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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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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Scrooge comes to Williamsburg, is haunted by puppets and musical numbers

Each year, Williamsburg’s stately aura of perfectly hung wreaths and picturesque shop windows gets a jolt of silliness: a goofy rendition of the timeless Dickens holiday tale, “A Christmas Carol,” pops up downtown in Merchant’s Square. It’s unbelievably quick (30 minutes), put on by only two people (plus a few audience participants), and always attracts a crowd.

Christmas Carol backlit

The setup is like a life-size Polly Pocket theater- the back and sides all open up and presto, there’s a stage, complete with lights, a set that transforms itself into multiple sets, and even a backstage somehow. Oh! And there’s puppets, for you Muppet Christmas Carol fans.

Christmas Carol Scrooge with puppets 2

The title role is played by Ed Whitacre (a Master Thespian, mind you). He is probably the most over-the-top Scrooge I have ever seen- and it fits the production perfectly. Mark Lerman does everything else, including playing multiple roles (and genders) and controlling the set.

The production this year is a musical (insert jazz hands here!!). So besides puppets and a zany Scrooge, just to make it more ridiculous, there are musical numbers peppered throughout (you may recognize songs from The Pirates of Penzance and Phantom of the Opera, among other musicals).

Christmas Carol from side 2

Now, if you get there early and get a spot up front, you could be picked to participate!

The two people on the left are awaiting their instructions for their roles - a Christmas turkey and an errand boy - from Scrooge and his maid (he made a GREAT turkey btw!)

The two people on the left are awaiting their instructions for their roles – a Christmas turkey and an errand boy – from Scrooge and his maid (he made a GREAT turkey btw!)

I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned that this is free yet, but- it is! The schedule is 5pm Fridays, 3:30 and 5pm Saturdays and Sundays. This Saturday, there’s an extra performance at 2pm on Saturday.

I’ll leave you with a video and more pics. But don’t forget to check out the real thing this weekend or next! As always, more things to do in the calendar. Have a great one, everybody-

Christmas Carol Scrooge and ghost 2

Christmas Carol Scrooge with tombstone

Christmas Carol Scrooge 4

Sneak Peek for the Week Ahead: Dec 8-14

Bunches and bunches of Christmas things to do in Williamsburg this week, and more in the calendar

Tuesday and Wednesday

“A Christmas Story” at the Movie Tavern– 7:30pm


I triple-dog-dare you!


Social Networking Lunch at Plaza Azteca 12-1pm

Put on by Young Emerging Professionals of Williamsburg (YEP). I went to one once, it was really nice. At least when I went, there were only three of us, so it was easy to get to know one another. It’s a great way to meet new people. And plus- it’s Plaza Azteca! I have made meals of their guacamole alone. . .



Lessons and Carols at Williamsburg Presbyterian- 7:30 pm

The event is free, and everyone is invited.  Special performances will be provided by William and Mary’s Women’s Chorus and the Westminster Ringers of Williamsburg Presbyterian Church.  Students, faculty, and staff will join campus ministers in reading biblical passages appropriate to the season with carols and hymns sung by the congregation, as well as special music.  The service will conclude with the singing of “Silent Night” by candlelight.

Saturday and Sunday

Afternoon Wine Tunes at Saude Creek 2-5pm


So, I knew that Saude Creek did live music in the summer on Fridays, but apparently they do live music in the winter in the afternoons! This weekend Jocelyn Oldham is playing on Saturday and Dave Pollard is playing on Sunday. A tasting is $7 and BBQ is available for purchase. At least when we went this summer you could bring your own food; I’m not sure if that’s still the case but you could call ahead and ask. Sounds like a great way to escape the holiday bustle!


2nd Sunday Art Festival 11am-5pm


Don’t worry, it won’t be snowing . . .

Sunday’s going to be a great time to be in Merchant’s Square. It’s the holiday art festival, the Christmas Carol in-a-box, Father Christmas strolling (3:30-6:30), carolers, all that stuff. Grab some hot cocoa and get out there!

Featured Event This Week! (I will be there, come join if you’d like!)


It will be just like this! Except with less buildings. And less people. More of them falling.

The icerink is open generally all evenings and all day on weekends. I will be at the Iceburg icerink at Mid County Park at 3pm on Sunday to review it for the blog. If you’d like to join, come along!

If none of this tickles your fancy, of course there are more events on the calendar. Some to consider are another concert of the Messiah, in case you missed the one last week, the lights in Newport News Park, a gingerbread house competition, and non-holiday stuff like $5 yoga, music jams, open mics, movies, and more.

