The Micro and Macro Worlds of Julie Miles

By Claire Stuart

There is a tiny world of extraordinary beauty right outside our doors, if we only pause to look. That world came to light in artist Julie Miles’ recent exhibit, opening in tandem with the concert by Appalachian/roots band Furnace Mountain at the Barns of Rose Hill.
Miles takes us into an enchanted micro-realm where we can peer at the ephemeral magic of dandelion seeds escaping on their feathery parachutes, a bursting milkweed pod, the delicate fuzz and finely-detailed wing veins of a bee. She captures the mystical perfection of dewdrops, seeds, flower petals and lacy leaves on backdrops of silver or gold leaf.
But Miles’ work can’t be pigeonholed. She is just as at home in the macro world as in the micro. She has turned an Airstream travel trailer into a watermelon and painted pet portraits. She has brought the world indoors with murals, transforming walls into seashores and ocean depths, woodlands, flower gardens and African plains.
Miles, a Virginia native, says she started painting in childhood, describing herself as a nature girl and a cowgirl. “When I got grounded in the tenth grade, I started painting murals on the wall of my room,” she recalls with a laugh.
She received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and headed west, where she painted murals for a museum in Tucson, Arizona. Returning east, she moved to the Washington, D.C. area and studied decorative painting with a group in Leesburg. In decorative painting, she discovered a way to use her talents productively and she continued to take classes with European masters.
Decorative painting includes faux finishes, wood graining, murals, trompe l’oeil, painted floors and ceilings, plasters, glazes and old world glaze finishes. “Wall glazes add depth to a room, make a more interesting wall,” she explains. “It’s always creative, always new.”
In 1991, she founded J. Miles Studios, a full-spectrum decorative painting and fine arts studio, where she works with interior designers, builders, and homeowners. Sometimes her work has her travelling to Europe. “Some people use designers,” she says, “and some have their own ideas as to what they want.”
Her work is labor-intensive, with wood graining taking seven to ten pigment layers and Venetian plasters nine or ten super-thin plaster layers topped with wax. “It’s tedious, detail-oriented, and methodical, but I like it,” she says, adding that there is a Zen she can achieve in her work.
She says painted floor cloths are regaining popularity. They were very popular throughout the 18th century, but were killed by the patenting of linoleum in 1860. They are made of duck canvas with pictures are painted on them. They are finished with several layers of urethane, and you can walk on them.
“They’re easy to clean and durable,” she says. “And they’re good for quirky spaces—they can be cut to any size or shape.”
Miles says that she had been so busy creating for clients that she had not painted for her own pleasure for decades. Then, a few years ago, local artist Winslow McCagg asked her to participate in a group art show he was organizing in the Dairy Barn in Middleburg. Inspired, she started her journey of painting again. She had never painted small before (some of her new paintings are 8×10), so this was a new experience. She loves to paint organic matter, an outgrowth of her love of gardening, and her gardens provide inspiration.
Miles has had three successful shows in the Middleburg Dairy Barn. Her recent show at The Barns was also successful; with the Furnace Mountain concert sold out and she had excellent art sales. Sometime next year, she plans to do another show with Furnace Mountain, with paintings that go specifically with the music.
Miles lives on three beautifully-landscaped acres in White Post; the old White Post Store is on her property — she hopes to transform it into a studio. She is happy to be a part of the diverse and strong community of artists in Clarke County,
Julie Miles is looking forward to participating in the Clarke County Studio Tour, October 1-2. See more of her at www.jmilesstudios.com.

Around Clarke County March/April 2016

March

12

Blue Ridge Hunt

Point to Point Races. 490 Woodley Lane. Berryville. 67th running. Welcome in spring with the first race of the season at the lovely Woodley Farm. Gates open at 10:30am. Post time 12 Noon. 11 races. General Admission is $20/Car. For more information or to reserve front row parking call Jenny Irwin at (202) 664-4664.

16

Pruning Small Trees

Blandy Experimental Farm. The State Arboretum of Virginia. 400 Blandy Farm Lane.  Boyce. 1–3 pm. Scott Johnston, ISA Certified Arborist. This workshop begins with an introduction to proper pruning and tree care. We will then go outside for demonstrations and hands-on practice, with plenty of time for Q and A. Dress for the weather. FOSA members $10. nonmembers $12. For information call 540-837-1758 Ext. 226 or visit http://blandy.virginia.edu.

17

Trivia Night

with the Clarke County Historical Association. Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court, Berryville. Doors open at 6pm. Event starts at 7. How smart do you think you are? Grab your thinking cap and a few friends and come join us the night of St. Patrick’s Day for the Clarke County Historical Association’s second-ever trivia tournament! Categories will once again include History, Literature, Virginia, Science, and Television. Prizes will go to the top three teams and there will be raffles between rounds. Funny team names are encouraged! $5 for CCHA and BORH members. $8 for non-members. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

18

-20 CCHS Spring Musical

“Oh, the thinks you can think!” CCHS Auditorium. 627 Mosby Blvd, Berryville. 7:30pm Friday and Saturday and 2:30 Sunday. Mark your calendars for the 16th annual CCHS Spring Musical as we take a journey into the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss with Seussical the Musical! Make plans to come hang out with The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McPhuzz, JoJo, Mayzie Le Bird, and a host of crazy Seuss characters! Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students. Contact Andy Kiser, Artistic Director, at 540-955-6130 x.7446 for additional information.

