Christmas in Williamsburg!

Pretty soon, it will be Christmas Day! And at some point in the day, you will find yourself at the point where the presents are opened, breakfast has been eaten, and you can’t sit inside on the couch ANY LONGER! This post is for that moment.

Unfortunately, yes, it looks like Christmas may be, er, damp this year. As of this publishing time, it’s looking like rain in the morning and/or off and on all day. I say, though, that we take a cue from those masters of Christmas celebration, the Germans, who have a saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” So get out your galoshes, slickers, and umbrellas, y’all, and get the blood pumping!

Christmas Day Walk

Xmas Day Walk.jpg

Where to?

Ice Skating

Ice Pavilion

The Ice Pavilion near Merchants Square will be open Christmas Day 10 am-10 pm. If the weather’s good enough, why not go? The cost (with skate rental) is $15 for adults and $13 for kids 3-12.

Don’t want to skate? Take a load off at the picnic tables they have set up next to the super awesome fire pit and cressets nearby. The fire is hot, bright, and totally free!


Go See a Movie

This tradition has become really popular in the last few years. For that reason, consider buying your tickets online as soon as you decide what you’re going to see and who is going. There’s nothing worse than standing in line to find out you can’t get in! Also, arrive about 15 minutes early, especially if you have a large group, in order to find seats together.

Discover the Spirit of Christmas Past

CW Xmas.jpg

As I mentioned, Colonial Williamsburg is open on Christmas Day, and they have a few programs worth checking out:

  • Good Fires, Good Company, and Diversions: Come “home” to the Powell House and discover how an 18th-century household prepared for this special time of year. (11am-4pm) Included with admission/Good Neighbor Pass
  • Of Christmas Past: A British servant reflects on his life and the holiday customs and traditions he left behind. (11:30am & 1pm) $5, make sure to buy your ticket in advance
  • Holiday Memories: Experience Christmas in 1890s style! This charming and nostalgic shadow puppetry show will warm hearts of the entire family. (2:30pm) $4, make sure to buy your ticket in advance
  • (speaking of spirits) Official Colonial Williamsburg Ghost Walk: Hear authentic stories of real ghosts on the only tour that takes you inside the haunted historic sites. Meet the spirits that have inhabited our taverns and residences for centuries and still unnerve the people that live and work here today. (7pm & 8:30pm) $10, make sure to buy your ticket in advance

Ogle at Spectacular Gingerbread Houses

CW Gingerbread

Be sure to check out the very cool gingerbread houses at the Williamsburg Lodge (yes, it is open Christmas Day!), and take a group photo in front of their pretty Christmas trees. Both activities are totally free!

Make Something

Do some crafts from Pinterest- turn off the stereo and get out those forgotten instruments- make up a funny song to the tune of a carol- bake cookies- create something! I guarantee it will banish that post-present boredom.

*UPDATE* I just learned that Daddyo’s Bourbon Street will be open starting at 7pm Christmas Day and they will have karaoke at 9:30!

For the rest of the weekend, go checkout the What’s Happening Williamsburg Calendar for a list of affordable events going on right here in and around the ‘Burg.

I hope this list is also useful for people who don’t celebrate Christmas but have a day off. Happy Holidays to you!

That’s all I have- I hope this is helpful for you and your family! If you have any other ideas, please share them below in comments! Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

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A note to my BELOVED subscribers:

I apologize for not updating the blog very often in the last few months. Life has intervened! I am not sure how often I will be able to update in the future but I will when I can. If you are interested in contributing articles or helping with the calendar please let me know! Thank you so much!

Thankful for My Peeps Month at the Kimball

November Movies

It’s all about posses and best buds this month at the Kimball. So grab yours and head downtown! All tickets are $8 unless otherwise noted.

Meru – Winner of the Sundance Audience Award for documentaries, Meru captures the ascent of three climbers up the “Shark Fin” route of India’s Meru Peak in the Himalayas. Conrad Anker, Renan Oztuk, and Jimmy Chin (who co-directed the film with his wife) attempt to scale the 21,000 foot peak, which ends with 1,500 feet of smooth vertical surface. The film interweaves the background stories that led the three climbers to face the Meru Peak with footage of the climb itself, filmed by two of the three. Their tales include substantial hardship and loss, including previous failed expeditions, and the climb video is reportedly harrowing. Meru is screening November 1st to 10th.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Remember how the first two HP movies were all kiddie and cutesy, and then the third one got real dark real fast? Well, this is the third one, also known as the movie where all the kids are suddenly older and become teen heartthrobs. The eponymous prisoner, Sirius Black, escapes from Azkaban prison and seeks out Harry, his godson, who has every reason to fear Black, as he is the man who reportedly betrayed his parents to Voldemort. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity; Y Tu Mama Tambien), the film stars the usual suspects (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson) as well as new faces Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Sid and Nancy) and Michael Gambon (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover; Gosford Park). Prisoner of Azkaban is playing November 7th and 8th. $4


Julie & Julia – THE inspirational movie for bloggers everywhere (yes, including yours truly). In the 1950s, Julia Child (Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant’s Woman; The Devil Wears Prada) studies at Le Cordon Bleu and starts working on a book that will eventually become Mastering the Art of French Cooking, launching her career as a TV chef. Meanwhile, in the early 2000s, Julie Powell (Amy Adams, Junebug; American Hustle) struggles with her dead-end job by resolving to cook all of the 524 recipes in Child’s book. Powell’s blog devoted to her project, the Julie/Julia Project, became the first blog to inspire a major motion picture, written and directed by Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle; You’ve Got Mail). It’s showing at the Kimball from the 11th to the 15th of November. $4

American Movies

Global Film Festival – The College of William and Mary’s Global Film Festival begins a series of promotional “mug nights” this month, selling logo mugs on successive Thursdays at the Kimball in support of the festival and screening selections of W&M film students. The films technically qualify as “global,” since the United States is on the globe.

