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Category: RVA

Enoteca Sogna lands in Northside Richmond

Via Northside News, RVAFoodie, and Epicuriosity:

Enoteca Sogna, the locally-owned Italian restaurant that was unceremoniously booted from its digs on West Broad Street has settled on a new home here in Bellevue. Word on the foodie grapevine is that the restaurant will make its new home in a leased space on Bellevue Ave. According to Epicuriousity:

After several months of searching (soul and otherwise), Gary York has found a new space for Enoteca Sogno, on Richmond’s northside in Bellevue. The former Belle B and Bella Arte space at 1223 Bellevue Ave offers some interesting architectural details and neighbors such as The Northside Grill and Nicola Flora.

Good news for Northside Richmond. Terrible news for my budget.

Wanda Jackson Pt. 2

Wanda Jackson put on a pretty good show last night at Shenanigan’s Pub here in Richmond. The Lustre Kings warmed the crowd up and also served as Wanda’s backing band. She performed all of her hits—Hard Headed Woman, Mean, Mean Man, Let’s Have a Party, Fujiyama Mama—as well as a few covers, including her recently recorded version of Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good ( it was the first time they played that one live and it was, to put it delicately, a trainwreck). Oh,well. The woman is in her 70’s, but she’s still got some fire in her and is clearly enjoying herself.

Northside Dog Park

Ever since moving to Northside Richmond,  Elaine and I, and our dog Dewey,  have really missed what used to be a daily trip to the dog park on Forest Hill Ave. Soon after we moved here, I began  asking around to see if  there were any plans to build a dog park in the area. There had been some discussion about a dog park on our community listserv, but that forum trail had run cold. So I created my own post, in the hopes of reviving interest. So many people in Northside own dogs.  I knew a significant number of them would support this idea.

That was nearly nine months ago. Since then, I’ve been working with a small group of committed dog owners in the Northside community and with employees of the Richmond City Parks & Recreation Department (shout out to Larry & Mary Lois) to make this dog park a reality. Together we’ve identified a great location–a grassy, wooded area across the parking lot from Pine Camp Arts Center–and have applied for and been approved to be a partner of the Richmond Recreation & Parks Foundation. This gives us 501(c)3 nonprofit status and makes it easier to raise funds. After an orientation meeting with a member of the Foundation,  we’ll be ready to go out and promote our park plans, recruit volunteers,  and solicit financial help.

Our hope is the break ground in spring and open the park in late summer. The City Parks Department has been incredibly supportive, and is contributing significantly to the project. Stay tuned here as we move forward. If you want to know more, check out our Ning site: To become a member of our group, you’ll need to create a Ning account (it’s free) and then submit a request to join our group.

Update: You can now follow the progress of Northside Dog Park on Twitter. We’re @northrvadogpark

Harry Shearer

Last Sunday, Elaine and I went to see Harry Shearer speak at the Byrd Theater. He was there to raise funds for Harry ShearerWRIR, Richmond’s  independent radio station, and to give a short talk before introducing the movie, This is Spinal Tap, in which he plays mutton-chopped, cucumber-endowed bassist Derek Smalls.
Shearer took to the stage decked out in a purple velour suit accompanied by his silver Macbook from which he read, often awkwardly, his observations on Big Media,  the Entertainment Industry, Copyright Laws, and Hollywood. I am a fan of his long-running, weekly radio show, Le Show, so his sarcastic criticisms of news and media were familiar to me, but might have been a bit of a downer for audience members expecting more comedy than commentary. However,  I was a bit disappointed that his talk often seemed stilted and unrehearsed. A minor criticism, I guess, but I hate to think he was just phoning it in.

For me, the most interesting parts of his talk were when he stepped away from his laptop to tell a personal story or riff on some aspect of his very long and very interesting career.  I was familiar with his recent film roles (For Your Consideration, A Mighty Wind) and that he is the voice behind so many memorable Simpson’s characters, such as Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, and Montgomery Burns. I also knew that he spent two unhappy seasons  as a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live. What I was surprised to find out is that Shearer has been in “showbiz” for most of his life. Born in L.A., Shearer worked with Jack Benny as a child and was the original Eddie Haskell (only named Frankie) in the first few episodes of  Leave It to Beaver. He also covered the Watts riots as a young journalist for Newsweek. He has his own record label and has exhibited several video art installations, most recently at Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center.

It was great to watch Spinal Tap again, which I haven’t seen in several years. Here’s one last sad fact provided by Shearer that added a bit of poignancy to my experience of rewatching this innovative film that took such creative risks (being almost completely improvised): according to the movie industry accountants, Spinal Tap still has not “officially” made a profit.

Tim Woodman

There is a great profile of my friend Tim McCready’s new furniture making school, Foxwedge School of Craft, in today’s RT-D. I know Tim primarily through his music, most recently,  his band Timothy Bailey and the Humans. So it is interesting for me to read about this other side of him–the craftsman, local business owner, and now teacher:

What started as a way to subsidize a rock band during his college days at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1992 turned into both a passion and a career for McCready.

He now owns the Foxwedge school and Bankston & Bailey, where he designs and makes fine furniture.

He started his career as a woodworking apprentice at Richmond-based design and fine-furniture maker Harrison Higgins Inc.

“As it turned out, I liked woodworking more than the band,” McCready said.

After graduating from VCU in 1998, he worked at a couple of research-related jobs before starting a doctoral program in counseling psychology at the University of Maryland.

“I stopped after one year because I wanted to get back to woodworking,” he said.

Playing with Knives


Forget carbo-loading and resting before the Richmond Half-Marathon: I plan on preparing for the race  by drinking beer, bathing in secondhand smoke, knocking down a few duckpins, and rocking out to cute Japanese punkers Shonen Knife. Inspired by the Ramones, adopted by Sonic Youth, Shonen Knife are one of a kind and not to be missed.

SK are currently touring the US in their Hello Kitty tour bus and will be stopping by Richmond’s own duckpin alley, Plaza Bowl, on November 13th, the night before the big Richmond running hooha. Hot Lava, Hex Machine, and Jeff the Brotherhood will be sharing a lane with the ladies. Get your tickets here


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