VABook 2007: The Trial of Lenny Bruce

Ronald Collins, co-author of The Trials of Lenny Bruce, and attorney Robert Corn-Revere discuss the free speech trials of comedian Lenny Bruce, including their successful effort to earn Bruce the first posthumous pardon granted by the State of New York. The presentation was sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Center as part of the 2007 Virginia Festival of the Book.

The Good Times Are Killing Me at Live Arts March 23 through April 14

Left to right, Ayana Croff as Bonna, Arrietta Van der Voort as Edna, and Madeline Hermsmeier as Lucy, in The Good Times Are Killing Me, by Lynda Barry.
Photo credit: Jack Looney/C-Ville Weekly
The 1960’s are known as a time of great change. Live Arts’ latest production captures what it was like to grow up during that tumultuous period. The Good Times Are Killing Me runs March 23 to April 14 in the Downstage Theater. I spoke with director Larry Goldstein this week to find out more.

Wake-Up Call: Virginia Festival of the Book Preview

This week on WNRN’s Sunday Morning Wake-Up Call, special host Sean Tubbs takes the mic to lead a discussion about the Virginia Festival of the Book. Nancy Damon and Kevin McFadden, Directors of the Festival, and several moderators of panels this year, John LLhman and Rick Turner, joined Sean in the studio. They discuss some of the guests that will be at this year’s festival, which kicks off events this Wednesday and lasts through Sunday, March 25th. There are 200 free events scheduled over the five day event, which include panels, musical events, and literary readings. More can be found at their website.

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Live Arts presents The Violet Hour February 23 through March 17

(left to right) Richelle Claiborne, Matt Fletcher, Scott Keith, Brandy Maloney and Jude Silveira star in The Violet Hour Photo credit: Jack Looney, C-Ville Weekly
If your life was a novel, would you read the last page first? That’s one of the questions explored in Richard Greenberg’s The Violet Hour, presented by Live Arts in the Upstage Theater February 23 through March 17.The play takes place in 1919 and tells the story of John Pace Seavering, a young publisher who only has enough money to pay for one book. Both his best friend and his lover are courting him to publish their manuscript, until one day a mysterious machine appears which begins spewing out pages of novels from the end of the 20th Century.

I stopped by before a recent rehearsal to find out more about the play, and spoke with director Kay Leigh Ferguson and actor Matt Fletcher.

Local writer wants your vote in publishing contest

Jenny Gardiner Photo: Jen Fariello
Jenny Gardiner used to work as a journalist, and is now seeking to become a published fiction writer. She’s hoping her manuscript Sleeping with Ward Cleaver will get a boost from her participation in the American Title Contest, a competition put on by Dorchester Publishing. The winner receives a book contract. I spoke with Jenny recently to find out more, and asked her to read an excerpt.

Voting in the current round ends this Sunday. Take a listen to this original feature by clicking the arrow above, or downloading the mp3.

Live Arts Preview: The Pillowman takes the stage February 2 through 17

Mark Washington, Satch Huizenga and Michael Horan star in The Pillowman at Live Arts Feb 2 through Feb 17. Photo: Jack Looney/C-VILLE Weekly

What happens in the real world when you tell a story? That’s one of the questions explored in The Pillowman, a two-act play that makes its debut at Live Arts this Friday. Lydia Horan directs a cast of eight through this piece by Martin McDonough. Live Arts website describes the Pillowman this way:

A seriously disturbing play about the role of the artist in society, The Pillowman was a critical and audience favorite in New York and London. Kafka, Grimms, and Tarentino intersect in an interrogation room in an unnamed police state, where an unpublished author meets a good cop and a bad cop who probe the connection between his stories and a gruesome series of murders. The Pillowman is for mature audiences. Under 17 may only attend if accompanied by parent or guardian, or their written permission.

I stopped by during rehearsals to find out more about the play, and spoke with Lydia Horan and Satch Huizenga. Take a listen by clicking the arrow below, or downloading the mp3 here.

Charlottesville–Right Now: Architects Celebrate Local Buildings with New Exhibit

The American Institute of Architects celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Jim Grigg is the president of the Central Virginian Chapter, and helped organize the exhibit “Hidden in Plain Sight.” The exhibit will celebrate the past 150 years of architecture in Central Virginia by showcasing 150 different buildings. Grigg and Kyle Copas, the curator of the exhibit, speak with Coy Barefoot about it on this segment of Charlottesville–Right Now!

“This is very much about engaging the public discussion about architecture,” Copas says. “We live in a very rich and diverse-built environment, and a lot of times we take it for granted.”

The pair also want public input on what should go into the exhibit. You can email Kyle at kylec[at] Hidden in Plain Sight will open on Friday, April 6th at the Charlottesville Community Design Center on the downtown mall.

Live Arts Preview: Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) from January 12 to January 27

Bill LeSueur in the title role of Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) by Will Eno. At Live Arts Jan 12 – 27. Photo credit: Jack Looney/C-VILLE Weekly.

Are you in the mood for a bit of “existential stand-up?” We’re not sure if that genre really exists, but the idea applies to Thom Pain (Based on Nothing). The monologue runs from January 12th to the 27th in the UpStage Theater at Live Arts. The play is by Will Eno, and made its international debut at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004. It was even a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama the following year.

Thom Pain takes place inside of a theater, as a man in his thirties attempts to tell stories about his childhood. I spoke with director Cristan Keighley during rehearsals.

If you’re reading this post on or another RSS reader, you can download the mp3 of this podcast here.

Trumpeter John D’earth scores music for First Night celebration

John D'Earth
Trumpeter John D’earthPhoto: U.Va
John D’earth has been a fixture on Charlottesville’s music scene for decades. The trumpeter and his band play a set at Miller’s every Thursday night, and he’s also an instructor at the University of Virginia, playing in the school’s Free Bridge Quintet.

So, when First Night Virginia wanted someone to write to score for a piece commemorating the event’s 25th anniversary, they turned to D’earth. I stopped by his studio to find out more.

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This podcast has two interesting bits of trivia associated with it. The opening music is from the Thompson-D’earth Band’s new album, When the Serpent Flies. This is a track called Second of Many.

The second bit of trivia comes at the end of the piece. Don’t be startled by the sound of my 14-month-old daughter Josephine, who tagged along with me to John D’earth’s studio. She was really quiet for most of the interview, but let out a splendid squeal at the very end of the musical selection I was recording. John insisted I leave it in, so I obliged!

You can still win tickets to Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Live Arts

Cast of Ain’t Misbehavin, Dec 1 – 23 at Live Arts (Photo: Jack Looney/CVILLE Weekly)

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is still jumping and jiving at Live Arts through December 23rd. The revue presents the music of Fats Waller on the Downstage Theater. And, CPN is giving away a pair of tickets. All you have to do is e-mail us atG, with your contact info. We’ll hold a drawing this Thursday.

To whet your appetite, take a listen to this preview of the show, featuring comments director John Owen and cast members Lily Bryant and Ricardo Coleman. There’s even a song!

Ain’t Misbehavin’ has Live Arts jumpin’ in December

Cast of Ain’t Misbehavin, Dec 1 – 23 at Live Arts (Photo: Jack Looney/CVILLE Weekly)

If you walk past the City Center for Contemporary Arts building this weekend, you may not be able to resist the urge to dance. That’s because the music of Fats Waller will be shaking through the walls, as Live Arts begins its run of Ain’t Misbehavin’ on the Downstage Theater. I stopped by during rehearsals to find out more about the play, and spoke with director John Owen and cast members Lily Bryant and Ricardo Coleman.

Find out how you can win a free pair of tickets to the show by listening in to the podcast.