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Now that was a fun summer. And it flew by so fast.

Who can recall such a mild August? No third-degree burns from touching coins in your car, no days where walking outside felt like you were wrapped in layers of steaming thermal blankets. And now, an extended summerlike fall. Global warming — you gotta love it, until you hate it, or until it drops a tree on your face.

One thing that might make the fall race by just as quickly is the plethora of exhilarating and diverse arts events on the way. Nothing says city on the rise more than impossible-to-find tickets for "Book of Mormon." Well maybe a few things do, but Richmond is feeling increasingly like a tier-one arts destination every year.

In previewing the season, you'll notice a general theme taking shape: local arts groups and events branching out into the world at large, exploring the foreign. The governor's focus on cultural exchange with China plays a role in this, with the Beijing blockbuster, "Forbidden City," coming to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Richmond Ballet preparing to tour China.

It's the nature of creative people to explore the unexplored, and it will be an adventure to see what Richmond artists make of outside worlds interacting with local perspectives, breaking barriers and forging connections.

Summer vacation may be over, but our wanderlust doesn't need to end. — Brent Baldwin

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Period Piece
The VMFA brings the world to Virginia with "Forbidden City" and hopes for a phenomenon.

Enter the Dragon
Hardywood and VMFA join forces to create Forbidden Beer.

The Roads We Traveled
Richmond's galleries and museums are striking out on a theme this fall.

The Big Leap
Richmond Ballet unexpectedly becomes a cultural ambassador to China.

Dance Without Borders
Exploring Richmond's fall dance lineup.

Spacebomb Rising
Matthew White prepares his anticipated sophomore album while honing his label's approach.

Super Originals
Caped crusaders -- and Comic Con headliners -- Adam West and Burt Ward on the Batman franchise and how it keeps ticking.

The Big Show
Highlights of the upcoming Wizard World Richmond Comic Con.

Bijoumania!
Two local film lovers get the ball rolling on a film center for the arts district.

What's Op, Doc?
From cartoon music to "Sweeny Todd," the Richmond Symphony and Virginia Opera gear up for a whimsical fall.

Off the Wall
Carol Piersol launches 5th Wall Theatre Company with a season of innovative works.

Stormin' Mormon
The hottest ticket of the season comes from the creators of "South Park."

Across the Pond
On Richmond's stages this fall, it's an Anglophile's delight.

Trading Spaces
Local theater companies are taking audiences into new digs this fall.

Broad Street Rising
The Quirk Hotel will be another game changer for the arts district.

Off the Beaten Path
A season full of quirky events and festivals full of personality.

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