18

Berryville Drum Circle

My Neighbor and Me. 15 E. Main Street. Berryville. 7–8:30pm. Free. Leader: Jona Masiya.  540-955-8124.  www.myneighborandme.com.

19

Summer Camp Fair

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. 181 Kernstown Commons Blvd. Winchester. 9am–12:30pm. Learn about a variety of camps and programs available at this integrated summer camp fair.  Participants will have several chances to win great prizes. Prize packs include complimentary admission to local pools and museums, movie tickets with popcorn, river tubing passes, discounts off camps and more valued over $400! Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will have their prize wheels to spin for more prizes and giveaways. Free admission and children’s activities. For more information call Tracey Pitcock at 540-955-5149 or email tpitcock@clarkecounty.gov.

19

Squirrels

Love’em or Leave’em. Blandy Experimental Farm. The State Arboretum of Virginia. 400 Blandy Farm Lane. Boyce. 2–4 pm. Love them or not, everyone has a squirrel story: their playful antics, or how they eat your bird seed or dig in your garden. This family event begins with a short illustrated talk that includes squirrel crafts, games, and activities and ends with observation of Blandy’s squirrels. For the whole family, but no dogs please. FOSA members $10. nonmembers $12. Member family $20. Nonmember family $25. For information call 540-837-1758 Ext. 226 or visit http://blandy.virginia.edu.

19

Soup and Sandwich Luncheon

Boyce Volunteer Fire Company. 7 S. Greenway Ave. Boyce. 11am–1:30pm. Free will offering to benefit Relay for Life of Clarke County. Sponsored by Stepping Stones Community Action Team.

19

Watercolor Workshop

with Julie Read. Fire House Gallery. 23 E. Main Street. Berryville.  9am–12pm. Back by Popular Demand! Learn from a master. Each of Julie’s watercolors tells a story with their tone, perspective, and subject matter. Her paintings include incredible scenes of flowers grown in her garden, pigs, whimsical chickens, cows, lovely local landscapes, and trees. $40 includes materials, but 2 brushes needed, and feel free to bring your own paints! To sign up and get more info, please email info@firehousegalleryva.com or call 540 955 4001. Spaces are limited!

19

Prize Bingo            Fundraiser

John H. Enders Fire Hall, 9 S. Buckmarsh St, Berryville. Doors open at 1pm and Bingo starts at 2. Event benefits the non-profit Blue Ridge Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship.  $20 in advance. $25 at the door. 14 prize-filled games. Raffles for very special Thirty-One prize, 50/50, and themed baskets.  Chili, snacks and beverages available. Proceeds will provide scholarships for students with special needs and funds to help care for our therapy horses and ponies. Tickets can be purchased online at marchbingofundraiser.bpt.me or by contacting us at 540-533-2777 or brcthinc@hotmail.com.

 

20

Guild of Fabric     Artists

Clarke County Parks and Recreation. 225 Al Smith Circle. Berryville. 2–4pm. Designed to support and facilitate the creation and exhibition of members’ fabric art. A different study, will be explored each month. Everyone will be asked to show & tell about works in progress and completed work.  $1. Ages 18 and up. Leader: Joyce Badanes. For information call 540-955-5140.

20

Corda Nova Baroque

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court, Berryville. Doors open at 3pm. Show starts at 4. Corda Nova Baroque is an early music ensemble that focuses on bringing lesser known Baroque works to wider audiences in a historically informed manner. Corda Nova Baroque‘s successful first season included programs of German Stylus Fantasticus works and Italian sonatas in Washington DC, Middleburg, VA and  Philadelphia. The ensemble’s second season included performances with soprano Rebecca Mariman and French Baroque selections performed in Washington DC, Princeton NJ, and the group’s New York City debut on the GEMS Midtown Concert Series. $20 in advance. $25 at the door. For more information visit  www.barnsofrosehill.org.

22

Why Poverty?

Documentary night at My Neighbor and Me. 15 E. Main Street. Berryville. Film “Stealing Africa”. One hour film followed by group discussion. 7–9pm. Free. Leader: Christina Kraybill. 540-955-8124. www.myneighborandme.com.

23

Volunteer Training

for Therapeutic Riding. Blue Ridge Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship. 644 Lime Marl Lane. Millwood.  BRCTH invites enthusiastic and caring individuals to become lesson volunteers for 8-week spring session which begins the week of April 11.  Must be at least 14 years of age.  Equine experience required for the position of horse leader, and is preferred, but not required for side-walkers.  Trainees attend Orientation at 6pm on Weds, March 23, and then one of several hands-on trainings being offered over next several days. Contact Margie Youngs at brcthinc@hotmail.com or at 540-533-2777.

23

Full Moon Walk

Blandy Experimental Farm. The State Arboretum of Virginia. 400 Blandy Farm Lane. Boyce. 7:30–9 pm. Explore the Arboretum under the full moon. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a flashlight, and explore the natural world at dusk and after dark. FOSA members $10. nonmembers $12. Member family $20. Nonmember family $25. Reservations Required. For information call 540-837-1758 Ext. 226 or visit http://blandy.virginia.edu.

26

Community Health Forum

Living and Dying with Our Choices: Community Impact of Risk Behaviors and Narcotics. The presentation will take place at 10:30am and will be followed by a question and answer period with our panelists.

