Arts & Events » Theater

Art of the State

The Monument Avenue 10K and Richmond Symphony, by the numbers, music therapy, lofts, Bret Michaels and the closing of ComedySportz.



After-Five Images
Evenings this time of a year have a drawn-out, drowsy, filmic quality; there's no better season for looking at photos. Or, perhaps, taking them. After you get off work, take your love out for some slow pints at Legend, say, and head over to the Crittenden Gallery for its exhibit of photos taken by photographers after they got off work. “Off the Clock” collects images from 14 local commercial and journalistic shooters who turn the lens toward expression rather than illustrating the corporate visions of Angel Soft or somebody. Photography's an art because it tells lies, said Oscar Wilde, but experiences like these promise that, while you may not be capable of some larger, more general happiness, there will be enough small, wonderful things to sustain you. The Crittenden Gallery is at 207 W. Seventh St. in the Corrugated Box Building through May 13.

Monument Avenue 10K by the (Entirely Pointless) Numbers
More than 31,158 people have already registered for the 10th Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K, beating last year‘s record. Plus 35 bands. Plus around $500,000 raised for the VCU Massey Cancer Center. That’s a lot of people, about the number of Americans who reportedly wake up during surgery every year, about the number of attendees of the recent World Water Forum in Turkey last week, about the number of people who fell for a recent computer hoax that promised to give them a tan as they typed. Here are some other numbers: If at least 638 of those runners are willing to don a gorilla suit, and if another 1,544 decide to streak, we'll set two world records — or even a third, if only it were possible to streak while wearing a Gorilla suit. It's a damn shame they're mutually exclusive. The first gun goes off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 28.

Richmond Symphony by the (Fairly Relevant) Numbers
The symphony just put its 2009-10 season on sale, and economy be damned, classical music is a bull market again. In its first 72 hours of season subscriptions, sales cleared $100,000, compared to $22,000 over the same three days last year. Certainly the fluegelhorn has experienced a surge in popularity since Mickey Rourke is supposedly dating one these days, but the real reason is more savory: CenterStage is set to open, with its capacity for more larger-scale works and a new series for kids. People want good seats. With cup holders. — Brandon Reynolds

When Karaoke Kures
While it may seem to you, as it does to me, that there's absolutely no benefit whatsoever to be gained from listening to a band like Nickelback, that it can in fact hurt more than help, there's an entire occupational field convening on Richmond that begs to differ (maybe not on the Nickelback thing, but at least on the benefits of music in general). The mid-Atlantic region of the American Music Therapy Association's 2009 Conference, “Music Therapy: Rockin' on the River,” brings together professionals who apply the healing power of tunes to such areas as kidney disease and substance abuse, spirituality and guided imagery, autism, cancer and blindness — plus the ever-popular exploration of drum-circles in long-term care.

Unlike conventions for podiatry, say, where the hot seminars are “The 21st Century Bunion” and “Fungus: Among Us?” music therapy's topics include meditation and music, creating music videos and mastering GarageBand. Plus of course there are actual bands playing — roots rockers the Taters on Thursday, March 26, at 1:30 p.m. and funk outfit Pennyshaker at 7:30 p.m. Ah, and karaoke. Natch. The reason I dangle all this before you is that it's open to the public too, so consider learning something more about music than the effects of Barry White and red wine at the conference, March 26-28 at the Omni Hotel. Visit for information on registration, seminars and other events. — B.R.

Where Bidets Fear to Tread
Sanctioned voyeurism is the new black on Saturday, March 28, when Venture Richmond invites each and all to tour lofts belonging to people with fancy throw rugs and few children on the Second Annual Loft Tour, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Not satisfied with mere rubbernecking? Want to understand the minds behind the stainless steel? Not to worry. At each of the 15 properties, the owner will be on hand to guide you past all those white couches and lime walls and coral reefs — you know, the personal touches. $20-$25.

Have Boobs, Will Travel
Turn on VH1's extended fading-rock-star mating ritual, “Rock of Love,” stand back a little and squint at your TV. Witness how the fake tans, fake breasts and bleached hair (or wig, in Bret Michaels' case) begin to blur together. Now you can see that season by season, the girls and Bret are slowly becoming one, that they're transforming into the same, never-before-seen creature: a mega-stripper with vodka for blood, razor-sharp horns where its breasts used to be, and a thunderingly exaggerated sense of its own importance. For those of us who want to offer ourselves to this new beast, come to the National on Sunday, March 29, at 8 p.m., as the Rock of Love Bus Tour rolls into town with its lady fights and, we can only assume, music. Better yet, take some canned goods and fresh batteries down to the cellar, wait this thing out. $35. 612-1900 or

Send Out the Clowns
After eight years of high inspiration and low puns, ComedySportz Improv Theatre, at 7115 Staples Mill Road, is closing its doors. The image of crying clowns comes to mind, and while there are no plans to relocate or start doing some inspired street performance, Director Christine Walters holds out hope that someday improvisational comedy will rear its head again. “We're a family, we're gonna continue working and we'll still be available for corporate events,” she says. “So it looks like we'll still be bringing the events to the people.” The theater has hosted other shows, such as Full Contact Improv and Cousin Sheckie, plus cabaret shows and sketch comedy. They also had a run of inventive musical spoofs — “Star Wars the Musical,” “Musical Matrix” and “Pop Fiction” among them. Walters will keep the jokes running by planning a kid's improv summer camp. Too early to say whether people will continue to say clever things after random prompts, but in the event that they don't, the final shows are Friday, March 27, at 7:30 and 10 p.m. and Saturday, March 28, at 5, 7:30 and 10 p.m. 266-9377 or — B.R.


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