On November 12th you can see the first feature of director David Wain (Wanderlust; They Came Together), the 80s camp comedy parody Wet Hot American Summer, made in 2001. A cult favorite stacked with at the time mostly-unknown talent including Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, and Elizabeth Banks, WHAS recently birthed a prequel series on Netflix, First Day of Camp. November 19th brings actual 80s adventure-comedy The Goonies (which sounds like the name of a goofy horror movie) to the Kimball. Directed by Richard Donner (The Omen; the Lethal Weapon series), The Goonies was written by Chris Columbus (who produced Prisoner of Azkaban and directed the first two Harry Potter movies), executive produced by Steven Spielberg (1941) and stars Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings), Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men), and Martha Plimpton (Running on Empty; TV’s Raising Hope).  Successful on its initial release in 1985, it has developed a significant cult following among fans of gadget-filled kids adventures, Cyndi Lauper, and Captain Lou Albano. $4


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – The first of two films uniting Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and George Roy Hill (they would reconvene a few years later for The Sting) is an iconic western made near the end of the genre’s Hollywood heyday. Butch (Newman, The Hustler; The Verdict), leader of the Hole in the Wall Gang, and sharpshooter Sundance (Redford, The Way We Were; Sneakers) will give anything a try to get ahead, including moving to Bolivia or even going straight. Known for its anachronistic soundtrack (including the Burt Bacharach tune Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head) and genre-defying shifts in tone (part action, part comedy, part romance) Butch and Sundance is part of the Kimball’s Classic series (really worthy of the name) and screening November 15th. $4

bikes vs cars

Bikes vs. Cars – From Swedish director Fredrik Gertten, Bikes vs. Cars tackles the costs of our automobile culture and the role that bicycles can play in reducing those costs. More than just a story of car drivers and cyclists, Bike vs. Cars is concerned with urban planning and the automobile industry, as well as activists. Executive produced by Chris Paine (Who Killed the Electric Car?), Bikes vs. Cars is showing from November 16th to 25th. You can probably expect everyone from Williamsburg Area Bicyclists to be there.



It’s just like at home, only with a bunch of other people who are singing along, too! As part of their kickoff to their “Film & Community” Film Fest in February, they’re gonna have the W&M Show Choir on hand to help you stay on key during West Side Story, and then later  Southeast Side Story: A Williamsburg Community Musical (10 minutes short), and then  Japanese cult film auteur Sion Sono’s Tokyo Tribe, a hip-hop/samurai/martial-arts/kitsch-pomo-pinku-style reimagining of the gang fight musical (wth??). $5 for one film or $8 for both- and oh ps there’s a party in the lobby in between the two. November 20!


A Walk in the Woods – Has this crisp weather got you in the mood for camping? Well, in case it’s too cold for you, here’s a movie with some amazing scenic views you can take in instead of the real thing. Based on Bill Bryson’s book of the same name, A Walk in the Woods recounts Bryson’s effort to trek the Appalachian Trail. Robert Redford (Barefoot in the Park; All the President’s Men) plays Bryson, who moves back to the United States after decades abroad. Bryson attempts to recruit friends to join him on the hike, eventually settling for Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte, 48 Hours; The Prince of Tides), a friend from college who turns out to be in poor physical shape (and a recovering alcoholic). The two are tested by the demands of the trail, their equipment, fellow hikers, and each other’s company along the way. A Walk in the Woods is showing from November 21st to 28th.

The Howards

Rockefeller’s Restoration – November 29th, the Kimball will commemorate the beginning of the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg with a screening of the American Revolution drama The Howards of Virginia, starring Cary Grant as plantation patriarch Matt Howard of Albemarle. Filmed in 1940, the movie makes extensive use of many newly restored Colonial Williamsburg locations. Prior to each screening there will be free showings of restoration-themed features: a March of Time newsreel about Colonial Williamsburg (1942); The Music of Williamsburg (1960); The Colonial Naturalist, a story of Mark Catesby’s first trip to the colonies (1965), and the documentary Williamsburg Restored (1951). $5

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Scary Movie Month at the Kimball!

Love scary movies? This is your month! The Kimball starts out with a few intellectual films and then rounds out the month with good old-fashioned scares and camp. Have a great month!

Mr. Holmes

Mr. Holmes – The latest film from Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters; Chicago; Twilight: Breaking Dawn) adapts Mitch Cullin’s Sherlock Holmes novel A Slight Trick of the Mind. Ian McKellen (Richard III; Lord of the Rings) portrays Holmes, long retired, reflecting back on his career, and attempting to write an account of his last case to correct his dissatisfactions with the version written by his ex-partner, Dr. John Watson. Taking treatments to address his failing memory, Holmes forms relationships with his housekeeper (Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me; John Adams) and her son (Milo Parker, Robot Overlords) while learning to deal with his own past. Mr. Holmes is showing from October 5th to the 11th.


Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie – On October 10th and 11th, the Kimball screens the sole theatrical release from the Best Brains team, responsible for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K to the cognoscenti) TV show produced from 1988 to 1997. The premise, ably summarized by the opening credits to the show, pits the show’s host (Mike Nelson, replacing original host Joel Hodgson) against “cheesy movies, the worst we can find” armed only with his own wits (and those of his robot friends Tom Servo and Crooooooooooooooow) The TV incarnation feasted mostly on a diet of public domain and cheap b-feature schlock, but for the theatrical release, the gang face off with This Island Earth, the Technicolor space opera from Universal Studios, starring Rex Reason, Jeff Morrow (both of whom also starred in The Creature Walks Among Us, last in the Black Lagoon series) and Faith Domergue (Where Danger Lies; It Came from Beneath the Sea; Cult of the Cobra). MST3K can be a very funny and enjoyable series, making great entertainment out of cinematic junk, but sometimes while watching this feature you wish the peanut gallery would shut up so you can enjoy the movie.

The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour – In the mid-1990s, journalist-writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network; The Squid and the Whale) interviews David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall; The Muppets) during the tour for his second novel, Infinite Jest. The two engage in a wide-ranging conversation, jousting on topics personal and professional, as well as those in between. The interview dramatized in this movie eventually resulted in Lipsky’s memoir, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, from which The End of the Tour is adapted. The film concludes with Lipsky recounting stories from the interview on a tour for his own book after Wallace’s suicide in 2008. The End of the Tour, and its literary source material, is one of several recent releases exploring the life, work, and public persona of Wallace, one of the most notable writers of his generation. The End of the Tour is at the Kimball from Oct. 12th to 18th.

100 year old man

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared – This film, adapted from a 2009 novel of the same name written by Jonas Jonasson, stars acclaimed Swedish comedian Robert Gustafsson as the title character. Finding himself stuck in a nursing home on his 100th birthday, Allan Karlsson ducks out of his party to renew a life of adventure that is explored in flashbacks to his past encounters with Francisco Franco, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Joseph Stalin, like a Scandinavian Forrest Gump. Karlsson’s modern-day adventure involves a suitcase full of cash, an elephant, a motorcycle gang, and lots of explosives. One of the high-grossing films in Swedish history, The 100-Year-Old Man… was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014. It’s showing from Oct. 19th to 24th.


Alien – Ridley Scott’s 1979 chilly classic sci-fi horror film closes out the month at the Kimball, screening from Oct. 25th to the 31st. The weary crew of commercial spaceship Nostromo encounter the wrecked remains of another craft on a remote planet and end up fighting for their lives against an extraterrestrial killing machine. The film combines literary references as varied as H.P. Lovecraft (At the Mountains of Madness), Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None), A.E. van Vogt (Voyage of the Space Beagle), with cinematic influences such as Howard Hawkes (The Thing from Another World), Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey), and Mario Bava (Planet of the Vampires). An often neglected strength of the movie is its solid cast: Veronica Cartwright (The Birds; the previous years’ Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Ian Holm (Chariots of Fire; Lord of the Rings), John Hurt (Midnight Express; The Elephant Man), Yaphet Kotto (Blue Collar; Live and Let Die), Harry Dean Stanton (Paris, Texas; Repo Man), and Tom Skerritt (MASH; Top Gun), as well as Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters; Working Girl). Scott recently returned to the Alien universe with his prequel film Prometheus, and a sequel to that is scheduled to appear in 2017.


The Day the Earth Stood Still – “Klaatu barada nikto!” October’s entry in the classic series is the original 1951 science fiction plea for peace in the nuclear age. The alien Klaatu (Michael Rennie, Les Miserables [no, not that one]; The Lost World [also, not that one]) comes to Earth in a flying saucer with his enormous robot Gort and a message to save the world. After his efforts to meet with world leaders fails, Klaatu escapes and takes a room at the boarding house of a young widow (Patricia Neal, Hud; A Face in the Crowd) and her son, giving his name as “Mr. Carpenter” (subtlety is not this film’s strong suit). Befriending the boy, he embarks on a plan to speak to the world’s greatest scientists with a warning about the dangerous course Earth has followed. The Day the Earth Stood Still is showing October 25th.


Halloween at the Kimball 

On the 31st, the Kimball presents a full day of programming. In the auditorium, a steady stream of episodes of The Munsters, a Casper special, and Bugs Bunny cartoons provides entertainment for the whole family. Also showing is F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent classic Nosferatu, complete with musical accompaniment. Based (without authorization) on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Nosferatu (subtitled A Symphony of Horror) keeps much of the basic structure of the story while dispensing with most of the secondary characters. It’s a genuine masterpiece of German Expressionist cinema. Finally, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, one of the original midnight movies (after El Topo) makes an appearance at the Kimball. Starring Tim Curry (Clue; It), Susan Sarandon (Thelma and Louise; The Hunger), and Barry Bostwick (seen on TV in Spin City and as the title character in the miniseries George Washington), Rocky Horror is true cult phenomenon known for its long tradition of audience participation (although the Kimball’s list of acceptable audience props excludes toast and rice). As 1970s cult camp sci-fi/horror/musical/comedies go, however, it rates second after Brian DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise. Tickets for Nosferatu and Rocky Horror are $4 each.

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September Movies at the Kimball

September Kimball

It’s another month, so time for a new round up of the indie / arthouse films coming up at the Kimball Theatre! This month, we have movies about billionaires attempting immortality, romance in WWII, biopics on Yves Saint Laurent, Brian Wilson, and Big Bird (well, kinda), films for kids (or maybe just the young at heart), films about bikes, and even an Elvis movie. There’s a LOT of films this month!