26

Easter Shop and Hop

Participating Retail Stores. Downtown Berryville. Join Berryville Main Street and participating Berryville merchants for our first Easter Shop and Hop! 11am–4pm. Mom can shop and kids can look for  hidden eggs with special letters in them. When all the letters collected spell EASTER, the kids can come down to the Firehouse Gallery to receive their prize! Participating merchants are The Firehouse Gallery, Modern Mercantile, My Neighbor and Me, Sweetpea’s, Berryville Treasures, Blue Ridge Hospice Thrift Store, and Berryville Auto Parts. For info call Berryville Main Street, 955-4001.

27

Pancake Breakfast

John H. Enders Fire and Rescue. 9 South Buckmarsh Street, Berryville. 7am–12 noon. Come Support your fire and rescue squad and enjoy the finest Pancake Breakfast in the area! Pancakes, Sausage, Eggs, Sausage Gravy, Baked Apples, Coffee, Milk, Hot Tea, Apple & Orange Juice. Adults $8. Children $4. Children under six eat for FREE. For Information Call 540-955-1110 or visit www.endersfire.com.

28

Food Drive

Through April 8. Clarke County High School. 627 Mosby Boulevard, Berryville. Join the Clarke County High School Student School Climate Committee in a Fill the Bus Food Drive to benefit FISH. Bring donations to the main office at Clarke County High School to help fill the bus! The bus will be packed on April 8. Contact Joanne Wolfe at wolfejo@clarke.k12.va.us or 540.955.6130.

April

2

Mark and Maggie O’Connor-American Classics

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court, Berryville. Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 8. Don’t miss Grammy-winner Mark O’Connor and his wife, Maggie, as they perform a broad and interconnecting collection of American music through violin solos and duos. American Classics identifies the cornerstones of repertoire, style and wonderful diversity of A New American School of String Playing. $20 in advance. $25 at the door. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

5

Why Poverty?

Documentary night at My Neighbor and Me. 15 E. Main Street. Berryville. Film “Education, Education”. One hour film followed by group discussion.  7p-9p. Free. Leader: Christina Kraybill. 540-955-8124. www.myneighborandme.com.

6

Arboretum Walking Tour

Blandy Experimental Farm. The State Arboretum of Virginia. 400 Blandy Farm Lane. Boyce. 2–3:30pm. Come enjoy flowering trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in all their spring glory! Dress for the weather. Free, but Reservations Required—Space is Limited. For information call 540-837-1758 Ext. 226 or visit http://blandy.virginia.edu.

7

BuzzWords Trivia Night

Handley High School’s  Patsy Cline Theater. Hosted by Literacy Volunteers of the Winchester Area. 6:30pm. LVWA offers ESL, computer and basic literacy classes for adults in the Clarke/Frederick area. For more information please visit LVWA.org.

9

Berryville Yard Sales

Downtown Berryville. Rain Date is Saturday, April 16.

 

9

/10 Estate Sale

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court, Berryville. Second annual “Estate Sale Fundraising event– Fine Art and Home Furnishings” at the Barns. People may consign their artwork, antiques, furniture and home furnishings, or they may want simply to donate a good item to help the Barns raise funds. Items must be clean and in good repair. Suitable items include antiques, fine textiles, silver, china, original works of art, furniture in good repair, lamps, statuary and jewelry.  All items must be delivered to the Barns. Barns staff will be accepting items beginning Saturday, April 2.  Complete information is available at barnsofrosehill.org, or by calling 540-955-2004 between noon and 3PM, Tuesday through Saturday.

9

Kathy’s Art and Spring Dinner

Crums United Methodist Church. 2832 Crum’s Church Rd. Berryville. Join us in support of Kathy Hopson. A very courageous woman battling a mix Oglioastrocytoma, who discovered painting as an outlet for recovery. Presented by the Crum’s United Methodist Women. Free Will Offering Dinner 5–6:30pm with Silent Auction and Sale ending at 7:30pm. Cash or good check. Donations or questions please contact Shawn Nicholson at forothers@rocketmail.com.

9

Book Talk

with the Clarke County Historical Association by Historian John R. Maass: The Road to Yorktown.

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court, Berryville. 2pm. Join us as military historian John R. Maass discusses his recent book – The Road to Yorktown: Jefferson, Lafayette and the British Invasion of Virginia – which explores the 1781 British invasion of central Virginia in the campaign leading up to the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781. $3 for BORH and CCHA members. $5 for non-members. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

9

Joan and Joni

A tribute to Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell. Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 8. Joan & Joni is a tribute to Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell performed by singer/songwriters Allison Shapira and Kipyn Martin. Allison and Kipyn are both classically trained musicians from the DC-area folk music scene. In Joan & Joni, Allison and Kipyn bring to the stage many of Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell’s well-known originals and folk songs, as well as a few hidden gems. They also highlight the impact these legendary women have had on their own songwriting and performance. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

14

Benefit Fashion Show

What Goes Around, Comes Around! Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court, Berryville. 6:30pm. This fashion show will take you back in time through current fashions with a comparison of what we’re wearing now with possibly what your mother or grandmother wore many years ago as their own current fashion. The memories of the slideshow will take you down memory lane while the models on the runway bring you back to the 21st century with a feeling of nostalgia. “Fashion has always been a repetition of ideas, but what makes it new is the way you put it together” Carolina Herrera, designer. Fashions will be provided by Chico’s of Creekside. There will be a Silent Auction, cash and checks only, to benefit The Clarke County Humane Foundation. Donation of items to the Animal Shelter are also welcome. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $10 for students. For more information or tickets please call 540-955-2004, or visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

