious and expansive and allows me to investigate a number of different kinds of questions and to think about language in a particular way, and so I always value poetry for that. But, I also admire the way that essayists, whether they are lyric essayists, investigative writers, or personal memoirists, have been able to tell stories that also evoke emotion. I’m mostly a lyric poet, in the sense that I want my poems to evoke an emotion. Sometimes I tell stories but the stories are meant to make the reader feel what I am hoping that they will feel. More and more, I’ve become interested in the actual stories themselves, and prose might be a place where I can actually say what happened and also find language for talking about how it felt to be in that story or to guide the reader toward some kind of emotional impact. And that’s why some of the tools of lyric essay writing, such as juxtaposition or contrast or braiding— placing two stories next to each other so that the reader can understand the relationship between those two stories without the essayist having to explain it—are the kinds of prose forms that I’m interested in, because they actually link back to things that happen in poetry.
In her memoir Bright, Kiki Petrosino relates her experience as a Black American of interracial background through fairy tales and literary references to Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, and Dante.
434: As you explore the lives of your Black ancestors in Bright, you continue your work to examine the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, which is also a recurrent theme in your poetry. How has that evolved over the course of your work? KIKI PETROSINO: I continue to approach Jefferson with fascination and curiosity. That doesn’t mean I take an uncritical view of him, that I don’t see what his vision excluded as much as what it included. It means that I walk a line between those two modalities. For me, the generative place—the place where writing can happen—is in the space between absolutes. Jefferson is an incredibly complex figure. To read him solely as a hero or solely as a villain excludes other things we could be learning. And I always want to be in a position of learning. This article originally ran unabridged in C-VILLE Weekly. 434 9
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Metro BIG QUESTION
434: With your experience as both an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at Clemson, it’s no surprise that you garnered interest from other schools. Why did you feel that Virginia was the best fit for you? TONY ELLIOTT: I felt Virginia was the best fit because it matched the profile that I set forth, about three or four years before, of the school that I would want to transition to. It started with high academics, and that was important because at the end of the day, education is the most important thing. Football is prevalent in a guy’s life at this point, but long-term, education is the key, and to have an institution like Virginia and the brand recognition from an academic standpoint, and just the overall quality of the educational experience that you receive here was important for me. An opportunity to build something the way that I wanted to build it and not necessarily have to be influenced by a bunch of external forces. The opportunity to play in a competitive conference that sets you up to have a chance to compete on a national level. Those were the big things, and the thing that sealed the deal was just the relationship that I was able to establish, as quickly as I was, with [UVA Athletic Director] Carla [Williams]. When you go through the interview process, it’s very difficult to kind of foster a relationship, but there was an instant connection between Carla and myself. A longer version of this story originally ran in C-VILLE Weekly.
Every new season offers a clean slate—and the opportunity to dream big. With the arrival of new head coach Tony Elliott, the UVA football faithful dreamt especially big this year. And while the team didn’t live up to preseason expectations, there is, as they say in athletics, always next year. In a recent Zoom call, Elliott told us why he decided to come to the University of Virginia.—Jack Keaveny
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The Crozet Winter Brews Festival says, “Forget you, cold, we’re drinking outside.” Held for the last three years in early December at Claudius Crozet Park from 11am to 5pm, the one-day event, this year on December 3, promises “mountain views, craft brews, and wonderful people.” The festival features dark and wintry beers, with a focus on Virginia brewers. Headed up by Starr Hill Brewery, the event has featured Rockfish Brewing Co., Random Row Brewing Co., Albemarle CiderWorks, Three Notch’d Brewing Co., Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Selvedge Brewing, and Old Bust Head Brewing Co. in the past. Organizers award a best in show to the top-rated festival brew, as well as second and third place honors. crozetbeerfest.com
A UNIQUE spin There’s nothing like listening to the strumming of an acoustic guitar on an unseasonably warm evening. But fingerstyle guitarist Tyler Burkhardt does more than just strum—he creates the sound of an entire band by hitting, tapping, slapping, and thumping the body and strings of his guitar. A Chesterfield native who now lives in Charlottesville, Burkhardt puts his own unique spin on songs like “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and “Talk” by Coldplay, showcasing his versatility with a guitar. Catch him in person at The Wool Factory on November 27 or Grace Estate Winery on December 2. tyburkhardt.com 434 13
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FRONT& CENTER WHAT TO SEE, WHERE TO GO, WHO' S IN THE SPOTLIGHT
One man looks to make C’ville a photography hub By Shea Gibbs
COURTESY RYAN JONES
Front & Center
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17
yan Jones bought Pro Camera on West Main from Bill Moretz just a few months ago, but he’s been helping put the place in the national flashlight for several years. Jones, who studied media and photography at the University of Virginia, has turned himself into a go-to resource for analog camera repair. He’s been entrenched in the local photography community since his uni days, but he’s never formally studied the mechanics of cameras. Moretz, a master technician, showed him the way of the shutter. “He gave me some pointers, and I was able to step in and start learning,” Jones says. “I just took to it—kind of had the knack. I’ve taught myself a good majority of the repairs, but it is a constant learning process.”
