This week: dog days, video games, going behind the scenes at Maymont.
Marilyn Drew Necci | February 1, 2018
February’s the shortest month (and one of the coldest), but there’s no reason for any of us to lack for things to do during these all-too-brief days. So don’t just hide under blankets on the couch, ordering delivery through cellphone apps so you don’t have to talk to anyone… or, well, don’t do that EVERY night, at least.
This weekend there’s quite a bit to do out there in RVA, from hitting the dance floor (as always) to investigating the hidden world of Maymont’s past. Whether you’re an early riser or a big fan of sleeping in, there’s sure to be something worth leaving the house for this weekend. And hopefully, you’ll find it here!
Open Studio at ART 180
There’s always a lot going on over at ART 180, which is located right in the middle of the First Friday Art Walk district (so be sure to hit it up if you’re down that way). This month, they’ll be hosting an Open Studio during First Friday. A variety of programs ART 180 ran in fall 2017 will be on display, bringing together the work of students from Richmond and the surrounding areas. This is a great chance to hear the voices of our next generation of young people, who’ll be working alongside us to change the world in no time.
Programs led by professional artists from the community include everything from “Deep Listening Through Movement And Rhythm” to “Trickster Tales and Bookmaking,” plus a lot of other intriguing titles. All of these will be available for your exploration and perusal. There will also be refreshments available, and kids are of course welcome. Admission is free, and the event runs from 5 til 9 PM on Friday, February 2. ART 180 is located at 114 W. Marshall St. For more info, click here.
Jafar Flowers, Alfred., and more at Soft Web
Scott’s Addition is becoming known around town these days as the new hot spot for craft beers and hipster bars, but if you go back a few years, this mostly-neglected neighborhood was mainly the home of DIY spaces like Studio Two Three and Rag & Bones Bicycle Co-op. These days, the Rag & Bones space is shared by Soft Web Studio Collective, a studio collective made up of queer and trans artists, mostly of color. Outside the limelight cast on traditional local cultural areas like Grace St. and the Arts District, the Webbies have been throwing regular events focusing on the voices of marginalized communities.
This Friday night sees a showcase of regulars from the circle of artists focused around Ice Cream Support Group, coming together in celebration of Aquarius birthdays and in order to make some excellent music. Adventurous queer rapper Alfred. is at the top of the bill, with Ice Cream co-founder Jafar Flowers taking a DJ set as well. Fellow Ice Cream Social-ist WaBEYA will also perform a set of ambient electronic sounds, and McKinley Dixon & Friends round out the bill with their patented mixture of hip hop and soulful live instrumentation. This is the perfect chance to see these performers in an intimate, informal setting, and get a closer look at the new generation of LGBTQ artistry in Richmond. Soft Web Studio Collective is located at 3110 W. Leigh St. This event starts at 8 PM, and admission is a $3-5 suggested donation. For more information, click here.
Dog Days In The Garden 2018 at Strange’s Florist
The most fun things to do aren’t always within the city limits, and Strange’s Florist, all the way out Broad St. past Short Pump Town Center (almost to 288… so yeah, pretty far out) is doing their part to prove that this Saturday. Their Dog Days In The Garden is a great way to bring some of the joys of spring to a world still overcome by winter. And as you may have guessed, it’s all about the dogs. Proceeds will go to benefit the Richmond Animal League, and the fun times will go to the dog-lovers amongst us all (so like… all of us, right?)
The day’s schedule will alternate between more serious presentations by groups that do charitable work involving dogs and super-fun events like doggy costume contests and competitive tail-wagging. How adorable does that sound? Look, I know we all like to pretend we’re edgy and hip 24/7, and that we’d never indulge in something so over-the-top cutesy as this… but underneath all that bluster, we all love our furry friends. So celebrate the awesomeness of dogs this Saturday at Strange’s, located at 12111 W. Broad St. Things get rolling at 10 AM, which is indeed early for a weekend morning. But come on, it’ll be worth it. For more info on this event, click here.
Video Game Night with Bits and Pixels at Fallout
There are some who will tell us that the “gaymer” is but a mythical creature. However, plenty of us know the truth, and indulge regularly in extended sessions bashing at a controller or a keyboard until way past our bedtimes. Bits and Pixels, the Carytown-based store specializing in video games, manga, anime, and related art of all sorts, knows that the pursuit of video game mastery can be a lonely one, and therefore they sponsor a yearly event over at Fallout celebrating all things video game-related in a fun, communal setting!
Now, of course, Fallout is a goth club, one you need a membership to get into some nights (thankfully not on this one), so the fact that they’ll be playing new wave and industrial synth sounds all night can’t be too much of a surprise. More importantly, from cosplay contests to retro video-gaming stations, they’ll have all kinds of fun activities for the gamer who’s spent too long holed up in the basement with a joystick (wait, are we still talking about video games?). They’re encouraging everyone to dress as your favorite video game character and compete in the aforementioned cosplay contest, but even if you just feel like throwing on a t-shirt and jeans and coming down to play in any of the various pop-up tournaments, this will still be a blast. Admission’s free, and the whole thing kicks off at 9 PM and runs til closing time. Fallout’s located at 117 N. 18th St in Shockoe Bottom–for more info, click here.
View From The Butler’s Pantry at Maymont
Who doesn’t like taking in a bit of history every now and then? If there’s one thing we know for sure about history, though, it’s generally written by the victors, and reflects the interests of the monied classes. Thankfully, for this weekend at Maymont, we’ll be hearing about some more working-class experiences of the estate’s past as a private home. The workers employed as serving staff by original owner James H. Dooley and his family were almost universally African-American, and these tours will show us how the estate appeared through the eyes of those servants.
Servant’s quarters aren’t usually the emphasis for tours like this, and neither are the feelings and experiences of a staff working for fabulously wealthy white people in the South during the immediate post-slavery age and under the dominance of Jim Crow. These tours will take in everything from changes in household technology, and the impact those changes had on the daily life of workers, to the way the social and political climate affected the lives of those who worked on the estate. This sort of examination is sure to be illuminating, and remind us all of just how much we still have to work on in order to achieve true equality in our modern era. Maymont Mansion is located at 1700 Hampton St, and tours will take place both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, beginning every half-hour between noon and 4:30 on both days. Admission is a $5 donation to Maymont; for more info, click here.