Thanks again to my personal movie expert (and spouse!), Scott Graves, for the outlines below:


Self/less – Ben Kingsley plays a billionaire facing a diagnosis of terminal cancer in the science fiction identity thriller Self/less. Or rather, Kingsley plays him for awhile, until he escapes his diagnosis by having his consciousness transferred into Ryan Reynolds. Strange visions after the change throw him into a dangerous investigation, uncovering a corporate conspiracy with shades of Philip K. Dick novels and John Frankenheimer’s Seconds. Directed by Tarsem Singh (Immortals, Mirror Mirror, The Cell), the cast also features Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, The Good Wife on CBS), Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome, also CBS), and Michelle Dockery (PBS drama Downton Abbey). Self/less is playing at the Kimball from September 1st through the 6th.


Saint Laurent – Detailing several episodes in the life of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, this film directed by Bertrand Bonello (House of Pleasures) follows last year’s Yves Saint Laurent into the market for YSL biopics. Starring Gaspard Ulliel (Hannibal Rising) as the Christian Dior protege through the heady years of the late 60s and early 70s, through career heights and depths, before reflecting on his final years (played by Helmut Berger of The Damned, Conversation Piece). Saint Laurent shows September 6th to the 12th.

Love and mercy

Love and Mercy – If California surf rock is of more interest than European fashion, Love and Mercy chronicles the life and work of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, played in parallel narratives by Paul Dano (Ruby Sparks, Little Miss Sunshine, L.I.E.) during his creative peak years and by John Cusack (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Being John Malkovich, Better Off Dead) in middle age. The biopic covers the younger Wilson’s relationship with his overbearing father, Murry (Bill Camp), the recording of Pet Sounds (try not to think of the similar scene from Walk Hard), and his breakdown, while Cusack’s Wilson lives in seclusion, dominated by controversial therapist Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti, following closely on his appearance as Jerry Heller in Straight Outta Compton) until he meets Melinda Ledbetter who eventually becomes his wife and manager. Love and Mercy is screening at the Kimball from the 7th to the 13th.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone/Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Cult arthouse fare from the early years of this century, the first two films in the Harry Potter saga tell of the boy wizard’s first two years in an oppressive British boarding school before the headmaster’s brutal discipline leads to a violent revolt that may be more fantasy than reality in a searing indictment of the British class system… wait, no, I’m thinking of something else. These movies are the first two in the HP story with Quidditch, everyflavored jellybeans, flying cars, basilisks, polyjuice potion, vintage Hermione hair, and about 9 dozen Weasleys. The Sorcerer’s Stone is at the Kimball on September 12th and 13th, and the Chamber of Secrets on the 19th and 20th.


Shaun the Sheep – This stop-motion animation feature follows the adventures of the titular ruminant, first seen in Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit adventure A Close Shave. After his antics afflict his farmer with amnesia, Shaun must venture into the city and crosses paths with an animal control worker in order to set things right. Shaun the Sheep screens from the 14th to the 20th.


Breaking Away/American Flyers/Bicycle Thief – Colonial Fondo weekend (September 25th-26th) brings this trio of films related (more or less) with cycling. Breaking Away is a coming-of-age story featuring the rivalry between four “townies” and the college kids in Bloomington, Indiana. Come for an early appearance of Dennis Quaid and Dennis Christopher’s only significant role (apart from his lead in underrated horror film Fade to Black) as a young man obsessed with Italian cycling, stay for Paul Dooley’s hilarious turn as Christopher’s frustrated car salesman father. Sharing a screenwriter, American Flyers, chronicles two brothers, one brain aneurysm, and a brutal bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains. It stars Kevin Costner (Field of Dreams, Bull Durham) in the first sports film of his career, David Grant and Rae Dawn Chong, and features early appearances by Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing) and Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle). Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief (Bicycle Thieves in Italian), a seminal work of Italian Neo-Realism from 1950, tells of a father and husband who gets a much-needed job posting advertising signs, but may lose it after his bicycle is stolen. A persistent fixture on Sight and Sound magazine’s list of the best films of all time, The Bicycle Thief is a rich depiction of the desperations of urban poverty and the complex commitments of work and family.

This is just one of the things Williamsburg is doing to celebrate the Fondo and biking in general- have you seen the bike sculptures around town?

Big Bird

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story – This documentary chronicles the life of Caroll Spinney, the 78-year old cartoonist and puppeteer who has portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since their debut in 1969. Combining archival and newly shot footage, I Am Big Bird shares behind-the-scenes details of Sesame Street as well as important moments in the life and career of the man who brings to life its resident Bird and Grouch. I Am Big Bird shows from September 20th to 26th.


Love Me Tender – The September entry in the Kimball’s “Classic” series, Love Me Tender marks the big screen acting debut of the King in a period Western musical. (I wouldn’t say that this is a classic, but hey, whatever floats your boat). Richard Egan (A Summer Place, The Revolt of Mamie Stover) stars as Vance, the eldest of the Reno brothers, who returns home from the Civil War to find that his sweetheart (Debra Paget, The Ten Commandments) has married his youngest brother (Presley), left behind to care for the family farm. Vance and his other brothers are wanted for robbing a Union train days after the war ended, while Clint is racked by jealousy when he discovers that his wife Cathy still loves Vance. Love Me Tender can be seen at the Kimball on September 27th. (Tickets to this show are only $4!)


