The Rapp for Aug. 2 

Young artists at Middle Street 

Sculptor Brantley Burns’ ceramic pieces based on fossils, part of MIddle Street’s emerging artists show this month.
Sculptor Brantley Burns’ ceramic pieces based on fossils, part of MIddle Street’s emerging artists show this month.

The Middle Street Gallery, a 20-person nonprofit artists’ cooperative in Sperryville, will hold a special exhibition for three young artists this Saturday (Aug. 4) through Aug. 26. An artists’ reception, with refreshments and the public invited, is 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the gallery at 3 River Lane.

T. Brantley Burns, Landry Tyler and Evgenia Rementelas, recent college graduates with fine arts degrees, will show a wide variety of paintings and sculpture at the show. “This will be the first public exhibition for these promising young people,” said Susan Raines, co-president of the gallery. “It is part of our mission as a nonprofit organization to encourage and support new talent such as this.”

Sculptor Burns, of Frederick, Md., spent two summers in Fossil Butte National Park researching fossils and creating ceramic pieces based on fossil species found locally. His ceramic pieces began with his love of fly fishing and the tranquility yet complexity of nature. “Looking beneath the surface allows a glimpse at the challenges and experiences which make both human beings and fossilized life unique,” he says.

Detail of a work by watercolorist Landry Tyler of Washington, D.C.
Detail of a work by watercolorist Landry Tyler of Washington, D.C.

Watercolorist Tyler, of Washington, D.C.,  became interested in color when living in Moscow, while finishing high school. On long walks, she began to notice the color in everyday Russian scenes. When she later moved to Chicago, she enrolled in a meditation class and discovered a new understanding of color. Still later she became fascinated with the traveling circus, which influences some of her works.

Ceramic artist Evgenia-Vallentina D. Rementelas, also of Frederick, finds inspiration in coral and other sea life. Having lived near the water and the natural beauty of her Greek homeland, she has become artistically in tune with the aesthetics of nature in the ecosystems of the sea and the shoreline.

The gallery is located at River District Arts in Sperryville and is open 10 to 5 Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 540-987-9330 or visit

‘The Ives of August’ is upon us

Director Russell Paulette gives instructions to Howard Coon as Patty Hardee looks on during a rehearsal of “The Universal Language,” part of “The Ives of August.” Photo by Brent Logan.
Director Russell Paulette gives instructions to Howard Coon as Patty Hardee looks on during a rehearsal of “The Universal Language,” part of “The Ives of August.” Photo by Brent Logan.

RAAC Community Theatre is pleased to present “The Ives of August,” an evening of short, unique, and zany comedies by David Ives from his book of plays, “All in the Timing.” Rappahannock County High school drama coordinator Russell Paulette is directing the plays.

“As in last summer’s production of ‘The Dining Room,’ we’re bringing together both experienced and novice performers, ranging from high school teenagers to senior actors,” said Paulette. “Some of the actors change roles and personalities from one play to another.”

Performances are Aug. 17-18.

Says Peter Hornbostel, artistic director of RAAC Community Theatre: “These are some of the wackiest plays we have ever produced, and so the most fun. You just have to cut loose and let go – cast and the audience both – and then, as author David Ives says, ‘It’s all in the timing.’ You won’t necessarily understand all of the plays but that’s fine. What makes them interesting is that sometimes you aren’t sure just how you got to where you did – but the trip was great! You can join our future voyages as an actor, director, stage manager, costumer or participant in lots of other backstage activities. It doesn’t matter a bit if you’ve never acted or worked backstage before. Everyone, once in his or her life, did that for a first time (unless he or she chooses to miss the fun altogether).”

Ives uses language and wordplay to explore the convolutions and complications of life, particularly romantic entanglements. “All in the Timing” ran for 606 performances and won Ives the Outer Critics Circle John Glassner Award for Playwriting. His plays were described by The New York Times as “. . . utterly delightful one act plays . . . with comic brio . . .” and “with real heart beneath Ives’ tomfoolery.” Each play is 10 to 15 minutes long. They include:

“Sure Thing”: Did you ever say the wrong thing when you first met a possible date? Did you wish a bell would ring so you could try again? That bell rings frequently in “Sure Thing,” resetting the couples’ words to give them another chance at romance. Does that make a difference in their relationship? You’ll have to see and decide for yourself.

“Words, Words, Words”: Kafka, Swift, and Milton – three chimpanzees – sit chattering away caged in a room with typewriters. Their captor has told them to keep on typing until they produce “Hamlet.” But what, they wonder, is a Hamlet? The chimps wish they had word processors – it would make their work easier. They keep on chattering and produce something, but is it Hamlet . . .  or maybe Ulysses . . . or just gibberish?

“The Universal Language”: A woman thinks she is learning a new language and a new way to converse, but her instructor thinks more of her money than any learning. However, as her instruction and enthusiasm for learning increase, they both discover that there is more than one universal language.

“Variations on the Death of Trotsky”: Russian revolutionist Leon Trotsky, an axe handle embedded in the back of his head, dies repeatedly after his wife reads in a 2012 encyclopedia a description of his death in 1940. He returns alive at the start of every scene in this tragicomic epic, sometimes bemoaning certain future events that he will never live to see, until he finally succumbs.

“Mere Mortals”: High above the city, three construction workers discuss wives, lunch, bowling and life, and reveal that they are actually the son of Czar Nicholas II of Russia, the Lindbergh baby, and a reincarnation of Marie Antoinette.

