belle Seven remarkable activists elevate Richmond culture
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September 2011 22 STYLE & SUBSTANCE
Biker chic comes to lamps. … Artisan jewelry maker Rachel Albright finds her niche. … Richmond gets its own Tiffany and Co. boutique. … Just browsing the Web with philanthropist Kate Mishra. … Beauty products win the hearts of local professionals. … by Liz Jewett Lush Life: Dutch design, an arch druid, pop music and other cultural op-
tions make Richmond extra-stimulating in September. by Karen Newton 12
Belle Women in the Arts 2011: Forward-thinking activists in Rich-
mond’s arts community share their hopes for an art-filled future. Meet Greta Brinkman, Sarah Driggs, Ashley Kistler, Andrea Orlosky, Carol Piersol, Pamela Royall and Maya Smart. by Julie Geen, Hilary Langford, Angela Lehman-Rios and Edwin Slipek photos by Scott Elmquist 14
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Agenda: Books about flesh, music about love, and outings that are celebrations give Richmond plenty to do this month. by Julie Geen, Hilary Langford and Deveron Timberlake 22
14 BODY & SOUL
ON THE COVER:
Women in the Arts 2011. photo by Scott Elmquist.
Fitness: When motivation lags, author Mina Samuels has realistic solutions to get you moving. by Julie Geen 25
food: Apples paired with local cheeses ring in the September harvest. by Elizabeth Jewett 29
Money isn’t the boss of me. by Valley Haggard 30
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belle Publisher: Lori
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Jeffrey Bland Scott Elmquist Lauren Healy
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Belle is published monthly and is free. One copy per person. Belle may be distributed by authorized distributors only. Style Weekly subscriptions are available for $49 (third class mail) and $99 (first class mail). Style Weekly, 1313 E. Main St., Suite 103, Richmond, Va. 23219, 804-358-0825; General fax 804-358-1079; News fax 804-358-9089; Classified phone 804-3582100; Classified fax 804-358-2163. www.styleweekly.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright © by Style Weekly Inc. TM 2011 All rights reserved.
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Arts as Inspiration A few months ago a group of us at Belle magazine sat together and asked the question, “Who are the women in Richmond who we cherish and celebrate?” Those who continued to rise to the top were the women at the heart of Richmond’s arts community. We decided to dedicate an issue to them. More than that, we wanted to dedicate a luncheon to them — to break bread with them — to honor all they’ve done for our community. While I listened to the brainstorming session about this formidable group of women, I reflected back on the woman who most inspired me during my short journey with the arts. It was my 16th birthday, and Robin was picking me up as she did every year for my birthday lunch. She said she’d take me to the Fan, but first we were going to swing by the airport. Robin Arthur, who was and still is well known in Richmond’s arts community, shared that we were going to pick up the mechanical costume that Bernadette Peters wore on Broadway performing “Sunday in the Park with George.” Dogwood Dell was running a production of it and Robin was helping to put it on — and I was going to see this brilliant costume construction. When we arrived at the airport, I realized it was all a ruse. There was no costume — at least not that day. Robin had schemed and surprised me with three days in New York to celebrate the arts. We bounced from one Broadway show to another and museum to museum. It was a blur, but I do recall “City of Angels,” “Once On This Island” and “Miss Saigon” at the very least. It was magical. Robin groomed me in the arts from a young age. She prompted me to take ballet and dance at age 3 and continue it for many years. She insisted that I could sing and act and made me believe. Robin was nutty enough to share with me vocal coaches and head-shot gurus and send me to auditions that I had no business going to. Somehow it worked. I fooled enough people into believing I could sing and dance that they hired me occasionally — and I even made a decent living for a while. But the lessons learned from arts weren’t simply material. The arts weave a community together. They build up a child who has no confidence. They give you an escape from the stock market and a uniquely personal way to express ideas and emotions. The arts strengthen an economy — not diminish it. And so this month we honor the arts through seven women who dedicate their lives to their passions, who set out to make our community more special because of what they create and the people they encourage. Because of their efforts, Richmond’s arts culture is more vibrant and aware, and we thank them.
Lori Collier Waran Publisher
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StylE &SubstancE Hot products, new ventures and local discoveries.
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Lamps made from vintage motorcycle parts sold by John and Betsy Ryland were a happy accident. Surveying a room full of motorcycle pieces, John was struck by inspiration. “I was sitting there,” he recalls, “and there was a shock and a rotor sitting next to each other. And I thought that would make a cool lamp, so I welded them together.” John’s jewelry designer wife, Betsy, loved the lamp so much she put it up on her Etsy site on a whim to see if it would sell. More than 200 sold lamps later and the rest is history. “I think people like that this wasn’t something that was made in a factory,” John says. “It was actually on someone’s bike. They rode it around, put 10,000 miles on it. It ended up in a junkyard and then we made it into a lamp.” classifiedmoto.bigcartel. com or etsy.com/shop/betsyryland.
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st y l e & s u b s ta n c e
Rachel Albright doesn’t do “trinkets on a chain.” Instead this Richmond native and Virginia Commonwealth University grad creates pieces of wearable art for her business, Academy Jewelry. You may have seen Albright in her other job, as a model for Need Supply Co. This immersion in the fashion world, along with her studies in art history, photography and film, gave her the foundation in design that led to her own jewelry line. “I’ve been working in fashion and art communities for quite some time,” Albright says. “So I just started making things that I wanted to wear myself. I have a very simple sense of taste. I started making things that were really bold and still a little simple at the same time, something that made a little statement.” What began as gifts for friends blossomed into a full-fledged business in 2010. Now sold on Etsy.com, and at Need, Quirk Gallery and several other local businesses, Albright’s distinctive jewelry is impossible to miss. Albright describes her process. “When I first started I was using whatever I found, like if I found something cool looking in my boyfriend’s toolbox. And then I found a place that sold natural stones and giant, brokenoff pieces of quartz and coral. Just finding objects itself is where it starts.” Sometimes that means finding animal bones in the woods. Albright’s current line uses bold colors and spring pastels such as lavender and peach, but she’ll show “something a little more serious and not quite as playful and bright” for fall. Albright’s jewelry ambitions extend beyond a part-time diversion. “I’ve been putting a lot of energy into things like blogging and Facebook,” she says, “trying to build up a brand and not just have a hobby.”etsy.com/shop/academyjewelry.
photo by scott elmquist
Best in Beauty
Richmond’s top beauty experts pick their favorite products.