Testament of Youth – Based on the first volume of Vera Brittain’s memoirs, Testament of Youth dramatizes her struggles (played by Alicia Vikander of Ex Machina and the recent Man from UNCLE film) as she is admitted to a college at Oxford in 1914 only to leave her studies after her brother Edward (Taron Egerton, Kingsman: The Secret Service), fiance Jon Snow… I mean, Roland (Kit Harrington, Game of Thrones), and friends are conscripted and sent to the Front. Brittain becomes a nurse, serving soldiers in Europe and at home, including German soldiers. The cast is filled out with many familiar faces: Dominic West (The Wire), Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves), Hayley Atwell (ABC’s Agent Carter), Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral), and Miranda Richardson (The Crying Game, Blackadder). The Kimball is showing Testament of Youth from September 28th to October 4th. In case you missed it when it was first released a few months ago, here’s another chance to see it.

Tickets at the Kimball are regularly $8 – less than you’ll pay at many other movie theaters- and they have concessions, too (including beer!). If you call ahead, you can get a book of tickets for an even lower price per ticket.

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What’s Playing at the Kimball: August Edition

The Kimball Theatre is The Place in Williamsburg to see indie and arthouse films. Plus, the $8 tickets are less than you’ll pay at many other movie theaters- and they have concessions, too (including beer!).

Below we’ve listed all the movies playing at the Kimball in August along with some inside information about them put together by my personal movie expert (and spouse!), Scott Graves.

Sunshine Superman

Sunshine Superman  – The latest comic book movie about a hippie Man of Steel? A biopic about Scottish musician Donovan Leitch? Neither. Sunshine Superman is a documentary from first-time director Marah Strauch about Carl Boenish, the founder of modern BASEjumping. That’s not a typo, BASE stands for “Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth,” examples of the structures from which Boenish and his fellows dive. Strauch captures some of the exhilaration of the sport with some material shot by Boenish himself as well as new footage and reenactments, intercut with interviews of key subjects. The story has lows as well as highs, however. Executive produced by Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), Sunshine Superman begins July 28th and plays through August 4th.


I’ll See You in My Dreams – Blythe Danner shines in a showcase role as retired teacher Carol, dealing with the circumstances of life in her 70s, including the meaning of love and friendship and the passing of her dog Hazel. Widowed for 20 years, Carol decides to re-enter the dating pool, supported by her friends (Rhea Pearlman, Mary Kay Place, and June Squibb) and encounters a new love interest (played by Sam Elliott). Martin Starr (known from television shows Silicon Valley and Party Down) co-stars as an aimless young man who cleans Carol’s pool, and Malin Ackerman (Watchmen, underrated TV show Trophy Wife) appears as Carol’s visiting daughter. I’ll See You in My Dreams was directed by Brett Haley (The New Year) and plays August 5th through the 11th.

In the Name of my Daughter

In the Name of My Daughter – Based on an infamous criminal investigation spanning decades, In the Name of My Daughter tells the story of Agnes Le Roux (Adele Haenel), heiress of the Palais de la Mediterranee, a casino on the French Riviera. As Agnes returns to Nice to start a new life, her estranged mother Renee (Catherine Deneuve) is battling for control of the casino. Agnes begins a relationship with Renee’s advisor and attorney, Maurice, who arranges for Agnes to be paid 3 million francs in exchange for supporting her mother’s rival for control of the casino. Agnes becomes distraught after betraying her mother and eventually disappears, leaving Renee convinced that Maurice is responsible. In French with English subtitles, In the Name of My Daughter screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, and is appearing at the Kimball from August 11th to 16th.

IrisIris – One of the last completed films of documentarian Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens, Salesman), Iris profiles 93-year-old Iris Apfel, an iconic figure in New York fashion circles. Maysles, who died earlier this year at the age of 88, followed Apfel for a year, filming her eccentric style, charming habits, and dollops of wisdom acquired during her decades as a designer, wife, and fashion totem. Maysles captures the delightful individuality that continues to animate Apfel, while also casting light on toll that time has taken on her and Carl, her husband and former business partner who celebrated his 100th birthday during the filming of the documentary. Iris premiered at the New York Film Festival last year, and is showing at the Kimball from the 17th to the 22nd.

The Wolfpack

The Wolfpack – Garnering comparisons to Maysles’ earlier work, The Wolfpack uncovers the world of the six Angulo brothers who, with their sister, lived for fourteen years with their parents in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, leaving the apartment only for infrequent, strictly controlled trips. Homeschooled, the siblings learned about the outside world primarily through movies, which they reenact with studied reverence. First-time director Crystal Moselle befriended the brothers as they were walking in Manhattan, and their shared love for movies brought them together. The Wolfpack debuted at the Sundance Film Festival early this year and can be seen in town from August 22nd to 26th.

Charlies Country

Charlie’s Country – Charlie (David Gulpilil) lives in Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory of Australia, painting and fishing, but feels like an alien in his own Aboriginal community. Unable to live under the increasing restrictions of the government on his way of life, Charlie eventually decides to leave the community and go to live in the bush, in the way of his ancestors, but fails to reckon with how difficult it is to recover a world he no longer knows. Charlie’s Country was directed by Rolf de Heer (Dingo, Ten Canoes) and is showing from August 26th to 31st.


Tangerine – A comedy with dramatic flavors, Tangerine tells the story of transgender prostitute Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), newly released from prison, who scours Los Angeles looking for Chester, her unfaithful boyfriend and pimp, accompanied by her friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor). Tangerine explores parts of LA culture not often seen in the movies, as Sin-Dee and Alexandra pursue any lead in search of Chester. Written and directed by Sean S. Baker and Chris Bergoch, Tangerine first appeared at the Sundance Film Festival along with The Wolfpack, and is showing at the Kimball from August 27th to 31st.