Sneak Peek: Thanksgiving Week

For many of us, we will spend this week traveling, eating, and talking to relatives we haven’t seen since last year. But, for the days you’re in town, here are some cool things to do right here in Williamsburg:


Featured Event This Week! 
(in other words, I will be there covering it for the blog, so come join if you want)

Trivia at Green Leafe – 8pm

Green Leafe

An oldie but a goodie. Questions are all written and hosted by local trivia buffs and the questions can be pretty hard- but hey, why do trivia if it’s not challenging? Usually there are 5 rounds: the 4th round is a picture round (you get a sheet of paper with pictures on it and have to identify the item/character/etc) and 5th round is a music round- hear the song, name the artist and title of the song. Also- Green Leafe runs burger specials on this night, they are $5 or $6. Fries are extra, though.

Wednesday and Friday, and then every day for awhile

Iceburg Skate Rink

Iceburg Skate Rink

Ice skating! (click on the link above for hours) I’ve heard it’s a synthetic rink, FYI . . .
Daily Admission (includes Skate Rental)
Child 5 and under: FREE
Youth 6-17 and Senior 55+: $5 for residents/ $7 for non-residents
Adult: $7 for residents/ $8

Thursday (and Friday and Saturday)

Food and Feasts of Colonial Virginia


Now, I have never been to this, but I have always wanted to go! Best of all, it’s FREE for Williamsburg/JCC/York County residents (bring your driver’s license with your address on it):

Long before microwaves, electric stoves and refrigerators, food was prepared in clay pots and iron kettles over hot coals and preserved by smoking, salt curing and pickling. This Thanksgiving holiday, explore foodways of 17th- and 18th-century Virginia during “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia,” a three-day event beginning on Thanksgiving Day.

If you have been, please leave a short review in the comments- thanks!


Traditional Music for St. Andrew’s Day – 3pm


Scottish fiddle and guitar music by some of this area’s best traditional musicians (John Turner is awesome, if you haven’t heard him). With your Good Neighbor Pass, this *should* be $6 (regular price $8).

Also, Merchant’s Square will be positively hopping this weekend with things to do so- if you are raring to go for Christmas in Williamsburg, go and check out the market, all the pretty greenery and red ribbons, and the “A Christmas Carol”-in-a-box. If you are not ready for Christmas? Stay away- you’ve been warned!

Everyone please travel safe and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all of you! Especially my fabulous followers!

Free Classes at Berrybody Yoga

This week I checked out the free community class at Berrybody Yoga in Merchant’s Square on Prince George Street. It’s in the basement of Berrybody Yogurt, so you occasionally hear people upstairs- but it was pretty quiet during the Wednesday class.

I found out about the free classes here at a 2nd Sunday Art Festival. A young woman was sitting at a booth outside the studio and was handing out coupons for a free class anytime and schedules that featured a free class on Wednesday nights. Fast forward to last Wednesday, when I show up for the class, and lo and behold there is the same woman! It turns out her name is Brittany, and she was our teacher for the evening.

Isn't she cute?

Brittany, our instructor. Isn’t she cute?

The schedule is always posted above the stairwell.

The schedule is always posted above the stairwell.

The class was good, and a great introductory class for those who haven’t done much yoga. Brittany really walked us through everything, and offered hands-on adjustments (which are SUPER valuable at any point in your practice). Personally, I thought it was a pretty good workout. I mean, I wasn’t sweating or anything, but my thighs were definitely burning from all those crescent lunges and chair poses!

They have all the equipment you need there.

They have all the equipment you need.

The only criticism I would offer was that there were times when I couldn’t quite hear what she was saying (most of the time I could hear fine, though). The class ended with us laying down and she came and gave us lavender-scented (!) washcloths to put over our faces. That was super-nice, but be warned that she puts it down next to your head, so you need to put it on yourself. I only realized I had a washcloth next to me when I opened my eyes. I really dug her choice of music during class, though- it was this eclectic mix of popular songs, RJD2, Budos Band, and some vaguely South Asian-style music.

The class was pretty crowded, as you’d expect for a free class. There were probably 20 people there. Unfortunately, about 5 of them arrived after the start time, and between them being late and having to fill out paperwork, we started late. So if you go, please be considerate to your classmates and get there a little bit early so you can fill out the waiver form and be ready to start the class on time.

