Tourist With a Typewriter

Oh, Uncle Adrian, I’m in the reservation of my mind.

Tag: Charlottesville

Mystic Pizza

Printed in C-VILLE Weekly 9/25/07

Crozet pizzaWhen the pizza arrives at the table, it never seems as if there will be enough room, amidst the plates, drinks, napkin dispenser and parmesan cheese, but somehow there always is. This, I think, signifies a good meal: not an elegant and carefully arranged table, but a cluttered and overflowing one. “Mange,” it says. Eat! Dig in! Read the rest of this entry »

My First Gun

Looking for safe ground in the middle of the gun debate

Published in C-VILLE 7/16/13


The decision to buy a gun came suddenly. I was gulping down coffee before work and reading about the latest shooting, when my right to bear arms overwhelmed me. I ran out into the Virginia sunshine, jumped in my Prius, and headed to Walmart. Read the rest of this entry »

Blunt Truth

Profile of a small time dope dealer.

Published in C-VILLE 7/29/08

Blunt Truth

He isn’t nervous yet, because there isn’t any reason to be.

Is there?

Nothing in the car. Nothing in his pockets. Expired tags. Just popped into the office to grab something, his wallet with his ID left at home.

A cop asks him to step out of the car, please, sir.

Another officer says he smells pot and asks if they can search his person. Yes you can, officer, because he knows he’s got nothing on him. Can we search the car? The car is a mess, boxes of stuff from the move, clothes all over the place, it’ll take forever for them to go through it. No, you can’t search the car. It’s Saturday. He works full-time. Wants to get home and enjoy his weekend. The cops take their sweet time filling out the ticket and as he’s signing it, a K-9 unit pulls up. The dog sniffs around outside the car and then sniffs around inside. When it gets to the back, it starts to paw at the seats, scrabble, scrabble, skritch, skritch, and so now too bad, sucker, we’re gonna search the trunk. And they find a backpack and look inside.


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How four young black men found their mission to change our city, starting now

Published in C-VILLE 2/19/13

The Tonsler Park Recreation Center is busy at 4:30pm on a Wednesday. The long, L-shaped main room bustles with games of pool and chess, people coming and going past the old school Ms. Pac-Man game and the foosball table. Adults watch the T.V. on the wall, or sit and talk in small groups. You get the sense many are just killing time on a cold evening in the neighborhood. Read the rest of this entry »

Faster Than the Speed of Film

At the 2006 Virginia Film Festival, I was embedded with a team competing in the Adrenaline Film Festival, a 72 hour, nonstop filmmaking competition. Here’s what it was like.

Culbreth Theatre, UVA Grounds. Sunday October 30, 2005. 4pm.

8,640 hours, 30 minutes to go.

Shea Sizemore, Paul Metzger, and Kim Bonner are taking in the applause. The filmmaking team has just won the Mentor Award for the 2005 Adrenaline Film Project for their short movie, Small Loss. The prize, given by the project’s directors, rewards the team that overcomes the largest odds and still makes a great film. Every team in this movie-making contest faces at least one major challenge: to complete a movie, start to finish, in only 72 hours. Some teams confront other issues. Shea’s team had arrived in Charlottesville from Radford knowing nothing about the area. They stayed at a rundown hotel far from everything. Fifty-four hours into the contest, Paul, scouting actors to play drunkards, had found two perfect and actually drunk guys. Coaxing them to be in the movie, he had joined them for a beer on no sleep and an empty stomach, with predictable results: Though the drunks were struggling to chase him (as the scene called for), it was Paul who ended up puking.

“We didn’t know what to even expect,” Shea says, exactly one year later.
But that was then. Going into the third annual AFP, which took place this year from October 26 to October 29 in tandem with the Virginia Film Festival, Shea & co. knew exactly what to do—and how to do it.

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The Once and Future Fan

I was a 16-year-old high school student when I first discovered a local Charlottesville band called The Dave Matthews Band. I quickly became one of the many original fans, going to see them every Tuesday night at a local club. By the time they made it big, I had moved on. Fifteen years later the band returned to town, and I talked to some new fans to try and find out where my passion had gone. Published in C-VILLE on 9/18/2006.

