Las Bicicletas

You’ve seen them around town. But- what are they? I’ve started giving them nicknames, myself.

Stand Up Bike

Stand Up Bike

Robo Bike

Robo Bike

Praying Mantis Bike

Praying Mantis Bike

I looked it up (thanks WYDaily!) and found out that they are part of a traveling art exhibit. May was bike month in Williamsburg, and this coming October the UCI Road World Bike Championships will be held in Richmond (there will be related bike events in Williamsburg, too).

The sculptures were created by a Mexican artist, Gilberto Aceves Navarro. Basically, he thinks bicycles are a crucial element to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels- and he also loves the feeling of being on a bike- the freedom, the wind in your hair, the possibilities of where you’ll go. So he made paintings of figures riding bikes to convey that feeling, and then they were enlarged, cut out of metal, and made into sculptures. It’s all explained in this video:

TEASER HD from Las Bicicletas on Vimeo.

Here’s a few of my favorite quotes from the video if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing:

I conceived the bicycles this way: as a way to relate families and their environment. People work in somewhat inhumane, enclosed spaces, so my interest was to give them a more humane connection to the environment. How do I represent this in a formal artistic proposal? By finding ways to make bicycles that look like bicycles, but are not exact portraits, yet convey the idea of a bike. They are vehicles of happiness, vehicles of health. Their shape gives me peace, because it’s smooth and without bumps. . . . Being as old as I am now, I can’t ride my bike 14 hours a day anymore, but I can do what I am doing, thinking how can the bicycles help us have a better existence.

Las Bicicletas

For more details about the project and where it goes when it leaves Williamsburg in October, check out the website: Las Bicicletas.

Little Biciletas

Do you have some favorite bicycle memories? Mine is here (at the bottom). Do you have any suggestions for nicknames for any bikes? Post them on the Facebook page!

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Thunderbirds are Go! at Colonial Williamsburg

No, not those Thunderbirds– I’m talking about the Native American kind. Step aside, Etsy and fake tribal patterns from Forever 21- let the original masters show you how it’s done.

Imagine living in a pueblo during the Great Depression. Your family has earned money for generations making and selling jewelry to both fellow native people and tourists alike. But now . . . there’s no money for the precious stones and metals. What do you do?

Thunderbird 1

The jewelry makers of the Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico responded to this shortage by doing what artists do naturally- taking inspiration from the world around them. Instead of precious stones, they used plastic from LP records, car batteries, and anything else that had the desired color and could be manipulated into jewelry.

Thunderbird2

This weekend, “Thunderbirds: Jewelry of the Santo Domingo Pueblo” is opening at the Folk Art Museum of Colonial Williamsburg. You’ll be able to see how the artists kept their traditions alive and provided for their families by creatively transforming the resources at hand.

Bonus! Saturday there’s a lecture by the curators themselves, Roddy and Sally Moore. If you want to learn the story behind this jewelry, it’s a must-see. You’ll need either your Good Neighbor Pass ($10 for the whole year) or a Museum Admission ticket ($13).

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Thunderbird3

One Town, One Weekend- 24 shows

Phew. You guys, I just finished finding every single instance of live music coming up this weekend- and I’m exhausted. Did you know that there are a total of 24 live music shows this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday?? Go Williamsburg! (And that’s not even counting the other events going on- free cupcakes at the Farmer’s Market, painting outside, a 17th century fashion show, and a BMX jam, among others)

All of these are available on the calendar. But because I like you, I’ll go ahead and list all of them right here for you.

Black White Blues featuring Girls Night Out is playing at Bourbon Street Friday at 9!

Black White Blues featuring Girls Night Out is playing at Bourbon Street Friday at 9!