Hair 1. Arrojo hair repair masque, $15, available at Wack Salon, 305 N. Robinson St. “It is perfect for hair that has been stressed by the environment, chemicals or styling tools. It’s like a 10-minute spa treatment for hair, and it feels amazing!” — Lee Reynolds, Wack Salon president
2. Aveda’s smooth infusion style prep, $24, and 3. Aveda’s smooth infusion glossing straightener, $21, available at Mango Salon, 123 Libbie Ave. “My favorite products for the summer. When layered with Aveda’s smooth infusion style prep they provide all day defense against the humidity and frizz.” — Sarah Shelton Davis, master artisan hair designer, Mango Salon
4. Unite lazer straight relaxing fluid, $26.25, available at Nesbit, 2311 W. Main St. “This is the ideal cream for aiding and straightening the hair. The versatility of this product leaves it with the reputation of being user friendly for just about anybody.” — Shanti Lushbaugh, level one stylist, Nesbit Salon
5. Keune salt mist, $15-$20, available at Katie Blue Salon, 21 N. Belmont Ave. “It is a very versatile product that is great wet or dry and for any texture.” — Kate Montgomery, stylist, Katie Blue Salon
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Makeup 1. Graftobian HD glamour creme foundation, $14.99, available at graftobian.com. “This amazing foundation has a flawless, full-coverage finish when applied with a sponge. For lighter coverage, or skin prone to dryness, mix it with a little daily moisturizer on the back of your hand before applying.” — Shelley Illmensee, makeup artist, simakeup.com
2. Urban Decay naked eyeshadow palette, $48, available at Ulta, Sephora or urbandecay.com.
“You can achieve any type of look from a basic, simple look for day to a sultry, dramatic look for the evening. As a bonus, Urban Decay products are cruelty free and you also get the eye shadow primer and a brush.” — Emily Hudspeth, makeup artist, emilyhudspeth.com
3. Chanel double perfection compact powder makeup, $50. “It’s a super lightweight, oil-free powder foundation with SPF 10 that glides on and gives a buildable light-to-medium coverage that makes your skin look flawless.” — Jonye Cordova, lead makeup artist and stylist, JonyegirlFaces, jonyegirlfaces.com
4. The balm tinted moisturizer, $25, available at Le Visage Makeup Boutique, 3007 W. Cary St.
“This weightless, silky-smooth tinted moisturizer with SPF 18 helps to improve the tone and texture of your skin, leaving you with a polished complexion. Great for those who don’t like to wear makeup, but want to cover any redness.” — Lina Sogomonyan, makeup artist, Le Visage Makeup Boutique, levisagestudio.com
5. Mary Kay timewise age-fighting foundation, $20, available at marykay.com.
“When I need a liquid foundation, this is my go-to product. My clients always ask me if I airbrush my own makeup. When I wear this foundation, I just look like I do! Tip: Use an oil-free foundation primer for best results.” — Natalie Gordon Mitchell, owner, Pro Makeup Artist, Avenue 42, ave42.com
Skin Care 1. Paula’s Choice resist super antioxidant concentrate serum, $24.95, available at Believable Skin Care, 5610 Grove Ave.
“This is an amazing product! This not only makes a difference in the appearance of the skin, but also in the health of the skin.” — Catherine Sir, owner and master esthetician, Believable Skin
2. Alchimie forever brightening moisture mask-kantic mask, $60, available at Lavish Apothecary, 5807 Patterson Ave.
“We love this mask because it doesn’t harden, actually looks pretty on the skin and the effects are immediate. It is the most pleasant mask experience we’ve ever had.” — Amy Grigg, owner, Lavish Apothecary, lavishapothecary.com
3. Skincando combat ready balm, $25, available at Amazing Face Skin Care Boutique, 11000 Three Chopt Road. “It’s organic, local, made in Maryland by Sara Damelio, and it treats everything — from dry skin to eczema, psoriasis to bug bites. Plus it’s good for all ages, from infants to adults.” — Dottie Woodard, owner, Amazing Face Skin Care Boutique, amazingfaceonline.com
4. Epicuren Brazilian propolis lotion, $45.10, available at La Bella Dona Skin Care, 8133 Forest Hill Ave. “It’s recommended for all skin types. It’s a light lotion that’s going to help promote healthier skin.” — Laura Liwen, La Bella Dona Skin Care, labelladonaskincare.com
5. PCA Skin C-quench antioxidant serum, starting at $50, available at Rhonda’s Skin Care, 2403 W. Main St.
“Its advanced blend of antioxidants fights free radicals, smoothes fine lines, minimizes pores, and plumps and strengthens the skin.” — Rhonda Carlile, owner, Rhonda’s Skin Care, rhondasskincare.com
SEptEmbEr 2011 | 9 |
st y l e & s u b s ta n c e
The Philanthropic Edition
Website picks from Richmond women.
President of Deoki Nandan Education Trust Richmond native Kate Mishra traveled to India in 2000 to study in Jodhpur. There, she met her future husband and found a calling to help India’s children gain access to education. Living in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children, Mishra serves as president of Deoki Nandan Education Trust, the nonprofit she and her husband founded in 2006. The trust provides scholarships, books and uniforms to children living in the impoverished, rural areas of northern India with a specific focus on low-caste and tribal communities. (To find out more visit dnetindia.org.) Here are Mishra’s top three website picks to help those who are interested get involved in helping others.
commoncents.org Common Cents is a nonprofit in New York that runs the Penny Harvest program. During the Penny Harvest participating classes collect pennies and research where to donate the pennies. The pennies really add up and can substantially help small organizations like the trust. This program has multiple benefits — it fosters philanthropy, teaches research skills and creates a caring community.