Brittany let us know that this class will be free for the rest of November (no class the night before Thanksgiving) and will go up to $5 in December. After that, they’re not sure yet what the price will be, but there will still be a class. I’ll try to keep the calendar updated accordingly.

This class was a great one for beginners, but as someone who practices yoga semi-regularly, I got something out of it, too. If you like it, check out their other classes- their prices are pretty reasonable. You can also buy a punch card for classes that never expires.

I would definitely go back to this class. Brittany is a sweetheart, and it was neat being there with so many other people. Namaste, y’all!

All ready for your practice!

All ready for your practice!

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6 Reasons Williamsburg’s Farmers Market is the Bomb Diggity

I have a confession: I have been known to spend hours (HOURS) at the farmers market. Why? Because the farmer’s market (at least our Williamsburg Farmers Market) is THE BEST place to spend a Saturday morning ever! Here’s why:

1) The People Watching

Satisfied shoppers buy from KelRae Farms in Toano!
Above: Satisfied shoppers buy from KelRae Farms in Toano

This is probably one of my favorite activities. When you go, see how many of these you can spot:
– Older ladies with fancy market baskets filled to the brim with organic produce
– Small dogs being either a) pushed in a stroller or b) carried in a basket
– Families with little kids doing their shopping as a group (cuuuute!)
– Dog fights/ altercations
– Dogs sniffing each others’ butts
– Cute dogs, old dogs, big dogs, little dogs, just DOGS!
– CW employees in costume
– Somebody pulling a wagon full of produce
– Groups of students going from stall to stall looking for free samples

2) The Free Samples

Chefs from the Williamsburg Lodge restaurant, Traditions, steep up some yummy stuff for a soup
Chefs from the Williamsburg Lodge restaurant, Traditions, steep up some yummy stuff for a soup

You know you’re not above those students.  The following stalls usually have samples, but be respectful- the vendors are there for their livelihoods, so don’t ask for samples if you already know you’re not going to buy anything, OK?

– Chef’s Tent- always free! local chefs come in and make something really good using things available at the market. It’s over on the south side of the square between the Cheese Shop and the Wythe Candy shop.
Goats R Us (flavored goat cheeses- lavender, chocolate, black pepper, all sorts)
– an occasional vineyard, like Hague, or Saude Creek– yes you can SAMPLE WINE IN THE MORNING isn’t Williamsburg great?!?
Fresh Crunch (pickled stuff)
Belmont Peanuts

3) The Vendors

I think a lot of ladies do.
I think a lot of ladies do.

They are for real farmers. Or cheesemakers. Or whatever. And they are all super nice people! At the WFM, it’s required that the person selling is the person that produced the product. So go ahead, ask all your questions about recipes, growing seasons, and how those darling chickens are doing. This is their passion, so they will love talking about it with you!

4) The Music

The Blue Notes
Don’t let their cuteness fool you- they rock out.

There’s almost always some kind of live music at the market, and since it’s live music, the musicians are probably local, ergo: there are talented local musicians at the market. This week, it’s The Blue Notes, a group of teenagers (!) who play classic blues standards. I’ve heard everything from a cappella groups to smooth guitar tunes to folksy-music.  The fact that there are so many talented people in a relatively rural area really impresses me.


Beautiful peppers (in November!) from Amy's Garden
Beautiful peppers (in November!) from Amy’s Garden

Of course, there’s oodles of beautiful rainbow chard, weird and ugly winter squashes, and tomatoes of every hue and shape– but there’s also grass-fed meats, honey, eggses, and prepared foods like pastitsio made by real authentic Greek ladies, and pastries made by a French bakery, and pies, and more pies, and even popsicles. SO MUCH GOOD FOOD!

6) The Energy

The market buzzes with activity, and it’s one of my favorite things about it. Let me tell you a little story . . .

When I first moved to Williamsburg, I didn’t have a car. And it was winter. I would get home and it would be dark and I didn’t feel safe going around at night so I’d be stuck in my apartment until the weekend. But you know what was on the weekend? The farmers market! Every market Saturday I would get on my bike and ride down to the square. I was just so excited to be where everybody else was, where the action was- it was honestly the highlight of my week. And it’s one of the main reasons I still love it- I feel like I’m part of a community. I hope you feel that way, too!

Rainbow Chard from Zamora's produce
Rainbow Chard from Zamora’s produce

I’d love to hear what your favorite parts of the market are- if you’d like, leave a comment!

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