As Pro Camera’s lead technician since 2020, Jones became an indispensable part of the team when Moretz began working from home due to COVID. Moretz decided to retire officially by the end of the year and sold the business he founded in 1983 to Edward Bricker. About six months ago, Jones decided it was time to move on. He had a job lined up with another photo firm in Pennsylvania and was on his way out the door when Bricker crunched the numbers. If Jones left, he figured he’d lose too much repair revenue to stay out of the dark room. He offered to sell the place to Jones, Jones accepted, and the nearly 40-yearold business was saved. “The position we occupy in the market is unique because this is an industry that is and has been on the decline for many years,” Jones says. “And almost because of that, it has allowed us to position ourselves advantageously and capture what is left of a dying market.”
Pro Camera's longtime lead technician bought the business this year and is ushering the store— and, to some extent, film photography— into its next era.
According to Jones, other camera shops the country over claim they offer repairs on old equipment but actually send the devices to Pro Camera. The outof-town repair submissions come from Chicago, New York, California—“all over the world,” Jones says. One of the keys to keeping the flagging hobby afloat, according to Jones, is making sure components are available to repair old cameras. As more time passes since manufacture, designs go out of production, and camera makers stop supporting their legacy products, it becomes increasingly difficult to harvest old parts from other broken down machines. Jones has taught himself rudimentary machining and metalworking and even dabbled in 3D printing to address the component supply issue. But as smartphone cameras become better with every new product release, how can an industry like analog photography compete? Jones says it’s not about competing for the old school shutterflies— that race to the next best thing in color and resolution misses the aesthetic point for pixel purists. And for the new school, those pro-level pocket computer/cameras have their well-documented downsides. “Film is coming back, depending on who you ask,” Jones says. “For older folks going back to it…it is an economy of nostalgia. And young folks are finding film and the way it features in their social behavior is healthier than the digital forms of media.” Jones says he remains committed to his ties to the local film community, which he developed working on a longterm photo ethnography of the Woolen Mills neighborhood while in school. And he only hopes to strengthen those ties. He wants Pro Camera, once a somewhat sterile storefront, to be a place for pixophiles to congregate, feel comfortable, and share ideas. Is Charlottesville the next big not-sopoint-and-click hot spot? Hard to say. Still, Jones says he’s just getting started. “We have a lot of different goals,” he says. “The first is the marathon of manufacturing and continuing to learn how to keep these cameras circulating. But we also want Pro Camera to be approachable. …If you’re entering the store, we would love to sell you something, but we also want you to share your thoughts and share the space.” 434 19
Front & Center
When WANDERLUST hits
t’s a gorgeous Virginia fall. The UVA football season is nearly over, but you’re not quite ready to start your holiday shopping at area stores, and the online pre-holiday bargains can wait. So spend your weekend participating in another popular autumn pastime: exploring beautiful back roads, stopping at country markets for sandwiches or snacks, and buying local. Head out in almost any direction, and see what you find.
Drive south on Route 29 toward Nelson County, and you’ll see the signs for Polly’s Folly. Owner/jack-of-all-trades Polly Davis Doig bought the almost-derelict used furniture store in 2019. “I had to gut the place,” she recalls, “but I’ve always liked a fixer-upper.” A career journalist tired of reporting the news, Davis Doig dreamed of creating the kind of community hub she remembered from growing up a farmer’s daughter in a tiny town with one store that had been started by her four-times-great-grandfather. Polly’s Folly opened in December 2020. Next to the bar where you can order breakfast, coffee, pastries, sandwiches, quiches, and draft beers are four cooler cabinets full of local beers, wines, cider, kombucha, and cheeses (including pimentos, of course). Along the other walls and scattered on tables throughout are more displays of fresh produce, Virginia food and beverage products, dime candy, snacks, and the work of local craftspeople. North Garden-based woodworker Alex Pettigrew walked in one day and “asked if I would sell his stuff,” says David Doig, who jumped at the chance. Pettigrew put the Davis Doig in touch with several other local artisans, from Muddy Creek Pottery in 20 434
PHOTOS: EZE AMOS
Old country stores worth exploring By Carol Diggs
Polly Davis Doig at Polly's Folly Lovingston to musician and jeweler Gina Sobel. (Particularly unique: the grocery carry-alls, made from recycled cat food and feed bags.) Polly’s Folly is still evolving; watch for upcoming music events in the outdoor space behind the store. And just so you know, it’s the only place to get Shenandoah Joe’s Polly’s Folly blend—“dark like our soul,” says Davis Doig with a grin.