National Public Radio
npr.org/money This blog and podcast from NPR speaks to financial issues from around the world, often with a focus on developing economies. What I like best about this podcast is that it takes great care to explain complex issues like how the Indian economy can be booming but many people still do not have their basic needs met.
Box Debut Cue the classic Audrey Hepburn film: Tiffany and Co. will open its first Richmond location this month at Stony Point Fashion Park with Breakfast at Tiffany. The 2,500-squarefoot store will feature diamond, sterling silver, gold and platinum jewelry and accessories, as well as collections by exclusive Tiffany designers Paloma Picasso, Jean Schlumberger, Elsa Peretti and Frank Gehry. “We knew that there was interest and opportunity in Richmond, and now we’re so excited to have the opportunity to open a local store,” says Tiffany’s vice president, Diane Ray Brown. But if the blue boxes and diamonds of Tiffany seem intimidating to the average shopper, Brown emphasizes the store’s accessibility. We have wonderful gifts for under $200 and then aspirational gifts that are more one-of-a-kind.”
The Girl Effect
thegirleffect.org The Girl Effect is a campaign to provide better avenues for girls around the world through health and education. The basic idea is that through education girls will be empowered to make better life choices and be able to lift themselves out of poverty. This concept is directly in line with the trust — that if we can help poor children achieve a basic education that it can give them the boost they need to better their life — delaying marriage, informed health choices, more gainful employment.
Opened in 1837, Tiffany and Co. has grown into an internationally known and respected brand that’s designed for presidents, royalty and even Major League Baseball. “The benefit of having a 174-year-old company is that we’ve over time survived not only a depression, but a recession and a number of wars,” she says. “We really hope to be the local jewelry store in Richmond. tiffany.com.
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SEPTEMBER 2011 | 11 |
Dutch designs and a lively naysayer call for September brainpower.
y favorite thing about September isn’t that Virginia Commonwealth University is back in session with the attendant parking headaches and scores of freshmen learning how to cross city streets, but rather that the cultural season cranks back up after the slower pace of summer. So here’s how to spend your time on film, art, music and the end of the world. Work in a few of Richmond’s many new eateries and September ought to be just about perfect.
photos by paul sobota
Rapture reconsidered, with Roosevelt: Chances are you’ve never met a grand arch druid, much less heard one read from his latest book. On Sept. 6 at 6:30, Fountain Bookstore is host to John Michael Greer, author of “Apocalypse Not: Everything You Know About 2012, Nostradamus and the Rapture Is Wrong.” Greer is a certified master conserver, organic gardener and scholar of ecological history, and his riotous book assesses the religious fanatics looking for a definitive end date for the world. I have no desire to know when it’s all going to end, but he sounds like a fascinating speaker with an acerbic tongue. Why not meet an arch druid while he’s in Richmond? Afterward, head up the hill to The Roosevelt for a meal in the New Orleans-style dining room where chef Lee Gregory has recently introduced an affordable and creative menu that has the neighborhood all abuzz.
Hella Jongerius as documentary subject
Sounds like Shockoe Bottom: Music lovers will want to set aside Sept. 11 for the RVA Music Fest in the Bottom from 2-10 p.m. Two national acts and an excellent array of local bands include headliners GirlTalk (mash-ups and sampling) and Best Coast (girl-fronted surfer pop), and local favorites the No BS Brass Band, Diamond Center, Black Girls and Prabir and the Goldrush. You can enjoy a horn extravaganza, shoe gaze, snuff rock and Beatlesbased pop rock. Tickets are cheaper in advance, so use the $8 you save for a refreshing beverage. But pace yourself; it’s an eight-hour show and you’ll want to make it to the end.
Artisan wake-up call at VMFA
Breakfast before jeweled eggs: If you’ve been meaning to get to the “Fabergé Revealed” exhibit before it closes Oct. 2, here’s your incentive. On Sept. 17, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts holds a Fabergé brunch at 10 a.m. The ticket price includes admission to the show. It starts with a continental breakfast and lecture on the basics of Fabergé, from the company’s history to the innovative enamel techniques that began to define its work. Art history goes down so much easier when sipping coffee and enjoying a jam-slathered croissant. The exhibit holds a breathtaking 500 pieces, including such unlikely objects as match safes, parasol handles and sweetmeat boxes, all made of gold and jewel-encrusted. It’s truly a glimpse at another world.
illustration by jeff bland/FabergÉ Egg: VMFA
Dutch design on film at the Branch House: One of my favorite new series is the Modern Richmond Movie series at the Virginia Center for Architecture. The group is dedicated to appreciating modernism in all its forms. Every month features a different documentary highlighting a period or figure significant to the modernist movement. This month’s event is Sept. 28 at 7 p.m., and the first half hour is devoted to being social. Beer and wine are served, food is provided by a local caterer, and there’s time to check out the show running there, the compelling “Flights of Fancy.” This month’s documentary is “Hella Jongerius: Contemporary Archetypes,” about the Dutch designer considered one of the most innovative working today. Using industrial processes and archetypal forms, Jongerius makes creative pieces in a variety of media — ceramics, glass, textiles and furniture. I admit I’m intrigued.