Flyer from the now defunct Charlottesville nightclub Trax, back when the Dave Matthews Band used to play there every Tuesday night.

I didn’t want to like the Dave Matthews Band. In fact I tried hard not to. It was late 1991, I was 16 and a friend of mine told me about a friend of hers, Stefan, who went to Tandem and was in this band and we should seriously go see them. Right. Like I was going to go see a high school band. I already had a favorite local band, Indecision, and they were good, at least good enough to shuffle your feet to while holding a beer and looking around to see if anyone was laughing at you. But then someone else told me that I really had to go see this band, and so I did, early in 1992, at Trax, and that was the end of my interest in any other local music. It was the beginning of my love affair with the Dave Matthews Band, a love affair that would last for three intense and crazy years before it almost, but not quite, faded away. It seems now that there are no traces left of the old Dave Matthews Band, and yet, DMB is everywhere.

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Winning a Losing Campaign

Ghosts of elections past: Dennis Kucinich visiting Charlottesville in 2008.

Dennis Kucinich is a kook, yes, but he’s a kook on a mission, rocketing out of the small conference room where he’s been waiting, head cocked to one side with a look of urgency on his face and a sense of nervous purpose in his stride, through the door and down the hall, where he hits the podium and turns to the crowd with a big grin. Some 500 people are here to listen to a presidential candidate who smart money says has no chance of being nominated. And as he grins, as his smile spreads beneath beady black eyes, he doesn’t seem to be even remotely concerned. Read the rest of the story.

The Wonder Years

How real estate and gentrification changed Belmont for good

C-VILLE cover story for 8/28/2012

The old Belmont Store, torn down in 1960 when the new Belmont bridge was built.


“One big problem is change. [The older residents] don’t understand change is happening and why it’s happening, and sometimes I don’t understand it myself.” – Jimmy Dettor, lifelong Belmont resident. From the documentary, Still Life With Donuts.

When she arrived in Charlottesville in the summer of 1976, Joan Schatzman didn’t think of herself as a pioneer. She was 24, fresh out of college in Boston, and when her best friend Debbie decided to go to grad school at UVA, she went along for the ride.

Initially they rented an apartment near Grounds, but in the spring of 1978, Joan, Debbie, and another friend decided to buy a house across town in an old, run-down neighborhood called Belmont.
“Belmont?” people said. “You can’t live in Belmont!”
“Nothing but trouble there.”

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Wine in the Time of Poverty

How Patricia Kluge’s vineyard reached beyond its means

Published in C-VILLE, 5/24/2011.

In Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, one character asks another how he went bankrupt. “Gradually,” he says, “then suddenly.”

Patricia Kluge and her second husband, one-time richest-person-in-America, John Kluge.

In 2002, the Kluge Estate New World Red entered the world in an ebony trimmed wooden box designed by David Albert Charles Armstrong-Jones, a.k.a. Viscount Linley, son of Princess Margaret, nephew of the Queen and 14th in line for the British throne. There were only 289 of these beauties made, signed by the winemaker, naturally, but also by the winery owner, who saw fit to slap an embossed profile of her swollen head on every bottle. She also slapped a $495 price tag on the wine, by far the highest price we’re ever likely to see on a wine from Virginia.

Eight years later Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard would be moribund, ending not with a bang, but with a fire sale. The New World Red, having long ago lost its royal trappings, would end its life being sold for $10.96 at a Downtown wine shop. Instead of being displayed in a custom case, customers were carrying it off by the caseload.
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The Night Drags On

Crowning the 2008 Miss Gay Charlottesville.

You look fabulous, bitches!

But oh, what must be done to get there. A lot of male flesh squeeeeezed into one, two, maybe even three pairs of pantyhose creating a smooth, shiny, Barbie Doll-like lower half, while the top is padded into existence and cleavage painted on. Some serious face time with the mirror, cigarettes between rhinestoned fingers.

“Honey, that’s the best I’ve ever seen you look!”


Read the rest here.

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