The Batesville Market has been the heart of this little town since the 1880s—it’s seen so much traffic over the decades, the front entrance’s wooden step has been worn away to the sill. Kristen Rabourdin bought the store for $1 in 2020, when the then-owners needed to move on but wanted to ensure the store stayed open for the community. Rabourdin moved to Batesville in 2004, and loved the place. “This store is an extension of everyone’s living room,” she says. During the pandemic, the market became a lifeline for the community (“grocery delivery services don’t come out here,” she notes). Rabourdin took the slower times as an opportunity to build a patio/performance space outside, which now hosts live music (from Irish and bluegrass to The Pollocks)
Kristen Rabourdin bought Batesville Market from its previous owners for $1 in 2020 and relishes her role at the helm of the beloved store. "I'm a steward until the torch passes," she says.
Simeon Market and special events like Batesville Apple Butter Weekend and Oktoberfest. The market’s kitchen prepares breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and caters as well. There’s plenty of grab-and-go food and drink, and shelves of local wines, ciders, snacks, and specialty foods (like The Little Things shortbread buttons from Belmont’s Found. Market Company). Don’t forget to browse the jewelry, pottery, wooden crafts, notebooks, and cards, and soaps and creams from Afton Mountain Apothecary. Hanging above the bar is a double row of beer glasses and steins, many of them individually labeled for the Batesville Mug Club (“we’re the No. 1 beer bar in Batesville,” Rabourdin jokes). As the current owner, she sees herself as part of a long tradition. “People come in and say, ‘I came here as a child.’ Many of the local kids come here to get their first job— I’m not going to turn them away. I’m a steward until the torch passes.”
A charming former gas station on the road between Monticello and Highland, Simeon Market was acquired by nextdoor neighbor Jefferson Vineyards as a way to provide food to vineyard hoppers. The market was launched in 2019 by co-owners Ashley Sieg (of Tavern &
Grocery) and Billy Koenig (of the late-lamented bakery Sweethaus), aiming to create a country café and meeting place for both tourists and locals. Then came March 2020. During the pandemic, Koenig says, “We did mostly retail business—people didn’t want to sit and stay.” But as traffic and tourism has rebounded, so has the market. It now offers a selection of breakfast and lunch items to go or to enjoy on the little tables inside or outside, with lovely vineyard views. Or combine the prepared foods, lots of specialty items from crackers and condiments (pick up some Jam According to Daniel preserves) to beer and wine, and locally made tablecloths, napkins, and cutlery into the ultimate vineyard picnic basket. Browse the craft items ( jewelry, scarves, Christmas ornaments, birdhouses, and more) to find gifts for the next birthday or special occasion. But do not leave without a couple of Koenig’s specialty: Vivi’s Cupcakes, in flavors from classic to creative (black-eyed Susan, grasshopper, salted caramel, and funfetti). Named for Koenig’s daughter, Vivi’s also does specialty cakes in its online business, but after years in the hectic restaurant business Koenig enjoys his little bit of country. “It’s magical out here,” he says.
KEEP GOING BAINE’S BOOKS AND COFFEE (Scottsville) A good choice for a rainy weekend—pick up a book and a pastry or sandwich, sit down, and while away an hour or two. Then head down the block for some arts and crafts shopping. WYANT’S STORE (Whitehall) The opposite of trendy, stocked with necessities from beer and sandwiches to fishing lures and motor oil. HUNT COUNTRY CORNER MARKET (Free Union) No crafts, but sandwiches, deli, and fully prepared dinners to go. Check out the week’s menu and reserve yours.
GREENWOOD GROCERY (Crozet) Gourmet sandwiches, local produce, and specialty food and drink on your way to/from Route 151, Wintergreen, and Afton. STONY POINT MARKET (Barboursville) Look over the selection of funky crafts, then treat yourself to a cheeseburger and a root beer float. And, if the idea of running a community/ country store inspires you, this one is currently on the market. MOUNTAIN VIEW TEA ROOM (Tyro) Really out in the country! Stop on the way to or from Crabtree Falls.
Front & Center
The PLAY’S the thing... A mother-son duo that’s serious about LEGO By Carol Diggs
aybe you thought LEGO was just for kids. But for 19-yearold Liam Mohajeri Norris and his mother Emily, those little plastic shapes may win them a title, a trophy, and a cool $100,000 on in the “LEGO Masters” reality competition series. And, Liam admits, “I do have the dream of working for LEGO.” Roll tape back to 2004, when UVA grads Scott and Emily Norris moved back to the Charlottesville area with their new family. Emily, who was homeschooling Liam and his brothers, was on the lookout for creative toys, and scored a huge bin of used LEGO at a Waldorf School yard sale. The rest, as they say, is history. Emily remembers Liam starting out with open play, and then working on sets to discover more ways the blocks could be used. Then came MOCs (LEGO-speak for “my own creations”—there’s a lot of jargon in serious LEGO work). His parents got into the scene as supporters and “artistic advisors,” says Emily. Then, Liam recalls, “We had a FIRST LEGO League team that my mom coached.” At 13, Liam started a LEGO Design Club that met at the local library. Then he and his mother taught a LEGO design class at the Community Homeschool Enrichment Center; Emily, who has a master’s degree in education, says LEGO play is a good way to do team building with middle schoolers. Soon Liam was running a LEGO workshop for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia on Cherry Avenue, and working out new designs with the online LEGO community. The family moved to Tucson in 2021, but the LEGO work continued. Emily designed a studio space in their home, with places for Scott, Liam, and his brothers to work on their individual projects. Liam, now a freshman at the University of Arizona majoring in film and television, has
Nineteen-year-old Liam Mohajeri Norris and his mother Emily started using LEGO in 2004 as a learning tool while homeschooling. This year, they made it to the small screen—as contestants on Fox's "LEGO Masters."