Karen Newton blogs about almost everything she does at icouldgoonandon.blogspot.com. | 12 | SEptEmbEr 2011
Girl Talk goes deep at RVA Music Fest
Arch druid John Michael Greer stares down death
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belle by Julie Geen, Hilary Langford, Angela Lehman-Rios and Edwin Slipek
photos by Scott Elmquist
ichmond is a place where expression is both suppressed and encouraged. Creativity is tamped down by red tape and thrives when unleashed. We are the capital of creativity, purportedly, in a conservative bastion, supposedly. What are we to make of this? Perhaps that’s a study in paradox to explore through an art project some other time. Because the women we honor in the following pages don’t dwell on what shouldn’t be expressed. They just barrel on through. They are doers, innovators, icons of creativity, leaders whose attitudes inspire others. And for that, we honor them and their accomplishments. Author Carrie Fisher has been quoted as saying: “I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.” Here are seven women who focus on the being. — Jason Roop
Women Belle honors seven forward-thinking leaders
Ashley Kistler Director, Anderson Gallery, VCU
Ashley Kistler is on the verge of something big. Virginia Commonwealth University’s art school recently has engaged the international architecture firm of Steven Holl to design a new Institute of Contemporary Art. It will become the university’s major fine arts gallery and programs center. “It will provide a place where cross-disciplined explorations can take place,” Kistler says. “That’s something that’s talked about a lot, but this facility will facilitate those projects as well.” Collaboration across disciplines — it’s a concept and way of working that has long informed Kistler’s career as a curator and arts administrator. Roll the tape back to 1980 when Kistler began working here (she grew up in Roanoke, studied at Carlyle College and VCU). Her first job was at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and its Institute of Contemporary Arts. “The 20th-century depart| 14 | SEptEmbEr 2011
ment presented a number of performances, films and videos,” she says. “We did curating of these things, but not just exhibitions. It was all nicely interconnected.” Kistler says she was especially pleased with two museum symposiums she helped organize that brought scholars, artists and the public together: “Art and Social Responsibility” and “Frames of Reference — Cultural Diversity in the Arts.” The provocative lineup of participants included Eric Bogosian, Spalding Gray and Laurie Anderson, among others, many of whom hadn’t reached wide fame at the time. In 1999 Kistler moved to the Hand Workshop Art Center (now the Visual Arts Center of Richmond) as curator. Once again, collaborations were key to her approach to programming. She mentions artist Whitfield Lovell. “He came and partnered with VCU’s School of the Arts and involved seven painting majors and seven sculpture majors. He developed an installation piece based on his research of Jackson Ward in its
heyday. He built an entire room that was his interpretation of how a middle-class black family would have lived.” In 2008 Kistler arrived at VCU’s Anderson Gallery. “I feel like this is the ideal place for me. The School of the Arts is so amazing in its resources,” she says, “and by resources I mean its faculty and students. It is all there to be mined. Collaborations are possible regardless of budget. It can provide such a rich experience.” But Kistler also has set a high bar in the quality and breadth of exhibitions she’s overseen during her tenure at the Anderson. These have included major installation pieces and retrospectives of prominent regional artists, such as the work of the late Richard Carlyon, a Richmond artist and longtime university professor. Under Kistler’s guidance the exhibition was shown at four venues, another of her collaborative successes. “Hopefully it’s been an interesting mix,” Kistler says with characteristic understatement. — Edwin Slipek
n Arts in the
who help bring culture to life in Richmond.
“We need to develop additional events, interesting city-wide projects that the public can partake of … that include both the visual and performing arts. It could include vigorous scholarly content and also have a popular aspect. We need both.”
SEptEmbEr 2011 | 15 |
Carol Piersol Executive Artistic Director, Firehouse Theatre
When Carol Piersol co-founded the Firehouse Theatre Project in 1993 with four other actors, they didn’t foresee such long-term success. “We weren’t trying to predict the box office. We were trying to do pieces we felt passionate about,” she says, sitting in her open office on the second floor of the theater, which indeed was a firehouse. Often, those pieces were recent works using language and addressing themes just beyond the boundaries of what people thought of as safe for Richmond. Passion remains the co-founder’s guiding principle. “I do plays that hit me,” says Piersol, who studied with Sanford Meisner at his Neighborhood Playhouse in New York before moving to Richmond in 1985. “New works need to be explored.” In addition to its main-stage productions, Firehouse regularly produces staged readings of new works or works in progress. In 2002 it started the Festival of New American Plays, a national playwriting contest. This year, for the first time, the festival joined with New Voices for the Theater, a long-standing program for teenage playwrights from Virginia, run by the School for the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community, known as SPARC. Looking at the broader theater world, Piersol is perplexed about the general lack of female roles, even in new plays written by women. “I’m not sure why [there is this lack],” she says. “Is it conscious or unconscious?” She speculates on a conversation with playwrights about why they give men more — and more interesting — parts: “Does it mean women don’t have dynamic lives? They don’t have the conflicts that men do?” There’s no simple solution, such as running a playwriting contest that requires a certain number of roles for women — “I don’t like rules,” she says — but Piersol thinks it’s a problem that needs to be recognized and discussed. Next May, Firehouse Theatre and CenterStage will co-produce “Dessa Rose,” a musical set before the Civil War whose title character is a rebellious AfricanAmerican woman. It features two strong female leads, but that’s not the main reason Piersol chose it. She recalls that the first time she saw “Dessa Rose” it moved her to tears. She knew she wanted to bring it to Richmond. “It’s a play about healing. I see so much in Richmond that’s hurtful,” she says, her voice catching. She takes off her glasses for a moment to compose herself. Then she slides them back on, ready to see what she can do next. — Angela Lehman-Rios | 16 | SEptEmbEr 2011
“There’s nothing so powerful as seeing a situation onstage and afterwards viewing the world in a way you never thought of.”