15

Rhythm Future Quartet

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Court. Berryville. Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 8. The acoustic jazz ensemble, Rhythm Future Quartet, has a straightforward agenda: to keep the spirit of Gypsy jazz alive and expanding in today’s musical universe. The virtuosic foursome, named for a Django Reinhardt tune, offers up a newly minted sound, influenced by the classic Hot Club of France, yet wholly contemporary. Led by violinist Jason Anick and guitarist Olli Soikkeli, the quartet performs dynamic and lyrical arrangements of both Gypsy jazz standards and original compositions that draw upon diverse international rhythms and musical idioms. With Max O’Rourke on second guitar and Greg Loughman on bass, Rhythm Future is dedicated to expanding the boundaries of a vital musical genre. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

15

Mindfulness in Nature

Guided Walking Meditation. Blandy Experimental Farm. The State Arboretum of Virginia. 400 Blandy Farm Lane. Boyce. 6:30–8:30pm. Shell Fischer, Insight Meditation Instructor. Learn to slow down and draw on nature through guided meditation, silent walking, and reflection. Dress for the weather. Ages 16 and older. FOSA members $10. Nonmembers $12. Reservations Required. For information call 540-837-1758 Ext. 226 or visit http://blandy.virginia.edu.

16

Cash Party

John Enders Fire Hall. 9 South Buckmarsh St., Berryville. Doors open at 5:30. Crazy Cash Party and BBQ Dinner. Grand Prize $1500. Only 275 tickests. Call 540-955-1110 or email secretary@endersfire.com.

The Balalaika’s Beautiful Sound

Russian Duo was born in 2007 out of a love of traditional music and classical elegance. Oleg Kruglyakov, a balalaika virtuoso, and Terry Boyarsky, a masterful pianist, will present an exuberant program at the Barns of Rose Hill March 2. Doors open at 7:30 for the 8PM performance. Reservations are available in advance at www.barnsofrosehill.org, or by calling 540-955-2004.

The audience will be treated to the mysterious and lovely sounds of the balalaika, a three-stringed instrument of Russia, and other traditional Russian instruments paired with the vast expressive range of the piano. The duo has toured extensively in the United States and Canada, and the artists separately have performed all over the world.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer this superb duo in an extraordinary program that brings together beautiful music of both Russia and America,” said Morgan Morrison, Program Director for the Barns.

The offering of musical styles will appeal to a broad range of tastes. Oleg and Terry’s program will draw from Russian folk music, romances, dances, classical music, gypsy melodies, bluegrass, ragtime, tango, film scores and Soviet songs, commenting on the historical context of the music and instruments. The performances have won rave reviews:

The Vermont Journal writes, “The audience was enthralled as the music slid from exuberance of joy and anger to whispers of love and crying so faint you could have heard a pin drop.”

WKSU host and Cuyahoga River Concerts presenter Matt Watroba says, “We loved the way the Russian Duo combined historical information with world-class playing and performance. Our audience was mesmerized! They didn’t want them to leave the stage.”

Oleg Kruglyakov was born in Omsk City, Siberia, Russia in 1966. He has a keen ear for musical styles and a deep respect for cultural tradition and the history of the Russian people. He was educated at the renowned Ekaterinburg Conservatory, studying conducting as well as teaching balalaika. He is a protégé of Yevgeny Grigorovich Blinov, the foremost balalaika virtuoso of the Soviet Union.

Oleg has performed as balalaika soloist with many Russian folk groups, touring Moscow, St. Petersburg, Siberia and Ukraine. He traveled for five years with a Urals folk ensemble performing in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Malta and Turkmenistan, and he has participated in many international festivals. He had the honor of performing at the United Nations when he came to the US.

Terry Boyarsky, pianist, is a movement specialist, singer and ethnomusicologist. Her search for musical collaboration has led her into chamber music, choral singing, folk dance, coaching, accompanying dance and creating ceremony. Terry has collaborated with singers and dancers across the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, and Venezuela.

Around Clarke County

February

13 Self-Defense Basics

Clarke County Recreation Center, 255 Al Smith Circle, Berryville; 6:45–8:45pm. Learn awareness of one’s surroundings, how to create escape routes, hit & run tactics, releases from holds, fighting strategies and use of common objects as self-defense tools. Ages 16 and up. 1 class. Instructor: Steven LaForce. $13 For information call 540-955-5140.

 

15

Red Cross Babysitter Training

Clarke County Recreation Center, 255 Al Smith Circle, Berryville; 9am–3:30pm. This course can help participants care for children and infants, be a good leader and role model, make good decisions and solve problems, keep the children you baby-sit and yourself safe, handle emergencies such as injuries, illnesses and household accidents, and more. Bring a packed lunch. Successful completion of final tests is required for certification. Ages 11–15. $70. 1 class. For more information call 540-955-5140.