his own YouTube channel called Brixter where he posts LEGO tutorials. He recently posted a design to LEGO World Builder, an online portal where builders can pitch their designs to other enthusiasts—and to LEGO. What is the appeal that’s kept him playing LEGO for more than a decade? “I like that it uses both the creativity and the engineering parts [of my mind],” says Liam, citing his interests in both robotics and math. And the weekly challenges on “LEGO Masters” aren’t just making cool shapes. In the Wild West challenge, the competing teams had to design a LEGO bull rider that could survive riding
on an actual mechanical bull—and look good doing it. In the Jurassic Park episode, the teams had to construct a dinosaur action scene that could stand up to live special effects—Liam and Emily (the first mother-son team in the series’ four-season run) won that round. Liam finds working with LEGO both relaxing and therapeutic. “I like that creating with LEGO is physical, not just digital—being able to look and interact with what I’m making,” he says. “I enjoy thinking about how other people interact with it.” And that’s a lot of people—one site estimates about 400 million worldwide
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“I like that [LEGO] uses both the creativity and the engineering parts [of my mind].”
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Mirror, MIRROR Character Connections bring princess parties to C’ville By Maeve Hayden
ailey Ballard has an unusual job. When she’s not teaching first grade, she brings a bit of magic to local kids as a princess. Well, a queen, to be precise. Back in 2020, Ballard started working for the Albemarle County Public School District in the middle of the pandemic. The district organized a drive-by character parade for students, where teachers dressed up, decorated their cars, and drove and walked around local neighborhoods. “I decided I was going to go all out, and I dressed up as Elsa,” says Ballard. One of Ballard’s co-workers noticed her costume, and a year later asked if Ballard would come to her daughter’s birthday party dressed up. It was a lightbulb moment for Ballard. “That was my first party,” says Ballard. “I thought, ‘Why haven’t I been doing this all along?’ I have the background of working with kids, and I did a lot of theater and music in middle school and high school, and I’ve always kind of missed doing that—performing.” That year Ballard founded Character Connections, a company that allows her to bring her love for performing back into her life in a meaningful way. Character Connections currently offers eight movie-inspired characters who can make appearances at birthday parties, including the Ariel-inspired Mermaid Princess, the Tiana-inspired Bayou Beauty, and the Rapunzel-inspired Tower Princess. Ballard offers a variety of party packages for every occasion, with the most basic starting at $155 for a 30-minute appearance from one princess. The most popular package, the Royal Princess Party, features a one-hour visit from one to two princesses. The Royal Princess Party kicks off with a storytime (princesses always come prepared with a book or two), and a special coronation ceremony, where the birthday kid is pre-
sented with a keepsake rhinestone tiara and an autographed certificate. Then it’s time for all the guests to get glitter tattoos, which Ballard has found to be a huge hit with kids and adults alike. The princesses’ appearance wraps up with photos, dancing, and, of course, a royal rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Other packages include party games, makeovers, and manicures, but Ballard also offers custom parties for people looking for something specific, or who want appearances from three or more princesses. In the one year Character Connections has been open, Ballard has already brought on six other performers to help meet the demand, many of whom also work with children in their day jobs. “Our cast is amazing,” says Ballard. “They’re all so professional. I’ve been lucky to find this niche of workers.” Each character has its own intricate costume, wig, makeup, and accessories, but it’s the enthusiastic performance and charm of the actors that gives kids an unforgettable experience.
Character Connections' Hailey Ballard says the best part of her business is giving kids a magical day. "This is what I look forward to all week, getting to have these moments," she says.