Women Arts in the
Maya Payne Smart
Author, Vice Chairwoman, James River Writers There’s one thing Maya Payne Smart loves more than writing. “I think my number one interest is reading,” she says. “But I’ve never figured out how to be a professional reader.” With an undergraduate from Harvard and a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Smart has written hundreds of articles and is the founder of WritingCoach.com, a site offering information and support for freelance writers. After college, she had a short stint in investment banking, but realized she needed to do something more creative. “So I made the transition into writing,” she says. “But it was still valuable to have the business skills. I enjoy meetings. I know that sounds funny. But I enjoy the exchange of ideas and people trying to figure out how to approach a problem.” Shortly after moving to Richmond in 2009 with her husband, Shaka Smart, Virginia Commonwealth University’s head basketball coach, she was asked to join the board of James River Writers. Now vice chairwoman of the nonprofit and expecting a baby in September, Smart is especially passionate about the writing group’s outreach programs for children. “I think that there are a lot of young people who are writers as well,” she says, “but who don’t necessarily think of themselves in that way. It’s just so powerful to see that and how writing helps them navigate the difficult challenges they face as young people in somewhat turbulent times.” Author and the James River Writers treasurer, Gigi Amateau, works with Smart on a writing enrichment program for pupils at Carver Middle School. “One of the things I love about Maya is that she makes every project fun,” Amateau says. “She’s innovative and imaginative. She’s logical and incredibly organized. She holds people and groups accountable for being better and acting right, yet she is also compassionate and understanding.” Smart finds her volunteer position with the group deeply rewarding. “When you share your writing,” she says, “you take a risk. And I’m so inspired by people who take that risk, whether it’s a middleschool girl in one of our programs who wrote a novel by hand in a spiral notebook and gave it to one of our volunteers to get their thoughts, or maybe it’s an adult in a class who is taking the risk of discussing mistakes they’ve made and writing it down in the hopes of helping someone. It’s really inspiring to see so many courageous people.” — Julie Geen
“Celebrating contemporary cultural artists is as important as heralding Richmond’s historical figures — both can provide role models and inspiration that deepen community engagement and spur progress.”
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Greta Brinkman Musician, Music Director WRIR
The nicest badass you’ll ever meet has toured the world with Debbie Harry and Moby, but these days she’s committed to supporting Richmond’s vibrant music scene. “If you’re into alternative music, Richmond is absolutely happening right now. There’s a show every night, sometimes multiple shows,” Greta Brinkman says. A legendary bassist, Brinkman has been a key player on the music scene since moving to Richmond from State College, Penn., in the mid-’80s. She’s brought her mastery of the low-end to a host of influential hardcore bands such as Unseen Force, White Cross and most recently, doom metal outfit Druglord. While she’s often recognized as a “woman who rocks,” she prefers bands and artists to earn recognition because of talent. “I’m proud to be part of the arts scene in Richmond, regardless of gender,” she says. When Brinkman’s not on stage or buzzing around city streets on her Honda Nighthawk, she checks out local music two to three nights a week at venues such as Strange Matter. The platinum-haired rocker also works part time as a music director at independent radio station WRIR-FM 97.3, occasionally taking to the airwaves to spin homegrown punk and metal. The ever-gracious musician exudes an air of professionalism that’s been shaped by years of experience in the business. While touring with her band Unseen Force in Kansas, Brinkman met Blondie guitarist Chris Stein, who became a good friend and connection to the gig of a lifetime. “I was talking to Chris on the phone and he mentioned that the Debbie Harry Band was going to England and needed a bass player. I jokingly said, ‘When do you want me?’” Brinkman recalls. “That was the beginning of my odyssey.” She packed up and moved to New York in 1994 and says that she learned a lot from the famous frontwoman. “Debbie is such a stratospherically talented woman without any ego and is incredibly hard-working,” Brinkman says. “I learned the show must always go on. We did a tour that was wrought with issues, but Debbie soldiered on. It was a real eyeopener for me.” After that stint Brinkman committed to being a professional musician and landed notable gigs that included international touring with electro-genius Moby and playing on L7’s “The Beauty Process.” The South Africanborn musician returned to Richmond after 14 years when the industry changed and jobs were fewer. “I was also tired of New York,” she says. “It wasn’t very creative anymore and the quality of life, frankly, was just crap.” When asked if she plans to stick around here for a while, Brinkman says she’s settled into a house in Oregon Hill and isn’t going anywhere soon: “They’ll have to drag me out of there in a pine box.” — Hilary Langford
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“What would help the arts community is if City Hall would get their heads out of their asses and stop taxing and fining every small business and entrepreneurship until people give up and leave town in disgust.”
Women Arts in the
Executive Director, Art on Wheels Andrea Orlosky has the composure of someone experienced with speaking to groups of people who may not initially understand what she means. Her voice moves along at the speed of a gentle autumn river, neither rapid nor sluggish, while she talks about Art on Wheels, the organization she and her husband, Kevin, founded in 2007. But ask about her artistic philosophy, and a hidden spring bubbles up. “I really believe art has to communicate,” she says. “If not, the artist is doing himself a disservice, wasting time! I’m sorry, but esoteric art drives me crazy!” When she and her husband met at Savannah College of Art and Design and moved to Richmond, they planned to open an arts center. Instead they discovered an unmet community need, so they created Art on Wheels to serve older adults and people with physical or developmental disabilities by taking art-making opportunities to them. In addition, Art on Wheels — which, it should be noted, is staffed entirely by the Orloskys with the help of a few student interns — is developing a healing and the arts component with hospitals and healthservice providers. The past five years were a near-constant learning experience while they educated themselves on the needs and abilities of the populations served by Art on Wheels. “We’ve done a lot of figuring out as we go along,” she says, smiling. “But I like that. I’m detail-oriented, and I enjoy problem solving.” Jody Young is director of recreational therapy at the Virginia Home, whose residents are older adults with physical disabilities. Art on Wheels leads classes there twice a month, and Young says Orlosky excels at communicating the artistic process in steps that the students can follow. “The end product is something the residents have gotten excited about,” Young says. “They give them as gifts, or we have the artwork on display.” Orlosky says it’s rewarding to see the reactions of Art on Wheels participants. “At the end of the day, [creating art] is an empowering experience,” she says. “We hear that a lot: ‘I never thought I could do that!’” During a sometimes-chaotic childhood, Orlosky found solace and a sense of control in making art. Perhaps that’s why she’s so adamant about art being accessible to everyone. “Art can do tremendous things,” she says. “I’ve felt it do tremendous things in my life.” — Angela Lehman-Rios