 

20

Furnace Mountain

w/ Julie Miles Art Exhibit Opening. Barns of Rose Hill, 95 Chalmers Ct., Berryville. A special evening of music by Furnace Mountain and artwork by Julie Miles. Furnace Mountain is Aimee Curl on bass and vocals, Danny Knicely on mandolin and fiddle, Dave Van Deventer on fiddle, and Morgan Morrison on guitar, bouzouki, and vocals. The band creates music that is at times lively and raucous, with spirited fiddle melodies weaving in and around the powerful rhythms of the bass and bouzouki, and other times poignant and poetic. Exhibit opens at 7. Music starts at 8. $15 in advance $20 at the door. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

 

20

4-H Spaghetti Dinner & Auction

Clarke County Ruritan Building. Dinner is from 5–7pm (including silent auction). Live auction starts at 6:30. Auction items typically include homemade cakes, wine tastings, Rubbermaid products, home & garden items, sporting goods, restaurant gift certificates, collectibles, toys, gift baskets, live trees and much more! The funds raised will help the Clarke County 4-H Volunteer Leaders’ Association (VLA) improve and enhance opportunities available to 4-H members. VLA directly supports the 4-H youth and its educational programs such as 4-H camp scholarship assistance, regional, state and national educational competitions, and higher education scholarships. The mission of 4-H is to empower youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.

21

Terra Voce

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct., Berryville. Terra Voce is a flute and cello duo known for lively and creative programs combining the diverse and the unexpected. Cellist Andrew Gabbert and flutist Elizabeth Brightbill thrill audiences with their virtuosity, engaging, conversational style of presentation, and their genre-expanding programs that explore musical styles ranging from Baroque to Brazilian choro, contemporary tango, Irish traditional, and beyond. Concert starts at 4pm. doors open at 3:30. $20 in advance. $25 at the door. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

 

26

Salam Neighbor

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct., Berryville. Salam (Hello) Neighbor is a film and campaign to connect the world to refugees. Immerse yourself into the life of a Syrian refugee through the journey of Chris and Zach as the first filmmakers allowed to be registered and given a tent inside of a refugee camp. In Syria alone, more than 4 million people have fled the country to escape the atrocities of war. Movie starts at 7. Doors open at 6:30. There is a suggested donation of $10; 70% of proceeds go to Save the Children www.savethechildren.org. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

 

28 Winter Film Series

Mistress America, at the Barns of Rose Hill, 95 Chalmers Ct., Berryville. College freshman Tracy Fishko (Lola Kirke) is having trouble adjusting to college life at Barnard. On her mother’s advice she contacts her soon-to-be stepsister, who also lives in New York, Brooke (Greta Gerwig). Tracy is immediately entranced by Brooke and her life-style, and becomes wrapped up in Brooke’s dream to open a restaurant. The Winter Film Series is presented by Barns of Rose Hill and Magic Lantern Theater. Film starts at 4. Doors open at 3:30. $5 for BORH and Magic Lantern members. $8 for non-members. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

 

March

 

2

Russian Duo

Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct., Berryville. Russian Duo is an international project, born out of a love of traditional music and classical elegance. Oleg Kruglyakov, balalaika virtuoso, and Terry Boyarsky, masterful pianist, have teamed up for exuberant performances of soulful, passionate music. Music starts at 8. Doors open at 7:30. $20 in advance $25 at the door. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org; see article on page 16.

4

The Plank Stompers

Barns of Rose Hill, 95 Chalmers Ct., Berryville. Plank Stompers do not like to think of themselves as a group; but rather, as a movement. Before knowing Plank Stompers, you must first know the Preamble to the Stompstitution: “We, the Stompers of the United Planks, in order to form a more funky union, establish ruckus, insure intergalactic stank-quility, and provide listening pleasure to whoever we may encounter along the way, do hereby proclaim: If sound was butter, and the last 250 years were a biscuit, then Plank Stompers would be the hypothetical knife that smears, scrapes, and swirls all of the sounds from the past together. Pickaxes and pianos, war whoops and woodwinds, fiddles sawin’ and crows cawin’, bass drones and mobile phones, all getting pushed into a greasy noise anthology.” Music starts at 8. Doors open at 7:30. $15 in advance $20 at the door. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

 

4

/5 Trunk Art Show

by Cosmic Harvest! Fire House Gallery. 23 E. Main Street. Berryville. 5–7pm Friday. 11am–4pm Saturday. Local artists Keith and Kelli Patterson will share not only their art, but their philosophy in our first Trunk Art Show. They believe in supporting sustainable agriculture and will be donating part of their proceeds to a local organization (as yet undecided). Keith works with acrylics, using his own “drip and splatter” technique and bold color palettes that blend to create a unique vibrancy on his paintings. Kelli works in mixed media collages and incorporates vintage and repurposed items into her pieces. For more information visit Firehousegalleryva.com or call 540-955-4001.

 

5

Book Signing

Best selling local author Forrest Pritchard at the Fire House Gallery, 23 E. Main Street. Berryville; 1-3 pm. the author of Growing Tomorrow and Gaining Ground will be at the Gallery to sign books and answer questions about sustainable farming and life as a farmer/writer from Clarke County. Refreshments will include nitrate-free beef sticks and other delicious foods from the author’s Smith Meadows Farm. For information visit Firehousegalleryva.com or call 540-955-4001.

10

Sketch This!

A Drawing Workshop with Tia Maggio, Fire House Gallery. 23 E. Main Street. Berryville; 7pm. Learn how to draw what you see, not what you know, with artist and teacher Tia Maggio. Tia is an artist based in Millwood with 15 years experience as an art educator. With creative exercises in a relaxed environment, master the basics of drawing. Supplies included. $40/session. More classes coming in April. No prior experience necessary—artists of all levels are welcome. For information visit Firehousegalleryva.com or call 540-955-4001.