Friday, June 26
6:00pm- Friday Night Jazz at The Trellis
7:00pm- Jazz Standards at Triangle Restaurant
7:00pm- Sammy Lee at Berret’s
8:00pm- Timeline Jazz Quartet @ the Lodge
8:00pm- Jonny Waters @ Daddyo’s
8:00pm- Louis Vangieri @ Aromas
8:00pm- Mike Lucci Band at Cogan’s
8:00pm- Snackbar Jones @ Oceans & Ale
9:00pm- Black White Blues at Daddyo’s Bourbon St
9:00pm- Kevin Bleakley @ Center Street Grille

Music teacher by day, jazz guitarist by night- Tony Mata is playing at the new Triangle Restaurant Saturday

Music teacher by day, jazz guitarist by night- Tony Mata is playing at the new Triangle Restaurant Saturday

Saturday, June 27
2:00pm- Hector at Saturday Afternoon Wine Tunes at Saude Creek
6:00pm- Tony Mata Trio at Triangle Restaurant
7:00pm- Smith-Wade Band @ The Lodge
8:00pm- London @ Cogan’s
8:00pm- Aaron Enright @ Aromas
8:00pm- Billy Joe Trio @ Daddyo’s
8:00pm- Sun Dried Vibes @ Oceans & Ale
8:30pm- Chris & Joe
9:00pm- Pat Russell Band @ Daddyo’s Bourbon St ($5 cover)

The Hark plays most Sunday nights at The Trellis

The Hark plays most Sunday nights at The Trellis

Sunday, June 28
11:00am- Jazz Brunch at The Trellis
1:00pm- Acoustic Lunch, With Guitarist Louis Vangieri @ Barnes & Noble
2:00pm- A Taste of Love at Sunday Afternoon Music & Wine at Saude Creek
6:00pm- The Hark at The Trellis
8:45pm- Into the Woods movie on Prince George Street (ok, not live music, but it is a musical!)

As always, a complete listing of fun and cheap things to do in Williamsburg (and more details about these shows) is available- you guessed it- on the calendar. Plus, you can easily add the events to your own calendar and invite friends! Which of these bands do you plan on checking out this weekend? Leave a comment!

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June 19-21: What to do in the ‘Burg

This is just a small portion of all the events that are available! There’s the market, movies, and the art fair on Saturday . . . check out the calendar for more options. Below are some musical happenings I just had  to point out!

Friday June 19:
Wine Night at Saude Creek Vineyards

ST Lite at Saude Creek

The lead singer from ST Lite shows us how it’s done.

Although Saude Creek has these most Friday nights in the summer, this one is special because there will be a group from Young Emerging Professionals of Williamsburg there. You don’t have to be a member to attend, but you do have the opportunity to meet a group of fun people. Or, you can stick to your own possy and just do your own thing! I went last year and it was a blast- good music, good company, beautiful setting, cornhole, wine, food- a veritable Eden. They let you bring your own picnic- it was a really great bargain! And the setting is just gorgeous. Friday the featured musical performer is ST Lite (they describe themselves as “acoustic with a KICK”) and there will be crepes there!
(PS- if you can’t get there Friday night, they also have the same thing happening on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 2-5pm)

Saturday June 20:
Amy Kucharik at Aromas

How do you feel about quirky ukelele music? Amy Kucharik is pretty much a master at this particular genre, and she’s playing for tips at Aromas Saturday at 8pm. The video above showcases her band, but I’m not sure how much of the band will be with her Saturday (I’d be willing to bet it will just be her- if you know for sure, let me know!). If you like Molasses Creek– a regular at First Night– you’ll like Amy- the sound is 1920s bluesy and ragtimish. Aromas is always a fun, relaxed atmosphere on the weekends, and her music sounds like it will be fun and carefree to listen to.

Sunday June 21
Tony Bob Merritt at Alewerks

After (or while) you catch up with dad, enjoy a Sunday afternoon at Alewerks with live music 2-5 pm by Tony Bob Merritt (“one-man acoustic stylings”). The scene at Alewerks is really fun- super chill, but also really busy. Everyone is really friendly, and the beer is EXCELLENT.

Alewerks beerBeyond what you’ve had in bottles and at bars around town, they usually have some small-batch brews they only serve in the tasting room. One word of advice, though- eat before you go, or come not very hungry. Their menu is really limited (at least for now)- don’t plan on having a meal there. Ooh, and apparently they just opened what they’re calling the “Biergarten”- if you go, let us all know how it is!