Ballard’s favorite character to play is the Snow Queen, an Elsa-inspired character. “She’s our most popular character,” says Ballard. “She’s always so much fun, and I love being able to get a little bit better at playing her at every party.” Getting to perform is a highlight for Ballard, but the best part of the job is giving kids a truly magical experience. “It is an absolute joy to bring this to kids. This is what I look forward to all week, getting to have these moments. The kids are overjoyed when we walk in. They can’t believe it, they’re so excited.” Ballard has big plans to keep sharing the magic. On top of birthday parties for all ages, Character Connections can perform at company events and weddings, and the princesses regularly appear at community gatherings, such as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the Grand Illumination, and more. She also hopes to introduce more characters to the lineup, including superheroes, and would love to one day have a permanent space to host tea parties and special events. 434 25
Front & Center
Art from the FUTURE The Bridge’s new executive director on the latest Ix mural By Richard DiCicco
here’s a new wall mural at Ix Art Park. It’s an explosion of colors, shapes, and symbols. There are words of advice—“Be humble”—and statements of power—“Black women built this,” “Lesbian pride.” It’s made of hearts and rainbows and flowers and peace signs. And above it all, a bold and insistent proclamation: “There are Black people in the future.” The quote by artist Alisha B. Wormsley calls to onlookers from across the street in large white letters. It’s a prophecy and a gesture of solidarity, advocating for more than just a Black presence in humanity’s far-off cosmic future, but also for Black lives and Black relevance in the near future—the future of changing neighborhoods and redrawn districts. For Jay Simple, the new executive director of The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, which shepherds the Charlottesville Mural Project, the visibility of Wormsley’s quote from the street is paramount. The park sits across from Friendship Court, an affordable housing community, and so the work was carefully considered for its potential audience. “If you look at the current situation with gentrification in Charlottesville, you see they are actively, within that community, fighting for their right to be there,” says Simple. “So the idea of being able to see that wasn’t anything more for me than a way to be able to say ‘I see you.’” While Simple acknowledges that the mural itself can’t change the struggles of families in Friendship Court, he knows the power of the work is in how it activates the community. The Ix mural was made not by a single artist but by 2022 Soul of Cville attendees, who had the opportunity to participate in group painting sessions. The artwork features a dotted outline of an Airstream, as it was initially to be a community-led ideas board for what the vehicle should look
like, but clearly that shape couldn’t contain the enthusiasm of the artwork’s many contributors. “The mural stands out to me because we did it together,” says Khalilah Jones, an Ix Art Park board member and image consultant. “I was one of the first people to get to paint on that wall, and it felt liberating,” says Jones, who painted the words “Phoenix Rising” and “Stronger, wiser, better” on the wall as a reference to overcoming the deadly Unite the Right rally, which marked its fifth anniversary the same weekend as the festival. But like many local events, Soul of Cville and the Charlottesville Mural Project sought to uplift the community on a somber weekend. “That was what my theme was because of August 12, about resilience and unity and rising up from ashes and coming back strong, better, and wiser.” ↑ cause just two people can’t incorporates elements from all “They were all painting on that wall and Jay Simple, the possibly parse out all the feelsorts of mediums and traditions. acknowledging that, being Black, we have executive director of ings one may have when they “Anything really that comes things to offer, we have a presence, and The Bridge Progressive to mind, I give myself the agencome to that public art.” we’re not going anywhere,” says Jones. Arts Initiative, sees Simple was enamored with cy, like, ‘Hey, I wanna do that, I “And we’re to be celebrated just like the Ix Art Park’s new can be a painter,’” he says. the arts from a young age. He rest of the world is to be celebrated. And community-made was born in Chicago and grew Simple’s belief in indepenhere’s a mural to remind you of it.” mural as a message up in Philadelphia, and as a dent creative liberation is at the There’s a more abstract idea behind to the surrounding child, his creative interests ran core of his character as a leader. the mural, however, something that neighborhood: the gamut—he played saxoHe believes that arts instituspeaks to the nature of arts institutions “I see you.” phone, drew, and took up photions like The Bridge are just and of public art itself. As executive ditography and theater, anything to express one part of a thriving artistic communirector of The Bridge, Simple is particuhimself. And his parents encouraged his ty in a city, rather than an epicenter larly concerned with what role an arts interest in the arts, which Simple conwhere what he calls “capital-A” art haporganization plays in a community. Pubsiders an acknowledgment by them that pens. And he considers the new Ix mural lic art can sometimes impose, either by “engaging with some clay or having to to be an example of the kind of relationbeing built without local input or by think about an idea and get it down on a ship he hopes to have with Charlottesbeing physically obtrusive. The many piece of paper … are all these lessons that ville, by “bringing art to the public where Confederate monuments that have dotyou can apply to the they’re at, and making it accessible for ted the South are painthem to be able to engage with. But also greater goals that you ful examples of this, as have in life.” to make that engagement something artwork that antagoAt a glance, Simple is that can be meaningful for the people nizes and ignores coma photographer. He that have to see it on a regular basis.” munities. But, in other earned his BFA in phoSo, as Simple puts it, when someone cases, even galleries tography from Columgoes for a jog, or heads out to grab somecan be unwelcome and bia College Chicago, a thing to eat, they’ll see that message considered agents of master of liberal arts from the street: “There are Black people gentrification. Repairfrom the University of in the future.” And unlike a statue that ing that communica- JAY SIMPLE, EXECUTIVE glares down at them, or a massive wall tion breakdown is key DIRECTOR OF THE BRIDGE Pennsylvania, and an MFA in photography painting done by a single hand, it’s a to Simple’s philosophy. from the Rhode Island School of Design, group effort designed to uplift. Instead “I come into this position with the of imposing or advertising or directing, in addition to holding a photo teaching thought process that [if ] you’re gonna the mural insists. It beckons, it encourposition at The New School in New York put a mural somewhere, it can’t just be (along with appointments at Longwood ages, it has a conversation with the viewan endeavor between the institution and VCU). But as an artist, Simple has er. And that’s its true power. and the artist, but it needs to be a connever settled on a single discipline, preversation with the public as well about ferring instead to keep a practice that This story originally ran in C-VILLE Weekly. what’s going there,” says Simple, “be-
“[If] you’re gonna put a mural somewhere … it needs to be a conversation with the public as well.”