 

13

Madeline MacNeil Concert

Barns of Rose Hill, 95 Chalmers Ct., Berryville. Join Madeline MacNeil for an evening of tunes and songs. Since 1972, when she began performing in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, MacNeil has brought listeners into the song. Her interest in stories first brought the mountain and hammered dulcimers to her attention, for they are part of this country’s musical history. She’s been honored by folk organizations and festivals across the country. Music starts at 6:30pm. Doors open at 6. $15 in advance. $20 at the door. For information visit www.barnsofrosehill.org.

Prepare for Thrills and Chills

By Victoria L. Kidd

Hollywood does not have the market cornered on horror. While October advertisements entreat audiences to settle into theater seats for the next big blockbuster, true aficionados of the genre are scheduling an alternative way to get their horror fix by planning to attend the upcoming Virginia Independent Horror Film Festival, an event that is now in its 3rd year.

Festival Director Christopher Schoen is one of the visionaries behind the Festival. His love of a good scare started at a young age. “When I was  little, living in southern California, my family took us to a Halloween festival, and the experience stuck with me throughout my life,” he says. “Now that I have grown and found more passion for horror films, I want to create that same feeling for modern audiences…I got the idea for the festival by attending the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville several times over the years. Seeing the atmosphere they created where filmmakers, industry folk, and film fans got the opportunity to interact was Hollywood magic at its best. I wanted to create a similar experience.”

That four-day festival experience will be taking place between October 29 and November 1, and it’s going to be a Halloween weekend that is packed with activities that members of the cult of the scary movie will enjoy. Most important among those activities is the screening of the films around which the event is centered. The festival features short films that have a runtime of no more than twenty minutes and feature-length films with runtimes between 55 and 120 minutes. Selecting the films that will be shown is a task that falls to to Schoen and Public Relations Director Leslie Taylor as well as numerous volunteers who pitch in to help.

From nearly 870 short films and 160 feature-length films submitted, Schoen and Taylor will select between 35 and 40 short films and between 10 and 12 feature-length films to show to audiences over the four festival days. (The final number of selected films will depend on the collective run time of those selected, since the objective is to show as many quality pictures as possible.) While all submissions meeting the general dictated requirements are accepted, they are particularly interested in films that are shot in Virginia or the Mid-Atlantic Region (or have some connection to the area).

“We are passionate about presenting films made in the region,” Taylor states. “That’s always been the objective. Nevertheless, there are so many filmmakers who are just trying to get their work in front of an audience, so we do accept work from throughout the United States and from around the world.”

To those unfamiliar with film festival operation, receiving submissions from around the world may seem far-fetched for a small operation based in Virginia, but Schoen and Taylor have proven themselves to be up to task when it comes to building a festival worth noticing. They have grown continually since the event’s start three years ago in Richmond, VA. Taylor explains, “That first year, well, we struggled to find enough submissions to fill the one-day festival. We received maybe 30 to 40 shorts and maybe no more than six feature-length films. Then the next year we were able to fill a two-day festival, and now this year we have exceeded even our own expectations.”

The dramatic increase in submissions (from no more than 40 short films originally to 870 and from no more than 6 features to 160) is largely the result of a sound decision the pair made with regard to how films should be submitted for consideration. The festival now uses FilmFreeway (www.filmfreeway.com) as the conduit for submission. The service provider boasts that there are more than 2,700 festivals and contest administrators currently using FilmFreeway to solicit and accept films.

“FilmFreeway really made us accessible to a lot of filmmakers,” Taylor says. “There are so many people looking for a place to submit their work, and this site really helped us get the word out about what we were doing…We have had submissions come in from Italy, India, Greece, England, and everywhere else you can imagine. It’s neat to see how far word of the festival travels.”

While the new submission platform helped draw interest from filmmakers, the festival’s partnership with Winchester’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (www.drafthouse.com/winchester) has greatly expanded what attendees can expect over the four days. Taylor relays, “Our goal is to make this a convention-style, destination festival, but while we grow into something even bigger, we want to use the resources available to us to put together the most fun, interactive festival you can imagine.”

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Prepare for Thrills and Chills
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That vision of a fun, interactive festival includes a costume contest, a horror-themed burlesque show performed by Timeless Tease (a troop from Baltimore), a beer-tasting event sponsored by O’Connor Brewing Company, opportunities to meet special guests, booths where festivalgoers can shop the wares of vendors, and the opportunity to get “spooked” by roving “creepers,” as Taylor calls them. There will even be a family-friendly screening on Saturday with an all-you-can-eat “cereal bar.” The Alamo’s theater space and parking lot will literally be transformed for the weekend, and Taylor praises the Alamo for being more than simply a venue for the event.

“They are a real partner in this festival,” Taylor says. “It was a happy accident that we got connected with the theater. A local who is involved in filmmaking saw our call for submissions and suggested the Alamo as a great place for us to hold an event. I am so glad we received that tip. The theater is perfect, and Steve [Nerangis] has been terrific.” (Nerangis, a well-respected area businessman, is the executive heading up operations at the Alamo in Winchester.) The Alamo will also be serving as the box office for the event, providing a seamless and familiar way for festivalgoers to purchase tickets for the events occurring over the weekend.

Since many aspects of the event are still being finalized, the price for admission has not been established yet, but Taylor offers assurances that interested parties will not have sticker shock once additional details about pricing are released. “We want people to come, and we want to showcase the amazing work of these filmmakers, and we want to offer this opportunity to as many people as possible.”