Have a great time this weekend everyone, and be safe! Don’t forget to check out the calendar for more things to do in Williamsburg!

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Daddyo’s Bourbon Street doesn’t win “Blue Ribbon”

Blue Ribbon 5

Blue Ribbon has a classic rock sound that sometimes swings more Tom Petty, sometimes more trance-y jam band. They play a mix of mostly original songs with some covers. Their originals are pretty much split between the two sounds: the first upbeat folk-rock style seems to be written by guitarist Chris Ambrosino, and the second dreamy style with jazz chords seems to come from the mind of Jim Gordon, lead guitarist. (At least, going by the lead singer on the songs.)

Blue Ribbon 1

Although this particular show was plagued by sound glitches (lots of crackles and pops), there were some really good jams going on toward the ends of the songs. And if the music’s not enough, they have a pretty substantial light, smoke, and (fake) fire show to go along with their music-

As for Daddyo’s Bourbon Street– let’s just say it has a long way to go before it becomes a “hot spot” for nightlife. It looked like the only people there tonight were either guests at the attached hotel or people who go there all the time. The energy just wasn’t there- not like it is at Daddyo’s in Norge, which was pretty hoppin’ the last time I was there. If Daddyo’s wants to make Bourbon Street into more of a scene, they’ll need to really shake it up. And let me go on the record here and say I really want Daddyo’s Bourbon Street to be a cool place! We need more nightlife near downtown.

Have you been to the “new” Daddyo’s at Bourbon Street? What do you think?

Everything You Need to Know about visiting the Hermione in Yorktown

YOU GUYS the “Air-me-own” is finally here!

Hermione

I’m not going to try to tell you what it is or why it’s important- lots of people have done a good job of that already. But I will give you the inside scoop on what there is to do in Yorktown! I went there this afternoon, here’s what I learned:

1) It’s pronouced “air-me-own”. At least according to the lady at the info tent!

2) Parking is a pain- just be patient, allow yourself plenty of time, and ask all the people in bright event staff tshirts for advice on where to park. The good news is, it’s free to park.

3) If you want to actually get ON the boat, please get there early in the morning. You need a (free) ticket to get on. Although they’re free tickets, you must pick them up there, in person. Also, you can only pick up your own tickets- you can’t pick up tickets for other people. The lady I talked to said that people started lining up at 6:30 am this morning– when we arrived at about 1:30 pm today they had already sold out for Saturday. They will start handing tickets out at 8am Sunday and the tours will be from 9am-4pm.

4) Get the bread and cheese from Crown Point Bread Co.! It’s super delicious- a really hearty, nutty bread and sharp Vermont cheddar. They drove down all the way from upstate New York to meet the ship- plus they have BY FAR the best tent, hands-down.

tent

bread

breadncheese

Each package of a hunk of bread and cheese is $5, and it’s TOTALLY worth it!

5) In the field by the Waterfront (where the Yorktown Farmer’s Market usually is), there are blacksmiths at work, there’s an exhibit about the ship, and there are a few reenactors who are happy to answer your questions and who have tons of fun toys to play with.

reenactors

toys

6) Besides the stuff by the waterfront, many of Yorktown’s museums are also open, and some of them are free. One is the York County Historical Museum– the museum is actually in the basement (where it is nice and cool and air-conditioned!) and there are docents and curators there who are really eager to tell you all about the artifacts they have there and what they can tell us about people’s everyday lives back in the day.

This is a cameo of the granddaughter of Admiral de Grasse on display at the Customs House on Main Street- check out her braid headband!

This is a cameo of the granddaughter of Admiral de Grasse on display at the Customs House on Main Street- check out her braid headband!

7) There’s a little art fair on Main Street called the Virginia’s Finest Fair. There’s handmade art, jewelry, furniture, and food- brisket sandwiches, popsicles, crepes, and kettle corn, among other delectables. There’s also a farmstand from Allen’s Farm near Williamsburg.

blue glass

furniture

Here’s the map of where L’Hermione will go next!Hermione route For an excellent detailed history of the story of this ship, Lafayette, and what its voyage meant for the Americans, go to the Journal of the American Revolution’s article, “Lafayette’s Second Voyage to America: Lafayette and L’Hermione.”