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Front & Center
STYLE counsel Khalilah Jones builds confidence through fashion By Maeve Hayden
halilah Jones wears many fashionable hats as owner of Chic & Classy Image Consulting. She’s a style curator, image consultant, graphic designer, brand ambassador, fashion show coordinator, and advocate for the marginalized and underrepresented. She sums it all up with two words: atmosphere shifter. There’s no cookie-cutter approach to shifting a client’s atmosphere—each consult, or chic chat, requires Jones to come up with a unique game plan. “I am very
intentional about providing a person-centered experience for each individual that I work with,” she says. “Each experience is customized and caters to my client.” Through wardrobe consulting and styling, she helps clients look their best so they can feel their best. Two common fashion faux pas Jones says she sees often are impulse buying and not letting go of the past. “If you feel like you peaked in high school and you’re still wearing off-the-shoulder graphic tees, cuffed Jordache jeans with a braided skinny belt, slouch socks, and Keds” you’d probably benefit from a closet audit. Clothing is key, but “it’s so much more than just the wardrobe,” says Jones. “I truly feel I’ve done my job, not when they can craft a look using my formula, but when they walk in any room like they belong there. It’s the fierce, radical, and unapologetic self-acceptance and confidence. It is not thinking, ‘I hope they like me.’ It’s knowing you’ll be okay even if they don’t, because you’ve got enough love for yourself to last 1,000 lifetimes.”
Style consultant Khalilah Jones (front) says her image work on the outside builds a client’s internal perspective, resulting in “unapologetic self-acceptance and confidence.”
Jones’ support extends beyond image. When a client was diagnosed with cancer, and lost her hair, she had a hard time getting out of pajamas. After a special-occasion styling with Jones, she says she found new confidence. “I never thought I’d wear clothes again or even look in the mirror without crying. … All night I kept hearing [Jones’] voice say ‘always wear your invisible crown.’” That positive attitude is something Jones works hard to drive home with every client: Wear your invisible crown, she says, and “visualize your highest self and start showing up as her. You’ll find that you gradually develop a signature style that evolves as you do.” “You know,” muses Jones, “the most rewarding part [of my job] is when I follow up with clients and see so much growth and development in their life overall … the almost palpable confidence, the boldness. I can never get enough of that.“ This story originally ran in C-VILLE Weekly. 434 29
Reduce, use, FILL Environmentally conscious shops are thriving in Charlottesville By Laura Drummond
harlottesville was ecoconscious before being eco-conscious was cool. That could explain the myriad of secondhand and sustainability-focused shops around town, some of which have been fixtures in the community for decades. Why, though, have even more of these stores popped up in the last year? An abundance of factors contributes to the need for such shops to exist. One of them is just that—abundance. The mission of many of these places is to prevent surplus items from reaching the trash, and put them in the hands of people who can breathe new life into them. The Scrappy Elephant, for example, is a creative reuse center focused on “keeping art and craft materials out of the landfill, and then getting those back to the community at as low cost as possible so that more people can afford to make art,” says owner Sarah Sweet. The store operates almost exclusively on donated supplies from the community, some of which are brand new. In August alone, The Scrappy Elephant kept more than 2,500 pounds of art and craft materials from the landfill. There’s also consumer demand. The resale market grew twice as fast as the wider retail market in 2021, according to the 2022 Recommerce Report by OfferUp, an online resale marketplace. That demand is certainly felt locally, given the surge of resale and consignment offerings. Linnea Revak has owned Darling, a curated consignment clothing shop, for nearly a decade, and opened Dashing, its companion, this year. “It’s exciting to see more people in town who are passionate about secondhand and making swaps in their life and being more eco-conscious,” she says. “It’s
going to help all of us to have more options.” “I think there’s plenty of room out there for all of us,” Revak adds. “There’s so much clothing that needs to stay out of a landfill.” She’s right about that. The U.S. produces 16 million tons of textile waste per year. Thanks to shops like Darling x Dashing, clothing items don’t have to end up as waste. So far in 2022, Darling x Dashing alone has given a second chance to nearly 12,000 individual items. Clothing isn’t the thing being purchased secondhand. About 76 percent of goods are in categories like furniture and home items, sporting and outdoor equipment, and more, per the OfferUp report. That demand allows shops like The Scrappy Elephant, High Tor Gear Exchange, Circa, and others to blossom. A significant reason shoppers turn to sustainable options is their budget. Ninety-three percent of Americans shopping secondhand are motivated by inflation, according to OfferUp. While there is an assumption that going green is more expensive, shopping sustainably—either by purchasing items secondhand or visiting a refillery—reduces consumer costs. Refilleries keep costs low by purchasing from suppliers in bulk, and shoppers only pay for the consumable products rather than the packaging. “We’ve price-compared some of our most popular products,” says Mandy Drumheller, owner of Refill Renew Charlottesville. “We have gone toe-to-toe with Costco, matching their prices by the ounce.” “The more we put our money toward investing in our future, the more it’s going to reduce costs down the line because we’re going to start seeing more of these options popping up,” says Dogwood Refillery owner Alex Theriault. Cost savings isn’t the only reason Charlottesvillians are making sustainable shopping choices. With massive meteorological events becoming the norm, the effects of the climate crisis can no longer be ignored, and reducing the use of plastics is a decision that has never been easier in Charlottesville, thanks to refilleries. Like textiles, plastics account for a massive portion of our waste, with only about 6 percent of plastic getting recycled. Landfills received 27 million tons of plastic in 2018, according to the EPA, and it’s believed that number has only risen in the past few years.