Schoen echoes Taylor’s excitement about what’s planned this year. “This year, festivalgoers can expect a variety of different films from the genre, from Slasher flicks to Zombie Movies,” he explains. “They can expect some of the favorite classic horror films alongside of the cutting edge films of 2015…This year we are closer than ever to creating that immersive, film-going adventure. I truly believe that this year will be a unique experience that has not been seen in this part of Virginia for a long time.”

If you like having the hairs on your neck stand up and your pulse quicken, you will very likely find yourself in good company as you watch carefully selected horror films…in the dark…with strangers. Visit www.vahorror.com, pull out your calendar, and cancel any and all engagements you have planned for October 29 through November 1. Schoen, Taylor, and a hoard of ghoulish volunteers await the opportunity to make your blood run cold at the 3rd Annual Virginia Independent Horror Film Festival.

Winchester Book Gallery, 40 years of feeding a love of reading

Show some Love on Independent Bookstore Day
Visit Winchester Book Gallery on May 2nd

By Victoria L. Kidd

Language is arguably one of the greatest of all man’s creations. The ability to communicate ideas—to put words to paper and convey things otherwise abstract—should not be an achievement that’s impact is underestimated. Language has allowed the creation of books, and books have provided us a means of escaping reality, learning new things, exploring food, and finding faith. For some, bookstores are equivalent to universities and lecture halls, temples and sanctuaries.

For 40 years, the Winchester Book Gallery has been a place of such reverence, and despite economic pressures on independent booksellers nationwide, the business is thriving. (Check them out at http://winchesterbookgallery.com.) It’s often seen as a community hub, serving as a place for entertaining game nights, a venue for authors to connect with readers, and a parlor for book clubs to commiserate or rejoice over a protagonist’s pursuits. They are a business that merit celebration and appreciation, and local residents have an opportunity to show them some love by participating in the upcoming Independent Bookstore Day, a day set aside by national bookseller associations and bibliophiles for the celebration of independent booksellers.

Independent Bookstore Day is coming up on May 2nd, which many will recognize as the same day of the Apple Blossom Festival’s Grand Feature Parade. The Gallery will be celebrating from 8am to 10pm, so even “bloomers” will be able to carve out time to stop in, browse, enjoy some of the planned activities, and purchase a book or two on this very special day.

In addition to offering a curated selection of “good reads” the store will be hosting hourly giveaways in appreciation of their customers. Freebies are certainly not the only reason to stop in. Visitors will also find a “favorites book wall” for drawings about literature and for sharing details about favorite books. A poetry mic corner will provide a stage for guests to enjoy and experience poetry—through readings, recitations, and performances—occurring throughout the day. The Book Gallery Prize Wheel will serve up prizes to those participating in literary trivia, and a MadLibs table will be available for everyone to join in the silliness and celebration.

It’s an event that certainly sounds like a lot of fun, particularly in the context of the citywide celebration that culminates that weekend. Locals have supported the Winchester Book Gallery for four decades. Their selection of new books, cards, gifts, e-readers, locally produced art, and more keeps people interested in the little shop, but its the personal service and booklover-to-booklover connection that keeps them coming back. Experience that connection by making plans to attend the 2015 Independent Bookstore Day event. Be sure to circle back to our Facebook page us and let us know what title you picked up!

Don’t Miss the 60th Annual Clarke County Fair

Story by Victoria Kidd, photo by Jennifer Lee

There’s a time of the year when the summer solstice has passed and the days start to get shorter. Each August promises one more month of summer indulgences before September bridges the season’s retreat with the advance of autumn. Essentially, it’s a perfect time to enjoy the Clarke County Fair at the Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds in Berryville, Virginia, August 10-16.

This year marks the 60th annual Clarke County Fair, and the Ruritan Club has been hard at work to make this a year to remember. The club is a service organization that participates in a number of community service projects each year. They are most widely recognized as the presenters of the annual fair, a weeklong celebration of the county’s rich heritage.

The club spends significant effort planning and preparing for fair week. Their event webpage expresses their desire to “give back” by presenting this event year after year for the enjoyment of county residents and neighboring friends. This year’s event, scheduled August 10–16, includes some long-standing favorites and exciting entertainment.

The opening ceremony takes place Sunday the 10th—a busy and lively day at the fairgrounds, as livestock owners ready their cows, sheep, goats, and hogs for exhibition. The day concludes with the Junior Miss Clarke County Fair Contest and the Miss Clarke County Fair Scholarship Pageant.

Monday brings an opportunity to enjoy the legendary beef and chicken barbecue (complete with sauce prepared by the Ruritan Club) that locals wait for all year. Once attendees have satisfied their cravings, they can head over to the area where R.C. Cole Shows operates carnival rides to excite the thrill seekers among the crowd.

For some, Tuesday may bring a cotton candy hangover. For others, the day will be filled with livestock judging, more barbecue, the King BMX Sports Stunt Show, and a night of rock & roll, as the HTH Kiss Tribute Band fills the evening with music.

 

Wednesday is special to both senior citizens and children, as it’s the day when individuals falling within certain age ranges enjoy free admission. Those attending will have the opportunity to enjoy a puppet show at the fairground’s grandstand or the SAWJAC show—an event that is equal parts chainsaw and artistic expression. The Dragon MotorSports Truck and Tractor Pull rounds out evening activities, offering attendees a chance to enjoy an event that could be considered “quintessentially Clarke County.”