Here’s a link to the complete schedule of events for the remainder of today and tomorrow, and a couple of highlights below:

Saturday, June 6:

8:30 pm- Premiere of the one-act play “Lafayette”.

Sunday, June 7:

1:00 p.m. Lecture. Alan Hoffman, President of the American Friends of Lafayette, will present “Lafayette and the Farewell Tour: Odyssey of an American Idol.”  Yorktown Victory Center.  Free and Open to the Public.

————————————————————–

The ship sets sail on Monday, so tomorrow is your last chance to see it! Feel free to leave your tips in the comments below-

Ft. Monroe’s Orchestra: A View from Inside the Moat

Fort Monroe in the early evening is a downright bucolic scene. There might be a soccer game going on, people will be fishing off the bridges and walking their dogs, and if it’s a Tuesday night, you might hear the sounds of a symphony orchestra coming from inside the moat- that would be the Hampton Roads Philharmonic.

Ft. Monroe moat

When I was first asked to play in this new community orchestra, I had never heard of Fort Monroe, nor did I know how far it was down the peninsula. So the first time I drove down from Williamsburg, took the “Last Exit Before Tunnel” and then had to drive through a tiny stone passageway to get to the rehearsal space, I was mildly alarmed at what I had gotten myself into – and excited to discover this new place.

Ft. Monroe with lighthouse

That first summer I drove down every week with my viola, crossing the bridge from Phoebus to Ft. Monroe to see gorgeous sunsets on the water, the sun glinting off the surface, and the boats bobbing at the marina. Pulling up to our rehearsal building I’d hear the familiar cacophony of an entire orchestra warming up, with the occasional squawk or squeal alongside orderly scales going up and down. I’ll never forget our first concert. I was thrilled to be playing with this group of musicians – I was so proud of the way we sounded, and I beamed when we all stood up to accept the applause.

We have a concert this weekend and would be thrilled for you to be there. It’s going to be fun! The big, romantic, epic piece will be Grieg’s Norwegian Dances, which has every mood from soft and forlorn to huge and loud and majestic. The Berlioz Hungarian March is fun, loud, recognizable, and if you want a laugh, listen for the “cha-cha-chas”. The Mozart overture is light and fun, with lots of fast notes. And the last piece is something I have never played in my life – a double-bass concerto. The soloist, Matt Gold, cuts a lanky and boyish figure and brings his youthful exuberance to the music. He makes the bass sound positively joyous in this charming classical piece by Bottesini.

Now that I’ve played with the Philharmonic for a couple of years, some of that first excitement has inevitably worn off. But the thrill of the concert is still there. And the feeling of being in the midst of and a part of this huge symphonic sound – with the brass and winds booming at my back and the grounded sound of the strings all around me and the vibration of my instrument under my fingers – well- that never gets old.

Our concerts are Saturday at 7:30 pm at the Fort Monroe Theater and Sunday at 3 the First Presbyterian Church in Hampton. Both shows are free, so please come, and sign up for our email list so you can come to our concerts next year as well! Thank you!


Here are some samples from last season- I think we sound pretty good!

Saturday 9th 7:30p @ Ft. Monroe Theater (42 Tidball Rd., Hampton, VA 23669)
Sunday 10th 3pm @ First Presbyterian Hampton Church (514 S Armistead Ave, Hampton, VA 23669)

Greek Festival this weekend!

Have you ever taken a shortcut on Mooretown Road and seen this really cool building with gold domes?

St. Demetrios

That building is Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, and this weekend they are having a big fat Greek Festival! Opa!

May 1st – 3rd, 2015
FRIDAY & SATURDAY
11AM -9PM
SUNDAY
NOON – 8PM
4900 MOORETOWN ROAD

According to my inside sources, here is what you will find at the festival:

– All sorts of Greek food made by authentic yayas! And yayas in training! Spanikopita, Tiropita, Baklava, some kind of Greek doughnut I don’t know how to say and MUCH much more. If you miss the Sunday brunches they used to do here, here is your chance!

