Sperryville column for Aug. 20

Triple Oak expansion underway

Mary Panesis helps with floor-painting duties in Triple Oak Bakery's new space.Courtesy photo
Mary Panesis helps with floor-painting duties in Triple Oak Bakery’s new space.
Proprietor Brooke Parkhurst of Triple Oak Bakery says the much-anticipated expansion of what one fan called “the quaint, tiny, warm and fragrant kitchen and anteroom we’ve all come to know and love” is on for early September, and renovation work is underway at full throttle.

With trademark exuberance, Brooke tells me in an email exchange, they are “busy painting, installing a sink, doing a bunch of repairs to make the health department happy and filling out a million forms for local and state authorities.”

A team of dedicated folks have been helping in the process, Brooke writes. Mary Panesis, whom Brooke calls “a trooper,” is Triple Oak’s “shipping and order manager and PX (keeps all the stores in order), a vital job, and is busy painting, even though Triple Oak’s mail orders have exploded since last winter, so she’s been really busy.”

Others Brooke says have provided “enormous help” include Keith Rowand, Sarah Ames, Katie Long, Trish Bartholomew and Nancy Flanders. “The whole space,” she says in her email, “is 20 by 40 feet, and two-thirds will be retail space with nice seating at cafe tables and a sales counter. We’ll be serving coffee and tea (by the cup or french press/pot) and all our usual offerings plus more savory pastries, soups and salads.”

Triple Oak Bakery, on U.S. 211 across from the Emporium west of town, is open 8:30 to 5:30 Tuesday-Sunday (till noon Thursdays). Visit tripleoakbakery.com or call 540-987-9122.

Good luck, Brooke!

Nightlife at the links

Recently a friend and I enjoyed some fine comfort food and libations at the Headmaster’s Pub, namely a heaping plate of pub fries, golden on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside and smothered in melted cheddar with bacon perched atop, served on a steaming hot plate, and coupled with good wine. The pub offers an excellent and reasonably priced selection of wines and an extensive choice of craft beers at equally reasonable prices.

Headmaster’s food menu is filled with rib-sticking favorites, such as BBQ Bacon Burger, Pot Stickers and Oven Baked Italian Subs. We sat at the bar and chatted amicably with fellow patrons and a charming bartender named B. The subject of golf came up, of which I have no knowledge, and she enthusiastically answered my many questions and shared information about recent and upcoming events at Headmaster’s and the newly opened Schoolhouse Nine course adjoining the pub.

B talked excitedly of the Starlight Scramble, which is a night tournament the course offers. The recently held event was sold out, with a waiting list. According to B, customers sojourning inside Headmaster’s left their cozy booths and bar stools for the porch to savor the soft, fresh country air and watch the glowing golf balls (available especially for the after-dark event) of different colors and hues light up the course. There were 18 teams of two, and many players enjoyed food and libations at the pub before and after the event. So successful was the evening that another Starlight Scramble is planned for Oct. 3.

On Saturday, Aug. 29, the nine-hole, par-3 course will hold a Three Club Tournament. When I asked B what the significance of a three-club tourney was, she said, “Well, it’s more challenging, as you are limited to only three clubs.” Prizes will be awarded, and as of this writing there are 23 spots left. The tourney starts at 5 p.m.; it’s $10 to enter and $20 for greens fees. This event is also sure to be sold out.

During the daylight hours, one can appreciate a golf course “dappled with small fields of pretty wildflowers” and enjoy, according to Megan Smith in her July 9 article about the course, in this paper, “playing the Scotland-esque course’s undulating hills (okay, maybe mounds),” with the Blue Ridge Mountains up close and personal for added effect. For information about memberships, fees and events, visit schoolhousenine.com or call 540-987-5008.

Beagles, John and Jean-Claude

Local actors Howard Coon (left) and Brendan Martyn as evil doctors in a scene from John Hallberg's film.Courtesy photo
Local actors Howard Coon (left) and Brendan Martyn as evil doctors in a scene from John Hallberg’s film.
Sperryville impresario John Hallberg, an independent film producer and a charmingly irreverent man, is once again unleashing his unconventional flair for filmmaking with a new feature film: “Attack of the Flying Beagles” is scheduled for release in the coming months, says John, known by many as the director of the independent movie “The Man They Couldn’t Hang,” which premiered in 2010 to solid reviews and was his first foray into filmmaking.

Since then, he’s entered his short films, “Morel Mania” and “Techmare,” in the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community’s first Little Washington Film Festival. He is also known for acting in the humorous short film “Rappahannock Girls,” shot in the county in 2011 by a crew headed by renowned filmmaker and photographer Franco Campos-Lopez. John has acted in myriad films, including “The Rangers,” shot on John Henry’s lovely Flint Hill property. He has won a distinguished Wammie award, for significant career achievements by an area musician, from the Washington Area Music Association and was featured in “Tequila Momma” by the DC band Modern Thieves, featuring local musician Brian Chafin.

More recently, John shot and directed a music video that was nominated for an award at the Northern Virginia Film Fest this year, and “The Rangers” director Ron Newcomb cast him as a German officer in a World War II short film shot on filmmaker Nina May’s property in the county.

His recent foray, John says, is his first full-length feature film for which he is “in total control and therefore has total responsibility.” It comes after a hiatus from filmmaking, when he took time to focus on recovering from cancer, he says. According to John, this film is a “Monty Pythonesque comedy” with a score that features John’s other work in music with Manabu Nagase. The creative team for the film consists of John, Manabu and George Mika. It is being shot here in the county, in D.C. and in Arlington.

While comedic and farcical, the film is in concert with promoting the rather serious and profound cause of the Beagle Freedom Project (beagleproject.org). John owns a beagle, and he has a deep passion for the cause. His beagle’s name is Missy, but he calls her a “freeagle,” meaning a beagle freed from laboratory use. More than 65,000 beagles nationwide are used for animal experiments in research labs, and the Beagle Freedom Project’s mission, according to their website, “is to place unwanted beagles in loving homes and work to encourage more research labs to release animals and give them a chance at life, instead of destroying adoptable pets.”

John’s movie has a fun plot that involves not only local acting talents, such as Howard Coon, Brendan Martyn, Miguel Day, Chris Masil, Dawn Schimke and Channing Elizabeth, but also a Hollywood star, Jean-Claude Van Damme — appearing in the film via chroma-keying (aka green screen).

The best of luck to you, John, not only (and most importantly) with your ongoing successful battle against cancer but also in continuing to share your unique works with the world.

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