As usual on a fourth Friday, most of the staff of the Rappahannock News will be at the Country Cafe on Main Street in Washington at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, March 27) for our monthly Fourth (Estate) Friday public story conference. We’ll buy coffee for anyone who’d like to talk about what we cover, or fail to cover, or should cover more, or should never, ever cover — so please stop by and outnumber us for an hour. (Note: This is not difficult.) If you have questions, call 540-675-3338 or email email@example.com.
The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and Community (RAAC) screens the comedy-fantasy-drama ”Birdman” at 8 p.m. next Friday, April 3 at the Theatre at Washington. The R-rated, 119-minute film was directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu and stars Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts. It won the Academy Award last month for best picture, best director and a couple more Oscars. Popcorn, candy and water are available at the concession stand; it’s $6 at the door. For more, call 800-675-6075 or visit raac.org.
This Sunday (March 29) from 1 to 5 at the Studio School at Mullany Art Studios in Flint Hill, join Nina Shepardson to learn how to decorate real eggshells using wax and dyes in the traditional Ukrainian style of Pysanky. Shepardson will cover symbolism, color progression, measuring and dividing your egg to suit your design and how to varnish your egg after it’s completed. Participants should be able to complete two eggs during class — all with Easter still a week away. Class costs $45. Sign up at wp.me/P2tjbG-DL or call 540-878-3687.
Middle Street banishes winter
Painter Rosabel Goodman-Everard of Washington, D.C. and Sperryville will show her fantasy-based works at Middle Street Gallery from tomorrow (Friday, March 27) through May 3 at the nonprofit artists cooperative.
Goodman-Everard will show paintings from her portfolio of “Elementree Stories” — highly stylized and enigmatic “narratives” about trees. “One day the water stopped flowing,” she explains. “The blooming trees on the riverbed withered and died, and the creatures living in and among them disappeared. Stark tree-trunk shapes were all that remained. The only solution was to work with these shapes. What felt at first like a limitation of my freedom became a world of its own.”
But the narrative doesn’t end there, she says. “First there was color, shape and texture to explore. It remained dry and dark for a long time. Then, slowly, the water started returning. Some of it is based on the persistence and interconnectedness of nature.”
Everard-Goodman will share the gallery for smaller numbers of works by gallery members Kathleen Willingham, Barbara Heile, Nancy Brittle, and Gary Anthes. Willingham’s pastels offer views of “crops, fallow fields and overgrown fields, up close or at a distance with seasonal changes, different atmospheric conditions and light.”
“This been a long cold winter, where extra duties that the harsh weather created made time seem more fractured than usual,” says painter Nancy Brittle. “In order to get any painting done I found myself working in the kitchen, where it is both light and warm, and also has a door to the outside for quick departure to shovel snow or carry wood. As a result, my work shows my sister at the daily humble tasks of the home.”
Barbara Heile, a local artist who recently rejoined the gallery after an absence of several years, says of her bright flower paintings, “I’m inspired by fields in flower and happy to feel my renewed and vital connection to painting through this subject. I hope the paintings give one a sense of stepping just a bit beyond what is known, or of leaning in to listen toward what is unknown and experiencing something beautiful. If the ground shifts under our feet, it’s an invitation to sharpen our senses.”
And photographer Gary Anthes will show brightly colored images from Mexico. “It seems like the farther south one goes, the more colorful things become,” he says. “I would never shoot black and white in Mexico.”
There’s an opening reception for the show from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 11 at the gallery, which is next to River District Arts at 3 River Lane, Sperryville. Middle Street is open 11 to 6 Friday-Sunday. Call 540-987-9330 or visit middlestreetgallery.org for more.
If you’re interested in helping start up a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) group in Rappahannock County, chief organizer Kim McKiernan of Sperryville would love to see you at the next MADD meeting — at 6:30 p.m. Monday (March 30) at Rappahannock County Library. “Come and share your concerns and ideas on how to address this in our community and surrounding communities,” McKiernan says. If you have questions, call her at 540-229-1112.
Daffodil Hill, on Campground Lane in Castleton, is where the Tanner family is offering private guided viewings on weekends during April of the thousands of blooms produced by their more than two million naturalized Van Zion bulbs in a private wooded setting. The flowers’ origins date to the 18th century, and the tours are free — but by reservation only. Call 540-349-4178 weekdays to schedule yours.
Kid Pan Alley started 15 years ago with a brilliant but obvious discovery: Kids make the greatest co-writers — especially when you are writing songs for kids.
Paul Reisler, songwriter, composer, master songwriting teacher and founder of Trapezoid, learned this during an elementary school songwriting residency project in Rappahannock County. Inspired by the 50 songs he wrote with more than 600 schoolchildren in the county, he invited a diverse group of the community’s professional musicians to record one song each for “Tidal Wave of Song.”
Fifteen years, 2,500 songs and 35,000 school-age co-writers from across the country later, Kid Pan Alley celebrates with a free concert at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, March 27) featuring the Kid Pan Alley Band performing songs they wrote over the past couple of weeks with the children right back where it started — at Rappahannock County Elementary School.
Friday’s concert features Reisler, marking his 40th year as a professional musician and recording artist, on guitar; vocalist Mary Alouette; percussionist Tom Teasley; saxophone virtuoso Marshall Keys — and, of course, the children.
“Yes, kids do make the best songwriters,” Reisler says. “They don’t need a coffee break and they don’t spend all their time worrying about whether Garth will cut their song.” And because of that, some of the songs have attracted the attention of some world-renowned artists including Amy Grant, Sissy Spacek, Delbert McClinton, Cracker, Kix Brooks, John McCutcheon, Parachute, Corey Harris, Suzy Bogguss and many others who have recorded the songs.
From a song written last week with Ms. Seeley’s first-grade class at RCES, where former ambassadors Carl and Jane Coon inspired the kids with stories of their time in India, a sample chorus and verse:
An exotic land of wonder and magic
Where the whole world is upside down
A kaleidoscope of color and sound
With flowers and glitter swirling all around
In India, life is always a parade
The king rides on the elephant
Time is the charade
We clap our hands
To the rhythm of the street
My heart pounds like a drum
Pulsing to the beat
The RCES residency is sponsored by Kid Pan Alley and RAAC’s Claudia Mitchell Fund, with support from the Lykes Fund of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation and members of the local community. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a Rappahannock artist who’d like to participate for the first time in the RAAC studio and gallery tour in November, contact the organizers at email@example.com for an application. Deadline to return the application is April 10. More about the tour can be found at raac.org.