Front & Center
Alex Theriault, owner of Dogwood Refillery, says the “more we put our money toward investing in our future, the more it’s going to reduce costs.”
“When you think about one plastic bottle that you use for, say, shampoo is going to be around for our great-g reat-grandchildren, that’s senseless,” says Drumheller. “Our goal is to help more households find an easy way to eliminate as much single-use plastic as we can.” In about six months, Refill Renew Charlottesville saved more than 40,000 bottles from the landfill by offering refills of household products. To encourage and educate the community, many of these stores host special events. They open their doors for workshops or product swaps, and use their social platforms. “I’ve had so many people say, ‘I’ve started sewing, I’ve
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started knitting, I’ve started painting again, I’ve become a creative person because of this store,’” says Sweet. Adds Theriault: “My core value is about the community and helping people make conscious decisions.” Sweet, who worked as an art teacher prior to opening The Scrappy Elephant, says that after visiting a creative reuse center in Nashville, she felt called to open one at home. “I’ve always been very conscious of my carbon footprint, but when I had my daughter, I became paranoid about what was happening with our planet,” she says. “I was looking for something more that I could do to have a greater impact on the future, for her and all our kiddos.”
Theriault left her corporate career to pursue her passion for sustainability. “Some people don’t think they can really make a change as an individual. I quit my job to do something at an individual level. I like seeing that little snowball effect happening,” she says. “There’s so much opportunity for you to make changes whether it’s shopping secondhand, consigning clothes, going to a refillery to see what swaps you can make that feel attainable, affordable, and sustainable right now,” says Revak. “Just start somewhere.” In fact, you can start by considering how you might be able to creatively reuse this newspaper when you’re done reading it. 434 31
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It’s the most wonderful time of year. Of course, for a lot of us, it’s also the most stressful, most exhausting time of year. It’s gift-giving season, and to take some of the pressure off, we’ve tapped local gifting gurus in varying arenas—like When the giving gets tough...
the tough go to the experts food, motherhood, drama, science—and asked them to pick a gift for the very specific people on your list. With any luck (and our experts’ helpful hints), it’ll be the hap-happiest season of all. By Caite Hamilton
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For the kid...
“How many gifts provide opportunities for parents and kids to make new friends, spend unlimited time learning and playing, and have a joyful place to work out wiggles when the weather outside is crummy? A Virginia Discovery Museum membership is just $150 a year and includes free or discounted admissions at over 500 other museums nationwide.” —JANINE DOZIER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VIRGINIA DISCOVERY MUSEUM
For Dad... “I enjoy any gift from the UVA Bookstore.”
—JIM RYAN, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
—YOLONDA COLES JONES, EMPOWERMENT & CONSCIOUSNESS COACH, YOLONDA JONES CREATIVE
For Mom... “Historically, I’ve not been a giver of material things or commercial goods as much as I have given handwritten notes inside beautiful cards. I can say that as a professional conscious relationship teacher and coach, and as someone who deeply resonates with the mother, the queen, the sage, and the lover archetypes, that reverent, intentional, attentive, and quality time spent in the energies of appreciation (‘thank you for…’), joy (activities or shares that speak to, uplift, and nourish my soul and my senses), play (full-body belly laughs), affirmation (‘I see you…’), praise and celebration (‘In honor of you…’), rest (that is lovingly held, supported, and protected), and pleasure (delicious foods, meals and treats, good conversation, pampering)— in whatever ways they take shape—can be the most powerful, restorative, deeply moving, and memorable gifts to myself or from others.”
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For the athlete...