All active-duty armed forces personnel and military veterans are invited to enjoy Thursday without admission fees. While the day brings another chance to enjoy the truck and tractor pull, it also affords the opportunity to witness the sheep and goat Olympics and the bunny carrot-eating contest for those who seek the softer side of the fair.

Friday rounds out the weekday happenings with more livestock-related activities, a tractor-driving contest, and a children’s fair day camp. Attendance swells on Friday, with fairgoers flooding in to enjoy the professional bull riding and rodeo event. This beloved event is one of the most exciting of the entire week.

All good things must come to an end, and Saturday, August 16 marks the last day of the fair. The day is truly the crescendo of the weeklong celebration of Clarke County life, as fairgoers get their last taste of carnival treats and excitements before settling in to watch the demolition derbies. Some attendees will spend the day purchasing the animals that were shown throughout the week. Others will take in the sights and sounds before presenting their tickets to see Tyler Farr—a country music singer who has signed with Columbia Records. His debut album includes the popular “Whiskey in My Water” and “Redneck Crazy” songs, which he will assuredly share with the audience.

The close of the fair is always bittersweet. After all, an entire year will pass before fairgoers will have another chance to experience all the week has to offer. Yet, there is something special about the event’s infrequency. Essentially, it is a week that many look forward to every year, even if it marks one of the last chapters of the summer’s tale.

Be sure to include the fair among your August plans, and mark your calendars to enjoy all that the Ruritan Club’s 60th Annual Clarke County Fair has to offer. For information (or to obtain tickets), visit www.clarkecountyfair.org or call 540-955-1947.

The End of the Internet As We Know It?

By Steve Chase

U.S. ranks 33rd worldwide in Internet speed

How fast is your Internet? I recently saw an article (tinyurl.com/mrf7xps) that ranked global Internet service speed, and the U.S. was ranked 33rd, ahead of only Russia by one and far behind Romania’s third, and the number one, South Korea. The real world example for me is being able to stream video only after midnight when there is far more bandwidth available on my rural “high-speed” network.

We have few choices for really high-speed service. in the U.S. today, Internet service providers (ISPs) focus their efforts on maximizing revenue over providing good service; and in my case, living in a rural area, the opportunity for real broadband, with 21st century speed, is non-existent. Those who support the free market have made it clear to me that my choice to live in a rural area drives my Internet service choices—go live in the city if you want fast Internet. 

Recent events complicate the U.S.’ poor position on the world chart even further. The concept of Net Neutrality, which defines the Internet as a free and open network that does not favor any particular content, has begun to break down. This event came none too soon for the big media companies. In January, a federal court struck down FCC rules that had been promulgated in 2010 with a 21st century mindset. The court, ruling in Verizon v. FCC, said that rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking certain content and favoring others should be struck down, because the ISP was not classified as a “common carrier,” like your average utility company. This ruling opens the door for ISPs to show favor for certain content, including content that they are paid to make available. 

The growth of streaming video makes all the difference in this issue. I can’t get Netflix, but lots of people do. This puts tremendous pressure on ISPs like Comcast to keep the data flowing as they watch the latest episode of House of Cards. Netflix recently announced an agreement with Comcast that provides Netflix a direct connection to Comcast, for a fee. The initial reaction from some corners was that of Internet Armageddon: ISPs would turn the Net into nothing more than another cable television outlet.

We pay for the various channels and networks of content while the ISPs force you to watch what they want you to see. Those screams have been countered, as people have calmed down and realized that agreements such as this one represent an instance where the ISP industry is self-regulating to better manage bandwidth when the pipes are very busy. Who is right? 

Time will tell how this plays out, and I’m not ready to give these ISPs the benefit of the doubt—yet. Comcast, Verizon, and the other ISPs need to remember that we customers pay a pretty penny for access to the Internet. Raising rates even further and taking away a free Internet would spell the end of  the Internet as we know it.

Streaming Music News

Online streaming music continues to evolve. In the past, Spotify has given you a free account with a limited amount of listening time each month. They have dropped that limit, so you can now listen to Spotify on your PC for free all the time; the only cost is that you have to listen to some annoying ads. Following up on his very successful audio technology line, rapper Dr. Dre has started a new music streaming service called Beats. The interface is all new, giving you the chance to set up your interface with the music you like, making it way easier to find the music you want to hear. It also has a feature called “the sentence” that helps you find music that fits your mood and your current situation, be it sitting on the front porch or crunching numbers at work. Beats should prove to be tough competition for Spotify and MOG over time and you can check Beats out for a week for free (www.beatsbydre.com).

 Neil Young’s Pono

Neil Young is using technology to reconnect listeners to high-quality analog music. He laments that MP3s simply do not have the fidelity to allow listeners to truly hear the music as performed—a disservice to artists. You’ll be able to buy original master recordings at ponomusic.com, and load them onto your own portable Ponoplayer, which features a digital-to-analog converter, or DAC, to ensure what you are listening to is as close to the original intent of the artist as possible.

These players are currently $300+ on the Kickstarter site, to be available in the fall. Once Pono is up and running, the cheapest player will be $399. That’s pretty pricey, but Young promises his service will be revolutionary. There has been a big media blitz on Pono, but I wonder if the prices and the proprietary store will serve up the revenue necessary to keep things viable over the long run. More at http://tinyurl.com/q2rzryn .

Listen to my April playlist, a mix to help us welcome spring after a long and cold winter. Listen at playlists.net/epolyphony-april-2014 .

Steve Chase listens and writes about music from his home in Unison, Va.