“[I’d like to see] more recognition of the arts as a powerful tool for economic development.” belle
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Sarah Shields Driggs Architectural Historian, Save Outdoor Sculpture
It isn’t surprising that Sarah Shields Driggs became an architectural historian. She’s always landed in architecturally charged places. As a child in California, she especially was fascinated by the Spanish missions and then the Chicago metropolis when her family moved there. While attending Tulane she fell in love with New Orleans. And being in Charlottesville for graduate school brought her under the long shadow of Thomas Jefferson. “It makes a difference to be surrounded by beautiful things,” she says, “and everyone knows that Richmond is a wonderful place to live because of its architecture.” For 30 years Driggs has taken her deep understanding of how cities look and function — and how they can be enhanced — and applied that knowledge to Richmond and its environs. Yes, her name is on the spine of impressive and scholarly books, including “Richmond’s Monument Avenue” (which she co-wrote with Richard Guy Wilson and Robert P. Winthrop), but more importantly she’s a team player who’s worked understatedly and effectively with many of Richmond’s leading historical and preservation groups. She worked on the restoration of the governor’s mansion, including researching original exterior paint colors. “It turned out to be a maroony brown,” she says. “‘We can’t use that — people will think it’s ugly,’ my colleagues said.” They decided to use another color from the mansion’s past. She worked in publications at the Library of Virginia and the Department of Historic Resources. She helped develop programs at Maymont. Driggs has chaired the city’s Urban Design Committee and, working with the Historic Monument Avenue and Fan District Foundation, established a Save Outdoor Sculpture program here. In addition to documenting and researching the city’s impressive collection of sculpture, she’s raised money for restoration and conservation. “It’s a tough sell,” she says. But Driggs is most proud of finding a permanent home for Orchard House School, a private girls’ middle school. She matched it up with the former Jefferson Club and Martin Agency building at Allen and Grace streets. “That’s the most productive thing I’ve ever done,” she says. “This is a space where you can think great thoughts.” “I love Richmond,” Driggs says. “I’ve been all over and this is where I want to be. There’s an influx of people who have moved here and they have enriched the place. There’s depth and yes, there’s conflict, but we’re lucky to have people who want to work it out to bring us closer and closer together.” — Edwin Slipek | 20 | SEptEmbEr 2011
“What if we started looking around and picking the best ideas from other cities and then created a unified vision instead of a piecemeal approach to planning? We have the potential to be one of the best cities in the nation.”
Pamela Kiecker Royall
Women Arts in the
Benefactor and Collector
Ask Pamela Kiecker Royall to select a favorite among the art she and her husband, William, have collected and she hesitates. Acquiescing, she cites British-born John Walker. “We recently lent some of his paintings to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” she says. “When we walked into the gallery and saw them hanging with museum lighting, I was struck by their extraordinary beauty. They’re all about nature; there’s so much of the earth in what he does. In fact, he sometimes paints with mud.” Visiting Walker at his Maine studio enhanced Royall’s appreciation for his work. “The really fun part of collecting contemporary art is getting to know the artists and supporting them,” she says. The Royalls have embraced collecting with intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm, and share their passion with others. In addition to the Walker works hanging at the museum’s “Modern Masters” exhibition are paintings they’ve loaned by Sean Sculley. Royall says that their collecting often involves conversations with the museum’s curators, an indication of their collection’s future trajectory. They also collect emerging artists. Having converted a former bottling plant on West Main Street into a private gallery, they regularly make the space available to Virginia Commonwealth University for graduate exhibitions, and often purchase art from those shows. Art is displayed throughout the headquarters of Royall & Co., a direct marketing firm founded by her husband, where she serves as an executive. She’s also a board member of 1708 Gallery. “I really believe in what they are doing,” Royall says of downtown’s flagship, artist-owned gallery. Growing up in Minnesota, Royall performed in plays, and by high school was an accomplished violinist and oboist. She earned a doctorate in marketing and spent much of her career teaching, a path that brought her to the urban university. “You can’t be a part of the VCU community not recognize the excellence of the School of the Arts and the Brandcenter,” she says. “I’ve always been inspired by the process of teaching creative students.” Beverly Reynolds, director of the Reynolds Gallery, has watched the Royalls’ collection evolve, and serves with the couple on the planning committee for the Institute of Contemporary Art at VCU. “Pamela brings so much to the table,” Reynolds says — “tremendous business expertise, energy and edge. She is insightful and always pushing for excellence. She cares deeply about the visual arts community and by collecting local as well as national artists, she and Bill help make it possible for many remarkable artists to live and work here.” — Edwin Slipek
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Patti Party Vocal legend Patti LaBelle kicks off the birthday party for Richscott elmquist
mond CenterStage on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the performance at 600 E. Grace St. range from $48$125, with a dinner option for $250. Lady Marmalade attire optional.
Food, entertainment and LGBT activism merge at Pridefest 2011 Sept. 24 from 1 - 8 p.m. The annual event attracts thousands in support of its mission to instill pride, celebrate unity and embrace diversity. Kanawha Plaza is located at East Cary and South 8th streets.
carlo dalla chiesa
J u l i e G een , H i l a ry L a n g f ord a n d De veron T i m b erl a k e
Folk without Frills
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Haunting folk tales unfurl to foot stomps and tambourine shivers on Brown Bird’s latest, “Salt for Salt,” covering baptisms and the blood of angels. Recorded live to tape in Pawtucket, R.I., the two show mastery of every instrument they lay their hands on. Sparse strings of violins and banjos hang out in empty spaces, giving David Lamb and MorganEve Swain’s harmonies room to rise, beautifully tangle and disperse over a distinctive clip-clop rhythm. Some songs saunter and inspire moves while others creep like a slow walk to the gallows. (Supply & Demand) — H.L.
Three Night Stand
As jam bands go, Widespread Panic is practically mainstream. In a rare three-night booking at the National, the band celebrates its 25th year piling up a fan base that’s diverse and fanatical. Sept. 19, 20 and 21 from 7:30 p.m.; tickets $52, including fees via Ticketmaster.
Flesh it Out Maryrose Cuskelly makes a case for what covers us in “Original Skin: Exploring the Marvels of the Human Hide.” She delves into such things as blushing, leprosy, books bound in human skin and the beauty industry, to name a few. All are portrayed in language as evocative as a loving touch. (Counterpoint Press, $15.95) — J.G.