– There’s a big raffle! tickets are $10 and here are the prizes:
$1,000 (!)
a big 46″ flatscreen TV
two season passes to Busch Gardens

– Jewelry and all sorts of crafts

– Adorable little Greek dancers. Apparently the little kids will be performing traditional Greek dances in costumes. Adorbz!

– Tours of the church. In a Greek Orthodox church, the adornment in the church is actually a part of its spirituality. Learn more about what icons mean in this faith or simply admire their beauty!St. Demetrios inside

It’s FREE to get in the festival but of course the food & etc will cost money. All the money they raise will go to church to help them pay the mortgage. A great cause and a good time.

If you go, please post your picks to the What’s Happening Williamsburg Facebook Page so others can see how it is. Thanks!

Beer Festy Roundup

There are a ton of beer festivals coming up- whether you’re looking for something soon or in a few weeks, in Williamsburg or further away, kid-friendly or not, there is something for you! Here’s a quick overview, infographic-style (don’t laugh! it’s my first one!)

How much

Kids

Shopping with ques

Breweries Rep with quesAnd finally, the brewery spiderweb! This tells you which breweries will be at which fest. The rings are the breweries and the spokes are the fests. The more dots per spoke, the more breweries are represented at that festival (again, forgive the high-school science fair-quality . . . learning graphics is hard!)

Brewery Spiderweb

and now! the details, from soonest to latest:

Phoebus Spring Fling

Free for festival; $25 for beer fest

Stand-out quality:
The beer festival is a new add-on to this family-friendly neighborhood fair. They’ll have a decent representation of local breweries, but the real draw is all the “local”-ness- local vendors, local music, local artisans, and kids activities.


wmsbgbeerfest

Sunday, April 26, 1-5pm
near the Williamsburg Public Library on the lawn across the street from the Williamsburg Community Building

General Admission 21 and older, $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Admission includes a complimentary 16-oz tasting glass.
VIP tickets for $50, includes access to VIP hour from noon to 1 p.m. including 3 small batch special release beers, free food for the hour and more!

Stand-out quality:
It’s soon, has a great selection of beers, and it’s all for charity, folks- proceeds benefit local non-profits.


Blues Brews and BBQ

Saturday May 2, noon-6pm
Yorktown Riverfront
$25 in advance / $30 day of

Stand-out quality:
You can bring in coolers and blankets and lawnchairs! Also music, vendors . . . a thoroughly festive atmosphere and a pretty good beer selection.


Muscarelle

Sunday May 3 1-5pm
Barksdale Field, adjacent to Phi Beta Kappa Hall on the campus of the College of William & Mary

$35 in advance / $40 day-of
$12 in advance for kids 5-12 / $15 day-of
kids under 5 free

Stand-out quality:
UNLIMITED beer and UNLIMITED FOOD!! This is the only festival where food is included. They’ve got a menu up on their Facebook page. Also, it will be kid-friendly. Participating breweries will be posted Monday.


craftbeerfest15May 3, noon-5pm

  • $30 for Museum Members in Advance
  • $35 for General Admission in Advance
  • $45 Day of the Event for everyone
  • $15 for Non-Drinker

Your ticket includes 20 four-ounce craft beer tastings, a souvenir tasting glass and day’s admission to tour The Mariners’ Museum!

Stand-out quality:
This is the beer connoisseur’s beer festival. Not only will they have a great selection, brewery representatives will be on-site to answer questions and offer several “Beer Talks” throughout the event. Also, you can vote for your favorite unfiltered ale in the Brewery “Cask-Off” competition.


VA Beer Fest

Virginia Beer Festival
May 15-16, 2-6pm each day

$15 to get in the door, no tasting privileges
Saturday – $30 in advance, $35 at the gate (Cash sales only at the gate)
Sunday – $25 in advance, $30 at the gate (Cash sales only at the gate)

Stand-out quality:
This is the big one, folks. I counted over 90 breweries and over 125 beers from around the world. They’ve got the macros and the micros. From California to Virginia and beyond. If you’re willing to cross the water and you want to taste a BUNCH of different beer, grab a book (to write down notes on all those beers, as you’ll never remember them all), a designated driver, and go for it. (But honestly . . . who can drink 125 beers??)