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Bluegrass, Butterflies, and Bassoons in the ‘Burg this weekend

Well, it’s the first weekend of August- the beginning of the end of summer (womp womp). There is a lot of music, dancing, and art going on this weekend- so get in your kicks while you can! I’ve only highlighted a very small portion of the events going on this weekend below. You can find all the rest- including about half a dozen live music shows per night- on the calendar.

Blue Moon Contradance at the Waterman’s Museum– Friday 7/31, lesson at 6:30

This is totally not the actual tent you will be dancing under. But it will still be lots of fun and pretty, you'll see!

This is totally not the actual tent you will be dancing under. But it will still be lots of fun and pretty, you’ll see!

I like to tell people that contradancing is just about the most fun you can have sober. It’s like line dancing in that the steps are all laid out so you know what to do. It’s a little geometrical, as there are patterns to figure out. And you get to spin around! Wheeeeeeee!

The Norfolk Contra Dancers are having their Blue Moon dance Friday at the Waterman’s Museum in Yorktown. It’s a beautiful setting right on the river. Carrot Tree will be serving Blue Crab with fixins starting at 5pm, but participants are also encouraged to bring potluck dishes. Tickets are only $10 and I guarantee you will have fun! Will it be hot? Yes! Will it be worth it? Absolutely!

Plus, the Wampler Brothers will be playing that night at the Water Street Grille in case you get hot or tired but still want some tunes.

Butterfly Festival at the Williamsburg Botanical Gardens- Saturday and Sunday 9-5

Butterfly FestivalHave you noticed all the butterflies around town lately? Here’s your chance to learn more about them and view many beautiful varieties. Together Williamsburg Botanical Garden and Virginia Master Naturalists Historic Rivers Chapter are presenting a Butterfly Festival at Williamsburg Botanical Garden this Saturday and Sunday. Walk through the Butterfly House and hold and feed a variety of butterflies that are native to Virginia. There will be information about what plants can attract butterflies to a garden and about the decline of the Monarch butterfly population and what you can do about it. At 1 and 3 pm, bring your kids, because the first 10 families to attend programs at that time will get a live pupa they can take home and watch as it transforms into a butterfly! For more information, the WY Daily has an article about the event.

Art in the ‘Burg– Saturday 10-4

Art in the Burg

Art in the ‘Burg is a new bi-weekly art festival featuring Historic Triangle artists and craftsmen hosted by Colonial Folk Art. It’s held in Williamsburg’s Art District (yes, it really exists, it’s around Lafayette and Richmond Road between Extraordinary Cupcakes and the Dunkin Donuts; 110 Bacon Ave for your GPS).

Summer of Freedom Music Festival– Williamsburg Symphonia

VSO Matoaka

This weekend, the Symphonia is playing a bunch of outdoor concerts at Lake Matoaka Ampitheater. The most affordable concert is Sunday at 11:30 am- Peter and the Wolf for the kiddos ($5 for lawn tickets). They’re also doing a night of romantic songs on Friday and a movie music concert on Saturday for $25 a person. Buuuuuuut if you want to wait for a FREE outdoor symphony concert, the VSO is playing at Lake Matoaka on September 3 and at Yorktown the Saturday of Labor Day weekend . . .

Want more? Check out the free admission at PFAC this weekend, or the kids fishing tournament, or the programs free for residents over on the calendar page. There is really so much to do in Williamsburg! Thank you for reading and have a great weekend.

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Link Up: July 27-30

Hey all! Admittedly Monday and Tuesday are a little empty, but I’m out of town this weekend and I had to schedule this on Thursday, before a lot of the information came out for next week. Nevertheless, still lots to do, especially Wednesday and Thursday!

6:30pm: the breathless costume romance Far From the Madding Crowd at the Kimball– $8
7pm: Meditation class at the UU church– free, donations accepted- hosted by Ben, who is not “woo-woo” at all but rather very down-to-earth- highly recommended!
7pm: Yorktown Story Slam- theme: “Worst Day Ever” at the Yorktown Pub
8pm: Trivia at Greene Leafe

6:30pm: Far From the Madding Crowd and Sunshine Superman both at the Kimball– $8
7:30pm: Open Mic Night at Yorktown Pub

6pmPort Warwick Summer Concert Series: free, family-friendly, bring blankets, chairs, picnics! Tonight’s act is The Janitors, they play oldies
7pm: Open Mic Night at Cogan’s with Liana Dagmar
7pm: Concert on Merchant’s Square- Slapnation performs! 1970’s Disco, and Top 40 Dance music from the 1980s to today- so get out and DANCE YOUR PANTS OFF!
7:30pm: $5 yoga class at Berrybody– with soothing lavender towels!
8pmLukas Nelson & Promise of the Real in Concert at the Kimball- $15- described as “cowboy hippy surf rock”?? but hey it’s a national act so they must be good right?
9pm: Karaoke at Bourbon Street

6pmHey! Hey! Hooligan (“punk rock party band”) at The Mariners’ Museum
6pmBen Lassiter and Steal the Pint Night with Stone Brewery at Berret’s
6pm: Thursday Night Adventure Night– last week is was a Softserve Showdown- this weeks it’s a Geocache Dash!
6:30pmShagging on the Riverwalk in Yorktown– free- this week it’s The Holiday Band
7:30pmOpen Mic Night at Aromas
10pm: Karaoke at Corner Pocket

Here’s some things you may have missed on Facebook:

I wrote a guest post for Colonial Williamsburg about their new live comedy, A Servant of Two Masters. It is really funny and great for all ages! You can win free tickets if you make a comment on the post, so don’t miss out!