Wiggle Room In her memoir “Last of the Live Nude Girls,” author Sheila McClear chronicles the dying days of the peep shows that once were a seedy staple of Times Square. McClear’s customers get something unexpected on the other side of the glass: an intelligent writer taking notes. We get a dark, raunchy read with a happy ending. (Soft Skull Press, $14.95) — J.G.
Remember those gorgeous, sweeping synthesizers used by bands such as the Church and Echo and the Bunnymen back in the ’80s? The Horrors have brought those sounds back with a vengeance on their third release, “Skying,” and unlike some bands they’re not doing it tongue-in-cheek. Faris Badwan and company have found new life in kicked-up, electrified beats and catchy melodies. These guys are anything but frightful. (XL Recordings) — H.L.
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Make the Move A runner shows me a better way to live.
omething nearly unthinkable happens to me a few days after picking up author Mina Samuels’ book “Run like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives” (Seal Press, $16.95). Instead of my usual walking on the treadmill, I break into a trot. And by the time I finish her book, I’m running 1.5 miles. My brother-in-law asks me if I’ll run a 10-kilometer race with him in four months and I say yes. What happened? The title of the book brings up a memory. I race down my neighborhood street on a summer night with a pack of kids, joyfully stretching my little
Mina Samuels scales Mount Dana in California.
8-year-old body to capacity and some freckled mess of a boy scornfully tells me, “You run like a girl.” Then he imitates me, mincing and kicking his own butt with sloppy, exaggerated strides. Samuels yanks back the phrase throughout her book, turning it from an insult to a battle cry. “We run like girls,” she writes, when we run for ourselves and inside ourselves. We run like girls when we tune out the negativity that might come our way — from men, from women, from any myriad of sources, including ourselves.” The book blends stories of transformation, science, history
and Samuels’ experience into a galvanizing credo. She didn’t start running until her late 20s, when she transplanted herself from her native Toronto to New York to work on a law degree. She started running in Central Park to clear her head. Still a resident of New York, she also bikes, cross-country skis, does yoga, climbs rocks, kayaks, snowshoes, hikes and does triathlons just for the fun of it. For Samuels, a former litigator and humanrights advocate, participating in sports gives her courage in other areas of her life. Like giving up her solid law career to become a writer. “I think
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that when we do sports,” she says, “it’s like this training ground, or microcosm for the way we are going to face challenges in other places in our life. It gives us this place where we can practice dealing with something that’s very hard and pushing through it.” Her advice for getting started with a sport or working out is very simple. “Just wake up this morning and put on the thing you need to put on,” she says. “And maybe the only thing that is, is a pair of flip flops. And you just go out and you do something for maybe ten minutes. Maybe for twenty minutes. And you try to build it up very slowly if it’s something new to you … you’re not trying to impress anyone. You’re just trying to make yourself feel good, and that’s enough.” I confess my initial fitness goals had much to do with working my way back down the pants rack to the butt size of younger years. Samuels gives me a new perspective. “We’re not going to keep it up if we just want to lose weight,” she says. “If that’s really all we wanted, we could just starve ourselves. It has to be because you ultimately want to feel good. Being fit is what really makes us feel good as opposed to trying to fill some strange ideal of feminine beauty.” Samuels meets my goal of running a 10-K with enthusiastic support. Her confidence that the experience of training and running a race will permeate my life in surprising ways is infectious. “Your time will probably be pretty slow,” she tells me, “but you have so much space, | 26 | SEptEmbEr 2011
because the next 10k you do six months later, you will amaze yourself. You will discover a capacity in yourself you didn’t know you had.” Samuels thinks that when we set fitness goals, it has a much bigger impact than just getting fit. “I feel like in the rest of our lives,” she says, “we tend sometimes to shy away from really owning up to what we want, while in sports it’s a little more natural to say I’m training for a 10k race. I have a goal and I’m going to admit it to myself. I think a lot of times we don’t admit to what we really want. And in sports you really aren’t going to get anywhere unless you own up to where you are trying to go. And the fact is that’s the way it is in all of life.” Samuels writes in her book: “A marathon, and most other benchmark athletic accomplishments, become watershed moments for many of us, perhaps because our bodies take us to a place our minds thought they couldn’t go. And our mind, unconfined, throws open the door to enormous personal potential.” The book tells stories of women who begin running to get through grief, addiction, a broken heart, divorce. Some, at first, run from their emotional pain, then through it, and finally, they run for themselves. Women with serious physical ailments get on their bikes or hit the trail anyway. What they all find is a fresh belief in themselves, a space carved out that is all their own. For mothers, that space of one’s own can be particularly difficult to find. “There’s something wired into mothers,” SamuMina Samuels els says, “that says I need to prioritize all these other people first. Everybody else’s needs are more important than my needs. And in many circumstances that’s great, but you can’t sideline yourself in the end. It has repercussions to sideline yourself all the time.” Samuels says a woman with children who takes time to get fit is the opposite of selfish. “You need to find the place that’s yours,” she says. “I happen to think that for mothers there’s an added — I hate to use the word responsibility — to get out there and model being a strong woman so their kids see that. They see that women do strong things and take time for themselves. You are benefiting them ultimately. It just might not feel like it at first.” Age is no excuse, either. Samuels writes about women who run their first marathons in their 50s and 60s. One woman completed the Boston Marathon at 90. Samuels won’t let me lament my late start. “Your peak is ahead of you,” she says. “I’m still constantly amazed by the things my body can do that I didn’t expect it to be able to do. And it’s not like I’m a spring chicken who has endless energy. I almost feel lucky that I wasn’t so into sports in my 20s, so I don’t have to compare myself that way. I get to compare myself to a pretty unfit 20-year-old self.” Samuels has a final piece of advice for me. “Try a skirt,” she says. So I order a simple black running skirt. It feels sassy. It feels like I am running like a girl. By the end of the week, I’m not running from middle age, but through it. With Samuels in my pocket, I hope to run that 10-K for myself. For information on Mina Samuels go to minasamuels.com.
GEt ActivE Today And Stay Motivated
We live in the present, not the future. Tomorrow can all too easily become tomorrow again … and again. Be now what you planned to be another day. Commit now to getting active. Now, as in: today.
the ripple 2Activate effect.