“A gift certificate to Rivanna Cryotherapy. Fran and Dawn are great massage therapists, whether you’re a professional athlete or you just need some body work.” —CHRIS LONG, HOST, “GREEN LIGHT” PODCAST
“Activists confront the ongoing legacies of trauma, and sometimes undergo trauma ourselves—which we carry in our bodies. Activists are such outward-focused, g o-go people that we often need encouragement to get self-care. Gift certificates for massages from Common Grounds Healing Arts are much appreciated.” —JALANE SCHMIDT, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
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For the activist...
For the theater-lover...
“For the classicist, a fancy quill pen or a wax sealing kit from Rock Paper Scissors—everyone should have one of those!” —JO MANLEY, MARKETING CONSULTANT, AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER
For the hard-to-shop-for person... “I shop at Michie Tavern, as they have products and gifts from all over Virginia. I also like ‘memory gifts.’ Stop at a local sandwich shop—Feast!, Markets at Tiger Fuel, Market at Grelen— pack a picnic basket and drive to the area LOVE signs and enjoy. There are many locally within a short drive. The downtown experience of a dinner and show is also a great gift!” —OLIVIA BRANCH, MEMBER RELATIONS COORDINATOR, KESWICK
For the game-player... “As someone who has invented several board games, it may seem strange that I’m not a gamer myself. I pretty much never play any games except chess. I think chess is the greatest game ever, but If I had to pick another, Settlers of Catan would be the clear winner. It’s a fun social game, and we’re lucky to have Pete Fenlon, who originally published Catan and is the current CEO of Catan Studio, living right here in Charlottesville.” —BRIAN CALHOUN, FOUNDER, ROCKBRIDGE GUITARS (AND CREATOR OF CHICKAPIG)
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For the poet... “I’d recommend a book or gift card from New Dominion Bookshop, with its expertly curated poetry section and friendly staff (several of whom are UVA alums and talented writers themselves!). If you step into the shop on the right day, you may even witness a live reading by a local or visiting author who’ll be delighted to sign a copy of their book for you. After selecting the perfect volume, the poet on your gift list can enjoy a glass of wine and the convivial atmosphere at Tilman’s, right next door.” —KIKI PETROSINO, PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE WRITING, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
For the writer...
—JOCELYN JOHNSON, AUTHOR, MY MONTICELLO
“Support an aspiring author (or avid reader) in your life with a patterned notebook or pretty tote from O’Suzannah. While you’re there, find a matching pouch or pen.”
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For the wine-lover...
“Gift card to Mountain House Trading Company. Wine-lovers love exploring, and I discovered Mountain House Trading when visiting the 151 wineries last year. It has everything from local honey and wine accessories to mead flights and small bites.” —TASHA DURRETT, FOUNDER, BLACK WOMEN WHO WINE
For the STEM nerd... “The Scholars’ Lab TinkerTank is part of the University of Virginia Library system, and it’s open to the community. 3D print your own designs for free!”
—KARL HELMSTETTER, PHYSICS TEACHER, CHARLOTTESVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
For the teacher... “Teachers are nurturers, leaders, and mentors. They’re planners, improvisers, scholars, and cheerleaders. And so one thing all teachers need by the time the holiday season rolls around is a moment for themselves. Treat the teacher in your life to a gift certificate to one of our amazing local restaurants or bakeries. I just recently enjoyed a pastry from MarieBette Café & Bakery and I bet others would, too!” —ROYAL GURLEY, SUPERINTENDENT, CHARLOTTESVILLE CITY SCHOOLS
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Holiday Market 100 Water Street November 26 - December 17 Saturdays, 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
The Holiday Market hosts over 100 unique, local vendors that offer a wide range of arts, crafts, and specialty foods. ONE HOUR OF FREE PARKING at the Water Street parking garage. Phone: (434) 970-3371 Email: email@example.com Online: charlottesville.gov/citymarket
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For a good day, call...
It’s hard to argue against a Saturday in early fall in central Virginia. Jeans and a sweatshirt with sunshine and temperatures in the middle 50s? Yes, please. Chief Meteorologist, CBS19 News Weather conditions established, my first stop on my perfect day in Charlottesville is the farmers market at Ix for breakfast. A crabcake sandwich from Sweet Jane’s Kitchen and some Philly-style tacos on flour tortillas from nearby Brazos Tacos will fit the bill nicely. A jaunt up Carter Mountain is always worth it for the views and some apple cider donuts. Exercise would be in order after such a morning smörgåsbord, so why not some hiking on the trails around Observatory Hill on UVA Grounds? (My affinity for the location may be biased, as weather observations have been taken atop O-Hill since the 1890s.) “Couchapalooza” with my two senior cats, Trixie and Fernanda, follows for the afternoon with an accompanying slate of college football games. Dinnertime arrives several hours later with consumption of Lampo’s Abruzzo pizza (absolutely divine) or a Don Ho from Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie (yes, pineapple does belong on pizza). The evening ends with a few drinks at Vitae Spirits followed by a show at The Jefferson Theater. Great food, beautiful scenery, live music, and fresh air wrapped into a single day would result in a 100 percent chance of perfection.
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