The Rapp for Jan. 23

Fourth Estate Friday

The staff of the Rappahannock News will be back at the table — specifically one at the Country Cafe (389-A Main St.) in Washington promptly at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 24) for our monthly public story conference. Come by and tell us what you think — about any of the headlines in today’s paper, or any headlines you think should (or shouldn’t) be in future editions. We’ll be there, and the coffee’s on us, until 10. Call 540-675-3338 or email if you have questions.

Labovitz makes the list

Fine-art nature photographer Jackie Bailey Labovitz — whose largely breathtaking work you can visit, along with its creator, most any weekend at River District Arts in Sperryville — got a recent exhibition of her photographs at the U.S. Botanic Garden listed as one of Washington City Paper critic Louis Jacobson’s 10 Best D.C. Photography Exhibits of 2013.

Detail of “Virginia Bluebells,” by Jackie Bailey Labovitz.
Detail of “Virginia Bluebells,” by Jackie Bailey Labovitz. Courtesy photo

The Dec. 23 article, which included historic, experimental and gorgeous shows from most of D.C.’s top museums and exhibition spaces, listed Labovitz’s show at No. 8, and went on to point out that Labovitz spends hours at a time in the forests of the Shenandoah Valley, “seeking out telltale splotches of color lurking just inches above the forest floor. When she finds these delicate and transitory flowers, she photographs them using a long lens and available light, then prints the images on canvas. The most subtly elegant aspect of her work, however, is the recurring background — a dreamy, out-of-focus mélange of green tones that suggest color-field paintings.”

Celebrity waiters, and unsung heros

For the last four years, most of the funds that the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund has matched against the anonymous challenge grants it receives most years have come from its Celebrity Waiters’ Dinner held in late January each year. This year’s dinner — this Saturday (Jan. 25) at the Old Washington Schoolhouse — might be sold out by the time your read this, but possibly not.

“If you have not been invited to the dinner by one of the waiters but would like to attend,” writes co-organizer Bette Mahoney, “please email We will be keeping a list of those who would like to attend and will place them at tables that have not been completely filled by a waiter. We will fill all the seats in a first-come first-serve order. If we can’t seat you this year, we can put you at the top of the list for next year’s dinner (or you can volunteer to be a waiter).”

Mahoney said other offers of help with the dinner, behind the scenes or otherwise, would not be unwelcome.

For any who would like to contribute to the Fund, a check payable to the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund can be sent to Trinity Church, P.O. Box 299, Washington, VA 22747. All contributions are tax deductible and used to help the needy.

Mandalele performs Feb. 1

From left, Lorraine Duisit, new guy Robert “Smiggy” Smith and Wendy Sirat of Mandalele, at Coterie Feb. 1.
From left, Lorraine Duisit, new guy Robert “Smiggy” Smith and Wendy Sirat of Mandalele, at Coterie Feb. 1. Courtesy photo

Folk trio Mandalele has a new third member — longtime local multi-instrumentalist Robert “Smiggy” Smith — and is performing Saturday, Feb. 1, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Coterie (in the Sperryville Schoolhouse complex) for the latest of the shop’s benefit-concert series.

“A Mid-Winter’s Celebration” features Sperryville-based Mandalele (Smith, Lorraine Duisit and Wendy Sirat) and is meant to raise funds for RappCats, Rappahannock County’s nonprofit dedicated to sheltering and finding homes for stray and abused cats in the area. Coterie is asking a minimum $20 donation, which includes light fare and libations. For reservations or more information, call 540-987-8249 or email

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