Every action leads somewhere — that’s the ripple (never mind that equal and opposite rigmarole). If you get active today, what other good things might you get up to tomorrow?
If you start today, you’ll reap the reward soonest — more energy, a stronger body and a more peaceful sleep.
4Bring a friend.
Misery may love company, but so do happier challenges. Knowing that someone is counting on you for their workout, and that they, in turn, will see you through yours can make all the difference.
5Set a goal.
With your sights set, you won’t ask yourself every day, “Why am I doing this?” A few refinements — make sure the goal is realistic and within three to six months — so it creates some urgency.
6Know the feeling.
Notice how you feel during and after workouts — good, right? Remind yourself of that nice sensation anytime you start up with the internal dialogue of shouldI-or-shouldn’t-I, so the answer is clear. Do what makes you feel good.
7Change it Up.
Don’t get stale. Try new sports. Or set new kinds of goals. Always do road races? Throw in a trail race or a relay.
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Sept 16 Susan Singer’s Not Barbie: A Celebration of Real Women opens at Crossroads
October 13 Through the Fire: Reclaiming Lost Power After Trauma & Abuse
September 22 Strength in Motion: Dancing Our Sacred Bodies
October 20 Caught in a Funhouse Mirror: Distorted Reflections and Eating Disorders
September 29 Body of Work: Piercing and Painting Our Personal Masterpiece October 6 The Blues: Liberation, Empowerment, and Joy! Starring Gaye Adegbalola, blues singer
October 27 Listening and Observing: The Power of Birth in Story November 3 Life in the First Person: Women's Stories Uncovered
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g r e at ta s t e
Cheese: Natural chèvre
Apples and cheese are an autumn delight.
by Goats R Us in Blackstone. Light and delicate, with only a hint of the tartness you might expect from goat cheese.
Pairs well with: Any of the sweeter variety of apples such as Fuji and red delicious.
eptember is the start of apple season in Virginia, and what’s better with an apple than cheese? Ellwood Thompson’s resident cheese monger Dany Schutte has suggestions for pairing local apples with local cheeses.
McClure, a baby Swiss, by Mountain View in Southwest Virginia. One of several unpasteurized cheeses in Virginia, with a little bit of bite along the edge. Pairs well with:
Gala apples balance out that little edge of bitterness.
Cheese: Grayson by Meadow Creek in Galax. Unpasteurized cow’s
milk cheese, done in a washed rind, making this the biggest in flavor and aroma and downright stinky.
Pairs well with: Winesaps, that bit of tartness you get at the front of the palate helps cut through the pungency of the cheese.
Cheese: Two-year raw white
cheddar by Oak Spring in Upperville. An unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese that is quite sharp and crumbles very well. Pairs well with: Stayman, an
apple with a sweet tart taste to go along with the sharp edge of the cheddar.
Cheese: Appalachian by Meadow
Creek in Galax. An unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese with earthy tone at the beginning of the palate and a rich and buttery finish.
Pairs well with: Rome. Firm and
crunchy and well balanced against the buttery flavor of the cheese.
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f i r st p e r s o n
Make peace with the purse.
ast year I stood in front of the same judge three times. Even though I wasn’t on trial for murder and the judge looked more like my uncle than my executioner, I burned with shame. I felt like a common criminal, but knew I was actually something worse — a woman who not only had been convicted of speeding in a school zone but also had no idea how to handle her money. Like sex and religion, money had always been a vexing, contradictory and elusive topic. It involved numbers, which did nothing to endear it to me. As a child, even as we shook out couch cushions for spare change; my mother drilled into my head that I could do or be anything I wanted. Living on food stamps was no reason not to reach for the stars. She encouraged me to align my future with my dreams rather than my savings. I accepted a scholarship and early admittance to the college of my choice, which happened to be the second most expensive college in the country at the time. I arrived at school proud of my scrappiness and ability to make something out of nothing. But eventually rubbing shoulders with children of millionaires rubbed off on me. I wasn’t sure I wanted what they had; I just knew I didn’t have | 30 | SEptEmbEr 2011
it. Money became an emotional barrier that separated me, at least in my own mind, from certain circles. No matter how many times I tried to balance the relationship between my self worth and my bank account, I always fell short. Eventually I started using credit cards not only to make ends meet but also to make me feel a little better about myself. At first it was just a tiny charge, to take the edge off. But like a drug, after repeated use, I became dependent. Finally, three years ago when I got laid off from my desk job, I quit credit cards cold turkey. I didn’t just stop using them. To buy groceries, I also stopped paying them. And it turns out credit card companies don’t like it when you do that, even if it’s for your own good. But rather than deal with the mess I was creating, I hid from it. Confronting my lack of funds meant confronting my lack of worth. I couldn’t see how one didn’t equal the other. When I got sued — a fiscal version of the drunken-driving conviction — I resisted the urge to bury myself under the covers or under the ground. Miraculously, instead, I asked for help. I researched. I made phone calls. I sent emails. I peeked into the dark, terrifying corners I’d created, mostly in the
top drawer of my desk where stacks of unopened mail teemed like the head of Medusa. In the end, a friend and former lawyer generously offered me her and her husband’s assistance. But not before I’d sobbed on the phone, admitting how ashamed I felt. “Oh Valley,” she said, “Credit card debt? Please! Last year I had two different friends convicted of embezzlement!” If she’d been Mother Teresa absolving me of my sins, I couldn’t have felt better. My friend and her husband’s combination of nonjudgmental kindness and belief in “paying it forward” helped pull me out of not only a monetary hole, but also an emotional one. My problems didn’t vanish when I faced them, but amazing things began to happen. Money actually started to come in through work that I loved. I no longer felt like I was spending my last dollar each time I pulled out my wallet. And I realized I had more to offer than the sum total of my pockets — or anyone else’s. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking to a judge aspiring to be a writer — outside of the courtroom. While we talked literature, I realized that he and I stood on common ground, sharing equal footing. And that’s a feeling money can’t buy.
photo illustration by ed harrington
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