Two Masters

What’s Happening Williamsburg is now on Instagram! Follow @whatshappeningwilliamsburg to get real-time updates on events in the Burg.

Guys, I’m sorry this posted late. I made a mistake in scheduling the post.

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What’s Happening in Williamsburg this weekend- July 24-27

Well it looks like it’s gonna be a pretty nice weekend! The perfect opportunity to enjoy all there is to do in Williamsburg:


6pm: Yorktown Music Jamboree at the Waterman’s Museum featuring the LCV projectCarrot Tree will be selling blue crabs and other sides and drinks- no cover, but donations are gratefully accepted!
6pm: Uncorked Friday at Saude Creek– a beautiful setting, and you’ll get to hear all sorts of different music from area musicians! Tasting and food available, but you can also bring your own picnic
8pm: Zumba Glow Party at En Pointe Dance Academy! $10 in advance, $15 at the door, $3 per child for childcare
8pm: Jacob Testa and the Gang at Aromas
8pm: Timeline Jazz Quartet at the Williamsburg Lodge– good beer, good cocktails, good food, and good jazz- it’s a classy scene
8pm: Absolute Acoustic at Cogan’s
8pm: The Travelin’ Hillbillies at Yorktown Pub (time approximate)
9pm: TypeCast at Bourbon Street

8am-noon: Farmer’s Market! eggs, melons, corn, tomatoes, plums, peaches
11am-2pm: Silt is running its first Burgers Out the Back Door event- this high-end farm-to-table restaurant is selling burgers, fries, and a soda for $15. This is a great opportunity to check out this place at an affordable price!
noon-4pm: the Muscarelle is open and they have paintings by Florentine masters and exhibits curated by arts students- $10
2-5pm: Wine Tunes at Saude CreekBBQ, music, and a beautiful setting! BYO picnic if you’d like
5pm-midnight: Oceans and Ale‘s Summer Luau! This looks fun, music by Signal Fire (“reggae rock”) and Kona Beers will be featured- I always have a great time when I go to this place. No cover, but they do recommend that you make reservations.
8pm: Jeremy White at Aromas
8pm: Good Shot Judy plays at Triangle (have you been there yet? It’s great!)
8pm: London plays at Cogan’s– I have to recommend that you follow their Facebook page, because their promo pics are so ridiculous, they will really brighten up your feed! For example:

8pm: Hector at Water Street Grille in Yorktown- please click on this link if only to see this guy’s hair. It’s epic.

noon-4pm: the Muscarelle is open again!
2-5pm: Music & Wine at Saude Creek– again, the Scottish Pig will provide the Q and Ron Fetner will provide the tunes
5pm: Lou Vangieri performs outdoors in Yorktown. Grace Episcopal Church has this sweet little Sunday night free concert series going on throughout this summer. Picnicking encouraged!
6pm-9pm: AnneMarie Sewell performs at Triangle
around sunset, or about 8:30: Hook plays on Prince George Street– Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams star in this 90s adaptation of Peter Pan (a Gen Y childhood classic!)

Oh and here’s something else- the above list is NOT comprehensive- check out the calendar for the full listing.

Aaand, here’s some stuff from the Facebook feed you may have missed this week:

A statement from the artist that designed the bicycle sculptures currently in Williamsburg:

Why bicycles? “I have a vested interest in making bicycles an expression of my concerns for life, including my own, and for society. As art vehicles, bicycles will help change the behavior of individuals, which is very fundamental for civilization to continue existing, and also so that other important things will not run out, like oil.”

Save the date- September 5 (that’s the Saturday of Labor Day weekend)- free Virginia Symphony Orchestra concert in Yorktown!

VSO 9-5

Top Places to Paddle in Hampton Roads

Butterfly Festival coming up August 1&2 at Williamsburg Botanical Gardens!

Butterfly Festival

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Link Up: July 20-23

Hey guys! This week is another summer week full of music, dancing, and good times in Williamsburg-

Swing Dance at the Waterman’s Museum in Yorktown- lesson at 6, dance at 7, $5 suggested donation (I’ve gone to this many times, it’s always fun!)
Trivia at Green Leafe at 8pm
Kevin Bleakley at The Trellis 6-8pm

Slow Monday at Center Street Grille 8-10 pm (I saw them at the Triangle- it’s one guy with a guitar, one with some drums and another on bongo that play 90s and 2000s covers with some interesting mash-ups, along with some original songs)

A discussion about area public transportation at Fort Magruder- maybe not super fun but good to know if this is something that affects you- 5-7pm
Port Warwick Summer Concert Series features Borderline Crazy outdoors in Newport News- 6-9 pm
Moonlight Acoustic Jam at New Quarter Park at 6:30pm- bring out your instrument, even if you are a beginner!
Summer Breeze Concert Series in Merchant’s Square features the Original Rhondels tonight, 7-9 pm (call (757) 565-8889 if the weather’s iffy)
Wednesday night is karaoke night at both Daddyo’s locations- Norge and Bourbon Street– at around 8:30/9pm
Open Mic at Cogan’s, 7pm- a great chance to see many of Williamsburg’s musicians in one spot

Thursday Night Adventure Night– these kids are always up to something fun! meet at 6 in the cafe at the Martins on Monticello
Thursdays by the Lake Concert Series at the Mariners Museum in NN features Snackbar Jones– modern rock, top 40, pop, hip hop- 6-10 pm
Shagging on the Riverwalk in Yorktown features the Band of Oz 6:30-9:30 pm
Ron Fetner plays at the Water Street Grille in Yorktown, 7pm
As always, Thursday is Open Mic Night at Aromas– 7:30pm

Believe it or not, that’s not everything- check out the comprehensive list of affordable things to do in Williamsburg on the calendar!