“The Ives of August” starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17 and Saturday, Aug. 18 at RAAC Community Theatre, 310 Gay St., Washington. Tickets are $15. For reservations, call 540-675-3193 or email

– Bruce Sloane

A summer yard-sale glossary

Donate, v. To separate yourself from some of your stuff for the good of others. (For clarity on what constitutes “stuff,” see George Carlin.)

Donation, n. A thing given freely, such as time, or a nice collection of tools.

Unused, adj. Operable, but not operating, as in taking up space and collecting dust.

Extra, adj.  Once highly valued, but no longer required. Superfluous.

Space, n.  (as in the home) Square yards of attic, basement, shed, garage, barn or lawn. Soon to be available for square dancing when stuff now taking up this area is given away.

Usable, adj. Having value as in further life or function, such as a nice picture to hang, or attractive cookie jars, or anything nice and clean.

Once-loved, adj.  Ah, memories. Time to let them go.

Passe, adj.  Yes, you loved it long ago, but no longer remember why. So it is now someone else’s turn.

Higgs-Boson, n.  This is either a) a pretentious ice cream manufactured in New Jersey; b) a department store chain in Manitoba; c) the little-known presidential/vice presidential ticket of the even lesser-known Esperanto Party; or d) A much-sought-after tiny thingy in physics called the “God-particle,” which raises the question of what the atheists would call it.

Event, n. As in four-day enormous yard sale near the end of August composed of two days of donations (Aug. 23-24) and two days of sale (Aug. 25-26). There is no sale within a hundred miles as large as this.

Yard sale, n. See Event. It is sponsored by the Rappahannock County Democrats, but mostly it is believed to be Republicans and Independents who take advantage of the matchless bargains.

Jeanne Dixon, n. (proper) The name of the person in charge of the sale who answers phone calls at 540-675-1942 to accept donations, which are much in vogue right now.

– Jill Donovan Duvall and Jed Duvall

Copper Fox poured at Governor’s Mansion

A growing number of Virginia’s agricultural products were highlighted this month at the Executive Mansion as distilled spirits products from two local craft distilleries, Loudoun County’s Catoctin Creek and Rappahannock County’s Copper Fox, were poured at several Mansion receptions.  Virginia gift sets including Catoctin Creek and Copper Fox distilled spirits products were also presented to honor distinguished Virginians.

 “Virginia has a rich history of distilled spirits dating back to George Washington’s successful whiskey distillery at Mount Vernon, and with the emergence of craft distilling, the Commonwealth is once again taking its place as a top producer of premium spirits products,” Gov. McDonnell commented.

“We are thankful for this opportunity to share our handcrafted products,” said Rick Wasmund, owner and master distiller of Copper Fox Distillery.  “From the beginning, we have set out to make a whisky that is not only the best in Virginia but also among the best in the world.  We are very proud to use all Virginia products in making our whisky including locally harvested grain, apple wood, cherry wood and oak.”

“We are very proud to have our products served at the Executive Mansion,” said Scott Harris, founder of Catoctin Creek Distillery.  “Virginia has been a rising star in the wine industry, and we aim to prove that the Commonwealth is also a top producer of whiskey, gin and brandy.”

The pour list at the Executive Mansion included Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye, an aged rye whiskey; Mosby’s Spirit, an un-aged spirit reminiscent of traditional Virginia whiskeys before Prohibition; and Watershed Gin, the only gin produced in the Commonwealth. Copper Fox Distillery’s gold medal award winning Wasmund’s Rye Whisky was also served, along with its single malt whisky.

In collaboration with Governor McDonnell’s “Choose the Commonwealth” initiative that he introduced during his inauguration in 2010, the Executive Mansion and First Lady continue to bring new Virginia products into the Mansion each week. The Executive Mansion is almost exclusively using Virginia products, including food and beverage daily.  Sarah Scarbrough, Director of The Executive Mansion, thanked the Distilled Spirits Council for facilitating the donation of the craft distiller products.

Historical Society receives grants

The Rappahannock Historical Society has recently received two grants in support of its mission to collect, preserve, and disseminate county history. The first of these is from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) and will support the initial steps in creating an electronic catalog and digitization of the society’s archival collections. Among the expected beneficial results will be an online catalog of the society holdings and web-based multimedia presentations on local history topics.

The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities was established in 1974 to develop and support public programs, education, and research in the humanities and to relate the humanities to public issues.

The second grant, from the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM), will permit a professional conservator to examine wooden artifacts in the historical society’s museum and make recommendations on their preservation. Items selected for possible review include a wooden mill gear, canteen, butter churn and a desk from the Sperryville Colored School.

VAM serves as the resource network of the Virginia and District of Columbia museum community through education, technical assistance, and advocacy. A VAM on-site review of the Historical Society in 2009 generated the recommendation that led to the archives digitization project about to be undertaken.

State fair seeks horses

The State Fair of Virginia is back and will hold the annual event Sept. 28-Oct. 7 at its facility in Doswell. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced last week that the fair is reinstating equine events and encourages horse owners to participate.

Due to the bankruptcy of the former state fair, many agricultural groups and livestock shows made other plans for their shows and exhibitions this year. But the fair is back in business under the ownership of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and Universal Fairs, and they are ready to welcome horses and their owners to the track in Doswell. Given the historic association between the park, formerly known as Meadow Farm, and Triple Crown winner Secretariat, a full slate of equine events is a priority at the new State Fair of Virginia, according to a VDACS spokesperson.

Horse owners interested in competing in the fair or in holding events should email An online registration form is also available at Interested owners should contact the fair or fill out the online form by Aug. 9.

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