A note for my gluten-free friends- THIS is the festival for you as they have by far the greatest selection of ciders 🙂


New Town Summer FestJune 20, 1:30-5pm
$15, $25 for VIP access; both prices go up $5 May 1

Stand-out quality:
Best value! Very, very nice selection of beers (it’s not listed on their Facebook page, but they listed them out for me and that’s what’s marked on the spiderweb above). This one has everything- beer, vendors, shopping, music, and kids activities!


Hope you enjoyed this round-up! Post your pics from the festivals on the WHW Facebook Page and let everybody know how it is!

Local music put together especially for YOU!

Hey! This is the orchestra I play in, the Hampton Roads Philharmonic. Because I play in it, I can get you a great deal on tickets, only $10- but if you want them, please contact me ASAP! whatshappeningwilliamsburg@gmail.com

Think you have to go all the way to Norfolk or Richmond to hear a great symphony performance? Think again. On March 6 and 8, a new local orchestra will present a concert designed to delight audiences, featuring a home-grown musical prodigy.  The Hampton Roads Philharmonic will team up with Sterling Elliott, a 15-year-old cellist from Newport News, to present the impassioned Elgar Cello Concerto, along with another romantic masterpiece, the “Unfinished Symphony” by Schubert.

Philharmonic

The orchestra is only a year-and-a-half old, but it has already generated buzz in Hampton Roads. According to conductor Steven Brindle, “[t]he greatest strength of our orchestra is definitely our players.” Made up of semi-professional local musicians from all walks of life- doctors, physicists, and students, among others- Brindle commends their volunteering of time, effort, and talent.  In fact, he chose the pieces for this concert especially to highlight the orchestra’s musical ability, as well as to excite the audience. “The Elgar and the Schubert are perennial favorites among listeners,” he said. “And our opening piece, the overture from the Barber of Seville by Rossini, almost everyone will recognize from Saturday morning cartoons.” The piece was parodied by the Warner Brothers over 60 years ago in the short, the Rabbit of Seville.

Elliott

Sterling Elliott, in his own words, was born to play the cello. “[My mom] always wanted a family quartet, so then I just started playing cello ‘cuz I was like, the last one born,” he laughs. Born and raised in Hampton Roads, he has won competitions around the country and was even featured recently as a soloist with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, one of the premier orchestras in the nation. When Brindle first heard a recording of Elliott, he was blown away. “I thought to myself, this guy is going to be a world-class cellist someday,” he recalls. Due to Elliott’s intense performing schedule, he will only be able to rehearse with the orchestra twice before the performances. “There are some potential pitfalls in the fourth movement, especially with all the tempo changes,” says Brindle. He has confidence in his players, though, and adds, “I’m looking forward to hearing the audience’s reaction.”

Brindle

For those who have never attended a classical music performance before, Brindle has a simple tip for getting the most enjoyment- try to remember the melodies. “They’ll be laid out at the beginning of the piece, and as it progresses, you’ll hear them morph and change in unexpected ways.” In the classical era (Mozart, for example), each movement would have different themes. But in the romantic era which followed, composers pushed those boundaries. “In the Schubert Unfinished Symphony, he uses similar themes in both movements that use a syncopated rhythm – yet the movements remain different. Schubert was bridging classical and romantic styles. It’s one of the reasons I find the piece so fascinating.”

There are two opportunities to hear the performance:

March 6 at 8 pm
American Theater in Hampton
Tickets $20; $10 for students, senior, and military; also, groups of 10 tickets may be purchased for $10 each
available online here or by phone at 757-722-2787

March 8 at 4 pm
Trinity United Methodist Church (part of the Sundays at 4 series)
Tickets $20; $5 for students
available online here or by phone at 757-375-9140