Plus, here are some things from the Facebook page that you may have missed last week:

Colonial Williamsburg has a new archaeology program for kids all summer! If your family has Good Neighbor Passes- it’s free! (otherwise, included in park admission)

Plans for yet another new restaurant coming to Williamsburg along Prince George St- Hounds Tale coming in October!

Wanna get your music heard at one of the prettiest settings on the Peninsula? Sign up for Open Mic night this Friday July 24 at Saude Creek Vineyards. Want to be the first to hear new local talent? All you have to do is show up!

Are you a bargain-hunter? Check out this new place out in Lightfoot!

Top 10 benefits of the $10 Good Neighbor Pass! Do you have yours?

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Top 4 Things to do in Williamsburg this July 4!

It’s July 4! In Williamsburg!


Top 4 things to do:

1- do it up 18th-century-style at Colonial Williamsburg
2- see 1776 at the Kimball
3- go to Yorktown
4- Drink beer and eat pork

1. OBVIOUSLY- Colonial Williamsburg has it goin on. Here’s what’s scheduled:

10:00 AM: Salute to the States
11:00 AM: It wouldn’t be July 4 without a Reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Courthouse Steps
11:30 AM – 4:00 PM: The Colonial Faire– 18th-century inspired games (tomahawk throwing, dancing, trap ball, quoits, 3-legged races, hoops, running races, tug of war, and sack races) (you’ll need your Good Neighbor Pass or an admission ticket for this)
3:45 PM: Dialogues in Revolution, 1776– the Founding Fathers speak (again, you’ll need your Good Neighbor Pass)
5:00 PM: (This looks cool!) Swinging on a Star: A Tribute to the Local USOs and the Troops of World War II– $7 for adults 13+, $5 for kids- at the Hennage Auditorium in the Art Museum
8:15 PM: Concert by Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums– free- get out of their way because they DO NOT STOP
8:45 PM: Illuminations of Market Square and Palace Green (free)
9:10 PM: A Salute to the Nation (free)- concluding with FIREWORKS!


And here’s what you need to know if you plan to go:

– For the love of your sanity, do NOT try to park close to Merchant’s Square unless you get here early in the morning. Park at the CW Visitor Center and take the shuttle (warning, the shuttle does NOT run while the fireworks are happening), OR, park at New Town or High Street and ride the WATA Trolley. Here’s what WATA has to say:

WATA will have 3 trolleys available; one trolley running its regular route from noon to 11:00 p.m., one running express service directly from New Town to the historic area, and one running express service directly from High Street to the historic area. The express trolleys will begin at 7:00 p.m. and end around 11:00 p.m. The Trolley will be utilizing Ewell Circle on Jamestown Road as the drop off and pick up location this year to avoid some of the traffic hold ups that happen on Richmond Road.

– Just be prepared: bring flashlights, water, wear COMFORTABLE shoes, bring earplugs (they’re not just for kids), sunscreen, etc- just be smart. And be prepared to be in the middle of a HUGE crowd.

– Expect it to take forever to get back to your car after the fireworks. It’s just gonna happen. But it will have been worth it!

2. The Kimball is showing 1776 at 1pm and 4pm for only $4!

I mean, where else are you going to see the Founding Fathers singing in a musical?

I mean, where else are you going to see the Founding Fathers singing in a musical?

Here’s what WhatsHappeningWilliamsburg movie critic Scott Graves has to say about it:

The 1972 film adaptation of the Broadway musical 1776 is an account of the struggle to secure a vote in favor of independence from the second Continental Congress. Political maneuvers of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams lead to Thomas Jefferson’s drafting of the Declaration of Independence. I won’t spoil the rest. Much of the central cast reprised their roles from the 1969 Broadway production, including Howard DeSilva (blacklisted in the early 1950s) as Franklin, Ken Howard as Jefferson, and William Daniels as Adams. Daniels is best known, depending on your generation, as Dustin Hoffman’s father in The Graduate, Dr. Mark Craig on St. Elsewhere (or the voice of Knight Rider supercar KITT), or Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World. If you’ve always wanted to watch the voice of David Hasselhoff’s car talk high-stakes politics with the high school basketball coach from TV’s The White Shadow (played by Howard), this is the movie for you. The Kimball says 1776 is rated R, but IMDb holds that it is PG. Perhaps this is the extended cut showing the party after the vote.

3. Sick of Williamsburg but still want fireworks? Try Yorktown!

Everything you need to know in one handy photo!

Everything you need to know in one handy photo!

4. Alewerks is havin’ a Pig Pickin’!

FOURTH FLIER-01 small website version

Things to know:

– Alewerks is going to have their much-acclaimed Cafe Royale available (it’s a vanilla and bourbon coffee stout . . yup)
– The MUSIC is 4-7 but the event actually starts at noon and goes to 9:30 pm!
– I asked how much the food is going to be, and they said expect plates to be $10 but it might be less. That’s a great deal!
– Good beer, good food, good music, and away from the madness downtown! What more could you ask for?


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